$500,000 a Year Boudoir Studio with Evoke Boudoir
Today we interview Danielle Tercerio, the owner of Evoke Boudoir, who shares her journey to success in her photography business. She emphasizes taking small calculated risks, charging accordingly, and forming partnerships with other women-owned businesses. Danielle also values flexibility and prioritizes her family, children, happiness, and sanity. She shares her success with the High Rollers Program and a $5,000 giveaway. Additionally, she discusses the importance of getting many ‘no’s’ in order to get more ‘yeses’, prospecting, and running ads on Facebook and Google. It also emphasizes treating employees well, engaging with potential clients on social media, and creating a system that can be passed down to others. Finally, Umberto emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility, using Tiktok, email marketing, and video to reach potential customers, and creating passive income.
NORTH VIRGINIA & WASHINGTON DC’S #1 BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO
About Photography to Profits and Humberto Garcia
Humberto Garcia is the world’s leading photography business growth expert.
Founder of Photography to Profits and high-performance coach to multiple 6-figure photography businesses. Humberto coaches photographers from his special operations military experience and photography sales and marketing experience. After years of high performance in Marine Special Operations and building businesses, he knows what works.
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Humberto Garcia: [00:00:00] Today, we’re interviewing Danielle Tercero, owner of Evoke Boudoir in northern Virginia. And today she’s going to walk us through how she grew and scaled her photography business to $500,000 a year. All right, let’s get started. Danielle, can you tell us in 30 seconds about yourself and your business and what you do?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:00:22] Sure. So my name is Danielle Terceiro and I own Evoke Boudoir. We are in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, and I have been shooting boudoir for about ten years. And I currently own a beautiful 2500 square foot studio that is basically like dual studios and we are consistently a half million dollar studio. That is the revenue that we bring in with one photographer, one paid retoucher and probably a handful of hair and makeup artists with like one primary person. So we do have a booking manager as well and I love it. We are we are killing it this year, and this year is about growth and action and just looking for happiness in my business. Being able to work a little bit more on on the business than in it all the time.
Humberto Garcia: [00:01:17] Awesome. Can you take us back to when you realized like photography, your portrait studios going to basically be your passion and your business?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:01:26] Yeah. So I, like many photographers, was working a full time job that I liked, but it wasn’t my passion. So I began, like many taking workshops, I was originally like a soup rice photographer in learning, posing. And I think that that actually really set me up with a good fundamental base for boudoir. I realized that I was could be my own boss and pursue solo photography. Probably about two years into it or so, I was shooting out of my home and then we had find I found a professional studio or a commercial studio space right down the street from me. And that’s when I knew as I took small, calculated risks that were still risks that I was, I was going to be able to do it in the revenue that I was able to bring in. So I, I was never a photographer that was charging 200, $300. My first sale was actually $1,000. And I was not I was not a great photographer. When I look back at those photos, I had a lot to learn, but I also was valuing myself from the get go. So that’s always been a part of how I’ve looked at my business and the value that it brings to people and making sure that I’m charging accordingly so I can live the life that I want to live.
Humberto Garcia: [00:02:53] What year was that?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:02:54] Like that was 2013.
Humberto Garcia: [00:02:59] 2013. And then you had a commercial studio by 20.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:03:02] What I would say by 2016 or so I had, I was renting, I was doing a co co renting space with another boudoir photographer who’s actually we were quote unquote competitors, but we shot in the same space. Our styles were different that no one ever knew. So we were shooting and booking clients from the same pool, but we both were still working full time. Now, this is Julie, Soccer from Julie Soccer boudoir. She still is operating and doing amazing in Arlington area. I’m about 30 miles west of her, so it really doesn’t matter. There are so many women for us in particular in this area that there’s really no excuse to fill your books, especially if you’re just a solo photographer.
Humberto Garcia: [00:03:53] Yeah. And what’s the best part of your business like right now in 2023? Like, what’s the best part? On Sunday night and then Monday morning, like, what are you looking forward to?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:04:03] Yeah, I think the best part of my business is my ability to do what I want to do based around it. So I from the get go, while it was important for me to charge my value, my value, it was also important for me to put all the big stones in first that are what are my priorities, which are my family, my children, my happiness, my sanity and my health. Last year I well, over the last year and a half I’ve lost over £60 because I knew that what I had to do to be physically active as a photographer, it wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t going to continue to work in my 40s. So I’m looking for I look forward to the flexibility and I’m looking forward to hiring new photographers so that they can start doing that work. And I can watch kind of flourish from afar as I get a little bit older.
Humberto Garcia: [00:04:57] That’s awesome. And yeah, the, you know, having your own business, it’s I’ve heard mentors tell me like, you can’t do both. Like you can’t have a six pack and you can’t be spending six hours in the gym and run a super profitable business. Think you can’t.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:05:12] Afford not to do that. I think you if you what’s the point of of what’s the point of being successful if you are tired, you can’t experience life, you are depressed. You are all the things that come with, you know, being overweight or obese. Again, I’m very body positive. I just knew what was best for me and my mental health and where I was at was not it.
Humberto Garcia: [00:05:36] Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. For me, I like all last year I was like super focused on going to the gym. I went to the gym maybe five times a week. I was getting like injuries and stuff and then I had to tone it down and I realized it was taking a lot of my time. And then when I started getting like just back into my business and like hyper focusing and, you know, 20, 23, I was like, I need to use like every waking hour and have two days in one day. It’s just been really hard to, like, maintain that amount of intensity. But I found like walking, doing things in the morning, like, you know, maybe not having the same intensity, but just being consistent and, you know, eating better like that has made it. So I don’t need to spend four hours in the gym and running and stuff.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:06:20] Exactly. I really now I’m very much focused on strength training and also increasing that like the your overall motion. So like when you were talking we were talking before we got on about your, our long walks where you’re thinking like that’s the simplicity of it. You could actually you’re doing both. Like you’re giving your body the exercise that it needs and you’re working on your business at the same time. Um, you know, you’re going to see improvements in how you, how you think about your business if you are healthy and taking care of yourself for sure.
Humberto Garcia: [00:06:52] So I know we’ve talked about evoke boudoir as a whole, but like, tell us about yourself. What do you do outside of work?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:07:00] Oh, outside of work. Um. Oh, my God, that’s so funny. Because when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re like, Oh, what do I do outside of work? I certainly have a network of women, friends and things like that. I’m very, very involved in my kids lives. I have two beautiful children, Sawyer, who’s 11, and Lila, who is three. So they keep me very busy. I have two amazing dogs, Australian shepherds. And if anybody knows anything about that breed, they keep me busy as well. And an amazing husband who I’ve been with for now longer than I have not at 41. So his birthday was just yesterday and he’s finally caught up to me. He always likes to wear his six months or so apart and he likes to let me know that he’s a little bit older than I am. So yeah, I love our community. I love I love, you know, working with other businesses in the community and outreaching that way. It’s a harder sell sometimes because of the type of work that I do. I have to make sure that I’m picking businesses that are really congruent with with what we do AT as a boudoir photographer. So, um, yeah. So, yeah.
