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Texas School of Professional Photography – My inspiration

May 7, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

I was so inspired by Julia Kelleher’s newborn photography class at Texas School of Professional Photography! I gotta tell you… that lady is brilliant! And, one of the things she said was really important, was to make our portrait studio space really inviting, with lots of eye candy. So… over the past few days I have been working on a project to beautify the newborn studio space. I found an amazing piece of unfinished furniture that is going to be perfect for storing my newborn wraps, hats, blankets, bowls etc. And, to make it really beautiful, I decided to stain, paint and distress it. Well… it was a ton of work, but it turned out GREAT! I just LOVE it!

Here are a few cell phone photographs of the process of creating my newborn prop station. When I get all my wraps and props into it, I will upload some real photographs, so that you can see how cool it is.

I also learned something in the process. If you are feeling a bit stuck in your creativity, try something creative that isn’t photography. I found it really rewarding to pour a bunch of energy and passion into this furniture. And just seeing it in my portrait studio space makes me feel fully self expressed and happy. Now I feel more inspired to go create some beautiful newborn images.

IMG_3684IMG_3685IMG_3687IMG_3686   IMG_3688

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Texas School of Professional Photography 2015

May 5, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

I just returned from Texas School of Professional Photography 2015, and am totally inspired! Julia Kelleher’s class was amazing! She is not only one of the best newborn photographers in the US, but she is also a fabulous business woman! If you ever get a chance to take a class from Julia Kelleher, don’t pass it up!

Julia is also doing a new program on Creative Live in May, so attend that if you can. It’s the next best thing to being in her class live.

If you’ve ever spent a week in continuing education in photography, then you know how challenging it can be to implement everything that you learned when you return back to your photography studio. Texas School is no different. Not only did you just spend hours trying to soak up every little detail that your photography instructor, or instructors, taught you so that you can make big, impressive changes in your own photography business, but you also have an entire week’s worth of business to catch up on. For most of us that’s next to impossible to handle without becoming overwhelmed.

So… I have a gift for you. My “Cure for shiny object syndrome”, can help you avoid the overwhelm and get focused on making those ever-so-important changes to catapult your photography business forward.

And… IT”S FREE!

It’s really easy for us to get distracted on a daily basis in our businesses, but it’s even more challenging when you are trying to implement a big change… like incorporating a week’s worth of information from Texas School of Professional Photography.  So, download this tool, and get ready to see massive movement toward creating the photography business of your dreams!

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Photography Business Goal Setting – Leave a Legacy

April 15, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business by admin

Photography Business Goal Setting – Leave a Legacy

One of the best exercises I have ever participated in was one I learned many years ago when I was voraciously reading every book I could find on personal development. I was running a photography business for another company at the time, and I really wanted to succeed. I wish I could remember which book I was reading, because I would recommend it to you, but sadly… no. Anyway, in this amazing book, that I can’t remember the name of, there was an exercise on how to leave a legacy. You see, one of the biggest differences between successful and unsuccessful people is how long term their thinking is. Unsuccessful people, and business owners, think very short term… they have a paycheck to paycheck type of thinking (or mentality). They don’t really plan for the future. They let life happen to them (and their businesses). If you asked them what their 12 month goals were, they would probably tell you that they don’t even have goals for this week. But successful people, and business owners, think long term. And the more successful they are, the more long-term their thinking is. One reason why running a photography business can be so overwhelming is, that as artists, we tend to get easily distracted. “Squirrel” or “shiny object syndrome” seems to dominate many photography business owners thoughts. But this is mainly because most photographers, especially those without much business experience, are thinking way too short term. The solution to this problem is to take a long term approach to your photography business… which brings me back to my favorite exercise… the question of how to leave a legacy.

The way that you do this is to stop for a few minutes. Turn off all distractions, and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Then picture your funeral. Picture your loved ones around your casket. And then … imaging what they are saying. What are they remembering about you and the mark you left on the world? Were you loved? Did you love? How did you contribute to your family, your community and your friends? What do they remember as your best qualities? What legacy did you leave?

