From Nothing to Profit

A Photographer's Podcast

Episode 40

Published on:

8th Jul 2019

Work-Life Balance

Read Show Notes

Today, Matt and Kia discuss work life balance, specifically with a family/children. When Kia first started work as a photographer, she worked 60 hours a week and that didn’t stop when she had her first two children. You don’t want to miss Kia’s story after a life changing event occured. Kia says you’ll never be perfectly balanced or perfectly comfortable. Shoot for work life integration, versus balance. It doesn’t have to be 50/50. Matt talks about how parkinson’s law affects our lives. You don’t want to miss this all the great advice in this podcast!


Read Full Transcript

[00:00] 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.

[00:17] All right, welcome everybody to the podcast today. Matt and I have a very interesting conversation topic that we’re going to be discussing and one that is super close to my heart. So Matt, you had a question the other day. What was your question?

[00:31] Well, so a lot of people send me messages all the time because I do some coaching and stuff and they talk a lot about worth like more. I can’t even speak now, work life balance. And so I feel like I can help them. But there’s been a few that I couldn’t help lately and it’s because it’s based around like family. And so I just thought you could answer this better because you got children and what work life life balance work looks like for somebody that is raising kids and has kids and soccer and stuff like that.

[01:00] Yeah, yeah. Oh you mentioned soccer. Absolutely. So work life balance is something that I have definitely struggled with over the years and had, I’ve, I’ve made a lot of different decisions, tried things, a lot of different ways to figure out how I can be in a comfortable position. And so, uh, just to go back a little bit, I started as a photographer right out of college. So I was married and 22 and uh, working in a family business and I was working 60, 70 hours a week. And then I had my first daughter when I was 25. And so I continued to work 60 or 70 hours a week and just brought her to work with me and then my second daughter was born and continue to work that much and they both would come to work with a nanny and then they were both in a car wreck and they were winning.

[01:52] Yes. My girls and the nanny were in a car wreck. She, uh, she took them to the city. We, uh, lived in a city in a small town about 20 minutes outside of the big city, and she took them to the city to get lunch for everyone and was late coming back. Uh, and some of my, someone had said to me, well, she’s late getting back. And I was like, yes, with my children, I don’t care about lunch, I’m worried about my children. And then we got a phone call and, uh, what had happened is she, her car had, um, my car actually had a hit, a, a piece of metal that had been dropped off the road right in front of her, so other cars and had had swerved and she wasn’t able to. And so it had rolled and it was just crazy.

[02:38] Like it was the grace of God truly, truly the grace of the car. The car rolled, the car rolled multiple times. Yes. Okay. Yeah. And so you don’t know the story, Matt. That’s great. Obviously don’t, so yeah. So the paramedics came up on the scene, saw all of the, she had actually also gone to the store and bought some like children’s toys. Um, this photo session. So there were all these children’s toys strewn out all across the road. The car was hanging upside down air, the other car was upside down and they pulled up and they were just sure that they were going to come across a horrific scene. And, uh, they, my five month old daughter and my two and a half year old daughter and the nanny were in the car, they were all perfectly fine except the nanny had like hurt her foot a little bit.

[03:23] Like it was like her toes were smashed a little bit. They got them all out and uh, they, someone people recognize the car and someone that knew the family came up to the nanny and handed her the phone, dialed to my work and she said, we’re in a car wreck. Everyone’s okay and this is where we are. And I, my, I had, my brother worked with me at the time. I jumped in the car with him and we drove a million miles an hour up to where we were and they were all in the, um, then the ambulance and uh, went to the, um, to the hospital to check everyone out and they were all perfectly fine. But that was a turning point for me. And I was like, no more. I am not going to have a full time nanny. And she was wonderful and continued to work for me at another couple months until I made the big decision to change things. And so I made a commitment to only work two and a half days a week away from the house. And they still did come to work with me. And then I had family watched them a lot of the time. And then I eventually did have babysitters that stayed at home with them. But from then on, two and a half days a week was my max that I would ever work.

[04:26] And how did that affect your business? Because from what I understand, it didn’t happen. I mean it changed your life and your business, but you’re also still highly successful. So it’s like you didn’t, I mean, did you feel like you were six days a week versus two and a half days a week was like dramatically different?

[04:43] Yeah. You know, I think, um, I’d always been a very like, uh, achievement minded person. And so to me I was willing to do whatever it took to make the business great. And it did seem like I needed to be there physically be there to shoot and to be a part of everything. And it was easy because they were sweet little girls and so they just would run around the studio and that type of thing. And I felt like I was there and a part of their lives. But that moment, um, it was such a big change for me that I was like, no, I need to physically be there with them and not be doing work at the same time. And, uh, I had always been struggling with the guilt and I read in a, I don’t, I don’t know, it was some like the Times magazine or something, this big cover article about women and work and there’s this guilt factor of you feel guilty if you work, you feel guilty if you stay home.

[05:37] Like there is not an in between, you know, you’re guilty no matter what. And I was always struggling with that guilt and so, um, to figure and I didn’t want to stay home. I love my job and I loved what I did. But the discipline of not having anyone there to help me with them and to take care of them made me, uh, be present with them in a different way than I had been. And I do. I did all, all through the years. I have my two and a half days of working. I did have, um, nannies and babysitters and my kids really loved all those people and made really good friends with them and I loved having them in my lives. There are some of my best friends and I would, you know, they would come to work and I would visit with them for a while.

[06:20] Then I’d had a off over to the studio and then I come back and nurse the babies or whatever. And so I, what I learned is that you’re really not going to have this perfect balance and you’re really not going to be perfectly comfortable no matter what you’re doing because, uh, I think that traditionally women stayed at home and although it is a good thing that women through off them the, uh, those constraints and are able to go out into the world, there’s still these expectations and the, the way that we’re built that makes us think that we need to do all of it. You know, that now

[07:01] did the expectation is you just, there’s an expectation that you’re a good parent and raise a good child.

[07:06] Yes. But no, I’m talking about like the world, the expectation that you need to be the one there to do everything. You know that you, that you need to be there for their first step and you need to be there for their first smile and you need to be there feeding them every single meal and you need to be there doing all of that. But at the same time you also need to go out in the world and you know, have this job and that’s very successful and you also need to go back to your baby weight beforehand and you also need to, you know, do the groceries and make all the meals. Like there are these expectations that women, whether the world puts it on you, you put it on yourself to be the supermom. And so I heard the other day a great phrase, so it wasn’t work life balance, it was work life integration. And I think for me, yeah,

[07:51] what I figured out how to balance implies 50 50

[07:54] yes. That’s possible.

[07:56] That may be 80 20 for a while and you’re happy doing that. And then all of a sudden you’re like, I can’t do this anymore. I need to stay in needs to go 60 40 or 80 20 the other way. And that’s fine. Like, you know, we’ve talked about this a little bit, like you’re like, okay, you know, when the summer comes we’ve got to do podcasting differently and things like that because like it’s just going to change, but it’s never going to be 50, 50.

[08:14] No. And uh, I think one of the things that I’ve figured out is that sometimes I just hang out at home, you know, like I just forced myself to chill out and because I am at such an achiever and so I don’t, I put myself in situations where I can’t work, you know, where I have to go do things. And then the other thing is, is now that as my children have grown and they’re not little anymore, so I was, my schedule was working two and a half days a week. Right. So the other two and a half days I was home and sometimes I would do work and I would have things that I was doing at home, but I was home with them. No one else was there to take care of them. And then now I do it a bit differently than that. So I, I typically work two or three days a week and have those days, you know, that I go to work. But now that they’re older, I make sure that I go to as many of their events as I can go to typically.

[09:09] Yeah.

[09:10] Yeah. So I go to all of their events, uh, that I can and typically if I can’t, it’s because I’m at someone else’s event and then I just mark everything off on my calendar. And I also try to be home after school two to three days a week so that I’m here when they walk in the door and we have a conversation about what happened that day because that’s when they’re, you know, teenagers in upper elementary or ready to talk is when they get home from school. And so we’re channel them.

[09:35] And so it’s like, okay, if I, if I’m going to pick 20 minutes to have with my child, you strategically, you’ve chose to pick like the 20 minutes when they get home from school, which that 20 minutes may be more valuable than having been with him two hours later. You know what I mean? Like, cause later they’re like, I just want to be on my phone, mom. I don’t want to talk. Yeah,

[09:53] yeah, yeah. And I don’t necessarily leave, but uh, I definitely know that there are times that are, uh, they’re ready to talk, they’re ready to interact and then driving them to their activities. You know, we talk a lot of times when I’m driving and not, not all the time, but you know, we have good conversations driving them to activities and that type of thing.