Humberto Garcia: [00:08:11] Is that something that you like, focus on partnerships with other businesses? Sure. I mean.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:08:16] So we, I am always playing to women owned businesses and local places for me, obviously in a big metro area, I’m going to make recommendations, but people are coming to me usually from. They can come from very far out of state a lot. We have a lot of like Marylanders. We have a lot of people from West Virginia, southern Virginia. So while it is not like a hair salon would do, you know, cross-marketing things, we can do it from time to time. I found the biggest bang for my buck is through working with companies like yours, with setting up ads, getting people you know, to know and understand what our business is and marketing them in that funnel. But yeah, from time to time we do those things that are worth it, like bridal shows and things like that. I just like talking about my business to real live people. That’s that’s fun for me.
Humberto Garcia: [00:09:14] That’s awesome. So we’ve worked in a couple capacities. I met you through the High Rollers program, which is like our group coaching program. So tell me, I know you said you’ve had your commercial CEO since 2016 and we think you were one of the first to like be in the high rollers. Yeah, in like 2019. But tell me what business was like before 2019 and then after when you started like maybe focusing on some of the things that we teach? Sure.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:09:39] So I think that I feel like I had put a lot of focus on setting up my brand and making it high end. What I struggled with was getting that message out there in in easy ways that I didn’t know how to access. I knew that Facebook was powerful. I knew that some of these marketing engines and also using email were powerful. It was staying consistent to fill the books or doing launching large projects like we did our. I basically kind of followed when I first came into high rollers, I was following one of Jen’s first $5,000 giveaway, so I was like mimicking that process. And I remember, you know, texting with you. And as you were building that for Jen, I was just trying to make it myself. It was so incredibly successful that I was like, okay, these guys are really on to something. And what they’re teaching is really, really works. I think that in that one sale, it booked me out for almost a year or so, which basically kept that momentum of our ability to continue to market even lower level. Like when you came in and I decided to hire you to help me with our marketing, we were still running ads that were from 2019 and they were still actually producing some leads here and there.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:11:06] Things needed to be tweaked. As a lot of business owners know, you spend a lot of time doing the things the day to day and not planning and working on, so that’s when I knew. I just I was like I could go and research how to do all this and do what Danielle did in the beginning. But now I have the luxury to say I my value is spent more on focusing on what’s here, and then I’ll allow this group to sell me that. That made a ton of sense to me. So and it takes just and again, it’s about making less stress now in my life and deciding where the value is to outsource, which I think for the most part, unless it is an integral part of your business and who you are and your brand, you should consider outsourcing if you can afford it and if it’s going to make you more money. And we know that marketing, it’s going to make you more money. It’s going to get people in your in your seats. And that’s I was feeling that pressure of the the ads becoming old and stale and not not having people in seats and that I cannot rectify if I do not if I have cancellations or I can’t fill the spots.
Humberto Garcia: [00:12:20] That’s how many. Do you know how many sessions you booked that first giveaway you did?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:12:26] I think we did about 39 or something. That was a lot for us. Like any other giveaway I’ve ever done was like a handful and it really just like filled our books for several, several months. We really kept it high end. And we my, my giveaway was never a $99. It was always 199. So I, I have I personally have just shied away from that lower. It’s probably works for other people or it may work if you have several photographers like those are things that I’m thinking about when when I’m thinking about hiring these, these two new photographers is that we may need to to do that because we’re just going to need more butts and seats. So all things that we’re thinking, thinking about in terms of strategy.
Humberto Garcia: [00:13:17] Yeah. And I know for you know, for a lot of students, like the giveaway is kind of one of the bigger, more complicated ones, right? There’s a lot of moving parts. There’s ads, there’s multiple landing pages. And a lot of times photographers are. Almost like some of them are not ready and they’re right that they’re not ready to run something like that because they don’t have the prices. They’ve never talked to people on the phone. They they haven’t taken more than 1 or 2 inquiries a month. And now you’re going to do, you know, hundreds of people flowing in. Yeah, but one of the biggest lessons is like if you are ready, is just taking action. So like opening up your pages and just seeing, you know, does your website allow you to build landing pages like that? Like, how could you build a checkout? Like, could you get a free trial for something? Could you just do it on square? So like, walk me through that because obviously that’s like a big daunting campaign. What was it like for you? Obviously, we outline everything and we teach everything, but still a lot of people get. Okay.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:14:12] So I think it was valuable and it was it was tough. It took it took time. But it is again, I like to understand, I’ve always been a person that likes to understand the inner machinations of how things work. So I did already. Obviously, I already had a checklist, but there were things that I was learning along the way about what was occurring in the sales process. Right? I was okay. All right. So they’re doing this short form and they’re doing a long form. And I was putting together the puzzle of why this is being done, how you’re capturing these people. So really, in many ways, when you’re building something out this yourself, which I highly encourage people to do, at least on one of the campaigns, it’s starting to teach you about marketing strategy that the long game is here, about how you’re going to continue to funnel these people into the places that you have the ability to market to them and that not everyone is going to buy initially. But if you never capture them, you’re never going to be able to market to them in the future and hit them whatever the the time is, the 17 to 27 touchpoints that will eventually turn them into either saying no or saying yes. And that was kind of a big thing for me, too. One of the things that we are preaching with I think I mentioned we have a booking manager and I’m kind of by proxy teaching her the things that come through photography for profits and also for high rollers. Is that encouraging her to get as many no’s as possible, which is like the reverse? I’m like, You just want to get them to tell you no, because the more noise you get, the more yeses that you’re going to get.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:15:50] But if you never make that ask, you’re not going to get the. Yes. So I would encourage people to to build it out. We I yes, it was frustrating like some of the you were on the other day talking about all the workflows that you’re building. And I was looking at the the charts of how things work, because ultimately it isn’t until you’re testing them that they’re not like working correctly. But again, through all those failures is what you’re going to when you’re really going to learn and then you’re not going to make those mistakes again. So it was valuable. It was valuable. A Because I worked really hard on it, and B, it worked. Like, I get the frustration of there are times, I’m sure, and you’ve been there that you guys have were like, this is great. This is going to you know, it launches and it flops but you’re not like, why did that? You know, it’s you know, it’s their fault, the customer’s fault. You know, it’s it’s something about the offer. It’s something about, you know, we’re talking about International Women’s Day coming up. And the your team had asked me about what would be a valuable offer. And I was going with charity because I’m not ready to do a big giant flash sale yet. I feel like we picked up a little bit here and I was very into that. But I also know that that might not lead to as many conversions as it has during pandemic.
Humberto Garcia: [00:17:12] Like charity stuff works so well. We had 50 to 100 sessions and they basically committed things like the entire session fee to like a food bank and stuff like that. And then we even encouraged our clients to like, reach out to people who organize food banks and stuff like that and to find something that they were like passionate about. And they would literally get donations where they got a lot of bookings, but there would be people sending money in saying, Hey, I just love what you’re doing. I don’t want a session. It’s not for me. But here’s money that’s awesome. And it was just really cool, like just to, you know, give back to, you know, create a cause around something other than just, hey, let’s just be super profitable. Yeah. One other thing I think that’s important.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:17:52] I think also, as you like as you get older essentially in your business and more experienced, those are the things that you start to look towards. You do think that, you know what, why is it that we’re doing the why is always there and we want to be profitable, but it’s also how can we give back to our communities? And for me in particular, I love the idea of doing a, you know, International Women’s Day and giving to a women based charity, because my business has always been centered around that. So.
