I’m Lisa Kathan and I’m a photographer. I started out with tiny weddings and elopements here in the Chicago area where I live. And I’m still doing that. And I actually also just recently launched brand photography for coaches and creatives.
How were you feeling about your brand BEFORE TBP?
Discouraged, lost — I had been doing wedding photography for about seven years and had a firm grasp of that brand (or I felt I did) but didn’t know how to apply it to a new brand photography service I was hoping to launch. I felt really confident about who my ideal tiny wedding client was and how I could serve them, but I really didn’t know how to serve this new brand client that I had in my mind.
What has stopped you from taking action in the past when it comes to your marketing?
I don’t think I had trouble with marketing so much as I really didn’t have a firm grasp on what it was that made me unique for this new client I was hoping to serve. This was holding me back from more than marketing, it was keeping me from pursuing that entire dream!
What are some things you’ve tried to solve this problem in the past?
I was just spinning my wheels. I’m a photographer, so I kept taking courses on this new service I wanted to offer. It was all very helpful. I don’t regret taking any of those brand photography and marketing courses, but I spent thousands of dollars on these classes and was still terrified of launching this business. None of them helped to answer the big question I had: What is it about me that’s unique, and how can I use those strengths to serve my clients in a way they’re not currently being served?
I didn’t want to bring something to the market that was already being done by every other brand photographer in Chicago.
So, that’s when I came to you because I knew exactly what I needed from a class or a coach, but I really didn’t have a clue if anyone offered it. When I saw that you were offering the Brand Plan and it was just specifically about your brand and wasn’t really about photography or anything, I was like, I gotta do this.
What steps did you take because of TBP to remedy this/these?
The Brand Plan helped me to ask myself some hard questions about myself and my business that I had never asked before. You know when you don’t even know what you don’t know, I just wasn’t asking myself hard questions about myself and how I would work best with people and like what’s creative and unique and special about me as both a person and a business owner – I didn’t even know how to get to those questions.
Through the tools that you offered in the class, I was able to dig into answering that big question I had and find ways I could uniquely serve my clients. I uncovered ways that I’m unique so I was able to begin to plan this new service I wanted to offer. A lot of people think branding is like you’re marketing. But before you can even do that, you have to back it up and know who you are as a business owner and how you can serve your clients.
Once I figured that all out, I created my website and launched it with a strong message, and I honestly couldn’t have done that without answering those deep questions.
The big aha moment: Most Helpful Thing you Learned?
Digging through the results from the StrengthsFinder Test we took was life-changing for me. Then also talked with you about it, and how I could use these gifts to serve others — it gave me so much confidence to see right there on paper that all the incredible things about me were exactly what I needed to serve my clients!
I serve wedding clients and then I serve creative brands. I had my ideal client and approach nailed down for weddings. Initially, I thought it would be something entirely different for creative brands because I didn’t understand what about those clients were similar. And I couldn’t figure out why they’d be specifically drawn to me. So, through that part of The Brand Plan, I realized that they’re more similar than I thought. They have a lot of the same characteristics, and motivations the biggest difference is their exact needs. Their values, the things that are important to them, were the same even though they were totally different clients.
I know that sounds kind of obvious, but I was really struggling with confidence in being able to launch this service, and the Brand Plan gave me the confidence to step out and DO IT!
A year and a half removed, how is TBP still impacting you and your business?
I’ve launched my new service, brand photography for creatives and coaches — and it’s so thrilling because I started booking my ideal clients from day one, without having to struggle to figure out who I was, and who they were. It’s like I was able to confidently hang my sign that I was open for business, and they’ve just started finding me.
I feel like it’s also made me overall more relaxed business owner. I feel a lot more confident and chill about whether or not people are going to find me. I used to stress about it so much like why are people booking me blah blah blah and feeling like it had something to do with me. As business owners, we play these head games of like, “It’s me, it’s me, I’m the reason they’re not booking me.”
Now I can more objectively stand back and say, no, it’s not me, it’s the marketing. Maybe I need to do more to get myself out there, but it’s not me. I believe that I have a lot of things to offer my clients and they’ll find me.
What were the unexpected results or effects of working through TBP?
I had a goal of photographing 6 brand photo clients this year (which felt like a huge goal for me since I am still also photographing weddings). I met that goal and I am actually hoping to surpass it before year end!
What would you say to someone who is on the fence about TBP?
Honestly, you can’t afford NOT to take this course. If you’ve never done a deep dive into your own brand, it’s a must! I had been in business for 7 years before taking The Brand Plan and I learned so much about myself and my business. It’s made me a more confident, more relaxed business owner since I completely understand who I am, how I can serve others, and where I want to go from here. I feel like I’m done having to hustle to figure it all out, and I can just do the work and wait for my people to find me!