Maurice Jager – Personal Branding in Photography

08

JULY, 2018

Personal Branding

Social Media Photography

Entrepreneurship

Maurice is an expert in photography for social media, headshots and in creating the right photos for your personal brand. I got the chance to interview him in May in Koh-Phangan. Here’s the full story, the podcast and the transcript!

Maurice brands himself as “the social media photographer of the Netherlands”. He helps professionals and entrepreneurs to create authentic headshots and profile pictures for LinkedIn, social media and their websites. Maurice did an interesting transition from a corporate job into full-time professional photography six years ago – we’ll talk about that later in the podcast. Creating value for his customers is his top priority. Maurice is serving the rising trend to build your personal brand online on all your social media profiles and especially in the professional and entrepreneurial sector.

Maurice Jager getting interviewed by Benno Sawitzki – pretty nice setup, right?

Photograph by Maurice Jager

Nowadays more and more professionals focus on their online appearance. Although personal branding and branding, in general, have been around since day one people now leverage these tactics and strategies and take them online. Professionals who are on LinkedIn and Facebook and all the other social media networks see that they have to set apart from my competition. So how can you set apart? A professional headshot is a good start!

” When I’m not producing value for others I’m producing value for myself. And if I can combine the two then that’s the best client I can have.”

Good equipment is important.

Photograph by Maurice Jager

If you want to learn more about Maurice Branded Photo Libraries please go to his website or fill out the form below.

Now listen to the podcast and learn from Maurice what makes a good headshot, what a branded photo library is and why relationship building is important – especially in the digital age. 

Download Maurice E-Book about Visual Branding for Entrepreneurs.

Here’s the transcript!

Benno Sawitzki:

So today we have Maurice Jager from the Netherlands. Maurice.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yes hey how are you doing?

 

Benno Sawitzki:

I am great. I’m a bit sweaty as you can see but yeah life is good. Maurice you’re a photographer, you give yourself the tagline – at least I translated it like this – specialist in profile photos for LinkedIn, social media portrait and headshot photograph.

 

Maurice Jager:

That’s what it says. I currently brand myself as the social media photographer of the Netherlands. So I help people with their headshots and profile pictures for their LinkedIn and their websites and their all their social profiles that they have these days and I specialize in that pretty much. like five or six years ago I figured okay I want to venture into photography. I want to do something that creates value for people and so what am I going to do. And then people are started to work more with social media professionally and I figured they need to make sure that they look good because apparently the most of the time people look at somebody’s profile is the picture and see if they have a rapport with these people and if they like the person that they see before they actually go and see okay what’s this guy’s name or what’s this person’s name and what does he do. So I figured I specialize in that and do something very well instead of doing seven things mediocre so that’s what I did and now I’m venturing off in creating full content libraries for people to use in their social media and blog posts and all that kind of stuff that’s around these days and help them build their brand.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

That sounds interesting how does that look like, like a full content library. I have 50 headshots or…

 

Maurice Jager:

No I actually I actually go on the road with these people like I kind of strategized the product it’s it’s like a process. So when somebody goes on my site they book a 20-minute like introduction call let’s get to know each other kind of thing and then based on that call we decide if we want to work together and if so then I have a two-hour strategy session with the person, and we go like who are you? What do you do? What’s important to you? What are your values? What like kind of stuff do you use? Like which books are important? Like all sorts of stuff that is important for their brand and after the strategy session I come up with like a shot list so like a full list with stuff that is part of the brand of that professional and then we go and shoot for like 46 hours and we create like a hundred, a hundred and fifty shots of this person doing what he does, building the brand, showing behind the scenes stuff like creating a full library of content that they can use when they start educating people and communicating with their tribe.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

That’s awesome, that sounds pretty awesome. So okay you jump directly into the topic, no chitchat. I skipped my chitchat questions and…

 

Maurice Jager:

We can make a u-turn if you want. I’m perfectly fine about anything you want to discuss.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

No now we are here we do the chit chat later. So like you talked about branding and personal branding and I think it’s a trending topic like everybody has kind of a personal brand nowadays. As soon as you have a social media profile or a Facebook profile, in the business world a LinkedIn profile of course, you have a personal brand and you have to think about how do you present yourself, how do people perceive you, what do they feel, what kind of message do you want to communicate, what are your thoughts on that. Is it trending, is it a rising topic, do you see more demand in these area during the last years.

 

Maurice Jager:

I think a lot of people focus more on that when they focus more on their appearance online. I think personal branding and branding in general has been around since day one like way back when like the reason my the bakery store at the corner of my street is successful is because the way they brand each other and built relationships and have rapport with the community and that worked back down and it still works to debut 5:18 because they’ve been in business for 80 years or whatever the sign says on the wall. But nowadays a lot of people take that tactic and strategy if you will and put take it online and go on to the LinkedIn’s and the Facebook’s and they a lot of people figured okay me being on these networks is not setting me apart from my competition it’s just like everybody’s there so what am I going to offer that like gets people’s attention aimed towards me. And now everybody’s grabbing back to this old tactics of building relationships and trying to control the way other people see them and building that reputation and that’s what I think is that where the whole personal branding now comes in because a lot of people are currently working as entrepreneurs or us like single business owners and doing all that stuff. So I think like the line between having a business and being a person is different. Back then it was very black and white okay I run the business and what I do on my downtime is what I do on my downtime and I think that line kind of disappeared and now a lot of people who do business especially with high-end and high-level entrepreneurs they want to see what this person is about and then see okay what is important to him can I identify. Can identify myself with what is important to this person and let’s see if we can do business and I think that’s the whole grasp of being in personal branding these days that you give people the opportunity to get to know you.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

So you think branding is mostly about building relationships did I get this right?