Humberto Garcia: [00:18:22] Yeah. And with what you were talking about, like your studio manager, like, you know, refining the process, getting all the knows. I do all my hiring. It’s something I probably shouldn’t do. But because I do all my hiring, I have gotten really, really good at it. And I really like feedback from the people that are coming through. And a lot of times, you know, most people might assume like, Oh, they have no power, they’re young, you’re in charge. So everything you do is right, Right. And like, it doesn’t matter what they think, they’re just salty. Or if they don’t get if they’re upset, like it’s their fault. And one thing I realized is like, I am literally trying to hire people to, like, be on my team. And I needed they’re almost more important than my clients. So I need to put even more effort into like their onboarding, into how I interview them in the process. So one thing I do for all my interviewees before we even start getting on a call, it’s a very like intricate process. There’s a lot of follow up. There’s very specific instructions and there’s a lot of flows, and I have a CRM for them that’s even better than the ones I have for my sales prospects, which probably shouldn’t be the case, but that’s how seriously I take the hiring and I always ask them. The first question on the call is, Hey, before we got on the call, walk me through your experience getting to this point.
Humberto Garcia: [00:19:39] Like how did you find it? And a lot of them have given me like some really good insight as far as like, hey, I was really impressed by this. I like that you highlighted this. I was confused by this. And whatever they tell me, I take and I go look back and I say, okay, that was confusing. And I like take complete ownership of it and I’m just making it better for the next person. And I’m light years ahead, even with just all these small accumulations. Like even now, if I have an interview I had an interview the other day, somebody told me something and I went back and changed like three emails and text messages. And I think for a lot of people, it’s hard to ask that question because if you ask it and someone tells you something is wrong, sometimes you have things that they might tell you something’s wrong that you’ve been doing for four years, and you almost have to realize, like, Hey, I’ve been doing something wrong for four years or two years or six months, whatever this funnel has been open for. Yeah, and it kind of sucks to look at that, but if you can like get past that kind of pride and say, you know what, Like as long as I’m just improving like the, you know, it’s not a zero sum game, I’m not doing worse because I fixed something from the past. I’m I’m just going to do better.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:20:46] I think that as business owners, too, we get very siloed in not having a mirror on the things that we’re doing and using either employees or those who have gone through the process to give us that mirror. We do it all the time with our clients, like you were talking about the the how valuable employees are. I was just thinking about that and how it you know, when they leave, it’s not only their salary and all the things, all the things that they’re working on, Right. That we pay into it. But they’re also going to make us a lot of money too. Um, that indeed you do need to take care of them more. Which is why I’m always asking. Lauren I personally have never been a boss to anyone before, and I can own that and say I have never done that, so I’m going to suck at it at first. So the ways that I’m trying not to suck at it are saying like we have, you know, check in calls. And I’m asking her, is anything that feel clunky that we’re doing that you think that we can improve on? And I’m never going to say to her, if she says this one thing that hasn’t been working, it’s finally someone is kind of proofreading our work. We don’t always have that luxury and then we can make those changes. Yeah, I think that too many people get egos involved that no, this is there’s only one way. Because if you if you I mean I want to be learning and making mistakes until I am taking my last breath because then I’m not you know, I’m growing, I’m growing and I’m changing and the world is my oyster.
Humberto Garcia: [00:22:14] So you told me how like the first campaign you ran before the high rollers, but what were you doing, like marketing wise, before you, like, adopted our processes?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:22:25] I mean, we I was doing absolutely no ads at all, maybe like a promoted post here and there. So I really like drilled down into the how to create the ads. And I first of all, it was great just to have somebody walk you through everything. I had to literally slow down the video, watch it a couple times to see where I was going and the menus and, you know, with Facebook and everything, they changed their menus. And so, yeah, I was able to kind of drill down and to do that. So before we were boosting, we had a very scant email list. I didn’t even have drip campaigns and most of it was just like Facebook and Google presence and then word of mouth. We did okay, like I did. I did better than I thought. When I again, I was working a full time job The moment that I needed to really make sure I was filling my books, that’s when I knew I needed to take a different approach to it. And the high rollers really offered that opportunity in spades. Like the amount of I have probably done like 25, 30% of what is in there. And I know that I can always go back and learn something new and have updated information, which is why in this case I need to be running a business. So I was reaching out to to you to help me with that. But when you are either, you know, your work is established as a great boudoir photographer or any type of photographer, you can come in and kind of hit the ground running and make it work for you.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:24:07] And I’ve seen it time and time again with all the people we’ve met, either through the High Rollers Club events in Las Vegas and in Miami. And it’s just it’s awesome. It’s nice to see something that is proposed as being we’ve got it all. And it really does like that sounds super salesy, but it really does if you’re willing to put in the work and do the get your hands dirty, you know, you can do it. And I think that for us too, like going back to basics, there are things that we skipped, like we were not prospecting. We you had to remind us again, like go into some of these polls. Who are these people? It’s not just social media. It’s go and interact with these people who are commenting, you know, looking at your posts as something as simple as thanks for participating in our poll. It starts a conversation. Lauren, our booking manager, has booked several over the last week. Just doing that alone, costing you nothing ten minutes of your time just being like, okay, we’re going to message these people. Let’s see if we get any bites and either we’ll get them to literally book, which she definitely did that last week, or we just get them into the VIP group, into the mailing list. And, you know, they they definitely turn into conversions eventually.
Humberto Garcia: [00:25:30] Yeah. And that prospecting is like something that’s so overlooked because we think like. No, that like almost some people think like we’re just that’s beneath us or that’s what you do when you’re starting. But I think like when you’re even busier or when you have your ads going, when you have traffic going, that’s really when it’s the best, right? Because before you’re just kind of doing cold prospecting. But when you’re doing like attracting leads and attracting traffic and getting eyeballs, then at least those people are like a lot warmer. So like, your results are going to be a lot better. Yeah, we I actually saw a video where somebody was kind of talking about like their TikTok. They, they came from Facebook groups and they gave like the best insight. And it you know, I can’t believe TikTok is free, by the way, because I learned so much. But this woman basically said like she only had maybe 800 followers on TikTok. But she talked about how like 99% of her revenue came from TikTok. And it was because she treated her TikTok like her Facebook group. And I realized the moment she said that, I was like, because she’s prospecting. And she just talked about how, like every single comment she replied to every single person she messaged she had all her calls to action were like engagement. And she just created a lot of conversations. And that’s where her clients came from. And it was just something so simple like, you know, she could have just been sitting there just posting to TikTok, dancing, like making people laugh. And that works. Got it. It’ll drive traffic and eyeballs. But like to think she had less than a thousand followers and she was getting more bookings and someone with 10,000 or 20,000 on the platform just shows like it’s not just the amount of touches. It’s like, what’s the depth of it, right? Yeah.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:27:05] And the quality of it. Like there’s definitely quality people in your feed that you should be engaging with. You should be going through and looking into their profile. Who are they? Do they match your target client? You know, I’ve found people who have probably especially the ones that are even watching the stories, like people who are like sitting through and watching your stories on Instagram like I am. We are messaging them and like saying, you know, just reaching out. Nothing, nothing salesy. It doesn’t have to be crazy. And you also, when you have the luxury of being a little bit booked, when you are busy, like you said, and putting out content, you’re able to find out what works and what doesn’t, and it’s not so desperate. That’s one thing that when you’re operating from marketing desperation, that’s when you start to get your your brand looks cheaper you So that that was where I was having a concern because I never wanted to cheapen the brand to running too many sales again, that’s me. Other people operate really great running sales all the time. That is a part of their brand. Look at Bath and Body Works. That’s a great example. Like they’re constantly running sales because they have to push a ton of product out. I don’t. I only have so many seats to fill at a higher, you know, touch point.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:28:25] And also what makes sense for my life, working more does not always lead to happiness for me. And so that’s really been a, you know, something that I’ve had to balance to that while making money is amazing. It’s the quality of the money that I’m making. Do I feel good about the, you know, the the product that I’m putting out not only in photography, but also in service. So those that’s something that I’ve been balancing too. And another reason why I want to expand the studio and hire more photographers because that will allow me to, to have that level of service, because the moment that I feel like I’m burning, I don’t want to say burning out, I’m burning the candle at both ends where you start to kind of resent the client a little bit for the little things that are bothering you. That’s what I’m like. That’s not what we do here. Like as photographers, we are service. We are grateful for them because they are the ones that keep the lights on and, you know, keep my family fed and doing fun things. And I really have to make sure that I’m reining that in so that I’m providing the the best service that I can.
