I love learning about people who are earning 6 figures in a relatively obscure niche… especially when they’ve grown that business to where it is in just a few short years.
Sean Oblizalo has built an incredibly successful adventure elopement photography business. If you’ve never heard of that before, you’re not alone.
While elopement photography may be relatively obscure, what isn’t obscure are the strategies he used to build his business to 6 figures in such a relatively short amount of time.
This interview is a gold mine for any freelancer who’s struggling to get website traffic, leads, or clients.
In this episode you’ll discover:
- How Sean built a six-figure business in just three years
- What inspired Sean’s unique business idea
- How you can harness the power of SEO for your business
- Why Facebook ads aren’t for everyone
- Why incredible copywriting is crucial for your website
- How to get incredible copy even if you’re a terrible writer
- Why systems and processes are crucial for building trust with your clients
- The hidden benefits of building trust with your clients
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The Six Figure Creative Podcast
Education and Companies
Fuel Your Photos – Facebook Group
Brian: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast.
Brian: I'm your host Brian Hood. And I am here with a, a wonderful guest today, a guest that I'm excited to dive into his business because he has a very unique business model and one that I have not seen before. And one that when you hear about it will make a whole lot of sense of why it's been so successful in the last years.
Brian: Just because of what everything's going on with the pandemic and everything. But this is our guests, Sean, and I'm going to try and get your last name, right? Sean Ozawa was that.
Sean: Yeah, dude, you nailed it.
Brian: Got it.
Sean: Good job.
Brian: yeah. Thanks for coming on the podcast, man. So, really quick, Shawn, can you tell our audience what exactly you do?
Brian: Like what's your elevator pitch? Cause I know you have one, right?
Sean: Yeah. I mean, I hope so. So I basically do like adventure allotments. So couples who like their whole relationship is generally built and formed, like doing stuff outside together. So we connect and go off to the mountains and get married. So it's like, it's exactly how it sounds that adventure elopement it just as I have, like the preconceived, like [00:01:00] connotation of like a, an allotment, like running off to Vegas with like,
Brian: So just to clarify, you're doing photography and is it videography as well as, or just photography?
Sean: Are you doing photography? And then I, I kinda, I'm a, I'm a self-proclaimed elopement and ninja. So I got the ninja phrase from like I used to work in a restaurant, so they call like OGs, like ninjas. So like you just know how to like, navigate everything. So I call myself an a ninja, so I basically help with all the planning, permits logistics on the front end.
Sean: And then I basically like, hang out with couples and take pictures and picnic and smoke weed and drink beers on their wedding day.
Brian: So again, just so everyone's on the same page here, Sean takes people out into nature, helps plan everything, all the logistics. And if I went to your website, which is valleys and peaks.com. It's like hilarious. It's actually almost like the, just juxtaposition of seeing a bride and her beautiful white wedding dress hiking through the mountains. So this is the kind of experience that you provide people.
Brian: And it makes a lot of sense because with 2020, and even the first part of 2021, [00:02:00] there were either no weddings at all, or it's really hard to get a venue and plan all this stuff around it. So a lot of people were just saying, screw it. We're just going to go out into nature with someone like Sean, a, an elopement ninja and get hitched out in the woods or in the mountains somewhere with a beautiful surrounding we either with a very small group of people or just with Sean and the two people and maybe a, an officiant.
Brian: I don't know if you can actually, can you, are you a wedding people yourself, I guess you're not. Cause you need to take the photos of it.
Brian: and then people are saying, that's what we're going to do instead of. The big, huge wedding where we have hundreds of people in attendance. So that's what you've been up to, which is a really cool it's a really cool, I guess, offer you would call it.
Brian: It's just a cool service that you offer people. So Sean, whenever you applied to come on the show, you, you mentioned some stuff, you said that you had 20, 20, despite was it, was it 2020 was one of your best years ever, despite obviously the terrible stuff that happened with the whole wedding industry. And, you were able to still pull in six figures.
Brian: Was this a pivot in your business or was this the thing that you set out to do from the very start as a photographer?
Sean: You don't do like, it's really weird. I felt like I was one of the few people who [00:03:00] like benefited off the pandemic wall. Like there's like a lot of little suffering, but I've, I'm in such a niche market that like, it was kind of just right place, right time. Cause I was already doing allotments before COVID happened.
Sean: And so like when COVID happened, like everybody was like freaking the out about it. And like, like, oh my God, like, I just had this whole big ass wedding. Summer's here. My, what did you have to happen? And like, people just were like, dude, I still want.
Sean: to get married. And then like, it was crazy. Cause a lot of people had like, are really wanting to do this in the first place.
Sean: And then they like felt like super immense pressure from their friends and family or like their family and stuff like that. Or like, oh, we wouldn't to have a wedding. And so like I was gonna lose inquiries like just last minute, like a month, two months out from like their wedding day. And I'm like, we've been wanting to do this anyways.
Sean: So like, like this is perfect and we're just going to do it. So it was just kind of right place, right time. And I was already doing a little mint, so it was just, I was just there just, it was just like, there was just a funnel. It was, it was like a snowball of craziness.
Brian: Yeah. I mean, I can't, I can't even imagine. So like the fact that you were doing this [00:04:00] before the pandemic happened is super interesting. I'd actually like to know how you got into this in the first place. Cause I would imagine a lot of wedding photographers, pivoted from traditional weddings, the things that you said, like people are pressured into doing.
Brian: And I understand that, especially in the south is as a, as someone who's born and raised in the south, like a full on wedding is your only option. There are no options for elopements in the south, unless you're just like doing a shotgun wedding or something. So how did, how did you even get into this in the first place with something?
Brian: So non-tradition.
Sean: Yeah, So my story kind of goes back like a number of years. So like I graduated school like seven years ago and then I was like, I don't know what the hell I want to do. I was like, I got like a job and sat behind a desk and with the socks. And then, so I went and worked at a restaurant instead.
Sean: Cause I was like, my, that was my fallback. I always did that. So worked there for like five years and then I picked up photography and I was like taking pictures outside. Cause that's where I like to spend my time. And I was like, dude, this is tight. Like I want to become like just a nature photographer. I was like, you know, Instagram was starting to go kind of crazy, you know?
Sean: But I just couldn't get in at the [00:05:00] time, to like the big followers, like the gross stuff, like people that got in early, it just like crushed it. So, you know, I was like applying for jobs, like north face, Patagonia, all that kind of stuff. And people were like, well, you don't have like 600,000 followers.
Sean: And I'm like, well, I don't see like, why that should be like a baseline for why to hire someone, but, okay. So then fast forward, like 2018, my wife and I, we, she has like, she suffered something really bad anxiety and stuff like that. So like the idea of like having a big ass wedding, like was like, no, like she was like, I'm not doing this.