Now open your eyes and ask yourself if you are on track to becoming the person that you want to be remembered as. Are you designing your photography business and your life so that you can leave a wonderful and inspiring legacy? We only have so much time on this earth to be, do and have all that we were put here for. If you aren’t the path that you want to be on… then now is your chance. You get to decide the legacy you want to leave. Design that legacy now… and get to work… while you still can.

One of the reasons why I have not been blogging as much, or video blogging, like I was in 2014, is that I to have been designing the legacy I want to leave. I have been soul-searching to make sure that my photography business, and my coaching businesses are aligned with my long term goals. I have been working on developing ideas for courses and group coaching, so that I can impact more people’s lives and businesses. Stay tuned. In the coming weeks and months, I plan to add new and exciting dimensions to the blog, that I hope will have a positive impact on you and your photography business.

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My photography business philosophy – “Everything Counts”

March 29, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting by admin

I have a photography business philosophy that helps guide me and my photography business. It’s a philosophy that I learned from Jim Rohn, one of the pioneers in the personal and professional development field. I think, at my core, I always believed that perfection was the way to do things. Because of the way I was raised, in a fundamentalist Christian household, I often felt a lot of shame when I made mistakes. So, I grew up trying to be perfect. As you might guess, I failed at that, practically 100% of the time. OK… 100% of the time.

So when I heard Jim Rohn’s tapes (yes cassette tapes is how most of my personal development information was purchased in those days). I felt a significant amount of freedom from his business philosophy that “everything counts”. And, I began to incorporate it into my own photography business philosophy. What does “everything counts” mean? Well, for me, it is a reminder to focus on progress rather than perfection. You see, everything that you do in your life counts… either to move you, and your photography business, forward, or to move it backward. And, that was really good news to me. Because I was doing a lot to grow my photography business. But before I heard Jim speak, I wasn’t giving myself very much credit for that. Because, in my mind, it wasn’t perfect… Yet. After all, I fully expected that it would be one day. It had to be, because I needed it to be perfect. I didn’t realize that trying to make my photography business perfect was going to kill it. All that I could see was what was wrong with it. Since there is no way that we will ever attain perfection, something will always be wrong with it if we are measuring against that scale. So I stopped doing that. I became a proponent of good enough, in one-step-at-a-time, in the idea that everything counts. Every time I pick up that phone and call someone who is holding an event to enroll them in the idea of using my company for their photography… that counts. And, every time I don’t pick up that phone, when I know it is the thing to do, that counts too. We are always either moving forward, or moving backward. There is no such thing as standing still. But, since everything counts, all you need for progress is to do more things to move you forward than to move backward. That’s all. And, if you can incorporate some habits in each area that moves your photography business forward each day, then as soon as you have done those things… you are already ahead of the curve.

So what small steps can you take in your photography business today that will count toward progress? What potential partner can you approach today? What blog post can you write to serve your clients? What donation can you make to a non-profit organization that is close to your heart? What system can you put in place that will save you time tomorrow?

It doesn’t have to be big to count. It doesn’t have to be dramatic to count. And… it doesn’t have to be perfect. We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. So drop the pursuit of perfection, and embrace moving forward, one step at a time. Because in your photography business, as in mine… “Everything counts”.

Here’s a link to one of Jim Rohn’s videos on the topic of “measurable progress in reasonable time”. I LOVE listening to Jim Rohn.

