THE GAME PLAN

A simple, strategic, annual plan for wedding and family photographers

Do you spend your days spinning plates and randomly completing tasks without a clear strategy or plan? Don't worry, you're definitely not alone and help is at hand!

The Game Plan is a step-by-step, reusable, annual system for you to follow. Simple exercises and templates lead you through the entire process of creating your own personalised growth plan for the year ahead, completely aligned with your own unique circumstances, brand, priorities, values, strengths and purpose

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The Game Plan enables you to: 

  •  Give your brain a rest by following a clear strategy and plan instead of tiring daily decision-making
  •  Learn how to stand out with your own unique, soulful brand
  •  Consistently magnetise your ideal clients
  •  Design an effective marketing plan to achieve your goals for the year ahead
  •  Create clear, accessible quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily plans for you to follow
  •  Enjoy calm, focused and productive working days


Where did The Game Plan come from?

It feels very strange to be finally putting this out into the world, because the truth is, initially I just made it for myself :)

A reactive passenger in my own business  

When I started created this, I’d been working as a successful photographer for a number of years but felt very much like a passenger in my business – that it was driving me, rather than the other way around. I had no strategy for gaining clients and no routine or system. My clumsy ‘marketing’ consisted of posting the odd image on Facebook, blogging shoots when I remembered, passively waiting for enquiries to come in with my fingers crossed, relieved if they did and panicked if they didn’t. I was happy with my photography, but I lacked confidence communicating the value of my work and had no idea about marketing. I relentlessly went round in circles tweaking my editing/website/brochure and spent most days chaotically and reactively fire-fighting my workload, haphazardly completing tasks without any purpose or focus. I was constantly busy but felt like I was spinning my wheels and going nowhere. It was overwhelming and exhausting. 

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Time for a change  

About three years ago, just after the birth of my second son, with less disposable time than ever, I decided things had to change - crossing my fingers and hoping for clients was clearly not a business strategy. I made it my mission to stop faffing around, to learn and improve as much as possible, to use my precious time more productively and, most of all, beat the overwhelm. I invested a huge amount of time and money on self-development. I worked with a mentor, a business coach and completed branding, marketing and productivity courses and diplomas, as well as devouring articles, books, videos, blogs and podcasts… It was all completely invaluable and easily the best thing I’ve ever done for my business. But the irony was the more I learned, the more things were randomly piled onto my ‘to do’ list and the more overwhelmed I felt

Tired of trying to piece together a strategy from so many different sources and random articles and advice on the internet, I realised what I needed was a one-stop-shop, a system that drew together everything I’d learned into a single, step-by-step, comprehensive plan that I could follow each year. I couldn’t find anything similar anywhere for me to buy, so I decided to make it myself, and The Game Plan was born :) It was a game changer. My salary increased, my productivity increased, I had the confidence to stop shooting weddings to focus on family photography, enjoyed a consistent stream of ideal clients and finally felt in control of my business.

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A simple system to help photographers grow and breathe easier

Connecting with other photographers through running workshops and 1-1 mentoring, I started to hear SO many others voice the exact same struggles that I’d experienced myself. I see so many photographers who are such lovely people with such crazy talent, yet who work themselves into the ground, sacrificing time with their own family and friends because they lack confidence in the 'business' side of things and get tangled up with organisation. They've had the grit and courage to set up their own creative business but then feel so overwhelmed by the range of tasks facing them that they freeze and start to doubt themselves. 

Once I realised that others needed the ‘Game Plan’ as much as me, it became a complete no-brainer to share it. It's what I wish I'd had when I first started out and would have saved me a LOT of blood, sweat and tears :) It’s taken over a year to formalise it all and transcribe my private scribblings into clear slides, videos, worksheets, templates and resources that others can understand, use and learn from… But finally I’m so proud to say that The Photographer’s Game Plan is here! If I can help even one other frazzled photographer to breathe easier and feel more confident, fulfilled and in control of their business then it’s been worth every second :)

The root(s) of problems and successes

During the past few years, learning how to more efficiently grow my own business and supporting other photographers to do the same, it's become clear to me that to move forward you need a clear strategy that rides on mastering three crucial areas:

BRANDING Clarity on your business' unique personality and vision

MARKETING Magnetising your ideal client through valuable and genuine connection 

PRODUCTIVITY Clear focus, planning, organisation and efficiency

The problem with this? They also happen to be the three areas that come up time and time again when photographers say what they most struggle with:

BRANDING "There are so many of us and I don't know how to stand out" "I struggle to explain what's unique about me and my business" "I'm struggling to attract the right clients / I'm attracting the wrong type of clients and don't know why" "I always end up feeling that I just have to compete on price" "I spend a lot of time obsessing about what other photographers are doing and feel dragged in a million different directions" 

MARKETING "I lack confidence putting myself out there" "I hate marketing" "I'm just not a businessperson and struggle with that side of things" "I don't want to sell out or be too 'salesy' but I really want to start earning a decent wage from this" "I've no idea how to juggle all the different types of marketing and social media" 

PRODUCTIVITY "I just can't get myself organised, I feel like I'm chasing my tail all the time" "I've a massive 'to do' list but have no idea where to start or what order to do things in" "I'm knackered and overwhelmed" "I want to drive my business forward but still want to have time for my family and friends" "I feel like I have no time for fun or creativity as I'm spending all my time buried in all the other aspects of running a business" 

It's geeky Venn Diagram time!

Yes, I clearly need to get out more, but I bloody love a good Venn Diagram, and creating this was the ultimate in maximum dorky satisfaction :) It's the perfect way to illustrate the 'holy trinity' of branding, marketing and productivity so please excuse my embarrassingly geeky joy in sharing this with you :)

What I've realised over the years is that most photographers' problems, including my own, stem from neglecting or struggling with one or more of these three key areas (see diagram above). Many photographers are strong in at least one of them, which gives them the momentum to get their business off the ground. Some photographers are strong in two, which carries them further and enables them to grow their business, but usually while experiencing struggles that aren't sustainable or desirable. It's when they're strong in all three that the lightning bolt strikes and the magic happens. 

Another problem with not working on all three is that neglecting one area can actually derail the others. Weak branding damages marketing, as it lacks impact on others or attracts the wrong clients, and reduces productivity as there's no deeper purpose, passion or vision to drive goals and give direction. Weak productivity cause you to burn-out which can damage your own faith in your brand and make marketing seem too overwhelming to attempt. Poor marketing weakens your brand by neglecting connection with your 'tribe' and damages your productivity by running you ragged with a 'hit and hope' approach to gaining business.

Enter... The Game Plan (and a mega-dorky car analogy)

The Game Plan was specifically designed to assess and fix all three of these areas, and to be reused each year

Life changes, your family changes, the photography industry changes, society changes, technology changes, you change, and your business has to change and grow alongside all of this. So it's not enough to look at these areas above once, and then forget about them - they need regular reappraisal and maintenance to keep them all running properly. Personal development and changing values or priorities might demand a rebrand... A new or discontinued social media platform might mean rethinking your marketing... A new baby or unexpected illness can throw productivity right out the window. Also, unless you're completely insane, NO-ONE creates a detailed plan for further than one year ahead - so you'll always have new goals and want to create a new plan each year, and this system is designed to help you do exactly that.

If there's one thing my embarrassing old brain likes more than a good Venn Diagram it's a good analogy, so 'buckle up' (see what I did there) for yes, you guessed it, a CAR ANALOGY 🚗 (please don't hate me).

