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Hooray! Sam's An Author!

One of the first things I did when I got home was to take a look at the wonderful new book on children's portraiture by one of the most qualified people in the world to author a book on the subject: the incomparable Sandy (Sam) Puc.' What a great job she did on this book! It is a literal gold mine of information that covers ALL the bases of operating a children's business. I scanned the book first, now I'm reading it carefully because it is such a fantastic resource. I can't believe she managed to get this published while she was in the midst of her fantastic Bellies and Babies Tour. Amazing!

It's been an incredible pleasure to watch Sam and her business grow. When I talk about Sam, I always make this disclaimer: "Don't try this at home," as Sam packs more into a single day than any mere mortal should try to do. Once, when she and I roomed together over a PPA Board meeting weekend, I tried staying up all night to see if she is actually an alien who plugs herself into an electrical socket while everyone else goes to sleep. I finally dozed off, and when I woke up just after 5:00, she was already off on a early-morning run. Either that or she was rendezvousing with the Mother Ship :-).

Whether human or alien, Sam is a rare individual who has accomplished so much . . . as an entrepreneur, a motivator, and as a an industry leader. And the most amazing thing of all to me is that she has the nicest children I've ever met. About the only thing she didn't do this year is win a gold medal in the Olympics. Don't tell her I said this, or she's likely to start training for London 2012 tomorrow. Anyway . . . don't miss any opportunity to learn from her: you'll be richer for the experience.

Needless to say, I strongly recommend Sam's book. To purchase it,
click here. And thank you Sam for all you do!

"Giving Birth"

Today was exciting for me, but it was scary as well. After lunch I held my breath and pushed a computer key to launch my first eNewsletter. If it didn't find its way to your mailbox, you can link to it by clicking here.

It's not like I've never been published . . . but this was weird: You are the writer, the editor and the publisher. You have no idea how many people you will reach or if your prose will be hopelessly trapped in spam filters . . . the rough equivalent of having your news articles end up lining the bottom of a bird cage. So you push a button and you hope for the best. I wasn't even sure there would be a second issue, but I am greatly encouraged by the many emails I have already received from readers who seem to like it. So next month's issue will have to do with logo design. There: Now I'm committed. There WiLL be a second issue.

One of the first people I heard from was Sarah Petty. It's been a treat teaching with and learning from her. So I loved her comments on my first newsletter feature on price-increase rhetoric. Sarah came up with this wonderful wisdom to add to what I wrote:

"When studios go through that huge price leap (I did it too), they have to be okay with losing business. In fact, they need to lose some of that price-sensitive business. This will free them up to be able to give the quality product they want AND to have time to focus on better marketing. I see a LOT of fear with studios about what to say to favorite past clients who can't afford the new rates. My biggest fear, however, is just letting them show up and get to the order appointment only to FREAK OUT! What I recommend is that after this huge jump in rates, for everyone who calls to be "re-educated" in a positive way. For example, "Sue, I am so glad you called. We have so many exciting changes. We have new products, we now include consultations, blah, blah, etc. Let me send you our new rates and when you are ready to book, please call back." This takes that client off the spot and allows them to gracefully bow out if they need to. Nobody wants to admit that they can't afford something or that they don't place enough value in it to pay the new prices. Once people paid $12 for an 8x10 from you, many aren't going to see the value of now paying $98!"

Sarah is right on the money (forgive the pun) with this advice! Thanks to Sarah and to everyone who took the time to read my newsletter and visit this Blog!

I'm writing this entry in the Philadelphia airport. Jim and I are about to depart to Dublin. I am thrilled about the opportunity to present two programs to the Irish PPA on Sunday and Monday. Just hope I don't bore them to death with the business stuff. I am told they prefer photography programs.

There's no place on earth I would rather be than in Ireland. You can't beat the music, the fish-and-chips, the scenery, and most of all the wonderful people who will meet you for the first time in a pub, a restaurant, or on the square, then take you home to meet the family! I hope to have some adventures to write about. Two years ago we were invited to a very lively wake. So stay tuned . . .