 

 

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Time Management – Concentrate

March 4, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips, Time Management by admin

Time Management – Concentrate

Today is our last day talking about Rory Vaden’s time management focus funnel from his book “Procrastinate on Purpose”. Today is when you finally have something that you get to do. Yesterday we talked about procrastinating on purpose. And the procrastinate step is a great way to set aside tasks that don’t need to be done right now, so that you can do tasks that do need to get done now. I’m not talking about putting off something that you know you should do. I am talking about doing something that you should do, instead of distracting yourself with something that is not as significant right now. If you ask yourself the question “can I put this off?”, and the answer you get is “no”, then what you have is a task that needs to be done now. Now it is time to concentrate. This is when you turn off the phone, close your email, shut out all distractions, and give yourself a set amount of time to really focus. Focus on that one task… that one significant task that is going to create more time for you tomorrow. Focus on creating your sales system. Or focus on setting up your social media structure. Concentrate on writing the copy for your new book, or whatever it is that is going to make a big impact… long term. If your task is a big one, you may need to schedule many sessions to concentrate. If it is smaller, then you might be able to complete the whole thing in one big chunk of time. But concentrating is about shutting out distractions so that you can get that significant task completed.

Did you know that each and every time you are interrupted, it takes 15 minutes to get yourself back to a true state of focus? Think about how many times during the day you are interrupted. For some of us that means that we never really have a chance to focus on anything. If we have our email setup to notify us every time we get an email, or our Facebook page to signal every message we get, then there is really never a time during the day that we can get real concentrated focused time. What about the buzz of our cell phones? Even on vacation, few of us are willing to be very far away from that little buzz. No wonder we all feel so overwhelmed, and yet still feel like we aren’t getting very far. We have become incredibly impatient these days. We want everything now. And we get it NOW! But we are paying a high price for that. We are paying the price of not being present where we are. The people that are right in front of us get precious little of our attention, while we defer to the email, Facebook and ringing phone.

If we can use Rory Vaden’s focus funnel to eliminate things that don’t serve us, automate things that can be systematized, delegate things that are better handled by someone else, procrastinate on things that we do not need to be doing yet, and concentrate on the things that really matter… our entire lives and businesses can transform. We can get back to spending our lives on things that make a difference, on things that are fulfilling and meaningful. And for me, a chronic driver and over-achiever, maybe even finally find peace. :-)

Here’s to you and to your peace… today and everyday moving forward.

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Time Management – Procrastinate or Concentrate

March 3, 2015 in Business Tips, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Time Management by admin

Time Management – Procrastinate or Concentrate

If you have been following my posts on time management and Rory Vaden’s work on the focus funnel, you are going to love the next step. If you have asked yourself, “can I eliminate this?”, “can I automate this?”, and “can I delegate this?”, and you haven’t been able to get the task handled, then you have finally found a task that is all yours to handle. Whew! I bet you thought I was going to have you give everything away didn’t you? Nope… there are some things that are yours to do.

If you have used the focus funnel well, then you have either eliminated or outsourced every task that is not significant to YOU. What do I mean by that? I mean that you were put here on this earth to do something important. There is something that only you can do… some impact that you are uniquely and perfectly qualified to create in the world. THAT thing is what will be significant for your life and your business. And… the tasks that lead to that impact are the ones that will provide the most fulfillment for you. Wow! It may be hard to imagine right now, if you are overwhelmed by all of the tasks on your to do list, but imagine for a moment what life would look like it you were only handling the significant tasks. If you were focusing solely on the things that will make a real difference. How would you feel? Would you feel happy, vibrant, alive and significant? I believe that’s how I would feel. And, that’s why I am using the focus funnel to restructure my thinking and my time management process. I can already feel more freedom and hope. I can already see a light at the end of the “to do” tunnel, as I shift my thinking away from the urgent and important things, and on to the significant ones.