Humberto Garcia: [00:29:32] That’s awesome. And by the way, I know you were talking about the stories and stuff. I actually obviously we have a lot of touch points because, you know, first we worked in the group coaching program, but I always kind of look at like, Hey, where have a lot of my recent clients come from? And for me, it’s my email list and my stories in Instagram, even though I don’t have a huge following, I actually think like for you, me and you got on our phone call because me and you were interacting on Instagram, right? I think I was posting some like screenshots of like proof and some projects we were working on and then you like, reached out and were like, Hey, we need to talk.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:30:06] Yeah. And immediately, Well, this is also I am always paying attention to no matter what. Like what? I get it. Like you’re still running a business, so I’m paying attention to you, man. You’re like, Let’s get, let’s go. This is good for us. This isn’t a busy time for this is a little less busy than it was. Let’s get on the phone and make this happen. So. And had you let that fizzle for me, I might have felt a little bit differently whenever I talked to you like, Oh, I think you were like, let’s talk right away. It’s the same principle. With that, I preach to the booking manager and myself. You got to get them on the phone immediately, regardless of whether they booked anything or not. You need to talk to them and see if they’re ready to talk to you right now because you are, you know, the the likelihood of them booking with you is way higher the sooner you can get to them. And it’s just.
Humberto Garcia: [00:30:56] What’s your like day to day because I know before obviously like your portfolio is like already built your you know your website like all your stuff looks good, your branding is good. You put a lot of time into that. So what’s your day look like now? Like what takes up the majority of your time?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:31:13] So right now I’m shooting. My schedule fills three shoots a week, usually Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I try to have Fridays off in that they Fridays and Wednesdays are off, although I will schedule ordering appointments, which is weird to me. I love ordering. That’s my favorite thing to do. Like that is not work to me at all. The work is already done, so Mondays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, shooting in the morning and then in the afternoons at around 230, I’m able to get like lunch and stuff in there. I usually do ordering appointments either via Zoom or in the studio. Some of our clients travel pretty far, so we do offer the zoom. I have not gone fully zoom like I know Jen has and other photographers have. Some clients just prefer they want to come in and I do. I do like that interaction. I do feel like it is a better sales experience when I have them in the studio, but I love the convenience and the simplicity of Zoom, because when it’s over, it’s over and I can be done or I can do it from my home and then I can go downstairs and I’m already there. So and you know, I try to be done and everything by 4:00 or so, o’clock in the afternoon so I can come home, see my kid, not necessarily off the bus, gets off the bus around 330, but be home with them and spend time with them before the day starts again. It’s very different than it used to be. I used to we used to I used to commute. My husband and I both about an hour each day, you know, and then I get so much better sleep because again, I cared about the big rocks first. It is not about working hard. It’s about putting the effort in every day. The day does start with exercise. I will say that too. The day starts at 6 a.m. with exercise and then the craziness of children. And I get to the studio around nine.
Humberto Garcia: [00:33:04] So it’s great. Nice. And now obviously you have more help now with like the marketing so you can focus on the shooting Lauren with your studio manager and social media manager and then with us doing all your paid advertising and that’s it. What was it like before? So before you had to do it on your own, Did that take a lot of time? Did you do that at night? When did you do that, do that?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:33:26] So it’s you know, I think that for me, I was always looking at how far out we were booked. So we are always marketing in the sense that we were pushing a lot of social, but what we weren’t doing well was we didn’t until we incorporated meet Nikki. That’s something that we did before we hired you. I moved from Active campaign and I think we had MailChimp and we had. Oh, God, we had chatra. We had all these other little tools that then meet Nicki just like encompassed everything, including our email marketing. So that was really awesome that they were able to when they set this up for us, they were able to incorporate that because we did not have a if you did not book email drip campaign. And that was something I always regretted that we did not have. So before it was really a lot of social media and just having like a brand presence in general. Like I think that the, the consistency of what my work looks like, while it is not the I don’t really care whether it’s the best photography work out there, it’s consistent and it it delivers a certain product and that does help you. So you know and at times when I mentor other photographers and I’m looking, I immediately go to their profile first to see what the consistency of their work is because we can all talk on the same level. It doesn’t have to be stellar. It does have to be consistent and show that you you understand that you’re putting out the same product for each client. So that that I think kept our bookings up more so maybe than somebody that’s like starting out and needs a little more tweaking of their portfolio.
Humberto Garcia: [00:35:16] Yeah I, I even for like our employees, I tell them like when we take a client on, I’m looking for competency. I’m looking for like the top 80th percentile. They don’t need to be the very best in that city, but they need to be to like the undiscerning user. That’s not like a judge at a photo show. They need to be able to like hang with the pack, you know, and not be like an obvious like, oh, there’s what’s wrong with their skin. Why is there this you know, why are these all these objections I have to this but I will say that like kind of like when you’re doing math and you’re doing like exponents, the portfolio is your base number. So if it’s better, it makes things easier. Like it’s easier to create a beautiful landing page when you have beautiful work, right? Because otherwise you’re, you know, now you have to hide things. Now you have to like, do less than the gallery. Now you can show less diversity, now you can show less poses and all those things. While the viewer might not know exactly why they like this photographer better like that consistency, the consistency in the skin color and the body shapes and the expressions, like all that adds up. And you know, if you’re going to be spending on advertising, I’m not saying wait until it’s perfect. Don’t wait till you have ten gold platinum.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:36:36] But don’t say when someone’s giving you that feedback that you when you’ve only been shooting for like a year and a half and you’ve had total like five clients, which is great, but that’s only five people in your portfolio. You’re looking at people like me, people who other people who have been shooting for ten years. We’re shooting hundreds and hundreds and we have like more we have to limit our portfolio to the year that we’re working in. So to to say that you’ve paid your dues, I hate saying that, but it’s true. You really do have to practice like we got here because we have been shooting for a long time. Um, and if you want to go faster, get more women in front of you of all different body types, of all different posing and mobility ages, you will learn a ton through that experience, you know?
