Your Ideal Client: What to Do Instead of Fakin’ it ’til You Make It

POSTED IN : Branding & Marketing

Does anyone remember JNCO jeans?

Growing up in small town Idaho in the late 90’s, super baggy, wide leg skater punk jeans were the COOLEST.


The wider your jeans (like 32″ or MORE), the cooler you were. And a pair of JNCOs were the most sought after item in my eighth grade year.


Everybody had them, and you got bonus points if you paired them with some killer Doc Martens and a puka shell necklace.

(#Confession: My pair of Dr. Martens boots just might still be hidden in the back of my closet… you know, in case they ever make a comeback.)

I vividly remember the day that my mom took me to the mall so I could buy my only pair of JNCO jeans that I ever owned. I knew exactly which pair I wanted because I had been stalking them for months.

They were obnoxiously wide-legged and the cartoon icon on the back pocket was just different enough to be noticeable. They were hanging on a top rung in the skater store at the mall and a worker with a nose ring had to get a ladder to pull them down for me (she was SO cool).

As I slipped them on for size in the fitting room, I knew that MY jeans would be the conversation piece in between study hall and homeroom.


After that, I wore them everyday to school for months.


Now that I’m in my thirties, I look back on those jeans and think, “WHAT THE??”

If you knew me as the nerdy, bookish, shy, and tomboyish kid that I was at 13 years old, you would know that I wasn’t a skater-type at all.

In fact, I would go home after school, change into cowboy boots, and ride my horse through the potato fields until dark.


Wearing those jeans was simply my way of fakin’ it to fit in.


They were not me.

They were not my style.

In no way did I actually like how they looked.

And yet, I still wore them everyday in eighth grade because I thought I had to be something in particular in order to matter.


I am still so guilty of this in my business.


How often have I simply tried to ‘fake it ’til I make it’ to book more clients?

To finally shoot a wedding at the ‘perfect’ venue in town?

To get more Instagram followers?

Fatal Dreamie Mistake #3: Fakin’ It ‘Til You Make It

In the crazy social media world that we live in, it’s so tempting to look at what everybody else is doing, and feel that insanely powerful urge to do EXACTLY THE SAME.

We find ourselves editing our photos just like everyone else, creating websites that look the same, and posting the same copy.

As you can probably guess, that is completely missing the point, because its just not authentic.


If you’re simply matching everyone else around you, you will probably turn OFF your Dreamies instead of connect with them.


When you put in the hard work to understand your unique vision and your unique clients, then you will understand that because of your shared values, you probably fit in perfectly with your Dreamies already.

For example, if you go to a party that your ideal client is throwing, you probably fit in with the people there.

Because if you’re going after your TRUE ideal client, then fitting it with them should be easy. In many ways, they should be your people.

However, if you find it difficult to fit in with your ideal clients – if you find yourself having to be something you’re not or changing your personality – then I would guess that those are not your actual ideal clients.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you have to ‘Fake it ’til you Make it’ – then you’re not going after your ACTUAL ideal clients.” quote=”If you have to ‘Fake it ’til you Make it’ – then you’re not going after your ACTUAL ideal clients.”]


Somewhere along the way, you were told that you should go after a certain type of client.


You might have been told that JNCOs were the thing. And then you looked around at everybody else wearing them and decided that it was true.

Just like me you felt like you would finally MAKE IT once you owned a pair of JNCOs.

My friends, I really really don’t like the phrase, “Fake it ’til you make it.”

I think that this kind of mindset can do more damage to your business than good.

But it’s difficult to catch ourselves when we’re doing it, because most of us don’t fake it on purpose.


Most of us WANT to be genuine and true to ourselves, so how do we guard against being something we’re not?


The answer? Ruthlessly focus on your Dreamies.

If you keep your eyes on your favorite clients, then you can show off the authentic and genuine parts of yourself that will appeal to them.

You can focus on putting your best self out there (which is MUCH different that ‘fakin’ it ’til you make it’).

Your best self is wonderful.

Your best self is genuine.

Your best self is authentically YOU.

And your Dreamies LOVE when you’re authentically YOU.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Your Dreamies LOVE when you’re authentically YOU.” quote=”Your Dreamies LOVE when you’re authentically YOU.”]

So focus on your Dreamies and throw away anything in your business that looks like a pair of JNCO jeans.

Because Dreamies will not only be more profitable for your business than just doing what everybody else is doing, but they will also be more profitable for your soul.


This is the third installment of a three-part series in which I’m talking all about the Fatal Mistakes that I see photographers make when it comes to their Ideal Clients – which directly impacts your brand and your ability to book the weddings you WANT at the prices that you NEED.

Check out the Five Steps to Discovering Your Ideal Client, the first fatal Dreamie mistake, and the second fatal Dreamie mistake for more FREE resources.




PS Our master course, Discover Your Ideal Client, is launching soon! Woohoo!

This course will walk you through the systematic step-by-step process of creating your Complete Ideal Client Brand Profile so you can stop focusing on everyone else and learn how to ruthlessly focus on your Dream Clients, too!

If you’d like to be the first to know when the course goes live, sign up here to be notified!


We teach photographers to build life-giving businesses that they absolutely love.

About Us

We're Jeff & Erin

We’re Jeff and Erin Youngren – and it’s our mission to help you thrive not just as a wedding photographer, but as a business owner. It’s time to set aside the stress and comparison of a hustle mindset, and build a life-giving business instead.

We met in college, got married, and started corporate jobs before we discovered (and fell in love with) wedding photography. But like many creative entrepreneurs, we were booking anything we could, strapped to our laptops and living dangerously close to burnout.

So we dug in and learned how to build a thriving business that supports our dream life – instead of a joyless business that runs a stressed-out life.

Today, we photograph only 10 Dreamie weddings per year, but we also run two other wedding brands plus a commercial studio in San Diego, CA. And we do it by only working the hours that fit into our life. The other hours? We spend those living a joyful life raising our two beautiful sons, James and Samuel.


Jeff and Erin

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