Update your RSS

... Just in case you missed it... We have a NEW WEBSITE. You'll want to go in and update your RSS. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Go{4}Pro just got better!! Can't wait to see you there! 


I'm really excited to announce that Go{4}Pro has a new website!  

Just in case you come to Go{4}Pro from an RSS Feed or you still use go4prophotos.blogspot... You'll want to update your RSS Feed and bookmarks (sorry for any hassels) to bring you to the new and improved... 

see you there!


How much should I mark up my COGS? - Pricing for Profit Intro II

I've received your questions from our first post Introduction to Pricing for Profit and I'm writing Part II to offer clarification for the % to your COGS (Cost of Good Sold). 

Thanks to the fantastic Mobile Fotographer*, I have a visual for you! So here you go... 

There are a lot of factors that go into your cost of goods. Basically anything that is a COST to you (both time and money) needs to be considered. So let's say that you have determined that your COGS is $10. We are going to use happy round number for the sake of making this easy to follow. The numbers that I put into the pricing calculator are not real they just equal $10.00. 

As you can see the TOTAL COST IS $10.00. Now let's figure out what you should actually charge. 

To be on the high end of your market (20%) means that your total cost is only 20% of your products retail price. Anything 20% or less is a fantastic profit margin and you should be really excited because you will have the means and opportunities to make your business profitable! 

To be in the middle of the pricing market (30%) than your total cost is 30% of your products retail price. You're loosing a little of the profit margin but it's still a good place to be!

If you're cost is 40% of your COGS than you're on the lower end of your market and you may not have a substantial enough profit margin to give you the capital you need to sustain your business. 

BELOW 40%: One mistake that is often made my newer photographers is to slash their prices to get business. The fatal error in this is that newer photographer more than anyone else need profits in order to build capital. I know you can feel what I'm talking about. You need a sample album, you need further education (like my 'Building the Biz' workshop) and you need profits to help you get better equipment. In short, you need, you need, you need... But you never seem to make enough to do anything about it. This is why! 

I want you to know that I GET IT! It's scary, what if nobody ever calls you again? What if people don't believe you're worth that much? Even more terrifying... What if they're right? Raising prices is scary... It's like opening the door to a blind date with the football captain and your biggest fear is a pile of flaming poop waiting for you instead of a corsage. I KNOW IT'S SCARY. I've been there - scared to death - waiting (2 weeks) for the phone to ring again. BUT IT DID RING AGAIN and again... And again! Until you do something about your pricing you'll never have the capital to grow you or your business. I understand that it can feel like where you want to be and where you are have the distance of the Earth to the Stars... But I'm telling you. Getting your pricing structured for Profit is the rocket-ship that will propel you forward. Oh and in this little metaphor lets say that clients are the fuel. Cause if you got no fuel the rocket-ship won't help much. Wow! I am super clever tonight!!! Anyone else impressed with my cleverness? Before I got off on my 'hurray for me - cleverness' party I wanted to say that I do know that you need clients to pay your new pricing. Getting clients isn't the hard part. I'll prove it at the workshop... Having everything ready for when those clients come, now that's tricky! 

I hope this helps you put yourself and your business into a better perspective when you're creating your pricing list. If you feel like you need personal help in how to transition your pricing or just need the encouragement and mentoring to do it. I am available for Phone Consults and of course at the Building the Biz Seattle Workshop on Aug 20 and 21st. 

* You can access the awesome pricing calculator inside the Mobile Photographer Studio Management Program


Sell Images for the Wall!

Elizabeth (a fellow NAPCP Peep) is serving you up some fantabulous (Umm that's fantastic and fabulous mixed together - cause it's that awesome.) inspiration today! Wait till you see the last image. I'm redoing my dining room asap! Thank you so much Elizabeth! xoxo -Leah 

When I began my business six years ago, I followed advice given to me by others in the industry, "Sell images for the wall". It was great advice and has brought me wonderful success. Today I'd like to share some tips with you on how to effectively get your clients to purchase and hang your images on their walls.