Humberto Garcia: [00:37:28] How did you get good because I, you know, your portfolio to me is like when I show very talented photographers, you’re definitely one that I show. So how did you was it passion projects? Did you just do model calls? Did you just.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:37:43] I never So this is I guess maybe this is again where I feel like I’m a little more in the divergence. I think I started out my first boudoir shoot was a model call, but I sold it. I sold them a price list in the thousands because I just I never wanted to start there. I believe that what I had learned, at least up until that point, was was valuable enough and it sold. So I, I really learned again, as I said, I was I studied and studied Brice. I started posing women in the portrait genre first. So that really helped me because in some ways this is in portrait. Photographers are going to murder me. There’s like, there’s this restriction at times with portrait photography that you’re, you know, we’re on this backdrop and we’re doing this and we’re in one position and we’re always sitting up or we’re doing. And boudoir, to me felt so freeing. So like in the sense of being able to move a woman upside down to shoot her in any environment I wasn’t worried about. Was there a window showing or was this backdrop? Did I have to like extend this? I felt freed by that. So I was just persistent. And I paid attention to not only what I liked, which was really less important. I feel like photographers get caught up on that. I was paying attention to what people were buying like, so I was like, okay, people really love this pose. How can I do more things that are like this? Why do they like this pose? Why do I like it? So, you know.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:39:17] Which is, again, why I love the sales process so much, because you’re learning a lot about how you should direct your work. Then if you want to make those higher sales, if you are not paying attention to when you are sitting in the sales room, how and what people are giving you, like the feedback that you’re getting from these people who these hires, right? Your customer is literally telling you what they didn’t like about it. It might be anecdotal, it might be one time or what they really, really love about it because they’re constantly buying that shot. So finding more opportunities in your work to provide variety that is like that shot. I try to do that because I, you know, there’s always this the shot that sells with the wings and the mirror where they’re standing backwards with the butt through, like because I’m like, I don’t want to be known as this is, you know, this one pose. So I try to find different ways to give that same effect where the client isn’t totally going to know, but they are. It’s aesthetically pleasing to them and they’re definitely going to say, I want that, I want that image. So that’s in the sense of getting good. That is, I just stay consistent to like my current tone. Toning of my images is the same as it’s been for the last probably two and a half years. Um, that may change. Like I’m introducing things a little bit slowly. I’m, I’m definitely slow to like add things in, but that’s who I am. I’m a perfectionist.
Humberto Garcia: [00:40:42] I’m curious. Photography Question Do you use presets or do you have your own presets?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:40:47] Um, I, I have, I do have presets. They are from a photographer who we no longer speak of in the industry currently, which is fine, but it’s something that I tweaked myself. It’s a look that I that I like. I like a little. I like shooting darker and moodier. I also like a little bit of a matte tone, and I love when jewel tones pop. So that’s I’m looking for those things, you know, I like my my work to look a little luminescent, like it’s glowing from inside out. And I think that you can see that and my, you know, and our skin smoothing and whatnot. I do work with a retoucher who has studied, who studied my style, and she’s she’s wonderful. And she has literally given me my life back as many people who have hired Retouchers know.
Humberto Garcia: [00:41:39] So I will say I definitely started my my photography journey was very fast. It was like I was in the military. I knew I had to get out and I wanted to be a photographer full time. So I was like super into the super ice world. But all of her tutorials made all the backdrops at Home Depot and painted all the Styrofoam. Yeah. Um, and what’s funny is she did a, she did like a creative live where she was sitting there saying like, you’re not, this might, it’s been ten years now, but it was something along the lines of like you’re not a professional until you charge like $1,000 per session, something like that. And I was like so insulted because I was like, What the. I’ve been charging a couple hundred. Like, what? What does she mean by that? Sure. So like, the next time somebody called me, I remember I was in the parking lot of my daughter’s child care and I told the person the prices. I was like, session starts at this, prints start this and, you know, a folio box starts at this. I had no idea. I didn’t have any samples, nothing. I just knew that she said to say that or something along those lines. And I remember the first couple sessions I it was like really hard. I put like a suit jacket on. I had to, like, fake it till you make it. Although I love the product that was showing my clients, but one of the sessions I thought I completely bombed because we went outdoors.
Humberto Garcia: [00:42:56] I wasn’t in love with what the couple was wearing. I legitimately on the way to, you know, do the showing because I was I was I was working out of my house and I was going to client houses. Yeah. I was like freaking out because I was like, this is the worst session I’ve ever photographed. I was super hard on myself. I actually thought as I was getting out of my car and I had a bunch of samples with me, I’m going to refund them. I’m going to tell them I’ll refund them, I’ll give them the photos for free and I’ll redo the session. And for some reason I was like, I was like torn on should I refund them or should I just present like a different option of buying instead of buying 25 images? Maybe I’ll just sell, like, wall collages and triptychs and. I don’t know how, but they loved. They bought only about seven images. They were all really big, you know, it was like a $3,000 sale. And I remember just being like because I was confident, because I presented it in the way, you know, they didn’t love even 30 of the images. They only selected like 11 of like the 50 I showed them. It turned out well. And I just realized like, you know, just learn from this, keep getting better. And, you know, if you believe it, they’re going to believe it. And they were happy with their seven images, you know, instead of. So I feel like.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:44:09] I like with the comment that you said that Sue Brice again, she still inspires me to this day. I think that some people get it’s one way or the other for many, but like, I think there’s more context to what being professional is. It’s that if you are charging whatever you are charging, you need to be able to say why that makes sense in your business. Like you need to understand that for me was one of the biggest realizations. Really understanding what a business costs. Then being able to understand what my time costs are, what I want to make, and then translate that into pricing. Then you have you’re very confident in your pricing because you you understand you are a professional and that you understand how much it costs you. I don’t care. Maybe you you don’t want to make any money at all. I always say that to the people who are charging 200. Maybe it’s not important for you to do that. I’m not going to worry about you bringing down the industry because you’re not going to be here for very long because it’s got you’re going to be you’re going to be tired out by the things that you’re doing and you’re going to start that resentment creep either either because you feel as if you are not being reciprocated with what you are giving and value. And that is true because you haven’t figured it out what that value is. So and I meet photographers all the time, like, how should I, how should I price myself, how should I? And I’m like, I don’t know how you run your business, You know, you have to know those things. Be able to itemize them. And then you need to know how much you feel like you want to pay yourself. It’s just sometimes I think it’s things that are people they’re scared to, to look at the truth that’s in front of them because numbers don’t lie.
Humberto Garcia: [00:45:55] Yeah. So the reason and I asked a couple of photographers to do these interviews with me and you are everyone has a very different story. So there are some that do 20 different genres. They own three different brand names. There’s some that only do you know, whatever. Some people are international, some are men in boudoir. So everyone has like a very unique story. And the one I told you that was unique about you is like you were already successful. Like when me and you started working together last month. And I kind of wanted to like, just get into just that sprint mindset because like for me, I look at projects in sprints of like, Hey, we need to when we set this up, we’ve like set a foundation and now we like move on to the next. And you know, me and you have talked in our slack and we’ve talked on Instagram like what some of the changes have been and some of like the potential growth and like now what the horizon looks like. So tell me that because a lot of photographers, you know, sometimes when I do consults, people tell me like, why do I need you? Because I already make 200,000. And you know, what’s going to happen if I hire you?
