Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning from Jasmine...

Soaking up a lot of what I heard last night, and wanted to share a few highlights with my bloggers today. Lots to take in and think about--so I hope I do this justice...

First off, Jasmine Star is more beautiful in person than her "commercial" or print ads. Seriously--inside and out--she was amazing. I drove about 45 minutes to Akron for her seminar, but there were at least a few hundred in attendance--and they came from Buffalo, Lexington, KY, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis--all over. She spoke with each person as they arrived, and stayed until the last person was gone. She sought people out and asked them about why they came, and was interested and engaging. I was really impressed.


She only spoke 2-3 minutes about her personal background. UCLA Law School on a full scholarship. Business and marketing undergrad work. Her parents were immigrants and her father didn't learn to read until he was 24. Her mom's illness forced her to examine what she really wanted to do with her life--not what others wanted for her--and she took a leap of faith into a field where she knew nothing. NOTHING. She didn't even own a camera, and she told her husband she wanted to be a wedding photographer because she was so inspired by her own wedding. And rather than be a success at something she hated, she thought she would rather be a failure at something she loved.


She started photography in 2006 as a volunteer and a second shooter at weddings. She took in everything she could, and did so with rented equipment. She started a blog. This is one of her first entries...

She put herself out there. She had the bravery to tell it ALL. No secrets--she wanted people to know her fears and strengths and quirks. She wanted to bring people along in her journey, and a blog was the vehicle for that. She joined facebook, and linked her website to facebook. Then she joined Twitter. She has climbed so quickly in the rankings as a photographer not because she was trained or went to college for it, but because she worked SMART and not just HARD. She has used social media as her main source of advertising, and it has been all for FREE. She aimed to not just ruffle feathers with this one--but to pluck the whole chicken--when she proclaimed that photographers were not all that different, working with the same equipment and the same set of standards that apply to everyone. She then proclaimed, in a room full of professional photographers, that the business end should be about 80% of your workload, and that the photography should only be the other 20%. Standing there was your living proof. I loved it.
She talked briefly about branding and putting yourself out there. She used her first and middle name--partly because she was teased about it in middle school. She spoke of the importance of having YOU in your business, simply because you will stand apart from others.


One of the topics she covered was websites. She firmly believes that a person's website is their handshake, while their blog is their "voice." Let's be real--if you're booking $10K weddings, your website should be stellar, right? The question was brought up about websites vs blogsites (what you're looking at here)--and I loved her response. Your website/blog site should be a reflection of you, and should cater to your client and product. We're dealing with paper and mini books here--nothing here on sale in the hundreds (much less thousands.) In short, I felt validated and satisfied with what I've done here with this blog and business--and I loved that.
She talked about having a selective clientele, and not wanting every customer. She touched on not having a black website with white script lettering like half the websites out there--but to stretch yourself and be different. And in the photog biz, that "different" changes every 2 years or so. She intentionally does not attend bridal shows ("It broadens the funnel for bridezillas, and I don't want those.") She also does not put her phone number on her business cards, but returns calls once someone has contacted her via her website. Loved her reasoning, and I am going to take that one to heart...
She talked about networking and not competing with people who are in your market, but joining them in your journey. And so I formed friendships with Tanya Stafford, Heather Muro and Cassady Porada, other photographer/business women who share a passion. So nice to chat with them...
JD, Jasmine's husband and second shooter. He is completely adorable and he adores his wife. So sweet...
In short, I had a great evening. I don't know how much I'll apply to my own life (sorry--I'm not sold on Twitter even now--I personally think there can be too much "look what I'm doing" and for me--that is where my line is drawn.) It felt good to go out by myself and do something I haven't done in a long time--and that is stretch myself. Hope something here has been of interest to YOU, too.


ETA: Jasmine is doing a FREE online workshop at CreativeLIVE next week. You can register and check out more details here. Thanks for the reminder, Therese! :)

6 comments:

Citizen K said...

What a wonderful post! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and what you learned for those of us who couldn't attend! I'm bookmarking this one!

Therese Given said...

Wow, what a great story & lesson to be learned! I can so relate to that feeling of being a chicken. Thanks for introducing her to us! Just after I read this post I happened to check up on Creativelive.com and stumbled across a free workshop with Jasmine on 4/7 & 4/8. Can't wait to see what else I can learn from her!

Adrian said...

Brilliant post! Thanks!

~*DEB*~ said...

AWESOME post!! Thank you so much for sharing all that Jasmine had to say, its all SO true, I watched one of her Bridal Webinars and was SOLD on her... she's great!! If she is ever within driving distance of me, I am going to see her!! Thanks again!

Kristin said...

Interesting post - sounds like she has the fine line of "exclusivity" down. I love that she does not attend bridal fairs! Thank you for the surprise in my box - you are too good to me!

borcherding said...

WOWZERS! I loved your post and I checked out her blog and HOLY MOLY! I am jealousy that you were able to attend a seminar such as this and her words about failing at something you love...WHOA! It's so inspiring and really has me thinking...thank you so much for sharing!!