The Power of Delegation: Using a Sales Team for Big Profits
July 20, 2023
Anna Nguyen recommends that if you are considering bringing a sale team into your work flow that you ask them, "How do you speak to my clients?" so that you can ensure a great continuity of service. But her most pressing question was, "When can you start?" (Scroll through to see examples of Nguyen's work.)
Anna Nguyen is a Naples, Florida, area wedding and portrait photographer, who came out of the gate running with her photo business. But, after having her first child, Nguyen found she just couldn’t keep up with the demand for her service. Hiring a sales team enabled her to keep offering print images, get them delivered on time, and make more money than she had dreamed was possible. She recently caught up with host Nikki Closser on The Portrait System Podcast, to share her journey and advice she has gathered along the way.
The daughter of immigrants with high expectations for their child, Nguyen was pursuing dual degrees in business and science when she met a photography instructor at an etiquette dinner. Since she didn’t have many spare electives, he kindly offered to waive all prerequisites so that she could join his class. Being an overachiever, Nguyen decided to prepare for the class by doing a self-portrait photography challenge, Project 365, that was popular on Flicker at that time. She ended up going viral, and the experience accelerated her learning so much that by the time she joined the class, she knew enough about photography to be able to help her classmates on their learning journeys. She also was able to secure a position as teacher’s aide for the course, which kept her engaged in photography and fulfilled a service requirement she needed for graduation.
Upon leaving university, she became involved in Rocky Patel’s Premium Cigar Company, further honing her craft as she captured images inside dark, smoky barrooms. From there, she shot jewelry before starting her own wedding photography business while also shooting commercial and portraits. When covid hit, she leaned even more into branding and commercial. Nguyen encourages photographers to not niche down too soon in their careers and also to keep flexible about switching genres if you feel the need to spice up your career. She says, “you want to diversify in a way that makes sense . . . Once you master a genre, you don’t have to stay there unless you’re happy. If you’re unhappy, move to another genre.”
Nguyen says the key to making career transitions viable is in networking and in providing stellar memorable service that nets referrals of all kinds. In fact, Nguyen was so successful in what she was doing that she was booking almost every weekend of the year, but when she had her first child, she suddenly was not able to keep up in fulfilling her orders. Then, she happened to see a post by Makayla Harris about her company The Printographer’s Society, offering consultations with her sales team. Nguyen jumped on the opportunity to meet with Harris. In the consultation, she received a full audit of her company, including how much she should be charging. Nguyen quickly adapted her workflow and pricing to come into alignment with the Society’s recommendations, and she turned over the reins for consultations, sales, and delivery of print products to them. Before long, she had made her first $14,000 when before her highest sale had been $4,500 – and it happened while she was relaxing at home with her family.
While The Printographer’s Society takes 50% of profit after costs, Nguyen says it is hands down worth every penny. Now, she is able to focus on doing what she loves while they make her least favorite part of being in business a breeze.
To learn more about Anna Nguyen’s work, visit her website, Zee Anna Photography. You can also catch up with her at The Portrait Masters Conference in Phoenix, Arizona this September, where she says she can’t wait to folio build, get inspired by master photographers, pick up new techniques, and make new friends.
The Portrait System Podcast helps portrait photographers navigate the world of photography, business, money, and much more. Hosted by Nikki Closser, the podcast is powered by The Portrait System, a comprehensive, online educational platform that teaches all aspects of running a successful portrait photography studio.