Danielle Tirserio: [00:47:00] Well, I think that I think, you know, it’s so funny. This is a terrible maybe to some people comparison. But this is Jeff Bezos. I saw him speaking somewhere. I don’t know if it was on a podcast or he was speaking in some event and he was like, Jeff Bezos is a really big example. So some CEO somewhere said this. He said, I don’t you don’t pay me to make a thousand decisions a day. You pay me to make three good ones. And I was thinking about that and I’m like, That is absolutely why if you want to grow, why, if that is your goal in your business, I’m already doing this. Right. Well, okay, if you’re already doing this and you’re already sustaining this, you have to ask yourself, is it your goal to grow? Because it shouldn’t be your goal to make a million other decisions to do these things. It should be your decision. It should be only deciding on a few things to let other people do it for you and help you grow that way. It’s not my it’s not my job to get into the nitty gritty of how your designer is creating these ads. And while I can give feedback, I’m I’m interested in the big picture of all the things and that you can do to turn conversions for me and how things are happening. So, so in that sense, when you feel like, um, why should you hire someone, you should say so that you can finally grow and sit back and have your coffee while other things, while money is being made for you. That that made perfect sense to me. So it is not it does not behoove me to make thousands of decisions a day and work all hours of the night trying to figure out Google Analytics when you have a whole team of people who know how to do that. So yeah, that’s why.
Humberto Garcia: [00:49:03] And by the way, you were doing well, right? Like you just came off. Tell us about last year, like you came off of a really big year.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:49:09] So last year I actually cut back on my shooting, so I was shooting four days a week and I cut back one shoot and I took the entire month of July off and I wound up being $25,000 more profitable in my profit margins. We didn’t make as much money because if I took a whole month off and I took, you know, some of my that is okay. But I did I was more profitable with some of the things that I was doing. I have a great accounting service and that keeps me down the straight and narrow. And so again, it isn’t always about making more money because I have asked myself and Jen and I have had these conversations in car rides over to the events in Miami. Like you, you need to determine what your goals are. Again, it’s so awesome. I love seeing people succeed and do amazing and do $13,000 sales, but I know how that comparison can get a little discouraging because it’s not For me. It is not. That’s not for me today. What is matters to me and what I value the most is that I get a good night’s sleep and then I am home to see my kids and not she’s already in bed. I missed it because I was late at the studio again. So that that kind of prioritization shift, which is again why I can still continue to grow that business with hiring new people. There will be a curve where I am working a lot to get them up to speed, but you know, that’s why you hire more people in your business too, right? Because you can’t you can’t do it all. And I bet you you have some people that do it better than you.
Humberto Garcia: [00:51:00] Design and writing. All of.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:51:02] It. Yeah. I mean, you have to know what you suck at. You know, Bryce would talk about that all the time. Like, there are so many good nuggets of things that she, she has said over the years and, you know, trickles down in the industry that, you know, it is you really have to focus on what your goals are every year when you’re setting them and make sure that it aligns with your higher self, your true self.
Humberto Garcia: [00:51:28] Okay. So we I think we started almost exactly one month ago. I think I was coming back from France at the time and we said yes.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:51:36] Yeah, I was like watching you like ski in the Alps. And I was like, Hey, you’re doing cool things. I want to do cool things, too.
Humberto Garcia: [00:51:43] Yeah. So the priority was like, we talked, we said, Hey, you just had a killer year and we want to like, increase the amount of leads that like are coming from non sales. So we took a bunch of actions. Like for me, one big thing is kind of like you were saying, like that second pair of eyes of like going through and seeing, hey, like, you know, these ads could be better on Facebook and like we would get, let’s just say we increase the budget and we get better click through rates. And I’ve been like screenshotting some of the click through rates and like removing the errors from Google ads and stuff because you were doing them well, like they were better than to me, 90, 95% of the industry, obviously the results are that you were obviously doing better, but then just going back and like going through your Google ads and like, you know, it seems small, but like doubling the click through rate and the conversion rate, like all those things start to add up. And then, hey, if we improve the landing page optimization where like now we’re getting more leads from the landing page. And one thing, one huge lesson that I have found is like just from working with so many different photographers, it’s not always the amount of leads.
Humberto Garcia: [00:52:49] So I’ve had photographers be like, Well, why? You know, because sometimes when I first started, it was lead count was the biggest thing. And then they would say, Well, why don’t I have 300 like that person? But I had 100. And I would tell them, Look, you told me it was important for you not to chase down 300 people. You’re not going to be calling them that much, like you’re just not that passionate about it. So we set up some gateways on the front end. Maybe we added more questions. Maybe we use more video that people actually have to watch a video instead of just seeing images. Maybe we highlighted the studio product instead of just the digitals and all those things. Yeah, it might reduce the amount of leads, but now we’re getting higher quality leads, higher intent leads. And I think with that, you know, even asking Lauren, you asked me why I put that question at the bottom of the quiz. Like, does it help? And I told you like it’ll probably reduce the amount of leads. But the people that answer those leads are going to answer the phone. The people that answer that question are going to have more recall and more connection to your brand than if they just click two buttons and like hit autofill.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:53:54] I think that that was one of the things. So I was looking at first, I was like, okay, I’m preparing myself to get all these leads. And we actually we it wasn’t it wasn’t a floodgate. In some ways that can be good, too, because you’re just getting your bearings if especially if you’re just we didn’t I had a train booking manager or if you don’t know what it’s kind of good to kind of like just taper that a little bit because you get better at being able to get on the phone and talk to people. But yeah, no, we have the quality of lead is there because Lauren is getting them a she’s doing the things she needs to do to get them on the phone immediately. If she can. Again, she she also she works two jobs and fits this in. Um, but she booked like ten, ten sessions in one week which was we were booking like maybe 1 or 2 here and there. Now that’s exactly what I want to see. Like she was very close to hitting. We were like, You kept checking in. I was like, Well, which day are we starting from? Because she’s had, I think, multiple days where she’s had hat tricks too. So three hat trick is three in a day.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:54:58] And yeah, so she it is and she’s improving because she’s I said when you find something that you like to say and, and it hits up against one of those objections write it down and she will she will get on the phone with me and say, what do I say when this happens? You know, what do I say when? What do I say? Because we have a firm now, we have a firm as a financing option. And she’s like, What do I say whenever they want to to. Finance the session fee. And I say, you say we might not be the best fit for you because if you need to finance $400 or if you need to wait for your paycheck to pay us $400, it can be sometimes, not always, but it is okay to say no. It is okay to say no to someone that you feel like is going to be a longer hassle in the long run. You want a good quality client to get vibes with you. There are people that are not good fits for you and they are a better fit for somebody else and we wish them well and hope that they find a great boudoir photographer for their experience. So.