So, once a task falls out the bottom of the funnel, and you are clear that it is a task that you must handle yourself, you now have a choice. You can get right to that task… which Rory Vaden calls concentrate… or you can do what you have probably told yourself for years and years that you should never do… Procrastinate (on purpose). Procrastinate has gotten a bad rap. But that is because it carries with it a piece of the definition that I am going to recommend you disregard. There are really two types of procrastination. The one that we most often think about is: putting off something for another time, that you know you should be doing now. That is the type of procrastination that we want to eliminate. If we KNOW that we should be doing something now, then we need to use concentrate to get it done. But… there is a second type of procrastination. Rory Vaden calls it procrastinate on purpose. This is when you put off a task until the last moment that it can be done. And, I don’t mean, AFTER the last moment… like when you pay your bill the day AFTER it is due. That is paying it LATE. I mean, paying your bill on the day it is due, and not before that. There are advantages to procrastinating on things that can wait. Mainly, because things change. Plans change, the market changes, people change their minds. And if you do things EARLY, then you may end up having to do that thing again later, after things have changed. I used to pay my bills early all the time. I was so paranoid that my bill would be late, and I would incur a late fee, that I made sure that as soon as I got my bill, I would go pay it. But after a while I realized that paying them early was silly. That was money that could be invested in something else in the meantime. Why would I want to give it to the electric company before it was due? I wouldn’t. And, you probably wouldn’t either.

So when a task drops through the focus funnel and you are given the option to concentrate (do it now) or procrastinate on purpose… you can ask yourself the question “can I put this off?”

Woo Hoo! What a freeing question. Just think of all the things you can remove from today’s to do list, just by putting them off. And, you know what I have found? A lot of those tasks end up taking care of themselves before I ever get to them.

Here is our Focus Funnel again:

Screen-Shot-2015-02-19-at-5.11.19-PM

What things can you add to your procrastinate on purpose list today?

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Time Management – Delegate

March 2, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Marketing Tips, Photography Workflow, Time Management by admin

Time Management – Delegate

Building on our time management techniques from the past three posts, today I want to talk about Rory Vaden’s “Procrastinate on Purpose” step of Delegate. Once you have asked yourself… “can I eliminate this?”, and “can I automate this?”, if your task has not been handled yet, you move to the next stage – delegate. This is when you ask the question… “can I delegate this”? Now, I have to admit, delegate is the hardest step of time management for me. It always has been. For years, decades even, I have struggled with delegating things. Why? Because I did not have, what Rory Vaden calls, the permission of imperfect. I have always felt that, for the tasks that I needed to get done on a daily basis, that I could do it either faster, better or both, than having someone else do the task. I know that sounds ridiculously arrogant, but it was also true. After all, for most of these tasks, I was doing things inside my own business, things that related to systems that I myself had developed. I knew these tasks inside and out. I could practically do them in my sleep. Delegating them seemed like a ludicrous option. Even Rory says I was “right”… which is probably the only reason I was willing to listen to his explanation of why I needed to delegate anyway (LOL).

Rory says that it takes up to 2.5 hours to teach someone how to do a task that takes 5 minutes. YIKES! 2.5 HOURS! No wonder I was thinking I couldn’t afford to delegate anything. That’s a lot of time management! However, I was missing a key ingredient to this thought process. And that was this… once I have taught that person how to do the task, not only can I focus on something else, but they actually get better and better and better at doing the task. This speeds up the efficiency of the task, and ensures that my clients are being handled much more effectively than they were when I myself was doing everything. With someone else handling the time management of these tasks that are less significant to my making an impact on the world, now I can focus on those things that are significant. If you don’t remember from my earlier post, significance is how long something matters. Significant things are things that will matter years down the line. Me answering my phone right now, is not significant years from now. However, me developing a training program for my team to answer the phone effectively and efficiently, will matter years from now. Once I have delegated incoming phone calls to my team, and trained them to do it well, I can move on to the next item on my list that will be significant to my life or my business.

Here is Rory Vaden’s focus funnel again. Notice how each of our first three steps have handled a lot of tasks already. Just you wait until we get to the next stage. You are going to LOVE IT!

