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This business coaching session explains why focusing on the core tasks of your business is vital to success.

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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Notable Quotable: "Don't worry about the phone ringing, make phones ring."
  • Lesson Nugget: You can self-promote your business by connecting with the people in your community and participating in local events.
  • Lesson Nugget: If it makes sense financially, offer your services for free to local organizations to gain attention for your business and potential revenue.
  • Lesson Nugget : Promote your business by offering classes to teach other people your skill for a limited amount of money so they are more likely to commit.
  • Lesson Nugget : When offering your professional services to people, always remember to get contact information and regularly communicate with them about your field of expertise.

Tulsa Community College Business School powered by Thrive15.com.

CALEB TAYLOR: All right, Jim. We are diving in the mailbag again.

-It's comfortable in here.

-It is. I really do enjoy it. It's a good time. This is our time to get Jim to sit down to actually answer the questions that you guys have sent in. You see right there that Ask the Guru button? That's how we do it. Anything that's submitted to us, we will answer. And I'm excited because, right now, we're answering this one. This is a question submitted from a Thriver in Florida, Miami, Florida. I'm going to read it to you and then we'll identify kind of the problem areas and then I'll just step aside and let your wisdom take over here. This is what the Thriver writes. They say, "I finally feel like I have found my people. I love the Thrive Nation. I am a really good photographer. I have won awards and I always get told how much people like my work. But my phone never rings. I've been watching episodes this month and I heard Clay say to focus. F-O-C-U-S, meaning focus on core tasks until success. But what core tasks do I need to be focusing on to make my phone ring and book more jobs?"

JIM CATHCART: First off don't worry about--


-Don't worry about the phone ringing.


-Make phones ring.

CALEB TAYLOR: What do you mean by that?

-I mean, you make the calls. Get out. Get out and start making more contacts. See, if your phone's not ringing enough, if your e-mail's not filling up with inquiries and requests, then you need to be out there more. And out there taking photographs, out there showing photographs, out there participating in little art shows and, you know, neighborhood displays.

Out there talking with local businesses and having them display some of your works so that people can see the kind of work you do and that little plate down underneath that tells people how to get in touch with you. You need to be really connecting with people. Go to the business fairs. Get involved in whatever ways you can. Participate in the street fairs, anything.

Volunteer. Go to charities and civic events and volunteer to take photographs and do whatever you can do affordably. You know, it's got to make good sense marketing-wise. You don't want to give away all of your services. But give away what you can that gets people into the revenue flow side of your business.

Gosh, there's just so many ways. You know, when you think about how does excellent professional photography work in today's world where everybody's got in their cell phone a good camera? And their Instagram-- they're taking photographs everyday. Start holding classes in your own studio. Have a little area or someplace that's convenient to you.

Have a place where you teach people how to take better photographs. And just cater the thing with a little bit of snacks of some sort and tell people give me $10 and I will teach you professional photographer. $20-- but, you know, come up with a number that works for you. And come up with places that work for you.

And even go to-- something you might do is go to retirement communities or gated communities where they've got a-- what do you call it? A community room. And book the community room and hold a class on photography techniques, how to capture your grandkids in the most favorable light. That kind of thing. And just tell people it's $10 or make up whatever amount works... Tulsa Community College Business School.

And get some kind of a commitment from them but not enough that it's going, gosh, you know, $30, $40, $50, $100, I'm not going to, you know. That's a decision. The other's an impulse buy. So you want to be like those little snacks or magazines in the checkout lane at the grocery store and--


-Yeah, why not, right? So you want to be that easy for people to get to. And then you book other things from there. And so whenever you're doing this, make sure that every single time, you get addresses and emails. Addresses and phone numbers and emails for that matter.

And then regularly communicate with people. Here's a cool tip for how to take a good photograph. Here's a cool tip for how to preserve da da da da da. The mysterious world of selfies explained for the first time. And then you come up with the answer and teach people how to do that.

-Is that something that you could teach by the way? Selfie? Like how to take the best selfie?

-No. No.

-No, OK.

-But this Thriver can.


-And I'd be a learner, you know?


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Notable Quotable: "You've got to make contacts, if you want to make contracts."
  • Action Step: Pick one marketing idea that will work best for you from Jim's examples and commit to doing it this week.
  • Action Step: Map out and record marketing ideas that will help you advance your business and then execute those ideas.
  • Lesson Nugget: As a photographer, it is important that you display your photographs as well as your printed message in your means of communication.


-Let me ask you this then, because this is incredible. We're helping this Thriver just focus on that core task.

-Focus on sales and marketing and networking and getting known. You've got to make contacts if you want to make contracts.

-So what's the first action item? If you're talking to the Thriver right now, what's the first action item? Start here, as you're trying to grow the sales and marketing. What's the first step?


-It's a big one that we're trying to tackle here.

-I would take that sample where I just ran through and I would pick the one idea that's seemed the most doable for you. And make a plan to do that this week.

-I love that.

-Or at least confirm it this week.

-This is the value of the platform you have here. Rewind. [BEEPING SOUND] Rewind back here. He laid out the lit. Choose one and commit to that and do it. That's the action item.

-Then, go back to list and do another. But keep records of this and let it grow. You ever do a mind map where you take an idea that's something you want to do? And then you think, OK, what I want to do is grow my photography business? Well, what kind? Weddings. OK. And there's a circle out here-- weddings.

How do I get wedding business? Go to existing weddings and hand out cards. Well, they've already got a photographer. That might not be too popular. Go to wedding shops. Go to wedding magazines. Go to wedding chat groups in Facebook-- whatever.

OK, that's weddings. What about sporting events? [DI-DI-DI-Di-DIDI-DI] In California, near where I live on Mulholland Highway, there's a place where the road goes like that down on a steep, steep hill. And it's really popular with motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts. And they call it the snake. And it's above a famous little restaurant cafe called The Rock Store.

And there's a group of people that are always there in the curves with their cameras, taking photographs of the motorcycles as they come through the curves like this. And then at The Rock Store at the bottom, they set up a gallery. And they show their works. And they say if you were on the road today, here's our website and here's how to find your photographs and to buy them.

-Wow. That's smart. That's creative.

-And they've got a panel truck, kind of a van. I don't remember what kind-- but anyway, the kind with a big space on the side. And they've got a skin on it that says, I don't know-- motorcycle photographers, sports photographers, whatever.

-That's so cool. But that's what you're saying is actually write those out and start getting creative about those different ideas.

-And it's got an image as well as the words. So if you're in photography, they've got to be images in your communication, not just words.

-That's huge. Well, thank you for this. Hopefully, this has been helpful for you. You've given us specific action items here. Thank you again for just rubbing it in my face that you live in beautiful, sunny California.

-And also I've got 6,114-- as of this morning-- photographs in my iPhoto in my phone. So if you've got a tip on how I can organize those better, I'd like that.

-I love it. This is for you. If you guys have more questions, write in. We love being able to give this opportunity to Jim to answer them. Thrive on.


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