[10:11] Yeah. Or like have the, so like with my parents, it was always best right after school and while we were in the car. I completely agree with that.

[10:18] Yeah. Especially with boys when you’re, the car is really good because you’re facing the same direction rather than looking at each other. And so boys are more comfortable at talking, um, side by side. So, uh, so that addresses kind of work life balance with your family. I think for me it’s definitely been something that I had to come to terms with because I knew that it was never going to be exactly perfect because neither working and not working both, we’re going to make me uncomfortable. And so I had to find something that was integrated and in between, but then also, you know, speaking of work life balance life is not just children. So there’s also work life balance with you know, exercise and eating and all of those types of things. And so I think I’m just the type of person that um, essentially I go in cycles and so sometimes of the year I do more walking, sometimes of the year.

[11:13] I do classes sometimes of the year. I do like yoga. And so I just, I’ve come to the point where I just kind of allow myself to have those cycles of activity. And then as far as eating goes, I’ve really, um, I have to be really careful with what I eat anyway. And so, uh, again, kind of go in cycles of allowing myself some indulgences and not, but, um, because I have like some food intolerances and allergies and so, um, but yeah, so work life balance there. Oh. And then friends, I actually scheduled that, so I, um, hang out with a friend or two every week. And so some friends I get up really early in the morning, others I would go to lunch and we go kind of hang out. And so it’s a bit, it’s an important part of my, um, of my life and, um, I don’t do it like, oh, I need to see friends, so I’m going to do this.

[12:06] I do it because I’m like, Ooh, I want, you know, this, this opportunity came up and I’m just make it a priority. So I schedule those kinds of friend hangouts to, yeah, complete sense. So does that touch everything on work life balance? I think it’s a good transition to kind of where, how I think about work life balance because you have a different, well you know, and the thing about it is, is I have a lot of people that work for me that typically don’t have kids, you know, they’re younger and so, um, I have to really help them figure out how they’re going to do it because like I don’t really, I try not to talk to the people that work for me over on the weekend. Now some of us go to church together so we visit, but I try to like really make the weekend not about work and you know, unless we actually have shoots on the weekend.

[12:54] On that note, let’s just take a quick break and we’ll be right back. Hey everyone, tell me if this sounds familiar. You look at your calendar and notice you need clients now. So you do a little marketing and get some phone calls. You get busy helping those new clients. They schedule sessions, they place orders and life is good, but once they’re done, your calendar is empty again. The reason is you didn’t have time to market while you were busy. Sometimes your business feels like a rollercoaster, and let me tell you something. It is, and believe me, you’re not alone. Photographers everywhere have the same problem, but I have some great news. Matt’s business, Allison Ragsdale, photography after years of trial and error has cracked the code. It works so well. He’s created a new class all about it. It’s called get clients. Now a dead simple approach to getting photography clients.

[13:40] Everyone at from nothing to profit is excited to share this info with you because this system helped Matt and Allison book hundreds of clients this year at their studio and the best part about this system is that it’s simple to set up and it works while you’re sleeping. No hard selling or creepy marketing. All you have to do is to help your clients answer their most pressing questions. Clients loved the system and say it is the number one reason they book with Matt and Allison. If you’re interested in learning more about this system, go to photo forward slash simple Matt has created a short free video that introduces the system. If you like what you hear, podcasts or listeners get an exclusive discount on the full class. So make sure you go to photo forward slash symbol and sign up for the free video.

[14:22] It will help you book more clients now and create the business you’ve always wanted. So what do you do as someone that doesn’t have kids but still needs to have a, you know, you have the opportunity that you could work all the time if you want it to. Yeah, we love to work and so sometimes when we’re firing on all cylinders, work life balance feels like it’s right in line because we’re here all the time. But then there’s other times, like right now, this time of year where like I don’t want to be all the time,

[14:52] you know, I don’t want to be at the studio. And so we, you know, when we’ve gone through some transitions lately too as well, like where we live right next to our studio now, we used to live 30 like 30 minutes away and now we literally live like 500 feet away from our studio. We bought a condo like right next door to our studio, which in some aspects of what has given us some good work life balance because we’re not in the car for an hour a day, but at the same time then it’s like, it’s too easy to just come over here and just work and keep working till eight o’clock or work until exactly when dinner’s done, you know? So that’s not healthy. So. So yeah, I was trying to find the balance of where you, you’re not working all the time and you’re not like just ignoring your friends and things like that.

[15:32] So what I do, a couple strategies I do is I put everything in my calendar. So I scheduled stuff in advance. So like I’ll start scheduling for like, it’s a Monday right now while when we’re recording this. And I’ll start looking at next week and try to start scheduling my friend’s stuff first. Because the calendar, we’ll just fill with work stuff. If I let it, you know, there’s this whole thing, I think it’s called, I want to say it’s like called the Parkinson’s law. Um, it always throws me off cause of Parkinson’s disease, but I think it’s called Parkinson’s law. And it’s, the idea is like whatever resources you allocate to a situation, you’re going to use the resources. So if you’re, if you allocate eight hours a day to something, it’s going to take you eight hours a day to do it. But if you only allocate for, it’ll only fill up to four.

[16:15] And so, you know, it’s not just time resources, but everything. Like if you allocate $1,000 Joe Project, you’ll spend $1,000 on it. And, um, so where do some careful with my readers, here’s the definition of...

Episode 39

Published on:

1st Jul 2019

Communicating Your Value

Read Show Notes

Today, Matt and Kia, talk about how to communicate your value to your potential clients. Kia suggests starting with yourself. Reflect on why you value photography. To Kia, it’s a matter of life and death. Photographers are often the first call when someone loses a loved one. We produce art. Digital files should have a printed counterpart because in the long run, who knows if the digital images will be accessible. Listen in to hear Matt’s advice about dealing with head trash and price conversations versus value conversations. Build that relationship with your client and be the expert so they know, like and trust you.

This is a list of the things we suggest to do:

Value it yourself

Have confidence

Have examples

Start the conversation a different way

Say the hard things


Read Full Transcript

[00:00] 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. Okay. Hey,

[00:16] good morning everyone, or good afternoon or good evening I guess depending on when you’re listening to this. Welcome to the podcast. Today we are talking about how to communicate your value to your customers or how to let them see your value. And Matt and I have some different strategies that we want to share with you today. And my first thought on this is it okay if I start off Matt? Yeah, no, go right ahead. Jump right in. My first thought on this is that sometimes you need to start with yourself and figure out how to communicate to yourself the value of what you do. And having been in this 20 years and seen all the changes throughout the industry and you know, kind of my own journey, I’ve come to some times when I have had to rethink things and had to really reevaluate how I view photography.

[01:09] And so starting out, I had never been to a professional photographer before, so obviously we didn’t necessarily see the value in it and we didn’t really understand what a professional photographer could do. So I learned the value of professional photography by actually doing it. And by being a customer of know, by being a photographer, because you came, you know, from your family business, I was, it was my family business. And so I didn’t know about photography except that when I looked back on any professional photographs that we’d had taken as a child, they were all film and color and they were all fading. And so we didn’t have beautiful portraits of us as children. My mom started dabbling in photography when I was in sixth grade. And so from sixth grade on is when I actually had any, you know, photographs that weren’t just fading and we’re creative or something like that.

[02:02] And so I think first off, you have to think of why you value photography and why it’s important to you. And then it’s a lot easier to communicate to your clients. So as a mom with four kids, I have a hallway that I walked down every time I leave my bedroom to go to any other part of the House that is full of pictures of my kids have diff at different points in their lives. All of them and when they’re seven or eight months old naked crawling around two when they’re all four or five years old. And uh, the first ones are black and white and then I have sepia head shots of their profiles and then I have them all dressed as angels. And so, which reminds me that they are actually angels. When I’m leaving my room to go, y’all, I leave my room to go yell at someone.

[02:47] But for me photography is not just a luxury and it’s not just something that’s like a piece of furniture or some kind of fun thing. It’s really a matter of life or death in my opinion. Because if when something happens to a loved one, the first person that they call a lot of times is us to find out if they can get the files, if we can print something for them. If the pictures that they didn’t have printed, if we still have them available. And I’ve been through that so many times that when people hem and haw and say, oh, I don’t really want my picture taken or I don’t, I don’t think I look good. I need to lose weight. When people have those kind of reasons or you know, my, I can’t get my son to come in. I’m like, do what you need to do. This is the most important thing. And so if you need to bribe him than bribe your son, I bet it will take dinner to get your son to come in to do a senior pictures. I bet it will take you no promise of a good night with your husband to get them to come in. I mean you can, you can make this happen and it’s so, so important. I think knowing to you that it’s important, it really makes a difference. So that’s number one.

