Monthly Archives: May 2012

…a Man to Fish… PODCAST now on iTunes!!! – Episode 10 featuring Stacy Reeves

Due to popular demand we are changing things up with the podcast.  A ton of people have requested that we load this bad boy up onto iTunes and you have gotten your wish.  I consider this “Volume 2″ of the podcast.  Going forward we will not have standard and extended editions of the podcast, everything will go up on iTunes and our longer shows will probably be split into multiple episodes.

I am completely thrilled to have Stacy Reeves on to kick off the new podcast format.  Many of you know Stacy from her pricing guide, her kick-ass client-focused photography, and her outspoken views on business in the photography industry.  Almost too much mouthiness for one podcast to handle.  In this episode Stacy and I talk the past, present and future of our industry and whether or not the sky is falling for professional photography.  This is part 1 of a 2 part episode so make sure to stay tuned for the follow up next week.

Really glad that we are on iTunes now and subscribing is going to be the best way to stay on top of new episodes and check out all the old ones.  The …a Man to Fish… Podcast is searchable through iTunes but for now  you can subscribe by clicking the button below or by heading up to the menu bar in iTunes and clicking Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast… > and entering the following feed address –

Please head on over to iTunes, rate the podcast and leave a comment.  More comments and ratings helps new people find the show.  Thanks, and please share it out on Twtiter, Facebook, Pinterest, carrier pigeon, whatever you’ve got.  Thanks.

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Feel free to right-click and download.

I am really proud of the first 9 shows and to celebrate jumping into the modern world and doing the iTunes thing I I am putting the first 9 extended editions up for sale.  They were posted at $3 each when they launched and we are offering the first 9 packaged together for $16 (40% discount!).  You know you need some material to stumble through pretending to work after the holiday weekend.


CLICK HERE to Purchase the first 9 extended edition podcasts – Almost 20 hours of content!    Buy Now


Show notes:

– trr



Do you want to be hired for who you are?

I hate personality branding.  Personality branding says that you are worth hiring purely for who you are.  I think you ought to be hired based on what you can do.  If you want to be hired for who you are go ahead and tweet about your breakfast or Instgram pictures of your dog or whatever.  That’s a really compelling argument as to what you can do for a client.

Fuck that.  Clients want to know what you can do for them.  “Do” is the important part that ties it all together.  Tell them what you believe, tell them why it matters, and tell them how you are going to EXECUTE on that in tangible ways.  Show them what you’re going to do, not who you are.

The upside here is that clients that are invested in the value that you can provide will tend to want to know more about the person that provides that value.  Putting personality before value is putting the cart before the horse.  You’ll run into problems if you’re all cart and no horse.  If you’ve got nothing to stand for, and no value to offer then your brand is empty as hell.

– trr

Getting the job is more important than doing the job.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur you ought to be watching “The Pitch” on AMC.  The show follows 2 ad agencies competing to be picked by a given company to design a new campaign.  Not so much a reality show as a behind the scenes exploration of the process.

You should watch, because it is really making me think about the 2 ultimate goals that we as business owners must balance.  There is goal number 1 which is getting the job, and goal number 2 which is doing the job.  These two things, while they may seem connected are actually very different.  Often times on the show you’ll totally connect with one of the two ad agencies.  You’ll think they have the pitch totally sealed up, having completely nailed the goals as the company laid them out in a compelling and clever way that you can totally see swaying people in the marketplace.  The other ad agency will come up with something hackneyed and uninspired and go on to win the damn thing and totally piss you off.

There is a reason for this…

My undergraduate degree is in Theater <cue embarrassment>.  I’ve auditioned for shows and I’ve cast them as well.  You may spend a lot of your time in theatre school learning how to act the part, but as a director I can tell you the most important skill you can have is not acting but auditioning.  Acting is about interpreting the story, fulfilling a dramatic role and whatever other artsy-fartsy terminology you want to lay on it.  In an audition you don’t act the part as you would in the play.  It simply doesn’t win you the job.  Auditioning is a totally different skillset because it is not about acting the part it is about solving a problem and assuaging fear.

In your own creative business you have to know how to get the job and how to do the job.  I keep seeing photographers lamenting their lack of bookings and then focus on their customer service or photography.  That’s “doing the job” type of work.  It is worrying about executing instead of booking.  Executing doesn’t matter if you don’t book.