For starters, I knew I did not want the hassle of framing images here in the studio but I did want for my clients to leave with beautifully framed images.  I found a small framing company and began a partnership with them. To begin with, I chose several frames (some in black and some in brown) that I was interested in selling. I had all the images in my studio framed in these frames so that the client could see what the frame looks like when hanging on the wall with art inside. I show a total of seven different frames in the studio because giving clients too many options tends to overwhelm them. If the client wants something very specific that I don't carry then the framers will go to the client's home for a consultation or will bring samples to the studio for me to show the client (see how this is a great working relationship?). Partnering with a framing company is beneficial for both the client and the photographer. My clients love that they can hang their portraits in their home as soon as they pick them up. They appreciate having my help when choosing a frame and they love that I sign and date their mats.
The second factor for my success has been my partnership with a local interior decorator. My decorator has great style and vision and has been key in influencing clients to style their homes using my work and framing. When I built my studio, I worked closely with the interior decorator as she decorated and designed the space. So, when clients come to the studio they always want to know whom I used to make the studio so elegant and beautiful. As a result, about 40% of my clients hire her to decorate their homes. My clients love the designs she comes up with and the wall displays she creates for them. The decorator and I will work closely with one another so that the client ends up with the perfect gallery in their home.

Finally, I think it is crucial to show what you want to sell. When you enter the studio, the first thing a client sees is a wall gallery with nine framed images.  In the studio, I show many examples of framed portraits, canvas’, and wall displays. It's so nice to be able to point to something and say "wouldn't that look great above your fireplace?" during an ordering session. Again, some people just need that little bit of visual stimulus to be able to be able to imagine what something might look like in their house.

Most of my clients have one or more wall galleries in their homes. My clients love having their images hanging where they can enjoy them daily and where their guests can see them. I hope that you might be inspired by some of my client’s wall galleries…

You can ooh and awe over Elizabeth more here:

Become a fan of Libbie Wicket on facebook


Product Feature - Album Approved

My friend Fundy did it again and went and created one more thing that I just can't live with out. It's called Album Approved and I'm already spinning with excitement with how I will build this into my sales process!


The Power of a Hand Written Note.

We are over inundated with information we have no desire to hear. Think farmville updates, obnoxious jokes that bring bad luck if not immediately forwarded to your entire email list, commercials that we see as a break to grab popcorn or check on the kiddos and cold call telemarketing that always ring right during dinner. We are bombarded with information that we didn't ask for and further more don't care to know about and so our brains flush this information out almost as quickly as it attempts to come in.

In contrast we are starved of old fashioned communication that makes us feel good. When is the last time that you received or sent a handwritten letter to someone. Or made a phone call ( and nope, texting does not count!) just to tell a friend that you had a great time with them last week? What if you (or I) received that phone call or letter, how appreciated would that gesture be? I bet it would make your day, I know it would make mine!

Now I would like you to direct these same thoughts toward how you run your business. Are you adding to the bombardment of useless junk or are you acting as the breath of fresh air that will truly leave a meaningful reminder to your clients that you are not only here but that you care as well? And what about two of the most important and yet underused words in any language? Thank You! We teach our children to say it each time they are given a drink of OJ, offered a cookie and allowed to do something special but are we following our own advise? What are you doing to truly insure that your clients (especially your best clients) know how much you appreciate their patronage?

What would happen if every business followed the golden rule and treated each client, vendor and business as they would like to be treated? ... Amazing things!


I need some inspiration ... Please share! (Link updated)

There is so much going on right now on this end of the computer screen! As some of you know from the facebook fan page, I just designed a new logo for Go{4}Pro and that's to go along with the new website that will be launching soon! I have teamed up with the incredible Kimtown to design and create a whole new look for Go{4}Pro and I can't wait to reveal it!!