[03:57] Yeah. And that transitions for me into this whole idea that it’s about confidence too. Like if you want people to see your value, you need to be able to like ask for the sale or ask for the booking with confidence. And I think confidence comes from what you were just talking about where if they don’t truly believe in it, they don’t have the confidence to ask for it. And then here’s like, this is where I’m going to transition. So I don’t just repeat everything you just said. What I see a lot of people in our industry doing is they go, they have a situation in a business that they’re confident with, but they’re not maybe making enough money or living. So then they go and they go here from a coach or they go hear from somebody else and they need to raise their prices, but they to make a living, which they need to do, but maybe they do it too fast and then they lose confidence in their business and their business be able to, that their pictures are worth 1,002 thousand or $3,000 or the confidence that people want all our over just digitals.

[04:55] So they make changes too fast and they lose that confidence. And when you’re not confident then and you don’t see your own value in it, then the how has the customer ever going to see the value as well. So like I said, step one is like what you’re saying, you got to believe in how important it is and then believe in what you’re charging for it and how you’re, how you’re operating your business and if you’re confident in both those things and then I think people will see your value no matter where you are.

[05:22] Yeah, I think definitely so. And one of the ways that I tried to do that, especially with having employees is that I, and I try to take their pictures, I really encourage them to get their pictures taken, to put them on their walls. And then if they have family members that are going through, you know, times in their lives where they’re having babies or having new experiences that need to be photographed, then I also, you know, encourage them to bring them in. And then in my own life, I discipline myself to get the pictures taken. So it’s hard when you’re busy to get the pictures taken. But if I’m doing it myself, then how can I be encouraging my customers to do that as well?

[06:01] Yeah. Because yeah, if you don’t believe it, if you don’t live it and believe it, then how are you going to ever convince somebody else? Okay, so then how other, like when I also think about how people see how to get people to see your value is one of the big things for us as like displaying big art, whether it’s in our house or in our studio and unique products that kind of like loudly says like this is what we’re going to do. So maybe you got like 20 by thirties hanging all over your studio or your house and maybe they only order 11 by 14 but that’s okay. Like just being able to show big stuff and say like this is what we do I think adds some confidence and also just says like gives perceived value to what you do. That we don’t just print eight by tens on pieces of paper.

[06:46] We actually produce art and when you have an art hold such a bigger value in someone’s mind than just the average piece of paper. So kinda summarize that as I think you’ve got to think about how to remove yourself from the box that our industry currently is in and figure out like, okay, what can I do different or what can I do that’s special for people that they’ll see valuable and therefore I can differentiate myself from the rest of the industry. Because I really think in some aspects our industry is a little bit in a race to the bottom type of a situation and that can really devalue that someone’s going to do something cheaper, cheaper, cheaper, until you break out of that, that cycle of the race to the bottom.

[07:28] Yeah. I think that’s so true that if you’re offering a product that you can’t build value in, then you need to change your product and it shows something that actually has value and your point of having portraits, big portraits on the wall of having nice albums of having interesting and different products. I know that you’re like us are always kind of thinking, what else can I offer my clients that will inspire them and get them excited about things? And one other thing that we do when we show display our work is a lot of times I will choose something that my client has ordered and then I will put that on the wall. And that way I can say so and so ordered this, you know, or this is on their wall. This was their favorite portrait. And so this helps people to see what other people have done as well. So even though you’re not in their home, you can show at your studio what other people are ordering. And that gives it more social. Oh, darnit. I can never think of that word. But anyway, it helps them see what other people are doing. It gives them ideas.

[08:28] Yeah, for sure. All right. Awesome stuff guys. Hey, on that note, let’s just take a quick break and we’ll be right back. Okay.

[08:34] Hey everyone, tell me if this sounds familiar. You look at your calendar and notice you need clients now so you do a little marketing and get some phone calls. You get busy helping those new clients. They schedule sessions, they place orders and life is good, but once they’re done, your calendar is empty again. The reason is you didn’t have time to market while you were busy. Sometimes your business like a rollercoaster, and let me tell you something. It is, and believe me, you’re not alone. Photographers everywhere have the same problem, but I have some great news. Max Business, Allison Ragsdale, photography after years of trial and error has cracked the code. It works so well. He’s created a new class all about it. It’s called get clients now at dead simple approach to getting photography clients. Everyone at from nothing to profit is excited to share this info with you because this system helped Matt and Allison book hundreds of clients this year at their studio and the best part about this system is that it’s simple to set up and it works while you’re sleeping.

[09:29] No hard selling or creepy marketing. All you have to do is help your clients answer their most pressing questions. Clients love the system and say it is the number one reason they book with Matt and Allison. If you’re interested in learning more about this system, go to photo forward slash simple Matt has created a short free video that introduces this system. If you like what you hear, podcasts or listeners get an exclusive discount on the full class, so make sure you go to photo forward slash simple and sign up for the free video. It will help you book more clients now and create the business you’ve always wanted.

[10:03] What else do you have in terms of showing bag, cause I have another one but it’s a little bit more off topic. Do you have any other goals that are connected to this?

[10:10] Yeah, I think one of the things that helps people see value, I’m just thinking through the process that our studio is showing the work online. I think being really strategic about your website and your social media and putting that, the workout there because people get excited about it and they get excited about other people seeing it and people liking those images. So I think that’s important. And then when they come in and sit down and talk to you, I think that the final product and the final picture is important, but the relationship and what you’re bringing you, the skills that you have and the experience that you have is so vital. And so when they can get to know me and know what I’m offering and know the skill that I have and what I’m going to do for them and that how interested I am and who they are and what I can produce for them, that I think that that builds value and trust. And I think that’s super important.

[11:03] Yeah. Well yeah cause then like it builds confidence in you, their confidence in you and then so therefore there they value you as an artist more or as a person more really is what you’re saying. And then are more willing to hand you an extra couple hundred dollars because they know like, and trust you. You know in the marketing world we always talk about how can we quickly get them to know, like, and trust you. So yeah, the sooner you can do that the better. So you were just saying you got another one.

[11:27] Yeah. I think when you’re talking about building value, and I don’t know exactly how to do this, I know the concept is really important where you talk about like if you don’t do these pictures then this will happen and so you should do that. You know the bad thing, and I, I really have never liked that in marketing, but I know that it’s important and I don’t know how to gracefully introduce that in. But when I do talk to people and we’re having a very like personal and intimate enough conversation, I will bring up the situations where, where I don’t have people where something just recently a friend of mine passed away and I could not access her digital files. I don’t know where they are. They were, it was over at least 10 to 15 years ago. And I can’t get into those old hard drives.

[12:18] They don’t really work anymore. And so I had printed pictures of her and I was able to print those and have those available for her family. So I copied the printed pictures and then print those for her family. The other thing is I think that my mind has changed and so I was part of a family business and we did all kinds of printing and framing for people and all kinds of great, you know, art for their home. And then when I started my own business, I just took the path of least resistance, which was doing digital files for so many people, you know, not everyone, but for, you know, making it really easy to get digital files. And even though I had a bigger value on those digital files, I’m realizing now that that is not the only product I want to give people. I still think it’s nice for people to get digital files, but for me, I’m, my mind has changed and I think that I w I want every digital file that I sent out to also have a printed counterpart so that the people that I provide photography for, we’ll have prints because in the long run that may be all they have.

[13:22] Yeah. Because who knows where the file is going to go and stuff like that. For sure.

[13:25] Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s hard to say those hard things, you know, to really liken it to, you know, if something bad were to happen. I mean people are like, don’t say that about my kid or you know, so I don’t really know how to communicate that in any other way than just saying things have happened where I don’t have the files for people and I want to have them, so I’m making changes because I feel like it’s just vital.

[13:51] Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I don’t know how to say the negative thing either. But when you’re in a really in depth conversation with somebody, a lot of times they bring it up. You know, like if you’re having a good conversation with them and they’re, they’re starting to build the value in themselves for the pictures. Sometimes they’ll get there and they’ll say, okay, well actually, you know, you’re right. I probably, you know, you don’t even to say size, but then they’ll say, you’re right, I probably should go to the top package because it comes with this. And that would help if this ever happened. And they can kind of bring it up too. But if you don’t have an in depth conversation about their family and about their pictures and stuff with them, then you may, they may never get there, you know? So it’s definitely worth taking the time to speak to them on a different level for sure.

