Published on:

31st Dec 2018

New Years Special – Episode 013 – A Photographer Podcast Interview

If you love Kia Bondurant, you’ll love this podcast episode! Matt interviews Kia about her New Year’s tradition. Kia chooses a word of the year, every year. Kia tried it first with her best friend in 2011, then her husband, Andy and the first time was totally off the cuff. Her first word was “create”. Her second year/word was “stewardship” to step up her care of things. Listen in to hear more of Kia’s words for each year and how she looks back on how her words changed her life. In 2015, Kia also picked a word for her studio, in addition to her personal life. In 2018, Kia’s personal word was “words”, which she expected to be about writing and reading. But 2018 is the year Matt and Kia started this podcast! Kia’s word for the studio was “double” and this year she is purchasing her studio building and doubling her square footage. The word you pick in January might mean something completely different or new in December. Kia has 6 action points to pick your word of the year, so make sure to take notes!


  1. Pick a word (pray about it – don’t overthink it)
  2. Have faith (your word is going to be important throughout the year)
  3. Look for signs
  4. Take action (tell people about it)
  5. Be creative (putting the word into your life)
  6. Be disciplined
  7. Celebrate how the word made your life better (Bonus)


Link to Andy’s writing/blog about word of the year:  http://andybondurant.com/2017/01/18/word-year-2017-whats-word/


Read Full Transcript

Transcription was done by Temi.com which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Speaker 1: [00:01] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster.

Matt: [00:16] Hey everybody. Welcome back to from nothing to profit. So if you are a big fan of Kaia, this will be your show because this is our new year’s show and if you’re listening to this. When it first came out it came out on New Year’s eve and I wanted to interview Kayak because she does this really cool thing and I’m going to give her the floor to kind of explain it. But her and her husband did this thing every year where they, they come up with a word of the year to kind of focus their business and she told me this a couple of years ago and it kind of just blew my mind when she told me about it. But. And I’m not very good about it, but this is going to be the year I’m going to do it. And so part of the show is to teach you guys all what she’s doing, but also to hold me accountable. So I actually do this year. So Kaya, I’m gonna pass the floor to you. Tell us about this whole a new year’s thing that you do with the word and all that stuff.

Kia: [01:06] Okay. Well, I’m super excited to share this because it’s been something that was a really unexpectedly positive and you know how sometimes you’re like, okay, know I need to do this. It’s going to be so good for me. Especially with the new year. You’re like, I’m gonna lose weight. I’m going to start exercising. I’m going to give up pop, you know, whatever or soda, whatever that type of thing is. And this was actually just something totally off the cuff that we started doing. And I had read it. I, I’m, I’m definitely not the first person to do this at all. I actually knew one of my employees, uh, probably 15 or 20 years ago told me that her mom had her do this every year and what she would do is choose a word and then make a collage out of magazine images that describe to that word and then put it on the wall and look at that all year long.

Kia: [01:58] And I thought, oh, that’s clever. And her first word I think was journey or something like that. And I thought that was really clever and I didn’t do anything about it. But, uh, I was reading maybe on the bloggers side or something like that, about someone choosing a word of the year. And, uh, I had been meeting with my best friend from college. We’d been meeting for coffee every morning to talk and pray together about things. And I said, what if we do this together? And she’s super into words. Her, uh, her love language is words of affirmation minus not minus touch, but no one can send me hugs if you want. But I, but I thought she would really enjoy doing that together. And so I, we’ve talked about it and we came up with our words that we were going to do and so it was something that we kind of talked about throughout the year and I told Andy about it, my husband and at the time he was starting to blog and so he decided to do it with us as well and he kind of just did it because we did it and I was talking about it but it.

Kia: [03:02] But it wasn’t something that Andy and I personally like made this big, you know, we didn’t like have dinner together with candle light and she was our word or something like that. It was all just kind of like off the cuff. And it’s been really interesting. I pulled up my list.

Matt: [03:18] So you and andy have different words because like the word is much more personal to you and what you want to work on than it is like a family word.