Sean: And then she was like, we should have. And I'm like, what is that? I was like, what the hell is it a low man? So she's like, well, we can just go do some by ourselves and we can just go somewhere really cool and do it. And I'm like, dude, that sounds sick. First thing popped in my mind, I'm like, alright, big ass mountains.
Sean: Like, where's the coolest place we can go do this thing. And then my wife was like, no, no, no, no, no. Like she's not, she's not into the outdoors. Like I am. She's like, I'm thinking like cliffs castles, like ruins. and I'm like, okay, well there's two places in the [00:06:00] world like this or Scotland there's Ireland.
Sean: That's the only places. So we just went on Google and typed in like coolest castles in Ireland and found us, they, something booked different. Tography her never talked to her. It was so goddamn spontaneous because I, looked back at my process and how like people interviewed me and stuff like that. I'm like, I do like a three-step process, the books, and one, we just like hit someone up and we're like, dude, we're going to come out to Ireland.
Sean: Can you shoot our wedding? I'm like, that's crazy. So then we're like standing there, like sharing our vows and I'm like, just like sitting there, I'm like, this is insane. Like I should be doing this. We hired this photographer to be doing this. Like I sh and I'm outdoors, I'm taking pictures. Like, why can I not do this?
Sean: So we get home. I hit up like five friends who were like married. And I was like, yo, do you want to dress back up in your wedding clothes? And I'll just take it, take some pictures of it. And so that's what I did. And then I did it and I built the website. I'm like, whoa. So how do I get bookings? And then, then the real[00:07:00] work happened.
Sean: It's like SEO, Facebook
Sean: ads, all that crap.
Brian: and I, and I want to get it, all of that, but I, I just want to kind of pause and, and, and, and kind of like, talk about that for a second, because so many people did exactly what you did. They may not be allotment photographers, but they, they had some sort of background where they were their target market.
Brian: They like, in your case, you are the person that wanted to get a lope. 2018. Okay. So that was a thing that was happening around then, but like it wasn't definitely, it, wasn't where it is in 2020, and now 2021 where it's like, this is a thing that so many people have done. It's, it's almost normal now it's the new normal, as people would say, but you, you, you, you are the target market.
Brian: You scratch your own itch in some way, shape or form, or you kind of cobble together your own package there. And then you thought, how can I do this for other people? So like, I see this in music production all the time, people that are like, I was in a band and then I started producing my own music. And then I thought, can I take these skills and bring them to someone else?
Brian: You see this in the videography market, you see this, this is pretty much everywhere. It's so many people in the creative world, they're in the creative world as a [00:08:00] business owner because they first scratch their own edge. They had some sort of passion around it. And then they said, how can I monetize it?
Brian: So they don't cheat it, which you actually did in a really good way. You, you went out there, he did some free work with some friends. You got them dressed up in the wedding clothes. You took some photos to build your portfolio, and then you put a website up and then you hit the, what I call the oh moment, which is. What do I do now? How do I actually get clients now? Because the
Brian: contrary to popular belief, if you build it, they will not come that's that's the way it actually works. People think it's the opposite. People think it's, if you build it, they will come. It doesn't happen that way. So, Sean, what did you do? You built your website, you got your portfolio together.
Brian: You had this crazy adventure for yourself. So you fully believed in the allotment process. What did you do from that point?
Sean: So after that, like I basically learned how to do Facebook ads. So my first year I got like 20 bookends, just like based off Facebook ads, it was like, all right. I'm like, that was great. It was like, you know, more portfolio building, stuff like that. It wasn't like I was [00:09:00] learning a lot of stuff. Like, I honestly didn't know what the hell I was doing.
Sean: So like, it was just like trial and error. Like, I'm just gonna figure this out on the fly. So then the second year, like during that summer, I was like, yo, like, I need to figure out SEO. So like I hired an agency to do it. They just didn't do crap for me.
Brian: I have heard like nothing but horror stories of people hiring SEO experts. And so I'm terrified of doing this myself, but can you tell us what you did with the SEO expert that you would never do again? Would you ever try to go to an expert again or
Sean: no dude, SEO can seem overwhelming and it can seem like it's, as you'll never be able to do it. But the main thing is, is like, you have to find time to do it and you have to be like, you have to stick to it because you're not going to see immediate results. like you would like maybe on a Facebook ad, you have to like, literally wait it out.
Sean: But I was super lucky because when I started working on my SEO, it wasn't as competitive as it is like now because of what? was it? A blow the hell up. So [00:10:00] like, I was like gradually building out my stuff. So I was moving up rankings a lot higher. Cause it wasn't so competitive. So then like my SEO, like during that, like, you know, like seven months, eight months, like really starting to, build up.
Sean: And so like when April had like, you know, like after COVID was going on, my SEO was like pretty good.
Brian: just to clarify, just so people don't are, are tracking along with the terminology. SEO just stands for search engine optimization. And that just means he was being found on Google when people are searching for specific terms and certain things like elopement or a little bit of photographer, he'd come up on Google and people would find him through that.
Brian: So just, I just want to make sure people are following along. Cause if, people don't know what that means, there'll be so lost right now. But you said you started to rise up in the ranks. You were getting a lot of traffic around this, around the time COVID hit because people were starting to search for this.
Brian: And this is how people were finding them set of Facebook ads at this point.
Sean: Yeah. Yeah. So like my, my search volume, like, you know, before COVID was like me, I'm like 20 to 35 hits a day and I thought that was sick. I'm like, this is cool. Like I'm getting hits like I'm doing. And then like [00:11:00] they started going up higher and higher rankings. And then like, it was like this perfect combination of like, My SEO was good.
Sean: COVID was happening. It was like, and then it just like, I was like, my things are skyrocketing, like a hundred, a hundred twenty five, a hundred fifty clicks a day. Then I was like, damn like, so it was like, you know, basically like during that time I was like, so sending out stuff to get backlinks and all that kind of stuff and like hire a copywriter, like do my whole website.
Sean: So it was like just an investment of time, money, energy to get to that. So it wasn't like, just like, coincidentally, I just got crazy. It was like a lot of work to get to that point.
Brian: Yeah. So let's talk about that because I know SEO is a huge driver of your business at this point. And for anyone listening This is what I would call top of funnel. If you know what a sales funnel or marketing funnel is, you have top of funnel, which is. All of the awareness you have for your business.
Brian: That's typically a website, traffic, middle of funnel is like all the people that are interested in you. There's people that come to your website and read through your stuff. And there's bottom of funnel. Those are the people that are actually have desire to work with you. That's people that have filled out your form and you have like a sales call with, [00:12:00] and then out of that comes money.
Brian: That's kind of like the, the funnel in a nutshell. And what Sean has done is he's built. He started out with Facebook ads has this top of funnel, his ways of generating awareness for his elopement business. And then he moved to SEO, which instead of having to constantly pay Facebook or mark Zuckerberg has money to get people to his website.
