Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. I’m so excited to get into this episode because it is long overdue, and that’s me answering your pressing questions you have about me personally and my business. I let you ask me any question, and now I’m answering it today on this episode. I’m so excited to share the questions you asked and for you to get to know me a little better.
Let me first start off by saying that I did it all on my own for far too long and I did not do it so well then. I do it all well now because it doesn’t require all of me. I have a team of people that I outsource to and I truly don’t believe I would be where I am today as far as my success or work/life balance goes without my team.
So, for reference, I have about 6 or 7 people I outsource to monthly for different things. I have a podcast manager, a blogger who does Pinterest for me, a content marketer who does all of my Instagram content, a TikTok marketer, an admin assistant, and like I said, I would not be where I am today without them. The work/life balance I have is far more worth the amount of money I pay these people to be able to do everything really well and not burn myself out.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The fortune is in the follow up” and that’s definitely true. If you are just responding to an inquiry and leaving it there without ever following up, then you are losing leads. If you have no idea what to say, when to say it, or how many emails to send, I actually have a freebie for you. It’s called The Hook Inquiries Email Templates and I give you my 4 email templates that I use for my inquiry response and follow-up process.
So, to answer the question, I always follow up no less than 3 times. This means you send your inquiry response and then also 3 follow-up emails. You can do more if you’d like as well, but definitely no less than 3.
My nightly routine is much better than my morning routine. I struggle to sleep, so being able to wake up early has never been easy for me. I have just given myself grace with that because someday I will have a family and I’ll have to get up, so at this point, I’m just enjoying my life and enjoying my slow mornings.
I do utilize my Hatch alarm clock to help me wake up and I also do a little stretch first thing in the morning before I get up and brush my teeth. After brushing, I will go downstairs to make breakfast and have my coffee, and just sit there and enjoy some silence. Sometimes this involves getting out my Bible or doing a daily devotional. Other times, I’ll just scroll through Pinterest, and then I’ll get ready for the day.
First, I’ll say, definitely go back and listen to episode 36 where I talked about personal branding being a non-negotiable for photographers. Letting people in on who you actually are, even just showing up on consultations and how you speak in your writing, there’s a familiarity there that’s so important because nobody else can be you. You are the most unique thing about you.
As far as strategy goes, I have had less focus on selling myself to my couples because I know it’s a two-way street. They have to be sold on me, but I also have to be sold on them. So, I view it as a collaborative relationship rather than trying to sell myself for the sake of selling myself.
I typically just focus on sharing my experience, my approach, and my why. Really letting people in so we can see if we will be a good fit or not. I also feel it’s important to share my values and my promise to my couples. I have very few calls where I’ll get on with a couple and they won’t already know that I’m going to be their photographer, and I think that has a lot to do with the pre-work as far as client experience goes, which I’ve talked about in episode 14.
Yes! If you don’t know, Garrett is my husband and he is the one speaking in the intro of the podcast. When I asked him if he would be willing to record the intro, he was absolutely down for it! I feel like his voice is just so charismatic, which is how he is as a person, so I truly felt it was a great fit!
I could talk about book for life! I love reading, but I’m definitely a romance girly. I love a mystery and thriller too. However, I’m going to try to read more fantasy in the new year, so when you’re listening, I may be reading a Sarah J Maas book for the first time, to TBD on how I feel about fantasy!
As far as favorite authors go, I know this is kind of a controversial statement, but my favorite author is Colleen Hoover. I feel like nobody has the kind of style she has. I just get sucked into her books and there’s always a twist that I don’t expect. And I can get through her books in like, 2 days, which is crazy because I did not start reading until October of last year.
I assumed I didn’t like reading because I would read all of these self-help or business books, and I would struggle to get through them. I even struggled in school when I was younger. I didn’t have the best reading comprehension and my mind would trail all over the place. When I started with a Ruth Ware novel back in October, I loved it so much, and I realized I love that mystery vibe in books.
I don’t think perfect exists, especially whenever talking about work/life balance, because if it were up to me, I would barely work at all. But that’s just not possible for the goals I have, the plans I have, and how much the business needs me. I have gotten to a place where it feels sustainable and good. I shared earlier that if I didn’t outsource, I would not have the work/life balance I do have, and my business would require so much more of me and I don’t think I could ever go back there.
When it comes to finding a good work/life balance, I think it begins with thinking about what your dream work/life balance is. How much do you want to work? What do you want your work day to look like? Also, having the discipline to stick to the boundaries you set is so important. For example, if you want to stop working at 5 pm every day, then whenever the clock hits 5:00, you have to stop and know that it’s okay if you didn’t get everything done, but now it’s time to completely disconnect from work and go spend time with family and friends.
