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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know (and It’s Probably Hurting Your Photography Business)

Listen friends,  there is a major problem with the way the photography education system is set up and I believe it’s hurting you, the photographer.  It’s keeping you stuck.  It’s contributing to feelings of insecurity and imposter syndrome and it’s wasting your hard earned money and your precious time.

So on today’s episode I’m going to talk about it.  I’m sharing what the problem is, why it’s keeping you stuck and what I’m doing for my community to break the cycle.

A couple weeks ago I went in for a massage.  On the heels of the busy holiday season my body was hurting.  I needed help, so I booked myself a 90 minute massage at one of the best spas in town.  

When I got to my appointment, the masseuse I was working with asked me what the problem was.  I told him that I was having a lot of pain in my right shoulder and neck, from the repetitive motion of shooting.  I told him I wanted him to focus on that area.

Now, normally when I go in for a massage, the therapist I’m woking with asks me the problems and then focuses on the areas I’ve told them to focus on. 

But this guy said no. 

Instead he explains how the pain is a symptom of a problem, and where it hurst is rarely where the problem actually is. 

Instead of working on my neck and shoulder like I thought I needed,  he worked on my forearms, my lower back, my hips and legs and feet… and by the end of my massage I felt amazing.  The pain in my shoulder and neck was gone!  And he had barely even touched that area.

He was able to help alleviate my pain because he could see the big picture. 

 I couldn’t!  I don’t know anatomy.  I haven’t been trained about the human body like he has.  

If he’d only focused on the areas I told him to focus on, the actual problem wouldn’t have been fixed.  It would have been a band-aid instead of actual healing.  And most likely I would have been back in another week, shelling out another $200, trying to fix the pain.

I thought a lot about this day and the days after, and I think it’s the perfect metaphor for the problem with the photography education industry.

The current system is designed to offer a ton of one off classes.  

You can get classes on lighting, or posting, or marketing, or editing.  And it’s up to you, the photographer, to decide what you need help with and then seek out training on that particular problem.

It’s up to you to identify the pain and then try to diagnose how to fix it.

But, just like my massage therapist told me, where the pain is isn’t necessarily where the problem is.

AND you don’t know what you don’t know.  

So, if for example, you are having a hard time finding and booking clients, you may think you have a marketing problem, and so you’ll invest your time and your money taking marketing classes. 

But the real problem that is causing the pain of not having clients is may actually be a problem with your portfolio… Maybe your work is inconsistent, maybe your editing is off or your website is confusing.  

If that is the case, all the marketing training in the world will not help you find more clients.  

You’ll keep inventing in marketing class after marketing class, but you will stay stuck.  And eventually you’ll burn out and give up.

I’ve seen it happen time after time.

Friends… you don’t know what you don’t know.  

So if you are in charge of cherry picking your education based on what you think you need, chances are you are going to miss what you actually need help with.

It’s SO frustrating! 

And the entire education system in our industry is set up this way!  It puts you in charge of diagnosing your own problem, but you may not be qualified to do that.  Just like I don’t know enough about anatomy to tell my massage therapist how to fix my shoulder.  

This paradigm makes the industry a ton of money, but it results in a lot of photographers staying stuck in a rut.

And full disclosure… I only JUST realized that this was a problem recently because I saw it happening in my own company.

The first class I even wrote was on lighting, because I TRULY with all of my heart believe that if photographers were in charge of their own light, if they could show up and shoot in any situation, day or night, they would be unstoppable!  I still believe that-  but lighting alone isn’t enough…

You also need to know how to pose and direct.  So I created a posing class to help.

But that wasn’t enough either.  You also need to know how to build your brand and market you business, and so I built a class on branding and marketing.  

And they were all great classes.  But they only taught one thing at a time… they didn’t give the full picture.  And without the full picture people were still stuck.

I had people in my marketing class, learning marketing because they thought lack of proper marketing was why their business wasn’t making any money.  So they learned how to market, but they had problems with their portfolio that were being addressed, so the marketing wasn’t helping them.

I saw people in my lighting class, producing beautiful work, but their websites were are a mess, or they had now social media strategy, so they weren’t making any money in their business.

I saw photographers talking in my FB communities talking all the classes and workshops they had invested in, but they were still stuck, still frustrated.. And they thought the problem was them. That maybe they were talented enough…

The problem is NOT you.  The system, as it stands, is setting people up for failure.

There is no ONE skill that you need to be successful.  There are a million skills you need.

And you don’t know what you don’t know, so if you are in charge of choosing what you’re going to study, you will always be missing something.

As an educator, I think I can do better.

So last year I decided to break the mold.  And start teaching EVERYTHING in one place, and that’s what I’m doing now inside of Sandra Coan Certification.

I teach absolutely EVERYTHING I’ve learned from my 25 year career in that program!! EVERYTHING, even the things you don’t think you need or don’t know that you need, they are all in the program!

I’m literally giving it all away! No gatekeeping, no upsells, nothing is off limits.

AND, to make sure you are actually learning, I’m also providing one-one-one mentoring, portfolio reviews, technical critique, you also get group coaching, and both on-line AND in person lessons.  

AND, you get a certification at the end!  Proof of mastery.  So that you know you know all the things… so you never have to ask yourself if you are good enough ever again.

There is NOTHING like this currently on the market like this program, but my prediction is that there will be soon, because friends, I’m on to something.

The current paradigm is broken.  And people are tired of the bullshit.  I”M tired of the bullshit,  and so I’m changing the way things are done  in my little corner of the world.

Want to join me? 

Want to finally solve the problem, find the root of the pain, and fix it so you can move on to the important stuff?

Follow the link in the show notes.  It will either take you to the waitlist, or to the applications, depending on when you are hearing this.

We open applications just three times a year, so if you don’t see a link to apply, get your name on the waitlist so you are in the know when they open!