At the same time I'm working on finalizing things for the workshop. And it just keep getting better and better. With thousands of dollars in giveaways and a fabulous swag bag, everyone is going to go home happy-happy! And as I finalize content, I just get more and more excited about how much info I get to share. One of the parts I'm so excited for is generating new business. I have some incredible ideas to share that cost no money and bring in huge (and I mean HUGE) business leads!! I can't wait to watch everyone light up like Christmas trees when they realize just how incredible the potential is with just one of these marketing and advertising techniques, let alone many to choose from! Add to that an in depth look into how to maintain lifetime customers who can't stop talking about you and can't wait to spend money with you and it's going to be an incredible weekend of awesomeness. Yes, I'm totally bragging about my own workshop. Where oh where are my manners? I can't help it, it really is going to be fantastic. I don't care if you started your business yesterday or if you've been in business for 20 years - your business will improve on all fronts (marketing, pricing, sales, leads, referrals, setting yourself apart and so much more) with this workshop. There are only FOUR THREE spots left! We're keeping it personal. I want to be able to encourage open dialogue where we can work through real life situations on the spot and give you real time solutions! In case you missed it, I'm super excited! Don't miss your chance to turn your business into exactly what you want it to be! Go sign up today!

Last... I'd love to pick your brain! I think it's really important to learn from your client base. After all, they are who sustain you. It's pretty critical that you're making them happy. Well in this case I feel a little more like Mike Rowe with dirty jobs because I would really love your input and thoughts about Go{4}Pro. Writing 5 posts a week can leave me lacking in the inspiration department and I'd love if I could borrow a little of your brain power to help me out. After all, I bet you have an opinion on what you do and don't like to see on a blog. And I really want to here about it! So I've created a survey. It's only 10 questions long I would really appreciate your input!

Did I really forget to put the link in for the survey! That's what happens when I write posts after 1am! Thank you so much for trying to find it!! Well I'm feeling really smart to start off this morning. lol.

I hope you have a great weekend and I want to say thank you for being part of the inspiration for my journey!


Introduction to Pricing for Profit

Pricing yourself appropriately (and when I say appropriate what I really mean is profitably) can be one of the most daunting tasks for a photographer to undertake. COGS x A + B / mc² can leave us all remembering just how much we hated algebra, however it is still a very necessary task and I promise once you've found where you should be, it's also incredibly liberating!

Creativity... Passion... That most likely came as the easy part (it comes as pretty standard territory to us "artist" types) but operating a successful small business, well if you're like many you may not have put much thought into it. But the bottom line is this, there are 2 kinds of artists, those who define themselves and those who are defined and the reality is that those who starve have no choice but to be defined and those who thrive are able to define themselves! And it's not always about skill either! I have seen amazing photographers who lack the fundamentals in business and so find themselves trying to survive from job to job. I have also seen the flip side, photographer's who may not be as technically savvy or creatively inclined and yet their business is booming! Why is this? One gets the nuts and bolts of running and marketing a small business and the other does not.

Today, I'd like to try to help clarify just how you should and should not go about establishing your pricing. The most common price determiner is... Google (in some form or another) You know what I'm talking about, you Google a few photogs in your area check out the pricing and put yourself somewhere in the middle. While this may not be the very worst way to price yourself, it certainly isn't good either. Here are 3 reasons why:

1. You don't know the bottom line they are working from, and what (or even if) they established a profit margin on.
2. There is a really good chance that they came up with their pricing sheet exactly how you just did yours so now the circle of 'in the middle' pricing is growing but in actuality the pricing structure just keeps falling lower and lower.
3. Without knowing your numbers you can't know your profit and without knowing your profit (or loss) you won't know what adjustments need to be made until it's too late!

So, what should be considered when establishing your pricing? You need to know your Cost of Goods Sold or COGS (how much did it cost you to hand them that 8x10?) Are you considering the following:
1. Retouching time
2. Shipping
3. Packaging (Bag, Tag, Tissue, Box)
4. Time for assembling packaging (not just a bow)
5. Hourly wage for your time.
6. Cost of Print

Okay. Let say you have figured out all of that and you now know that your COGS is... Is there a special formula for marking up the product? I'd like you to think of 3 tiers for pricing...

Top end of market is 20% COGS

Midpoint would be 30% COGS

Low end of market 40% COGS

Should you ever go below 40%? No! Don't go below 40% {period!}

If you feel you have to be at 40% in order to sell your products you need to come up with a different solution. Either you need to cut down your cost by quicker retouching, cheaper packaging or a different print lab but one way or another you're going to want to find a way to drive down your bottom line.

I hope you have enjoyed this little bit of insight into pricing. I will be going into much greater detail on pricing for profit at the Seattle Building the Biz Workshop, August 20th and 21st.