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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:


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

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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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Austin Photographer of the Year 2014

February 6, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

Photographer of the Year 2014

I am honored and excited to announce that I (along with my dear friend Tim Babiak) was awarded Austin Photographer of the Year 2014.  Austin Professional Photographers Association holds a year long print competition each year for the photographer members of Austin, Texas guild. It is an anonymous competition judged by our peers, and it is a HUGE honor to be awarded the Photographer of the Year trophy. 2014 was an especially competitive year for print competition, and there were many photographers in our guild that were awarded ribbons and trophies throughout the competition. With a lot of hard work, Tim and I tied for the highest number of print competition points. Woo Hoo!

If you are not currently competing in print competition, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a lot of fun if you “win”, it’s also probably the best way to become a better photographer. Having an enormous trophy in the room where you meet your client for the first time is pretty awesome too. 🙂





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Busiest Event Photography Weekend

December 4, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

The first weekend in December is always the busiest event photography weekend of our year. It’s actually a madhouse! We do more revenue in the first two weeks of December than we do in the first or second quarter, so planning for them all takes a huge amount of focus and intentionality. This video shows what our portrait studio looks like when it has been taken over by the huge amount of equipment required to pull off the dozens of events coming up. Being a speaker, trainer, educator and coach is a lot of fun for me, and I really love it. But I am a professional photographer too, so this time of year is as busy for me as it is for all of you out there. Forgive me for my lack of videos lately, as I have been focused on working with my coaching clients, preparing presentations for upcoming speaking engagements, and prepping my businesses to serve my photography clients for the holiday season. After December 15th, things will slow down a bit, and I can rest up for the new year.

I can’t wait to see all of you in 2015! It’s going to be a fantastic year, and I hope you will come along with me for the ride.


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Photography Business Tip – Set Boundaries

October 24, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

Photography Business Tip – Set Boundaries

I don’t have time to create a video today, but I wanted to get this post out there while I am thinking about it. It’s not often that you hear a photography speaker bring up the term boundaries. Typically that word is reserved for more personal matters… emotionally charged relationship issues, for instance. But after being in business for many years, both as an employee, manager and business owner, I have come to realize that many of the challenges photography business owners run into are actually boundary problems. Monday night, at our APPA (Austin Professional Photographers Association) meeting we had two amazing photographers and speakers present to our group. Mary Fisk-Taylor and Jamie Hayes, two incredibly knowledgable professional portrait photographers from Richmond Virginia gave us some terrific tips on sales, marketing, PR and setting up your portrait studio for success. And, during their presentation, Mary brought up boundaries. She mentioned that she and Jamie have really clear boundaries in their businesses (they own and operate two different types of portrait photography businesses… one high end, and one more mid-range). Her comments really got me to thinking about boundaries in business, and I have been mulling things over in my head since Monday about this concept.

Then today I got a call back from a potential client about an event we have been discussing. It was at this point that I came face to face with the legitimate difficulties that we, as professional photographers, face every day with setting business boundaries. This potential client wanted something from me, but it was something I had already determined I was unwilling to give… as a business owner. Giving her what she wanted was going to put me in a position where I would have to take a big risk, and that risk likely had no up side. So, what did I do? Well… first of all… I took a deep breath. Pausing and breathing helps me focus and relax for the difficult conversation ahead. Then I re-stated to her my original answer to her question, which was basically what I was willing to do, but which clearly gave her a “no” to what she was asking for. So it wasn’t an ultimate no… like I do not want to work with you, but it was a no to how she wanted to arrange things.

Now, if you are speaking with someone who accepts a “no”, then this is really all there is to setting a boundary. First off, you have policies that you stick to so that you don’t get thrown from the very beginning. Then, armed with the knowledge that the boundary is necessary, you state your answer, and you wait for their response. Often the response will be something along the lines of “I understand”, and I appreciate you considering my proposal. However, most folks will not give up this easily. And this particular lady works for a non-profit organization, and is especially adept at pulling on the heart strings. So she persisted. She explained why it needed to be done her way, and I listened. Luckily, I have many years of experience with folks asking for free photography, so I have learned a thing or two about how to handle it. This starts with being able to empathize with them and hear them out, so that they feel like I understand where they are coming from. This step is incredibly important, because our emotional response to someone asking for us to work for free, and attempting to (essentially) emotionally blackmail us into doing so, can cause us to emotionally react. The two most common emotional responses are to either 1. Call them on the carpet, and tell them why they are wrong, or 2. Give in. When your emotions are all triggered, these seem like the only two options. But, if you can breathe, slow down, hear them out, and repeat back to them what you hear them saying… if you can empathize with the fact that they don’t have a budget for a photographer, and that they really need your help. Then you can leave them in a space where they may be able to hear your response.

So back to the story. After hearing her out, and repeating back to her what she had said, and letting her know that I understand how difficult it must be for her to raise money for her organization… then I was ready to craft my own response. Again… deep breath. Whew! I won’t go into detail, because I don’t want to give away any personal information about this particular call. What I will say is that it went something like : “I would really love to help you, but this is why I am unable to do so.” Then I explained why the proposal was not a Win Win for me or my company. I explained that I have costs that need to be covered, and that this is a very busy time of year for us, and I cannot afford to risk paying events for events that likely will lose money. Then I did my best to offer her solutions to her problem that she might be able to live with. Solutions that would be a Win Win, for her and for me. I even made suggestions for how she might be able to raise her needed funds without me, and save herself a lot of time and heartache.  Then I asked her to think about my proposals and let me know by a certain date and time, and graciously attempted to end the call.

You would figure that the call ended here, but it didn’t. She and I went through this same process another two times, before she was willing to let me off of the phone. The solutions I offered her were not what she wanted, but they were what I needed. And they were fair. So eventually, she did allow me to get off of the phone, without either of us feeling taken advantage of.

Now… I don’t always handle things like this as well as I did today. It has taken me many years of practice… setting boundaries in business and in my personal life. And I fail to do so perfectly many times still. But, today was a success. And, for you, in your photography business, you won’t always do it perfectly either. But boundaries are a learnable skill. You have to be able to say no sometimes in business to be able to succeed. You have to be able to turn down business when it is not the right client for you. You have to be able to negotiate solutions that will work for all involved. You have to be able to deal with difficult personalities and people who are very persistent. Boundaries are one of the keys to being able to create a photography business that you love, and that supports everything you want to create.

There are lots of great books out on this subject if you want to learn more. My most recent favorite is called “Crucial Conversations”. There are also several books on boundaries by Townsend and Cloud. You can get one of their books by searching with the words “boundaries, townsend, cloud”. Any of these books, and many others are available on .

And now I’m off to go photograph a cool green screen event. Wish me luck! 🙂


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August 24, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

I talk about mindset a lot more than I think you would expect for a photography and business tips blog. Mindset doesn’t seem like a business tip, and certainly not a photography business tip, but mindset is really everything. I don’t care if you are doing everything else right… and I mean EVERYTHING else. You can have the perfect brand, the best products, the most gorgeous photography, the ultimate sales process and the most fabulous follow-up system imaginable in your photography business. But if you are working with the wrong mindset, then you are doomed. Your belief system, and your mindset effect how you do everything. They are what infuse your actions with passion and purpose, and that is what leads to effectiveness. Every day you need to be working on YOU. You are your business, and creating the right mindset at the beginning of your day will carry you farther than anything else that you can focus on in your photography business. I make sure that I start my day with exercise, fresh air, a big glass of cold clean water and a focus on the positive impact that I can make that day. I listen to CD’s or books that inspire me. I get myself into the right mindset to make a difference in the world, and that helps me to stand up against the things in life that try to knock me down.