Brian: He instead invested in. What I would, I would call this a form of like farming instead of hunting, where you're paying Facebook and trying to get people. And then if you stop paying Facebook, you stop getting paid. He decided to, to, to invest. But the, so the, the, the SEO world so-some seasoned the SEO game, which is starting to put out articles, starting to put out hired a copywriter.
Brian: So can we talk about some of the strategy around SEO? Because that's a long, that's a long-term game that can continue to pay off because you essentially are getting free traffic to your site now, is that pretty much it, like, you're not going to pay anyone. You've got consistent people coming to your site that opens up all sorts of opportunities for like split testing.
Brian: If you're a nerd like that, you've got all sorts of ways to, it's just, it's just a such, such a better [00:13:00] way to be. If you can get your business that way. Can you talk about the strategies you employ behind actually SEO, because I don't think we've really delved into this topic very far, especially in the photography niche.
Sean: Yeah. So I think for me, like one of like the big things I would do when I first started was like, just submitting my work to like, for publication to get like back links. And so that really helped like build my domain authority and stuff like that. And then I registered for like free like registries and stuff like that, wedding registry.
Sean: So I'd like register my name and like, it was free. So that would help as well. But. The one big, like turning point, I felt like was just like a copywriter investment. Because I, I'm not a good writer. And then, so for one, so, and then I just like, couldn't really like, if you're going to rank high, you want to sell yourself at the same time.
Sean: So I was like telling myself, like, yo, like this is gonna be a big ass investment. It was like post like four grand. I'm like this people, like I have, you know, keywords like, and help me get all of this kind of stuff. Just dial in. I had to do like a personality test that [00:14:00] interviewed previous couples, all this kind of stuff.
Sean: It was a huge undertaking, but I did that right before. COVID also so like my website was like basically optimized. It was copywritten for me. And so like that, like just like kind of fast forward, like there's so many times I get people in inspire me and they just booked me on the first console.
Sean: Cause they're like, I don't need to talk anymore. Cause I already knew who you are. If you're. And I'm like, I just like, I'm like, dude, this was like the best investment ever. So like copywriting might not be like a direct correlation to SEO, but like, if you're pushing on blogs and all that kind of stuff where you're ranking Jaime's blogs and it's like setting off your tone and stuff like that, it's 100% like worth the investment.
Brian: So I actually take this back to the funnel analogy where you have top of funnel, and that was SEO was driving all of this traffic to your website. And then it reached the middle of your funnel, which is your website. And this is where so many people mess up. And this is where you were. I don't know if you're genius, are you just having to do the right thing at the right time?
Brian: But this is where you optimize your website. You had someone write all of the words that persuade someone to actually [00:15:00] invest thousands of dollars for you to be there, elopement ninja. And so this is where a lot of people mess up. And this is where I see people mess up all the time. You mentioned Facebook ads earlier, and I want to go back to that later, but so many people try Facebook ads and fail, and they have no idea why they failed.
Brian: And the reality is it's because their website sucks. The page that they're sending people to sucks. It's not written well. There's no, there's no, nothing about your personality. There's no, it's just bland, dry. Poop. It's like, it's just boring. And, and I I've read your site. A lot of it. There's tons of copy on your side.
Brian: Just mean for anyone not following copywriting or what copies, it's just words on the page. Just well-written words. You ha it's really well written. And especially at your about me section, like your about me page on there is where you start to put even more of your personality on out to people. So people kind of feel like they know you before they even talked to you on a, on a discovery call or whatever you want to call it.
Brian: But that was the, that was the genius thing. You had the top of funnel thing going with SEO. You invested into that, you optimize your website with a copywriter and that increased the conversion rates on your website. Meaning [00:16:00] more people are contacting you. You know, when they actually hit your site.
Brian: And so from there. want to know about the copywriting side, because that's, that's a whole other can of worms because SEO hard to do long-term investment. There's some words you mentioned earlier that I want to get back to like there's so many, this is going to, this might be a long conversation. I don't know,
Brian: Sean, hopefully your host, hopefully you're down for this.
Brian: Cause I like to
Brian: write out a lot of this
Brian: stuff, but I want to go to the copywriter real quick, because this is an area that I've looked to do and, and I'm intimidated by hiring a copywriter because how do you find someone that is a worth the money for grant is no small investment for copywriter and B understands you and your personality and your voice.
Sean: Yeah. Well, So I interviewed like a couple of different copywriters and then like the first person, like I actually hired, like she got back to me and was like, yo, like, I'm just going to be honest. Like I have actually been thinking of like getting out of copywriting for a long time. So I just don't want to like, do this for you where like, it's not going to be like my full.
Sean: And I was like pretty heartbroken because I was like reading it on her [00:17:00] website. I'm like, this is amazing. Like you sold me on you so fast. And I was like, I want you to do it for me. So then. I ended up like one other person who actually coincidentally lived in Denver so she walked me through a process and like, I was like, dude, like, this is like really, really thorough.
Sean: Like the fact that they're interviewing my previous couples, they're giving me a personality test. Like, they're like, I'm like, they're giving like three different copies of the website to go through. Like, it was like a two month process. It was like, no joke. So I was like, I'm going to just, I'm going to do this because I know that like, I need to do it.
Sean: It wasn't like a thing wrong. I'm like, oh, should I do it? I was like, I need to do this. Like, because it was like, I needed someone who can sell me. And that was the biggest thing. And like, so it was just crazy. Like I just have a huge, huge appreciation for who I hired because I know that I would not be sitting in the position I'm in right now without someone who can write.
Sean: Legitimately sell me as a person. Cause that's people book me for me more than they booked me for I [00:18:00] photos. And it's crazy to say that. And I it's just wild and I, I love it though. It's like, it's super cool that people just want to hang out with me.
Brian: Yeah. So I need people to really sit and pay attention for this part. So if you're multitasking, like come back to me, come back to me for a second while you're on your walk, or while you're doing dishes, come back and pay attention to this part. This is really important. Sean did something that very few people innately understand in the creative world.
Brian: They think that just because I'm good at what I do, people are going to hire me. That's not how it works. You have to sell people on what it is that you do. Sean is taking part. One of the people's biggest days of their lives and he's doing something that's quite unusual. So for them to take this chance on someone that they've never met in their life is a huge deal.
Brian: And even though Sean is good at what he does, the reason he gets clients is not just because it's because when he does it's because his website does a great job of selling him to those people. So again, as creatives, even if you were amazing at what you do, even if you were the most creative, [00:19:00] passionate soul and whatever you do, no one is going to hire you.
Brian: If you don't properly sell what you do and they sell it through benefits, they sell it. Or Sean, you sell it through a lot of benefits, statements on your website about the benefits of doing what you do, you do through a lot of through education, educating people on the whole process and what it's like and what to expect you do it through your personality and it all hinges on the copywriting on your site.
Brian: So can you, are you going, what are you willing to share who you worked with for copywriting on this.
Sean: green chair stories.