Screen-Shot-2015-02-19-at-5.11.19-PM

 

What can you delegate inside your business? If you are a photographer, unless you get some sort of fulfillment and enjoyment from retouching your own work… DELEGATE IT! Retouching is time-consuming… and boring. It is tedious! And, it is extremely cheap to delegate! If you don’t already have a source for this, I recommend www.retouchup.com . They are inexpensive, professional, and fast! If you are not happy with what they did on your images, you can have them re-done for FREE. I get most of my images back before 24 hours are up. And… you can try them for FREE. Click HERE if you want to try them out.

There are probably many tasks like this in your business that you can delegate. You can delegate using a virtual assistant. You can delegate SEO, social media, email marketing.

Leave your answer to the question… “What can I delegate in my business?” in the comments below. And, I’ll see you here next time for the last two steps of the focus funnel. :-)

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Time Management – Automate

March 1, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, Time Management, Uncategorized by admin

Time Management – Automate

Using Rory Vaden’s focus funnel (from his book, “Procrastinate on Purpose”), we can see that the next step in his time management model, after eliminate, is automate. If you are unable to eliminate a task, then the next question you want to ask yourself is… “can I automate this?”. What is automating? I see it as creating a system. A system that will allow the task to be performed automatically, and predictably, moving forward. Automating a task, while it may take a while to initially set up, will save you tons of time in the long run. For example, you could automate your initial contact with potential clients. You could create a series of written or video emails that could be used to introduce you and what you stand for to your potential client. These emails would then automate what is currently taking you a lot of time to perform for each potential client individually. Now, am I suggesting that you stop answering the phone, and let the emails do all of the work for you? Not necessarily. But maybe sometimes. For instance, what if you could set up a system, an automated system, that would kick off when a new visitor comes to your web site? What if, when someone goes to your image gallery online, a video plays that introduces you and why you do what you do to your potential client?  Then, what if you could further improve your time management by having an opt in box that collected that person’s email address? What if that email then went into a follow up system, an automated follow up system, that emailed out a new video to your potential clients every few days? You would record the videos once. You would set up the automated system once, and then you would benefit from that automated system every time a new person opted in on your web site. Wouldn’t that save you a lot of time?

But Kate… you say… I don’t have time to set all that up. I am already overwhelmed just trying to keep up with everything I already have to do. The reason why you are having a hard time keeping up, is that you are trying to do everything yourself… one task at a time. Rory Vaden says that multipliers (the people who are able to multiply their time) spend time on things today that will give them more time tomorrow.

Here’s the focus funnel again:

Screen-Shot-2015-02-19-at-5.11.19-PM

What can you automate today that will save you time tomorrow?

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Time Management – Eliminate

February 27, 2015 in Business Tips by admin

Time Management – Eliminate

Today’s business tip is a continuation of yesterday’s post on time management.

Rory Vaden’s book, “Procrastinate on Purpose”, is having such a profound impact on my life and my photography businesses, that I feel compelled to share more. In “Procrastinate on Purpose”, Rory uses something he calls the Focus Funnel to describe a new way of thinking about time management. Rather than thinking about trying to manage time, he discusses managing yourself. The focus funnel is his visual diagram of how to manage the tasks that come into your awareness. It is a beautifully simple way to change your mindset from that of time management to self management.  To manage ourselves we have to be able to see through the clutter of our daily distractions and tasks to clearly view what is, in the long run, going to be significant. We have so many things pulling on our time and attention, that we must, if we are going to ever hope to have a lasting impact, have a way to manage those tasks. We have to change our mindset to long-term thinking, and to make decisions about where we spend out time, based on how significant the impact of our daily actions will be. Rory talks about how multipliers expand time by focusing on things today that will save them time tomorrow. As I go through the aspects of the focus funnel, keep that thought in mind. Ask yourself, how important is this task going to be 10 years from now? If you look down the road, and that task is a distant memory, then it wasn’t very significant. But let’s say you are asking how significant the task of writing an inspiring book might be ten years from now. Consider how many lives may be impacted by that task… how SIGNIFICANT it will be in the long run. As you go through the Focus Funnel, remembering this is going to be very helpful.