Kia: [03:25] Yes. Okay. Well, yeah. So we actually a, and they don’t do it every year, but we encourage our kids to choose a word and we talk about it. And a lot of times our youngest will choose whatever Andy chooses, which is pretty sweet, but some years they choose things that are really brave, you know, really surprising. And uh, it’s been fun to see what they do as well too.

Matt: [03:49] Okay. So do you have a couple of your words that you’ve done over the year?

Kia: [03:52] Yeah, so we started doing this in 2011 and so it will have been eight years. Yeah. Eight years this year. And so my first word was create and uh, and a lot of times what I’ll do because uh, you know, obviously I just started in January and I have a little bit more free time in January. And so like that year I did like, I like watercolor and painted create unlike did this little designs and things like that. And then I put it on my, like on my phone, I’m not a super crafty person, but then every once in a while I’ll sit down and just do something that comes into my head. So it’s not like I do that kind of thing a lot. So create was my first year and then the, my second year, this was a hard year was stewardship and so like I just wanted to take care of all my stuff.

Kia: [04:42] We had some land and then of course my kids and I felt like I wanted to step up my care of things. And then 2013 was believe. And that was a, that was a big year. That one, uh, like some years, you know, I’ve chosen something that’s more like, like, do you like a do and action. And then some years I’ve chosen something that’s like a really super internal. And so 2013 we had made a big life change. We moved our home, I’d moved my business and started my own business. And so I was like believing like, okay, God, God, am I going to be able to do this? Like I don’t know, so I’m just trusting in you. And so that one, that was a big, big year. A big, what was the word again? Believe, believe. And I always make fun of like, you know, like I’m, it’s funny because I do it, but I make fun of it too. But like people that have plaques with words on it.

Matt: [05:40] Yeah. Because that does some of that stuff doesn’t feel authentic.

Kia: [05:43] Yeah. Yeah. It’s like a pinterest quotes. And so I’m like, Ugh, ridiculous. But um, but yeah, and especially a word like believer, I’m like, oh, this is so crazy. But um,

Matt: [05:55] it’s interesting. I don’t want to tell you how you go back to your list in a second, but just talking to you guys like you know, what your word is and you know, what it means to you and you can articulate that at any point, but it’s not like you guys are wearing t shirts around with it on the front of it. You know what I mean? Like it’s just been such an interesting conversation that when I’ve talked to you and andy about it because like, you’re like, yeah, it gets brought up like this is my word of the year or whatever. And you’re like, wow, that’s really awesome. Then we have a 10 minute conversation about where you’re at with it or why you chose that word and it’s just like, it’s very, uh, thoughtful thing. It’s not designed to be cheesy or anything like that.

Kia: [06:27] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. For sure. Yeah. And so my next year was healing and next word in 2014 and then in 2015, this is another do word was morning and that was kind of when that trend was coming in where everyone’s like, I get up really early and I do all these things before my day starts. And so I did that for months and it’s funny because now I’d get up really early, almost every morning and at that point I had been like Andy would get up, get the kids going and then I would get up later. And so, um, I think it’s funny to look back on those words and go, oh my goodness, like that word I thought I hadn’t successfully achieved it because I only did it for like life a [inaudible] yeah. But, but sometimes the like the effect of it can be years later too.

Kia: [07:22] That’s really interesting. Yeah, so then that same year I actually decided to do a word for the studio and so 2015, my word was morning and for the studio it was developed and so my goal with that was to develop the people that worked for me. And it’s really smart. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that was fun. And then 2016 was open for me and I had been doing some life coaching and the picture that I really got, I’m a super visual and so one of the big pictures from that experience was like being open to, you know, just like being open to people, being involved in my life be just kind of opening up letting. And so the picture is like a girl standing girl, me standing in a field with my arms open wide, you know, like that, like twirling in the field with your arms open and like kind of in a, in a, uh, like receiving way. Um, so that was 2016 and then for my business it was integrity and I just, there were some things that I really wanted to like drill down and change in the business. So not that we were doing anything illegal.