Brian: Cool. Well, we'll have them in the show notes for anyone who wants to check them out again, just because it works for Sean does not mean it's going to work for you because everyone has a good voice for certain types of businesses or certain types of personalities. So just keep that in mind. Like if you don't don't think that if you hire this person, who's going to fix your broken business.
Brian: There's still so much more that goes into it. Another part of the thing that Sean offers is it's a service people actually want. That's the thing that a lot of people miss out on is not having something that people actually want to pay for. So let's go back now a little bit to SEL, because you mentioned two words that I think kind of breeze over people that weren't paying [00:20:00] attention and things that I still am trying to learn myself and get my head around.
Brian: You talked about domain authority and backlinks, and I know those two things go hand in hand. Can you explain those two things when it comes to SEO?
Sean: Yeah. So like, and I guess in layman's terms like a backlink is someone like, so for example, if I submit my an allotment for a publication where like a wedding checks, like a website who has like really high domain authority with, so like they would take my photos and they would take like a small written write-up about it and they would post it for on publication.
Sean: So like when people go to their website, they can like, see like inspiration. So like, Oh, I send out like a semi elopement and someone goes to wedding chick's website and they may stumble across like, oh my God, I can get married and new. Some of you, this looks really cool, but when they post my photos and then my writeup, they generally a link back to my website.
Sean: So back link. So then I will get, so wedding ticks, like domain authority is generally like zero to like a hundred. So wanting checks is like, I don't know, like [00:21:00] 50 or something like that. And So, Google notices or like, see recognizes like, Hey, like this is a high domain authority that is linking to this person has a lower domain authority.
Sean: That means that this person is either like knowledgeable or a professional in this industry, the wedding industry. So Google says, all right, we're going to bump your domain authority.
Brian: So, this is almost like just to simplify it and almost dumb it down really far. This is almost like a popularity contest. You're like these websites on a scale of one to a hundred, are this popular. And by sharing a link to your website, they're sharing some of those popularity points with you and saying, you know what, I've I vouched for Sean?
Brian: He's he's also legitimate. So you should bump up his domain authority. Is that essentially how it works?
Sean: Perfect. Yeah.
Brian: Yeah. And so, and honestly, we, we joked about it at the game. This, this episode, like this interview is a good way for you to generate a backlink from our website, from our show notes page, we will send a link, a back link to your website for 4,000 peaks.com and that'll help your, your SEO.
Brian: So is there anything around SEO? Anything else like what's, what's your core strategy for [00:22:00] making traffic work? Are you doing intense keyword research? Are you like what is your process? Is it your blog that's generating traffic mostly? Or are you like, what, what are you doing essentially to get a lot of SEO, Google.
Sean: Man, I will say like the majority of my job is actually spent on my computer trying to do SEO stuff. So I feel like, and this is my, my thought process on it. I feel. The reason I ranked higher than most people is because I find time to work on my SEO while a lot of photographers wait, told their end of the season to work on SEO.
Sean: I'm a year round SEO person. I think a lot of people will work on like somebody publications and backlinks for like, you know, the little period of like November through like may, I'm basically finding time to do it all year round. So updating logs producing new blogs like updating just information.
Sean: So like, for example, like, you know, if a wedding permit at Rocky mountain national park is sold out for the year, you go [00:23:00] on there, update 20, 21. No more permits are allowed this year. Just stuff like that. And then also just trying to get more backlinks throughout the whole year or paying for backlinks and stuff like that.
Sean: It's another thing I started doing this year.
Brian: Yeah. So that's, that's super interesting. And you said something that I also want to point out, you said you S you take time to work on this year round. And I, and this is, this is just another part of working on your business. We, this is what we talk about a lot on the podcast, working on your business versus working in your business.
Brian: When Sean is out on location with these couples, doing these shoots, he's working in his business, he is doing the work, the technical work that a lot of creatives only want to do. They only want to do that stuff. The fun stuff, what Sean does. And the reason he's successful is because he works on his business year round.
Brian: And he says, I'm going to, although it's not necessarily the most fun thing in the world, what is fun is the benefits that you gain from working on your business in this manner year round. And, and this, the other thing is with Google, I know Google rewards. Consistency so regularly, updating your blog content, I believe is a, is a really good way of staying [00:24:00] a high on the Google search engine result.
Brian: Is that.
Sean: Yeah, that.
Sean: that is definitely like, that's why, like, you know, there's like plugins, like I use one plugin, it's like a last big plugin. So like when I upped a blog and like, and I tried to do it regularly, even if you're just throwing in a new keyword somewhere on, like, it will have like the latest update.
Sean: And it'll say like October 28th, this Google crawls. The page is like, oh, this person does this other kind of things you can do. You can like change like the posting date. So like that will Google see it as like a, a newer post versus like when it was actually published. That's another strategy I use sometimes too.
Sean: So just stuff like that, but yeah, I mean, it's just like, it's a year round thing. It's like never not something I work on.
Brian: All right. So where did you learn all this stuff? Cause that's a whole other thing is like, this is not something that's common knowledge for, especially for creatives. And so I'll just tell you right now. I don't know the first I'll say I do know the first thing about SEO, but I don't know the second, third or fourth thing about SEO.
Brian: So how do you, where did you learn all this stuff?
Sean: So another shout out. So like I'm in a Facebook group for like wedding stuff. [00:25:00] And then they're, they, someone mentioned like this course called fuel your photos and it's a SEO course. I, this was like, right at the time I was like hiring this. I was paying this other company. I'm like, this is not working.
Sean: This is not working. I'm like, I'm just gonna figure it out myself. I'm an idiot. Like I can do this. So I bought this course and then it was like gates for open. It was like, yo, like here it is. Here's all the information you need. Just like, just find the time to do the work. So just head down into the course I was paying some of the instructors to do like one-on-one sessions.
Sean: So this is before I was even making money. So it was like, Hey, what is the strategy you have? Like in like, you know, people want to automatically just go for like the biggest search volume, like, you know, Colorado and photographer. And he's like, no, you don't have any domain authority. You just have to go for the low-hanging fruit, like look at the sprays and see like you can rank higher, faster.
Sean: So it was like, you know, just strategizing, like, how am I going to tackle this.
Brian: So finding the keywords that have maybe a hundred, 200, [00:26:00] 300 views per month, that, you know, you can rank number one or two four, because those start to add up, you start putting out one of those every single week. And pretty soon you're starting to get it from a couple dozen website views a day to a couple hundred, to even thousands sometimes for some people in some, in some niches.
Brian: So just for people, if you were interested in that course, we'll have that in our show notes as well. If, if my, if my, a podcast producer can, can find that specific course, but I do have a question. I wish the show notes, by the way, it's just that whatever number episode this is for six-figure creative.com.
Brian: So this will be six figure creative.com/ 1 7 2 will be the show notes for this episode. And any other episode you're listening to. But would this work with this SEO course? Only photography. I have a feeling that it's, it would work in really any frame, any freelance world, right?
