Marketing Yourself


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A few nights ago I went to a local photography event.   However, it wasn’t so much about photography as it was more about marketing and running a successful business.

Palm trees and purple sunset skies

The free talk was given by Jason Aten and he put on a workshop the following day but I wasn’t able to attend.

It was held in Little Italy, a pocket of urban San Diego that’s about a mile from the water, but up high, so the views are great.

And it was the perfect pre-sunset time

Palm trees and purple sunset skies

The event was held in the most amazing local studio

Inside of studio with wooden beams

Rustic, old world, with a vintage vibe.  Exposed wood and brick, a lofted portion with a curved staircase, and during the day, a huge floor to ceiling bank of windows on one wall.

Pretty much a photographer’s dream.  Or any artist’s dream to be able to work in a place like this.

And look at the spectacular views!

Looking out window of studio with sunset skies

I loved snapping a few pictures from my iPhone and would have had a field day with my real camera but didn’t want to be a total nerd.  Then again, I was in the company of photographers and they wouldn’t have batted an eye.

But I wanted to live the event, not just capture the event as I’ve discussed can happen when trying to capture “it all”.

Purple sunset

The focus of the event was a discussion on how to market your photography business and in doing so, marketing yourself.

Lines of chairs in studio

Do I have an “official” photography business? Not per se.  Sort of though.

Do I plan to have one? Yes.

Would this talk on marketing have been helpful for anyone?

Yes, most definitely! Even for bloggers.  Especially for bloggers.

The discussion focused on:

knowing your audience or ideal client

knowing what your own story is and who are you telling it to

what is that story saying and is it authentic

what do your clients want (hint: they don’t want pictures; they want memories of how they felt at the moment the picture was taken)

Just think about writing a blog, or doing any kind of writing, and all those points are applicable.

Also, running just about any kind of business from being a personal trainer to a restaurant owner, you have to know who your clients are, what they want, are you giving them what they want, and if not, what to do about it.

It was a really valuable evening and I met other local photographers and did some chit-chatting and networking

Didn’t do any wine drinking…

Food and chips on table…Thought about it though

I was able to just drool over the views of San Diego from inside this studio

Outside of warehouse with purple skies

Purple sunset skies and palm trees

Then, I had to get home and tuck someone into bed

Skylar smiling

And then I tucked into a White Chocolate Vanilla Marshmallow Cake Bar

White Chocolate Vanilla Marshmallow Cake Bar


1. Have you attended any professional speaking events, talks, discussions, or done any networking type events in your area, based on your profession or interests?

I’ve done plenty of photography workshops from Mexico City to Colorado to Los Angeles

to yoga workshops

And I feel there is such benefit to being with others who share your same interest, hobbies, profession or those aspiring to become a professional in that field.

Learning, growing, soaking it all in, making connections, meeting new people, it’s all great and so important.  Not only from a business standpoint but to keeping your energy and enthusiasm fresh and your creativity flowing.

2. How important do you think marketing is? If you’re a blog writer or a business owner or an aspiring business owner of any kind, have you thought about this?  Any action taken?

As I said in the body of the post, from writing a blog to being a personal trainer to restaurant owner, I think marketing is extremely important.

If you don’t market yourself, no one knows who you are.

If you market yourself incorrectly, the wrong people find you, yet the right people who you want to find you never do!

In terms of blog writing, growing your readership and audience, and how much or how little to “market” to your audience, I wrote a five-part series called Blogging 101 that many people have told me they found helpful.

I believe all of life is marketing; what you say, how you say it, how you deliver it, who you deliver your message to; in just about every aspect of life when you stop and think about it, marketing is invovled, I believe.

Tell me your thoughts.

TGIF friends!


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  1. I am not really comfortable with marketing myself … I don’t think I do the greatest job of it.

  2. I think marketing/PR is super important- I am not a natural at it at all, but see the value in it and am working on it and am actually really surprised that it is pretty good fun!
    I took Marie Forleo’s B-School course and OMG it was incredible! I learned so much about business and marketing/PR! I am also slightly obsessed with her Q & A Tuesday videos- so much fun yet very informative!
    I definitely want to attend conferences/work shops etc in the future as I find it so incredibly energizing and motivating to be around like-minded and passionate people…just have to work out what direction I actually want to take and then go for it!

  3. yeah for marketing! I think everybody should use it, as its so helpful (once you have some knowledge), but since I am studying marketing and communications… of course I will promote it :D

  4. You got some amazing shots there with your Iphone! I always find the idea of marketing so strange. Just the thought if “selling myself” I think is what throws me off. But it is important in life, if you want to make a go at any kind of business, isn’t it? I think I could do with some more education on this topic for sure!