 

Maurice Jager:

I think relationships are important and I think the way to start building a relation. We have this conversation right now and you just mentioned it before that you looked me up to see about okay what’s this guy about and what’s his tack line and all that stuff so that’s when my brand kicks in. Like we’re having this conversation because we had a chat on Instagram and that kind of started and then you went into okay what’s this guy who’s Maurice and why should I want to talk to him, and then you go on my site and on my social profiles and you go see. Okay this guy is in LinkedIn profile pictures, he takes behind the scene shots of him working with clients, he shows his work, he does this, he talks about what he likes and what he doesn’t and that kind of builds a certain set of confidence and trust and that’s probably what helped you getting me on this podcast.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah definitely definitely. How deep do you go into a brand strategy and brand building with your clients? I can imagine that there are maybe different stages or a different levels like some are maybe already very clear about their values, their mission, their vision, their whole brand identity others have no clue about anything yet or they just want a nice LinkedIn profile photo. What what percentage is like brand building or brand strategy of your work? How deep do you go in there?

 

Maurice Jager:

When somebody comes in for a LinkedIn profile picture then it’s usually okay I need a good shot of me and I want to put it on my social. I want to use it as the profile picture and that’s pretty much where it stops for them coming into the studio and working with me like when I’m in, when they’re in the room I start talking a little bit about them and go, okay why do you do what you do? And get all this questions going to see how far advanced they are. If I’m talking about this whole social media photography where I built these libraries for people those are usually entrepreneurs who know what they’re doing to a certain degree at least in their mind and then I have like a huge questionnaire with like maybe like a hundred questions where I really go into. Okay why do you do? What you do? What’s important? Like how does your day look? Like there’s a million things what do you go to relax? Like there’s a million things that I got the huge list and some people are very confident and they go through it like super easily. They go okay yeah I know why I’m doing what I’m doing and because they had some sort of a brand strategist or they work with a business coach or they had somebody help them figure it out and some people have no clue, they just see my shots and they go like dude I’m I’m like one of the best people in the business and I need stuff like this, like I want to like have this huge collection of professional shots that I want people to see how I work and what I do and make myself look even more expert. But they just do what they do because it comes natural to them and then going into my strategy that kind of helps them identify who they really are and gives them points on where to focus on more. Because usually if you do something very natural then it’s a repetitive thing so at some point you’re gonna blow up people 10:52 because you’re gonna do the same thing over and over and over and over and over again and then so at some point people go like yeah I’ve seen this. And with the strategy you and with me asking questions you people like I try and push them out of their comfort zone and go like find some things that are important to them they never really thought about but it’s very valuable to the people that they serve.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

How do you implement it in your photos?

 

Maurice Jager:

If something’s important to the person then we just put it on the list okay this is the location, this is what you’re going to do this is the vibe we want to create and this is the story we want to tell with this shot and then we go there, we create it and they get it into their library and work with that going forward. Plus all this stuff I want to create I want it to be evergreen and non-time sensitive. So what I’m shooting with these people can be used in May, December, January like whenever they have a need to include the image or use the image online they can use it which is very helpful for them. It’s a little I like I rather have them come back and shoot in wintertime but you know but and charge them again but I want these people I want to create value for them and I want these people to be able to express their and show their brand and have all the options they need. And a lot of that comes from figuring out what makes somebody tick and finding an angle that they didn’t even know they had. I’m sure when you talk about your brand to me and then somebody else comes in the room chances are you’re not gonna say the same thing twice. There’s always going to be some slight of a deviation because of the person in the room or the question that’s being asked or the way you think about your business today. How that is different from last week because you’ve gained a new experience or you listen to the market and you came up with okay this client asked me this and I never really thought about that but it’s awesome and I think there’s more demand for it so let’s include that. I think it’s important I didn’t know it existed and then you gotta keep developing your brand from there.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah definitely I also think it’s a bit boring if you fire the same elevator pitch like you’re robot again and again.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah like when I started my business I went through these networking events and I had absolutely no clue what I was doing so I grabbed a stack of my business cards I went in there. I talked to 40 people and at person seven I was like I just said the same thing like to six other people like what am I doing like like these people are not gonna book me because I pitched them what I do and talk to them for like two minutes and then rush to the next person because I want to talk to as many people as I can in the two hours that this event is gonna take and I think that’s the wrong approach and I think I get some point I think if we want to talk branding. I think what’s different than branding that is and all the other stuff that our people are trying to do online these days is branding it’s more about what you can do for other people and the other stuff is just sales.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah here we are like especially when you say going to networking events and jumping from one person to the other compared to maybe have one quality conversation or one deep conversation so here it’s it’s back, here we are back with relationships, it’s all about relationships. I also preferred when I go to a networking event I prefer to meet maybe one or two cool people and have intense conversation with them instead of like jumping around and having business cards out like a maniac.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah and then you get them all back and then you have the stack of business cards, and then what? Then you’re gonna be like at your desk and finding these people on LinkedIn and connecting and then like half the people are not your target audience or the people you want to work with anyway. So you like usually I just like go into one of these events. I just order a coffee or like water or something and I just like look around the room and see like I profile the people and I see okay where’s the crowd because usually where the crowd is are the people who are like they are the top people in the community or like everybody knows them so that’s probably a person you want to talk to first. And then you have a conversation and if you find out that this person is not the person who you would like to work with there you go. Okay you heard me talk like who should I talk to next? And they go like yeah I know the guy this over here or this woman over there she might be somebody you want to talk to because she does this and this and then you can go to the next person and you go like I just talked to Jimmy over here and he mentioned I should speak to you because so and so and then you got a good end and you got like you then you already got a referral in a network event.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

That’s msart.