[14:28] Okay. So I have kind of changed it up a little bit and kind of go, I think this might be even my last one. We’ll see. So what I have found, and it kind of goes back to the confidence thing and things like that, is like if you allow your customers to lead lead with price, sometimes that will zap your confidence and then then you don’t think they see your value. And so then you kind of sabotage your own sale either talking about price or just not going as deep as you as you want to. And the truth is they may be coming into you and asking you about price because they don’t know what else to ask. But the truth is they may not even care about price. But what I’ve seen so many times with people that I’ve worked with, this happens in our business, especially during the slow time.

[15:08] If somebody leads with price, it just crushes the whole conversation. And then value is not an issue. You just assume, nope, they don’t value it. They just care about price may be completely not true. So the first step would be like if somebody asks about price, just know that that may not be what they care about and, and just try to, you know, move away from that and get them into things that they actually care about and don’t let it, don’t let that head trash get to you. The second step was then we built our, and we know we built our download what to wear guides and location guides system because we just wanted to lead with something besides price. And so we have people download guides about what to wear. And then typically when people call us now instead of asking about price, they said, hey, I downloaded your guide and I just have a quick question.

[15:51] You know on page three you talk...

Episode 38

Published on:

24th Jun 2019

I learned so much from OFA

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In this episode, Matt tells Kia about something new he’s doing and basically just lets you in on their private conversation. Over the previous 30 days, Matt did (at Sam’s suggestion), Russell Brunson’s 30 day challenge, One Funnel Away. Matt explains what a funnel is and how they work for your business. Everyday Matt would wake up excited to watch the newest video and implement the next step. Listen in to hear about “who” not “how”. Don’t miss the steps to building an irresistible offer for your clients. You’ll also want to hear the storytelling tips Matt learned. Want to know what the “Dream 100” means? This podcast is for you!

One Funnel Away Link

Kartra Link


Read Full Transcript

[00:00] 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.

[00:17] Hey, everybody, welcome to the podcast. So this week I decided to do a little bit different or a podcast. I wanted to tell Kaya about something that I just did. And instead of just telling her like we would not normally call her and tell her, I decided that I would record this conversation because I think it would be super useful for you guys as well. So are you ready to hear about my new thing that I just did?

[00:38] Yes. I’m, I’m excited. And it is funny, before you even gave your introduction, I thought, you know, we should tell them that we would be having this conversation one way or the other. And so we’re letting them in on our own little conversation of, uh, something new that Matt’s doing that Kira wants to know,

[00:55] right? So basically what I would do is I just pick up the phone right now and I just be like, [inaudible] guess what? And then we would just start those exact conversation. Okay. So what I did over the last 30 days is I did Russell Brunson’s one funnel away challenge. So let me give you a little bit of backstory. So Russell Brunson is an online marketer, he’s really smart. I’ve, he’s been in my email box for like almost five years, but I feel like in the last like maybe two years, he’s like really hit a stride. He owns a company called Click funnels, which helps you build landing pages and stuff like that. But he does, he does a lot of the education around this, this type of stuff. So anyway, so my buddy Sam Marvin, who’s been on our podcast, sent me this link and he’s like, Hey, you should do this one funnel away.

[01:38] Challenge with me and yeah, and we’ll just do it together and it’ll be really fun. So I was like, all right, fine, I’ll do it. Right. And I literally like Kinda just like didn’t want to do it. But then I ended up doing it and it was so cool. So let me tell you kind of how it works and then I’ll tell you what I got from it. So basically like it’s a 30 day challenge where every morning he sends you a video that it’s all done like in Facebook and he sends you a video and then you watch it. And so he takes you through like building a marketing funnel for your business so you can build whatever you want, but he takes you through. So like the first week is believing that it’s going to work. And then the second it gets more and more tactical as it goes.

[02:13] And I’ll explain all that. So he does that. And so you’ve got a video and was so cool. It’s like, you know, like normally you wake up in the morning and you look at your phone anyways and you’re going get online. It was so cool to open up my phone and be able to go to Facebook and actually watch something that felt like it was getting my day going. And you know, was a lot of value to me. Which was really cool. In addition to that, you also get coaching from um, one of his uh, co owner Steven. And so his Steven’s like more high energy and he does like these Facebook lives in it. And then this lady Julie does like all the, like if you want to do the technology side of this, you do that. So anyway, so you get three people coaching you every day.

[02:48] I did most of the Russell stuff, I did some of the Stevens stuff and hardly any of the Julia stuff or Julie stuff. So anyways, you get that. So then he gives you a, he sends you a workbook, you can also just print PDFs off from online, but he sends you a workbook for all 30 days, which was amazing cause then it holds you accountable to, takes you step by step because everyday is like one small thing and it took me each day, took me about an hour to do. So I would get up out of watching the video, the first video, it’d be 15 minutes and then I had about 45 minutes of work to do when I got to work and it was awesome. It like set my day off perfectly. Um, he sends you some other stuff like and beach MP3 challenge and then one of the really cool bonuses that he sends.

[03:27] Um, and I’ll tell you about like what I got from the challenge, but one of the bonuses he sends his, he asks all the people that are really successful on click funnels, like what is, it’s called the two comma club, but basically people that have made $1 million in a funnel. He asked him a question and this is one of the bonuses he gives you. He says, what if you had to start completely over, what would you do for the first 30 days you were starting over if all you had was your current knowledge and a click funnels account. And so you look at these really awesome entrepreneurs that have built really amazing things and they say, okay, if I was going to start all over, this will be my 30 day plan and there’s like 20 of them that do this and I read through any sends you a book with that.

[04:07] Um, and then you also get interviews online with them included in this. And I, after I did the funnel, I started going through some of those and I’m like, oh my goodness. Yeah. Like there’s these little things that I should be doing on any day. Cause like you read like John Lee Dumas who runs entrepreneur on fire podcast, you’d read his, and on day seven he says do this. And I’m like, I could do that right now in my business. And it had helped my business. So anyways, that was a bonus. That was huge for me as well. So, um, let me know if you have any questions kind of, otherwise I’ll jump into kind of what, um, yes you can you, can you explain, I think we need to back up a little bit. Can you explain what a funnel is? Sure. So it’s basically just like a way, like a website type deal where it gets somebody into a specific products.

[04:52] So like all funnel on our business for example, is that the top of the funnel is somebody can download a what to wear guide for like senior pictures and then it takes them to the next step. So the next step is like, okay, you need to book a consultation. We know you downloaded the guide, so you’re interested in photography. The next step is the consultation and you just keep working. I’m all the way down. Most people have funnels built in their business one way or other. It’s like basically getting customers in to the final sale, but he just shows other ways to do an online versus like more traditional methods. So it’s,

[05:24] and did you use it for your portrait business then? Like you said, to get people into your like what to wear guides?

[05:32] Yeah. So when I did the challenge, I actually rebuilt my whole what to wear guide class for photographers. Okay. So I rebuilt that whole thing. But through that too, I’m tweaking stuff and Allison’s business at the photography business as well. But yeah, anybody can do it. You can be an author and do it. You could be a photographer, you can be a lawyer. It doesn’t really matter. It’s not industry specific at all. It’s like, okay, where are your customers at? Well, how can we attract them? How can we, you know, take them through the journey so they actually become good customers. So that makes sense. Yeah. Okay, great. That’s really good. Okay, so I’ll just kind of take you through this and um, and kind of explain it before I explain what all is in the challenge. And I don’t want to spend a ton of time because you’ll see it in the challenge.

[06:14] And by the way, this whole challenge, it’s $100. It’s just you get all that, all those bonuses and everything. I’ll put a link below. It’s just a hundred dollars. So yeah. And I’ll tell you there’s a catch to the $100 I’ll tell you about in a minute, which was an interesting journey for me. But here, here’s the other thing that’s really the reason why re visited Russell is cause I don’t know about them for years and I’ve done a bunch of his stuff but I started, so I did an audit a couple of weeks ago and and what I started looking at as I said, okay, I want to look at all the really successful photographers out there and I’m on to try to find some common threads that the all of them are doing. And what was so interesting to me that popped up is like I just made a list of like 25 photographers and I started doing a bunch of research on them and I called a few of them and I talked to a few of them and I would say over half of them, one of the things that was the most wasn’t, what’s common about them is they were working with Russell in some capacity, whether it was just going through his classes are reading his books and a few of them are paying like his 10 10 or $20,000 mastermind prices.

