Brian Bossany of www.brianbossany.com and www.wildtrailstudio.com was interviewed on the podcast three years ago for episode 207 where he shared in detail, how he's converting so many enquiries by utilising video in his email replies and as part of his website – showing him at work with his couples.
It's immediately obvious by his permanent smile, here's a guy who loves life, work, family and his couples.
Three years on, I was curious to learn if the same tactics and approach are working and how things have changed in his business.
I was surprised and inspired to hear, Brian is branching out with a new business venture, Wild Trail Studios, which is all about hiring and utilising associate shooters to photography weddings under this new brand. All while continuing with his self-branded wedding photography business.
In addition to the new business, Brian shares what's still working, what's not and what changes he's made to stay profitable and in love with the business, he's created.
Here’s some more of what we cover in the interview:
- What's changed in Brian's business over the past three years
- How Brian dealt with a major life curveballs
- Coping with and thriving after a sad phase in personal life
- Should you communicate with clients about personal matters
- The struggles of managing a business when going through grief
- Why Brian doesn't have a backup plan in the case of not making it to a wedding
- Why self-care is so important for working photographers
- Brian's photography income numbers over the years
- Utilising the FaceTime sales approach
- When Brian introduces in-person sales to his clients
- Brian's sales pitch for selling wedding albums
- Asking for a $300 downpayment for album purchases
- Album pricing
- Client incentives for purchasing before the wedding
- Brian's wedding photography packages/collections
- Brian's workflow after sending the initial album design
- The advantage of designing the client's album yourself
- Why Brian is now sending a general video greeting to all clients instead of a personalised one for each
- Getting more leads through The Knot advertisement
- How 60% of Brian's clients came from The Knot
- Setting up a new wedding photography business and hiring associate photographers
- Risk nothing, gain nothing
- Brian's business plans for the next 10 years
- How has shifting focus away from Facebook and Instagram affected business
- Instagram is a great tool IF you use it well
- The need to revaluate your business
- How Brian measures success
- The importance of keeping a work-life balance
- Know why you do anything you do in business
- How Brian utilizes video marketing nowadays
- What happens during client inquiries
- The power of creating a promotional video to connect with new clients
- How Brian will maximise his advertising space on The Knot this year
- Chasing clients on a 48-hour follow-up
- Where Brian is heading with his business over the next three years
- Why create a new brand name when you can use your existing brand
- Coming up with a 10-year plan
What’s on Offer for Premium Members
If you’re a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this interview – the full length and more revealing version where you hear the absolute best tips and advice from every guest. PLUS, access to Brian's pricing page with video and his new storefront page which is converting like crazy.
If you’re on the fence about becoming a premium member, join with the $1 trial today and get access to the FULL interviews each week, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.
I don't want to post images to impress other photographers. If I'm going to post things, I want to attract potential clients. – Brian Bossany
Plus special member-only interviews.
You'll also receive access to the members-only Secret Facebook Group where you can connect with other Premium Members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take ideas you hear in each episode and put them into action. There are also FB live video tutorials, role-play interviews and special live interviews happening in the group. You will not find more friendly, more motivated, caring and sharing photographers online.
Joining a Mastermind Group (encouraged by Andrew) has been incredibly valuable and fun, I look forward to connecting with my group members every week. Jina Zheng, Premium Member and Melbourne Children photographer.
Seriously, that's not all.
In addition to everything above, you'll get access to and instructions on forming or joining a MasterMind Group with other premium members. These groups are super motivating, make you accountable and build friendships with other pro photographers with similar motives to you – to build a more successful photography business.
What is your big takeaway?
Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Brian shared. Is there something you heard that excited or motivated you to the point where you thought, yeah, I'm going to do that! If so, let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below, let me know what your takeaways were, what you plan to implement in your business as a result of what you heard in today's episode.
Everything we shoot in our business, everything we do, we should have intention behind it. If we don't have an intention we should stop doing it. – Brian Bossany
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Brian or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them in the comments area below.
iTunes Reviews and Shout-outs
Each week I check for any new iTunes reviews and it's always a buzz to receive these… for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they really are helping you improve your photography business. That's awesome!
Secondly, iTunes is the biggest search engine when it comes to podcasts and it's your reviews and ratings that help other photographers find PhotoBizX. More listeners mean more interviews and ultimately a better show.
If you have left a review in the past, thank you! If you haven't and you'd like to, head to https://photobizx.com/itunes and you can leave some honest feedback and a rating which will help both me and the show and I'll be sure to thank you on the show and add a link to your website or blog if you let me know the URL of your website and your name.
Alternatively, if you've left a review for PhotoBizX and are looking for more backlinks to help your SEO, leave a review for the new Photography Xperiment Podcast and email me your keywords or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.
Another great way to get a backlink to your site is to send a video testimonial. It doesn't need to be fancy and your phone will be perfect. Click record and tell me how PhotoBizX has made a difference to you and your photography business.
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
Thanks again for listening and thanks to Brian for coming on and sharing his thoughts and ideas on staying relevant, loving life, family and business and doing each of them well while dealing with the curveballs life can throw at us.
My wife is my barometer of success. – Brian Bossany
If you have any suggestions, comments or questions about this episode, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post, and if you liked the episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post!
That’s it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!
Thanks and speak soon
343: Brian Bossany – Wedding photography business three years on, what’s working and what’s not
Andrew Hellmich: Today's guest is Brian Bossany from Minneapolis in the States and our first interview, Brian back in Episode 207 which was three years ago, and at that time he was absolutely killing it. I remember sharing with you that he had 13 inquiries in two days, which first got me interested and then I saw his video replies to his client inquiries and I reached out to him. I know he's a massive fan of utilizing video to connect with clients. He's has a lot of success with conversion. I also know he's made some changes in his business since we spoke to him last. He's active inside the member's Facebook group. Whenever someone tags or share something with him or asks a question, I thought it'd be great to have a look back at his business, how it's developed, how it's evolved over the last three years, how he's still integrating video if he is at all and talk about life as a wedding photographer, you know, three years on to when we've last heard from Brian and the success he was having. I'm wondering if things had been smooth sailing and just getting better and better or if it's been a roller coaster like I expect some of us go through as our business progresses and life goes on with a growing family as well. So Brian, welcome back Mate to the podcast.
Brian Bossany: What an honor. Andrew, thank you so much for inviting me back. I'm blown away.
Andrew Hellmich: It's my pleasure. Look, I remember, I can actually hear you smiling while you're talking and that was one of the things that I guess drew me to here when I first interviewed you and it was, I think that was even the title of that podcast episode. If you want to make bookings, go in there with a smile and are you as happy as you were three years ago?
Brian Bossany: Yeah, I am. I really am happy. I mean, I love what I get to do for a living and uh, yeah, I love this. This is great.
Andrew Hellmich: And what about changes? Have things changed much since we last spoke in your business?
Brian Bossany: Oh man. So Andrew, have you ever gone through a season where just kind of life throws you curve balls and things you don't expect and that just, it almost kind of rocks you to the core and causing it to rethink everything. And that's the season that I'm coming out of right now. And, uh, I mean as far as our business and kinda our numbers and things like that. We've, I think this last, last year we shot 40 weddings on the books, you know, grossing around 171,000 for the year. And you know, things are going really well in that way. And there's just a lot of things in our business that we've just recently changed. And a lot of that was due to, um, this is, this is more of the, it's more of the, this is a harder thing for me to talk about, but it's very important because it's kind of set the bearing and the direction of why I've been doing the things I've been doing the last few months.