Matt: [08:35] No, no. Yeah, but you wanted your focus would be there

Kia: [08:38] to be really authentic and um,

Matt: [08:40] and then yeah, I mean having integrity being your word versus like shopping. Those are two different than, you know what I mean, like, so hey,

Kia: [08:48] hey, now I, I was honest with you and our money talk and 2017 was help and so that was, that was a hard. Is your personal word? That was my personal word. Yeah. And it was like receiving help and actually I think it was kind of, I didn’t do one for the studio that year, which was actually just like the two just last year. But I realized at the end of the year that my staff had stepped up and there were so many things that I was not in charge of anymore that they took over. And so it was pretty incredible. Just like going, okay, I don’t have to do every single thing. Other people can help me and just learning to ask for help. I didn’t really like that word so many years. I, you know, when I, when I, I, I don’t really want to do it, but once I have the idea I’m like oh I have to do it, you know, like this is it.

Kia: [09:43] So 2018, we’re getting to the end of 2018 and I had one for the studio and I had one for me personally. And I think the thing, the reason that I keep doing it is because it is just almost shocking to look back and go, oh my goodness, this was what my word of the year was and look what happened. So this year my 2018 word was words and I thought it was going to be me like writing, you know, like do it and I have done a lot more writing this year and like maybe started, you know, like actually getting down and making a blog happen or a book or something like that. But what are we doing right now?

Matt: [10:23] Yeah, no, we use words every single week. Now

Kia: [10:27] this podcast is a perfect example of how words have been become much more. It was, it was about me sharing my words essentially. And so this podcast is a perfect example of the word of the European played out. That’s my word was a double and I thought that was going to mean we’re going to double our business, which I thought this is ridiculous. I should not choose this word. This is going to be crazy. But this week I’m supposed to meet with my landlord and possibly by my studio building and it will double the square footage of what we, um, what we’re in right now. Yeah, that’s amazing. I know. It’s really, really crazy. So, uh, you know, I know we just went through all the different words that I’ve done and I think when I’ve talked to other people about doing it, they just get so nervous. They’re like, oh my goodness, this is so hard. I, I just, I have to really think about this. And I don’t think it has to. You have to take yourself that seriously, you know, like I think anything you choose is going to make you think a little bit more about it all year long, you know, and really just live a little bit more intentionally.

Matt: [11:41] That’s really good. So I mean because I do like how you said like, I don’t even like this word, you know what I means. That’s where some people would just work on a word for so long that like it, you know, they just overthink it and you just the word and you’re like, well this is our word and I don’t even like it. I wish I, I wish it sounded smarter, but it’s this, you know, you just go with it. Um, and it’s, uh, it’s also so interesting. I think learning about this from you, just how the word takes on its own. Meaning as the year goes on.

Kia: [12:13] Yeah.

Matt: [12:13] You think it’s going to be one thing in January and then by the time the following January comes around at mental, whole, new, a whole new thing?

Kia: [12:19] Yes, absolutely. Yeah.

Matt: [12:22] In some years, like you said, are really deep and personal. And other years it’s not super, you know,

Kia: [12:28] at the soul level, you know, so it’s more of a, like an actionable thing. I try to avoid the actionable ones because then they feel more like New Year’s resolutions at the same time. I mean, it’s kind of, that’s what it is. So, um, is it, you know, something to kind of guide your year.

Matt: [12:45] So are. So are there any, are there any questions or exercises or anything that you do to get the, like how do you.

Kia: [12:51] Yeah, I have actually, it’s funny, I pulled up a, um, when I spoke at an event, I have one, two, three, four, five, six, six action points for choosing a, you know, doing your word of the year. Could share those for sure. Here you go. So first of all, choose a word. So don’t overthink it. So here’s a list of words. Joy, freedom, risk, develop, grace, rest, hope, trust to transform, overflow, dream, grow, listen, attack, bold, restore more help. Those are all words I know people have used. That’s cool. Yeah. So just choose a word. And for me it’s something that, you know, because it’s faith based for me, I pray about it, you know, I asked God to bring something to mind for me, so okay, so literally she’s a word and I started thinking about it and at the beginning of December, uh, and just start kind of coming up with ideas. So the second action after you’ve chosen a word is have faith. So whether it’s a spiritual thing for you or not have faith that your word is going to be important to you throughout the year

Matt: [14:02] because you got to trust it because it may not even seem like it’s relevant for months at a time.