  5. In my professional (non-blogging) career, I do a lot of networking and attend a few conferences a year. I love attending these events and have met a lot of interesting people. I really think that people should attend these types of events even if they think that there might not be much that they can learn in their particular area. Networking is sort of like personal promotion, I guess.

    But for my blog, I’m starting to get interested in some marketing but I haven’t quite figured it out. Right now, I haven’t done anything official besides facebook, but I’m trying to research some options.

    As always, thanks for such a diverse set of topics!

    1. just saw on your site you’re running NY…congrats!

      and glad you enjoy my diverse set of topics…I could never blog about just one thing day in and out!

  6. All of life is marketing–wow, that is so thought-provoking. I know that you’ve really thought this through and done your homework on this: I also think you’re particularly talented in this department, and hard work plus talent plus intention is a great recipe for success.

    In all my writing workshops and programs, the issue of marketing/knowing your audience/pitching your work comes up very frequently. A lot of writers are shy and introverted, like me, and a lot of writers also have some irritation about the idea of pitching to an audience, that this could somehow dilute the intention of their art. I’ve even heard some very famous writers say not to worry about audience for the first few drafts–but that’s not to say don’t think about it at all!

    So yes, it’s something that I believe myself to be terrible at (which is a bad start!) and have the intention of thinking through better and becoming good at. It’s really helpful to hear your thoughts.
    happy w/e and equinox!

    1. happy equinox to you, too and thank you for the beautiful comment.

      you are SUCH a talented write ela, you really have a gift with words; when i read your comments they always resonate at such a deep level with me, as do all your posts..and I think what you said about writers tending to be shy and introverted….there is merit in that which is why it’s doubly hard to push outside of your comfort zone but here’s to trying and doing your thing! :)

      1. Thanks so much, Averie–I’m so touched by what you said here. And I believe you’re right: pushing outside one’s comfort zone is an important part of growth, especially in something so important.

        thanks again!

  7. Thanks for coming Averie! For anyone that wants to attend the events in the future, it takes place at that same (amazing) location the third Wednesday of every month. It’s geared toward wedding and portrait photographers of all skill levels, but we cover a lot of topics about business and marketing. Here’s the details: See you there!

  8. I think marketing is very important! It’s why I have been considering starting a blog before the SparkPeople cookbook comes out. My story will be getting out there and I guess that makes it a good time to really expand on the “blogs” I’ve done on my Spark page.

    I have never been to a conference or a professional event like that, but it sounds like there is a ton I could be learning!

  9. As I’m only recent to the blogging game I haven’t gone to any blogger conventions, but for my family’s business, Prompt Proofing, I’ve been to a number of entrepreneur meetups and small business seminars. As our business is about writing marketing materials, blogs, articles, website writing etc we need to learn as much as we can about marketing – not just marketing OURSELVES but also marketing our clients.

    Of course, the main advantage of these meetups for me is meeting other people with the same passions and interests and if I go to the meetups with that in mind, any actual business or knowledge that comes out of the seminar is just a bonus. Thanks for the great post!

  10. Rather than marketing I think it’s more about Public Relations. Being able to “sell” yourself without “selling” yourself. Yes, we are brands but it’s important to know all aspects from media relations to promotion to crisis management. Knowing how to communicate with your audience, plan events to help your business/brand, etc. is just as important as promoting yourself. Marketing (or promotion and publicity) is a one-way communication model where as PR allows for two-way communication as well (research, dialogue with your audience, applied journalism, etc.) The two can definitely work together and there is room for both but I don’t think you can have one without the other. Sorry for the tangent, can you tell this is something I’ve studied? :)

  11. Marketing is so important with anything you do. We have learned so much about that with Tony’s business. You have to market yourself differently to different people and companies. One thing does not work for everyone. Sounds like an informative evening!

  12. What a great event, love the studio. I would have lugged out my real camera there. :-) Sweet they served wine, but it sucks on weeknight events where you have to drive home and work the next day, I hated that about weeknight mixers I used to attend when working in marketing.

    1. Just the occasional blogger and food fests currently. I used to go to mixing social events all the time with my last job and got kind of burned out on them I think.
    2. Very important for small businesses and it can be very tricky and time-consuming.

  13. Marketing is super important — I do it at work and I know that it makes a big difference.

    Jason and I used to be big on going to networking events and such, but we don’t do that much anymore. I’m not sure why since they were fun and we met a lot of interesting people that way.