Brian Bossany: So about a year ago, my wife's mom, uh, was diagnosed with uterine cancer and it wasn't a good situation and you know, so it's right around Thanksgiving time last year and you know, she went through the treatments and things like that and things just progressively got worse and worse and worse. And then in the middle of wedding season, she went to home hospice. So we had this, you know, and this is in the middle of my crazy season. And so I paused everything, all the extra things I was doing to help grow the business and do all that stuff just to focus on family. I'd show up to my shoots that I had scheduled and my weddings. But it was hard because you had to compartmentalize a lot of it. And then shortly after that, after just a few months back, she passed away with her battle from cancer and whew man that rocked and changed me and obviously, I mean she's been a mom to me for 18 years, 17 years, 18 years, and just incredible strong woman.
Brian Bossany: And it was beautiful on how we had this time with her in home hospice. But it was incredibly hard to, and kind of walking through this with my wife and all this stuff. But it rocked me to the core in a lot of different ways cause it caused me to pause everything, all the things that I was doing that I thought were valuable, all the things that I thought and it just caused me to stop and go and ask. Well I just stopped because I just am like, I'm in survival mode and I need to just focus on my family and support my wife and work through my own grief and kind of deal with that. And I just, I jumped down into the business and just doing bare minimum for the last few months. And I've been playing catch up in a lot of ways. Still. I'm still doing catch up stuff, was catch up with blogging and things like that, but very thankful that we have a strong systems in place within our business because we didn't really skip a beat when it came. Uh, you know, the delivery of images and client care and things like that. It was just life happened and it happened hard and so, yeah. So that just kind of dramatically changed a lot
Andrew Hellmich: Man, it's um, I'm so sorry about your loss Mate that's terrible to have to go through that. And I mean, I guess the, the any comforting fact is that you guys got to all be there. It sounds like your mom was close by where your mother in law was close by as well.
Brian Bossany: Yeah, they were about two miles from us. So.
Andrew Hellmich: What's your wife's name?
Brian Bossany: Katrina.
Andrew Hellmich: Katrina. So does Katrina, does she work in the business with you as well or does she do her own thing?
Brian Bossany: She helps. She does a lot of that behind the scenes in the business with scheduling and some client care and things like that. But she stepped out of that and that's one of the things that we've changed this year where now it's majority of it is on my shoulders now. And you know, last year she actually put on our professional hat and went back to work at a school as a school counselor for the year and it just, and then resigned at the end of the year just cause it wasn't a good fit for our family rhythms and our, our life just cause we were passing ships. My schedule is it a lot in the evenings and which doesn't always jive well with uh, you know, a nine to five. So I guess she comes home and I'm like 'See you later'. It was hard on our marriage. And so, you know, we've made some different sacrifices and, and they're trying some new family rhythms stuff. This year we have an eight, six and four year old kid. And this year we were trying our hat on and homeschooling.
Andrew Hellmich: Wow.
Brian Bossany: Yeah. My wife has a master's in education, so she's a complete rock star and completely qualified to do this and she's killing it. And so she's been kind of moving into that and doing a really good job. And, but yeah, it's weird cause that we're in like we're in one of the best seasons of our life, but also one of the more challenging ones. And it's caused me to, you know, as we were going through this, and I can just kind of reflect back on, you know, after Wanda, that was my mother in law's name. After she passed away, I noticed because we had these rhythms and I, and we started doing things within the business that have been established for a while. Like I mean, and that hardest season, I think we booked 10 weddings then in like an eight week period. And like all these things and it was just bare minimum stuff that we were doing.
Brian Bossany: And I, I'm like currently I'm currently in this process of looking and analyzing every aspect of our business and just asking why, why? And then when I answered that question, going a little bit deeper, why? And uh, I'm kind of back into this like I'm hungry for education, I'm like a sponge, taking new ideas and new thoughts and, and getting inspired by just different photographers in there and the way they're doing things in the way they're doing life and the way they're doing business and taking what I can and applying it to ours and also wanting it to be authentically us and two. And so we've been in this like big season of change, but we're still moving forward doing, if that makes sense.
Andrew Hellmich: It does. Absolutely it does. Mate, I want to ask you a few more things about your business, but just before we move on from what you just shared about Wanda and Katrina and the family and your changes, did you actually let your clients know what was happening in your personal life or is that something you guys kept to yourselves?
Brian Bossany: I tried to use social media as a, as a positive platform, you know, to avoid hard things or avoid, you know, some of our clients who follow us are friends with myself. And my wife and they could pick up on it and, uh, but I didn't just share it out there publicly, you know, those that saw it. I mean, they were amazing. And uh, and then after, but I did send an email out to all my clients after she passed away that I'm going to be taking a two week break from answering emails and uh, and doing all that. And the response that we got was absolutely amazing. And like past clients would reach out just because we invested in a relationships and have gotten the notes, you know, we get to know a lot of our clients. Well, I mean it was last week we got a client, husband, wife came over to our house to watch our kids and sent my wife and I out on a date night, which we haven't had in a while.
Andrew Hellmich: Nice.
Brian Bossany: You know, like, you know, cause her mom was our main babysitter so we kinda lost that aspect of it. And they just recognize that right away and said, you can't say no to us then we're coming. Give us your [inaudible] and you know, just the thank you cards. And the notes and just kind of the love that was poured out. It was really neat through that. But we communicated when we needed to, when I knew that I was going to be stepping away for a while just to focus on the family, not, it wasn't an easy thing and it's still like, I'm kind of trembling just talking about it cause it's also...
Andrew Hellmich: Yeah, I can imagine. I can imagine.
Brian Bossany: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew Hellmich: Well, we'll move on to some happy stuff in just one second.
Brian Bossany: Great. I love it.
Andrew Hellmich: Just be careful, Brian. I think you're bumping or your microphone's bumping against your chest. Maybe if you're using like the iPhone, you've got some sort of small mic.
Brian Bossany: Sorry. I will. I'll stop moving.
Andrew Hellmich: No, you can move. Just hold the mic off your shirt or wherever it's bumping against. It's just I'm just hearing that through the headphones. Um, I was gonna ask you, did you have to miss any weddings or any shoots at this time?
Brian Bossany: No. I rescheduled meetings that I had with clients. Never missed a wedding, pushed off some engagement sessions that were happening. I put off the things that I could, weddings, I couldn't pull it off. I mean, because I've been logging the hours and time with the the family and when I could, you know, when I would go on a shoot and not knowing, you know, this if that was the last day or not, I just told them my wife to leave me in the dark until I get home. And I mean it was hard. But that's one of the beautiful things about, you know, home hospice and just kinda, you know, it's coming and kind of preparing for it. It's not something that's just kind of taken away. It comes out of nowhere. We all were preparing for it and we had, and we, it was 10 days for us when she went home where we had that all that time.