Humberto Garcia: [00:56:08] Oh, for me, in my like my marketing agency, biggest factor for my wellbeing is starting with projects. And actually that’s kind of like our cheat code is like, I like working with companies like yours, like exceptional photographers, exceptional work ethic, you know, coachable. Like I’m already starting with like an easy project, you know, it’s the ones where it’s like I used to have to, like, convince people to do in person sales. I used to have to I take a client and then be like, okay, I’ll convince them to follow up over phone and not just email. I’ll convince them that pop ups are not scammy. And at every step of the way, you know, with those, I’d be like putting 90% of my time in compared to the Easy Project. So for me, yeah, I just focus on, I.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:56:53] Mean, well, and I think that had they. Yeah. Given that some people are just going to resist you from the get go, I feel like the more that you pretend like you know nothing when you come into a situation, there’s a lot about Google Analytics, Google ads, Facebook ads that I now do not know about that you guys know. So when you were talking about conversion rates and doubling this and you know the click through, I’m like, I think a lot of photographers are like, Oh my God, oh my God. So then you should let somebody that knows how to do it handle that part. The I firmly you’re never going to be able to know, especially with marketing because it’s literally. Other than the clients being hired, that is it. Like if you are if you are not putting a lot of effort time, um, money into your marketing, it will not show on the other side. Consistency as well. Consistency, consistency, consistency. What you’re doing three months before is going to be affecting today. Um, so and it did. And it showed that I was, I was, we were lacking consistency and we also were lacking some forward thought. That is absolutely the kiss of death for your books. You have to be looking ahead and being like.
Humberto Garcia: [00:58:19] How you would you would work on it and like maybe like sprints, but then not like maintaining. So you would like do.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:58:26] And I think that there is value to that as long as you are paying attention to like. If you. Because at some point we can’t I can’t it we were booking out so far from that 5000 gateway that that we were building a pretty good wait list as well. But it was almost like, man, you guys are booking out so far, like we were turning work away. There’s a happy medium there, but you just have to make sure that you’re keeping your pulse on what is happening, how the book, how many good quality leads are coming in and then. How many conversions you’re actually making and how far out that’s happening. Like you really do have to. And that’s in this new year. I was going to do like a Black Friday sale. I think that what I’ve decided now is I’m going to do some kind of like giveaway, that it involves travel, like going to Italy to stay for a month, which is something that I.
Humberto Garcia: [00:59:24] Want to do. Sounds like fun, but what do you think is like what do you think has been like the biggest thing that you’ve done? Like you don’t get No, no one else credit that you’ve done that has led to your success? And by success, I mean obviously the amount of women you shoot, your average sale, the revenue you bring.
Danielle Tirserio: [00:59:44] Um, I think it’s taking responsibility. So I literally this is really clicked for me. So the I apologize. I don’t remember the name of the author. Uh, so I just finished reading The Subtle Art of not giving a bleep. I won’t say it on Facebook. And one of the things he he talks about all the time is that something might not be your fault, but it’s still your responsibility. Okay? And I think that and I was saying this to my son the other day, like, you know, I was like, it’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility. And that is so true in business ownership. So where egos get in the way for for me, the biggest thing was accepting that certain things are not my fault with how my clients behave or interact or do something or don’t do something. Um, but it is my responsibility to change that and, and let go of my ego and not blame them. Never once have I gotten on to a Facebook or an Instagram and talked about how I dislike what a client is doing because it’s my responsibility to change that. So that’s for me, that’s one of the biggest thing, is taking responsibility in your business because you’re the boss and whatever happens is your fault in some way. But it also, if it isn’t, it is your responsibility to fix it.
Humberto Garcia: [01:01:14] So obviously you’re doing really well. You’re definitely up there. What’s it what’s it like? Do you have more confidence? Do you like does the success allow you to do other things in your business that you otherwise wouldn’t have?
Danielle Tirserio: [01:01:27] Yeah, I think, you know, I, I operate, I try to operate from a place now I’m 41 years old, so I really want to speak my truth all the time. And even to this day, like I was getting on with you and I’m thinking in my head, I have imposter syndrome. I think a lot of women do. Like they always are like, you know, well, I’m good, but I’m not that good yet. But I I’m as good as I need to be for me in my world, in my circumstance. And that’s okay. So while it feels good to be at the top, I’m always going to be clamoring to do something different. Uh, my ADHD brain will lead me to to hyper focus and learn something new. I’ve been thinking about working more with video, uh, ever since I worked with a videographer at the only wedding I ever shot. I was entranced by video. I also am very good friends with Michael Sasser, who inspires me all the time. And I want to do more things with moving pictures because I think that they’re just so evocative and I can say that little plug. But yeah, so that’s, I think, again, focusing on. Moving past comparison to determine what it is that is important for you that is so much more fulfilling than what is so and so doing on the street.
Humberto Garcia: [01:02:53] Yeah, I think something that you just said. I think it’s really important that we don’t just talk about where you are now because it’s so easy to say, Oh, well, this is this kind of studio, this is this these numbers, but you are what you do and you are what you do every day. So like, all of your success comes from all the actions you took the last seven years, ten years. It’s not just that you exist and now you’re this and like, no, it’s like every day the decisions you make, what to prioritize, what to put your time into, what to delegate like. That is where all of this comes from.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:03:31] Yeah. Yeah.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:03:33] And it should. It should fuel you. And like I said, I’m. I’m glad to have found some. I again, I’ve always loved working with you and Jen because you’re not going to sugarcoat anything. And I come from a very I only had brothers in my household and a mom who who told it straight like, don’t waste my time. Tell me what you think I should fix and I’m not going to take it personally. And if you find yourself taking it personally, you got to look inward. There’s some introspection that needs to happen because you you know, it’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility.
Humberto Garcia: [01:04:13] Yeah, yeah. And sometimes, you know, we there’s. I’m the first to recognize not everything works for every studio. Like if you don’t love TikTok and you don’t like that format, but you put all your effort into email marketing. I’ve seen people that barely use social media, but like their email marketing is like, that’s their thing. You know.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:04:33] Email marketing is still it’s still there. It’s still there for sure. We still get now that we’ve implemented a drip chain, which is again wild. I’m like like I know there’s people out there that are going to hear this and be like, you know, I’m like, No, we didn’t. And you should be honest with yourself about some of the things that you don’t have. And it’s okay to be like, you don’t have that yet and you’re still okay, or you could improve it. We’ve gotten, you know, Lauren’s like, Wow, yeah, we just got somebody that wrote me back and said, Yeah, they’re ready to book a call. And then she booked and I’m like, Had we not had that system, that’s one person that slipped through the cracks. It’s the long game. It’s the long game.
