The Dead Pixels Society podcast

A Photographer's Journey to Entrepreneurship and Empowerment, with Emma Alexander

February 08, 2024 Emma Alexander Season 5 Episode 152
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
A Photographer's Journey to Entrepreneurship and Empowerment, with Emma Alexander
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Ever felt like you were meant for something different than the path you initially chose? Emma Alexander sure did. She joins Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society as the co-founder of Wisern and Mother Bran, to share her serendipitous transition from behind the lens to the logistics of the photography industry. She recounts the pivotal moments that led her away from the camera and toward her true calling in production and strategic planning. This isn't your ordinary story about photography; it's a narrative of self-discovery and the hard-earned triumphs in the art of business and creativity.

Alexander illustrates how embracing core values can be the beacon for navigating the tumultuous seas of the industry, especially for those championing underrepresented artists. And if you're struggling with the solitary nature of creativity or finding confidence in your pricing, Alexander's insights will be invaluable. Join us for a candid conversation filled with strategies for success, from finessing your five P's to steering through client management with grace—and prepare to be empowered on your journey to professional and artistic fulfillment.

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Hosted and produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning

Erin Manning:

Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau. The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by MediaClip. Advertek Printing and Independent Photo Imagers.

Gary Pageau:

Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. I'm your Gary Pageau, and today we're joined by Emma Alexander, the co-founder of Wisern, and Mother Bran, which sounds to me like either a breakfast cereal or a self-help guru. So we're going to find out what that is. And she's coming to us from the UK today. Hi Emma, how are you today?

Emma Alexander:

Hi, gary, I'm great, thank you. Thanks for having me on.

Gary Pageau:

So how did you get into the breakfast cereal business, or am I? I'm just joking, mother Bran is not a breakfast cereal, as far as I know. But so tell me the Emma Alexander story, because you started out as a commercial photographer and you grew from there. So talk about that journey.

Emma Alexander:

Absolutely. I went to university, I did a photography degree and then I really realized at the end this is not what I want to do.

Gary Pageau:

And how long? Did that take. How long did that?

Emma Alexander:

It was probably in my final year, but I left and I kind of tried to dip my toe and did a bit of freelancing and I just knew my heart wasn't in it. I knew that the people around me who were working, they really wanted it, they wanted it so badly and they were making these opportunities happen to them and I just it was really disarming to have put so long and so much money into this career.

Gary Pageau:

Why did you choose that to begin with? Was this something you kind of saw on TV and thought, ooh, that sounds cool, or what got you interested in in the first place?

Emma Alexander:

No, not at all. I had a place at uni to go and do sociology and anthropology and I had a year out to do work with the European Voluntary Service. I was a big volunteer in my teens and the program I was due to work with fell away and I basically blagged my way onto an art course, a foundation course, to fill the year and I fell in love with photography as a medium. I just thought, god, this is amazing, I love it, absolutely love it, and I worked so hard to get into, you know, one of the great universities in the UK. And then, I don't know, through the doing, through the academia, whatever it was, I sort of thought this isn't. I love all the things around it, but the press and the button is not what drives me. I love talking about it and I think actually it kind of makes sense now ending up as a producer. It totally makes sense. But I loved looking at work. I loved talking about work. I loved kind of beers at the end of the day, pictures all over the living room floor going through it together and critiquing it. But actually the actual act of shooting didn't fulfill me in the same way that I thought it would.

Gary Pageau:

So it's almost like you appreciated the process but you didn't really have a vision. You were trying to communicate.

Emma Alexander:

Yeah, and I still do. I still love photography. I still, you know, absolutely live and breathe it. And I think you know, when I started getting into consulting, having been through that process was really important. To understand what drives people to make work was really important. But for me it was actually the production side, the organization, the logistics, the, the planning. That's what I find really exciting and rewarding. And then, obviously, as I've gone on in my career, being able to help other people to grow their careers, going back to that foundation of kind of volunteering back when I was a teen, it's something that really, really I find so rewarding. You know, I'm a natural mentor. I really want to help other people to grow. So it's taken a long time to realize what facets of my personality but also my, I guess my skills, my natural skills and experience of how you can make that into your ideal career. I've had a really weekly career, working in all kinds of places.