When you watch “The Pitch” you can see the sense of creative distress in the losing agencies that really pour themselves into the work.  It isn’t just losing the competition, it is orphaning the work.  They’ve got an amazing campaign and it will die because the only possible audience for it ain’t interested.  This is the lament of every creative that worries more about doing the job than getting it.  I think you should be passionate about what you do, but without the ability to apply that passion you’re in for a world of frustration.

One of the reasons that I dove so deeply into branding is that I knew I was good at what I wanted to do, and being good wasn’t getting me the job.  There is a whole other discipline for the working pro, and it has everything to do with bringing business in the door.  That takes precedence because without business nothing else happens.

Take solace in the fact that actually booking the job and having to work in the trenches makes you better than the safe work away from client eyes and scrutiny ever could.  If you aren’t booking enough think about which skills you’re working on and where your effort is going – if you’re focusing on “doing the job” work you’re spinning your wheels.

– trr


Check out the last post for info on our MYSTIC adventures and upcoming seminar appearances and SEXY BUSINESS Workshops.

Mystically SEXY

A few days ago we announced that we’d be appearing at Mystic Seminars this January.  The announcements just keep on coming – as a part of Mystic proper there will be four all-day, hands on seminars.  Parker Pfister, David Beckstead, Todd Laffler and ye olde …a Man to Fish.. crew will be the presenters.  Out program is going to be all about NETWORKING, WORD-OF-MOUTH and GETTING BUSINESS – the science and psychology about bringing in business and not spending money to do it.  You can actively create and manage what people are saying about you and make it lead to more bookings, and we’re going to talk all about how to do it.  If you’re going to Mystic you can add any of the four all-day seminars as part of your registration RIGHT HERE.  Just move through the first few screens of the registration and you’ll have an option to add our all-day program (or one of the other guys, you know, if you want to).

But there’s more!!!  Due to popular demand (no seriously, people asked and they’re receiving) we’re adding a SEXY BUSINESS Workshop to immediately follow Mystic.  This is the only trip to the Northeast that we currently have planned and you don’t have to attend Mystic to be a part of it.  As with all of our other workshops we cap the attendance at 5 studios (and a few spots are already spoken for) so if you’re interested you’ve got to dive on it now – Jan 12-14 2013 – REGISTER HERE

Still 1 spot left in next months SEXY BUSINESS ATLANTA (June 18-20).

hope to see you there – workshop breakdowns HERE, workshop MANIFESTO is available HERE


– trr

Don’t sell what you’ve done, sell what you’re going to do

Portfolio is bullshit.  Well…OK, it matters a little.  But your portfolio is only what you have done.  It can give an indication as to what the client might get, but that isn’t the only way to sell what you are going to do.  After all, that’s what they are buying – the promise of what you are going to do for them.  

I booked my first 10 weddings without having shot one.  I did that by clearly articulating what I was going to do (which luckily lined up with what the clients wanted) and then I executed on that.  I didn’t need portfolio to shoot my first destination wedding (or my 10th – just saying).  I’ve had clients (a large number actually) request to not have their images shown anywhere, for any marketing purpose.  Fine, there’s a way around that.

Your work is only a part of why someone works with you.  If you only sell what you have done you’re in essence limiting your client’s expectations of what you could do.  That’s not a problem necessarily, but it certainly isn’t the only way to fly.  I always advocate working purposefully.  Focus on the purpose that clients are hiring you for (i.e. what you can do for them) and think about how to best earn their trust.  Showing what you’ve done is only one way to do it.  If what you’ve done before doesn’t sell the idea, then do something else.

The something else can be articulating what exactly your process, approach and goals will be.  Paint a picture of what the final product will be.  More than that you can show them that you understand what their goals (and fears) are and let them know how you’re going to address them.  The process of getting hired to create something is not about proving that you’ve done the work before, it is proving that you can do the work going forward.

I say this because I see people putting portfolio forward as an unnecessary obstacle constantly.  You can prove that you can execute on the job in a number of ways beyond having done it before.  Think about what you want to do, then think about how you can get the job and make the client completely confident that their goals and fears will be addressed – now does that portfolio seem so important?

– trr

One spot left for SEXY BUSINESS Atlanta June 18-20 – claim your spot HERE