So, it’s pretty well known that I offer a mentoring service to new/existing photographers via the Welsh Government Business Wales mentoring Scheme (that’s a mouthful!).
I don’t get paid anything for that – I do it free. I give my time freely to help others in the industry either get started to get some third-party help, support and advice. Once again – I DO NOT GET PAID for this. I don’t even chargeback expenses as the paperwork to do that would take me longer to fill in than the cost of the coffee in the first place.
Some people are confused as to what exactly mentoring is, and to a lesser or greater extent what the difference between Training, Coaching or Mentoring. So this little ole blog post is MY take on the matter…
I provide business coaching. I run a photography business, specialising in wedding photography, so it makes sense to do business coaching. I’m also a qualified coach (Institute of Leadership & Management, Level 7; the equivalent of a Masters Degree.)
Essentially a coach, a Business Coach or Executive Coach, helps their clients advance towards specific professionals goals. I do this through insightful questioning of you and your business model and lead you to conclusions that you can take ownership for and implement. I am there to support and guide you along the right path. I am NOT there to do it for you.
I am able to utilise a lot of tools to do this; by virtue of also being qualified to use a wide variety of psychometric tools to study and enhance your individual performance and thus your business.
Research studies suggest that executive coaching has positive effects on workplace performance with some differences in the impact of internal and external coaches. Reference to a 2015 study here.
It is often said that a mentor has walked in your shoes first and knows the pitfalls to avoid and can tell you the path to take.
Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise.
In my experience that expertise is in running a successful wedding photography for 13 years and a successful management development consultancy for 16 years. I’ve been there, done it, got the t-shirt, wasted the money and learn the lessons.
The mentoring I provide is essentially me TELLING you what you should do to avoid the same issues I have had.
As mentioned at the top, I am a Business Mentor for Business Wales, freely giving my time (and thus money) to help others.
If you choose not to take the advice; fine. Just don’t come crying when you fall down the very same hole I did but I then told you not to do.
FYI the same Coaching qualification (see above) also included Mentoring.
Ahh – training. This is what ALL photographers seem to like to do as long as it is training with a camera or camera related kit. What they seem to hate doing is anything else associated with running their business!
So, what is training? To me, training is being shown what to do. How to actually do something for yourself. How to set up lights for Off-Camera Flash, how to shoot newborns, how to pose couples, how to use a camera correctly, how to do anything so you don’t have to pay someone to do it for you essentially.
Also included in this list are things like running a business…how to handle your tax self-assessment, how to run your accounts legally, how to market yourself, how to price your goods, products and services so you make money, how to communicate with people, how to use social media for your business, how to set up and write your own website, how to utilise SEO techniques etc etc.
The paragraph above is what I teach (mostly) on my 2-day The Business of Wedding Photography training course. I do not cover the photography side in depth. Being the world’s best wedding photographer will not pay the mortgage unless you have the right business acumen.
I don’t guide you in doing stuff. I don’t tell you to do stuff. I show you how to do it for yourself.
And yes, I hold a professional degree level adult training qualification (Distinction) from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development as well as others from my time in the military.
“Give a man a fish and he’ll feed himself for a day. Give him a fishing rod and show him how to fish and he’ll feed himself forever” kind of thing.
Photography is a hard game to be in and an even harder one to make work. Every Tom, Dick and Harriet has a camera and has a Facebook or SquareSpace or Wix website site and are therefore a “wedding photographer”. Everyone seems to be looking for the instant win. The instant gratification of Likes or Hearts or Followers or (ego stroking at its worst). The “if I buy this bit of camera kit I’ll really make some money and be famous” marketing (ProFoto are very good at this by the way!!) hype.
All of that is the WRONG MINDSET. IF THAT IS YOU DON’T GET IN TOUCH.
If you want to make your business successful and want to run a business the right way, get the same corporate level training & development that you would get in the big corporates and don’t mind the hard work and long hours that goes with it then by all means get in touch.
YOU NEED to have the correct mindset to be successful. I will support you in the journey, I’ll be there late at night chatting via FB if you want support or advice, or meeting when you need the face to face support. Without the right mindset of being successful in business, you will get nowhere.
You will find me supportive to the extreme to help you make your business work.
If you want to come on my training courses, great. Pay me. Prices vary.
If you want coaching, great. Pay me. £150 for 2 hours.
If you want to take advantage of Business Wales for free mentoring, great, as long as you are in Wales! I’ll do it for free. But don’t expect me to coach/train you during those sessions 😉 I have a mortgage to pay.