Just because you’re a mompreneur doesn’t make you any less of an entrepreneur.
I’m talking about build-your-OWN-business-up-from-the-ground entrepreneur. You know, the kind that doesn’t come with a training manual — the sweat equity, emotions, and tears kind.
With social media being the focus of advertising these days, it’s possible to spend half the day just coming up with your next social media post as a business owner.
Imagine spending ALL day trying something new, to get rewarded with three likes in one hour versus the usual 50 because the algorithm doesn’t like what you’ve done with the place. Ugh.
Luckily, we have people ISO-ing (in search of. . . ) left and right out there. And for the same things. So you can market your business 10x a day, without ever leaving Facebook. Not quite following? Here’s what I mean:
Facebook Post in Charleston Mom Swap: “ISO (in search of) photographer for a family photoshoot this month as we are hoping to get Christmas cards out this year.” Queue 76 comments from every professional and no-so-professional photographer in Charleston.
You drop your link anyway, and maybe send a private message to throw your name in with the pack of wolves, all the while wondering if anyone ever reads all of the messages and comments they get inundated with on these types of posts. Maybe they don’t need a photographer at all. Maybe they’re just cruel. In my mind, anyone who has spent any length of time in any of the Charleston mom or swap type groups on Facebook must have seen these posts (and the 100+ photographer recommendations) before. It could be just me.
Maybe you have an event to share with others and find an appropriate group to share the information with. I did this just today actually. I’m working on a mini session event with a local children’s clothing store downtown on King Street. I dropped my event link and invited the mamas to come on out to capture some sweet photos of their littles or just peruse Second Sunday on King because it’s so much fun! I was met with ONE response. The one that takes the opportunity to promote her own business on your thread because your event sounds like a great idea. Ugh. Not really appropriate.
With this being said, I LOVE collaborations (especially with other mompreneurs) and have done quite a few of them.
The best way to successfully collaborate with another business is to put thought and energy into your offering, your target market, the interests of your target market, and the businesses that you would like to potentially collaborate with. Your collaboration should bring value to your target audience and to the business you’d like to partner with. Collaborations are not a one-way street, and they are not throwing things on the wall to see what sticks.
I recently saw an “ISO” post somewhat like the one above. Only this time, the lady was looking for a photographer for her new downtown hair salon. I love working with local businesses on business branding photography (team headshots, product photos, interior/exterior business location photos, etc.) to help them more effectively market their business online. Naturally, I responded to the ISO request. She messaged me! (Yay!) Except she gave me a big speech about what she was looking for and then ASKED ME TO DO IT FOR FREE. I’m sorry. What? In all fairness, she did tell me that I could use the photos for my own portfolio. #nope
Insider B2B tip in Charleston:
It is not recommended to ask fellow local business owners to work for free. Especially not mompreneurs. Especially not photographers. Especially not anyone?! I don’t waltz into my hair salon and ask them to cut and color my hair for free (Largo, by the way, they’re amazing — tell them LeeAnn Neumann sent you!). I don’t stop by my favorite restaurant (too many to name) and ask them to feed me for free so that they can “gain exposure.”
Respectable business owners are not going to ask you to work for free.
Please do not ask photographers (or anyone else) to work for free. This is how we all make a living. Support small businesses, right? The licensed and experienced photographers in town have spent countless hours training so that they can take beautiful photos for you. They have spent thousands of dollars on photography gear so that they can take beautiful photos for you. Photos that will help your business earn clients and MAKE MONEY. Asking someone to work for free says that you do not value their offering or them as a person. I would venture to guess that other professional business owners have also poured time, money, and energy into their profession.
There is such a thing as an equal value trade.
Do you have an equal value trade? An example of this would be a photographer photographing another photographer and vice versa. How fun! Talk about community over competition. Chances are our photography services have similar monetary costs and the same value. #winwin
Maybe you have an amazing product, and you only need one or two professional quality photographs of said product. You could reach out to the photographer of your choice and offer to send your product to them in exchange for 1-2 photos, or a shout out on social media. They may or may not accept your trade, but it’s worth a shot. I have personally accepted products that were valuable to me in exchange for a photo and social media shout out. I also have respectfully turned some down.
While I would encourage an equal value trade, it should be done tactfully. What do I mean by this? Basically, it should never be assumed that another business owner will work for free or even for trade. A tactful way to trade would be to approach the business owner that you wish to trade with and say something like:
“Hi, my name is Nancy — I’m a local jewelry store owner, and I love your work! I am looking to hire or trade with a professional photographer in Charleston. I only need three of our newest designs photographed. How much would you charge for something like this? I can mail the product to you, or you are welcome to photograph in-store. I would also be happy to trade my product for your service if you’re interested. I look forward to working with you!
In this example, you’ve offered to pay the photographer because you value their time and talent, and you see them for what they are — a fellow professional. They have the option to give you a price or accept your offer to trade. This example is respectful and is honestly the only way a trade should go down.
This, my friends, is all part of being a mompreneur in Charleston (or anywhere for that matter).
Whether you’re paying, trading, collaborating, or all of the above — let’s build each other up! We have enough competition with big-box shops that I’m sure we can work together to make community over competition a reality.
Shop local, trade local, work together, and play together!