Do you want to know how to make more money, better your business, and build a strong community with other pro photogs? Read on.
Caution: potentially depressingly relate-able content below. Viewer discretion advised.
A new year's upon us. Let's make a resolution to cut out the financial stress you may feel from professional photography. IPS Mastermind is the ideal place to learn how to build your pro-business so there is no end-of-the-year stress.
Artwork by Tim Gouw; retrieved from Unsplash.
Now is the time of year when photography forums and groups are inundated with professionals posting and gloating their glorious sums of earnings and detailing the fact they’ve far exceeded goals and financial expectations: ‘from rags to riches! I quadrupled my profit margin! Record SMASHING year! How did it happen?’ - they blare.
How did it happen?
If you’re like me, you scroll hastily past these posts, as my reality isn’t the same. But, alas, it’s all for naught as the glaring numbers can’t escape the longing eyes. And so, in the end – though not intended to be – the posts result in nothing but a mockery of the minuscule personal numbers squeezed out this year.
But what is it?
They aren’t the only professionals. They aren’t the only ones with fancy equipment and a few clients. They aren’t the only hard workers; talented ones!
No, they’re not, but you know what? I’ll tell you what – because now I know what.
Read on to find out what that guiding light and source of hope is that can get you where you want to be professionally. Artwork by Marc Olivier Jodoin; retrieved from Unsplash.
It may not be a magic cure-all, and make no mistake; it will still require that work; that hard work – and a lot of it; but it's the best ticket in town for the professional photography money train.
So what is it? What is the key to adding a few zeros to the END of your yearly earnings?
It’s IPS or in-person sales.
- and it even has a dedicated group known as IPS Mastermind that can easily be found on Facebook.
And, as if the prospect of potentially earning six figures from your photography business weren’t enough, here is why every professional photographer should be a member.
What is IPS Mastermind?
OK, so let's back up a little bit first and learn more about what IPS Mastermind is and how it can transform your photography business and wallet size.
Luckily enough, we at nPhoto were fortunate to sit down with Dorie Howell and Rachael Boer – the founders of IPS Mastermind – themselves to learn about the group and the benefits it brings thousands of photographers worldwide. So you won’t have to struggle through some generic conjecture but get valuable information straight from the source.
IPS Mastermind is a great place to go to learn how to get that financial flow chart trending in the right direction. Artwork retrieved from Unsplash.
So what exactly is IPS Mastermind even?
As Dorie describes it herself, it’s “a Facebook community forum and an educational community, for professional photographers who want to learn how to better their business, make more money, and provide better service for their clients.
“And we do that using a certain business model that has photographers actually selling products to their clients, and those products get stored by their clients and saved for generations and enjoyed for years to come.”
The key takeaways there is better service for clients [thus] better business; using a business model that sells [usually tangible] products IN PERSON; and, of course, the result of more money earned for you, the pro photographer.
How Did IPS Start?
Rachael was quick to add a little background to the group, stating it “kind of just started organically.” The pair had done some local workshops in the DC area, and afterward, Rachael felt inspired to keep the good vibes going and take it a little further;
“I decided to start a Facebook group with the 10 people, or so, that were at that workshop, and I said, ‘Let's just make a little community where we can keep talking about these things and support each other.’”
Good idea? Well, let’s just say it caught on better than a hot fashion trend, with Rachael continuing, “...then those 10 people started adding their friends, and they started adding their friends – four years later, here we are at almost 60,000 photographers. So it’s REALLY taken off, and it’s been very exciting to watch that.”
In summary, IPS Mastermind is a premier platform for helping and bettering professional photographers. A platform created by photographers, for photographers – and continuing to be supported by a large, active, and dynamic community worldwide.
In fact, Dorie went on to stress the importance of their community, stating what IPS Mastermind really is; “...is our community; and the people, the photographers, who have joined along with us – to learn about this business model and also to build their businesses. And we have a great community of members that are helpful and answer questions and really, really want to see other people succeed.
"So, as much as we are behind the scenes helping people along, our community really makes IPS Mastermind unique and special.”
IPS Mastermind is more than just an educational platform for professional photographers, but also a global community, over 60,000 strong, with everyone eager to help and support each other. Artwork retrieved from Unsplash
Why Join IPS Mastermind?
Well, as may have been stated numerous times already, but indeed the most practical reason, IPS Mastermind can not only help you develop as a professional photographer but truly, help you earn more money.
Just take Rachael’s own experience as an example, “I had a rather dramatic conversion story in my own business. When I started my business years ago, I was just selling digital files. You know, I would do a session and give away a disk of digital images for – I mean, pennies, really – very, very inexpensive. And after a few years of working so hard at that and not seeing any real return on my efforts, I realized, This isn’t working.”
So, as you might have guessed, she had decided to switch her business; completely overhaul her philosophy and sales approach – this time to an IPS system.
“My story was such a dramatic shift in my business,” she continues. “Suddenly, I was highly profitable, whereas before, I had been in the red year after year. Suddenly my clients were happier, my referral rate had gone through the roof, and so I became a little bit of an evangelist for this method, and I wanted to help other photographers find their way in IPS….”
