We Are Peers
The hashtag #communityovercompetition has been trending thanks to the popular The Rising Tide Society, but it’s not a new concept here in Northern California.
Of course, you have BAWN, who has been successfully uniting our bay area wedding community for many years, and over five years ago I started a local photographer chapter here in the Sonoma/Napa area that featured monthly meetings and topics for improvement.
Here are my top 5 reasons I encourage you to connect with professionals near you; whether it’s a niche or a more broad wedding community group, just get out there!
Sometimes we find ourselves working furiously in our little bubble, and it’s so refreshing to step out and chat with someone that can relate to your world. Laughing over mishaps, sharing a frustration or getting advice on a dilemma is an excellent way to breathe fresh air into your soul and your business.
When I began my wedding business, I gained a lot of referrals and bookings from established photographers. 15 years later and the case is still the same. I’m so grateful to my peers for passing along quality couples when they overbook. Staying at the forefront and keeping face to face interactions is a vital aspect of your business!
At some point, you will need to call someone and have them fill in for you. Life continues regardless of an upcoming wedding obligation, and I cannot stress how vital it has been in our photographer community to lean on one another in times of needs. Cancer diagnosis, sudden spouse death, and medical emergencies have all happened in just our little, local community. Having established and close relationships are not only a necessity but it brings peace of mind knowing someone has you covered in your time of need.
(4) Band Together
Banding together to keep our community strong is just another perk of working as peers instead of competitors. About once a year, some of our big conglomerate hotels feel the need to have a “paid only” vendor list that is a significant threat to the integrity and quality of our local colleagues. Word gets out quick when this push rises and we all band together, vowing that none of us will pay for a privilege that should be for the deserving.
“What if there’s no specialty group in my area?” Take the lead! Let’s say you have a small niche business. Why don’t you start a meetup? Perhaps just start with three times a year and with only a few people. It can be over coffee or a hike or maybe a creative activity. Be the leader. You’ll be so glad you did!
We are all entrepreneurs, business owners and individuals working towards making a better life for our family and community. That’s reason enough to embrace your peers. We’re all in this together!
Megan Clouse is a professional photographer based in Sonoma. She specializes in weddings and elopements and recently launched her beloved mentoring program for budding photographers called The Photo Social.