Photographer: Anne Ruthmann
Location: New York City
Photography Experience: 10+ Years
Niche/Specialty: Architecture and Interiors
Target Clientele: Businesses (emerging/startups)
Find Her: FB, Website
Why we think she rocks: Anne is a fearless networking guru, who’s got some serious upsell game!
How she got into the biz
Anne got started shooting music and modeling headshots for her friends while in school. From there it’s been a roller coaster of photo styles and markets. From Michigan to Indiana, all the way to Australia and now NYC, Anne is a chameleon when it comes to providing a service to her market. From headshots to weddings, editorial work to finally architecture she has adapted her style as needed.
What Anne does now and how it started
She typically shoots business and commercial interiors. She started in this style in Australia by taking on an AirBnb contract to shoot for new rental spots. When she got to NYC, Anne continued working with the vacation rental giant, and not because they paid well (which they most certainly do not). She used them to build a network and portfolio.
Perks of AirBnb for Anne (definitely not for everyone!)
1. Met about 400 NYC residents. 3 lead to more jobs and 1 lead to a great friendship!
2. Got to see some amazing apartments…like multi-million dollar penthouse amazing! Who wouldn’t like that?
3. AirBnB offers steady work if she ever wants to or needs a job.
What’s she really really good at?
Here are two things (other than capturing amazing images) that she is great at that you might want to try focusing on in your business:
2. Upselling her product to business clients
Network like a bada$$!
Here’s some awesome content! This is a piece that Anne does better than most, and a huge part of why she’s on the show! We’ll add some color as we go along to make sure you get the idea.
Influence the Influencers
This is something a lot of newcomers don’t realize. It’s so much easier to gain trust in a new market if people your clients trust want to work with you. For example, if your target client is interiors, networking with decorators that push you to their clients gives you some street cred in your target market’s eyes so you don’t have to hard sell or track down potential clients.
Anne’s Top 3 Networking activities that you can try right now!
1. Hosting Events: Bring together a group of like-minded people with a common goal. Don’t go too small though, first timers feel more comfortable in larger less intimate groups and events.
2. BNI (Business Network International) Groups: Basically breakfast clubs of business people that make it easy to grow your reach and find a great community in your market. This is an awesome venue to refine your pitch and get involved in a win-win culture in the local geography.
3. Coworking Spaces (emerging/startup businesses): For Anne, she’s a member of WeWork. This is an international coworking group with locations in most major cities. She uses it as a database by opting for the smallest member package. This way she gets access to every business and individual that she might be interested in working with or who work with the people she might want to work with (see Influence the Influencers above).
*Pro Tip: You don’t have to join a BNI group to leverage them. Get to know someone who’s a member and come as a guest (they are encouraged to bring visitors as much as possible)
Anne’s Networking Bible
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, the OG of networking…Find it. Read it. Apply it. Enough said.
The Ruthmann Upsell
That may sound like a dance move, but I promise it’s something even better! Anne is able to do something that a lot of photographers struggle with, upsell to corporate clients. Let’s break down how she does it.
1. Figure out what barriers are keeping your target clients for buying?
For Anne, a lot of the time it’s price.
2. Find out what a comfortable 1st investment is
Seeing as Anne works with a lot of emerging businesses, she prices at $500 with the intention of at least tripling it later
3. Provide a low-cost low-expectation option ($500=3 Images with options to add-on)
4. Show client all the images and make them choose
Send over not fully edited proofs to give them a taste and ask them to choose. A lot of times people can’t decide on just 3 out of 30 or 40 shots. Enter the upsell option! Give them a la carte or package ideas and watch your sale get a whole heck of a lot bigger!
5. Get paid and then deliver final images
Never deliver product before you get that money in the bank!
*Pro Tip: not only can you upsell your client, but you can sell shots to any vendors in the shoot that want to build their portfolio in real world settings. Think furniture, artists, and interior designers.
Product Anne loves right now
17 Hats for contracts, invoices, and workflow management.
The mindset she thinks is holding others back
The idea that you have to have a certain level of branding to start making money and serving people. Don’t wait for your website to be perfect to get started!
“New York, it’s all about the hustle” – Anne talking about how New York requires a different focus than other markets.
“When you’re new and interested in a market, you have to get creative” – She’s been everywhere and knows it takes something different everywhere you go to get your foot in the door.
“It’s not enough to just network” – You always have to have a goal of a networking activity in mind. Just showing up won’t do anything unless you want to get something specific out of it.
Best advice Anne has ever received
“Don’t give up.” This one is pretty straightforward. Just like any new business, there are going to be challenges. You’ve got to stay committed and weather the storm if you want to be successful.
Best advice to newbies
Serve as many people as you can, but ask for money to do it. When you’re starting out, it’s easy to work for free. It’s also easy to ask for money for the time and effort. The sooner you start acting like a pro, the sooner you’ll get treated like a pro.
Best advice to 10 year ago Anne
“F**K what somebody else is doing!” Do what you can with what you have and trust yourself.
Those are the highlights of this episode but check back soon!
We’ll have another great interview in no time at all.
Don’t miss a word, corny joke, or hilarious tangent by listening to the full interview here.
Follow us on Social Media and let me know what you learned, what’s working, what’s not, and what you have questions about.
Till next time…get out there and make that money!