Gary Pageau:

So it sounds to me like it's one of those things where you know there's folks who are passionate about sport we'll say football but not everyone is cut out to play. Some people are cut out to be a coach, and that seems to be like that was your experience. So from there, you know, you kind of reach a point in your education where it's like, wow, do I want to do this? So then what do you do?

Emma Alexander:

I started working in syndication in licensing. This is back in early 2000s, when licensing was still a thing, when it was still a viable income for people.

Gary Pageau:

So by licensing you mean stock photography? Yes, so were you taking it or working in the field?

Emma Alexander:

Working in the agencies. I was an editor and I worked on the international desk so we would pull in work from overseas and re-license that in the UK. Then we had a whole stock of amazing creators in the UK that we would then push out for feature stories and things and we worked with celebrities. I mean, this is back when you get thousands and thousands of pounds for cover and when it was a really viable way for photographers to make additional revenue. I mean we used to have the rolling stacks and you'd go and make copies of the transparencies that came in. I started as a scanner and a retoucher.

Erin Manning:

Oh, my God.

Emma Alexander:

I'm really showing my age now. I sat in a dark, air conditioned room with a load of burly men and I used to go out and kind of do a strict three points at lunchtime, then come back and try and focus my scanner. You have like two or three scanners running at once and you would just feed in across all these machines and just do cleanup, like that one's scanning, that one's cleaning up, that's scanning. It's crazy, crazy logistical nightmare. Obviously that's all changed now. I came in just to the advent of when digital was really becoming popular, so 2003, 2004 and really overtaking, and we were working hard to really digitize a lot of the analog.

Gary Pageau:

Yeah, well, yeah, the archive, right. I mean, as I mentioned, this company had a huge archive, Not only the new stuff coming in of millions. I don't know who a 2003, celebrity would be but the royal family or somebody at some point.

Emma Alexander:

We used to work with Madonna and Kylie and all your kind of A-Listers and stuff, and we looked over archives as well, like Herbritz and Helmut Newton and kind of Lord Snowden.

Gary Pageau:

That must have been really cool. Those transparencies I mean, even though they're probably dupes. I'm sure, as a lover of the medium, you must have just been like salivating while looking at those.

Emma Alexander:

It's incredible. I loved music, you know, and I go and I place a lot. I worked with a lot of music magazines and I placed a lot of covers on book covers and actually some of them are still in circulation. Now I found one in my local library and I was like I made this happen. I think that kind of that, that satisfaction, is probably what probably defines a producer. I think you know it's not, you didn't shoot the thing, you didn't shoot the picture, you're not the artist in the picture. You know I didn't write the book, but I took all those three things and I brought it together and I essentially made this happy melting pot where I had a really big hand in making that happen, and that's really satisfying for me.

Gary Pageau:

Because if it wasn't for you, they would just be three different things, you know out of the ether somewhere. But so this is, that's awesome. So then, so you were at this agency for a period, so what happens if you then strike out on your own, or what was the? What was the thought process there?

Emma Alexander:

No, I was. I was headhunted to go and set up a women's interest division of a particular studio and then I moved that I moved to Australia. I did that for a bit. That was great that I moved to Australia with my then boyfriend, our husband, and we moved to Melbourne in South Australia and you know, a lot of the publishing ran out of Sydney a lot of the big companies. So I was kind of a drift for a bit again and I fell into advertising at agencies and I worked at one of the big up and coming out agencies as a creative services manager so I ran the creative floor but I was also the point of contact for all the photographers coming in and all their agents. And then when we moved back to the UK it was, you know, natural for me to go back into that and I fell into production arm of advertising. So I worked as an art buyer doing negotiations and meeting all the photographers, helping to refine and shortlist and and cost up and then produce all the commercial advertising shoots for our big clients.

Gary Pageau:

At some point you say I can do this on my own right. So yeah, and so which came first, the production company Mother Bran or the creative consultant agency Wisern? And which one came first?

Emma Alexander:

So Mother Bran came first. I have a story pretty typical for a lot of women, a lot of mothers in the creative industry. So I had a baby, I went back and was had a disappointing return to work experience which meant I was basically screwed over by the agency. So I left, went to another agency you know, better deal, bigger clients, bigger promotion, blah blah blah. Had a baby there, got royally done over by these guys. So essentially, you know, two weeks before I was due, back in the office they're like oh, we haven't got a job for you. I'm like I think that's illegal. But OK, so we quietly agreed that I would be made redundant. I paid to go away and I was left in this position where, you know, I had a little bit of payout, a little bit of redundancy money and a no plan, basically. And my husband, infuriatingly, just kept saying to me why wouldn't you? You know you love production, you're not doing enough of the doing Because advertising, you know you spend so much time project managing, like doing the trafficking and there's a lot more kind of that boring admin stuff. And he's like you're not doing enough doing. Why wouldn't you just do what you love? And I was terrified. I never I gotta be clear, never, ever wanted to be my boss. I never wanted to run my own business. I never wanted to hustle for clients. I love the man. Oh, I loved working for the man. I love getting paid. I get my paltry kind of holiday allowance. I knew exactly where I was. It was great. I did not want to rock the boat by going freelance and I was so scared and he kept saying, why wouldn't you, why wouldn't you, why wouldn't you? And I was like, oh, shut up, there's no reason why I wouldn't try this and it terrifies me. But I did and obviously it was amazing, it was the best decision ever. But yeah, I really was pushed into it by that experience with them, with my employees, with my ad agency, and then, you know, quite heavy hand-leave on my husband going. I don't understand, I've always worked for myself. It's amazing.

Gary Pageau:

Well, yeah, it was kind of out for it, right. I mean, that's the thing. Is people who are Wired like that so nice a trouble you know, relating to people who who are more reluctant or a little more risk averse, right, I'm wired more that way myself and so I totally get what you're coming from. It's like I I really like a steady paycheck. I really like you know, having them worry about client acquisition. I just come and do the thing right. I totally see that I can. You and I are like you know, but on the other hand, you know what does your husband do. It's what is his career.

Emma Alexander:

He works in design and technology. So, okay, he's always kind of worked for himself and he's been the last 10 years he co-founded a, a co-working space or flexible office space. Sorry provider, okay, like another one. We don't talk about Like we were. We don't talk about that.

Gary Pageau:

Yeah, we don't talk about that other company.

Erin Manning:

Yeah so anyway.

Gary Pageau:

So I can certainly see where you know his encouragement would create that. So what is sort of the mother brand ethos, right? What do you bring to the table for that that May make you stand out?

Emma Alexander:

Well, I knew from working with advertising agencies I didn't want to work with advertising agencies.

Erin Manning:

It's seen.

Emma Alexander:

The attitude. You know people on a Friday getting a call from the client and going oh we, we changed everything. You know we change everything. Have a new option to us. By Monday You're the last person and the end of the stick. You know the pointy end of the stick. So I didn't really want to do that. I couldn't see how I could fit this around my, my business and also we. You know we created mother-in-law to fit around my children as well. I had a really young family. My husband was in the startup or scaling business. They they went through a couple of rounds of investments. So you know they were in a big scaling business globally and you know there wasn't time for me to be in that kind of business where I had to be everybody's kind of dog. I suppose at the end of the thing I thought I don't want this, I don't want to be in this, and it actually took a long time for me to. It took a year for me to find my space. But I remember having a Tiffany moment. I thought what do I stand for here? I really had to go back to my values and this is something I say to people a lot when you know, when you think about you're running a business, but so often creatives don't always run a business like a business, exactly.

Gary Pageau:

We could come on to that and that is what we're really going to talk about in a few minutes.

