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Know what happens to internet traffic during the holiday season? I wish I could report that it goes down because we all hibernate with loved ones, but, well – It spikes.  It starts predictably:  On American Thanksgiving, traffic rises in the evening.  People settle into sofas after meals, grab their phone and go online – […]

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  • Ceilidh - Oh dearest Jenika,
    Getting up at 5am to go pick up my “assistant” at Starbucks (very cheap employee, really 😉 I was all like, NO JENIKA, there is NO WAY I can add something else to my busy season rush. And of course I knew that you’d tell me why I was wrong in the kindest and most “no excuses” kind of way and so I read your post while waiting for my coffee to get that ridiculously delicious sprinkle of chestnut praline crunchies.
    Thank you, truly. You are so good to your readers!


    • Jenika - I simply adore you Ceilidh! Thanks for the kind words. I hope you enjoyed your praline crunchies AND that your season rush goes beautifully well despite the chaos. I firmly believe in no-stress Decembers and yet the data is pretty surprising here so I hope people are aware of it as they make their decisions. Anyway! Sending a hug and a bright holiday wish to you!ReplyCancel

  • Jennie - Great post! Thanks for sharing. ?ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - My pleasure! Thanks for your note Jennie.ReplyCancel

  • Brett Alison - Just wanted to say thanks as usual for some great tips and easy ways to take action on them! I always love your emails and open them up right away when they land in my inbox. I also wanted to say congrats on the upcoming arrival! I had a January baby (she’s 3 now), and the wintertime new baby snuggles are the best (if you can get them in while also wrangling a toddler ;)).ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for the congratulations! And I’m so glad you’re part of this community – thanks for reading and for your kind words. I appreciate them! Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Oh these are awesome ideas! And now that I’m caught up this is perfect to do!
    My only concern would be offering a print “sale” to clients that JUST finished their session and paid full price for their pictures. Would I not include them in this email or is this just a way to get them to think about buying more in general rather than at a discounted price??ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - You could do a few things: Only market to clients 6months or older, do a special package that was not available to them during their purchasing before (so like buy 3 8x10s get 1 free or something), offer a new product they hadn’t seen before (like ornaments, gift tags), or if you had packages with discounts built in you could simply extend that discount again (like if they got 20% off when ordering Package B, you could offer 20% off any purchases so you’re just extending the same discount they got before).ReplyCancel

  • Daryl Porter - This post is soooo useful and exactly what I needed to read right now, thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

As you do your creative work, you’ve probably noticed the steady tug of an emotional undercurrent. Murky to put into words, but it feels like being perpetually a little bit behind.  There’s always more to implement, more to try, classes and books you haven’t studied, the sight of people on social media who appear to […]

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  • Sarah Cruz - Hey Jenika, Nailed it right on the head per usual. Love these points and totally saw myself in the constant, great what’s next mode Really in business, but also with my family, Started school, Halloween check, on to Thanksgiving… Hope to slow that a bit and spend some time LOOKING at the images I’ve taken of my boys during this time rather then just plugging on to the next holiday. Cheers! SarahReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks Sarah! This year is especially tough for ‘on to the next!’ with back to back holidays (the ones that tend to require the most prep, too!). I hope that you can create that time to sit and admire the things that you’ve done and remember how much you’ve already accomplished. Enjoy your week!ReplyCancel

  • msn - The idea of documenting and celebrating my progress resonates with me deeply. I am starting this *today.* Thanks for another incredibly helpful post, Jenika.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - YES! Three cheers to you for putting it into action right away. I think there are many fun surprises waiting for you as you do.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah - This was one of my favorite topics yet! I’m so guilty of this. My husband is the encouraging voice that always reminds me how far I’ve come, but I literally say many of these things out loud to him in argument – “well, it was about time I did that!” Or “yeah but it’s not that big of a deal.” I know he’s right, but this topic definitely called me out for the ‘grumpy skeptic’ I am about myself and my work. I will definitely be working on changing this, as I know it steals happiness from me. Thanks for this!ReplyCancel

  • Marianne Cherry - Jenika, yet another insightful and oh so helpful post. I’m my toughest critic, always feeling like I never get enough done, or that it’s never good enough. I’m starting this right now by listing in my journal what I DID accomplish. When we used to run corporate facilitation training sessions for new trainers -we always had the person who just finished their presentation to say what they did well FIRST, which everyone always struggled with answering – and then asked (after they stumbled around trying to think of something good to say) – “what would you have done differently”… I’m going to treat myself the same way each day! thanks for this post!ReplyCancel

  • Vickie Earls - Oh this was fabulous! I loved the notes section for comparison to unstick (is that a word lol) yourself! I love the “reward list” to go along with the “to-do list”. Oh I know there was many more points in this blog, but those two slammed me (great way to catch my attention – thank you). I appreciate all of your blogs, but this one…icing on the cake! Thank you Jenika!ReplyCancel

Let’s pretend that you take up swimming as a sport. You show up at the pool every morning, practicing your strokes and lowering your times.  You’re feeling pretty good about how it’s going and can see lots of improvement!  You get up the confidence to join a local swimming league, and sign up for a […]

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  • Anna - Brilliant post, so insightful. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Theresa - Yours is the ONLY email I never fail to open, read, re-read and internalise and SAVE. I can’t get enough…

    And this one hits home.

