Nate Dale of New Adventure Productions is a destination wedding and elopement photographer based in Lafayette, Indiana. While Nate and his wife, Felicia, live among the cornfields, Nate used to have a dream of photographing travel-loving couples in epic locations around the world. And, today, that’s exactly what he’s doing!
Nate has strategically and intentionally created his dream business, and in this episode of Priority Pursuit, Nate guides you through the steps of creating a successful business where you’re able to sell what you love AND work with your dream clients!
Note: While Nate is a wedding photographer, the tactics he used to create and position his business can be used by any business owner. If you’re ready to sell what you love and book your dream clients, this episode is for you—regardless of the products you sell or services you offer!
1. Decide what you want your business to look like.
In order to sell what you love and to create your dream business, the first thing you need to do is decide what you want your business to look like. For example, what do you want to offer? How do you want to serve? Where do you want to serve? How much do you want to work? And, most importantly, how do you want your business to affect your personal life?.
According to Nate, growing your business doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a slow growing process that centers on knowing your market and how you want to serve your clients. However, you will reach your desired results much faster if you get specific about your goals and know how you want to build—or even transition—your business.
2. Identify your ideal client.
After you’ve decided what you want your business to look like, you need to get specific about who you want to work with by identifying your ideal client. Be intentional with this step because your ideal client will be at the core of all of your marketing efforts and business decisions moving forward.
While you may want to have many shared interests with your ideal clients, it’s okay when you don’t have everything in common. It comes down to honing in on those characteristics that make up your ideal client and defining those characteristics of who you really want to work with.
In this episode, Nate shares his ideal client avatar: Kristin is a 28-year-old woman who graduated from Purdue University. She and her husband own their home, enjoy travel and food, and value their time with friends.
Nate, of course, isn’t literally marketing to one single person. But, when you take the time to identify your ideal customer and get specific about who you want to work with, marketing your business is going to be much easier because you know exactly who you’re talking to.
3. Curate the work you want to do—even if you have to do some of the work for free or at a loss—to build your portfolio.
Okay, before you stop reading because you saw the words “free” and “at a loss,” hang with me. Because, here’s the thing; you can’t sell what you can’t show.
When Nate first started as a wedding photographer, he knew that shooting weddings with cornfield backgrounds was not going to catch the eye of his dream clients who were looking to elope on the white sanded beaches in Waikiki, Hawaii or on the stunning plains of the Salt Flats in Utah. As a result, Nate, decided to build his portfolio by traveling to these destinations and arranging curated, free shoots and attending styled shoots so he could show what his work would look like in these epic locations.
You might be thinking, “This is great info. but I’m not a photographer.” And, THAT IS OKAY! You can still curate your portfolio with whatever it is you want to sell.
For example, maybe you’re a hairstylist who wants to start offering extensions or more high-end services. You can start exploring that option by finding a friend who is willing to let you give them extensions. Then, take photos of your work, and share these images on social media and in your portfolio. You can also ask this friend to share their experience and promote your work on social media in exchange for your time and investment.
You might have to get creative, but regardless of what product or service you offer, this tactic can be used for your business!
4. Don’t be afraid to ask or make offers.
Strategically curating your work will certainly help you sell what you love and book your dream clients, but do you know what else will help you reach your goals? Simply asking your ideal customers if they’d be interested in your services and making offers that will meet their needs.
According to Nate, there’s a lot of power in asking for what you want. But, when you ask or make an offer, you need to do so with clients’ best interest in mind.
For example, in this episode, Nate shares how he booked a wedding in Italy by simply serving a couple well and then offering to shoot their wedding. Nate met this particular couple through a previous bride and groom. Because the couple knew Nate had served their friends so well, they reached out to him about shooting some engagement photos in the states.
Nate knew the couple was planning a destination Italy wedding, and traveling to Italy had been a dream of Nate’s. While he had only been booked to shoot the engagement session, Nate knew he had an opportunity to wow this couple and potentially shoot their wedding.
After an incredible shoot in Michigan followed by taking the couple out for dinner, Nate said, “I know you’re getting married in Italy, but I’d like to offer my services to you and here’s what I can do for you.”
And, you know what? The couple booked! They had no idea that Nate was willing to travel so far, and because he clearly stated what he could give them and had already served their socks off, the couple was thrilled to fly Nate to Italy to photograph their big day!
With this in mind, don’t be afraid to ask and make offers. You don’t want to be salesy and pushy, but when you serve your clients well and clearly state how you can solve their problems, you’re much more likely to get yeses that will transform your business.
5. Only share what you want to shoot (or work on) again.
As you’re building your portfolio with both curated and paid work, you also want to be strategic about what you’re sharing online. I mean, have you ever heard the phrase, “Perception becomes reality?” Well, this is 100% true when it comes to what you share on social media, your website, etc.
It might feel like you need to share any and all of your work on social media, but in reality, you want to be strategic about the photos you post and feature (even if you aren’t a photographer). Because, what you choose to share will determine what your clients see and the kind of work they expect from you. With this in mind, according to Nate, you only want to share photos of what you’d like to photograph (or work on) again.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer who doesn’t like shooting barn weddings, don’t share pictures of barn weddings.
But, if you love shooting at the beach, on top of mountains, or outside a rustic cabin, share content that features those experiences.
Basically, share images and content that reflect and meet the needs of the clients you want to serve.
Side Note: If you’re a wedding photographer, this is NOT to say that you shouldn’t photograph any and all details and events of a wedding day. While you want to curate what you share, your job is first and foremost to SERVE your clients. So, capture it all; just be strategic about what you share.
6. Develop content specifically around what you want your business to look like.
How do you get your dream client’s attention with more than just images of your epic photo shoots on the Big Island of Hawaii or in Italy?
Nate suggests creating Instagram Reels, blog posts, videos, and other forms of content that your ideal client will find helpful and will help them connect with you.
For example, Nate gives travel tips and hacks on some of his blog posts such as where to get a great Mai Tai on the Big Island of Hawaii, places to stay while visiting the Salt Flats, and suggestions for the best airlines.
This kind of value-added content helps build that trust relationship with your clients and shows them that you’re the master of your craft.
The most important key to being able to sell what you love: serving your clients well.
The tactics Nate explains in this episode of Priority Pursuit will absolutely help you sell what you love, book your dream customers, and be excited about what you get to do for a living.
But, if you really want to build your dream business, Nate argues that the most powerful thing you can do is to serve your customers well.
So, as you move forward with these tips, keep your clients’ best interest in mind, help them feel informed, be there for them, and be a resource and person they can trust.
Now, friend, if you’re at the point where you have figured out what you want your business to look like and how you want to serve, it’s time to use these tips to start selling what you love and begin working with your dream clients!
Want to hear more from Nate of New Adventure Productions?
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Did you enjoy this episode? If so, pin it to save it for later! Follow me on Pinterest for more marketing, business, branding, and boundary-setting strategies!