Emma Alexander:

Yeah, but you know, we one of the things I love kind of Saying to people is you know what is your mission, your vision in your values? You know, it's not just for big business to understand your mission, your vision and your values. Right, you can talk about it as being you know, finding your, why that Simon Sinek Book and a really, really famous idea of finding your, your purpose, however you phrase it. But I think it's so important to know why you're doing what you're doing and it's it's no, if it's for a paycheck, well, you know, maybe it's not the right thing for, for you know, for me it was all about what do I want when I want to support creatives to grow, and I Realized that the people I was working with most and the people I cared about the most were Unrepresented artists, so people without agents, because agents typically have a production arm. They will take care of that themselves. But actually what I love working with is people who don't have agents. Either they don't want one, they've had one, they don't need one anymore, they have enough clients, they don't need one, or they just, you know, can't find one right now, right, whatever reason. But you know, they go and do their own marketing, they pitch for their own business, but they just need ad hoc support to deliver on those really big commercial campaigns. So you know most campaigns. You get a call. Fine, I can fulfill that, that's fine. What are the big ones? Come in, the ones that need you know logistics, overseas things, permits, licensing. You know unique spaces. I've had to find kind of all kinds of crazy Spaces before shoot, like last year. You know we licensed the space outside Tower Bridge. We do all these kind of wonderful things when you need that kind of really special support and and also the person to be the middle man between someone like a client or an ad agency, to come in and be that person, intermediate tree. That's when I can provide real value to people who are.

Gary Pageau:

So here's a question I would have right now. I would look at that and, as someone who's had my own consultancy thing, whenever I say so, how do you figure out what to charge? Well, that's the 64,000 dollar question exactly because my guess I'm just I'm just assuming from you know, us having conversation here and me getting to know you a little bit you probably undervalued what you did, not because you're trying to low ball anybody, but because you're a modest person with, you know, sort of a reasonable outlook on life. Was that correct?

Emma Alexander:

Yes and no. I mean I've spent years in ad agencies handling quotes. You know we triple-bared, four or five times-bared every job we do, so I've seen a real wide gamut of what people charge. And that was a really interesting thing when I started going into this and I thought, you know, my skills and experience as an art buyer and then also on the production side is actually really unique and valuable. So I understand what people are looking for and also what they're willing to pay. So, part of the guidance which you know, which ended up turning into WISEN, was also I think creatives are undervaluing themselves, Right.

Erin Manning:

That's kind of my point.

Emma Alexander:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, I think you meant me as a production company.

Gary Pageau:

No, I thought you were coming from a creative bet, yeah.

Emma Alexander:

Yeah, yeah, I think there's always fear, you know, and I think that's one of the wonderful things that we, one of the reasons that drove us to start WISEN, is this idea that so much of what we do I talk about this a lot with this idea of isolation, I think that isolation is probably one of the biggest challenges that creatives face. You know creative business owners face Collaboratively photographers, filmmakers you know what we do, it's so, you know it's collaborative, it's kind of so executionally it's really collaborative. You know we all get together and it can be like 30 people on a shoot. You know 100 people on a film set, but then you go home and the day to day of what you do is basically on your own. Sometimes you might have a studio, you might have a small team, you might go into the office, but typically a lot of the freelancers I speak to, or small or micro businesses, but which I mean under 10, a lot of them are remote. A lot of them, especially post COVID, are working remotely. They may have a co-working space they share, but a lot of what we do is kind of on our own and I think that's incredibly disorientating. How do you benchmark and sense, check what you are charging as your point and how to charge usage, whether or not to bundle in kit or not all these different things, even through to you know suppliers. I work a lot with post production houses and we have a lovely client who's a sound designer at the moment and we're working through with them the rebrand. We're kind of trying to reposition them in their space and trying to understand where they fit. It's very hard to do that on your own. I think we really underestimate whether it's as a business owner or as a freelancer, and those two they are different. Running a business is definitely different to being a freelancer. We definitely underestimate what goes into starting and, more importantly, growing a small business. You know you have to be, even if you're in a team of, say, you know two or three. You have to be, you know, social media manager. You have to be marketing director, you have to be finance director. You've got to do all these different jobs and then actually do the craft and then physically do the craft that you're there for. You know it's really difficult and I think you know needing that sense, needing somebody on tap. You know, I think tech is making yeah, tech's bringing us closer together, but it's also, you know, making us feel further apart in some ways. So, yeah, why isn't basically grew up exactly that reason when you just need to call somebody and just for context, sorry, why isn't it a consultancy platform? So we have a collection, a pool of industry experts. It is live, it is one to one, it's always personal. You know, it's your questions. Answered in real time is what we really say. It's not delving through a 12-part course or having to go through Google for kind of anonymous advice. I think that human connection is what, you know, what really drives us forward as humans, but also as business owners.

