los angeles brand photographer

5 Keys to Massive Success as a Creative Entrepreneur and Small Business Owner

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After working with big and small, established and new, brands for a couple of years now, I’ve seen a few patterns show up.

Most of my clients experience massive success in their business, often after having their brand photos made. What do they all have in common?

I would LOVE to tell you that my clients are massively successful because I make brand photos that absolutely ROCK THEIR BIZ.

I mean, yes, totally, that’s what we create together. But!

The creative entrepreneurs who work with me have a few things in common… and it has nothing to do with brand photos. 

It has everything to do with how they approach business, brand photos, and LIFE:

My clients…

 

  • My clients don’t operate out of fear. Yes, fear is present for them (it’s haunting for all of us, let’s be real). But the decisions they make every day in their business are never driven by fear or avoidance. They acknowledge fear and ask it to please get outta the way. We’ve got a job to do.

  • My clients are committed to scaling their business, no matter what. This means, even if they don’t want to be in front of the camera, they do it anyway. They understand that a successful marketing campaign can’t be executed without professional photography. So they put aside any personal judgements about the way they feel in photos (yes, including, “I don’t like my arms,” “I have to lose 10 pounds first,” and “My service isn’t worth this level of photography.”)

  • My clients have an unstoppable drive toward success, wealth and visibility that overrides their want for comfort. They live in a zone of discomfort because that’s where the shift toward success begins.

  • My clients know that they AND their business are worth spending money on. There’s no hesitation to invest in website design, coaching, brand photos, or heck, even a splurge on a new piece for their wardrobe. They don’t worry about being WORTH it—they already know they are.

  • My clients have faith in their experts. They hire people who are better than they are at anything that falls outside their zone of genius, and they don’t waste time micromanaging. Hire a team you trust, and then trust the team you hire.

 

So why do they experience massive success after they get their brand photos made with me? Because they finally have the professional tools to market their professional business. Their audience sees them in a whole new light—one that’s worth a lot of money.

Are you one of these clients? If you are, here’s what you know:

 

  1. You’re seeking, finding and stepping into your POWER daily.

  2. Your essence is rooted in TRUTH and authenticity, and you want to reflect that in photos.

  3. You take risks through CREATIVITY in your industry so you can dominate and revolutionize how things are done.

  4. You are a BRIGHT shining star that is ready to be seen.

  5. You are OPEN and willing to ride the momentum of your growth and take action every day.

 

Are you ready to get the on path toward massive success? Get in my inbox —> hello@courtneypaigeray.com

P.S. Can you guess what my keywords will be when I launch my rebrand later this month? Stay tuned!

xx

Courtney Paige Ray

Does your next level feel like a mystery?

Brand: Poppy + Birch

Brand: Poppy + Birch

I was having a conversation with a past client recently, and we started talking about the creative brief that I prep for every shoot. In it, I use a ton of inspiration photos.

In hers, I included a portrait of a very powerful and self-assured Charlize Theron. It was the overall vibe that I envisioned for her shoot: powerful, confident, elegant and polished.

She LOVED it. Her thoughts? “I was like… Is this me? Can I be like Charlize Theron in this picture? You saw me in a way I didn’t see myself.”

YES. This!

My point is: We so rarely dream big enough for ourselves.

Every time I sit down for a planning meeting with a new client, I ask you what the bigger picture is for your business and your future, and how will photos support that.

You say some of the usual goals: plan for social media, build a new website, re-do your freebie… maybe launch a course one day?

I need you to know something: These are givens.Of course you’ll do all this—and probably within the next six months now that you have the tools.

What I’m asking about, when it comes to the bigger picture, is this: What your ULTIMATE dream? The one you’ve never even said out loud?

Launching a course, rebuilding a website—that’s your dream for who you are now.

But your ultimate dream? This is built by the person you’re becoming as we create these photos. It’s the next level that you’re stepping into. It’s a whole new dream… one you didn’t know you could even wish for.

But guess what? I knew.

I see your next level with stunning clarity, and when we work together, I’m asking you to step into it.

So much so, that you’ll feel like an imposter before you’re shoot. And GOOD. You should feel imposter syndrome. That means we’re not playing it safe or staying in your comfort zone—we’re making sure you level up in your business. And your shoot is step one.

When it comes to creatives, I have a bigger picture in mind. You might think that you’re going to make jewelry or coach clients or write a book and call it a day. 

But I think you can change the world, whether or not you see it.

The creatives who work with me? You’re always the ones who disrupt your industry and lift us all up with your passion and purpose. I’m here because I know how to bring it to life. My vision is to support your vision in coming alive and making those big dreams possible. 