Your business is like a car - it needs to be reviewed each year. It runs best with an annual MOT (to check there's nothing glaringly wrong that needs fixing) and service (to ensure all key parts are in optimum working condition). Yes, it can run without them, but not reliably and it's more likely to break down, and you'd have far less confidence to take it on long or adventurous trips. Your business is no different - if you regularly ensure there's nothing negative going on and that all its essential components are working as well as they can, you'll have the tools and confidence to plan bigger journeys and drive it further into new territory. All you then need is a roadmap (to show you the route to the exciting destinations you want to go). 

SO WHAT EXACTLY DOES THE GAME PLAN COVER?

The Game Plan covers the following 10 areas - and yes, I couldn't help myself, I'm continuing the car analogy 🤓 because the easiest way to think of the Game Plan is like your business' annual MOT, service and roadmap :) Every area listed below is broken down into step-by-step, easily digestible, bite-size units... each containing simple exercises, templates and workbooks to guide you through it.

THE 'MOT' BIT

1) An assessment of your current brand's strengths and weaknesses, so that moving forward you understand exactly what needs to be kept, developed or changed (branding)

THE 'SERVICE' BIT

2) Discovery of your 'WHY', so that you develop a unique, fulfilling, memorable brand, intrinsically connected with the things you value most in life - differentiating yourself in a crowded marketplace with an individual and authentic offering and vision, rather than competing on price (branding)

3) A clear plan and simple techniques to magnetise your ideal clients (your 'tribe') - passionate, loyal, ideal clients who 'get' and value what you do (branding/marketing)

4) A system to consistently generate powerful and engaging online content that your 'tribe' will love and that connects you to them (branding/marketing)

5) Create captivating and efficient online 'shop fronts', with an effective blogging and social media plan for the year ahead that's easy to follow and maintain (branding/marketing)

6) Design compelling products and services built around exactly what your ideal clients want and love, with simple and effective pricing strategies (branding/marketing)

THE 'PLAN AN EXCITING TRIP / ROADMAP' BIT

7) Set aspirational annual goals for the year ahead, with clarity on how they can translate into focused quarterly goals (productivity)

8) Formulate a focused 12 week strategy for the next quarter, intrinsically linked to your annual goals, with a clear written plan for how to achieve them (productivity)

9) Craft solid, focused and achievable annual and quarterly marketing strategies, with trusted, effective, gentle and accessible marketing techniques - marketing doesn't have to be scary! (marketing/productivity)

10) Enjoy calm, focused and productive working weeks and days, knowing you're always concentrating you energy on what's most important (productivity)

TESTIMONIALS

As this is the very first time the Game Plan has become available, I can't offer you any testimonials for this specific course. However, to reflect this, this first January 2019 intake of the Game Plan will be offered at a special one-off lower introductory price :)

What I can offer you are testimonials from the mentoring and workshops I've been running over the past few years - hopefully these will give you an idea of how much effort and care I put into ensuring the high quality of my resources, support and education for photographers :)

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"The Roost Online has been the best photography education I’ve invested in. I love the format of the course but also the medium Anna uses to deliver it. I was getting bogged down with the ‘doing’ of getting my business of the ground, chasing my own tail with seemingly never-ending tasks. The Roost has provided me with an opportunity to really get to the nitty-gritty of what my motivations are as a family photographer and given me the opportunity to reflect on every aspect of my business. I’ve now got a clear plan of action thanks to Anna’s stellar guidance. Anna is warm, funny and approachable. She knows her stuff, teaches from experience and speaks from the heart." Charlotte Hueso  

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“Building my brand and business as a family AND wedding photographer, I was struggling to merge the two and keep afloat of both. The mentoring was amaaazing!!! Within just 2 months of having your session, changing just the smallest of things on my website and how I approach/respond to clients has literally made the world of difference. You were so so helpful and all the info you provided was beyond anything I could find on the internet! I honestly can’t thank you enough. Since the mentoring I’ve been inundated with awesome family enquiries and I’m 100% sure it’s because of all the little (huge) snippets of advice you gave me. I have taken on more family work in my area already this year than I did in total for last year! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Charlotte Rawles

