In this episode, we dive into the world of wedding virtual assistants and photographers in the industry. Our guest, Liz Cipriani, shares insights on how wedding virtual assistants can help photographers save time and money, specializing in areas like Dubsado.
Hear from a wedding industry specialist in the Baltimore-DC area who provides services such as social media graphics and blog posts. Liz emphasizes the importance of open communication and building relationships with clients to ensure customer satisfaction. Tune in to learn about the strategies that wedding virtual assistants and photographers use to succeed in the industry.
Liz is a virtual marketing assistant for wedding vendors based out of Baltimore, Maryland. With a corporate background in marketing, when Covid hit during her own wedding planning, she saw how wedding vendors were suffering, and she wanted to help! She started her business as a side hustle in early 2021, and left her corporate job to take it full time in July 2021. Now she spends her days working with incredibly talented photographers, planners, and DJs in the DMV and across the country!
Episode 37: Strategies for Success as a Wedding Virtual Assistant Transcript
Liz’s Introduction. (0:00)
Alyssa’s brand and clients. (2:08)
How she got started in this industry and how she became a wedding DJ. (3:20)
What are some of the services you offer to your clients? (6:04)
How do you find your clients? (7:37)
Do you do everything from start to finish for your clients or do they like to plug and play? (10:15)
The importance of having a relationship with your clients and how it’s different with each client. (12:59)
If you could share a piece of advice for a photographer looking for a virtual assistant? (14:18)
Is it more valuable to you to have money sitting in your bank because you have spent 18 hours a day working on your business or is it more (16:40)
Well, hello again. And thank you so much for being here with me for another week at the No Mercy business podcast. I’m your host Emily Woodruff And I’m super excited to have Alyssa Brioni. Did I say it right? Yeah. Super excited to have her with us today. We’re continuing the conversation about having a virtual assistant and especially a VA if you’re, if you are a photographer, I don’t know how to talk today. And just the benefit of that and what that can look like So Liz, why don’t you go ahead and give a little bit of background of what you do and how you got started and what kind of business you run.
Unknown Speaker 2:08
Yeah, so my brand is just called Alyssa Brioni. VA. I work mostly with all different wedding vendors. So DJs photographers, wedding planners. But largely my clients are um, so sorry. Good. Let me lock them out real quick. I
Emily Woodruff 2:32
can’t I can’t hear them or anything. So you’re okay. Yeah, I’ll pop this little spot out.
Unknown Speaker 2:39
Largely my clients are wedding photographers. That is who I ended up gravitating towards. And yeah, I’ve been doing this for full time since summer 2021. And it’s been great.
Emily Woodruff 2:54
Awesome. What what interested you in the wedding industry?
Unknown Speaker 2:58
So this was early 2021 that I started doing this part time while I still had a corporate job. And I had just gotten married in 2020. Okay. And so that whole, nightmare situation
Unknown Speaker 4:50
So I started this in this industry in early 2021 part time while I still had a corporate job, and I had just gotten married in 2020. During the pandemic, okay, things were crazy. A good friend of mine is a wedding DJ. And so I had been talking to him and his wife and just being like, hearing about kind of the stress that he was going through, you know, he lost basically his income for an entire year and then 2021 hit, and it was like double the weddings because he was trying to do his 2020 weddings and his 2021 weddings. And basically, he was like, you know, I love DJing I love doing actual weddings, but at my core like I’m not really a business person. I just have my own business because this is what I love doing. And I was like, Well, I can help you know, I that’s what I’m good at. I have a background in marketing. And I was like, I can help with the back end stuff. So we started working together and I loved it so much that I ended up then working with all these other wedding vendors.
Emily Woodruff 6:02
That’s really neat. That’s really neat. So it started just as a way to kind of help your friend out and now it kind of brood into some more passionate areas. That’s exciting. Yes. So what are some of the services that you offer to your clients? What are what are your favorite services to offer? I guess I would say,
Unknown Speaker 6:20
though, a lot of what I do is blogging, which kind of also goes hand in hand with SEO. But I do a lot of that writing for photographers especially because you know for them, they gotta get their blog up and show off their weddings and stuff. And then I also do a little bit of like admin backend stuff for photographers, so some dubsado work and some social media as well. So mostly Instagram and a little bit of Pinterest.