 

Maurice Jager:

I’m dropping knowledge here what do you want. I’m very strategic about what I do like I’m a busy guy. I do a lot and I want to make the most value for me and for the other people like I can bore somebody for 15 minutes and talk about football or like talk about some stuff that we have a common denominator or like that we both like but at the end of the day like I waste this person’s time, I waste my time, I might as well talk to somebody who actually cares for what I have to say.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah so how do you sale? What’s your sales strategy?

 

Maurice Jager:

I think a lot of the sales strategy stuff comes from my branding. So I think my brand is pretty okay I’m always building it. When I’m not producing value for others I’m producing value for me and if I can combine the two then that’s the best client you can have because then you can rehash and reuse what you did for this client and reuse it for you and include it into your brand story and put it out on social and help the other person be get like eyes on what they’re doing and it makes me look good in the process. So I’m always very focused on that and I think my work speaks a lot for itself and a lot of the sales if you want. I’m not the COC guy so I’m not cold calling people or sending a million emails and hope somebody will bite. I’m more into okay I’m I’ll go on my LinkedIn I just look at who’s in my network or who like a client of mine shared his headshot that I took at a at a lab room event for LinkedIn. So he had this event I was working there as the photographer so I shot some environmental portraits for them to use as the banner image on their on their LinkedIn profile and I took the headshot. So I brought my full studio and the guys in LinkedIn influencer over here is like top 10 LinkedIn influencers something he’s on the top hundred list globally I don’t know he has some followers and he didn’t he had a headshot like six years old. So and he was very much like I don’t want to be photographed. I’m like you’re gonna be fine just jump in here everybody’s out for lunch will we have a couple minutes you get in there. So I worked with him for like maybe two minutes, three minutes something and he shared that shot on his LinkedIn. He put it in and he updated his profile picture and then he went into LinkedIn and he created a post like I worked with Maurice, I mean I didn’t want to but he convinced me. I got in front of the camera he wrote like two paragraphs of stuff and he added the photo. So this guy gets like this guy gets like 280 likes and like 50 comments I booked 10 people.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

That’s smart social media marketing.

 

Maurice Jager:

And I didn’t do I didn’t do anything for it like I shot him I didn’t ask for him to post it. But a lot of people jumped on it and they I got like a hundred new connections on LinkedIn from people who are interested in my service because they like what I did and I booked 10 people and the other people are in my network and then they are not convinced at this point so they’re gonna see my post and the stuff I share on the brand building that I’m gonna do going forward and then at some point they’re gonna like bite the bullet and make the decision to start working with me and I don’t have to sell them shit. I think there’s a couple of reasons why people buy. It’s the way you look, the product you offer and the quality of your product and how it makes them look. There’s that’s that’s like the three most important reasons for people to buy stuff. Does it make me look good? What’s the advantage for me? Do I like the person that I’m going to be working with? And what is like then price and all that other stuff is not really that important at some point anymore. Then people just buy what they like and how it makes them look. Like why do people buy your Mercedes and not a Kia? Like because of the about the way the car makes them feel. Like why isn’t price like. I don’t think the built of a BMW/Mercedes is that much more expensive and if you call it down to the bare minimum it’s a car. It has five wheels, it has an engine and it gets you from place A to place B. The way it makes you feel when you’re in the car and the way it makes you look when you get out of the car is why people buy the car and spend the money. And I think that works with a lot of businesses like if your process is good, if your product is good and if people like you and if people see themself using your product and making them look good then that’s all you gotta cover and that’s I think the most that’s the majority of what branding and marketing is. All the other stuff is fluff.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah good point that’s a good point. What makes a good headshot Maurice?

Maurice Jager:

I think the expression in the shot is most important. There’s a million different things that I look at when I before I actually take the picture like clothing and everything like in shape and symmetric. And like how is the positioning? How are the facial features coming along? And do I need to adjust the posture or the positioning of how people stand in front of my camera? But that’s just like the beginning and lighting is obviously good and like a good headshots doesn’t happen in the camera, it happens in the mind of the person in front of the camera. If you feel miserable your shot is gonna be miserable, if you feel like you’re on top of the world then your shot is gonna look very confident. So it’s a lot of the work that I do and I the way I work with people is like nobody’s used to be in front of the camera like nobody takes a picture of themselves every morning it gets weird for people. So you want to make it not weird so you want to like work with these people and make them feel confident about what they do and one of the tools that I use is that I shoot straight into my computer and I have a 27 inch screen and when I’m just I work with them for a couple of minutes and then I just turn my monitor around I go like okay you’re gonna have a picture like this, and they go like holy moly that looks good, and then I built their confidence. And then I keep like building them up and building them up and like the best sessions are the sessions when people leave the studio more confident than they came in.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

So it’s almost almost is a coaching process you do.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah yeah.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

I also saw like you have this video where you present the bank you as that 27 [Unclear 24:22].