Brian Bossany: And so I just did the best I could to compartmentalize it. And you know, I had one mother of the bride who came up to me and started talking to me about it like on one of the weddings that I was... I broke down a little bit and just kinda took it, I said, I'll be back in five minutes, I'm going to go collect myself and we'll be good to go. And they, I mean it's amazing just how gracious people are and especially, you know, weddings, couples are inviting you into some of the most intimate and vulnerable moments in their lives. And it was kind of weird to be on the other side of that where they knew what was going on with me and gave me the space that I needed if I needed it. But it was also, it also felt really good to kind of get out of that space and just work and be creative and do that. Cause it's a grief, you know, this, the whole process is exhausting in and of itself too. And so there was some positives just going to work too.
Andrew Hellmich: For sure. I remember facing a similar situation, but look, mine was on a totally opposite spectrum. I shot a wedding on the day my youngest son was born and I felt like I was getting more congratulations from, from the guests than the bride and groom by the time we got to the reception. So it's a pretty amazing environment that we get to go into and to photograph into. And so yeah. So would you have been able to cope if you weren't able to shoot a wedding? Like did you have a backup plan or do you have a backup plan in case you can't make it to a wedding?
Brian Bossany: I usually don't have a backup plan and part of that is I know myself and I know kind of what I'm capable of kind of doing and processing. And part of that is what my wife, like. I just, when I, when I did leave, I just said, just, I'll check in with you. Just don't get me updates and things that, but I mean we were fortunate enough to make it through, you know, I had a Saturday, Sunday wedding and she passed away early Monday morning. And so I made it through the weddings and I also before, and I would just leave. I mean it was a gift. I mean the fact that they were so close to us and like before her, I know on Saturday when I got home I, you know, she was still with us and Sunday morning I left an hour early and just spend time, you know, with her, I went to their house and just spent time with her at her side, you know, just me for an hour before I went to my wedding.
Brian Bossany: And so I feel like, I mean we all had our opportunities to say our goodbyes and kind of go through that process. But yeah, I usually, I'm a part of a pretty big community of photographers and so if anything were ever to happen, you know, that's a common question that brides ask way. Like what happens if you get sick and you're not able to come or if something happens to you. And I always tell them, you know, I'm a part of a pretty big community of photographers. I tried to stay active within the photography community in Minneapolis and I tell them, I would just partner with you guys to find someone who would be absolutely amazing and we'd work out all the details later. I just don't want it to be, I would never leave anyone hanging. And so that usually helps kind of give people just, I mean that's the, I mean that is one of the risks of when any one, a couple hires and individual artists or you know, you just never know. And you know, I do everything I can. I always tell my wife I'm sick come Sunday or sick on Mondays if I'm shooting on Sunday, but like I spent all week just trying to stay healthy, make good choices, you know, just from my body and self care. So on Friday, Saturday and Sunday I'm healthy and then I'm good to go. And it's usually true. Adrenaline is a real thing. That does carry you a long way.
Andrew Hellmich: And I agree. Definitely.
Brian Bossany: And so does DayQuil.
Andrew Hellmich: Early on you told me that this year was 40 weddings, a 171K gross, which is amazing. Fantastic. Congratulations.
Brian Bossany: Thank you.
Andrew Hellmich: Has that been a steady growth since the last time I spoke to you?
Brian Bossany: Yeah, yeah. I can actually look at that. So last year was 151 the year before that was 162 and uh, um, I mean, yeah, it's definitely a growth from last year, but a lot of that comes just from different practices that we started implementing in our business too. And we just started doing a lot more pre album sales this past year. And I know, I think when we talked three years ago, I started talking about and I'm like, I have these ideas of what I wanted to do for album sales and I just had no idea how to approach it because the idea of doing in person sales, I just don't have the time with having such a young family. And it's like I know I'm a good salesman. I love connecting with people face to face. Yeah. I just, I don't have the time to do the in person and sales.
Brian Bossany: And so we've created, you know, what I've been doing is doing FaceTimes sales and where I'm, what I'm doing the final kind of rendezvous meeting before the wedding, I always ask, Hey, we have an album sale going on right now and we call our albums and legacy albums and I just sell it in a way that, and our goal is to get it in their hands by their one year anniversary. And yeah, I just kind of present the idea and then we do a FaceTime or a Skype or a meeting where I can actually see them face to face and I have it [inaudible]. It's really scripted, but it feels authentic to the client where, you know, I'm just catching up with them and just hearing about it. And then I just kind of present the idea to them about what the album with the legacy album is and just sell the idea that, you know, by their one year anniversary is the kind of the goal to get it. But the ultimate goal is 20 years from now or more, more when the em, that even grandchildren, I want their grandchildren to see how grandma and grandpa looked at each other and kind of get crossed out,
Brian Bossany: And tell that love story. So like, you know, add a little bit of humor into the sale of it. But it is, that's really what it is. I mean cause I have access to and I just tell them that it's a really, it's a custom designed album that we make and we use Kiss albums with all our albums that we create and we're just simply really happy with their quality and product.
Andrew Hellmich: So just tell me, when do you introduce it? Did you say the night or the day before the wedding?
Brian Bossany: So no. So the way I have are I set up our rendezvous meetings a month before their wedding and so a month before we'll run through the final timeline and just kind of answer any questions that they have as the wedding's approaching. And then also use that as a time to, cause I tried selling albums after the wedding, but it just seems like pocket books close up as soon as the wedding day is done and people get really excited about, you know, pocketbooks are open on wedding days. And I think I had a big epiphany a couple of years ago when I was at the wedding and you know, I made everything that I could offer this couple. And I was sitting with the couple and then I think it was the wedding planner came up to him and said, Hey, what you guys have paid for for the open bar is running out and we're going to switch over to cash bar. And the dad overheard that and he came over right a five and wrote a $7,000 check to the planner and said, give it to them, keep the bar going. And I was like, huh, like that's alcohol. That's something that is, no one is going to remember that. Well they might the next day but, I dunno. And it just kind of gave me the... I wanted to offer something that had value and I just tried to present it and sell it you know in that way.
Andrew Hellmich: So at that FaceTime meeting is a month out from the wedding and you introduced the idea of this legacy album, did you actually grab one from the coffee table and actually show them?
Brian Bossany: Exactly. That's exactly, yeah. I have a few studio albums, but I get to show it, you know, through the beauty of technology and I can kind of control the environment because it's FaceTime and I can, you know, thumb through it and show them just how beautiful they are and just really talking up and I just really leave it up to them. I don't push it, but I just offer it and I just noticed from offering albums to after the wedding, it's dramatically different. I got more No's to albums after the wedding then. I mean, I mean before, it's just amazing. It's amazing how many people are like, yes, we want that.
Andrew Hellmich: Right. So when you're going through that, Brian, so you're showing them the legacy album, I guess you're judging or making it an assessment from their expressions and what they're saying. Is there a pitch at all or are you asking for the sale or you asking for their credit card?
Brian Bossany: Kind of. So what I do is the pitches, like I had the, for the album, the way I break it up is there's a $300 downpayment to lock in the sale price of the album and then the remaining amount is due before they purchase it. And so it kind of gets their foot in the door, kind of gives them some skin in the game. And then the Al, just because I don't know what the exact cost of the album is cause I just the way I do the album sale, and I can share the sheet with you guys too. The way I do it is it's based on image counts. And so the sale price is 40 to 50 images in a 10 by 10 leather-bound album. And that's the price. And if they add more images, it will add, you know, it's broken up into just different categories. Like you know, 50 to 70 images is another 150 or you know, you know, 70 to a hundred images is, I don't, I don't have it memorized, but it just, it goes up in brackets like that. And then you know, and then there's additional add ons, you know, adding text or you know, or a different type of leather kind of bound album and things like that. Just there's different add ons, you know, creating a bigger size album and you know,
Andrew Hellmich: So are you going through all this on that FaceTime call or are you just trying to get their foot in the door?
Brian Bossany: Just trying to get their foot in the door. I'll talk about various different sizes, but I don't go into the costs of all the different, I'll show them when I send them the price sheet and they can visualize it, but it changes things. Once they get their images and they're selecting their images, they have a hard time keeping into that 40 to 50 range. Like people are like, I love this one. I love this one. I want them all.
Brian Bossany: So yeah, it's fun. It's a fun process because it also continues that relationship with your client through the year. Because you know, the album design tool that I use, I use Smart Albums and it's just really great because it just sends them a website of what their album design is and they can leave feedback on each spread and you know, and then you can kind of partner with them in that process.
Andrew Hellmich: Right. Let me just get you to step through this. So this will interest and listen to for sure is cause album sounds always, I mean there's such a great add on if you can get your clients to take one. And a lot of photographers struggle to get an album into their client's hands these days. So you show them the album on this FaceTime chat, you sell them on the idea, they like the idea, then you're asking for a $300 down payment. Is that what I heard?
Brian Bossany: Yup. That's what I do.
Andrew Hellmich: Alright. And then what percentage of the total album or the basic album is that?
Brian Bossany: Uh, so the basic album is 950.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay. So they're basically putting down a third.
Brian Bossany: That's putting out a third of the basic album. And on average most of those albums will, the final cost to the client will be around 1600 to 1700 on average. Sometimes more sometimes...
Andrew Hellmich: Because they've added on. Right?
Brian Bossany: Yeah, I mean because then on top of that, one of the things we'll do is we'll offer 50% off, you know, parent albums if it's a duplicate album of that as well. And so, you know, I had one client, they maxed out everything and you have a client that I had last year that came in the door at 3,200 and because I implemented some of these sales things to it, that client became over a $10,000 client coming in the door at 32 just because I just offered and said, here's some options and then we add to it. So some of that was album, some of that was add on to hours of the wedding day and different things like that. But all this stuff that you can do before the wedding can make a huge difference.
Andrew Hellmich: Absolutely. So what's the incentive for the couple, if any, for them to put the downpayment on the legacy album before the wedding as opposed to waiting till after?
Brian Bossany: So what I tell them is the sale, usually, the sale ends, um, the wedding date.
Andrew Hellmich: And what is the sale? Is it a percentage off?
Brian Bossany: It's a percentage off, yeah, of the original price. And so it's usually about 3, $400 off or lower. So they can see kind of what the album usually costs versus what the sale cost is. And then, yeah.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay. So they're saving 30 to 40% by locking in the album beforehand. And so you take the $300 down payment and then all the other conversation that happens around the album and the design and the upgrades, that all happens after the wedding once I get back from the honeymoon.
Brian Bossany: Yup. Once we start the initial album design, then that conversation starts and we don't know. And every time I do a draft of kind of re-editing, I'll let them know we're at this, we're at image count here. This is where the image count is and this is what draft we're on. And it's really, and I just put it in the hands of the client. I mean, it's going to be there, it's their album, it's their legacy and the story that they're going to be sharing. And I want it to be what they want. And then some clients will, once we designed the album, we'll ask him, can we break this up into payments and we'll do anything just to get it in their hands to make it work.
Andrew Hellmich: So what happens after the wedding, Brian, let's say you've got a legacy album client and they've chosen the base package to start with. Do you just send them then, you know, an album with 200 or 300 photos?
Brian Bossany: Yeah, well the base package, I call it the artist, it's the artist collection. So that as an artist all design the initial album and...
Andrew Hellmich: Nice idea. I like that.
Brian Bossany: Based on the images that I feel like tell their story the most and then I'll submit that. And most of the time that's over that 40 to 50 image count and just depends on the length of the wedding and just kind of how the story lays out. Cause I don't want their album pages to be cluttered and filled with too many images. I want each page to have a certain feel and a certain look. So it's kind of here's the initial design, do you love it? And then it's on them. If they want to take things out, they can take things out and if they want to add in they can add in. And so we kind of go back and forth within that.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay. So when you send that initial design, let's say it's double what they paid for or what they're expecting, is there price breakdown? I know you said there's a number of images. So in this album design, do you love it? And there's 200 photos, this is going to be a two and a half thousand dollars as it is.
Brian Bossany: Yeah, I don't get into, I mean they know they've seen the price point on the front end of if they add additional images or you know, kind of what each bracket entails and so it doesn't surprise them. When I send the initial design, I don't go into, this is how much it costs. I just let them know this is our image count and here's where we're at. And because I don't want to stick, I don't want to sticker shock them, but I'm just, we're just trying to design that album that they want. And then once we finalize it and once they see it, I'll send the final invoice with all the details, with all the breakdown of everything that's happening. So they completely understand it. And I had one couple, they were in that price point of the price bracket where it jumped up a little bit because their image count was, you know, the cutoff was at 69 and they're at 74 and they're like, Oh, we're already at that price point. Can we add another 30 more images?
Andrew Hellmich: I thought you are going to say the opposite.
Brian Bossany: And it's going to be the same price. Then I'm like, absolutely. And so it's just going to cost a little bit for me to kinda, I have to redesign a little bit of it, but you know, they were so excited that they are like, Yes! we can maximize.
Andrew Hellmich: I thought for sure. And I'm guessing the listener would have as well is thinking, are they going to say, can we take four or five photos out to come back underneath?
Brian Bossany: It's rare. In my experience, it's been hard for clients when they've asked for a certain images to be in there. It's hard for them to take them out because they're just attached to it, you know? And that's one of the advantages I think of when you design the album kinda of everything throughout their whole wedding day, like from your perspective and you're telling the story that it just, they just get emotionally hooked because this is their wedding day. It's hard to take an image out, it's hard to take out that, you know, that's just from my experience and what I've noticed from when we've been doing this.
Andrew Hellmich: For sure. I want to talk about conversions with you in just a second, but you said something earlier that caught my attention. You said that when you're going through all those things with Wanda and the family, you tried to reexamine the whole business and there were a whole lot of things that you thought were valuable that they weren't. Can you give me an example of one or two of those things?
Brian Bossany: Yeah, and so one of the things that I was doing is I was creating individual videos for all my clients, like when they would book for example, and you know, Hey John and Jill, thank you so much for booking me. I'm so excited to shoot your wedding. What I do now instead is I just created a very generic video that I send to all my clients where it's just me and then introducing my wife and it's very similar to what we did, but it's just one general video and so I just can reuse that over and over and over and not spend more time creating pers. Like, I just, what I saw is I didn't see a difference in how that played out. Clients were like, Oh, that's cute, that's nice. But it didn't really make an impact. And when I stopped doing it, I saw no change.