Emily Woodruff 6:49
Okay. I just like to ask because there’s so many different ways that it can be used. And I think that that’s a place that a lot of photographers or professionals in basically any industry are hung up on is that, well, I don’t have enough tasks for my VA to do this or, you know, it doesn’t have to be all of your invoicing or all of your workflows or anything like that. It can be a little bit of both be a little bit of this or just all social media or all whatever the item is that you need help with. Yeah, so I like to kind of emphasize that there’s so many different avenues, and we have some that we love the most so we might, we might invest more time and those are we might be more of a specialist in those. One of my goals for this year is to become a dubsado expert. We’re a long ways away but we’re trying but I love it and it’s really fun and it’s really neat to be able to be the go to person for your client. On a program that they don’t have the time to dig that far into and understand why clicking this makes this happen. They just want somebody else to make it happen. Yes. It’s great. That’s great. So what do you how do you find your clients what’s the best way that you interact with them? Or do they reach out to you more or do you find yourself like marketing yourself to a certain demographic?
Unknown Speaker 8:14
Nowadays, I’m really lucky to have built up kind of a network in the local area for me so that’s going to be Baltimore DC area. And I’ve met so many of these photographers and I get recommendations from other photographers to each other. So I’m really really lucky now to be in that place where they’re kind of coming into me. But I do a lot of Instagram. Just try to be present on there. Just try to have genuine interactions with these photographers and build a relationship even if it’s not gonna turn into business. Because it is always fun. I like to on the side, try to style some styled shoots, not making any money off of it, but it’s fun and I get to meet all these awesome vendors that are in the area. And then eventually, you know, sometimes they turn into clients or they will recommend someone to me.
Emily Woodruff 9:05
That’s neat. That’s really great. Actually, one of my clients work or she is in your area.
Emily Woodruff 10:08
Okay, so for some of the services that you do for your clients, you focus on your social media and you do you know, the blogging and things does that mean like you create their, their social media, graphics and things for them? Or is that you do everything from start to finish? Or do they like, have you plug and play and sort of do your own?
Unknown Speaker 10:39
It’s different for every client. lately. What I’ve been getting a lot of is people who just want reels made which is really nice. You know, there are photographers, they have contests, they have so much so many photos and they don’t know what to do with them. But a lot of them don’t want to put their face on camera and they know that reels are what’s gonna get the views so they kind of come to me and are like, I have all these pictures. I don’t have any videos. I don’t want to make any with my face on them. How do I turn these into reels? So I work with them on finding picking from their galleries of like, what would be good with what trending sound and stuff like that? And work with them a little bit on hashtags and then for the most part, those clients then will do their own caption then their own scheduling and stuff like that, and they just really want me to make the reel. I do have other people who like fully want me to be hands on in there and go ahead and schedule everything out for them and, you know, correspondent with the blogs that we’re writing, so that things are matching up and yeah it just definitely depends on each client.
Emily Woodruff 11:44
Okay, and how how do you feel like, there’s I know that there’s a lot of people who are feel like if they hire a VA, they’re relinquishing control of their business or they’re no longer touching every part of their business. How would you respond to somebody who said that to? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 12:01
so I’m usually the first person that any of these photographers have ever hired for anything. So I totally understand that I’ve seen it a million times. And it is hard and it is your baby. And I understand that I’m also a solo entrepreneur like my brand is my baby and I get it. The key to that I genuinely think is just honesty and open communication between you and your client. If I write a blog and you don’t think that that sounds like your voice, let’s go back in together and let’s look through it and make it so that it’s in your voice. Because if we don’t nip that early on in the relationship, then it’s going to be harder. Or if you’re too afraid to tell me that you don’t like something, things are gonna be harder. It’s just really prioritizing someone that you click with and someone that you feel comfortable being honest with and making sure that everything is the way you want it because it is your brand. Mm hmm.
Emily Woodruff 12:59
That’s great. So there still is that element of it’s not like you type the blog post and you just post it without them ever seeing it again. You kind of do like the first draft of it and then let them see it and if there’s tweaks that need to be made, they still get to interact. They still get to have a say in what’s being written or direct it if it’s not exactly what they were thinking, right.