 

Maurice Jager:

There you go.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

There you go. I like that cryptic product expression and I saw you’re very precise with people. You really show them okay move your head a bit more like this, a bit more in this direction like you also you give very clear instructions how people yeah so position themselves in front of the camera.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah yeah it’s I’m a bank I’m a BenQ 24:57 you ambassador so I work with BenQ that’s why the video is around. When somebody’s in front of like you can look at me right now because we’re on Skype but if my body goes this way and my head goes this way it looks weird and a lot of people they have a resting lag and they have like what they’re always like uneven. If you stand like one shoulder is always down because one leg is resting and the other one is you’re like you stand on and you got it work because nobody knows. If you’re gonna stand up after this recording you’re gonna notice you’re like you’re gonna try it and you’ll go like oh yeah he’s right. But nobody knows this stuff and it’s upon the photographer to make them aware of it and compensate for it. So I’m always like okay drop that shoulder a little bit, move your head a little bit this way and then it’s very much like pointing stuff out because I can talk to you and so okay move your head like an inch the top of the head an inch to your left and you have no idea how far that that is so I’m always like pointing and okay move with my hand and stuff like that which very much helps people. And I think being very direct about it cuts out all the fluff and makes it very very understandable for a lot of people because nobody’s used to being in front of the camera especially entrepreneurs.

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah that’s super cool.

 

Maurice Jager:

And models are and models are the worst. Because then they move when the shutter clicks. They’re so used to like doing the modeling thing so I take a picture and they do stuff and then they take another picture and they do another. No stop moving, stop doing it they know like that takes a couple minutes for them to get used to it but like it’s very much about making the other person look good.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

I like that because I also worked with a lot of photographers they don’t tell you shit or like they you do some pauses or you try to look good but I think I’m not a model also not super experienced so I would like to get clear instruction so how to good look. How to look good that’s I think that’s part of the reason I pay you for example like I wanna have a good photo. I need some instructions.

 

Maurice Jager:

That’s very much true and I work with a business and a website called headshot crew where Peter Hurley was a photographer out of New York City. He’s like one of the most world-renowned headshot photographers at this point in time and he decided to he does he did this stuff for years like coaching people and directing them and figuring out their faces and their physiques and making them look the best version that they can be in front of the camera and he decided to share all this knowledge on a website with videos and live streams and all that stuff and we man I helped him build it as I do a lot of the marketing for the headshot crew and we managed to build the platform with 14,000 photographers and over a 100 photographers that can call themselves associated with us and produced top-notch work all around the world. So if and those people are people we trust so yeah you’re right now like halfway around the world, I’m in the Netherlands. If somebody listens to this stuff who is in Austin, Texas or New York or like I don’t know anywhere in the world like Australia or whatever we have people that follow exactly the way I’m shooting, that Peter is shooting and we know that these people create top-notch work. So if somebody actually listens to this and goes like we have I need this in my life like this is gonna help me they can go to headshotcrew.com and there’s a search bar and if you put in your city then you’ll find a photographer that’s closest to you and have somebody help you out with that.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Awesome I have for example our customer in the Philippines who needs photos right now so he can’t put the Philippines in the headshot website and then someone will come up.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah if we got somebody there close then you’ll find the closest person and reach out to him directly and see if they can work together. And we got we have people from like Australia, Russia, United States, all over Europe, we’re a little low on Africa and we can do a little better in South America but we are pretty much like we cover like two-thirds of the world. So there’s chances are that somebody can find a person that they can work with close to them.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

So I sorry yeah.

 

Maurice Jager:

Go ahead well I was just saying that’s totally cool that we that there’s a network of professionals that can help you look good.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah and also like fulfill some quality standards that’s a great thing. So I see you’re super busy and you are juggling a lot of balls and projects in the air at the same time. So you mentioned the headshot crew and you are also CMO of headshot crew. How does that work? How did you get into there? Or tell me a bit about it how much of your time does that consume?

 

Maurice Jager:

I started working with Peter and the headshot crew I think like when I decided to venture into headshots I went online and I figured okay who can teach me about this and I found Peter and I sent him a message and we got like emailing back and forth and I was at his web at the headshot crew Dan was which was still in built mode. And in April, 2016 we had our first ever headshot event on a vessel going from New York to Bermuda and I was one of the teachers and I was doing a couple classes and at this point we decided okay I want you to come on board and work with me and help build this thing. So at this point in time I was like okay what do you do, what can you do. I was like I was in online marketing and product development in the corporate world for over 12 years. So this is probably something that I have experience in and that I can help and can bring to the table to build the headshot crew. So that’s what we decided to do and we came up with okay well you’re gonna be the guy who runs the marketing so I’m okay then I’m going to be the CMO and I’ve been doing that for a little over two years and we build it from like 5,000 to 14,000 people in two years. So there’s definitely demand and there’s actually like the whole infrastructure or the whole like internet thing is going way more to the branding and to the show your face kind of thing and less about the you know the script kiddies behind the computer at the Attic, at the parent’s house kind of thing and that was like way everybody’s there and everybody’s trying to build something for themselves and we noticed that too in the photography. And it’s growing and it’s gonna be bigger and better like it’s ramping up. So there’s the demand it’s like it’s been like going like really steady and it’s going up and it’s gonna go crazy up in a like in I think next year.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

The hockey stick the famous hockey stick curve.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yep yeah and right now if somebody decides to start doing this, they’re ahead of the curve.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Right so you mentioned you were in the corporate world before and I also like saw at your LinkedIn profile of course. What were your motivations to make a shift from the corporate world to become a full-time professional photographer or did you always do like photography on the site or what how did you end up where you are.