It starts with photos, and it moves forward with a creative strategy.

Curious? Let’s chat. Get in touch by emailing me here.

xx

Courtney Paige Ray

Hitting your BIG PICTURE goals with a customized Creative Action Plan

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Your business is more than customized brand photos.

Your business is more than a sweet website. 

Your business is more than your email list.

Your business is more than social media (and thank goodness for that, #amiright)

But all of these together (plus your messaging, blog, freebie… truly, the list goes on) form a bigger picture. Actually, they all work together TOWARD your bigger picture—as a Creative Action Plan.

Your Creative Action Plan is the strategy you deploy across all your relevant platforms to reach and convert your target audience.

Or, to be more casual about it: Your Creative Action Plan is how you reach the people who make you EXCITED to build a business. And here’s how it gets made:

Your ultimate message

Start with WHY—why did you start your business to begin with? What problem are you solving, and for whom? Most importantly, WHY do you want to solve this problem? Your WHY is where the spark of inspiration lives, that added element is what makes your brand stand out from every other business. Let your why be the spark that makes what you do, be something DIFFERENT in the market.

Your relevant platforms

Now that you know who you’re talking to and why, you need to actually reach them on the platforms that they engage with regularly. Don’t pick only the platforms that feel comfortable to you; research the platforms that your ideal client will search for your services or products on and jump in. Don’t be afraid to publish and engage on a platform just because it’s new. =

ACTION

Planning is great, but it means nothing with execution. You know who you want to talk to; why your message to them is different from other creative businesses; and the only thing left is to actually talk to them. The ACTION in your Creative Action Plan is the most important part. Even is your action is imperfect, clumsy or awkwardly worded—it still needs to be out there. You can’t sell your goods to someone who doesn’t even know you exist.

How is your Creative Action Plan shaping up? If any of these steps are giving you heart palpitations, then don’t worry—I got you. 

Over the next month, I’ll be slowly rolling out my new brand before the official launch (major deals included!) on October 23rd. And the first hint about my new brand? Your brand photography package is going to give you way more than brand photos… We’re going to anchor your brand photos inside of an entire Creative Action Plan, customized for your creative mind. My mission for the future of my brand is to develop disruptive creative action plans so visionary brands stand out.

Want to learn more before the big launch? Get in touch! Email me here or click below to send more your questions. I’m here for whatever your creative heart wants. 

xx
Courtney Paige Ray 

I hope you feel like an imposter today

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Does running your business suddenly feel easy to you? Do you know exactly what’s going to happen next? Is the path to success totally clear?

Lol, if you answered ‘yes’ to all three of these—good for you, you can stop reading now.

For the rest of us, let’s take a step back. One of the most common things I hear before a brand shoot is this: “I’m so nervous. I feel like an imposter doing this shoot.”

GOOD.

I hope you feel like an imposter before your brand shoot. It means something REALLY, REALLY major is about to happen.

What’s this major thing?

Stay with me. Yes, Imposter Syndrome rears it’s ugly head at the worst times.

Or… are they the exact right times? What if Imposter Syndrome is a good thing?

It is! Or at least, it can be. Instead of letting the anxiety eat your brain, think of it like this (yes, this is the major thing):

When it comes to your business, you’re constantly growing, evolving and reaching for new levels.

That feeling of being an imposter happens when you’re not comfortable; when you’re trying something brand new; when you’re taking a huge risk and finally going BIG.

Imposter Syndrome crawls into your mind when you’re stepping into a whole new level of your business.

Yes, it’s there to convince you to stay safe and small—so we definitely shouldn’t listen to the dang thing.

But the fact that it’s there to begin with—you should give yourself a pat on the back. YOU never settled. You never rested on your laurels. You never took the easy road. And THAT is a big deal.

So I hope that you do feel Imposter Syndrome today—whether it’s before your brand shoot, at the start of a major launch or simply in the decision to buy a ticket to the networking event that feels intimidating to go to.

It means you’re about to see a major shift forward in your business, and no matter how scary it is, it’s definitely what you’ve been working for.

What major move are you making today that makes you feel like an imposter?

How to Charge Higher Prices with One Easy Step

Winn Clark, business coach, the dream client who told me I should raise my prices.

Winn Clark, business coach, the dream client who told me I should raise my prices.

When was the last time your clients told you that you should raise your prices?

(Did you just LOL big time?)

Yes, it’s possible to work with people who WANT to pay you and know when you’re worth more than you’re charging.

Last year, while working with a wonderful client, she started her brand photo shoot planning meeting by saying, “By the way, you should raise your prices. I would have paid more.”