Sean: Yeah, I mean, I think it's kind of like, it's more niche to like photography. Like I would say that, but like, I mean, SEO is like, it's the same It's like nothing you don't like, just feel that I'm a, a wedding or a lumen fire doesn't mean it's like anything different than like a plumber. Like you use, you [00:27:00] basically just have the same strategies.
Brian: yeah. And I know this because my background is in music production. So like I can talk the same business game with you as a photographer, as someone that's a videographer, as someone who's in graphic design or a freelance writing, like it's very similar business model. So I imagine that if this SEO course worked for you, it could work for other creative niches as well.
Brian: So so that was one of your big turning points as far as learning the skill of SEO. Is that right?
Sean: I would say like hands down the biggest.
Brian: Yeah. So if you're the owner of that course, you can snip it. Shawn's video there. I'll give you authority to do that for a testimonial for your chorus.
Sean: Yeah, Corey Dillon, man. They're, they're really awesome guys. And they're just always down to help. Like they're like responding to Facebook questions all the time and I'm like, yo, like you guys are just, and for free dude, like just nice people.
Brian: What is the the Facebook community called?
Sean: I think it's called like the community is called fewer photos also.
Sean: Like, Yeah, So fuel
Sean: your phone,
Brian: We have all the links for this episode in the show notes as well. So let's talk, let's talk the fun nerdy tool stuff. Like when it comes [00:28:00] to SEO, I know there's a, there's an insanely broad, unique set of tools for the SEO world. All of which I've stayed completely away from because it intimidates me.
Brian: What, what tools do you use for SEO?
Sean: dude. I'm like super weird. Like some of this stuff, sometimes I put my blogs, like I literally just like type in like Colorado a little bit photographer and it says like other questions asked, you know, like those boxes and Google. I just answer those questions.
Brian: Yeah, I've actually heard that before. So the whole strategy is you type some common keyword, you know, is getting a lot of traffic from your ideal customer base. Anyone searching for Colorado Lowman photographers is your ideal customer. Like I hands down, but it's going to be really hard for you to rank for that.
Brian: If you're not already ranking for that, because it's going to be a very competitive keyword. So what you're doing, Sean is essentially saying, I'm going to scroll to the bottom and, or bottom more top. I don't know what page it would be. And I'm going to do this right now, actually. Nashville recording studio.
Brian: That's I'm in Nashville. I'm a recording studio guy and you're scrolling to, I think it's the bottom and it [00:29:00] says related searches. Yep. And so you have Nashville recording, studio rates, historic Nashville, recording studios, Nashville, recording studio jobs, Nashville recording studio experience. How many recording studios are in Nashville?
Brian: That's actually one right there. You could quickly do. You could do some research and put out an article and rank for that specific thing, even though that might not be your target customer, that's basically what you did. You would use that resource. Come up with things to write about. Essentially
Sean: Yeah. I mean, like I do that and like, and just like, it's a frequently asked question. So like I would put out a blog post and then like it would be like about co like, for example, like the, you can solve Saul knives in Colorado. Right. You can mirror yourself. So like, I did like a self salinization guide, so like I would type in self Saudization and I'm like, what are the other frequently asked questions?
Sean: And it's like what states can you self solve mys? Can you bury yourselves in Colorado? So I would just do like an H two header and put that in there. And then I would just fill out the information and then go down to the next issue. Header, just answer all those questions.
Brian: you could, you could start with saying, what is Solomon or Solomon? [00:30:00]
Brian: What it sounds awful. I don't know what that is, but I don't want any part of it.
Sean: sounds like a game of Thrones thing.
Brian: Yeah. That's exactly right. Okay. So so as the L has been a big turning point, and so that has increased the traffic coming to your site and did you hit it at like the right time?
Brian: Cause you were prepping for the storm that eventually came, which was COVID and no one could have planned for it. You just happened to do the right thing, the right strategy, the right place at the right time. But you also were prepared by having a website that converted well. Are there any other things that, that you're you're seeing now are trends that are helping your business moving forward?
Brian: Is it referrals? Is it social media? Is there anything else that you see being a big trend for you going forward? As far as helping her.
Sean: You know, like, so every year I've decided like I'm going to do something new. Like I'm not really focused on it to hone in it, you know? Like, so the first year it was like SEO, like last year not this last year, but like, or four, like, I was like communication. Like how, how can I make everything like streamlined for one and informative, [00:31:00] but also just let people know that like I'm giving you information, but I'm always here for you.
Sean: And so like, cause I come from the, I come from a restaurant background, so like, customer service has always been like somebody who's been ingrained in my, my system. And so like, I'm like, I don't want anybody to ever feel like they're leaving this experience, not feeling heard or not like, you know, feel like I wasn't there for them.
Sean: So I was like, how can I do that? So I just streamlined emails. I made like guides. Like I was like always around for people. So I just wait, try to integrate like my background in service to like my business. And I think that's also really helped me give her.
Sean: an upper hand because like, I just think that sometimes people just like, aren't very organized and they can't really delegate or, and me like, I'm just like, hyper-focus like, I'm just gonna make this the best experience ever for someone. So that was one thing I really tried to work on.
Brian: So we talking about streamlining streamlining communications. Is this [00:32:00] presale or post-sale, or just a combination of both.
Sean: Post And what I mean, I would say like, pre-sell like I have like a, I have like a couple of email templates that I send out, like 72 hours, seven days, like just follow up stuff. Like during like the booking process and stuff like that, I sent over a questionnaire. I send over timelines as in the vendor list.
Sean: This is a little I do the first year? I just texted him like, Hey, show up at this time and meet me here. Now it's like, everything's outlined, you know, like you're, this is the step-by-step process. Do your days look like this? No matter what.
Brian: And I feel like if you don't already, this is part of like, I call this client onboarding. You seem to have put together a really good client onboarding process that helps prepare people, set expectations, know how help them understand where to be and when to be there, what to have in have ready to be there.
Brian: Like as someone that. Did not get this right in, in my background, in the studio world, this backfired on me so many times when I was just getting started because bands were coming to the studio, they were wildly unprepared. They didn't know their songs. They didn't have new guitar, strings and guitar and drum heads.
Brian: And like [00:33:00] all these stupid things that are like, duh, you need to help them prepare for this stuff. It's your fault. As the business owner, if your client doesn't come in prepared, what are some of the things that you have found has been the most helpful in onboarding clients for this very niche service as a.
Sean: I sent over a questionnaire, like after booking, which has really been helping me, like, it's like basically to ask like, Hey, what kind of scenery enjoy? How many miles you want to hike? Do you have any underlying conditions? Do you want to do sunrise or sunset? Like all these things. And so like when I get that questionnaire back, like I send them, look, I read it over.