 

Maurice Jager:

At some point when I was still working corporate jobs one of my friends bought a camera and he was like you should buy a camera and we just like go out and take pictures of stuff. I’m like okay I can do that so I bought some camera and we started like playing around a little bit and I was still doing the corporate job working from 7:00 in the morning till 11:00 at night and running like huge departments and being like managing 120 people all day every day. And at some point in time like when I started into the whole corporate world, we’re talking like 2001. So there’s like internet was like nothing happened, ecommerce was like very much at the beginning stages. So there was a lot of entrepreneurial stuff and a lot of like figuring stuff out as we go and that creative part of having that job kind of attracted me and like I found that very attracting part of the job and as my career advanced and the internet advanced and the ecommerce advanced and all the product development stuff got more mainstream. It became more about numbers and I was just like working business cases and working managing codes and project, finances and like getting big dealing with 120 people’s problems all the time. I was like do I want to do this for another 40 years? Or do I want to do something else and I was like hell no like I don’t see myself doing this forever and then I was just like, okay but what am I gonna do? And then I was just like trying to figure out what to do with life and I looked across the room and I saw my camera and I was like maybe I can do something with that, and then I started like what I mentioned earlier trying to find somebody who could actually teach me a thing or two and that’s when I came in touch with Peter and I start building this thing out. I think I started like maybe seven years ago and then I did a lot of my when I transitioned from the corporate world to the photography I decided to go freelance for a couple of years and just like collect a huge amount of paychecks and just work the hourly rate and go hammer time with all the experience that I had and just save as much money as I could and then at some point one of my freelance projects ended and I went like, do I want to look for another one and be stuck six months behind the screen or do I have enough that I can manage to try this photography thing for like two years, maybe three and see how it goes. And I decided to take on the photography and it’s been going bonkers ever since.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Awesome that’s great like no struggles, no I mean every entrepreneur or a freelancer like I think has his struggles. What were your down side, struggles in your career?

 

Maurice Jager:

Like I when I started doing this work I had one huge challenge and that was that I had a product that nobody needed. Yep so there was no market I could market I could like I have the top-notch marketing but nobody know this product’s existent and that was the huge, the biggest challenge. So actually if you look if you google headshots in Dutch all you get is Call of Duty. Because of the snipers and all that kind of stuff so I was like my gosh am I up against this? So I just look I just grabbed what I know or what I knew back at the time and I was like okay who do I want to work with, and I was working some top-level marketing stuff so I know a lot of CEOs and CFOs and like top-tier senior management people. I approached like 20 of them that I used to work with in the last like four years or whatever kind of number and I sent them an email like I’m building this business, I got this product which is gonna be very valuable for somebody in your position.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

We are talking about headshots?

 

Maurice Jager:

We’re talking about headshots right now. This this same tactic applies to the content library building that I’m doing right now because nobody is doing it either now. So there’s no there’s no second guy over here that does it so what I did back then I’m do I’m recreating right now but I emailed these people like we worked together at company XYZ. I’m building this business, this is my product and I think you can benefit from it and I welcome you to come in. I’ll shoot you and you sent me four of the people in your network and I’ll shoot you for free and I’ll charge them.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah good strategy.

 

Maurice Jager:

And the 20 people like 15 responded. I shot maybe 12 and those 12 got me 40 others and then and then I did the same kind of thing with them like the referral guy or the person who referred me he told he already did the whole like this looks good and this is the price in your area and the people came into the studio and I went okay this is this this is what the session cost. I can drop 25% of the price if you give me three names that are from people that I can call tomorrow and drop your name and have them come in and everybody liked that. So that’s what I did and that’s what I did and that’s what I did and at some point I stopped doing it because everybody know what I had to offer.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

So you created your own market, your own product, your own market actually.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah nobody did it and like now with the content library stuff there’s a photographer in New York City who pretty much came up with it. His name is John D’Amato and he’s one of he’s a good friend of mine and we’ve been talking and I was like this stuff is good and he shot me in New York last October and I’m using some of his work and I’m like this is very valuable to people like I should be like trying to figure this out too. So now he has this product that he’s trying to put into the market. I’m having this more like same product and I’m going to put in my market so now we’re like kind of work together and find angles to get it branded and get it across people’s minds that they need it.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

That’s super cool like what’s the what’s the price point or the range from such a content library.

