Sarah Smith - How Tamara Lackey Changed Everything
Today Tamara Lackey teaches a jam packed Work Life Balance workshop on creativeLIVE, sharing sharing time-saving ideas, practical tips and proven suggestions for helping you ease the stress of every day living. Two of our in person studio audience members today may be familiar faces to you. Tobin was a student in Sue Bryce's workshop, Sarah in Justin Seeley's and both in Lindsay Adler's social media course and are the ultimate creativeLIVE junkies. Sarah and Tobin know what it's like to face daily challenges running a business together, raising two children and maintaining a loving relationship. In today's guest blog post Sarah Smith of phoTobin Photography candidly shares her work life relationship balance challenges and how just over a year ago Tamara Lackey changed everything for her and her family.
When you throw a stone into water, you never know how far your ripples will go.
I have been spending a lot of time recently looking back on the past 2 years. Not with regret or anger or sadness but with gratitude. Last year at this time I was lost, angry, sad and on a daily basis trying to figure out how I would support my 2 children (at the time 10 months and 2 years) on my own if I decided to throw in the towel on my marriage of 14 years. I was stuck. Stuck in mommy martyrdom mode. Stuck in the past sorting out anger and frustration that I thought I had swept under the rug and forgot about. I guess it was a bit of a mid life crisis, come to think of it, but since I hope to live well past my 60’s, let’s call it a pre-mid life crisis.
Here in Canada we are so fortunate to get a government paid year of maternity leave and that leave was quickly coming to an end. My husbands photography/digital film making business was getting busy so we had to make the choice; do I go back to my job or not. When we did the math of the cost of childcare in Vancouver for 2 kids plus clothes and transportation to work, I pretty much would break even, so I didn’t go back. That was one of the scariest decisions I have ever made (and I made the decision to get married when I was 18). At that moment I had to trust that we could not only support ourselves but our family with our, up to this point, “hobby”. Also, in that moment I discovered…no I was already well aware, that I am a control freak. BUT a control freak with great business instincts. So after a hostel give over of the business aspect of our photography business, I was in charge.
I had ideas and a “to do” list a mile long. Form letters, work flow, gaining knowledge and becoming an “expert” (I use that loosely since there is so much to know) in certain aspects of photography like getting the flashes off auto, what all the gear we have actually does and how to use it to it’s fullest potential, how to attract clients, figuring out what kind of client we want to attract, systemizing and organizing every aspect of our clients experience and, this ones the big one… feel worthy of what we are charging. The first step was easy. Tell my husband where he falls short and tell him to figure out how to do better. Well, that was easy for me and a lot of work for him but something happened… he did it and with every bit he learned he became more confident and with me taking over the businessy stuff he was able to get excited about photography again.
On his search for knowledge he stumbled upon creativeLIVE and an upcoming online class they were putting on called “Taking Care of Business” by Tamara Lackey. I can say this was the moment that changed EVERYTHING! First it was a little change. I stepped out of my self pity and mommy martyrdom to take 3 days locked away in the office to watch the entire class. Then it was like life gave me a pop quiz because ½ way through the first day we got a client inquiry for doing a commercial shoot and I got to put some of my new knowledge to the test and it worked. That was the second change. I started to believe that we not only can do this but actually are doing this AND can do it really well.
Now a little side note. I L-O-V-E-D Tamara Lackey’s photo that they used to publicize her class. Then she shared a little antidote about a woman at a photography convention and how when she was asked what she did, didn’t answer with, “I’m a photographer.” Um, duh, everyone here is a photographer. She was specific. She was a glamour portrait photographer. This story stuck with me for 2 reasons. The woman that this story was about took the amazing photo of Tamara AND it made me realize I hate answering that question because my answer is, “well, we like to shoot children but, you know, we do corporate portraits and families and bellies and weddings and products and real estate so, you know we shoot it all.” I wanted our business to have focus but when you are basically constantly unemployed and looking for the next paycheck you’ll take anything and everything that comes your way. I wanted focus.
As our business started gaining focus so did our relationship and where before it was almost said as a passive aggressive slam our new tag line of “Tobin takes the shots. Sarah calls them” became true in loving and supportive way. With this change we became knowledgsumers and watched and read what we could to gain more tips, tricks and things that work from those who are doing it for a living. We found a few magazines and blogs that were great but we kept going back to the creativeLIVE pool for knowledge. We would watch, or at least have on in the background every course they ran and bought, well, most of them to rewatch and learn. We would rewatch, pause and discuss many sections of all the courses because even though we don’t “do” weddings, Zach and Jody’s approach to the “experience” of their clients was something we wanted to emulate and even though after our last newborn session we swore we would never do that (that being the super popular posed baby in multiple set ups with props and such) again we watch Sandy Puc and gained great insight into pricing and business.
Then…then, the most amazing thing happened creativeLIVE announced that they were bringing in a glamour portrait expert to do a class, Sue Bryce. At this moment I thought, “wait, is that the person who did Tamara Lackey’s photo?”. Then I saw her request for submissions video and I wanted to go. Then I google-stocked her and learned everything I could and shared that with my husband. Her service was something I had been wanting to do but had no idea what to call it or how to market it. Helping women who are in a rut feel beautiful and worthy. Making my submission video was surprising and cathartic. Now, I bet you’re checking my by-line to see which of the lucky 4 ladies I was who made it onto Sue’s set. Nope, I wasn’t there in person (though I was glued to my computer watching it). I never submitted my video and not out of the mommy martyrdomness that had consumed me for the better part of 2 years. We couldn’t find someone to watch our children on the off chance that both my husband and I were selected so I, with a heart full of love and peace, did not submit and threw all my hopes into this awesome, life changing opportunity behind my husband and his submission. We got the news on Valentines Day that Tobin would be joining Sue in Seattle.
For everyone who got to experience Sue’s amazing class at the beginning of March I will tell you, it was magical and for us as life changing as I had hoped. We have thrown ourselves full tilt into the world of glamour photography. With my make up and hair ability (I was an esthetician for 10 years) and Tobin’s amazing ability to capture the essence of people (even a crazy toddler) with his camera and the tools we gleened from Sue (from Tobin finding his words to pose, to me having a business plan to launch us) we are on the brink of our new business with so much joy and excitement I think I might glow in the dark.
So it is in my times of reflection, when I am thinking back over the past 9 months I have such an attitude of gratitude and when I trace it back I am grateful to Sue Bryce for picking Tobin to go to Seattle, I am grateful to creativeLive for having their classes but I am supremely grateful and have so much love toward someone I have never met and has no clue who I am since I was an anonymous online viewer of her classroom but I am most grateful to Tamara Lackey because it is the stone of her experience that she threw that rippled all they way to me and has changed my life forever.
So remember every encounter you have with someone, you throw a little stone into the pond of life and you never know how many people those ripples will reach and how it will affect those whom it reaches.
Sarah Smith mother of 2, wife of 1, Canadian resident, World citizen. After of a decade of people grooming (aesthetics), Sarah is now conquering the world of business, photography, parenting and primping.
To learn more or follow us on our adventure find us at: www.photobinphotography.com
www.facebook.com/photobinphotography and photobinphoto on twitter