    I appreciate that you go to events and enjoy them and not just blog/capture what you’re doing.

  14. I love your point at the end about how just about every aspect of like is about marketing, making connections, and “selling yourself”. You could be a brilliant artist, write, photographer… but if you kept all your work to yourself and never talked about it or showed anyone… well that would be great for personal satisfaction but on some level having the approval and recognition from others is extremely validating, a confidence booster, and motivator to continue doing work. I don’t think its narcissistic to want to share the work you do, I think that’s a huge reason why I love photography–> to tell a story to others, make someone smile, or possibly inspire someone else. I get plenty of personal satisfaction from taking and editing pictures but if I didn’t get to share with others… well it just wouldn’t be as worth it in the end to me.

  15. “knowing your audience or ideal client
    knowing what your own story is and who are you telling it to
    what is that story saying and is it authentic”

    Love this and it’s so true. I think the first thing I learned as a writer was “know your audience.” Period. I think marketing is actually very crucial for businesses. I don’t really market myself as a blogger because my blog is mostly just a life blog. However, if I were thinking of focusing on the recipes, I’d be a marketing fool. It’s part of what I do in my job.

  16. I’m not a professional anything, so the closest I’ve come to anything like this is when I got group exercise certification a couple of weeks ago. Best part: I get to use it today for the first time. I’ll be a paid observer for a senior arthritis exercise class for which I’ll be subbing next month.

    Working at the front desk of the Y, in a sense I’m ALWAYS networking. I’m the person who’s expected to know where everybody is and where all the events are happening.

  17. The firs thing I thought of when I saw that building was WEDDING! You could have the best looking wedding in there. I’m all about textures and character for weddings. Gawsh.
    Sounds like it was a really great workshop. I struggle with my ‘voice’ everyday. I think it takes awhile to define who you are and how you want to approach the world. The balance of personal things, when to keep things private (which you’ve talked about many times), and how you want to impact the world.
    So many things to think about haha
    TGIF is right my friend. My goodness what a long week.

  18. Looks like really great workshop! Those are great tips. I don’t see how marketing Could be less than vital.

  19. Oooh, awesome opportunity! I know you’ve gone to plenty of far-off places to take workshops and learn lots of valuable lessons on the picture-taking, but dare i say this smaller one is just as important? Networking with local people and learning how to market yourself = essential ;)
    I think marketing is essential for a business. I think a lot of people might wrinkle their nose at it since it can get a bad rap, but it doesn’t need to be a company shoving their product down a consumer’s throat. I can be one of those people who would rather observe than “go out there and get ’em,” but I’m slowly becoming more and more confident in the face-to-face networking area!

  20. what an awesome venue, both the interior and the views. i have a fondness for renovated buildings (live in a loft that used to be a distillery!) and exposed brick, lots of natural light, hardwood…all are gorgeous!
    you are right: really, we’re always marketing ourselves, day in and day out. just meeting people as we go about our day – so glad you got to attend this event! and good luck as you pursue your photography dreams – you can make them happen!

  21. “I believe all of life is marketing; what you say, how you say it, how you deliver it, who you deliver your message to; in just about every aspect of life when you stop and think about it, marketing is invovled, I believe.”

    never thought of it that way, but this is SO true!

    I’m in the process of applying to jobs and applying for a second graduate program, so I definitely feel like I’m marketing myself up the wazoo lately. Selling oneself and/or one’s business is so much easier when you have a very clear understanding of who you are and what you want.

    Great topic!

    1. Good luck applying and i was JUST thinking of you today wondering if you got your It’s a 10 product. I did a drugstore top 10 post the other day and thought of you as i was typing it!

      1. aww you’re so sweet for thinking of me – thank you! I actually *just* got it and have not used it yet but will be trying it out for the first time today or tomorrow. I will totally let you know what I think (I’m sure I’ll love it). I did read that drugstore top 10 post – so sorry I haven’t been commenting as much. Life has been super busy/hectic these past couple weeks! I know you understand ;)

  22. Marketing- oh man, I could learn a thing or two about that. I better read your blogging series. It’s so weird coming from a job where there was no marketing involved to being in a position where I don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done, yet I SHOULD be marketing myself and my business. ha!
    Your pics of SD are fabulous! Looks like it was a great event. I really need to get downtown mroe often.

  23. I love how you get out there and tackle life! You fill yourself up with so many wonderful experiences and so much knowledge. You are an inspiration!

    1. Thanks, Tasha and you are the same….you live on the other side of the world from where you grew up…just that alone is pretty amazing!