Kia: [14:05] Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes I’ll even be like, whoa, my goodness, what was my word again? Because sometimes like, like one year I did healing but I was going to do health and I kind of went back and forth and then, you know, by the end of the year I was like, okay, it was healing, you know, like I wasn’t exactly sure. And this year was going to be words and then it was going to be right. And then I was like, okay, I think it’s words. So

Matt: [14:26] yeah, I liked it. I liked how it’s a little bit more like higher level. Yeah. It can take on more means but not so higher level. That doesn’t mean anything.

Kia: [14:34] Yes. Yeah. Okay. Let’s go. Keep going. Okay. So then the third thing, after you choose your word and then you choose to have faith, uh, is look for signs. And so I think this is kind of fun because um, we will look for that word in different places, you know, whether it’s like whether we do it specifically, like one year we were, andy and I were in a shop and they had scrabble like giant scrabble sets and you could choose your word. And so he chose his word and a scrabble set and kept it in his office. And that’s cool. And then, uh, I’m looking at the office wall and hear. And so one year our words, we’re bold and open and so I don’t remember who bought them, but you know, like the, they’re like a foot tall, a plywood letters. And I just, he, I do this sometimes andy comes home and he’s like, oh, she’s hammered a bunch of letters on the wall and then one year I painted all a bunch of words, but especially my word on the kitchen wall.

Kia: [15:38] And so everyone would come over and they’re like, oh, your words are all on the wall. So, um, so those are not necessarily looking for signs, those are aerating signs. But um, but yeah, so we look for the word and kind of. It always seems to jump out at me. I’m like the, I almost always all like averse will jump out in my Bible reading immediately after I choose the word and then I have a first for the year to go with it as well. Cool. Yeah. So then take action. And so I guess I just gave a bunch of descriptions of taking action and those are all kind of around our home. But like you said, Andy always makes t shirts with his words. So. And then he wears them and then he sells them to people in gives that money to the kids in Mexico.

Kia: [16:25] So. So yeah. So he takes some serious action and he’ll, he’ll do that for everyone that he works with. He makes a t shirt every year. So last year I think his word actually was believed and he did like a bunch of those tunic tee shirts anyway. Um, so yeah. So take action and then the next one is create. Okay. I didn’t, I didn’t read them through beforehand. So, um, yeah, so creating and I do a lot of different things with it. Like I said, so taking action. I also tell people about it and so like I will tell, um, my uh, best friend that I meet for coffee, we talk about it and we talk about each other’s words getting. I talk about it, we talk about it with our kids and then a lot of times I’ll post about it at the first of the year too.

Matt: [17:13] Yeah. And where I learned about it as like when we’re at sync or something together you’ve told me about and stuff like so. So it just gets brought up naturally and normally gets brought up because we’re talking about something else. And you say, that’s funny because my word of the year is this and that’s how it gets brought up. It’s not like you’re like, Hey, guess what, Matt, you know, like, you normally find some meaning in something we’re talking about and that gets brought up.

Kia: [17:34] Yeah, for sure. And then, um, the last one is be disciplined. And so I think that’s the hardest part, you know, when you’re doing anything that is something that you start at the beginning of the year is I’m just kind of returning to it and think about it and I don’t think you have to think about it every single day. It’s not like that type of a goal in my opinion. It’s something that’s just kind of organic and a part of what you’re doing. And uh, so I have my word at the top of my prayer list and my phone, so I have my word and then I’m, I, I’m really not this organized, it sounds like I am, but it’s just kind of stuff that happens. Um, but I have my word and then I have like any of the, um, uh, like quotes or a scriptures that I feel like really spoke to me about that word.

Matt: [18:26] Yeah, that’s really cool. Well, the thing is like, not to say that you’re not an organized person, but I also know you’ve told me that before and I think part of it is when you have a word for a year, like organization just like creeps in because you have a year. It’s not like you’re putting all this in place on January second, you know, it’s like, like over the year you’re like, oh, my word should be at the top of this are my words should be here, or my words should be in the office, you know? And it just happened.