    Lifelong sabotage carried over into business sucks. And I am still a work-in-progress.

    (Congratulations to you and your family on the new addition coming soon!)


    Yes please…if you get a cjance and are so-inclined…peruse my website and maybe suggest ways I can improve it? Thanks 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Karen Pickering - Wow, I do find myself making excuses sometimes for sure.
    It’s so easy to default into this ” self handicapping ” mode.
    I have been checking in on myself of late to pay attention to my internal feedback and challenge myself to make positive growth… thank-you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Dorothy Perry - Thank you, Jennika:

    This post is on self-handicapping is really valuable for someone working to address emotions around creativity, money and revitalizing her goals without blame, shame or invalidation.

    Your insightful and inspirational posts help remind me to see the wisdom that every step, even failure, has to teach.ReplyCancel

  • Vickie Earls - I graduated medical secretary college in 2006. The externship wasn’t hiring so I set out with confidence that I would find a job. HA! HA! I got one job because a friend of mine helped me out, but the Dr didn’t buy the practice so she ended up closing the office. I got 4 months of experience from that job. It has been 11 years since college and only one job for four months. Talk about discouraging! I was determined to get a job that would get me experience – hence….where I am working now as a live-in Front Desk Receptionist at Kingsville Motel. Not what I wanted, but it is what I chose to take. I could have waited for something else. I now need to get another job because this isn’t working out for me. Hence, trying to start my photography business. I have told myself over and over that I am no good at sales because I tried to do Mary Kay and failed miserably at it. While I watched all the others climb that ladder and grab their dreams, I was struggling just to talk to people about make-up!

    Thank you so much for this post, it really knocked me in the head with a 2×4! DONK! Stop that! Teeheehee!ReplyCancel

  • Ashlene - This is exactly what I needed to read today. I think I do this to myself a lot… Thank you for opening my eyes to the underlying problem.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - Great insightsReplyCancel

Here’s the dialogue in a scene from one of my favorite movies. See if you can spot what bugs me about it: —– Kathleen: Do you want the West Side to become one gigantic strip mall? Crowd: No! Kathleen: Do you want to get off the subway at 72nd and Broadway, and not even know […]

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  • Mark Hazelton - I think I have fallen for this tactic myself. I would love to try this. Trying to think of how I could use this in my field of photography. I do headshots for real estate agents and other business people and can’t think of what I would say. I’ll have to brainstorm this some more. And thanks Jenika for the post.

    • Jenika - Hey Mark! A simple way for real estate agents might be to say, over the phone – “do you think that great photos get more buyers in the door on a property they are selling?” To which they would have to say yes (there is data backing that up). And then you could say “what about photos helps, do you think?” and let them talk. And then say “do you think a good photo of yourself could have the same effect?” Real estate agents of all people should have deep convictions and life experience on the power of good photos + first impressions!! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Lindsey Slattery - What about if you did something like a comparison w/ a non-professional / selfie shot vs. one of yours and ask a question about who someone would want to hire/trust with their home buying process?ReplyCancel

      • Jenika - Great idea Lindsey – comparison shots are ALWAYS a strong argument! In this case you could precede it with a comparison shot of a house and ask them which more buyers would be interested in + get a better first impression of, and then a comparison shot of the headshot and ask which one people would trust more + have a better first impression of? Doubling it with something they’re already familiar with brings in their expertise and makes the consistency clear.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Bova - Brilliant, thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - Thank you so much for this. First question is posted on my Facebook page, and I’ll be changing up my website contact form… and perhaps some of the text! I’ll also try this technique in my next email.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Oooh, I love it when people jump in right away. Yay!! Let me know how it goes!ReplyCancel

  • Valerie - great info. thanks for sharing. it was almost so easy, i missed it then i kept reading. i will try some of these very soon.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Yay! My pleasure – thanks for reading. Hope you find the techniques useful!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Great information! It’s so true as I thought thru my own interactions with other businesses. Thanks for sharing in such a great way, and BTW love the movie 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - It’s neat when you have a label for something and can suddenly see it everywhere in my life. I LOVE that, it feels like magic, like I’m ‘in’ on something. Anyway, I hope that you find a fun way to put this into practice. And yes – amazing movie! The script is truly a masterclass in the art of writing short, short stories. I talk about one part of it in Irresistible Words too, and I’m sure I’ll reference it again. 🙂 Thanks for your note, Jennifer!ReplyCancel