 

Maurice Jager:

My price is for the full package going from the strategy until like the delivery of the shots which is like I promised 120 usually it’s more it’s like I’m very big on under promise, over deliver. Ist’s set at like pretty much 2,000 euros.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah well that’s a fair price, that’s super fair. I mean you can feed your content pipelines, your content marketing strategy for weeks with that or for months or even a year like you can you can build a whole story around it, that’s amazing.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah yeah and you pretty much shoot the whole story so you have your brand identity ready, you have your brand story and then you just decide on Monday I want to talk about how I, I don’t know do in-house workshops at a corporation and then I got a shot of a person like writing or this person writing on a whiteboard in a room. Put it in there like that that fits the story then I got somebody like I travel around the world so I have somebody lugging around like a trolley suitcase on the street kind of shot. Okay I’m on my way here in here and then we change clothing a couple of times and I take a couple more pictures of that same scenario and you can use that a million times plus one of the most beneficial things about having an algorithm on your social media is that nobody ever sees all your stuff. So if it’s evergreen you can reshare your stuff and chances are other people are gonna see it. Everybody’s complaining about only ten 10% or 5% of the followers on your Facebook page actually see your post but that gives you the opportunity to share it another 18 times without having the chance of the same people seeing it twice. And some people might see it twice but if you, if I share something today and I share something in three months odds are people forgot about it.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

You mentioned New York a couple of times, tell me more about New York. What’s your connection to New York? You also have a studio there?

 

Maurice Jager:

My connection with New Yorker is that I work with Peter and I can I now have my I partner in each studio so I can work in a studio if I’m in New York which is not as much as I plan to. I’m just really busy in Europe these days so I try and conquer Europe first and then if there’s like a trade show or something happening in New York that requires my face being there and like myself being there then I go there and try and combine work and it’s I don’t know I it’s been that I it happened that I was there a couple like pretty amount of times in a year and now it’s I’ve been there February or something like and then last October and it’s kind of like. Sometimes I’m there a lot and sometimes I’m just in Europe and flying around Europe and taking up working with high-level entrepreneurs all across Europe. There’s all my stuff what I bring fits in my, fits in a suitcase and I fly with that stuff. So if I’ve got a client in London, it’s a 45-minute flight so I’ll just grab my stuff go to the airport, flight to London, work with these people, fly back and I’m done and like Europe is fairly small. So I’m just like bouncing around Europe pretty much so I like Paris it’s like an hour, Berlin is an hour like it’s everything’s like fairly okay travel wise. So I’m trying to focus my business right now more on the European part and the New York is nice. If there’s if there’s a reason for me to be there but now I’m very much into building and creating the social media content for people and I kind of do that in Europe.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah why because it’s just it evolved like this or…

 

Maurice Jager:

It evolved, it’s easier. I have a lot of friends in New York that I miss dearly but just like life happened and like I have a lot to do over here so at some point it’s probably gonna shift again but like I have the option to go there. I just currently decide not to because Europe is great too.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

You mentioned you’re a brand ambassador for BenQ and you’re also a pro team ambassador, brand ambassador for Fortex. How does that work? How did you get into these roles?

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah I’m I’m ambassador for Tether tools 46:25, BenQ and Farex 46:28 and it’s pretty much like I create good content and I manage to build over a hundred thousand followers on my social accounts and then these companies figured okay you got good reach, you make good stuff. Here’s our gear start working with it and see how you like it and then well obviously the same tactics that I use with my client they do. So when I like what they produce I talk about it and that kind of like generates sales for them. So it’s really like ok just work with it, figure it out, see how you like it and talk about it. So that’s why the BenQ video came about.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

And they approached you or you reached out to them or like is there something you do by purpose or it’s on your goal list to become a brand ambassador or is it something that just happened?

 

Maurice Jager:

I think like for any person I don’t think being an ambassador should be a goal. It’s like it doesn’t get you a millionaire, nothing like it’s just it makes you look good. So in branding it’s kind of cool like people recognize the brands and go like okay if this company endorses him then it kind of the reputation of the company kind of reflects on you. And how I got about it it’s like I managed to build a pretty good substantial network and I knew a couple of people who were ambassador by BenQ and they introduced me or with Farex I wanted to create a different kind of work and Farex had the tools that I wanted to use and for some reason the CEO of Farex followed me on Instagram and I woke up and I was like who’s this guy like you just said his name and I didn’t know him so I clicked on it and I was like oh CEO Farex. So I just sent him direct message on Instagram like okay thanks for following me I see you’re the CEO of Farex. I just went on your site and I see that you guys have an ambassador program. What do I gotta do to be on that program? Then we kind of talked a little bit on Instagram and then I gave him my email and we did a little emails back and forth and then I got introduced with a distributor who’s local because Farex is based out of Hong Kong. So I got a Belgium, Dutch I don’t know something distributor like boo covers this side of Europe and then we got to talk and they sent me some stuff and I’m working with it and whenever I use it I just tag them in the shots or like talk a little bit about it and when I do workshops I bring it and have people get introduced to the product and have them work with that and then when people like it outside that they’re gonna go to a store and buy it. That’s the idea behind it but it’s I don’t know I just reached out to people. I guess it’s all comes down to what we started with being the relationship kind of guy and just like talk to these people. Like worst thing that can happen is that they say no. I had that happen.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah you need a lot of nose to get somewhere.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah I feel I feel fortunate enough that I’m working with a lot of people who are top of their game like I managed to get surrounded by some successful people or people who have the mindset of being successful and just like trying to get there which helps but like some people are just not gonna like it and being a photographer it’s a matter of sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. I don’t I just don’t like the shots okay it’s very subjective. Does that make me a lesser photographer? No. Does that make you my client? No, and everybody’s okay like we don’t we don’t like working with each other I’m perfectly fine and that happens in any business. Like if you decide where you want to take your business and if you want to decide okay this is what I want to create, this is my product I stand behind in and this is awesome and this can help people and then somebody comes along and go like I don’t see it. Well okay then you go someplace else.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah I think we added in our pre talk like you have to polarize and you wanna polarize and maybe you you push back 95% of all the audience with your messaging or with your photos but you’re gonna attract the 5% that are really a fit for you and really wanna work with you and love what you do and you have a great connection and then you work with the right people I think.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah and I think if if you as a business or as an entrepreneur know what you do well and find a way to get people to see that you’re doing it well then that’s where the goal is. You can figure out what everybody needs and try and do that yeah and maybe be mediocre at best or you can find somebody that or you can find something that’s actually very much your strong suit and you love doing and if you start marketing that and branding that then people will take notice and will hire you for what you do best and you’ll have the best life you can get. Because you like what you’re doing and you’re actually getting paid for it.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Awesome so true like what would be like. I see you are very entrepreneurial or you have a very entrepreneurial mindset and a growth mindset and you surround yourself to right people. I see a lot of creative especially in Berlin there’s this like stereotype of they’re poor creative in every category or area of creative business. What would be a tip or what would you tell someone who’s studying in a creative business or let’s say as a photographer specifically? How to how to make it or how to make a good income or see it from a more entrepreneurial perspective. How to make money as a photographer?