Sean: I send them a location list just based on their answer. If I like go through, like, I have a whole. Basically I'm like master location lists. So it's like breaks it down from like mileage best time for sunrise and sunset. So I read over the questionnaire, I'm like, okay, so I'm matching them up with the perfect spot, send them over the location, lists that, get that.
Sean: Then after that, like I send them over like a pack list of like things they should bring and stuff like that. And then I sent over a timeline. So it's like, [00:34:00] everything's like super streamlined, but it's also like matched to every puzzle. So like, they feel like it's personalized to them. I'm not just sending like a 12 mile backpacking trip if like, they're like, dude, we only hike two miles a day, you know?
Brian: Yeah. this relates so well to like so many other freelancers, because like, if you're in the videography world, if you're doing anything outdoors, you have to account for a light angles and you have to understand, like, they have to understand like for you in photography, especially because if someone wants a specific backdrop, you have to time it so that the sun is not directly behind them.
Brian: Right. Cause you don't want them to be a silhouette in the photo. So then you just like, if we want to do this location with this backdrop, we have to be there this time or else the sun will not be in the right position to light your beautiful faces correctly. And this in the audio world, like even with us, there are certain things that we have to take into account.
Brian: Like if you want these instruments or this type of thing, we have to go to this studio because they have these specific pieces of gear. So it's like, I can see this amongst so many different uh, freelance niches, because. all of us have these weird nuances that we have to walk our clients through.
Brian: And we have something [00:35:00] called the curse of knowledge. The curse of knowledge is I've done this so many times that I don't even know what it's like to be a newbie again. I don't know what it's like to be doing this the first time again. So I don't even know what I'm supposed to educate them on because I already know this so well at heart.
Brian: So how do you overcome the, that sort of curse of knowledge and help them prepare for this thing that they've never done before? Even though you've done it? Dozens, if not hundreds of times at this point,
Sean: Yeah. So I, I have like a client guy that I sent over also. It's like 50 pages, like, Hey, what should you pack? What, like, how should you invite family members? What kind of place should you look out for your Airbnb? Like that kind of stuff. But dude, like for real, like . Last week I was in new 70 and like the road got shut down and like we had to do like a couple of different locations instead.
Sean: And like, I was like talking to my homie and I'm like, yo, like there's never a point in time where I'm not confident in what I'm going to do. Like people will trust me so much. Like, they're just like, they're like, dude, you know what, where you're going to do. Like, we trust you. And like there's never a point in time where I'm like freaking out and like, cause I used to be like that.
Sean: I used to be like, dude, I [00:36:00] can't do this. Like I just like go to work. And it's like, just like another day of like hanging out. And I'm like, just like, that's how streamlined and easy everything is right now. And I it's so nice to be at this point. And I was just like, it's just crazy. People just have a lot of trust in me.
Sean: I think that's like the main point of it.
Brian: Well, I mean, any creative offering a service. Has to have that amount of trust with their clients. Their clients have to have that amount of trust for you because in the music world, like artists are coming to you with a song that they've crafted from their souls. It's, it's a piece of them. And if they don't trust you with their music, it's going to be a very tough contentious time in the studio.
Brian: If you're a wedding photographer or a little bit photographer, like this is the most special day of their lives to this point. And if you mess this up, if they don't trust you, it's going to be a really tough time. It's the same in any sort of creative world. So you've done a really good job of, of building this trust through a, a really good website that's well-written and helps build trust and authority from the very start and then be putting together a really, really good step-by-step process for onboarding clients [00:37:00] and that confidence.
Brian: Shines through in the project itself and allows you to have a really good relationship with them because when things go wrong and this is where you'll start to find this stuff breaks down. If things start to go wrong, roadblocks come up, which will inevitably happen. Like you saw when the road at Yosemite was down, was shut down.
Brian: That's when people start freaking out, if they don't trust you, and if you haven't done the time and put in the work to build that trust, when the roadblocks happen, it's going to, it's going to erupt. I can't tell you how many times I saw in my past in the studio where arguments broke out and tensions were high and it was, and it all came back to me being my fault, because I didn't do the work to get all the processes in place where they trusted me to be the, the one true source of, of decision-making when things go wrong.
Brian: And I think you've done a really good job of that. if you don't want me to ask him, why was the, the road in the seventies.
Sean: They were like anticipating like the big storm that came through California. so like, they just kind of shut it down for like safety reasons. So, but Yeah.
Sean: I mean, like, it was, I had [00:38:00] three different couples who all were putting, getting married up in that general area and we just like pivoted, but I grew up going to somebody for a long time.
Sean: So like super familiar, but like, . I was literally talking to my homie. I'm like, yo, like if you're like a photographer, who's never shot here. And you're working with a couple who like, is like paying you and this road closes down what you'll know where else to go in this park. Like that was SOC. And so like, I'm like, I'm, that's another thing too.
Sean: Like Colorado, you, somebody like, I'm just like, I know these places, like back in my hand having, so we have this year to like trail closures in Colorado and stuff like that. Like the night before we find out, I'm like, yo, we're just going to go to this trail, like five miles on the road and go to this one instead.
Sean: And people, first instinct is like automatically freak out because it's your wedding day. Like this is the biggest day of your life. is changing. 18 hours before forest. Like you're about to get married, but you just have to exude confidence and reassure people. Like it's going to be fine. Like, just because the location's different.
Sean: Doesn't make your date any less special.
Brian: Yeah, and this [00:39:00] is another another huge benefit of being niched down to such a narrow specific thing is that as you have seen all possible scenarios that have come up in this, because you've been doing this specific thing for long enough, and also your background is being outdoors and being around it, you're perfectly equipped to handle these sorts of things.
Brian: Whereas if I'm an everyday wedding photographer who does traditional weddings, and I decide all of a sudden, I'm going to start doing elopements in nature. When these sorts of robots come up, you have no idea what to do because you have not specialized the way that Sean has. So you have this unfair competition over people that are not specialized like you are.
Brian: So take, keep that in mind, if you're someone who's been dabbling in a lot of different things, a lot of different services and a lot of different areas, and none of them really. Synergistically to each other, keep in mind that there are people like Sean out there that are so zeroed in on a specific niche that they can, they can completely clean, clean you up if they have to, because they're so, they're so much better than you at the specific thing.
Brian: That's just one of many things that you do because you don't, you refuse to specialize. So keep that in mind.[00:40:00] Sean, are there any times whenever you were building, building this business? Cause it sounds, it sounds, and this is the, the negative and the danger of interviews like this. It sounds like a picture.
Brian: Perfect. So easy, no roadblocks, like you just zero to six figures in just a few years and wipe your hands and move on. Cause you did it. Like what, what sort of struggles or roadblocks did you hit along the way as you're building this.
Sean: I will say like flat first year was brutal, like would that Facebook ads and it's because I'm missing a B completely translate. It's because Facebook ads are not meant to bring in your ideal couple. You are targeting people in a broad spectrum, but while SEO that people are searching for you or people that are like legitimately passionate about like what they want to do with you.