Unknown Speaker 13:22
Yeah, absolutely. And then you know, I have clients who I’ve worked with now for two years, who are like, I don’t care I trust you go to the post that because we built that relationship over time. But with a new client good. Yeah, exactly. But with a new client. Yeah, it’s gonna take a little longer and that’s something that I know going in.
Emily Woodruff 13:39
Yeah. And I think too, there’s a lot of a lot of clients that even if you’ve been with them for several years, they just they need that control, whether they trust you completely or not. It feels like they still need to be the one to hit Publish or they’re not working their business, even though we know that that’s not true. And we know that it’s really just a control thing. You know, I just like kind of talking through these things and helping people to understand that there’s, it’s not that you’re just passing things over and you’ll never see them again. It’s just a new method of getting things done. Yeah, absolutely. If you could share a piece of advice for a photographer who is looking for a virtual assistant what would you what would you share?
Unknown Speaker 14:27
Definitely write out all of your pain points in your business and decide what you want your VA to do, because there are so many different vas. I mean, we said before, like there’s so many different bas to do so many different things, even in this realm of photography, you know, you could even you might just want an editor. If you hate editing, just outsource your editing. You don’t have to have a VA who does like admin, if you don’t mind doing admin, don’t have to have someone who does social media if you don’t mind doing social media. So I definitely recommend like looking exactly at your pain points in your business things that would free up more time to allow you to do what you want to do. And then finding a VA that specializes in those specific things. Especially right now the VA world feels a lot kind of flooded. There’s a lot of us. And pretty much everybody is great, honestly, but they’re not all great at everything. So you just have to find the person that is going to help you with the thing that you want them to help with.
Emily Woodruff 15:28
It’s great. And I affirm everything that you just said That’s awesome. And I there’s also I think the fear of people making investments with virtual assistants. And so how for you do you do like a weekly thing or hourly thing or do you do retainers with your clients? What does that kind of you don’t have to share prices, but just like, you know, what does that look like for you?
Unknown Speaker 15:50
It depends on what we’re working on. So for like blogs, it’s really easy. I just say okay, between this many words and this many photos a blog is going to be X amount of dollars. For social media and engagement, it’s usually going to be more of an hourly system. Just because it’s hard to just focus on deliverables when engagement is such a huge part of social media. So it’s really about the time that you put in, in building that community. But yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m not the cheapest VA by any means and I definitely get hesitation from some people but my view is you know if working with me a couple of hours a week and then free you up to do another portrait session every week because you now have that time. You’re paying that off and you got to do what you wanted to do in the first place.
Emily Woodruff 16:40
is the basis of all of it is what is more valuable to you? Is it more valuable for you to have money sitting in your bank? Because you have spent 18 hours a day working on your business and not being able to separate yourself from it? Because you want to touch every single thing or is it more important to be able to do the job that you want to do? Do the tasks that you want to complete and be able to also have a life outside of it? Because at that point, I feel like a lot of creatives feel like they have to be the only one to do it. Because of the not working for the man sort of thing. Not doing that traditional, you know, a traditional office employee or anything like that, but nobody and nowhere does it say you have to be a one man show to have your own business.
Unknown Speaker 17:29
Yeah, one of my clients recently switched from being like more of a traditional wedding photographer to a travel destination elopement photographer. And she recently said to me, which was just so sweet was that, you know, she feels comfortable traveling now and being able to enjoy her travel. Because she doesn’t have to be attached to her inbox. She doesn’t have to be attached to her dubsado leads coming in when she went to Norway last week for a week. She was able to unplug and enjoy her time in Norway and spend that time with her couple who was eloping and not have to worry about all the back end. So you know, it’s it having a person that you trust can open up so many doors.
Emily Woodruff 18:08
I love it. I love it so much. Well, thank you so much for your time today. Is there any is where would you have our guests? Oh my gosh, I’m sorry. Thank you so much for being here with us today. Where can our listeners find you and connect with you?
Unknown Speaker 18:25
Yeah, I’m on Instagram. At Alyssa Brioni. VA and that’s the best place to reach me or my website. Liz to Brioni va.com
Emily Woodruff 18:34
Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Thank you Emily.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai