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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. ┬áTo 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. ­čÖé

 

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Photogenesis 2015

January 17, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Tips by admin

I am just now catching up from my trip to SanMarcos, Texas to attend and speak at Photogenesis 2015. 2014 was my year to start this blog, and begin connecting with photographers and photography entrepreneurs around the world. And now… 2015 is my year to start speaking. Photogenesis was a great place to get my feet wet, since they needed speakers for walkup workshops. I did my 2015 Success Roadmap class, and it was so fun! There were several other walkup workshops happening simultaneously at Photogenesis, so I didn’t have a ton of people. But that was ok with me ’cause I had more time to spend with each photographer personally. If you were able to attend Photogenesis and see my class, thanks for attending! It’s wonderful to have attentive excited photographers listening to grab a bit of inspiration. If you weren’t able to be there… never fear. While getting your 2015 plan done in January is always ideal… February is a great time to put new systems in place as well. And I am going to videotape my presentation from Photogenesis (obviously I won’t actually BE at Photogenesis, but it will be that presentation) and put it up here on my blog. Anyone who wasn’t able to attend will have the opportunity to get a plan into action for 2015, and if you were lucky enough to have joined me, and hundreds of other photographers, at Photogenesis 2015, then you can watch the video and get a refresher.

This video will be packed with the big picture for your business for the year. This is the best place to start from… what you want your business to be, do and stand for. And it will get down to the details of your strategies and tactics for creating your vision in the real world. It’s going to be exciting, so stay tuned.

Happy New Year everybody!

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Choose Your Stand to grow your photography business

December 31, 2014 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business, Photography Entrepreneurship by admin

Today’s photography business tip is to choose your Stand. We have talked about creating your stand before, but I want to re-visit it today as we are on the precipice of a brand new year. Today we say goodbye to 2014, and we usher in 2015. Today is a great day to celebrate everything you have accomplished this year, and to ponder what is next for you… in your life and in your business. And that’s why I want to talk about choosing your Stand.

Millions of people will be making New Year’s Resolutions today and tomorrow. They will be creating grand promises… passionate goals for the upcoming year. And that is really cool! I love the idea of a fresh start, with a new year and new goals to get inspired. But I also believe that there is something far more powerful than any resolution or goal, and that is your Stand.

What is a Stand? It’s exactly what it sounds like… it’s what you stand for. It is who you are in the world, regardless of the role you are playing at the time. Your stand is timeless. It is Who you Are, not What You Do. It is not your career choice (photographer) or your goals (do a million dollars in sales), it is not your resolutions (lose 20 pounds). It is your Why. Why you exist in this world. What you exemplify with every particle of your being.

Getting clear on why you are here on this planet, and choosing a word that you can call upon to ignite your passion and inspire yourself and others is quite possibly THE most powerful thing that you can do for you, your clients, your family, and your business. When you can get clear on your Stand, people will rally around you to assist. People who are inspired by your why will be drawn to you. And people who don’t fit your why will start to fall away… leaving you surrounded by those who will add fuel to your passion and propel you toward your true purpose.

So why do I care about this so much right now? Well… because I have just recently realized that I have been disconnected from my why. I got caught up in the details, and I got sidetracked by trying to save something that I really needed to let go of. I was so busy stubbornly holding on to this thing that I thought was really important, and trying to get it to work, that I missed the fact that it simply wasn’t workable… and it never was going to be. When I looked up from my dogged pursuit of problem-solving, I realized that I had lost nearly everything that was important to me. I had let this thing do severe damage to my business, my family, my health, and my emotional well-being. And I had lost track of my stand… my purpose… my very being.

Maybe you feel a little like that too. Maybe there is something in your life that has been draining you of your energy and your passion, but you haven’t been willing to let it go. Or maybe, you just don’t feel lit up with passion about your life. Well… if that is so… Today is The Day! Today is the day for freedom and clarity. Today is the day to reconnect with who you are and what you stand for. Most of us were raised to think that much of what we are able to be, have or do in this world is limited. But it is not. We are unlimited beings, full of possibility, and able to choose who we want to be and what we want to create. So now is the time.

What do you stand for? Ask yourself this question, and think about what lights you up. What has always lit you up? If you could no longer be a photographer, what would still be there underneath “photographer” that is who you are… at your core? Find a word that lights you up.

For me that word is possibility. That is what I stand for. I stand for breaking through seeming impossibility myself, and assisting others to do the same for themselves. Whatever blocks seem to be in your way can be removed. They can be broken through. Your challenges can be overcome. And who I am is the person who will get you in touch with that belief, while, together, we clear away the fog that is obscuring your path.

The really cool thing about choosing a Stand is that it is who you are regardless of what you are doing. For example, above I explained how Possibility fits into my coaching practice. But what about when I am not coaching? What about when I am speaking, training or photographing clients? Because my Stand is not about What I am doing, it infuses everything I do. It inspires every action and gives me a strong foundation from which to make every decision and every choice. Remembering this is what eventually pulled me out of my recent situation. I thought that I was standing for possibility. But I was actually trying to force something, and force is the opposite of possibility. Force is a product of fear, and possibility is a product of love. I believed, while I was operating from fear, that I was doing everything I could to solve the problem. But I was actually perpetuating it by succumbing to fear and manipulation. When I was able to step back a bit and get in touch with my Stand of possibility, it became clear that the solution was to let it go. From my Stand of possibility, I am present, and I am clear. I am a better speaker, trainer, photographer and coach. Because I am focused on why I am doing what I do the What of what I do gets handled in the background. I am more connected to source energy, and best of all… I am free.

Having a clear Stand, or as some call it, Why, ┬ácan simplify everything in your business and your life. It can remove the distractions of the details that can become so overwhelming at times. Creating a marketing plan, setting up your chart of accounts, payroll, hiring and firing, all of the things that you need to handle in your business will become easier when you have an undercurrent of an amazing purpose for Why you do what you do. Your Stand is the rock on which to build your business foundation. So, if you haven’t already done so, create your Stand TODAY, and start 2015 with a strong foundation for success.

If you want to learn more about this, “Start with why” is an amazing book that can help you get even more clarity of purpose. I highly recommend the audio version, that you can carry with you on your phone to help remind you every day how to live from your Stand … or your Why.

Please share with me your Stand, so that I can support you in being who you have chosen to be in the world. Give me one word that speaks to you, and everyone around you, what you stand for and/or why you do what you do.

Happy New Year!!!

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#1 Habit of Successful Photographers – Focus on YOU to grow your photography business

December 22, 2014 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, photographing groups by admin

Today I would like to share with you the #1 habit of successful photographers (as I see it). Obviously this is my opinion, and not based on some highly touted scientific research, but it is based on the 15+ years of running a profitable photography business. You are not going to read this anywhere else, because this is not what most people want to hear. There are lots of photography business gurus on the internet touting their “7 easy steps to” this and their “5 custom phases” for that. ┬áAnd, ┬áI am not saying that their steps are wrong or flawed in any way. Heck! I myself give away a 4 step process on my blog. However , the way that things are marketed these days has led us, as business owners, and as human beings, to be convinced that we can have instant success… instant results… and instantaneous prosperity. We have been duped into believing that instant is the way to go, and that is is preferred to the “old school” values of integrity and hard work. But unfortunately, that simply isn’t how the universe works. You can’t lose the 20 pounds you gained over a two year period, in two weeks. You can’t spontaneously manifest a skyscraper, and you can’t create a stable and profitable business overnight… using 5-9 easy steps.

If you really want to build something of value, you need to focus on the place where you ┬áhave the most amount of power and influence… on YOU. When you are a photography business owner, YOU are your business. You might have employees that work with you, but YOU are in charge of the vision for your company, and that means that you ┬áhave to work on YOU. You need to develop yourself into a leader if you want to lead a great organization. (Even if that organization only consists of one person). You need to develop yourself as an artist, if you want to be known for your art, and you need to create the mindset of prosperity and success, if you ever hope to manifest that in your life and in your business. And you have to take care of your mind and body so that you can have the energy and focus necessary to really make an impact on the world.

As we approach 2015, now is a great time to reflect on what’s missing. Not to focus on it, with fear. That will just create what you DON’T want. But to root out what is going wrong, so that you can focus on that which will transform it. January is a great time to plan out your year, and the end of December is a wonderful time to reflect on the previous year to help you create an effective plan.

Ask yourself, What is missing in ME, that if I developed it, my business in 2015 would create more success and prosperity? Whew! That’s a big question… right? Even with the level of success that I have been able to create, when I ask myself that question, I get lots of answers to “what’s missing?” So you probably will too. The list might even have you feeling overwhelmed. But that’s ok. After all… overwhelm is probably one of the things that you need to address. So, if overwhelm is your immediate feeling, then you have already rooted out a major issue. Facing that issue head on is going to start the process of transformation. The fact of the matter is that most photographers do not have the skills needed to run a successful photography business. Most photographers like to take pictures. It is, after all, what drew us to photography in the first place. But most photographers are not skilled business owners or leaders. And those skills are MORE important than photography skills in creating a successful business. Entrepreneurial skills are critical to building a business that works. And, for a creative person, those are probably the last things you want to focus on. But here is the good news. Those skills are the exact things that will free you up to do your photography. If you can build a stable business that works, you will have your time freed up to concentrate on your art. Unless you are extraordinarily talented as a photographer, you will never be a successful profitable photography business owner until you develop yourself. Even most of the incredibly talented and famous artists didn’t become popular until after their death. And, you certainly don’t want that!

I don’t usually share videos from other coaches, but this one is so good, so timely, and so relevant to you… and to me, that I had to.

If you can take some time to listen to, and implement the advice in this video, your 2015 could be AMAZING! Develop these 5 habits in YOU, and watch your business SOAR! (And lest you feel like I am contradicting myself… these aren’t 5 “easy steps”. Creating powerful “habits” is all about YOU. The time that you spend focusing on improving YOU will never be wasted. Even if you decide later that being a photography business owner is not for you. These powerful productive habits will be with you as long as you are on this earth. And, who knows, maybe they will even come in handy after that).

 

My thanks go out to Evan Carmichael for this video.

 

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Photography business tip – Speak to grow your business

November 1, 2014 in Business Tips, Fear, How to start a photography business, Photography Tips by admin

Today’s Photography business tip is to speak to grow your business.

This week I had the honor of speaking for the Digital Divas of Precision Camera here in Austin, and it reminded me of one of my favorite photography business tips… Public speaking. Public speaking has been shown in studies to be higher on the list of human fears than even death. So don’t be surprised if the idea of doing this sort of thing on a regular basis makes you break out into a cold sweat. But, if you really think about it, the fact that speaking to groups strikes fear into the hearts of most people , is really a business advantage…To You. ┬áSince setting yourself apart from all of the other photographers is quite possibly the best way to grow your business, if you can learn to speak, then you will have a distinct advantage over them.

Ther are lots of opportunities and reasons to speak as a photography business owner. Here are some of my favorites.

Opportunities: PPA Guild Meetings, mother’s groups, event networking groups, photography enthusiasts groups, photography conventions,mand wedding and bridal planning events.

Reasons: networking, be seen as an expert, become known as someone who gives back, share ideas with other speakers and photographers, earn additional income, and many others.

This January I will begin teaching at Precision Camera. While this is a great way to position yourself as an expert, you don’t necessarily need to create a course or formal class to gain big from speaking. Just developing a twenty minute presentation to a mother’s group can be a great way to find new clients.

And, if speaking does scare you, you will get the added bonus of overcoming your fear…which can give you a great feeling of accomplishment…not a bad bonus!

My speaking experience this week was a ton of fun! What a fabulous group. These ladies sure know how to throw a party. And, it didn’t hurt that it was a Halloween party, and most everyone was dressed up. I can’t remember the last time I spoke in front of people when I wasnt nervous at all… Well maybe a tiny bit. But all those costumes kept me from having to picture the audience members in their underwear.

If you want to grow your photography business by speaking, you can start slow. Join a networking group and ask for five or ten minutes to tell the other members about what you do. The more you talk in front of groups, the easier it will be, and someday, like it has for me, it may even become fun!

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Photography Business Tip – Set An Intention

October 10, 2014 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business by admin

Today’s tip is to set an intention.

Goals Vs Intentions:

I talk a lot about goal setting in my posts and videos. That’s because I believe setting goals is really important, but it’s not the most important thing. Goals are very business oriented. They can help you focus and visualize an outcome that can keep you operating profitably. That’s because goals are specific and measurable. They are all about time frames and dollar amounts. So, from a profit and loss perspective, goals are necessary. But, they are not always the best way to get the outcome you are striving for. Especially if you have a tendency to attack challenges head on.

Let me explain what I mean. Let’s say you have a goal for a $2000 sales average in your studio. Coming from this place can have some unintended outcomes. With this goal foremost in your mind, you might come on a little strong. You might end up being veiwed as pushy or aggressive. And this could serve to alienate your clients. The energy that you exude when attempting to “sell” someone is much different from the energy you put forth when you are, let’s say, building a friendship. In a friendship, your “goal” is not to sell them, it is to relate, to communicate, to share and to experience growth and meaning together.

This is where using an intention can come to the rescue. I’m not suggesting that you remove your goals. But if you can add an intention to your sales presentation, that super cedes┬áany other goal that you might have, then you can add a human element, a relationship element, that will be much better for your overall outcome. For example, if you add the intention that your client be well served in the sale… that they are thrilled with the portraits they choose… and that they leave your studio feeling like they just made the best decision of their lives, with portraits they will treasure for a lifetime… don’t you think that you will act differently in that sale? When your focus shifts from what you want ($2000) to what they want (thrilled with purchase) you will be able to ask the right questions and assist them in choosing the best items for them. If you intend them to leave thrilled… then you have a much better chance of them doing so. As for that $2000 sale… believe it or not, you have a much better chance of obtaining it this way than you did pushing them into it. And a much better chance that they will tell their friends about how great you are.

Intentions can be life savers. Difficult conversations, when begun with a positive intention, will flow much more smoothly. When your focus stays off of getting things your way, and shifts to the health, happiness and benefits for the other person… Magic Happens!

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Join Professional Photography Organizations – Photography Business Tip

September 10, 2014 in Business Tips, How to start a photography business by admin

Even if you are brand new to the photography industry, you can greatly benefit from joining professional photography organizations. My husband Charles and myself are both members of Professional Photographers of America, Southwest Professional Photographer of America, Texas Professional Photographers of America and Austin Professional Photographers of America. And that doesn’t include memberships that we have held throughout the years with the National Association of Catering Executives, The Austin Chamber of Commerce, The Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The International Special Events Society and The Better Business Bureau. (Ok… that last one doesn’t really count. If you have been in business for any length of time you have probably already figured out that the Better Business Bureau is mostly just an organization that charges you to say that you are a member. There are not really any other real benefits to paying your dues. Don’t get me wrong… having an A+ rating with the BBB is a good thing to have, but when you first get into business, you usually don’t realize that you don’t need to pay the BBB membership dues to be listed with a rating. They have to rate the businesses fairly, and just because you aren’t a member doesn’t mean you don’t run a reputable business. I am proud of my A+ rating, but I no longer pay dues to the BBB) But I digress.

Being members of professional organizations, not just in photography, but in other areas of business like the chamber of commerce and networking groups, can really help build your business. Why? Because people don’t really trust easily these days. Marketing and advertising has many folks feeling leery. Most everyone has been burned at one time or another, and many of us don’t make decisions like choosing a photographer lightly. When you join an organization you get the opportunity to meet people and get to know them. You have a chance to build trust inside in a safe environment, where you aren’t trying to sell them anything. You get to know who people really are, and if they are the type of people that you want to do business with. Building relationships in these types of groups will help increase your referrals. Referrals from people who know, and like you are hugely powerful, and they will trump an ad or a social media post any day of the week.

As for the photographic organizations, well, you would think that you would never receive a referral from another photographer. But that simply isn’t true. Because photographers have their specialties, and because they want to take good care of their clients, if someone needs a photographer for a job they don’t feel comfortable with, it’s great to be the name on their lips. Building relationships with other photographers can be very rewarding, not just for referrals, but for many other reasons as well. Charles and I are both serving on the Austin Professional Photographers of America Board of Directors this year. The insights that you can gain from other pros are invaluable. And, the camaraderie can be especially powerful when times are tough. Serving on a board of directors in photography can open doors and opportunities for you, and it’s a great thing to put on your web site. Potential clients will view your serving on a photography board as a sign that you are a true professional. Plus it’s exciting to be a part of directing where your local photographic association is headed. I highly recommend it!

I know, as photography business owners, that we have a TON of things we have to handle on a daily basis. And, it may seem like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get out there and build relationships. But I promise you won’t be sorry if you do. Making money and running a business doing what you love is great, but you’ve got to remember to connect with people. At the end of the day, relationships are really what it’s all about.

 

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Overcoming FEAR

August 26, 2014 in Business Tips, Fear by admin

Today’s blog is on FEAR. Although I consider myself a relatively courageous person, from time to time fear steps in to remind me that I too am human, and vulnerable to that ever so powerful emotion of False Evidence Appearing Real. That happened this weekend while my family and I visited a new local water park… Hawaiian Falls in Pflugerville. In today’s video blog I tell my story of the fear that gripped me, and how I managed to overcome that fear… at least long enough to do what I needed to do.

In our business and in our life we are going to come up against fear. Maybe you are terrified of cold calling, or maybe you are afraid of meeting and talking with people you don’t know. Fear can crop up many places. But you can handle fear if you have a way to tame the thoughts in your mind, and calm the uproar in your body. If you have something to focus on that is bigger than you.

I call that something A Stand. A Stand is what you stand for in this life. It’s much bigger than a goal or an objective. It’s who you want to be for the world. My Stand is to make a difference for people. And, when I am faced with a giant fear, that’s what I draw on to move forward. I look around and see how what I am about to do is going to be a benefit to someone else, and I focus on that benefit, instead of what I am afraid of. Sometimes that fear can be like a wave that still comes rushing back in, but if you can calm your fears, even for a moment, that small moment can be enough to help you show up in the world as who you want to be. And that is the way that you get to be who you were meant to be, and how you get to help others along the way.

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Free Photography Business Coaching Sessions still available

July 18, 2014 in Business Tips, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips by admin

I still have a couple of free photography business coaching sessions left, but they are almost gone, so click on the mini coaching session button the right to register and claim yours today!

We will be taking next week off to implement on some things for the new blog direction. We are very excited about where we are going, and we hope it is going to be hugely transformative for your photography businesses as well.

If you came to see a photography or business tip, we have lots of previous blogs still posted that you can review by just scrolling down. ­čÖé

If you registered to receive a coaching session, but didn’t receive the phone number to book your appointment, feel free to contact me at our studio @ 512-997-7429.

See you in about a week!

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Cha, cha, cha, Changes

July 15, 2014 in Business Tips, How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship by admin

Changes are coming to my photography and business tips blog. Exactly what that looks like is still being created, so I can’t tell you what is going to happen, but I can tell you why things will be changing.

Providing value is only possible when the provider understands what the providee wants and needs. With so many different photography business models and specialties, it has been a challenge to provide photography and business tips on a daily basis that will be relevant to everyone. For example… I can give you the tip to set up profitable pricing, but without knowing your level of experience, your comfort level with sales, your market, your financial goals, your Cost of goods, I cannot, in good conscience, offer you a detailed pricing model.

One of the most powerful things about having a coach is that they know you, your business and your goals, and that makes it really easy for the two participants… the photography business owner and the coach… to design a plan of attack that will create the biggest change in the shortest amount of time. Up until now, I have tried to provide pretty general photography and business tips without getting into much detail. My hope was that the tips would be valuable to most photographers who found my blog. But I am finding that sharing the “what to do” is less empowering than sharing the “how to do it”… which is what I provide as a coach. And… to do that I need to understand where each person is coming from.
So how do I do that on a large scale? That is the question that I am struggling to answer, and I would appreciate any feedback that you can give me while I look at how to improve my blog for the benefit of my subscribers. What type of programs appeal most to you? Do you prefer webinars, one on one phone calls, mastermind groups? Would you rather pay an hourly rate to get expert one on one assistance or would you like a small monthly fee to have access to a membership site that includes lots of programs to help with specific topics? What are your biggest struggles right now in your business? And what would it be worth to you on a monthly basis to solve those challenges? I want to know more about you guys and your businesses, so that I can find the best ways to help you succeed.

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