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah I think like I know a couple photographers in Berlin. I know some people would do it very well and I know a lot of people who complain.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah first problem they complain.

 

Maurice Jager:

It’s like I think it’s a Dutch and a German characteristic thing like we like to complain about stuff. I’m not one of them actually like I’ve separated myself from that but I noticed this and I think a lot of people make stuff way more complicated than it should be. When I talk to these photographers they go like okay I shoot and then I retouch and then I license and then I whatever like there’s like a million things that they drop with their clients so I know if photography goes like. Okay it’s 200 to shoot then it’s two hours to retouch it’s another 200 then it’s like 400 to license the image then it’s like this then it’s the other thing then it’s studio rent and it’s like get like whatever it’s like a lot of stuff. I don’t do that like I made a product off my service.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

You made a package so a so called productized service it’s a marketing technique you productize your services you make one package one price that’s it easy simple.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah you get X, you get this is what you get, this is what it cost, how I create it for you it’s my problem. So if I have to shoot a huge like for example what happened if I shoot a branded portrait session for a person who has a yacht. There’s a huge freaking boat and like what am I gonna do, I go like okay the package is to grant but you’re in a harbor so that I gotta take an uber which is gonna be a 50 bucks going one way so it’s another 100 okay so that goes on top of my charge so and this goes on top and this goes on top, and people go like not. I don’t know at some point it’s just enough. How much money do you want to drain out of a person? Like if you figure out okay I’m gonna do this which is crazy but like if I’m gonna be shooting at a yacht I’m gonna be there with my phone on a Gorillapod or another camera on a tripod and I’m gonna shoot myself shooting on a yacht and create content of me working on a million dollar boat and make me look freaking cool.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

I like that mindset. I think that will be a quote later you said something like creating value for others or for my customers and creating value for myself at the same time that’s a great mindset.

 

Maurice Jager:

And those are the best clients. Like if you go out if you go out of your way to make somebody look awesome and you can make yourself look really cool in the process then that’s a huge win. If you are stuck in an office that’s not inspiring and you’re just working to make somebody else look real cool and you’re just like a designer or whatever and you’re stuck in a co-working space that’s shit or you’re just working in your like 4x4 square meter room and just being like working a Fiverr for like designs for like 20 bucks and doing all that kind of stuff. Then I don’t think you’re gonna be happy along the road and I think a lot of people need to venture out of that and go like okay I’m really good at this. I’m gonna put myself in the market as being the premium person that can do this very well and then find clients and the other way around is if you go on Fiverr and work for 20 bucks on a design you need like a hundred of them to make some money and if you do something that’s very premium and very tailored to your client you attract clients who actually value what you do, you can create yourself some good content and you only need a couple.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah that’s a great mindset what else would you recommend. So productizing services, go premium is what I heard out, so don’t be cheap.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah I think a lot of it is about branding and the story building like if you do not feel comfortable showing yourself and seeing and letting people know what you do then how do you want to sell that to somebody else.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah I I have a friend she is a photographer, she’s awesome she’s really kick-ass and does super freak out stuff but she also has some kind of I don’t know limits, limiting beliefs or she just doesn’t want like most people feel uncomfortable or I think to step on stage and to present themselves and show themselves.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah it’s and it’s difficult I get I shit my pants first time I was in front of a group like talking about what I do. I had like 60 people in the room like at a club a photo club thing and I was like talking about my work for an hour and a half and I was like whoa! Oh my gosh all these people are looking at me like there’s over a hundred eyeballs like noticing my every move and then five minutes into the talk it was over. I was just like having a little bit of conversation with the people in the first couple of rows and stuff came natural and I can talk easily which kind of helps. Somebody got good at what they do by practice and presenting yourself is a trait it’s like you got a practice doing that or getting used to it and becoming better at it. So some people expect to be the next Gary V or I don’t know who. Yeah from the get-go and they go they grab a camera and they start doing stuff and it doesn’t look good, like if I look back at the stuff that I created five years ago I’m I’m gonna scratch my eyes out because it look like shit. But and now is my stuff like top-level thing I don’t know like I had a guy comment yesterday on one of my post that I did on Facebook like, this is why you should use a professional camera. It was a shot of me, like I had my studio set up I was working on location I was taking headshots at a location and somebody walked in with their IPhone and did like click a couple behind the scene shots and he adds wrapped them to me like you can share them on social and then somebody were polite like you should have used a digital camera or a DSLR. I replied like why? Like can you explain to me what the / why or how the purpose of this shot would have been better if I would use the digital mirror reflex camera. They go like and he deleted the comment. Seriously I was refreshing the Facebook post like where did the comment go and he probably deleted it and I commented on his comment so my comment went away too. I was like you got to think about what the purpose of your stuff is and like if you want to share good content in writing or in social then you probably need a person that hook you up with some good professional shots. If you are sitting down with a client and just excuse me having conversation or giving a little bit of a vibe behind the scenes just put your camera on a tripod and shoot something or like buy a gorilla pod IPhone stand for like 20 bucks and put the camera phone put the phone on there, hit the camera, take a couple pictures that’s more than enough. Like that if you got the professional shots of you like building the story you can always add to the story as you go by just using a phone. But a lot of people just do camera shot.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