Gary Pageau:

So how long have you been operating the Mother Bran business?

Emma Alexander:

That has been. I think it's six years now. Okay.

Gary Pageau:

So, and then, how long were you in that process? For you decided that, hey, we want to do the Wisern thing.

Emma Alexander:

Wisern has been operating for about. This will be a third year three years now and it really came out of the very nice.

Gary Pageau:

Did you actually launch it before COVID or during?

Emma Alexander:

No well, it evolved naturally out of COVID. During that period, you know, I knew that photographers were adrift. A lot of my contacts, you know, are photographers. So I started running accountability sprints, using, you know, agile methodology as a base, getting people together in these two weeks sprints to in little cohorts, you know, to try and keep people motivated, to give them a support network and obviously to essentially to mentor them through using this period of downtime for personal professional reflection and growth. So I was running those for a long time and they were amazing. They gave me a really good insight into obviously there were kind of lots of people came work with me once a while in a mentorship capacity, paid mentorship but it also gave me access to what the problems that people were facing, and so many of those problems were the same, you know. And then I realised as well that, gosh, I'm not best placed to answer all these questions, but I know, you know it's amazing, like contacts booked 20 years.

Erin Manning:

You know it's, it's not me, but I know you should be speaking to you.

Emma Alexander:

So it became a real no brainer to go. Oh no, I'm going to put you in touch with the best person for this to work with.

Erin Manning:

Right.

Emma Alexander:

So then it grew, and it grew and it grew out of that and then suddenly we thought this is not a standalone. You know, this isn't an arm of Mother Brown anymore. This, this, is actually a standalone product and it deserves to be its own, its own business. So now it stands as its own business.

Gary Pageau:

And where? Yeah, where did the name come from?

Emma Alexander:

Why isn't, I don't know. So my husband is also my co-founder. He left his own startup of 10 years two years ago to come and co-found and grow wisdom with me as a standalone business he came up with he got to. This is a really good example of why it's good to share and why it's good to bounce ideas off people. So he kind of burst in one day. So I've got this great logo of design. It's amazing, he's a designer and I've got this name. It's it's Wizen. And I was like, ok, you know, wizzon means like shriveled. What's like to be like? A Wizen old man is like a shriveled old man. I don't think he was like, oh no, that doesn't work. He's like my logo looks amazing. I was like, oh, I'm sorry, baby, can't be, really can't be. So, yeah, rule number one share, don't sit on the. Share ideas, collaboration and growth comes through sharing and you won't end up with a weird name. Yeah, then then he kind of went back to the drawing board and he's like, what about Wizern? How does it sit? And we kind of, yeah, um, don't know. And we're like, yeah, why isn't? Let's go with it. And then we actually bought our logo. We went to Behance and we found an amazing artist on there and it's kind of the ethos of sharing and supporting the community. We're like we could design our own logo, but we're just going to buy one. So we found someone who had this really great series of of birds and we're like, yeah, and that was a great email for him to wake up to. He was also in the States Come, can we buy your logo? And he was like yes, that's kind of like there you go. He's like, oh my God, you blew my mind, so that was great.