[07:14] And it was so interested in me and I’m like, okay, I need to revisit this. And then when Sam was like, you need to do this link, I was like, I don’t have time right now, but I was like, I’m going to do this because that’s the common thread anyways. And so I did it and it was really, really amazing. It was like one of the best hundred dollars over spend my life. Okay. So let me tell you kind of what he takes you through. So one of the things he talks about throughout the whole thing is he has this concept of who not how. And so he wants to say, who can help you do this instead of how do I actually figure out how to do it? And which is really cool because like you don’t have to do everything yourself. Like, okay, I, you know, I need graphics so who can help me build graphics instead of how do I figure out how to use end design to build these graphics?

[07:51] Which is cool. So that was one thing that was really good for me. The other thing that’s really huge in our business right now that he talked about that these are just fundamentals that just reminded me that I have to do this. He talks about if you make somebody a good enough offer that they can’t resist, they’ll probably buy. So we’re going back through, um, our photography business and we’re rebuilding all of our offers so that we’re not just offering like, you know, Oh, you just get a session with, you know, an hour with Alison. Like we’re going through and saying, okay, how can we build this offer? So it looks like it’s got tons of value in it and something that people actually want to buy. You know, so it’s like, okay, you can buy a senior session but you get are what to wear guide, you get our location guide, you know, you get this, get this and all this other stuff.

[08:33] And we actually like build the whole offer, you know, stack of stuff that they get. So they’re like, oh yeah, this is really cool. This is worth the money. So we’re doing that stuff. Um, then he goes through and teaches you how to build stories and like how to attract people using usually in storytelling so that they actually have vested interest in your business, which was good. And he has like a, I’m not going to go too much into this, but like an an empathy bridge story that tells people how you got where you got and stuff and it’s really good. He teaches you how to do that. And then from that he, from your stories, he helps you build like hooks and how to, how to like actually get people to stop scrolling online and actually look at your stuff, which is, which was really cool.

[09:17] And then you know, he helps you then after, after he does all that. So you now you have your offer of what you want to sell. You have your story on how you’re gonna sell it. You have your hooks, how to attract people than he actually helps you. Like figure out how to build the funnel so that you can actually get people in for them to sign up for, whether it’s consultations or a product or whatever it is. He helps you like organize that, which is really cool. So at the end of the 30 days you’re like, you have the whole thing built, which is pretty cool. There’s a lot of people that do this, uh, one funnel away challenge and they do it like every single month. So they’ve done it like 10 times. So they do it once and they do a product and then the next month they do it again when they do the next product they have to do, which is really cool.

[09:55] So I took this month off but I’ll definitely do it again for sure. And then the last part that he does, he talks about marketing and probably the, and again this is nothing that I haven’t seen or known or heard on stage, you know, in the photography industry, but you know, it’s good hearing it again and it’s really well organized and simple. But he talks about the dream 100 and how you need to make this list of a hundred people that you want to work with and you know, just start figuring out how to work with them in different capacities and stuff. Like that and that was really good. So, um, make the list of a hundred people and then when what you actually do is like the first 10 are really obvious, the next 20 are kind of silly. And then like the next 40 are actually really good things that you’ve brought in really good people you never thought about working with.

[10:35] And so you get to this point where you’re like, have a good list and then you can start reaching out to those people, either offering them the offer or just like going to have lunch with them are, you know, following online so you can see what they’re doing. So you can show up to their events or whatever it is. But you can start networking and you know that like, okay, these are the people, the a hundred people I kind of want to go after. And then the groups I want to hang out with, whether it’s for personal reasons, for business reasons or somewhere in between. Um, it’s really good. So anyways, 30 as a 30 day challenge. That was so, you know, just so good to hear some of the stuff. Again, it was so organized and so short and efficient, you know, it wasn’t taken up a ton of my time, like maybe reading a book does or doing one of these really big courses. And at the end I had, I had on my funnel rebill and I’m really proud of what, you know, my what to wear guide 2.0 classes as looks like now and I am just super, I’m just super excited about it. So, um, that, that’s kind of the general thing. Hey, on that note, let’s just take a quick break and we’ll be right back. Okay.

[11:33] Hey everyone, tell me if this sounds familiar. You look at your calendar and notice you need clients now. So you do a little marketing and get some phone calls. You get busy helping those new clients. They schedule sessions, they place orders and life is good, but once they’re done, your calendar is empty again. The reason is you didn’t have time to market while you were busy. Sometimes your business feels like a rollercoaster. And let me tell you something. It is, and believe me, you’re not alone. Photographers everywhere have the same problem, but I have some great news. Matt’s business, Allison Ragsdale, photography after years of trial and error has cracked the code. It works so well. He’s created a new class all about it. It’s called get clients. Now a dead simple approach to getting photography clients. Everyone at from nothing to profit is excited to share this info with you because this system helped Matt and Allison book hundreds of clients this year at their studio and the best part about this system is that it’s simple to set up and it works while you’re sleeping.

[12:28] No hard selling or creepy marketing. All you have to do is help your clients answer their most pressing questions. Clients loved the system and say it is the number one reason they book with Matt and Allison. If you’re interested in learning more about this system, go to photo forward slash simple Matt has created a short free video that introduces this system. If you like what you hear, podcasts or listeners get an exclusive discount on the full class. So make sure you go to photo forward slash simple and sign up for the free video. It will help you book more clients now and create the business you’ve always wanted.

[13:02] Tell me what questions you have that you think I missed and then they may just be a short episode.

[13:07] Yeah, no, not necessarily anything that you met you miss. But so, um, to go back a couple of things. One, the, the thing I like about it and when you first told me about it, the reason I was like, oh yeah, that sounds really interesting is the concept. Uh, you, I can’t remember exactly how to say it. It’s something that I’ve started hearing lately, but essentially, essentially, um, those who pay pay attention. And so this is a product that he may have been willing to give away for free to get people in, into his, you know, more expensive coaching. But because he’s having you pay, then you’re like, I spent $100, I’m going to do this every day. And so then

[13:49] let me, let me, and let me tell you a little bit more about that. [inaudible] that’s where I was going to go with those, which is so interesting. So it’s $100 and so I’ve known this for years, like digital marketer talks about all the time that like if you can get somebody to even give you a dollar, like it changes the, if fundamentally changes the relationship, you know, they no longer are a tire kicker or they’re actually a customer. Even if it’s just a dollar, they’ve taken out their money and given you a dollar, the relationship is fundamentally changed. So that’s what’s really interesting. But I’m very first video you pay and I’ll just give this disclaimer so everyone knows I would’ve put it in the show notes anyways, but he doesn’t keep the hundred dollars. So my hundred dollars that I went actually went to Sam. So he just gives us, so Sam sent me the link, clicked on the link, I paid $100

Episode 37

Published on:

17th Jun 2019

10 Must Read Books for Photographers

Read Show Notes

If you’re a regular listener, you already know some of Matt and Kia’s favorite books, as well as have a long list recommended by all of their guests. In this podcast, listen in to hear their all time top 5 must read books and why. Don’t miss Matt and Kia’s “cliffsnotes” so you know which books you want to read first! And they couldn’t resist mentioning a bunch of other awesome books you’ll want to add to your list as well, including, of course, Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.


  1. Book Yourself Solid – Michael Port (
  2. Hug Your Customers – Jack Mitchell (
  3. Purple Cow – Seth Godin (
  4. Customer Mania – Ken Blanchard (
  5. High Performing Habits – Brendon Burchard (


  1. The Secrets of World of Mouth Marketing – George Silverman
  2. Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne (
  3. Getting Stuff Done – David Allen (
  4. StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Tom Rath (
  5. Boundaries – Henry Cloud and John Townsend (
  6. Love Does – Bob Goff (


Read Full Transcript

[00:00] 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.

[00:15] Hey everybody, welcome to the podcast. Today’s episode is gonna be kind of fun. As you know, probably from listening to the podcast, Kai and I are big book fans and so we wanted to kind of share our top five books for each, I guess just top five bucks. So kind of do you have your top five bucks? Are you ready?

[00:31] I do. Now I kind of have a top five books in lots of different categories into books. So I tried to make this one my business top five, so yeah.