You guys. I had to take a mind-blown minute.

“I WOULD HAVE PAID MORE.”

Would have paid… more?

I know we all hear the opposite all the time:

“You’re too expensive.”

“Your prices are too high.”

“That’s way too much money.”

Uuuuuuugh, right?

So how did I stop attracting clients who told me I’m to expensive and START attracting dream clients who are happy to pay me—and would pay even more?

I made a promise to myself at the start of 2018: I would show up EVERY. DANG. DAY. and share with my audience (all, like 250 of them on Instagram—whoever would listen, even if it was just 1 person) what makes me UNIQUE as a brand photographer and as an artist.

It took 11 months of showing up every day before I booked the client who told me to raise my prices.

(Which I immediately did, btw.)

What can YOU do right now to show up and share your unique value?

Take them behind-the-scenes. Your audience—they want to know the ins and outs of how you do what you do, AND how you do it differently.

Stop everything and hop on IG stories, take a photo or go live on FB. Share exactly what you’re doing with your audience, and remember, no detail is too boring OR too complicated. (Trust me on this.)

Most importantly, remember to tell them WHY you’re doing it. That’s where the connection with your audience fires up, is in your WHY.

My big WHY: Making money after divorce and thriving as a brand photographer

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Oops. 

I’ve been remiss, and I owe you an apology. Why?

I ask my clients, every day, to share their WHY with their audience and to go deep with it. I also encourage them to share the emotions BEHIND their story. It takes vulnerability and courage, and sometimes a big push.

I never ask anyone to do or share something that I haven't done myself. But I recently realized... I haven't ever shared my WHY with you.

Last week, I was chatting with a friend said these words: “So that NO woman ever has to be in the position I was in.” 

I stopped immediately and had to take a breath.

It dawned on my that I’d never said this to YOU GUYS before… I have never actually shared my WHY (and the emotions behind it) with the amazing people who show up and read these posts. I appreciate so much that you’re here! 

So today, I want to talk to you about WHY. 

First, we have to time travel back in time four years. Allllll the way to my second year in business, when I was still a newbie photographer.

My then-husband and I made a difficult decision. It was time for a divorce. Suddenly, I had two months until we closed the joint checking account and absolutely no plan past then about how to pay the rent.

Reality check: That year, I had made $9,000 in my business. You read that right.

Can you spell Y-I-K-E-S?

I was terrified, and I had a very real decision to make: I could go back to my 9-to-5 job as a journalist—something that made my stomach do flips because I had no interest in working for someone else again or in not being a full-time photographer (and that was only IF someone would hire me after I’d been gone from the industry for two years.)

OR

Or, I could find a way to make money in my business. Like, LEGIT money. Pay-the-bills money. Fix-my-car money. Build-a-future money. Save-for-retirement money. MONEY money.

Obviously, I chose to stay in my business. But it took years to figure out how to turn a profit. It wasn't a pretty time.

These years were filled with worry. 

There was a lot of crying because I thought I might not make rent; taking photo jobs from people who were rude and treated me as less-than human; wishing I could update my wardrobe or get a haircut; and wondering how everyone else was doing it—making legit money, charging high prices, working with awesome clients and THRIVING.

It was through many (many many many) trial-and-errors that I finally figured out how to bring in clients who made me excited to work, charge prices worthy of my skills and actually turn a profit.

And after all those years, when I could finally see the light at the end of the financial tunnel, I promised myself one big thing: NEVER AGAIN.

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I promised myself that I would never again put my financial well-being in someone else’s hands. 

Do I want a billion dollars in my bank account? HECK YES.

Am I going to be the one who put it there? YOU CAN BET ON IT.

After this realization of "never again," I knew my why—the reason I’m driven to support creative women in building their empires as a creative force for their industry. 

I don’t want any women to ever be in the position I was in—a position of no options, of constant stress and strain, of staying up late trying to squeeze enough pennies to pay the bills.

Here's WHY I do what I do: To empower and inspire women by giving them tools to build a profitable, successful business that feels authentic and exciting.

You CAN stand out in your market. You CAN make money by leveraging your special sauce. You CAN build your dream business. This is the power of purposeful brand photography.

The dreams you have, they come to life in photos. And my special sauce? I translate your vision into images in a way that is UNIQUELY YOU, so you can connect with your audience on a deeper level, build trust, and convert them to clients. 

How do I do it?


Let’s talk. Email me at hello@courtneypaigeray.com. And don’t forget to share YOUR why with me in the comments. Thank you for being here, you amazing, creative human!
 

xx

Courtney Paige

2018 in Review—A Badass Year for Brand Photography