Kia: [18:52] Yeah. Yeah. And so I’m going to say those again. So, uh, number one, choose a word. Number two, have faith that it’s the right word. Number three, look for signs, which I think is always fun. Uh, number four, take action and share it. Number five, be creative and putting it into your life. And then number six, be disciplined. And I would actually add a seventh one, which is, um, kind of like at the end of the year, celebrate what that word meant to you and look at, look at how it, which made changes and became a, uh, you know, helped your life be better.

Matt: [19:28] That’s really cool. Yeah. That’s amazing. So just real quick, what else do you have to add to it, if anything? Because I kind of want to keep this one short, this podcast short because then people can listen to it a couple times. Yeah. Feel free to add whatever she want. But I, I mean, this was a good one that people may want to listen to me

Kia: [19:43] more than once. Well, I would say that we can put in the show notes, like a link to a document where I put the steps and um, and that all we can also put, like Andy wrote a lot about his words of the year and how he, um, integrated them. And so, uh, that could be some great resources as well. And so we can put the links to what he’s written about word of the year and the show notes as well.

Matt: [20:08] Perfect. Yeah, because I know he’s blogged about it a bunch and stuff like that. So

Kia: [20:12] when people message us on facebook or instagram or emails with what their words of the year, because I would really love to hear who has, you know, made change it or who’s into implemented this into their, um, 2019.

Matt: [20:29] Yeah. And some have and some people already know us and so you just reached out to the normal channels. But if you guys don’t know how to get ahold of is probably the easiest way is to go to the website. It’s just photo, podcast dot CEO. And then there’s a contact page and on that contract page that all the contact for Kai and I, our studios and our personal contacts stuff as well. So go there, pick your favorite way, whether it’s instagram dm or email or whatever your favorite way is indefinitely. Send us what your word is because sometimes just saying it out loud as enough as all the accountability you need for a whole year, you know?

Kia: [21:01] Yeah. And uh, I have, I think I have my business word of the year. Uh, I was just thinking about it last night. I think it’s going to be launch. Cool. You’re coming in a important part of this, Matt? Yeah. And then my personal word of the year. I don’t know for sure. So I will. Um, but I will share that on my social media when, when it comes time. Cool. And I’m sure you’ll share yours too, right? Matt?

Matt: [21:25] Yeah, absolutely. Because Alice and I are definitely going to do it this year, so I have a trip coming up where I’m going to travel and spend a bunch of energy, you know, while I’m driving daydreaming about that because I think it’s very theory therapeutic and a good place for me to be. So yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Cool. Well thanks so much for sharing. Like I said, I don’t want to cut you short, but I kind of want to keep this one short just so people can, cause there was so much information they may want to listen to it more than once. So thanks so much. I mean, it only took me like two years of knowing that you and andy do this for me to actually do it this year, but this year I will have a word. I will let everybody know and then I’m sure everybody on the podcast, we’ll get sick of hearing about our word all year because we’ll be like, oh, and by the way, my word is this, but um, it’ll, it’ll definitely be a fun exercise to do. So let us know when you guys, when you guys come up with yours. Skyla, let us know when you finish yours and we’ll go from there. So. Awesome. Cool. Well thanks everybody. We’ll see you guys next week.

Speaker 1: [22:18] Thank you for listening to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kaya. Be sure to subscribe for more business strategy and ideas to help you create a profitable and successful business. You’ve always wanted see you on the next episode of from nothing to profit.

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About the Podcast

From Nothing to Profit
From Nothing to Profit join Matt and Kia as they interview professional photographers and found out what is working now for their photography business
Welcome to “From nothing to Profit, a photographers podcast”. Every week Matt Hoaglin and Kia Bondurant interview successful photographers that own profitable portrait studios. The goal is to find out what is working in their business now and see what is making them so profitable. From marketing tips to business secrets, Matt and Kia will ask all the difficult questions so you can take your business from nothing to profit. If you listen to this every week, not only will you have an action plan to grow your business but you will know what the best photographers in the world are thinking about right now. Your competition will have no idea what hit them. You will steal market share and have a list of amazing marketing ideas to use all year long. If you want your portrait studio to supply for your family this is the podcast for you. Stay tuned as we interview the very best photographers in the industry so you can swipe their marketing ideas and business practices.
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