[00:43] And that’s what I kind of did too. So these will be, what’s interesting is I think there’ll be business books, but there’s so much like kind of this self help in there and just about like getting rid of head trash and stuff like that. So, but I think, yeah, the minor definitely business centered for sure. So

[00:55] yeah. Yeah, I always do books that like has kind of shaped my life because I do have certain authors that I feel like their viewpoint on the world has helped me figure out who I want to be. Like Madeleine L’Engle or Anne McCaffrey, which are not really, people don’t really read those very much, but I felt like for this podcast I want him to be pretty specific and do things that are going to help people straight up in their business. So I’m a cyber fraud.

[01:21] That’s where I’m at too. Cool. So do you want me to start? I’ll start. It doesn’t work. Yeah. Yeah, you do your first one. Okay, so the first book, this one I’m doing first because it was one of the first books that we read that actually launched our business and helped us and it’s actually book yourself solid by Michael Port. Have you read that one yet? No, I haven’t. Okay, so it’s a, it’s a general business book. It kind of talks about like basically he has likes on some philosophies in there like a red rope policy, which is basically like not everybody can do business with you kind of thing. And that was really good for us so that he starts to make you think like, okay, you have the small set of people that you’re marketing to and that you’re working with and you don’t need to work with everybody. So it’s just a really kind of a general book about business, but it’s, it’s super good and really comprehensive. It’s a pretty easy read. He’s entertaining and he’s got, he’s got some other ones out since that I haven’t read all of them, but um, so my first book, his book yourself solid by Michael Port.

[02:13] What’s like the one thing that you took from that you said maybe that you, you wanted to make it look like you were over subscribed essentially your people, you know, people couldn’t necessarily all I’ll get in. Is that the main thing you took from that?

[02:25] No, that’s more, has more as like his is like a red rope policy. Like, okay, so you’re going to become a portrait photographer and you only want to shoot one session a week while knowing that then you need to have a policy in place that everyone comes to. You has to spend x amount of dollars kind of idea to make it worth it. You know what I mean? That you’re not going to do, you’re not going to do your one session a week on somebody that’s going to spend $50 so he just helps you like build Your Business Plan and then tells you how to protect the business plan and then not then starts to move into how to market that business plan. So it’s like, it’s kind of like planting your and saying okay, this is what our business looks like. And it helps you decide what that is based on your goals and who you are as a person.

[03:05] Yeah. So he kind of aligns your business with you and then, and so when I’ve read it the second and third time I looked, I was in business for years and I’ve read it and I was like, okay, we’re doing this one thing over here and it’s actually not aligned with who we are and what we want to do. So we’d just like could cut it. So it’s just like, it helps you align your business to you and then align your business to your customers and just makes a healthier business. So yeah. That’s awesome. Okay. Are you ready for my first one? Yeah. Yeah. What’s your first one?

[03:32] Okay, so I went through actually my bookshelves because I like to keep my books physically where I can get to them and I actually write, I was writing in them a lot before and I think I’m going to start doing it again because looking back I’m like, oh, I can see what I liked about it when I underlined and I write notes in it. So this one is the secrets of word of mouth marketing by George Silverman. Okay. Haven’t heard of that one? No. Hold on a minute. How to trigger exponential sales through we’re runaway word of mouth, which really, it’s so funny because when I read it probably 10 years ago, I was like, oh my gosh, this is so amazing. But now it’s even more so like more important.

[04:08] Well in here and I, I don’t want to take too big of a tangent, but I haven’t been really struggling with like online marketing stuff. Like Facebook ads aren’t working as well as they used to and things like that. So I’m like, what would I eat? What did I used to do? So that may be,

[04:19] yeah, word of mouth. Yeah. So I’m opening up to page 21 just out of curiosity to see what I liked. And so I have a little note that says senior models, speakers gambles in Ted’s many sessions at stores. Okay. So I don’t know what that meant, but I’ll read you the paragraph that says why easier. The best way to avoid work and still get something done is to have someone else to do it. That’s what advisors, experts and peers do. It’s a way of getting out of people to put in the work and risk of getting, gathering information and trying products. That way you don’t have to take the time spent on research as an anchor. The rest of doing it yourself there for the best way to increase profits is to accelerate your little product decisions. So essentially he’s saying have other people tell other people about your products.

[04:58] Yeah. So yeah, cause yeah, cause then your whole sale system can be much shorter because you’re getting qualified people in that already kind of are down the road and you can have somebody else do that lifting for you. Yeah, yeah. Super Smart.

[05:10] Yes. The secrets of word of mouth marketing by George Silverman. And I think it’s so funny I knew it, I was afraid this was going to happen and then I knew it was going to happen. I’m probably going to have to read this again. Have like, yeah, I’ve dog eared most of the pages in it.

[05:23] That’s all. It’s obviously a good one. Yeah. So what do you think the chances are that we get through our 10 bucks and we, neither of us have read either one of us.

[05:30] Strive not to do the ones that were there that I knew for sure would be the same. So we may have to do as same book. One, two. Okay.

[05:37] Yeah, and I know there’s actually one book on the end that you know where I’m going to finish because I figured I figured you wouldn’t but it just in case somebody hadn’t listened to that doesn’t listen to podcasts regularly, they can get the book. Okay. Anyways. All right, my second book, my second book. Let me find the author is hug your customers. I’m looking it up real quick by Jack. Have you read that one? No. Okay, so it’s this whole book about, it features the case studies of a couple of businesses. The one I remember from the book is this. There’s a company in New York that sells suits and it’s like this little small mom and pop type soup place that actually has a lot of sales people because they’re very busy, but it’s like on a corner in New York, it’s been there for forever.

[06:17] Like you would never go there to buy like a $2,000 suit. But like everybody goes to this place to buy like a $2,000 suit. And the idea is he looks at these businesses and figuring out why they’re so successful and when he finds out is that they have some type of customer database where they keep track of things that are happening in people’s lives so that when they come back in, you can talk to them about what’s going on. So you take Andy, he goes and buys a suit. He mentions like, yeah, you know, we’re doing soccer right now and cars on the road and soccer and stuff like that. They just make a note, no big deal. They talk how they have the conversation. Make a note next time Andy comes in and says, hey, is soccer still happening? You know what’s going on.

[06:52] And he just boom, instantly like, wow, these people care about me. And the conversation just instantly starts like, oh no, no, soccer is over, you know, you know, whatever. And so when you’re there, it becomes a conversation about like friend of friend instead of like salesmen to suit buyer. You know what I mean? Yeah. So it’s really cool. So he features a couple of businesses in this, but the, this is the one I remember. So here’s an example. So this guy buys us really nice suit and he’s like flying. He’s flying to Japan to do a presentation. So he buys a new suit for this presentation and for whatever reason it doesn’t come together and it’s like kind of a mass and it’s like one of their best customers are really worried. The next customer comes in and they’re talking in there and he says, you know, they’re all kind of friends at this point.

[07:32] And he says, well, what’s going on over there? What’s all the commotion was about that? And they said, oh, you know, so and so, or a suit. We didn’t get it done in time. He’s on is on a plane to Japan and it doesn’t have a suit. We feel awful, blah blah. And he said, Hey, I’m going to that conference. I’m just taking the red items to Japan. I’ll take his suit for him. And like, so the guy buys a suit, it takes it somebody else’s suit because like of that relationship they’ve built and actually takes and delivers the suit at no cost and just to do the right thing. But it’s this whole concept that like if you hug your customers, what relationships you can build and what, what it actually does. So just a really cool customer relationship book. It’s feel good stories but also has like systems and it on how to actually do it and stuff like that. So it’s really, really good.

[08:10] I have your card. I love that because when you’re a smaller in a business, you really can’t do that. I mean, I think that’s what makes most businesses successful when they first start out, especially a sales type business. But yeah, it’s been putting it in a system so that everyone that works for you can do it. Yeah, that’s really smart.

[08:28] Well it’s really interesting. We do a pretty good job of this, but we should do a better job. But the way they do it as like, you know, they just like the very first thing they do is say like, Oh, let me look up your measurements real quick. And so they’re not allowed, I mean they’re looking up the measurements with what they’re looking at. It’s all the notes. And then they go over and they say, let me show you our new suits that we got in. Oh by the way, first conversation and then it just takes off. And so anyways, it was just super slick. So, well the way we, we’ve used to do it and we just don’t do, like I said, good job is like we always say, hey, let me pull up, let me pull up your past order and then we can look at all their notes and stuff too. So just an idea. Okay. So what’s your second book?

[09:01] So my second book is called Blue Ocean strategy. Yep. I’ve read that one. Have you read that one? Yeah. Bye. I don’t know the, cause you said w Chan, Cam and then Renee mal born. I don’t know.