  • Marie - Gosh, I always love the insights you share. I will have to spend some time mulling over how to use this for good. Thank you, Jenika!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks Marie!! I appreciate your comment and kindness, as always!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - This makes so much sense! I am wanting to do more pet photography sessions so I’m going to think of how I can apply it to that purpose. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Awesome! I hope you get more shoots! Pets are a great one to use this for because most pet owners would do anything for their pets, so framing hiring you as consistent with the level of care, love, and meaning they have with their pets would probably have positive results. I know for sure that people regret not having more photos of pets so I hope you help many people on that front.ReplyCancel

  • Paul Smith - Great article Jenika, as so many of yours are. I would love to apply this to a marketing campaign myself but unsure how to apply it to Logo design/Graphic design services. I’m sure theres a way though, thanks for giving me something to think about 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Hey Paul! I bet there are lots of ways you could apply it. A simple one might be to give site visitors a “quiz” and say something like “which company would you trust?” and have side by side comparisons of pro logos and bad/less refined logos. And then at the end make the point – you chose all the pro logos, so why not take yours pro? And have a book now button. So the principle is, a series of decisions that is consistent with hiring you. Just one example. Hope it helps you brainstorm.ReplyCancel

      • Paul Smith - Hi Jenika,

        Thanks for your response, that’s a great idea. I’ll brainstorm with my team along those ideas and see what we can come up with, thanks very much 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Heather - When you were helping me with my website copy, you had me add a question to my contact form asking potential clients about a recent family adventure (which fits my brand perfectly). I love it so much! It gives me a better understanding of who they are and gives me a way to connect personally. People seem to really like that question because they go into great detail. I’ve never thought of the psychology behind it, but now i’m curious to see if the longer answers relate to higher bookings 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Yes! Elaborating on personal experiences connects them to you for many reasons including this one. I would also be curious how longer or more thoughtful answers related to bookings. The best measure would be how deeply they thought about their values which you can’t measure exactly but quality of response could be a decent enough proxy to look at. Anyway, I love what you do! If I ever come to Hawaii you will be my first call.ReplyCancel

  • Weatherly - So I’m torn about this strategy. Maybe because I have seen it used plenty of times and it makes me hestitant to answer questions. For instance, a friend asked if anyone had a specific genetic marker. I answered thinking she had just been diagnosed, but nope, it was a ploy to sell a multivitamin that could “help” with it. It felt cheap. Now it makes me leary to respond to questions like this or even ask them myself because I don’t want to come across as disingenuous. Any pointers?ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Great question. The first step to not being disingenuous is to genuinely not be. I mean that seriously. You can use ANY concept in a disingenuous way – it’s not the nature of the concept it’s the way it used.
      The second thing is to pay attention to where you’re using it. If you’re using it on your branded FB page, on your company website, it’s going to be clear to any visitor that this relates to your business in some way. If you posted questions like this on your personal page and then sprung a pitch on people, that could feel icky because people thought they were answering a friend. That is, my guess, why your friend’s tactic felt cheap – you thought you were answering a friend as relates to her, but it turned out to be a business thing. Thinking something is one thing and it turning out to be another is a major source of negative dissatisfaction (I’ve blogged about that before – it’s always something to pay close attention to in business). If you only use it in branded channels there is no bait and switch. If MailChimp or or the local salon asks me a question like this on their FB page or email sign-up, I might not know where they’re headed with it, but I always know that their goal is ultimately to stay in business and it will, somehow, relate to that goal.
      Beyond that, things like not getting overly personal with questions and never sharing their answers further without permission are basic courtesies that go a long way. Asking someone what they love about their kids right now could be personal but can also be funny or simply sweet, it’s really up to the person and they get to be the judge of how much or whether to share – you’re not probing deeply there or requiring anything, so I have no qualms asking it. I would not ask for genetic marker information on something that would stay public though, for example. Or ask people to delve into their last marital fight or something (< -- that would make no sense in a photography setting, but it might if I were a marriage counselor selling courses about how to fix different relationship problems. In that case, anyone coming across the sign-up was probably already coming with that problem in mind, so asking gently about it in an email sign-up scenario where they then received solutions tailored to their issue would not be a bait-and-switch). Point being: Anything you do should match the tone of your overall site and presence. Hope these ideas help!ReplyCancel

  • Steph+Tim - BRILLIANT. yes and yesReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for reading! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Miriam - Good response. It makes total sense. I nearly always share my business posts to my personal Facebook wall because I have way more “reach” that way. This reminds me that I need to be clear about my purpose when I ask questions. I am going to try this idea right now!ReplyCancel