Sean: So like, for example, like you might just see an Instagram ad where you're just like, oh wow, that's an old woman that looks cool. We can just do that. And then like, so like it's not really breeding your ideal couples. So now, like the people I work with are people like, well, I'm like, dude, like we [00:41:00] vibe and I know they're, they're investing in me like versus like, you know, I feel like Facebook and Instagram ads can be a lot of bargain shoppers, like, and stuff like that.
Sean: So now it's like, I'm just getting, people were like, Hey, you're charging this.
Sean: once we're down to do it. That was a big one. I also hired another photographer this year. That was like a, that was a. Like a struggle at first, but like, we're definitely in a really good place now. And that was more so just like egos, that was a big, I felt like big ego battle.
Sean: but now we're like in a, just a really good place. So like, those are like two, like, I feel like my two biggest roadblocks.
Brian: Yeah. So you, you didn't mention this. And I did, I did want to go back to the Facebook ad thing. So you did, when you first got started, you were doing Facebook ads. You said you got 20 bookings from it, but it sounds like those bookings were not necessarily ideal. you talk about those.
Sean: Yeah. It's just like, you know, it's it was like, I feel like just people like were just like, you give them enough. It's like, stuff like that, you know, it's just like, [00:42:00] wasn't like people who were just like, they value you. Like the people I work with now, like I tell, like they value me as a person and that's because like, I have this trust in my website and people find me organically versus like an ad shoving it down their throat, you know?
Sean: that was the biggest struggle I was finding is like, people just like, I just didn't feel appreciated as like a person necessarily. It was like, they either get their photos back. I'm like, oh, can we edit this and this? And like, now it's like, I just send people photos and they're just like, it.
Sean: This is dope. Like, I'm happy.
Brian: What were you charging those types of clients compared to what you're charging now? I'm just curious.
Sean: I think I was like charging like $2,000 and then it was like, just getting haggled, you know, it's like, for me, I'm like,
Sean: it. like, I'm working two jobs anyways, I'm working in a restaurant. This is a side thing I'm just trying to build up at this point to like, have it been to be my, my one thing. So I'm just like, I just need to just take bookings to just get experience and to like build a portfolio.
Sean: And I know it sounds like, kind of like a way of saying it, [00:43:00] but if you're saying anything other than that, you're a lot like anybody else that tells you anything else like about that is a liar, because that's what everybody has to do. And wedding industry, you have to build a portfolio, you have to get experience.
Sean: that first year was just basically that.
Brian: Yeah. And, and I also want to, just, the reason I ask that is because I was looking I saw a meme that I've seen a million times. I'm sure everyone else has. It's like the $500 client versus the $50,000 client. Whereas the $500 clients, like I think this investment I'm making in you is going to change my life forever.
Brian: And I just want to make sure we're on the same page and the blah, blah. It's like this long text of, of like, I have texts from the $500 client. And then the 50,000, our client just says money sent thanks. And that's it. That's pretty much it. So like, I feel like part of it is now that you've, you've done all the work to where you can command higher rates.
Brian: You're just naturally as a byproduct of, of charging premium rates for your services, you're naturally weeding out the, what I call bottom-feeders for lack of a better phrase that are [00:44:00] the people that if you give them an instant, take a mile, are the people that are nightmares to work with the people that ask everything what I called vampire clients.
Brian: So I think that's a huge part of it as well. And, and I agree it's probably difficult. Some of those higher tier clients, because of the differences between Facebook ads and SEO. And just to clarify, you touched on this, but I want to even push it in further with, with SEO, you have what's called searched or intent based search where people are searching for things with intent to buy something or the intent to actually need the service that you have, which is ultimate photography, because they're searching for phrases around a love of photography.
Brian: They're either researching it because they're interested in it. Or they are about to book one and they're looking for a good one or they're looking for a place to do it. And so they're really high quality, high, high intent leads. Whereas on Facebook, you know, it could be somebody like sitting in their underwear, eating popcorn with crumbs all over them, that just your ad pops up in front of them.
Brian: And they're like, oh man, I didn't know I could do this. This is kind of cool. I'm going to fill out his form and contact him. And you know, it's like, you just [00:45:00] never know what kind of person you're getting yourself in front of. So but I do want to touch on. 20 bookings is nothing to be, to shy away from because so many people are at the point where they're like, I'm trying to build my portfolio.
Brian: I need, I need to get those 20 bookings from the people in their underwear with crumbs on their stomach that are not a good fit. You know what I mean? Like I need those right now. How do I get those from Facebook? So can you talk a little bit about the Facebook ad strategies you employ whenever you're doing that back in the day?
Brian: How long ago was that? First of all, and then a
Brian: little bit about the strategies.
Sean: 2018. Honestly, so that was another, I bought a course. I bought a course that was like Facebook ads and stuff like that. And man, it was just trial and error. It was like building different landing pages, putting different call to actions, putting different, like all this I'm just like try it for a week below a couple hundred dollars try every week below a couple hundred dollars.
Sean: So it was just like trial and error. So that's basically how I got that point, but I was working at a restaurant still, so I was like supplementing the business through that. So like, I wasn't like just relying on that. So that was like how I was getting the [00:46:00] bookings, but yeah, it was just like a . Nightmare, like nightmare first year hard.
Brian: Facebook ads or one of those things that there are some benefits from it. Like you can learn really fast, which is the trial and error thing. You, you go through that trial error loop really quickly. Whereas with SEO, it may take six months before you learn if something worked or not. So there is some benefits to Facebook ads.
Brian: You can learn what messaging is resonating with people and that sort of stuff, but it is really hard to learn. It can take time and it can take a lot of money. It can suck a lot of money away from you. Like I probably spent, oh God, I probably spent 10, $15,000 on Facebook ads before I made my first dollar.
Brian: And so it can be a huge money suck, but now I've spent hundreds of thousands on Facebook ads, very profitably. So I still love them, but SEO much better if you can get that to work. So for people that are listening right now, like Facebook ads might sound super sexy and it might be the right move for some people.
Brian: If you're the analytical type, like Sean, who will sit, who will understand what a landing page is understands, what a call to action is understands how to test things and do the trial and error and is willing to lose the [00:47:00] money short term. If that's you, it may be something to try out, otherwise, go down this other route, look to maybe hire a copywriter or up your copywriting skills, put together a really good website, invest in SEO.
Brian: Do some of the things that Sean talked about, maybe go buy that course that he bought and invest in the long-term because that's going to pay off, I think dividends over the Facebook ad thing. Cause I'll tell you right now, Facebook ad that landscape changes drastically very quickly. And so something that worked a month ago may not work anymore, so that can get wiped out from under you completely.
Brian: If you're.
