The Myth of the Magic Bullet

I’m going to tell you something that most people trying to sell a photography product will not tell you: A new headshot, on it’s own, will not move the needle on your business. Unless you have some sort of hypnotic power over anyone who gazes on your face, a headshot won’t do squat by itself.

Want to know how I know? See, all of my life I’ve suffered from what I endearingly refer to as a “magic-bullet syndrome”. I am prone to thinking I have found the solution. The solution to whatever. I remember the day I started a Facebook page and thought, “boy, now we’re really going to take off”. I remember writing a blog post in my first year or two of business and imagining the hungry masses with their pocketbooks out. I remember clicking “order now” on a shopping cart full of bumper stickers for Petruzzo Photography, and knowing for sure people would pay attention to this bumper sticker, even when they ignored all the others.

Someone did call the number from that bumper sticker once… it was to tell me that the car it was affixed to was double parked.

I could go on with examples, but they get increasingly embarrassing so I’ll just stop there for now. The point is, I’m not the only one of us running a business who keeps tricking themselves into thinking that they’ve stumbled on the magic bullet. For sure this time! Unsurprisingly, we let other vital business efforts fall to the wayside when we think we’ve got the magic bullet.

When you think you’re referral network is the magic bullet, you don’t send newsletters, or build a twitter following. When you think Facebook is your magic bullet, you don’t go to trade conventions. When you think new branding is the magic bullet, you don’t address deficiencies in customer service. When you think your logo is the magic-bullet, you don’t get headshots. When you think your product itself is the magic bullet, you don’t advertise at all. When you think a new employee is the magic bullet, you disenfranchise your other employees. When you think some new piece of equipment is the magic bullet, you’re willing to spend money you don’t have to get it.

This list could go on and on and on. Pick anything, make it the magic bullet, and something else vitally important to the survival of your business will not get the attention it needs.

But the truth is: there is no such thing as a magic bullet. It doesn’t exist.

Sure, you could hit the lottery. That’s kind of like a magic bullet. Or you could meet just the right investor at just the right time, in just the right place, making just the right pop-culture reference, in just the right tone, and that might be kind of like a magic bullet. But, still, only at first. People who think they won the lottery and they’re done forever usually end up broke again. People who end up with a right-time-right-place investor have to figure out how to deliver, but they probably won’t since all they’ve focused on is the magic bullet.

No matter how you square it, for your business to excel, you need to put forth a diligent, consistent effort through a diverse network of responsibilities in marketing, sales, finance, product creation, and product delivery. Certainly, there are people, tools, equipment, training and more that can affect and contribute to those areas, but success does not lie in any one of them alone. In any one person, product, or practice alone.

It’s all connected. While a headshot will not, in and of itself, take you and your business where you want it to go, it will help. Something I’ve insisted we do as a company is be more than ‘run-and-gunners’. That is to say, we’re not just thinking about the image itself, but how the image will be used, who will see it and why, and what you hope they’ll do as a result. We regularly suggest uses for the images we create for clients, and we help demonstrate how they can make the most of the images we create for them.

Don’t fall victim to the magic-bullet syndrome. Diversify your efforts. Represent yourself as completely and authentically as you can to your clients. Keep your focus on one thing at a time, but all things over time.

If you need help with your headshots and the mystery of business imagery, get in touch with us! We can help! Just don’t think that phone call is the only important one you’ll have this week. ;)