The best camera is always they come around next to you.

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah that’s a quote something from somebody famous I always forget who said it. I see that all the time.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Yeah me too. Yeah I think let’s let’s wrap it up. Tell me a bit about your you do so much, you also you do workshops for photographers so what’s your whole portfolio or what would you like to pitch or to introduce or do you have a new product in the pipeline. What’s your best offer at the moment?

 

Maurice Jager:

Oh what’s my best, my best offer is working with top level entrepreneurs and creating the content library. That’s the coolest thing that’s out there and like John D’Amato in New York is doing it for the people in the US. I’m trying to like build it in Europe and I’m getting more and more people who like it and want to work with me.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Can I see that somewhere or do you have like as a package or productized service on your website.  

 

Maurice Jager:

It’s it’s a product it’s a product it’s a product service so it’s like a really like a package deal. I gotta translate the page in English for the more European people I now work predominantly with Dutch speakers but I’m pretty pretty fluent in English too so I can work with anybody who talks English. My other languages are a little lackluster.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

What sorry sorry other languages?

 

Maurice Jager:

A little lackluster my French does not exist or my Spanish so it’s got to be English. I’m okay in German but not very confident but like that’s the top thing for me right now going to help top-level entrepreneurs and thought leaders throughout Europe to get their work across through my images and help them identify what makes them different and visualize that. And then I’m shooting headshots and doing a lot of corporate work with my headshot staff and as a side thing which kind of like it came about because of demand is that I have a branding and coaching program for photographers to help them well build their business as a photographer that I do on the side that’s like 2,500 bucks and I work with them for a year. I set up the websites to social to branding okay figure out what your voice is this kind of thing and that’s very much focused on photographers and that caps out at 24 people because I have other things to do too. So this is more or less like a bonus for photographers. It’s very much like one on one Skype thing but I don’t want to do that too much. I want to help the entrepreneurs more like I like that whole building the library of content with them and strategizing that and I think that those people give me a lot of energy because they’re like minded like me, they’re a little bit like I energy, they know what they want to do, they know where they want to be and where they want to go and I really like working with people like that. So I’m really trying to focus a lot of my attention to towards that.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

So how can entrepreneurs and CEOs reach out to you or book your content package?

 

Maurice Jager:

The best way to go is go to MauriceJager.com that’s my website. I’ll put the translation to English very high up on my list to make sure that it’s there when this thing gets aired. So I’ll make sure people can find it from my homepage. I’m on Instagram Maurice_Jager which is Jager and my twitter handle is the same Maurice_Jager and on LinkedIn just type in my name and I’ll pop up. So I’ll I want to invite everybody to just hit me up on social and start a conversation because I think the relationships matter.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Awesome of course we will post it in the show notes. Maurice if you if you would leave your studio and you’ll find a lottery ticket on the streets winning 20 million bucks what would you do?

 

Maurice Jager:

I would probably still do the same thing. Just travel maybe a little bit more.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

In the Maurice copter?

 

Maurice Jager:

Yeah well I don’t I don’t know if that kind of money gets you in a helicopter. I’m gonna need a helipad and there’s all sorts of different issues that you gotta figure out but I really like what I’m doing. I think I’m good at what I do. I found what my purpose is with my business and for me personally so I’ll probably wouldn’t change a thing. I feel very fortunate about what I do and I feel very fortunate that people see value in what I do and like I wouldn’t I have no idea what I would do if I’m not doing this.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

That’s a perfect answer and also a perfect wrap-up I would say. Thank you so much Maurice for your valuable time and for your valuable insights and yeah really great to have you here. Yeah we will put all the details in the show notes and yeah if you want to reach out to Maurice. Book a headshot, book a branded entrepreneurial content library shooting. That sounds pretty awesome I think I know some people for whom that might make lots of sense. And yeah see you soon Maurice.

 

Maurice Jager:

See you soon thanks for having me.

 

Benno Sawitzki:

Thanks!

 

Maurice Jager:

I’ll talk to you later. All right bye bye!