That feeling many experiences after adopting an IPS strategy. Why not join the happy people? Artwork by Bruce Mars; retrieved from Unsplash.
Dorie’s experience wasn’t much different, “When I started IPS, I just heard about it and, basically, the catalyst for me was...that if I sat down with my clients and showed them their images, in-person, versus sending them a gallery – I would make more money.
“And that was my trigger; I’m like, I want to make more money for my family.
“I want my clients to be happy, but really, ultimately, it’s about providing a better experience for my family. You know, we’re all doing this, and we all have our different whys.”
How Can IPS Mastermind Help Me?
Make no mistake, going from struggling-to-make-ends-meet to heading a company that is supported by over 60,000 members worldwide [in just a few year's time] is not only ‘not bad’, but goes to shows the desire and need for such a service in the professional photography world. (Not to mention is proof that big things are possible as a pro photographer.)
But it’s not only Dorie and Rachael who have benefited and transformed their lives with the IPS method. Angelina Devine is just one of many other cases to seemingly go from rags to riches. A Danish professional wedding photographer, she also went from consistently being in the red to making over $9,000 in one sale after converting to IPS and selling tangible print products.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Join the IPS Mastermind Facebook page, especially at this time of year ;), and you’ll find dozens of these turnaround success stories as described in the intro. Yet, unlike the intro, they're feel-good, and all have the best intentions to motivate and show that such positively dramatic change IS possible and, with the help of the group, quite doable.
How does IPS do it?
Just how IPS Mastermind goes about helping others is unique for professional photography groups as well.
“We have brought together about 30 or 40 different photographers who are all instructors on our platform,” Rachael informs. “So you’re not [just] getting things from one or two perspectives.”
Instead, she continues, “[Those 30 or 40 different photographers] each bring a class, or two, that is on a topic that they do really, really well.
“So if they’re passionate about marketing, they’re bringing us great marketing content. If they’re, maybe, a senior portrait photographer, they can bring us a class on that topic. We leave the topic up to the instructor so that you’re learning from a variety of different people, all teaching on what they do best.”
One thing that makes IPS Mastermind a winning choice is that you get valuable insight from a variety of fellow professional photographers - not simply one or two distant sources. Artwork retrieved from Unsplash.
A well-qualified, motivated, and diverse educational field - just another factor that makes IPS Mastermind unique and its community so special.
Dorie then continues and illustrates another attribute that makes the group so attractive and popular.
Herself, Rachael, and the IPS group have always stressed the importance of providing an environment in which its members could easily relate and be exposed to authentic voices and content. In this way, they've brought together - and themselves continue to learn from - not only a variety of accomplished professionals but also, as Dorie succinctly states, "[those] people who are really just down in the trenches with us just trying to make a better life for themselves.”
Isn’t IPS a Difficult and Expensive Method?
Good question. We can understand this concern. So much so that we asked just that in the interview:
“IPS is one of those ways where you can adopt a very, very time-intensive, expensive process, or you can do it on a more streamlined basis,” Dorie informs. “And, I think, as you grow as a photographer, and you grow as a business person, you find what flow works best for you.”
“Yeah, we always tell people: if you really want to, you can be doing in-person sales by the weekend,” Rachael adds. “You know, this doesn’t have to be a six-month or a twelve-month process ‘to get yourself ready’. All you need to do is just say to your client: ‘Hey, I’d love to show you these images in person. Do you want to meet at a coffee shop, or can I come to your home?’ Maybe bring one or two samples that you might already even have.”
An IPS business-model can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. Recommended to start off simple and slowly, over time add intricacies.
Dorie, then outlines what her early days in IPS were like, “Right, I took a picture – I took pictures of my daughter. I had them in my house already. So I’m like, OK, here’s a mounted print of my daughter, here’s an 8×10 canvas of my daughter, and away I went.
"[With that laptop]…I showed my images through Bridge – I think – and that was the first thing. And I did that several times. Then I added on, and then I added on, and I refined my process more and more as time went on.
“So to start, you can read through these big, long workflows that can seem very costly and very time intensive, but you can start on a more streamlined basis until you really decide what style works best for you.”
How To Start with IPS Mastermind?
So, how to start with IPS Mastermind and start earning yourself and your family more money?
Start by joining their global Facebook group - a closed community devoted to professional photographers with over 60,000 members.
It is then recommended to get in touch with Dorie, Rachael, or one of the other admins to find out just which path is best for you and your business. Or, even get in touch with the Facebook community itself and ask for guidance.
So don't hesitate or talk yourself out of it. Instead, do yourself a favor this new year and turn your business and life around so that come next December, it can be you posting the success story that others are jealous of.
This success all starts with IPS, where, as Rachael defines, “you really don’t need to invest a whole lot up front.”
Instead, she explains, all you need is a preference for “connection, and...that relationship with your client, and a desire to serve them and help them. If you have that, then you’re ready to go.”
To maximize your IPS experience, client happiness, and profit margin, it is recommended to use high-quality, tangible print products together with the IPS method. For incredible print products, we’ve got you covered at nPhoto ;)
Also, be sure to check out the rest, the full interview we had with Dorie and Rachael of IPS Mastermind, to learn even more ways you can benefit yourself and your client’s experience with you.