So here is the first stage of Rory Vaden’s Focus Funnel… ELIMINATE. As a task presents itself to you, ask yourself… Can I eliminate this? Some of the things that we spend lots of our time on are completely unimportant. The average American spends an inordinate amount of time watching tv. Maybe this is something that you could add to your list of things to eliminate. My favorite thing to eliminate is bad habits. We all have some of these, but some are much more impactful than others. If you have a bad habit of going through a drive through to buy junk food 3 or 4 times a week, that is going to have a profound and lasting SIGNIFICANCE to your life! Spending the time necessary to replace that bad habit with a healthier one is going to be time well invested in your future.

I have started asking myself the “can I eliminate this?” question for a few weeks now, and it’s really starting to sink in that I have more time than I thought I did.

Here’s the Focus Funnel, so that you can see what is coming up next.

Screen-Shot-2015-02-19-at-5.11.19-PM

What can you eliminate? Please leave your comments and ideas for tasks that can simply be eliminated. Maybe your ideas will help others. :-)

 

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Time Management

February 26, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

Time Management

Today I want to talk to you a bit about time management. As you have probably noticed… I haven’t been very active on my blog for some time now. The reason why… time management. All my  life I have always felt like there just wasn’t enough time for me to get everything that I wanted to get done, done. I have always had lots of things that I love to do, and I have always wanted to make a big impact on the world. Those two things seemed to pull me in opposite direction, mainly because of my challenges with time management. I would get inspired and start to move in one direction, then find myself wishing I could move on the next thing that presented itself, before I had fully realized the benefits of the first plan. The funny thing is that time management is really a misnomer. You cannot manage time. You can only manage yourself. So I guess my struggle has been with self management. Ick! I hate to admit that, but it’s true. I have watched in complete and total admiration the people who always seemed to have enough time. They didn’t seem frantic, as I often did, and they appeared to be completely relaxed, even in the face of accomplishing incredibly challenging goals. How were they doing this? I have always been able to reach the really important goals I set for myself, but I certainly never felt “relaxed” while doing so.

I believe I have finally discovered the answer to this time management crisis. I found an amazing book by Rory Vaden called “Procrastinate on Purpose”. In his book on “time management”, he talks about using a focus funnel to categorize your daily tasks. He talks about changing your mindset to what he calls the multiplier mindset. He says that multipliers are able to multiply time. WOW! Did I ever feel like I needed that! Maybe you feel that way too. If so, I highly recommend you get an audio copy of Rory Vaden’s book “Procrastinate on Purpose”. It could truly transform your life! It is already transforming mine! And if you get it in audio format, you don’t even need to make time to read it. You can just play it in your car when driving to and from errands and appointments. How’s that for time management?

By the way… I know I promised you a video of the 2015 Success Blueprint. My intention had been to videotape a presentation I made for Austin Professional Photographers Association. That presentation, however, got drastically altered when I found Rory Vaden’s book. So that program wasn’t recorded. If you were waiting for that, I apologize. If you are still looking for a way to plan out your year, I would suggest you read Rory’s book first. His time management mindset for multipliers will greatly enhance any plan you put into place. Multiplying time will give you the opportunity to accomplish far more this year, than you ever thought possible.

And, because I offered my program, if you need some assistance with planning for this year. I am offering you a 15 minute coaching session to do so. Believe it or not, you can get a TON of planning done in a focused 15 minute period. If you would like to take me up on this offer, just email me at [email protected] .

By the way… if trying to do too much is not your issue, and you have the opposite problem… procrastination, Rory Vaden’s other book “Take the Stairs” might be a great fit for you.

My new time management mindset is allowing me to make some serious advances in my businesses, so stay tuned for some really exciting changes to come. :-)

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