Brian Bossany: And so that was just one aspect of one of the things that I stopped doing. The other one was stressing out over Instagram and Facebook and kind of getting all of them, making sure I'm on there all the time doing that. It's, there's so many different ways to market yourself and there's so many different ways to find clients and at the end of the day you have to go, what am I good at? What's working for us? And focus on that. And I was really inspired the other day. I listened to a Devin Robinson and I got to meet him up two years ago at a marriage retreat him and I that my wife and I went to and solid dude and like, but I was blown away by this podcast and all the things that they're doing, you know, how he utilizes Instagram and all that stuff. And it inspired me and it's causing me to go, I have no idea what I'm doing on Instagram.
Brian Bossany: I'm just going to stop and reevaluate. But on the flip side, we also advertise with The Knot and I know that a lot of people have mixed feelings on advertising, you know, with The Knot or Wedding Wire or another platform. But it's been something that I've been doing for six, seven years now. And this past March, we've been on the waitlist for five years for one of the top spots, advertising in The Knot in the Minneapolis area and a spot just opened up for us. And so we're in the top six. Every time someone opens up The Knot's wedding page where they show the photographers. And so we're being seen, our exposure has gone up a lot, which has created a lot more inquiries coming in as well.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay, so that's working well for you. That's why you invested the money there because you knew that it was already generating bookings.
Brian Bossany: It's generated. Uh, you know, when I did the math a few months ago, out of the last 120 weddings, 60% came from The Knot.
Andrew Hellmich: Wow. Okay. So it made sense to reinvest there.
Brian Bossany: It just made sense when we did that to to yeah, to just put more of our chips in there. And uh, and then it's also, you know, I loved what Devin, Devin said this too in his podcast a lot it cause he's like a year ahead of what, where we are and kind of what we're doing is we're creating a, an associate brand off our brands because we say no to a lot of clients. Every year we say no because we're booked our calendar spill or we hit our quota for the month. And so this past year I started a another business in a sense to help turn where I'm hiring photographers and kind of managing all the client care within that cause we have some good systems in place and hiring photographers to do the work. And you know, and this has been a struggle and I'm learning, I'm, I'm failing every week when I'm meeting with, it's hard booking other people, you know, like someone else's work versus mine.
Brian Bossany: But I'm just failing forward and trying to figure it out. But I'm excited because this is one of the things that I'm leaning into right now is how to turn my No's into opportunities because you never know. You just, you know, one of my favorite quotes of all time and it, I think it comes from Bear Grylls, you know, the guy from Man vs Wild. He says "Risk nothing, gain nothing". And like I just, I'm starting to think, you know, I'm 40 or I'm not 40 yet. In a few years I'll be 40 and 10 years, I'll be, you know, 47 and 48 and I can't be shooting 40 weddings a year. But I can manage, I can teach, I love the industry. I love what I get to do. And it's like I know so many photographers who are doing it but aren't growing their business.
Brian Bossany: And if I can help them in a way grow their business to you like, Oh man, I get so excited about helping other people and the staff that I brought in this year, it was such a blessing for them to be able to pay them a decent wage and to go shoot the wedding and be creative and then I handle everything else on the back end and just, I dunno, I feel like there's something there. I'm still trying to figure all of the ins and outs of what that's gonna look like. And when I listen to Devin's podcast the other day, I was like, he's doing it. Oh my gosh.
Andrew Hellmich: So if the listener is lost at all. I interviewed Devin recently and you can find his podcast in the archives for sure. But that's so cool to hear that.
Brian Bossany: Oh it's so good. Yeah.
Andrew Hellmich: You said something interesting there Brian, cause I know that there was a post again a little while ago from Barry Forshaw in our group about his, I won't say he's hatred, he's a, he has this lack of desire to utilize Facebook and Instagram where he finds that his strengths are elsewhere. Have you noticed a downturn in bookings or inquiries or business because you've stopped focusing on Instagram and Facebook?
Brian Bossany: I haven't noticed a downturn right now. What I was talking about earlier where I'm asking why Facebook and Instagram, I'm currently in that process of, and it sounds like very similar to where he may be, where I don't know how valuable it is to me yet. And I don't know if I'm utilizing it to the best way. And so I'm just kind of doing a bare minimum and just making sure we have some sort of presence known and you know on Instagram and Facebook, but I'm not 100% sure how I want to utilize it yet. I mean I'm, I just, I don't want to waste my time doing things that like, I don't want to post images to try to impress other photographers if I'm going to post things. I want to attract potential clients. And so, cause I, cause I, I dunno, I feel like sometimes we can get caught in that trap where we can try to build ourselves up, you know, build our ego up or build whatever. I just felt like a lot of my engagement was other photographers and not new clients. And I'm like, golly, this isn't, I'm not making money off this. So if I'm going to do this, I want to make money off of it. And so I'm currently, I'm, I'm, I just don't 100% know what I'm going to be doing and how I'm going to be utilizing it in the near future. But I think it's okay. I think it's okay to give yourself permission to go 'Why?'
Andrew Hellmich: Absolutely.
Brian Bossany: I think what we do, like everything that we should in our business that we do, we should have an intention behind it. If we don't have an intention behind it of why we're doing it, we should stop doing it and we shouldn't just be doing things because we feel like it's the right thing. No, there should be a reason for it and you should be able to answer what that reason is.
Andrew Hellmich: Yeah, I agree with that 100% I really do and I think that, you know what you said as well about trying to appeal to other photographers without Instagram feeds or our Facebook posts. I mean it's so easy to fall into that trap and you're second guessing the post that you're putting up there and wondering what other photographers will think, which is just crazy. That's ridiculous.
Brian Bossany: I mean, I would get giddy when a certain photographer would like my image I'd go [screams] kinda fan girl a little bit, but that doesn't put food on my table. It doesn't like why am I doing? It's just taking my time. Then if I'm doing it for the wrong reasons. I think Instagram is a great tool, if you use it well. And so I think there's so much quality education out there right now in the photography industry that, you know, if we as photographers are struggling and knowing what to do with it, let's dive in and learn how to utilize it. You know, that's kind of that business aspect. You know and I don't enjoy going on Facebook. When I'm in the office, I do a lot of, I schedule my posts and things like that so I don't have to do it in real time. And so I push things out a little bit. So schedule a week out or a couple of weeks out of posts that are going to be showing up. But sometimes work is work. It's not always a joy, like not every part of my job, I'm like, Yay! I'm doing it with a smile. Sometimes it's like 'Arrrghh'.
Brian Bossany: Uh, you know, but at least I get to go to the office in sweat pants you know or no pants. I don't know, depending on the day. So there's always something to smile about. But like not everything is a joy to, to work through. And sometimes we just have to put our head down, plow through it. And again, cause you know, I use this analogy a lot, it's, but it's like you have a compass. Where's your bearing set? Like sometimes it's okay to pause everything and I've been in this season where I've paused everything and just use that compass to set a new bearing and a new course and going, how do I want this to look and moving forward. And it's okay to do that. It's not bad, broken or wrong to say timeout for a season or slow down for a little bit just to reassess to make sure you're going in the right direction or you're climbing the right ladder. Cause the worst thing you could possibly do is spend your whole career, your whole, all your time climbing a ladder. Then when you get to the top you realize you're on the wrong building. Like you don't want to do that. And so I always just, I walk, I always, I would tell him like, it's okay, reevaluate. That's good. That's a good thing. That's a good place to be. And then that can re-energize you too as well.