I ran across this fantastic quote from Rocky today, and I thought I would share it with you. Reading this kind of thing to start off your day can really help protect you from the slings and arrows of life. Here’s to your success!

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.

You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And no pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!” 

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International Print Competition

August 15, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

(If you came to the site within the last 24-48 hours and ran into issues, I apologize. The site was being migrated to a new server. The post from yesterday on International Print Competition may have been missing as well, as it was lost in the transition. Below is my re-creation of that post. It’s different, but includes the images and the critique, which were the most important elements.)

Entering International Print Competition is a fantastic way to quickly grow your photography skills and confidence level. This year I entered four images into IPC (International Print Competition). I am so excited to announce that I received a merit for each one, and my prints will be on display at Imaging USA in February. Being relatively new to International Print Competition myself (this is only my second time to enter), I am not surprised that none of my images got into the Loan Collection. But after listening to my image critiques, from PPA, I am hopeful that after another year of practice I may be able to “go loan” next year.

If you have never entered IPC before, or if you  have never purchased the critiques, you are in for a real treat. I have decided to upload one of mine so that you can hear what an IPC critique is like. Keep in mind that the whole purpose behind one of these is to make you better, so not all of the comments are going to be positive. But the information is extremely valuable, and I hope you learn as much as I did from it.



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Ghost Pepper Part One & Part Two

August 8, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

The International Print Competition for 2014 is over… and what a week it was! I am totally excited to have received 4 for 4 merits for my prints (which I will upload for you next week). Woo Hoo!!! I hope you all entered IPC this year, or at least took at look at the live streaming for PPA members. For those of you who did, the pressure is finally off. There’s no more waiting, you now know how you did. Congratulations to those of you who did well. And… better luck next time if you weren’t happy with your results. You will grow immensely as a photographer, just by entering.

So today I offer a bit of comic relief. Introducing… Matthew and the Ghost Pepper!

OK… so it’s probably not a great idea to teach your kids to do stupid things… but in my defense… it wasn’t my idea either. We were all excited about trying a new restaurant here in Austin called Hopdoddys (it’s not new to Austin… just new to us). We’ve been experimenting with “going Paleo” and Hopdoddys appeared on a local blog for gluten-free and paleo friendly cuisine. When Matthew saw that the Ghost Pepper Burger was the daily special on Hopdoddys menu he simply couldn’t resist the temptation to try the “hottest pepper on earth”. As you have all probably figured out by now… I am a risk taker, so it should be no surprise that I am not what anyone would consider an overly protective parent. Even so… the ghost pepper seemed like it required at least a tiny bit of motherly protective nature. So here is my video test of Matthew’s ghost pepper sauce at Hopdoddys. It’s pretty funny, but the next video… of Matthew trying the ghost pepper… is about 1000 times more hilarious!

By the way… don’t worry… the four year old that you see on the screen is NOT the one who tried the ghost pepper. 🙂

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Photography Business Tip – Set clear expectations up front

July 10, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

I have noticed in the professional photography forums a trend lately where photographers are complaining about client issues that they are having, and are desperate to fix. Having client satisfaction as one of your top priorities in your photography business means that you are going to need to set clear expectations up front. Most of the issues I see photographers wrestling with could have been completely avoided had they set up clear expectations from the very start. How do you set clear expectations up front? One great way is to have clear policies for your photography business. They need to state how your business does things. For example… will you be offering digital images on CD or not? And, if so, what will the clients be able to do with these images? Things like this need to be spelled out and gone over with your client prior to the portrait session. You don’t want to end up getting to the sales presentation and then finding out that your client is going to be very unhappy with a policy that you have in place.

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Photopreneur Coaching Facebook Page

July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

Hey everybody! I have just created a new Facebook Page for my coaching business. If you have received any value from my blog, I would be ever so grateful if you would LIKE my page. Here’s the link:

Thanks in advance!!!