When you’re building a photography business, there are lots of relationships you need to cultivate.
Today I want to talk about the one relationship that I think is the most important, what to look for when you’re building it, and the challenges this one relationship can solve for you.
Many photographers think the only business relationships they really need are the relationships they create with clients, or at least they think that’s the most important one.
Those relationships are important, but I think it’s even more important to build a relationship with your back pocket.
If you haven’t listened to podcast episode 7, make sure to do that next.
In a nutshell, your back pocket is a tool we created to help you understand where all of the people in your life fit when it comes to asking for and taking advice about your business.
You want to put people in your front pocket who aren’t directly involved in your business.
That would be your spouse or partner, your parents, your best friend and your neighbors.
Asking them for commentary on something that they don’t understand and are definitely not qualified to give you advice on can be dangerous.
So keep them in your front pocket, share with them your wins and don’t share with them your struggles or your concerns, because they’re only going to fear fire and make it burn bigger and we don’t want that.
Your back pocket is what most photographers and most business owners don’t see the importance of.
It’s the community relationship which includes your mentor and others who are studying the same business model as you and who are studying from that same mentor.
It’s so important.
Early in my business career when I worked as a marketing director at an ad agency, I noticed that many of our top clients that we worked with had something in common.
They had tight industry connections, they were involved in their industry and were connecting with others.
They were leaders in our market locally.
I made the realization back then that this is what successful business owners do, and they do it before they have things figured out.
They aren’t starting once they’re at the top, they’re doing it all along.
I remember one of our clients had a day spa and hair salon.
They were always bringing things to us in the ad agency of things they were doing in the industry, consultants they were hiring and leadership things they were doing.
They were building their back pocket.
It was interesting because we worked with some newer businesses when we were getting that ad agency going.
When the agency got bigger, we really only worked with the bigger clients and it became more and more prevalent that these companies had gotten where they were because they had seen the value of building a community, building a back pocket of other industry leaders, of people who value growth and who cheer for each other.
And in turn, they were showing up in their local market as just total leaders.
So in my business career, it took me a little bit because in the beginning I didn’t realize that I needed that.
I always thought that I was too new and I couldn’t be a leader.
I want to help you realize and see that you can’t do this alone and then what it looks like to build that back pocket out.
Here are three things to look for when you’re building out a relationship with other photographers.
1. The Mentor
You want to fill your back pocket and build relationships with other photographers who are also following that same mentor and following that same program.
2. Core Value Alignment
You may think, “Oh, Sarah Petty is great.”
And then you start looking at the things I’m doing.
I’m living a very flawed personal life.
We’re all not perfect, but I know there are some people out there who do unethical and immoral things very publicly and whatever.
I believe it’s important to have core value alignment with your mentor and community.
3. The Community
It’s important to have a community.
And again, it could be that group of local friends who also are starting photography businesses.
But the reality is the best community you can build is full of people who are studying from the same mentor and studying the same system.
I remember what it feels like to be in a business alone.
It is so hard and so scary.
Eventually, the people who love us aren’t going to want to hear about our business struggles, or we’re going to ask them to support us in ways that they are not equipped to.
It’s just refreshing to know that there are others who have struggles just like you.
It’s so important to have a mentor who’s sharing community and the same core values because we all have head trash.
The systems and the people we set up around us, that back pocket, that community, can help us dig ourselves out way faster than turning to people in our community locally who don’t know much about us and who aren’t equipped to handle the questions and the things that we’re going through.