Andrew Hellmich: Yeah, I mean, well you mentioned, you know your figures, which are fantastic. Is that how you measure your success?
Brian Bossany: My wife is my barometer of success.
Andrew Hellmich: That's nice. That's nice. You know you just want to have every female listener with that comment.
Brian Bossany: I mean I've always defined success as a, it's, I think it's standing on the mountain of on my failures and like, I mean we fail through this, but I'm going to fail forward. And I don't define, I define my sexes, success, not my sex. Oh my gosh. I define success. I mean just that. And then I also compare it, hold it up to am I getting quality time with my kids? Am I getting quality time with my wife? I want to have a good work life balance and rhythm. I mean, cause my Le, I think I said this in our, in the first podcast, but I feel like the number one job I have in my life is to be an amazing husband and an amazing father and everything else comes second to that. And so I try to prioritize everything and I want my business to serve me and not me serve my business.
Andrew Hellmich: Yeah, for sure. Well now I'm actually looking at photos on your Instagram feed of your family. You've got a beautiful family, and I'm looking at your photos of your kids. I'm thinking, wow, my kids were, you know, that age 10, 12, 13 years ago and it goes so damn fast. So yeah Mate, just do what you're doing. You know, be that father, that husband and enjoy every single minute and have your business serve you as much as you serve it.
Brian Bossany: I mean, I had a moment yesterday where I was in a really good rhythm in the office. You know, a lot of what we do as creatives, you know, when we get into that rhythm, we could just keep going and going and going. And it's hard to stop. And I looked at the time and my daughter, who's four, she's in dance class right now and I haven't been to her class in weeks. I went to her first one and I looked at the time like, I'm done. I'm going to go, I don't have any meetings scheduled today and I have some deadlines but I can push things off a few hours. And I just went upstairs. I told my wife, 'Hey honey, I'm coming with, I want to see her dance.' And it was the smile on her face like that to me. I knew like I've made it successful right there and like just because of prioritizing the things that need to be in check and cause you know, if I feel like if I make my business all about me and all about, you know, just trying to grow it and bigger, I will fail in the long run and I don't want to fail.
Brian Bossany: I want my kids to know me and I want to know my kids and my wife and all of that. And that's kind of a thing. That's my why. You know, if you've ever heard that term, what's your why and why you're doing it? Like my family and my wife there, there are huge reasons behind everything.
Andrew Hellmich: Sure. Mate, let's talk about conversions. Cause I know that the last time we talked you were utilizing video and I felt like you were in a more than a step ahead of so many other photographers. I mean you were, you know either you're dancing on screen, you got your wife in there yeah there's music blaring. I mean it was all personality. It looked like a lot of work. You said that it wasn't, are you still doing the same thing and he's still having the same success with your conversions?
Brian Bossany: I've changed a little bit of how I utilize video. I don't do the, the dancing for every new inquiry that comes in anymore cause that was a lot of work and I just, I'm a terrible dancer and it was just hard to,
Andrew Hellmich: Mate, it was great. It was great.
Brian Bossany: Well I mean and what I've done now is on my splash page when I, cause I don't send a PDF. When they inquire, I send them to a website. I use Showit, which is an amazing web tool. I create a hidden site that has my pricing on it. But I again created a video that's on my website, you know, talking, I use the loom for this where I'm talking, I'm greeting the client saying hi to him, letting them meet, get to know me a little bit more so they can actually hear my voice. But then talking through the whole price page and answering the common questions that a lot of couples have. You know, do you have a second photographer? Do you do this? What happens if you get sick? You know, and just answering all those questions. And so they get a good feel for who I am and then answering a lot of the questions that they didn't even know they had. And so they can scroll through the price page and they're kind of getting a narration from me. What's on this page. So that's been helpful for us. It's selling what we do.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay, so just to be clear on this, so you send them a link to a hidden page on your short website. And on that hidden page is the price list. And on the price list page is a video of you taking them through the same price lists and answering questions about the same price list.
Brian Bossany: Yeah. Basically. It's a webpage, I mean you scroll through it, it's the first thing that pops up is kind of the welcome page and then the video and they could click on the video or scroll past it to get to all the information from engagement session, the sample timelines. And so there's a lot of value on the page as well that they can take from. And then, yeah, but that video, they can scroll, they can hit play and kind of scroll through everything and, and go, Oh, Oh, that's what that is. Oh I like that. Okay. Yeah. Great. And then when we connect and then it just makes our meetings that much more efficient. I don't have to waste time answering questions because if they say they want to meet and they select one of the time slots that I give them, I'm pretty sure it's going to be good because they've gotten everything they need already. And so it's more of just kind of touching base and saying hi and like I had a, I had a client today, I walk them through that whole process and they asked to grab coffee and I had my morning open today and I grabbed coffee with them and they're excited to book.
Andrew Hellmich: Unreal. Let me take you back through some of the things you've just gone over. So first of all, the URL for that hidden price page, are you happy to share that with PhotobizX members?
Brian Bossany: Yeah. I can put that together.
Andrew Hellmich: Is that okay?
Brian Bossany: Yeah, I'll send that over to you in, look, I don't even know what the URL is.
Andrew Hellmich: You know what? Let's put it in the show notes and I can share that with members.
Brian Bossany: Let's put it in the show notes.
Andrew Hellmich: Perfect.
Brian Bossany: Everyone kind of checked that out and see what we do.
Andrew Hellmich: Awesome. Okay. Because I think that'd be really, it would make everything clear. Let me take it back a step further. So are most of your inquiries, let's say they're coming via The Knot or however. Is it coming via email first? Is that your initial inquiry in most cases?
Brian Bossany: Yeah. Most are filling out the contact form on our website.
Andrew Hellmich: Right. Okay. So they fill out the contact form. Do many people opt in to your opt in option on your homepage?
Brian Bossany: I haven't, that hasn't done a whole lot for me. That's one of the things I'm experimenting with and just kind of again asking why. I've had a few utilize that, but it hasn't translated into quality leads from my experience and which I was kind of shocked on. And I might, I don't know if I'm just utilizing it wrong and I don't know. So that's one of the things I was a sticky, uh, that that whole company. So, and it's a great company. I just, I don't know if I'm utilizing it right. So vulnerable and honest.
Andrew Hellmich: Sure. Okay. Awesome. So for the listener, again, this is on Brian's homepage. It's a, you can opt in for, and it says here 'Want to learn the seven secrets that will take the stress out of your wedding day.' So yeah, I mean I would have expected that would have converted and just the above that is your contact form. So it's like on a single page site. So most people are filling out their contact form. Do you get that into your inbox? What happens next?
Brian Bossany: Yeah, and so what I do is I send them my inquiry email and I'd be happy to share just kind of what I send to my clients as well.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay. So this isn't automated? This isn't automated, this part?