Gary Pageau:

So there's been an explosion, I think in and I don't know if it's a COVID thing or a technology thing because technology makes creating so much easier. Now, Maybe not easier, but more accessible, maybe that's the better word there's. So there's a bigger interest then in Creative opportunities. Right, because you have social media influencers and you know this is, but it's still a business. So when you're talking to clients, do you find now that there are more business people who want to do creative stuff or the creative people want to do businessy stuff?

Emma Alexander:

Oh, that's a really good question. I think the majority of our clients are Existing creators, so why isn't this very much for professional creatives? And I think that's a really it's a really interesting space to be in right now because you have an awful lot of information and kind of I don't know like support out there for entry level. You know new creatives, young creatives entering the market because young and new creatives aren't always young creators and people entering the market. There is a lot of support and kind of information out there for them. But what do you do when you've been in this business for 20, 30 years and you feel like perhaps you need to level up? So actually, there's two real distinct customers that we have. Typically one is you know creatives who have I don't say they're working with big brands. They're working with the, with the Nike's, the Adidas, you know the Lululemons, but they're doing that kind of social media campaigns or like I am ready to go up, I'm ready to get those big ad campaigns, we're so ready to get that level, but I don't know how to do it. How do above-the-line permit that advertising campaigns, how do I do that? So there's that step up for them people leveling up and the other really interesting band of customers who've come is people who are I've been in the business, like I say, for a long time. They are maybe in their late forties, maybe 50, sometimes they're 60s and they're like I've got another 10 years or so before I retire. But I feel like either my work is not relevant anymore how do I reposition myself to appeal to a broader level of clients or I've been doing this thing for so long. How do I repivot and find the love again? How do I reignite my love and drive for this? And then yeah, also people. I had a great conversation with someone a couple of months ago. It was like I've literally got. I've got 10 years left. I want to make it my best 10 years and I've been doing okay. But I want to smash it out of the park. I want to start doing things that I, you know, get in, those, those things I always dreamed of. But I always thought, oh, they'll come one day, or I don't know how to carry. It's got nothing to be scared of anymore. Let's, let's go. And you know, let's go and shake some trees and do something radical. I'm like that's amazing, let's go. So you know, it's really interesting space. I guess, when you're a CEO, you're the top of the tree. Who do you talk to? There's a vulnerability in putting it on LinkedIn like, oh, I've got no clients.

Erin Manning:

You know, this week you can only help me.

Emma Alexander:

There's a point where you can do that, but there's a point where you're so senior in your field that actually it's disarming to have that experience and it's very vulnerable to share that. So who do you share that with? And this provides a, so I'm going to call Emma.

Gary Pageau:

I'm going to call Emma for that.

Emma Alexander:

Absolutely Too late. Well, we have a load of actually we do have. We have clients from all over the world. We work with a ton of people from the States. We have customers coming from, you know, canada, all across Europe, and I think, like you say this, the technology now and the normalization of video conferencing just means that it's not a big deal to jump on a call with somebody in a different time so you can get a different time zone and get really amazing advice from someone you know, from an industry expert. It's complete no-brainer.

Gary Pageau:

So If you've been around in business for a while, there tends to be sort of norms like things that people always kind of fall back on right you know the show up on time. be polite, don't talk politics or whatever the normal things, but it always seems like there's always like a trend that burbles up that people like try to throw in there. No, this is the new way. This is the new way. How do you manage that? Right, you may have a client you're working with and you're trying to coach them in a certain you know hey, you need to pick this up or you need to look at it this way but they're coming at you with you know this stupid thing. They read online.

