To continue PHOTOGRAPHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP 101, let’s talk how you can build a following.
Why have a following?
First question, why even have a following? Why bother? Isn’t social media, blogging, and having someone just like and follow you overrated?
Yes and no.
A “like” on social media really doesn’t mean much. It just means someone who was bored and looking at their phone in line at the grocery store, scrolled through their feed, and double-tapped or pressed the little heart icon on your photo.
A “follower” on social media is just someone who clicked “follow” on your social media account.
What we want are “true” followers.
A “true” follower to me is someone who is committed to the same mission statement as you. Someone who believes in what you do. Also, a true follower might buy your products (digital or physical), attend your workshop (online or offline), or spread the word about you.
A true follower is someone who is committed in terms of their time, attention, heart, and wallets.
Money isn’t always important. Often, someone who zealously defends you, or spreads the word about you is as valuable as someone who pays money to you.
Why follow someone?
I can only diagnose my behavior, in terms of why ERIC KIM will follow someone.
- I want more of their stuff: I will follow someone on social media or their blog or website, because I want to hear more from them, see more of their stuff, and I believe in what they believe in.
- I want to support them with my dollars: I’ve bought books from authors I admire, because I wanna support them. Even though I know they don’t really “need” my money, it still makes me feel good good about myself.
- I want to be like them: I follow Elon Musk and Kanye West because I want to emulate them and be like them. I wanna help empower humanity like Elon, and I want to innovate in culture with Kanye.
So why would someone follow you? Do you actually have something of value, or do you make “dope” (good) stuff that people actually want? Do you have a compelling mission statement? Are you interesting?
A simple suggestion to build a following:
Avoid being boring.
Tactics to build a following
- Cross-pollinate: promote yourself on different channels, and make your channels or accounts link to one another. Cross-pollination: imagine a bee going from one flower to the other, cross-pollinating all the flowers as it goes. Everyone benefits.
- Publish useful stuff: show your worth, knowledge, integrity, and intelligence as a photographer. Publish useful blog posts that empower your reader.
- Find like-minded people: you want to build a following of people who belive in the same values as you do, and you want to empower them. You don’t want negative folks, haters, or random people following you. You want a small, yet focused following.
1,000 True Followers
I got this idea from Kevin Kelly: to survive and (eventually thrive) in your business as an entrepreneur:
Build 1,000 “true followers”
His definition of a true follower: someone who will pay real money for your products, services, or attend your workshop or event.
To think about it, you only need 1,000 paying customers to make a solid business.
Using ERIC KIM as an example: my bread and butter is teaching workshops and curating experiences.
When I get 16 students to invest $2,000 USD to attend my workshop, after expenses, my profits will probably be around $20,000 USD. That’s a lot of money. All I need is $40,000 USD a year to live “comfortably” in America. So for myself, I only need around 30 students (a year) for me to make a living.
Imagine now, if I had 1,000 students, each paying $2,000 USD. This is where things get interesting from a business standpoint. In theory, that would be $2,000,000 in income a year ($2 million).
How to get people to invest in you
But how do you build enough trust to get a student to invest $2,000 USD for your workshop?
1. Build trust over a long time:
Most of my students who attend my workshops have followed me for at least 2-3 years, and read my blog for a long time, watched my YouTube videos, downloaded my free presets, and read my books.
I’ve “been in the game” in the street photography world from 2011-2017, aka 6 years of building my brand of ERIC KIM. And to be frank, that’s not even a long time.
Moral of the story: hustle hard for 5+ years, and you can make a good living from your passion.
2. Offer value
What value are you offering your customers?
For a workshop, I’m offering confidence. Courage. To help people become re-inspired. For them to “conquer their fears and meet new peers” (note how catchy rhyming mottos work well).
For a travel experience, I’m curating an unforgettable time in an exotic and foreign place. I’m selling adventure and excitement. That’s what travel is all about.
So what are you really selling as a photographer?
If you’re a wedding photographer, you ain’t selling photos of the wedding. You’re selling the memories of their special day.
If you do commercial work, you’re not selling headshot photos. You’re selling an image of professionalism and trust. The company will use the “professional” photos to also further sell themselves, their brand-image, and legitimacy–to have their clients give them money too.
3. Create insane value
To sum up,
Offer insane amounts of value to your customers. Offer more than you take.
For example, I’m selling confidence in my workshops, which will compound interest for the rest of a student’s life. Additional confidence in their photography will also be additional confidence in their personal and business life.
If I teach a workshop on Photography Entrepreneurship for 10,000 USD, and my students can end up earning 200,000 USD, that’s insane value.
To once again sum up:
Offer more value than you take.
Learn how to make a living from your passion:
- Chapter 1. How to Create Value
- Chapter 2. ZEN CAPITALISM
- Chapter 3. Scarcity
- Chapter 4. How to Brand Yourself
- Chapter 5. How to Build a True Following
How to Make Money with Photography
- Why You Should Make Money With Your Photography
- Photography Experience Economy
- How to Charge More Money in Your Photography
- Why You Should Not Pursue Photography as Career
- Can Photography Make You Rich?
- How I Earn $200,000+ a Year From Photography
- How to earn $10,000 a month as a photographer
- Why you must be an expensive photographer
Photography Marketing 101
- Why You Should Do Photography Work For Free
- How I Became an Internet Famous Photographer
- Photography Blogging Ideas
- Why You Should Promote Your Own Name
- How to Build a Following
- How to Stand Out as a Photographer.
- HOW TO GO VIRAL AS A PHOTOGRAPHER.
- How to Master Marketing
- How to Sell Yourself
How to Hustle.
- Entrepreneurial Advice to My 18 Year Old Self
- How to Become Insanely Productive.
- 5 Lessons From Hesiod on Hustling
- It is Better to Beg For Forgiveness Than Ask For Permission
- The Free Way to Become Rich
- JUST DO IT.
- 7 Steps: How to Make a Living From Your Passion
- How to Do What You Love for a Living
- How to Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
- How to Fail Big
- How to Invest in Yourself
- How to Be Bold in Photography and Life
- Mission: Cover Your Rent and Food
- 1,000 True Fans
- The “10x Principle”: The Only Difference Between “Success” and “Failure”
- Make More Value Not Money
- We Live in a Photo Utopia
How to be a Full-time Photographer
- How to Make a Living From Photography
- The 3 Principles of Making Money With Photography
- Advice for Aspiring Full-Time Photographers
- Don’t Go Into Debt For Your Photography
- How to Brand Yourself as a Photographer
- Trust: The Most Important Thing You Need to Succeed as a Photographer
- How to become rich from photography blogging
- How to Make a Living with Blogging
- 50 Blogging Tips For Beginners
- How to Start Your Own Photography Blog
- A Photographer’s Guide to SEO, Blogging, and Social Media
How to Teach Photography
- How to Become a Photography Teacher
- How to Teach a Street Photography Class
- Why I Teach Street Photography Workshops
- Why I Deleted My Instagram
- The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers
- Why Do You Need More Likes or Followers?
- Instagram is Going to Be the Next Facebook
- Don’t Trust “Free” Photography Social Networks
How to Save Money
Unleash your creative potential:
- April 10-11th, 2021: BOSTON / Discover Your Unique Voice in Photography Workshop [Register Intent Here]
- May 1-2nd, 2021: CHICAGO / Street Photography Composition Masterclass [Register Intent Here]
- May 22-22nd, 2021: NEW YORK CITY / STREET PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS by ERIC KIM [Register Intent Here]
Be notified of when new workshops are live here.