Brian Bossany: So it's automated to the point where I have to autom... Well I have a template that I just, I modify some of the things so you know in the contact form I'm learning about where their venue is and and things like that. And then I can just make personal comments based on that and I just try to make it, is that, I mean it's a template but it sounds personal as well. And then, and then I just send that out and then there's a link in that as well that we'll send them to that hidden page.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay. So right up front, I mean you're pretty open then that. So you send this nice email, it feels personal to the clients or the couple and then you send them directly to your pricing page with that video.
Brian Bossany: Correct?
Andrew Hellmich: Right. Okay. And I know that on your homepage that you know, there's video of you there. We can also see you in action. I mean we're getting to see plenty of Brian Bossany even before we get to the contact page, aren't we on your site?
Brian Bossany: Yup. And that's the goal. I mean that's part of my brand. I want them to, I mean I'm a high energy person that smiles a lot and I want them to see that and know that. And I've had couples this when I met with them, they just, they've booked me just on the video. Like they're like, I loved how you smile. I love how you interact with, with that. And I could just see myself working really well with you based on what I saw. And I mean, it just showed the power of having a, a quality promotional video. And I know and I'm really excited because we filmed a new, our video is about five six years old and uh, that's currently still on our website. It's still working, but we just filmed the new video this past year and it's, I haven't seen it yet so I'm still, I'm waiting to get it back from my videographer. I'm really, I'm really jazzed and excited to see it, but it doesn't have to be, I know so many people get caught up on how to do that or it's just kind of weird being filmed on camera and kind of the way we did it to kind of create the feel of multiple shoots in a wedding day.
Brian Bossany: Like I just, I invited past clients that I had really good connections with out for a 30 minute shoot. I got them, you know, some wine as a gift, as a thank you gift and just did a 20 minute 30 minutes shoot. And I scheduled, you know, a five o'clock shoot, five thirty and six o'clock and so we just go bang, bang, bang. And then I'm hiring a videographer for an hour and a half to come out. And so it was a good use of time. And you know, we do a little Q&A on the front end of it and then they just film me working with my clients.
Andrew Hellmich: Are they in their wedding attire again?
Brian Bossany: Yeah. So I invite some of them to do that and they did and it's awesome. So I'm really excited about, that's what we did up for our first video and that's what we did for our other ones. We just kept it simple and didn't overthink it.
Andrew Hellmich: What about hair and makeup, Brian?
Brian Bossany: I invite them if they want to do hair and makeup and they can, I don't require it. I just said just come. It's either, it's going to be like an engagement session and then I'll give them a bottle of wine. And then they're also getting just additional images that they can add to their, their story too. So some couples, it's like an engagement session and then they got to use it for a Christmas card this year and another couple they had their wedding day got rained out on. And so they got nice images of her and her wedding dress on the shoot and things like that because they didn't have that on their day. And so it was kind of a cool, and then it's just a great way to reconnect with couples again too.
Andrew Hellmich: Absolutely. With the video that plays right at the top of your home page, there's no sound with that. Was that a conscious decision or is that something you're tested or you just thought, no, that one's sound.
Brian Bossany: Yeah, and that was exactly it. I didn't want sound because I know a lot of people are scoping things out at work and I didn't want to get someone in trouble and I want, if they're going to have sound, I know that always bothers me when I go to a website and all of a sudden bam, I'm hit with something and it's like, Oh crap. Like I got a mute it. I just wanted to, cause we have our full length video, but then they control that. They hit play to that. And so there was some intention behind that. So.
Andrew Hellmich: And so that full length video. That's the one you're talking about. Is that the 1 minute 17 one hosted on Vimeo, right?
Brian Bossany: Yup, correct.
New Speaker: Okay. So let me again just totally understand this process because I mean it sounds like you're not using any video any more with that initial inquiry. So you get the contact form, you send them an email. Is there a video embedded or is there a loom video that accompanies that email?
Brian Bossany: Not in the email. It's just a, it's a prerecorded video that I made that, I mean it's essentially scripted that welcomes them and then also talks them through the price page too, so, yup.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay. So you've really streamlined that. The video approach.
Brian Bossany: Yeah, and then something that I was working on today, but I just, I couldn't get my script down. Well is The Knot just started allowing you to choose your front image when they click on your storefront. And so what I'm doing is I'm creating a welcome video I mean but I was working out right before our call today and I just couldn't get it. I didn't know what I wanted to say, but I'm just creating a short video. That's so when they, on my storefronts on The Knot, it's the same thing. It's going to be me saying, Hey, so glad you're here. You know? And then my goal is essentially to get them off The Knot's platform to come to my website because my website does a lot better job selling that, selling who I am versus The Knot storefront. And so like I would suggest anyone who's utilizing The Knot as a as per advertisement, create a video, a welcome video for your Knot page and have it be the first thing that pops up when a client clicks on your storefront and then use that video to guide them to your website because that's where your brand is. So that's one of the ways I'm going to utilize The Knot for 2020.
Andrew Hellmich: Nice, good advice. Thank you for that. One of the things I hear from listeners, other photographers is that they get an inquiry. They do what you do or similar to, you know, they send a reply email and then they hear nothing. Do you tend to find that too?
Brian Bossany: Oh yeah. Man, that could be, that can be the most discouraging thing. Like it's heartbreaking. I went through, it was like a six weeks in a row where I had all these inquiries come in, I'd respond and the replies that I would get back if they replied where I just found out my mom's best friend and does photography and it's like, Ughhh, No! And so you know, the, you know, but I think sometimes you just got to put your head down, plow through it and just know like sometimes there's this seasons like that or things, you know, there's trends in the industry that like in the Minneapolis market, it just seems like majority of the millennial brides are booking everything from eight months out from their wedding and uh, where it used to be 14 months out. And so it's just sometimes the trends change in your industry. So just kinda paying attention to what's happening with other photographers and other vendors too.
Brian Bossany: And cause that could give you a little peace of mind as well, because last year he doesn't always speak for what the current year is going to be. And so it's just being mindful. And if you're doing the right and just, and then also just being vulnerable to ask like, am I doing anything wrong? Make sure you like check your website. I had a friend who's like, I'm not getting any inquiries. I go to his website, his contact didn't work. I was like...
Andrew Hellmich: Oh geesh. Wow.
Brian Bossany: There you go. And so sometimes it's just easy solutions, but we really need to be tending to the staples of our business that just make sure they're working. Like right now, my studio management software that I've been using, I've been using Shoot Flow for the past few years and it's been working for us, but for some reason it's been sending all my emails to junk man.
Brian Bossany: Oh, I don't know why. I don't know what happened in there and I'm working with the developers right now to try to solve the issue, so it's creating a little bit more work for me and I'm evaluating is this the best software for me right now? It's been working for the last few years, but maybe it's time, maybe. Am I outgrowing it? Is it different? Am I, should I start exploring other things? It's an okay question to ask and I'm just kinda reevaluating my systems cause I want to make sure everything I'm doing is operating at a high level, a consistent high level. And cause I don't know if like when I went through that at that moment where I was replying to clients, maybe my emails were just going to their junk mail. If that's the case, that's not good. And so again, so what I've been doing now, and that was kind of in the, it was weird because then shortly after that like, you know, that's when Wanda passed away and then all of a sudden all these bookings came in and it was like what is going on? There's no rhyme or reason for what was going on. It's just that's, that's how it happened. So
Andrew Hellmich: Yeah. Yeah. So just one more thing about these emails. Let's say you send out an email reply. If someone's filled out the contact form and you don't hear back, do you follow up? Do you chase them back up? Do you look for a reason why you haven't heard back?