Sean: And do you like, I mean, you solved this Lisa when Facebook and Instagram are down, like, you know, like that, that could happen. Like those could be gone one day. Like people, like there will never not be a search engine. that's my biggest takeaway is like, you know, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, those can all just go wait
Brian: that's true. Yeah. So with that in mind, like this is something that I've, I've been thinking a lot about and talking a lot about and something I want to bring to our audience a little bit more is actually building an email list. Is that something that you've done because of that reason you just talked about, whereas you can [00:48:00] lose your social media accounts, you can lose you know, Facebook can change its rules or kick you off their platform.
Brian: Even Google can change their rules when they update, because certain things that they don't want you doing, they may change the rules. And all of a sudden your site is not ranking anymore for certain keywords. So have you been preparing for that? Have you been building an email list? Because that's the area that seems the most stable long-term for, for not getting wiped out from under.
Sean: you know, like I, I'm putting all my eggs in the SEO basket. That's kind of where I'm at. Like, I just really focus on that. I'm really up to date on like, you know, the, the algorithm changes and like all that kind of stuff. Like this year I've spent couple of grand on just getting my, my speed optimized.
Sean: Cause I know a Google one to like, you know, new us speed ranking factors. So I just spent a couple of grand on doing that. So it's just one thing like we're, you know, when you're reinvesting in your business, just don't skip out on it. Like just put it in there because it's gonna pay off. And if you don't do it, you're going to regret it.
Brian: Yeah, this is some, this is something I actually wanted [00:49:00] to mention. And just point out to people is that you, throughout this interview, you have just talked over and over again about reinvesting, whether it's buying a course, hiring a copywriter, hiring a photographer to go with you on things to now speed up your website because that affects search engine optimization.
Brian: You try to hire the, the agency to do your SEO. So can you just talk a little bit about your, your mindset around reinvesting in your.
Sean: kind of put it like this. Like, I would rather pay someone who is a professional to do something that I'm not necessarily good at than me try to do it and be at it. That's the same reason people hire professional photographers and hire some of hiring their cousin, like on an iPhone. Like that's the exact same thing.
Sean: Like you just pay people who are professionals to do the thing for you to like, make your.
Sean: business better.
Brian: I've heard a phrase that I, that has resonated with me. And it's a, it's this people sell like they buy. And so if you're the type of person who you try to do everything yourself, and you'd never [00:50:00] invest reinvest or buy solutions, it's really hard to sell yourself as a solution to someone else. So again, like if you're the type of person that like, like Sean, who constantly buys help, whether it's a course, whether it is a, a consultant, whether it is an agency, whether it is employees, you're constantly investing in yourself.
Brian: So when it comes time to sell your services to somebody as a way to solve a problem or give an outcome, you have no problems doing it. Cause there's no mental blocks around that. So people people, sell like this.
Sean: Yeah. even with like my success, there's like, for example, my wife And I are like, we're, we're adding on album sales this year as like, you know, a side hustle, extra income for her, like that kind of stuff. so like, I'm like, dude, I don't know how to do that. But I know that I don't want to do it I don't want to just put out a album. And like, because I don't want that to be the lasting impression of their experience. They have this great elopement and also they get this crappy album. So I, I was like, all right, we're gonna buy this course. It's an album. Of course it was like five, [00:51:00] 600 bucks.
Sean: And then, so like just basically tells you how to, how to build an album, where to get your albums, how to price your albums, all this kind of stuff. And so even this year, like, I'm like, all right, we're gonna buy this because I don't, I wanna, I want you to be professionally done with this. I want you to be an expert at this, and because you just want, you never want to cheap out on someone's experience.
Brian: Yeah. And so again, this goes along with premium only pricing your services. If you want to be, if you want to be charging thousands and thousands for your projects that. Be willing to invest in learning how to be the best at something. So again, if you're doing all of this stuff for them and then giving them a terrible photo album with all their memories in it, that falls apart in a month, it's not a good experience if it's laid out terribly.
Brian: And they're like, why is this photo overlapping this photo? Why is this look so bad? It's just a bad, like, that's the thing that you're leaving people with. And if you want referrals from people, you want them to look at that book that you gave them, that you sold them at the end of the day and think this is a really good investment.
Brian: I'm going to absolutely make sure I recommend Sean and his team at vows and [00:52:00] peaks
Sean: even then, like, we were like, we bought the course and we bought test albums. So we're like, okay, we want to see what these look like in person. We want to see like, are they still up to our standard? And then we were taking pictures and we built out a pricing page for it and stuff like that.
Sean: We call it actions how it works. Like it's just like, you know, it's like this continuous cycle where it can get repetitive, but it's like, all right, like this works like this, what we're doing works. What says keep building on it. What else can we add? That adds value and stuff like that.
Brian: That's great. So if you, if you were talking to, let's just say talking to yourself from a few years ago, what, what advice would you tell yourself? put yourself in position, somebody struggling to get to where you are right now. What would you tell?
Sean: Dude. It's really just like first of all, stay humble. Like I am definitely a person who's a pessimist. So like anything that happens in my life, I freaked the out and then I, I hyper-focused on fixing it or not letting my success go backwards. So just find time to do the work.
Sean: Like I [00:53:00] can't, I can't emphasize enough how much time I put into this. It wasn't like, it was a lot, a lot, like I will say, like the timing was perfect, but the amount of work and time I put into this was so much, it's like crazy. Like I have this crazy success now, but like how you spend it.
Sean: 5% of the time on my job is spent with the couples. The other, like 1% is smoking weed with them. And then like the other night, like 94% of my job is spent behind a computer. Like that's it, it's like editing and doing SEO and everything else. But like, and that's the majority of my day, I wake up at five and I work til my wife gets home at six.
Sean: That's why I think every day.
Brian: Yeah. So there's a, there's the analogy of the iceberg where everyone sees the success, the tip of the iceberg, but they fail to see the 95% that's in beneath the water of all the work that went into it. There's a quote I really love that says, the harder I work, the luckier I get. And I think that's a really good, you're a real good picture of that, where yes, you [00:54:00] are the right place, the right offer the right time.
Brian: No one could have planned this worldwide pandemic and how everyone would be moving to a Loehmann's, but you were the one who put in all the work to benefit from that. And you could call it luck, but at the same time, had you not put in that work, you would have not seen the results that you're reaping today.
Brian: So I just want to commend you for that. if people want to check you out, learn more about you, where would you like to send our listeners?
Sean: I mean, thousand peaks.com where you can follow me on Instagram, like bows underscore and underscore peaks. Like I think like those are like my two big ones.
Brian: Cool. Yeah. That, that both of those links will be in our show notes. If people want to follow you and see what you're up to on there. And if, obviously if you're in the Denver, you're in the Denver area, right?
Sean: yeah, yeah, yeah.
Brian: Yep. If you're looking to get a loped in the Denver area, you know who to talk to as well. So, Sean, thank you so much for coming on the podcast,
Sean: Well, I appreciate it, man.
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