Also, just managing my time well. Focusing on the task at hand when I’m working has been really helpful. If you can think about what you did get done for the day rather than what you didn’t get done, that will be super helpful to be able to truly disconnect, and I talk more about that in episode 37.
Garrett and I have known each other since we were about 13 years old. We both went to different schools, but my friend was dating his friend, so we got acquainted through that. We kept up with each other through Facebook, and there was a time when we would text a lot, but we never dated, however, we always had crushes on each other, but both of us were too nervous to do anything about it being so young.
We went through our high school and college years with nothing really happening, but after college, I moved down to Nashville and became good friends with one of my girls, Becca. She ended up being really close with Garrett, so we ended up hanging out with him in a group, and we both just fell for each other. It was very fast because we always kind of knew it was there, but it was never the right time, but we ended up getting engaged and married within a year.
Let me start off by saying I’m not the person to ask about this because I don’t feel like I’m a good gift-giver. I’m definitely a words of affirmation girly and for people who give good gifts and do it really well, we are just a different breed and I’m so jealous of you! But I will say I don’t give clients gifts. It’s something I’ve never done because it doesn’t feel aligned for me. So, let this be your permission slip that if it’s not something you’re good at or you don’t feel called to do, don’t feel like you have to.
I completely get caught up and overthink when it comes to gift giving, so I’ve just chosen to give a really good client experience beyond gifts and just try to think of my couples more in an intentional way by maybe showing up to their session with their favorite drink or favorite candy, rather than doing a wedding gift.
I’m a 2 wing 3. I think it describes my personality very well because I’m definitely the helper. That is how I show up in my business and my personal life. I think that’s what made me get into nursing in the first place because serving people is one of my biggest values.
This is going to sound awful, but I don’t really have people that I look up to, and it’s not because they’re not out there to look up to, but it’s because I think I just stay in my own lane and do my thing. I know that if I need coaching or education, I’ll find it, but I don’t feel this strong tie to anybody and that’s because I don’t want to get caught in the comparison trap or feel like I’m not doing enough.
There are obviously so many talented photographers and educators out there, but I don’t want to get caught in this echo chamber if that makes sense. I just think it’s healthier for me to be my own person and look up to myself, but not in a conceited way.
A company that I was with sold off their company to another company, and they had a private editor that I could go with, so that’s how I found them. The experience has been absolutely wonderful! It has saved me so much time. I used to spend 9-12 hours on one wedding gallery, and now I spend about 2 hours putting finishing touches on everything.
Something I hear from a lot of people is that they are nervous to outsource their editing, and I totally get it, but I still put finishing touches on every image. I still go through every single one and make sure every part of the day is called for. I make sure everything is 100% in line with what I would want to deliver. It has saved me so much time and I would not be able to do it on my own. I absolutely love my editor and highly recommend it to be in your goals for 2024 to get one!
I love a good margarita! I also love a good Mexican mule. So, think Moscow mule, but with tequila instead. The flavor is great! I do drink wine more than anything else, but if I do drink a cocktail, it’s probably one of those.
If you would’ve asked me a year ago, I probably would’ve said terracotta, but I feel like that goes too much with the boho vibe, so at this point, I would say olive green is my favorite color. It’s also what my office is painted!
The song I always go back to is Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Mayer. It’s such a good feel good song, but I do have many favorite artists and people whose music I just love! For example, Stepehn Sanchez is one of my absolute favorite artists right now. We saw him live in Denver and it was incredible!
I really love Colorado, and that was a huge move for us that took a lot of courage, but it also felt so right at the same time. Being in Colorado feels more aligned with my life than Nashville did, but if I could pick anywhere in the world, I would probably say somewhere coastal. I’m thinking a home on the edge of the coast, but still seeing mountains somehow, with the most beautiful garden of a backyard that can be my own little zen space to do yoga and things like that.
But more than anything, the biggest thing I wish would be to be close to my family. My family is all split up all over the place. Home truly is where the heart is and my home is with with husband and the family we eventually create together, but I think that it’s probably more about the house and having it be near my family rather than the actual place.
As far as personal goals, I know that I hope 2024 is the year I become a mom. I know that’s not really in my control, but I would love to be a mom. I’m very much looking forward to that phase of my life with my husband. At the same time, I really want to work less, but prioritize more experiences. So, not just working less, but doing fun things and getting out of the house.
When it comes to business, honestly, I really have to think about it because I truly feel good about where my business is at. I’m at a point in my life where I’m so grateful for this business of mine, and I just want to keep it that way. I love the photography side, as well as the education side, and I definitely see myself scaling back from photography a bit because if I’m going to be a mom, then that’s going to change things a bit, but who knows what 2024 holds for me.
This was so much fun getting to answer all of the questions you guys asked! Thank you so much for asking them and I hope the answers were sufficient for you and maybe even made you laugh a little bit. Happy New Year again and I hope you had fun listening!