Brian Bossany: I always do a 40 up, 48 hour followup.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay. Via email again?
Brian Bossany: By email. I usually, if the inquiry comes in during the day when I'm in the office, I'll text them and call them and leave them a message. And then I'll also send an email and if I hear nothing, I'll send a follow up. And then if I don't hear anything after that follow up, I just delete. Or sometimes I'll delete it. But also send a, I'm closing your inquiry email.
Andrew Hellmich: Okay. All right.
Brian Bossany: And so, and sometimes that is actually generated leads where it's like, Oh my gosh, we've been so busy. I'm so sorry we didn't get back to you. We'd love to meet. And uh, I'll just say, Hey, I know your time is valuable and I don't want to be a, I do not want to be a pest for you. And so, uh, if you guys have moved on to, you know, moved in a different direction for your photography needs, uh, just let me know. If I don't hear from you, I'll just close your inquiry and I just wish you the best. Happy wedding planning.
Andrew Hellmich: Nice. Simple.
Brian Bossany: So, something like that where it's not mean, but it's one last followup.
Andrew Hellmich: Yeah, I like it. I've heard similar advice. I can't remember where I heard it was, it might've been from an internet marketer about email marketing saying something to the same effect. You know, this is the last time I'm going to be contacting you. So yeah, wishing you all the best and then that's often when they hear back. Well hang on, hang on. I've been busy. It's the same thing. You have one of the fields in your contact form, the phone number. Is that a required field? And if it's not, does everyone use it?
Brian Bossany: Uh, I don't know if it's required field. Most people fill it out.
Andrew Hellmich: Oh cool. Okay. So you do have a phone number so you can send an SMS if you want to.
Brian Bossany: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew Hellmich: Very cool. Cool. Maybe if we jump back and do this again in three years time, where would you like to see the business? Where are you heading with the business?
Brian Bossany: Oh my gosh, that's, we're heading to big places. Andrew, I just want to continue serving well and uh, I'm excited to see our other business grow well.
Andrew Hellmich: Does it have a different name?
Brian Bossany: It does, yeah. It's Wild Trail Studio is the name and we're actually going to be launching our new website with that, uh, December 1st. And so the few weddings that I've booked off of that and uh, and it's all been, I can't believe I'm shocked that they booked cause I don't have a website. But I have an amazing photographer that's partnered with me and I have a staff of three lead photographers for 2020. And so we're gonna get that thing rolling very soon. And so I'm pretty excited about that.
Andrew Hellmich: Oh, well. So it really is growing into something big. Why did you decide to have a whole new web presence? You know, new brand, everything. Why not just something like a Brian Bossany photographers?
Brian Bossany: I wanted to separate myself from the brand a little bit. I wanted something new. I feel like that's a fun challenge too. And you know, and I don't know, maybe down the road I can sell it too, I mean it is a possibility if it grows or it could be, I don't know. I just like the idea that it's not dependent upon me. Like I can step back, I can shoot within that business, but I can hire other people in more. And it's more about the community of photographers and the family that we're bringing in to create the art around it. And so it's a little more turnkey in that sense where there's just some, there's going to be some good good things within that. So I just wanted to kinda, I dunno. I dunno. Cause again, 10 years from now, like I can't be shooting the same volume that I'm doing.
Brian Bossany: And so I can see an ending point with Brian Bossany photography. But this I could see going for a long time just because it has a simple, it's more of a studio name versus associated with just me. And so I can start to, you know, it's kinda my 10 year plan is what I've been saying is to grow this in the next 10 years. Slowly. And cause like I said, I've been failing a lot within this but, but I'm also small, but keeping that small intentionally so I can learn the ins and outs of how to grow another studio.
Andrew Hellmich: I love it. My, it's um, well that's it. Let's talk again and we'll follow along. I'd love to hear how it all goes and how it plays out.
Brian Bossany: Oh man. I'm jazzed and a little excited and, and so scared. Oh my gosh, I'm so scared. It's frightening. Like having your name tied to something and having someone else shoot it. It's frightening. And, but it's also a very freeing and it's like, it's exciting to invite other people to do what they do and it's not you and you have to be okay with that and what they're doing even it may be different, but I know. So it's been great to have some conversations with, you know, some of my photographers, you know, and encourage them and help them grow in their craft and just kind of share some of the knowledge that I've learned through the past few years. And, but it's also inspiring to see how they see things cause it's different than me. And so yeah, I'm just trying to turn my, like I said, I mean I think last year we said no to about 200 and some clients, potential leads and I'm just trying to turn some of those No's into opportunity.
Andrew Hellmich: Absolutely.
Brian Bossany: And I'm not going to have every lead filter into our new business because I have built amazing relationships with other photographers in this area too. And it's like I'm always just giving choices to the potential client. Hey, we're open, here's a studio that I manage, check it out. If it seems like a good fit for you, check out this photographer and that's open on your date and check out this photographer. Because at the end of the day, I want them to be excited about who they're working with.
Andrew Hellmich: Yes. And you know what, I'm really, I am really interested to hear what you find because when we grow our business and we started taking on a associate shooters, I found that the referrals from other local photographers dried up pretty quickly because I wasn't referring, you know, weddings back to them because I was shooting as many as I could get cause I had associates. So those relationships felt like they, I wouldn't say broke down but it was a different kind of relationship. I was sort of out of the loop with the local guys because I was out of the referral network.
Brian Bossany: Yeah. And I don't want to do that and I don't know if it will happen just because that's just some of the nature of the business. I don't know. I'm trying to navigate those waters.
Andrew Hellmich: It'll be interesting. It'll be good.
Brian Bossany: I don't know what that looks like and cause I have some pretty amazing photographers but I'm also, I have to think too, there's kind of a selfish thought that I have to have where I'm like, I'm trying to think long term of where I want to be within my family life and my business as well too. So I'm, I'm laying it all out and just being okay with that tension a little bit. Now I have my child banging on the door, you probably hear it.
Andrew Hellmich: Yeah. So let them in if you like. We'll wrap it up when they get in.
Brian Bossany: Oh that's my little daughter Gretta. She's uh, in her frozen dress cause she's really excited for the...
Andrew Hellmich: Is she the four year old?
Brian Bossany: She's the four year old. Yeah.
Andrew Hellmich: The dancer.
Brian Bossany: Yeah, she's the dancer.
Andrew Hellmich: Fantastic. Well look, I am Brian. I'm wrapped that you were able to come back and share everything you did. It's always a pleasure talking to you. I love that you contribute inside the group when you're there and I can picture your smiling face while we're talking the whole time. I can't wait to follow along with Wild Trail Studio. And also with you and your business and see where life and business takes you, Mate. Again, thanks so much for coming on and sharing everything you have.
Brian Bossany: I appreciate it. Thank you for inviting me. Well it's an honor, like, honestly, thank you.