Humberto Garcia: [01:05:12] It’s easy to also like build an automation and then forget. You still have to email on top of that. So like we’re broadcast or keep building that automation, whichever one you choose. But yeah, got to be consistent. Okay, so there’s probably a lot of people listening to this that are like, Oh, it’s so easy for you because you’re already successful. It was easy for you to decide to hire Umberto and work and adopt this. So what would you say Like was your like doubts even for like the high rollers or like for me, like, because there has to be doubt where you question like.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:05:45] Yeah, yeah, sure. I think any decision that you’re ever going to make that feels like a big chunk of investment is like this better pay off. But I also know that. I’ve seen it work already. So I that I, you know, in a weird way, I came through with high references because I’ve seen everybody that has has done it. I obviously have been in the industry for a long time, but I started shooting out of my house. Not this one, but it did have carpeting like this one. Uh, and I think that. My doubts were. I didn’t put I knew I was in a financial position to do it and that. What do I have to lose here? What do I have to I’m already behind. I’m I was already behind in booking and I had already seen what Nikki had done for me with I feel it was a I paid for the implementation I felt was a great value to me. I was like, Yeah, I’ll pay that much to have them set it up for me and transition all my other products, which can be really stressful for photographers and studios because they it’s like, Well, what am I going to have the time to move these emails and, and migrate things like, that’s a lot.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:07:10] And so I felt like I had all the, the dominoes in place to go. So doubt is yeah, it’s a big investment, but like so is our photography and if you feel like the person meshes well with you and is going to give it to you straight and is going to work hard, which I’ve already seen the team that is so professional working with me. I can ask a question and I have it answered almost immediately. There’s no like there’s no I can give again. It’s got to be a place where I can give honest feedback. It’s not personal. Like I like this or I don’t like this and they give me the same Your team gives me the same. Like, I think this would work better. Okay, great. You probably know because I am not in an ecosystem of working with Facebook ads or Google ads. You guys are. So that is that is the value that you have to think about. Each lead for us coming into the studio, you know, is $3,500. That that is worth it to me to to invest in a company that’s going to assist in getting those those people who are worth that to my revenue and bottom line.
Humberto Garcia: [01:08:20] Okay. Thanks. The last question is, what is your goal in the future? What is what are like the 2 or 3 big things that you’re trying to do in the next year or two?
Danielle Tirserio: [01:08:32] I want to be. Working on my business more and less in it. I want to have higher end sessions with just me that I do less frequently. That’s just me. Some people really, really love shooting all the time and that’s awesome. I think everybody who works in photography or owns a studio does need to ask themselves what matters. I want to do that so I can create more passive income from from other associates that are working with us so I can travel more. So I can really like live, live more of the life that I want to live, which is travel with my kids. I want to go to Italy. I want to stay for a while at Airbnbs in the summer. I want to incorporate photography into that. But it’s not I wouldn’t tell you like it’s going to be a dollar sign. Also investing in property because right now I’m renting a commercial space and every time I have to write that check each month it is. Annoying because it is not. I’d rather be investing in the business with something that is has value because rent.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:09:55] For me.
Humberto Garcia: [01:09:55] I do have a question because I know we talked about this before and it was about hiring. So I know you did the social media. I know now you’ve done marketing, especially the paid marketing, but like hiring, What’s the next step for that?
Danielle Tirserio: [01:10:13] Yeah. So I think that I feel I hate being like, I know I have to be ready, but I do. I have to mentally prepare myself. It requires a lot of executive functioning that I’m not. Stellar at. So actually so funny that we were talking about Chatgpt because I was actually utilizing it to like brainstorm about training photographers and it was doing a pretty good job of creating kind of a step by step outline for that. I feel like my maybe integral step between that is doing a in-person workshop in my studio. I actually really, really like teaching and I’d be willing to have photographers fly in to stay do like 5 to 10 and then just teach them about how evoke runs everything. And that would be a good for me outline of how I’m going to train these associates. So and also just my ability to operate that way, teach everything that I can to those folks in a smaller workshop situation and then and then go from there. Because ultimately I want to I want to be out of it a little bit more and watch because I am 41. I am not going to be a boudoir photographer forever. So if I can set myself up where I can sell my business to someone, um, even if it’s not my daughter, God bless her, she’s three. I don’t know whether she’s going to want to, but we’re going to pass this down. But, you know, I’m forward thinking like that because, you know, I’m 41.
Humberto Garcia: [01:11:58] Yeah, that’s awesome. And yeah, that is actually I did not brainstorm or put that into the book topics that I thought was selling your business. But now that you told me, there you go.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:12:10] That is exactly the only reason. Well, not the only reason why I did have. I had a client who in her 60s was very interested in, you know, how I operate in my business because she ran her own multi-million dollar consulting business in the DC area. It is a huge business. And, you know, she was more than willing to to talk to me about, you know, how she how she did it. It’s a different concept. But we are business owners, you know, it might be scaled down, but these are things that you need to think about in the long term plan. So if that has assisted you in adding another topic, I’m glad because it’s important.
Humberto Garcia: [01:12:51] It’s a big one. Yeah, because otherwise what happens?
Danielle Tirserio: [01:12:53] Yeah, what happens to it and it has value. It has value. And if you have systems set up where it is somewhat plug and play for a photographer. Because everything should be like again. We are artists. Of course we are. And people are drawn to our brand. Of course we are. But you can become a brand that is not just recognized for you. Get your ego out of the way and allow that allow that to happen if that’s your goal. If your goal is to be the face of your brand and that’s your goal. But if your goal is to create something that can then be plug and play for someone else to to use that has value and you can sell it then. You can pursue that as well.
Humberto Garcia: [01:13:37] Yeah, for sure. Well, thank you so much. I got so much insight from this and. Yeah. Is there anything else? Any last words?
Danielle Tirserio: [01:13:45] Don’t think.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:13:46] So. Again, just enjoy failure. Enjoy failure. And know that a there’s lots of people out there that never even took the step to act. So if you are going out and screwing up, first of all, you’re learning about what worked and what didn’t, but you’re out there doing it. You know you’re doing it and you have to keep trying and accept. Criticism and critique that is coming from a loving place that wants to help you grow. You know, obviously there are people out there that give critiques that are, um, that are they’re coming from a different place. But yeah, the willingness to change for sure.
Humberto Garcia: [01:14:29] Yeah, I’ll accept critiques from people in the arena any day, but if they’re on the side doubting themselves, doubting everyone else, then.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:14:37] Yeah, you have to. I. Somebody, somebody.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:14:40] Commented the other day on one of our ads. It’s a gal who’s in, she’s in sunglasses and she’s inside and she’s in front of this mirror. And it’s a cool shot. It’s a vibe. It’s not like. And this girl is like commenting like, why? Why is she wearing sunglasses inside? And I’m like, I wrote back because I’m, you know, I’m quippy. I’m not going to ever I’m never going to battle anybody on Facebook or in comments. So I was just like, I wear my sunglasses at night and I made a smiley face. She’s like, I hope not. It’s just like, listen, everybody thinks certain things are sexy. We incorporate different things into people’s shoots. She loved her Ray-Ban sunglasses, so we incorporated those things and then I peaked her profile just a little bit. And she was, of course, like she was a very unhappy person. So do not take advice from trolls on the Internet. Take advice from people who are doing better than you. And that also is something that I would suggest is if you are in a room and you are the most successful person, you know, get out of that room. Go find people that are doing way better doing what you want to do or where you want to be and study them and follow them, Pay attention to them, pay them for their time. Uh, I’ve always done that from the beginning. I wanted to find people who are doing things Well, I found you, and I found Jen, and I paid you for your time. And you have. It has rewarded me tenfold.
Humberto Garcia: [01:16:06] Awesome. Thanks so much for the kind words and hope you have a kickass day.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:16:10] You too, Umberto. Okay.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:16:12] Take care.
Humberto Garcia: [01:16:12] Thanks. We’ll see each.
Danielle Tirserio: [01:16:13] Other.
Humberto Garcia is the world’s leading photography business growth expert.
Founder of Photography to Profits and high-performance coach to multiple 6-figure photography businesses. Humberto coaches photographers from his special operations military experience and photography sales and marketing experience. After years of high performance in Marine Special Operations and building businesses, he knows what works.