[09:11] Yeah, there’s like two professors at a Harvard or something like,

[09:14] yeah, yeah, yeah. So I, um, when I read this book, it was really eyeopening I think because I’ve been in the business long enough, 20 years to see times when everyone’s doing the same thing and you know, they’re getting mad about all the competition and then the business changes some way it goes, you know, black and white to color film or from color to digital or digital prints to digital products. And it talks totally shakes everything up. And then there are people that come out of that doing something completely different than everyone else and they’re in the blue ocean rather than being where the everyone was before in the red ocean where everyone’s fighting for the same clients doing given the same products. And so we have to offer cheaper offerings. And so what I love about this book is I feel like it just kind of informs my decision making all throughout being a business owner is thinking what are, what can we do, what can we offer that no one else is offering right now? Because now when the digital world is pretty much everyone just gives digital files to be a studio that offers framing and albums and printing is a blue ocean.

[10:21] Do you worry is to be the norm.

[10:23] Yeah. Or to be a studio with a studio that’s a blue ocean. Having props, the backgrounds that other people can’t get. So

[10:30] yes, I was talking to grant, you know, our business because we found him on the podcast before and what you’re talking about today about our meeting this morning was about leveraging our studio, like more so than we’re already doing because we pay for it. So we might as well get the most out of it.

[10:43] So yes. Yeah, absolutely. And that’s one of the things that I’ve done this year is creating backgrounds and sets. We’ve spent hours working on creating things that are going to be really fun to shoot and make our Instagram feed look fantastic, but it’s also about creating a blue ocean.

[10:58] Awesome. Yeah. So let me talk about my experience with Blue Ocean real quick. So I read the book, I thought it was like horribly written, obviously written by like two non authors at um, at Harvard, you know, like literally a boring, like I think it was probably a research paper that they just put a card back on it. But it’s so interesting. I read it, I was so bored while reading it and then I’ve thought about it for like literally the last eight years, you know, you read some books and they just like whatever, they come and go in one ear out the other. But I’ve literally thought about that book. So it’s like the concept and it is so profound that it sticks with you. You just have to find a way to get through the actual yeah.

[11:36] Type of stuff throughout the read. Why you will notice that I did not mention that I was willing to read it again.

[11:41] Right, right. It’s such a profound topic and they do such a good job with it. So

[11:48] yeah. Yeah, this is fun. It’s what I like about it is all of our books have been about different things, so. Okay, so that, what’s your next book?

[11:56] Okay, so my next book is purple cow by south of Cook, Seth Goden. A lot of people actually works with blue oceans a little bit. So I read all Seth Golden’s books and he has amazing books. He actually has a book, I think. I don’t remember. I’d have to look it up. What? Like, I don’t know who stole my doc or something like that. But it’s basically all of his blog posts. I read that like every day, like I’ll wake up and just read one of his blog posts. It’s really good. Yeah. So, but anyway, so purple cows, one of his books that came out and it’s about how to do remarkable things so that in a sense like marketing takes care of itself and his whole concept is that like if you do something different and you do something remarkable, people will talk about it. And therefore the book you yes.

[12:35] Similar to blue ocean strategy where it’s like if you’re doing something different than everybody else in leveraging that, then you’re going to, you’re going to be just fine. So I don’t have to say...

Episode 36

Published on:

10th Jun 2019

Melanie Anderson – A Photographer Podcast Interview

Read Show Notes

Today’s podcast is with Melanie Anderson, who is constantly teaching and giving back to the industry. She has a retail studio space that is full service, including portrait work, extreme volume and commercial work. Listen in to hear Melanie talk about re-inventing herself every few years and how important that is for the mentality of creatives. She’s fired up about the leadership in education in our industry right now. You don’t want to miss Melanie talk about the importance of print. Melanie also talks about grace, body rhythm, being the best version of your authentic self and fully understanding the 5 love languages. Melanie talks about starting every day with what she’s grateful for and with the perspective of being open to serve however she’s called. This a podcast you’ll want to listen to over and over again!



The Bible

Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There (

The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Chapman (

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Read Full Transcript

[00:00:01] Hey everyone, this is Melanie Anderson and you’re listening. Two from nothing

[00:00:06] to profit. Welcome to from nothing to profit of photographers 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.

[00:00:23] Hey everybody, thanks for joining us again this week. So I have my friend Melanie Anderson this week. Um, Kaya and I have known Melanie for years and years and years and uh, we run cross paths all the time. I’m a nice Melany ass on you some a couple of times this year. I saw you at sink this year. We’re going into each other in North Carolina all over the place. So, um, you’re always doing your best to give back to the industry and travel around and, and just for indoor industry. And so first of all, I want to say thank you for doing that, but I’m also, I’m excited to have you on the podcast because you have a lot to share with our audience for sure. So

[00:00:58] yeah, thanks guys. I am so excited for this. So I really appreciate it and it’s a huge honor. So thank you for your time.

[00:01:05] So Kaia when was the first time you met Melanie? Do you remember?

[00:01:09] Oh goodness, this might not be fair. I what I remember is, uh, your video, you are doing video. So that’s what I remember the most about. Um, we started doing video for sync. So

[00:01:21] yeah, I think that’s like when I got to know Melanie as well.

[00:01:24] Yes. So that was several years at what, probably about four or five years ago. Uh, through the relationship of sync and dirty. We just sort of said, hey, we need these videotape, we need behind the scenes and we want to create that for you. And that was one of the first things we’d ever done that big of a deal video wise. So that was kind of cool. And like you said, that was an opportunity for us to all meet.

[00:01:47] Yeah. That’s awesome. Okay. So then I saw you at North Carolina and you spoke on volume, sports and then I saw you at sync. You did a Miller’s thing alongside of me. And you did a lot about how to like implement ideas from a conference. So you don’t just go home with this list of stuff to do and never accomplish anything, which everybody, everybody loved. And I know you’re like a workbook and all kinds of stuff. So I know you talk about a lot of stuff. So kind of tell me, tell our audience if they don’t know who you are, like you know what you do on the photo side and all everything cause you do so much.

[00:02:19] Sure. Um, yeah, that’s a lot. It’s like you almost go, okay, how much time do we have? Because you know, when you like you guys love this industry and have a passion for it. It’s all in. So I have a, a, a retail studio space in western Maryland. It’s about an hour from Washington DC. We have employees and we are full service. So we do all genres of portrait photography. We do extreme volume sports. Uh, so that would be the team and the individuals. We have an incredible banner program and we do a lot of commercial photography and video. Uh, I’m very blessed to be able to travel the world doing motivational programs alongside of photography programs. My specialty is definitely client communication, really connecting with people. And I take that throughout everything that I do from beginning to end in all things. So with relationships in your home life, your family or your marriage, your, your friendships, and then how do you translate that into your clients and to your employees and still have some sanity left at the end of the day.

[00:03:23] Wow. I like the word you just used. You said you’re a full service studio. I feel like so many times people think, you know, you have to, you know, do one small thing, one genre or something like that. But it really makes sense that you, you know, as a photographer you do meet all the needs all the way around.

[00:03:42] So exactly when I have somebody in our community that says, hey, I need a photographer, I want them thinking, call Melanie Anderson. And I will frequently be tagged in Facebook posts relating to that, even if it’s not my client. I want people thinking that. And so the number one question we ask our clients, every single client that calls communicates with us, and there’ll be asked this probably two or three times throughout their touch points with us. How did you hear about our studio? And the number one answer we get is your everywhere. And we’ve worked really hard to do that and that is what allows us to be able to sustain maybe those slower seasons because portrait photography is year round. If I was only high school senior, that is seasonal. If I was, you know, I don’t do a lot of weddings are weddings I do are going to be higher end or relationship based and the commercial photography is year round and it allows us to have a little bit more stability. Although I’m not going to say we’re not immune to feast or famine at seasons, you know, because we are a small business. But what allows us to stay in business 13 years later is a diversification. That’s really important to me, not only as a creative entrepreneur, but as a business in our community that I can serve whatever your needs are, I’m there.

[00:05:07] Yeah, that makes sense. And we’ve expanded our business a lot to cover a lot of things as well, just to get rid of, get rid of that seasonality. Because boy, I tell you what, like if you’re in a seasonal business, the the self doubt and all and kinds of stuff starts creeping in that flow. And like for somebody like me, that’s not a good place to be, you know? So I try to avoid that at all costs.

