How To Start and Run a TEEN Influencer Model Team

If you've followed me for a bit, you know that I talk a lot about how different Gen Z is in terms of what they want from a senior team or senior portrait experience.  I have tons of info out there about why this is and how to ensure your Gen Z clients feel seen and understood, including an entire Style Guide that will help get them prepped for their session - and I'm always updating info in my Facebook group for senior photographers.  

We will be serving Gen Z clients for a while, so I highly encourage you to make sure you're well versed in what they are looking for in a senior photographer because this generation is SO specific and vastly different from their millennial counterparts.

That's not the topic of this blog post, though - TEENS are.  And by teens, I mean younger than high school seniors.  Now, you may be thinking, "Renee, aren't they still Gen Z'ers?" 

Yep, they are!  But younger teens are historically more excited to shoot and SHARE their images online (that's the key difference between them and older teens/seniors).  I've been coaching photographers on how to start teen teams for a few years now - you can use the same info that is in my Influencer Model Program and convert it for a younger audience, which will, in turn, breathe new life into your business.

First, WHY do you want to run a teen program? 

Let's get some clarity on this, shall we?  You can't get anywhere if you don't know where you're going, so the first thing I would like you to do is outline why you want to do this in the first place.  

  • Are you seeing a drop in business with your senior clients?  Lack of interest?
  • Are you new to the genre in general and don't know where to start?
  • Do you feel called to serve a younger set of clients because of the difference you can make in their lives?

This step is important because it'll help you see the WHAT and you need to know that before you can figure out the HOW.  So take some time outlining all the reasons why you want to do this - you may even be surprised at what you arrive at. 

Once you have this clarity, you can make decisions about how you want to structure this program.  

  • Will it be seasonal?  Only shooting teens in Winter, for instance, so you can still run a senior team?
  • Will it be year-round and either take the place of your senior team or exist parallel to it? 
  • How many would you like to have on the team? 
    • If you are working your program based on how I teach it, you will be making good money with each of them being full paying clients - but you still need to make sure you aren't overworking yourself
  • What will the price point be?  
    • Will it be the same as your senior team?
    • Will it be slightly lower so you lead them into your senior team and they come back year after year from grades 8-11?
    • How much do you want to make from this? 
    • What are your hard costs?  What are you including as far as product?
  • How many shoots will you promise?
    • Will they be different from the senior shoots? How so?
  • Will you include other perks outside of extra shoots?

All of these pieces will start coming together as you outline them - so don't rush the process.  Allow yourself the time needed to sort it out. 

Okay, so you have CLARITY & you know the STRUCTURE. 

How do you find those teens to populate this awesome team?

Remember, knowing who your target client is - like really knowing - is at the heart of all of this.  That needs to be at the core of everything you do as a photographer - understanding WHO you are marketing to, what they want, what their pain points are, and how you can solve their problem.  If you haven't done that yet, start with my free pdf on finding your target client.

Once you know who you are talking to and the kind of clients you want to work with, you can start marketing to them.

  • Who do you know already who may have teens like this?
  • What businesses locally also cater to your target client?
  • What sports do they play?  Can you ask for recs from coaches/teachers?
  • What keywords do they use when searching online?  How can you create content around that?
  • What kind of images are they drawn to?

Those of you in my senior photography course Level Up know that I go super deep on this part because it is much easier to create a solid plan than to REcreate a bad one later on.  Once you start marketing to and attracting the wrong clients, it's hard to shift that and start attracting the right ones. 

This means not shooting for free ... or if you do, then going in with a solid plan.  Without a plan, you will feel scattered and overwhelmed, and that is NOT a recipe for success, my friend. 

I know that most newbies feel like they can't charge if they are just starting out, and while I do agree that you need to practice and hone your shooting skills, you also have to realize that people will perceive what you do based on how YOU value yourself.  If you want people to value you and invest with you, you will need to show them how you do this for yourself first.

Lastly, I want to mention how smart you are

for thinking that creating a team or program for younger teams is the way to go.  No, really!  You know that if you do this right - that this is a client base year after year - not just ONE year like with seniors.  If you start with them in 7th or 8th grade, think about the relationships you will build and how many lives you will change. 

These teens need you - they need your program!

What's stopping you?? 

 

ps, if you want help with any of this, shoot me a message - happy to chat

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