Emma Alexander:

Oh, it's hard. I mean it's delicate working consultancy, you know it's a blend of I would say it's kind of weird. For us it's a blend of kind of mentoring and coaching and consultancy. It's a real blend of those two Because you've got to be mindful, this is people's careers. You know, this is their passion, this is their baby. You know it's hard to be brutal with creatives because so much of yourself is in what you create. Sometimes. I think it's really, you know, for me we've got five core principles that we take it back to. I think it's almost like a linear kind of journey for me in some ways Aggression yeah. Well, yeah, exactly, we call it the five P's and they are planning pricing, portfolio pitching and promotion. So planning, number one strategy 100%. So many people I speak to do not have a strategy and that's, you know, can feel very buzzwordy. Big business strategy Everyone has a strategy. It's your North Star. It's just a plan. That's all it is and, yeah, it's different to a goal. When you go to the Olympics, everyone's got the same goal which is to win gold, but it's their strategy that changes how they get there. And I think you can write a strategy on, you know, on a tiny, I don't say back of a fact bag. Oh well, you know, back of an envelope. You know you can write a strategy, but you have to have that before you do anything because otherwise you're just. You're just throwing things out there and hoping that something will stick. Strategy number one then it is sorry it's portfolio. We'll ask when you're talking with creatives, but it's the same with any business your outward facing comms you know you're going to be.

Gary Pageau:

You've been appearing sales, right, I mean you. Maybe you're not even a creative person, but you're a sales. You got to be able to show what you've already done.

Emma Alexander:

Yes, and before that, does that body of work talk to the strategy that you have put down. You know, do you want to breach a certain type of customer, whether in sales, whether you're a small business, whether you're a creative, you have a customer and you know. You got to know who that is. And then you've got to really edit that portfolio to speak to your ideal customer. So then that you are, you're giving a solution to their problem. Everyone has a problem, right? Every client has a problem and you are giving that solution. Sure, so you've got to make sure one. You have a strategy. You know what you want to your outward facing comms. Everything you have is actually speaking to that problem and to your ideal customer. Then it's pricing. You know, are you pricing your work correctly? Is it too high, is it too low? And I'll tell you now, you know, in advertising, absolutely we would overlook people who under charge themselves because we thought you don't really have a grasp of how important this is. You're selling yourself short. I don't think they get it. They don't, you know. So, absolutely, be bald. You can always go down the pricing. And then pitching and promotion. So pitching, of course, pitching for new work. Well, if you've got a strategy, if you know who you're talking to, if you had a body of work that actually speaks to that person whether that is social proof for sales or whether it's, you know, a portfolio then the pitching becomes essentially easy because you know who you're speaking to, your tone voice is right and you're providing them a solution.

Gary Pageau:

So these things, instead of build on each other, where you know, once you know one, the next one should become easier. So it should be getting easier as you progress, I would think.

Emma Alexander:

Absolutely. And then the promotion becomes a no-brainer because you've already got the examples of what you've done. You know who you're talking to, you know what the message is. It becomes and then the confidence is there as well. And I tell you, mindset is probably half of the blockers that we see with people, you know, pushing themselves forward and seeking growth. You know that fear, that horrible voice inside your head and it's hard to squash the voice. But you know what, sometimes just speaking to other people I mean your network can't say enough how much I think your network is so important, having people you trust, people you can share work with. But people who push you know lift you up as well and give you that confidence boost.

Gary Pageau:

Wow, you're giving me a lot to think about in my own life. Now I gotta go sit down with an envelope and start running down some stuff.

Emma Alexander:

You do. You don't have your strategy for this year. I'm gonna give you a slap on the wrist, young man.

Gary Pageau:

So, emma, people want to learn more about your two businesses or even your husband's co-working space. I don't know when can people go for more information.

Emma Alexander:

Well, you know, wisern. com is where to start W-I-S-E-R-N. Wisern. com. We really have a ton of amazing experts on there, from pricing experts to strategists. You know portfolio reviews, the works. That is a good place to start. And obviously, instagram, it's wisemme. Mother bran , you know, for production is at motherbran. com. It's B-R-A-N, like the bran flakes, like you say, motherbran. com and at motherbran on Insta as well.

Gary Pageau:

Awesome. Well, thank you, Emma, for your time and for your sharing. It's been great to talk to you and hope to see you again soon.

Emma Alexander:

Thank you for having me. It's been wonderful.

Erin Manning:

Thank you for listening to the Dead Pixel Society podcast. Read more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at wwwthedpixelssocietycom.

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