In this episode I talk through some of the marketing and branding updates I made during the 2020 quarantine lockdown. I also talk through my pivots and how I launched Virtual Paint Parties and a separate art business during the time of weddings being cancelled and postponed due to Covid.
Everything changed when we were forced to go from normal life to full lockdown. For me, being a fulltime wedding photographer meant I also had no idea what would happen to my career during this period of time. I started getting cancellation and rescheduling emails from my clients and my initial response was to panic. Wedding photographers basically plan out our weekends a year and a half in advance, so to have all of that completely flipped upside down was shocking.
One thing you have to do in both life and your career, especially if you’re a business owner, is pivot. Instead of allowing myself to surrender to my anxiety, I analyzed things that I could do to make the best use of my time in lockdown to adapt and overcome.
First, I tackled some of the marketing and branding items that I had been putting off for a long time either because I was busy or because they seemed unachievable.
I analyzed how much I was charging and rebranded them to make them really graphically beautiful. Then I imported them into HoneyBook so that when anyone reaches out to me it automates the process of sending the pricing brochure.
This was probably the number one thing on my marketing and branding to-do list. It was super tedious and time consuming, but so worth it. I wanted to take my website and business to another level so I moved from Zenfolio to Showit, which I highly recommend. I added a lot of travel and elopement content and I made it very personal. If I hadn’t made the time for all of these updates, I think I’d still be a step behind where I am now because they were essential to my growth as a photographer, podcaster and artist.
It was great to get the photos on my website to ensure my potential clients are always seeing my current work.
I love to paint and used to teach in-person painting classes. Eventually I stopped because it became so time consuming but never lost my passion for it. During lockdown, I noticed that a lot of businesses had transitioned into virtual settings. I thought about what I could do virtually that would allow me to embrace a passion as well as expand on an opportunity to be social. This is how I came up with the idea to launch Virtual Paint Parties.
I didn’t know every step to take, but I started by using social media to build anticipation. Then I created the landing page and set up the Zoom account. I ended up securing 50 attendees during my first class, which went so well that I decided to host them weekly! It allowed me to use my brain in a productive and artistic way while building some great connections.
Before launching my art print site, I had just sold original pieces on canvas. It was really unfamiliar at first and I didn’t know how successful it would be, but I went for it. I found a local lab to print them on beautiful textured paper. I launched the website and announced it through email and social media. Within 24 hours of my launch, I sold over 100 art prints – I didn’t think that was going to happen!
This became a moment for me to self reflect and think about how many things I’ve been avoiding based on fear of rejection or failure. Don’t sleep on your potential when the universe is giving you an opportunity to take advantage of it. You’re never confined to one bucket and the possibilities are limitless. You have nothing to lose and all the freedom to pivot and try new things.
Now, I look back and think about how lockdown was so unfamiliar at the beginning. I didn’t know how to not be a wedding photographer and I almost confined myself to that identity. When life forces you to pivot, dig deep and allow yourself to expand on things regardless of comfortability or imposter syndrome. It’s insane how much you can accomplish and grow in life when you free yourself from these cages.
I hope this inspires you to free your mind. If you’re curious about my art prints, you can check them out here!
Until next time my friends – Arastasia
PS – want to check out some other episodes? Click here.