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I’m now booking a lot more family shoots and overall earning probably at least 50% more than I was before, and in some cases double. The Roost was the best workshop I’ve done in terms of clear advice and practical learnings; I came away knowing exactly what my next steps should be.” Joanna Yates (Joanna Nicole Photography)  

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“I’m an avid fan of personal development, I’ve attended Tony Robbins seminars and read lots of books to help my mindset. NEVER before have I come across a photography workshop where both personal development and photography are combined. Anna is amazing!!! She really works on your mindset, fears and confidence in a massively positive environment. Since the workshop my confidence to set up my own business has improved and I now feel like I have a structure and plan to work towards. Anna has an amazing and contagious energy, her passions and confidence really shine through and her eagerness to teach and help other people is so refreshing. I wouldn’t hesitate to go on more of Anna’s workshops, and also her mentoring programmes. I’m really lucky to have found a genuinely honest and humble lady to inspire me to change my career.” Nina Dhanani  

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"I’m just coming to the end of the online version of The Roost, and I can’t recommend it enough. The flow of modules is well thought out, and Anna’s honest, personable and relaxed presentations are very engaging and full of useful hints, tips and strategies. Knowing everything stems from branding and ‘my why’ has helped me understand where I'd been going wrong previously. The fact that the content can be worked at my own pace was a big factor in going through the modules successfully, and knowing I didn’t have to rush was definitely a key factor in signing up. I've had many lightbulb moments throughout. I've struggled with marketing, client conversion and sales, feeling like I’d have to work methods that I didn’t feel comfortable with. Anna has shown me that isn’t the case, it’s just a matter of finding what’s right for me and being consistent. I'm much more confident in my approach to my client journey and how I can run the business in a way that makes me happy and comfortable too. Thanks Anna, this course is something I am so glad I have signed up for!" Martin Patterson

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Such an inspiring and useful day – I’ve never come away from a workshop armed with such extensive and practical information. Amazing stuff and wish I could do it all again.” Sally Thurrell (Sally T Photography)  

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“Anna was a breath of fresh air for me having come from a corporate background. She was so friendly, welcoming and open. I have to honestly say the day I spent with Anna was the best investment I’ve ever made and I feel I took a massive leap forwards. She has such an instinct and I welcomed the fact she was so honest and brutal in the right way. An amazing lady. Since the mentoring, my website and portfolio are much more consistent across the board and the advice on business and marketing was spot on. These two things alone have made such a difference to my business and the clients I now get. The honest review of my portfolio was so welcome and I’m so glad I followed her advice. If anyone is wondering whether to go with Anna as their mentor then do not hesitate. And you’ll get copious amounts of food and biscuits to boot ;)” Paul Summerfield Photography

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“Thanks so much Anna for such an amazing and informative day! My head is spinning from an overload of information (in a good way!) and I feel like a weight has been lifted and I now have some direction :) So many many many thanks!” Lowri-Ellen Owen  

WHO AM I?

I’m Anna, a family photographer and mentor living in sunny Manchester, proud mum to hilarious 13 year old chatterbox Joe and loopy 4 year old Huey. My images are inspired by my love of people, their character and their stories, and I specialise in honest, creative documentary family photography that celebrates real life, spirit, emotion and individuality. Over the last twelve years I’ve built a highly respected photography business, first with weddings and later with families, and today am proud to be one of the UK's leading family photographers.

As a past secondary school teacher, I’m hugely passionate about education and supporting others, and for several years now I’ve regularly run Roost family photography workshops and mentoring sessions for other photographers, helping them to develop and grow their own family and wedding photography businesses, as well as guest speaking at photography events, colleges and universities. It's really rewarding to come 'full circle' and be able to use my teaching skills to support and bring out the best in other photographers.

