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September 12, 2023

Episode 109: How & Why to Build a High-end Small Business with Courtney Cannon


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Are you looking to take your business to new heights and attract premium clients?

This week, we’re joined by Courtney Cannon, a boutique wedding photographer based in Ohio who serves the more high-end market. In addition to serving their couples well and producing truly gorgeous images, she and her husband have a lot on their plates, including being the hosts and founders of The Graceful Gathering—a boutique wedding photography conference—coaching through their mastermind, and serving the photography community in countless ways.

In this episode of Priority Pursuit, Courtney walks us through how and why to build a high-end small business with advice perfect for anyone looking to up their brand game—regardless of their industry.


Luxury vs. High-End

Oftentimes, the distinction between luxury and high-end markets can seem a little muddled. Courtney explains that for any industry, there are various levels of investment and clientele with various budgets. On one end, you have the more budget-conscious client, and on the other, you have someone who isn’t afraid to spend a large amount of money on their event or your service.

According to Courtney, the high-end market lies somewhere between these two extremes. While luxury is a whole different world, high-end is the middle ground—still higher in price and quality, but not so much so that it goes to the extreme of luxury.


Making the Decision to Serve the High-End Market

When it comes to deciding to enter the high-end market, Courtney wants to be clear that it requires a lot of hard work and passion. You can’t simply decide, “My work is worth $10,000, so I’m going to raise all my prices and wait for people to come.” There’s a balance of understanding the amount of revenue you need to make in order to keep your business alive while also reflecting your value.

If you can’t find this balance, you may be stuck in a place where you no longer have a business to serve people.

That being said, it’s not impossible to get to a place where you can raise your prices and still thrive as a business—you just need to put in the leg work. Courtney shares that an important element to figure out sooner rather than later is what makes you different from others in your industry—in other words, what is your personal superpower?

When you first get started in business, you need to learn the “rules” of your industry and find out what experts are telling you to do to grow your business, but you also need to know when breaking the rules is right for you and your brand. There are plenty of other people in your industry who can do the same job well, but no one else is you. Lean into that fact. What allows you to serve your clients in a way that’s different from another business?

Once you know that element, continue to build on it. Regardless of your industry or your position in it, you should constantly be learning from your experiences and apply that knowledge to make your business stand out from others. Courtney says she tries to take away at least one thing from each of her photography sessions so she can continue to enhance the experience and final product she is able to provide.

Finally, it comes down to believing in yourself. Understand your worth and finally take the leap!


Curating Your Brand

As you curate your brand to attract more high-end clients, it’s important to remember that social media (regardless of the platform) is a highlight reel. You should be showcasing not only your best work but also the type of work you want to attract and continue doing.

In her work as a photographer, Courtney is able to guide clients to create special moments that both reflect her desired work and brand and that also produce incredible photos for her clients. It’s key to find those top-tier examples of your work and utilize them in your marketing, regardless of your industry.

Since every business has a different desired clientele and type of work, this can look different for each small business. What is important is staying true to the type of work you want to attract.


Why You Should Start Serving High-End or Luxury Clients

Deciding to serve high-end or luxury clients can have a major impact on your time—both when you’re on the clock and when you’re at home.

When you’re working with high-end clients, your services can bring in more capital and allow you to take on fewer clients. And, because you’re taking on fewer customers and not being pulled in so many directions, you can give each client more of your time and attention. This allows you to serve your high-end clients in a different way that makes it worth their higher investment.

Likewise, if you serve a smaller number of people, you have more time to spend on other priorities such as family time or other elements of your business while still being able to balance your financial needs and goals.

If you’re interested in making this shift to benefit both your business and personal life, be sure to listen to this whole episode (at the top of the page or wherever you listen to podcasts) to hear more about Courtney’s experience on how and why to build a high-end small business. If you’d like to connect with Courtney, you can check out her Instagram (@thecannonsphotography) or visit her website https://thecannonsphotography.com.


Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode


Discover the four most common marketing mistakes small businesses make and exactly how to solve them! Download our guide.



The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.

You can find The Priority Pursuit Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts.



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Learn how to take your brand to the next level with info on how and why to build a high-end business from Courtney Cannon on “Priority Pursuit”!

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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