fbpx

Member Spotlight: Mark Dickinson, Photographer and Inventor

HoneyBook member spotlight: Mark Dickinson

HoneyBook member and former police motor officer Mark Dickinson used to be known as the guy who gave you a traffic ticket. But after wanting to make people happy for a change, he took his photography business full time in 2008. His income went up, his quality of life improved, and things in general were looking up. Then the recession hit. Here, he shares how he grew his business despite the economic downturn, his strategy for raising prices and the invention he created to fix a common wedding-day-photography problem.

How did you weather the recession?

I was struggling to figure out any other options, offering sales, promoting. I wanted a re-brand and fresh look to wow people. So I revamped our website and packages and raised our pricing, which led to a successful 10-year and counting run.   

Was it scary raising prices during a recession?

Yes, all while getting married and remodeling a house. It was definitely scary. Fortunately/unfortunately, you can price yourself in and out of a market. I wanted to price myself out of the market I was in and find affluent clients that appreciate my work.

What’s your advice to small business owners who are afraid to raise their prices when they feel so many other people do the same thing as them for less?

When I was working at jobs, you’d have to ask for a raise. It’s no different owning a business—you have to ask for a raise. You can create value and urgency. Those two things will seal a sale instantly. So if you do raise your prices and feel resistance, then offer a sale. That’s the urgency and the value. “I can get him for lower! But I have to act now.” Raise your price $300, offer a $250 sale. You just gave yourself a $50 raise. Then lower the discount to $200, etc.

It’s no different owning a business—you have to ask for a raise. You can create value and urgency. Those two things will seal a sale instantly.

HoneyBook member spotlight: Mark Dickinson

What’s been one of your most successful projects?

I invented the Wedding Hanger, which is a photography accessory that lets you hang a wedding dress up high. Over the past 20 years of doing photography, I noticed that standing on chairs, sometimes nice chairs that couples rent, or asking the venue for a ladder to hang a dress was inconvenient, not sturdy and just not high enough. Once I nearly fell flat on my face while using the folding white chairs. You know the chairs? Yeah, that was me, standing on one and nearly falling. One week at a wedding at The Delamater House, I was looking for a great location to hang the dress, but they were all too high. I’ve also struggled so much getting a dress into a tree, over the ledge of a barn door or even in hotel rooms when the windows are sometimes nearly 10 feet high or higher! In the beginning, I was using my light stand and balancing the dress on the end of the light stand. Many times it would fall and or slip down, nearly breaking the hanger. With the Wedding Hanger, you don’t have to have a step-ladder anymore; you can attach the Wedding Hanger to your light stand or any camera tripod with 1/4 thread. It fills a gap for people who are short or otherwise would like to simply hang a wedding dress without standing on a chair. You can see it in action here.

Where’s the craziest place you’ve ever worked?

One of my favorite projects was an engagement shoot for a couple on a train. I got to drive the train. That’s all I need to say about that.

honeybook member spotlight: mark dickinson

What’s a photography trend you’re really enjoying? 

I’m not big on trends because they are just that. But a lot of clients love our night, sparkler and rain shots!

What’s some of the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

There will be challenges, but navigating through those challenges when you have an end goal will keep you driving towards success.

There will be challenges, but navigating through those challenges when you have an end goal will keep you driving towards success.

honeybook member spotlight: mark dickinson

What’s something, somewhere or someone that you’d love the chance to shoot?

Alaska or somewhere north where I can capture the Aurora Borealis.

What’s your favorite HoneyBook feature?

At first, I didn’t think I needed HoneyBook, but once I got it, life became easier. My wife saved 4+ hours a week doing invoicing, contracts and follow-up. In addition, we recovered more bookings using HoneyBook because of the automated follow-up feature. Now you might not think that four hours is a big deal, but if I can reduce four hours of time for my wife, that gives me four more hours of time with either her or something else that we can do together. If you had a 40-hour work week, and you reduced that down to 36 hours, you’re now part time.

As for my favorite feature, I had to turn to my wife and ask her since I was torn between everything. Everything within HoneyBook is amazing. But we both came to the consensus that invoicing is our favorite. HoneyBook invoicing is a way to get paid extremely easy, fast and without any troubles. Basically, a client can come on there, look at it, check out, and I get paid.

HoneyBook invoicing is a way to get paid extremely easy, fast and without any troubles. 

Are there any other business tips you want to share?

Send your communications fast, friendly and with a cheerful smile, even when you’re typing! Sometimes you have to work late in order to secure some bookings. Don’t overdo it but being on top of it will show its rewards. HoneyBook helps with this, too, giving you a better edge on booking clients and booking them faster. Once people are on their phone or on their computer at home, what they’re doing is looking for the easiest way to get something booked. If you decide you want to send a PDF to the client, and they want to look at it, and then they have to print it out, scan it, sign it and send it back to you, guess what I’ve beaten you to that. I got that wedding, you didn’t. And that’s an easiness about HoneyBook, making sure that you get those clients faster.

Thanks, Mark!

 

Get 50% off HoneyBook on Mark

Plus, three more entrepreneur interviews you might like:

(All photos by Mark Dickinson)

Sobrina Pies

I'm a HoneyBooker, writing about small businesses, the people who run them, and tips and tricks to help them grow. HoneyBook helps you manage all aspects of your business from a central place, saving you time and money. From sending proposals, invoices and contracts to managing your projects and getting paid, HoneyBook gives you the freedom to do more of what you love. Try HoneyBook for free here: http://bit.ly/2QxKdr5

Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This