Today I’m lucky enough to work with amazing families and wonderful photographers from all over the UK and overseas, and I also love to share helpful tips and resources via my mailing list and Facebook group for photographers – creating and building supportive communities is hugely important to me as I know so many of us work alone and that freelance photography can sometimes be a lonely place!  

FAQ

HOW OFTEN DOES THE COURSE RUN? The Game Plan will become available 3 times a year in January, May and September. This very first intake will start in January 2019 and places will go on sale at the end of December 2018. As always, there are also special bonuses exclusive to those on the mailing list :)

WHAT LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE SHOULD I HAVE? This course is for photographers of all levels of experience.

WHAT FORMAT IS THE COURSE CONTENT DELIVERED IN? Each module is delivered in a series of units. Each unit contains a video with voice-over slides. At the end of each unit there's a task for you to complete with a downloadable worksheet/resource to help you, so that by the end of the course you'll be fully up and running and ready to crack on! There are also five fortnightly group Zoom coaching calls included in the price, which are basically like group Skypes where anyone can ask me questions about the course and their progress and I'll answer them. So you'll have plenty of opportunity to get continued personalised support as you progress through the course and regularly chat and ask any questions to real live talking people, myself included! :) 

WHAT IF I'M NOT ABLE TO ATTEND THE LIVE GROUP ZOOM CALL(S)? Don't worry at all - although the Zoom calls are live, you don't have to attend them if you're not able to or don't want to. You'll have the opportunity to submit your own questions for me to answer beforehand, and whether you've submitted questions and/or attended live or not, the recorded replay of the call (including my responses to all questions) will be available for everyone to watch afterwards :)

WHAT IF I WANT ONE-TO-ONE SUPPORT WORKING THROUGH THE GAME PLAN? No problem! With the Game Plan you have the two choices. You can purchase the course as 'Self-Study', where you work through it on your own, with the support of the Zoom group coaching calls. Alternatively, if you want my one-to-one support working through The Game Plan with personalised advice tailored to you and your own circumstances, you can purchase the course as 'With 1-1 Mentoring', where for an additional £1000 you also get five fortnightly one-to-one 90 minute Skype mentoring calls (worth over £1300). However, places for the course with the one-to-one mentoring add-on are limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

HOW LONG DO I HAVE ACCESS TO THE ONLINE COURSE? Always! The system is designed to be re-used each year so it's yours to re-use and re-visit forever. There are 3 intakes a year, but once you've purchased the course during one of these intakes, it's always available to you, 24/7, 365 days a year :) The course may increase in price to new intakes but you'll never have to pay any more and will have permanent access to all the resources. 

WHAT IF I'M CURRENTLY BUSY AND MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO START / DEVOTE ENOUGH TIME TO THE COURSE AT THE MOMENT? This is no problem at all - you can begin working on the course whenever you want - you don't have to begin on the day or week or even the month the course opens, many people don't! Once you've purchased it, you can work through it completely at your own pace - guzzle it all in a day, mooch through it slowly over several months/years or anywhere in between - it's yours to start and work through whenever suits you. Do bear in mind that if you miss this intake then the course won't become available again for another 4 months, so perhaps weigh up whether you're likely to be busier then or now :) As there are 5 free fortnightly Zoom group calls included in the course (starting when the course opens), you might prefer to be able to start the course within 10 weeks of signing up so that you can take advantage of some of these, but some people prefer not to join the Zoom calls anyway and just like to work through the content on their own without asking questions in a live chat. You'll also have permanent access to the Game Planners Facebook group, so you'll always be able to ask any questions about anything relating to the Game Plan at any point in the future - this isn't just restricted to the Zoom calls. Whenever you choose to start and whatever pace you work at, all the content is yours to access forever (including recorded replays of the group Zoom calls), so you're able to revisit any of it at later dates if you want to :)  

Ready to have a simple system to follow where you can stand out with your own unique brand, consistently magnetise your ideal clients and enjoy calm, focused & productive working days?