[00:05:26] [inaudible] same and we can definitely go down that road. You know, the, the mentality of creative entrepreneurs. I talk very openly about that and how we must maintain strong mindset. And that is a daily challenge. Every single day you’ve got to wake up and make decisions. Okay, this is where I’m at today and this is how I’m going to behave and be an act and this is how I’m going to serve today. Because otherwise the alternative is it’s fear and it’s anxiety and his depression. And I’ve been down that road many times. So I, I love talking very openly about that.

[00:06:02] Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. So let me kind of tell you where I want to go with this. Kind of the main thing of the podcast is like what’s working now. So you can kind of give the audience some nuggets or whatever. So tell us a story about like what’s working now in your business or what you think is working in the industry right now?

[00:06:19] Oh Great. So for me, I tried to reinvent myself every two to three years and I’ve noticed a pattern so that it kind of start in that and why I do that. So I started out as a newborn photographer. I’ve photographed probably close to 600 newborn newborns in my career. And then once I knew I mastered that. So I’m, I’m a big believer the, although I diversify, I’ve mastered certain genres one at a time because we can’t, you know, when you’re a new photographer trying to master all of these things, that could be very overwhelming. So I did start in a certain area and then a few years later I went to high school seniors and dominated that in our community. Then I started taking on volume the team and individuals dominated change in the industry, in our community and how the sports are looked at and how we do banners.

[00:07:08] And then a few years later after that, it was into commercial photography. Commercial Monogamy’s always been a big part of my business. We’ve got contracts with our hospital, with the chamber, with all kinds of businesses. And what I’m doing now is getting into more of that branding styles. So instead of somebody just sitting in front of my camera and me doing like that passport, headshot, photo kind of going, okay, what more can I do to serve? Am I doing enough? And giving them a little bit more alternative for personality. Because many times the people that come into for me are going to also be small business owners and how we can give them imagery to relate to whatever their branding is. So it’s kind of saying, okay, what more can we do to serve? And that’s kind of been my mindset. So what is working now for me is saying, you know, you kind of come off of a year of laziness when you’ve kind of got, you know, you think in your mind, I don’t know how we are about cussing on this, but when you got your shit together and you’re like, okay, hey, you know it’s going and we’ve got a smooth oiled machine and things are great.

[00:08:15] And then all of a sudden you’re like, oh wait a minute. Um, I’ve gotten a little lazy. I need to step it up again and go, okay, back to relationships. So I’m going to take that full circle and say, what’s working for me now is picking up the phone, sending emails, texting clients I’ve had for years that I haven’t maybe seen lately and saying, Hey, you know, what’s going on? What are your needs? How can I serve? And this is some new things that I’m doing. And that would be in the branding, kind of changing the, the vision of our company and really just looking at our and beyond. So I’m now even going, what more can I do that’s maybe an hour away from me and how can I serve clients out there? So that’s really where my, where I’m headed right now and exactly what we’re doing in our studio right now.

[00:09:10] Yeah. And like, you know what I like about the way you think about it as like you, so you do newborn photography forever and then you kind of get a well oiled machine out and you kind of get wax on it. Yep. And I think it’s really hard for just to say, Oh crap, we got to lax and just push yourself back into it. So what you’re doing is you’re, you’re, you’re taking that energy and you’re just pivoting in a little bit different. So I think it feels fresh and new and yes. Like it’s self fulfilling. You know, it’s so true because you know, when, when we’ve been doing this for so long, It really is a well oiled machine. And I could do this with my eyes closed. I’m about systems and processes. I don’t overthink things. I dive in and then I just do it.

[00:09:48] And then I create a process and a system for that. So on the days maybe you’re not feeling well or you’re not feeling sociable, you just don’t have that high energy. Well, I have a system in place that I can still go through everything that I’m doing to my client. It’s still an amazing experience. So I’ve simplified so much in my business and the other thing that I’m doing is I’m constantly educating myself. I’m always learning. I’m hungry for knowledge. And so what I just did was I just came back from Texas school and the last two years I was there as an educator. This year I went as a student and I said, who can I take? Where can I go? What could I learn that is completely opposite of what I’m doing? And so I dived into a program this last week on fine are portraiture paintings.

[00:10:38] I’m going, oh my goodness, this is like so not me. And let’s push myself and go, what can I pull out of that and, and, and put into my business that’s going to create a new product line, a new look, a new feel for clients that may be, I’ve not serviced the super, super high end, the ones that are looking for lifesize wall portraits that are custom framed and have an oil painting to them. And I’m excited to see where I take that. So it’ll be interesting in another six months if we were to have this conversation again, we’ll, I have a whole new product line and a whole New Vision. And I think that’s really important for us as creative entrepreneurs to go, okay, what else can I do and who can I learn from? And really just humble yourself to that and you send somebody else’s class and I’ll tell you, it’s not easy, but, um, it was, I pulled away, you know, several pages of notes of things I’m going to be implementing over the next few weeks.

[00:11:40] That’s fantastic. So let me ask you, you know, as you talked about, you know, what, uh, what your teaching yourself the next step in the next step. Um, it’s funny because I’ve actually done the same thing, like started out as a senior

[00:11:54] photographer and then I, you know, when I would help with a baby session, I would put the bean in upside down. I didn’t know what I was doing. And so I was like, I need to learn how to do this next. And I, and so I definitely identify that with that. But what happens to your existing, you know, 600 newborns? Are, is someone else photographing them or are you transitioning away from them? Like how do, how do you work that way in your business? No, that’s a super serious, great question. Because what happens is, and I’ll be completely honest, you know, the older we get, I, you know, deal with severe psychotic. And so when you’re doing newborn screening, newborn photographer out there, you know, physically just like, you know, for those that maybe have a hard time photographing weddings, you know, that full day.

[00:12:36] And then the physical exhaustion that happens to your body. Well that happens for newborn photographers as well, that the lower back gets to be, you know, so you’ve gotta really be careful in how you photographing, but what had happened or what happens is once you dominate an area in your community, you have a lot of other photographers that come along. And I’m very much an advocate of community over competition. I believe in that. I’m chairman of the board for the state of Maryland Professional Photography Association. So I want, I don’t, I don’t mind, you know, that, that there are others. So what I do is go, okay, how can I step it up again? How can I step it up again and still be of service and a resource. But what happens is, you know, you know, being completely real honest, transparent, and that’s, that’s the way we should be as educators.

[00:13:28] That we’re inundated right now with newborn photographers, with senior photographers, with family photographers. And that’s why I pushed myself even more. And so now I’m going, Hey, I have a studio and most photographers don’t. I need to be using this more. Even though I prefer photographing outside, I like light and energy and you know, newborns I can do with my eyes closed. But now I want to push myself differently creatively. So there are plenty of photographers servicing those newborns. I still have newborn displays at hospitals and doctor’s offices and, and if the client is willing to invest because I am a wall portrait photographer, if they’re willing to invest and that’s my client, come on in. If not, you know, I have other areas that I need to invest my time. And so the, I would say I go anywhere, we’re probably photographing, I don’t know, maybe five to 10 newborns now. It’s not nearly, I mean, gosh, I used to have that in a week when I first started back in the film days. But you know, times have changed. And so what are we going to do about it? That’s what I always say, okay, now what are we going to do about it? Yeah. Well that makes complete sense though. So what you’re doing is transitioning away from those genres that you’ve learned how to do. And, and dominated and you feel like those are red waters

[00:14:52] where you know all kinds of people are there and moving into areas where you feel like there’s more of a blue ocean for you too.

[00:14:59] Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. That’s the only way we will thrive. It’s the only way that myself is going to be able to continue to support my family. And what I’m also doing is being very strategic. Even in the way we’re scheduling. So we’re now going and saying, okay, we’re, we’re going to fill the studio three days a week. That’s it. You know, I, I’m in a season of my life where my children are older now, you know, one is finished college, one is in college, one is in and out of college. And then I have a, a son who’s 17 and in high school. So we have one more year with him. So what I’m doing is being very strategic about that. I will be in the studio Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. If I’m not traveling the other days I am doing whatever the heck I want to do a whatever that means, whether it’s traveling or building the, you know, more on the education. I do a lot of one on one mentorships and masterminds and then allowing me time to breathe and serve and be for my family as needed even more.

[00:16:01] Yeah, that sounds great. So Matt, what’s the next question that we want to ask about this? The next question and then we’ll take a break right afterwards is do you want to talk a...

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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
A Photographers Podcast with Matt Hoaglin and Kia Bondurant