You are in Business, Act Like It
There were lots of questions at break and I want to hit a few of them at home. There was a couple of questions for the mentors as well. But the biggest question that, really, people asked after the pricing segment was, how do I make my family believe this. How do I make my family believe this? And here's the secret, you don't need to make your family believe it, you need to start doing it. Because the second you do it, they cannot argue with you. So, I'm gonna take you back to circa 2004, my first year in business. Struggling, struggling, struggling to allow, to receive money and value myself and my craft. My business partners parents, very wealthy, very, very wealthy. My parents, not wealthy. I go along to dinner at their house and it amazes me how some of the wealthiest, wonderful people with beautiful homes don't know how to invite people into them and make them warm. Whereas my parents have nothing and yet their home is the warmest home you will ever walk into. They could have a fi...
re and a pit and it would be enough because the energy of being around my family is enough to sustain you as a human being. That's wealth, not a fancy house. That day, I had done my very first $9,750 sale. I cried afterwards, I was shocked, it was a glamour shoot. A single girl. She paid it on her Amex without batting an eyelash. I gave her extra prints of course and I walked out of there and I said, I've made a lot of money for other people. But I have never done an individual sale for one glamour portrait shoot at that cost. And I was elated. I went to dinner with my business partner, at her parents house, and her very wealthy father who owned six houses and wealthy, wealthy. Looks at me and goes, how do you sleep at night? I was humiliated. I said, today I reached a milestone. I sold my first $9,750 portraits out to my first client. And that's what he said to me in front of everybody. Now, the old Sue, who was very shocked about that money did not handle that very well. I cried for days. The now Sue would have been in a nicer duvet. (audience laughing) Yeah, and the king-size bed I've always wanted from Anthropologie, thanks John. I realized back then, that that was me. It is not what you say when you tell people how much you charge, it's how you feel about their response. I saw humiliation in his response. I saw pain in his response because I was struggling. It was not him doing that to me. I thought it was him doing that to me then but now I know better. When you say to me, how do I convince my family to value this, you value it. Do it, you're 40, you don't need your mother's permission to go and work. Go and do it and then show them. Now, there is a lot of validation that comes with asking people for permission. Part of you needs to ask for permission and validation because that's your ego's way of knowing yourself. If you have to ask for permission and validation, people give you support and permission and validation they also give you their limits. It's a 50/50 trade-off. You get their, maybe, financial support. Maybe you get their ear, but you do not, you also get their limits. If they aren't in business or they don't know how to dream big or they're not wealth builders or they don't know how to sell anything. What do you think they're gonna tell you? Because they're only gonna tell you, Nicki, you can do this, Nicki you can do this. That's expensive Nikki, really, I wouldn't pay that. Nikki gets upset about it, who's faults that? You wanted my support, you wanted my validation, you wanted my permission, hello, you get my limits too. Because guess what, we all have them. That's why we go to people with no limits. That's why we go to mentors with no limits. That's why we go to educators with no limits, because you realize every limit that I have is mine. You don't need to convince your family of anything. However, you do need their validation and you do need their permission and you do need their support. That's the fine lines. They don't control you. Now, if I was to ever give a TED Talk, my TED Talk would be validation. Because I spent my whole life trying to be validated to be good enough to make money and I did not need validation. Although the flipside is, the healthy part about validation is I get permission to do what I've always dreamed of doing. I realized where that comes from. That mirror to myself is being showing back to me, over and over again, and I can actually move stuff if you just tell me where I am. And yet, you know where you are because you're telling me you know where you are but you don't know where you are, so you're constantly asking people to tell you and you cry about it when you don't like the answer. You ask people to support, you ask people to validate you, you ask people to give you permission and when they don't it pisses you off? Because that's not fair, because that's what you're getting, you're getting their support and you're getting their limits. Those limits are not your limits. Somebody told me once I would never be a speaker. I looked at that person and I said those are your limits those aren't mine. That was the strongest thing I think I ever said in my life. I stood up to it, in that moment, publicly and I said well actually those are your limits, they're not my limits. But it's not that I stood up to her it's that I went away and I didn't get upset about it. Because it's the state with which I dwell. It is not what you say, it is not what you think. It's when you go home and you run it through your mind again and you torture yourself over it again and again and again and again and again and you turn it into self hate and negativity and blocks and apathy and fear. All of that comes from a projected idea of what somebody else said about you that is yours, not theirs. They did not do that to you, they said it to you and what it reflected back at you hurt like all hell. Deal with it, it's yours. If it doesn't hurt, it's not yours. If it hurts, it's all yours. It really hurts, it's really yours. And if it just hits a little bit, it's a little bit yours. Even though it irritates me, and that must mean that I do that. This is emotional honesty, this is when you go home and say, what is it about this person that is not mine, and what is it about this person that is showing me the truth about myself. Next time somebody hurts you, disadvantages you, criticizes you, puts you down, blocks or give you a whole lot of limits, you look them in the eye and think to yourself how much of this is yours and how much of this is being shown back to me. Because you're hurting me right now and you're a messenger. My mother always said to me, when I was growing up, look Sue, there's angels everywhere. And angels just keep bringing you messages. And the messages are sometimes hard, but when you see a message reflected back at you, take it on and say what is it about me that has that. One of the questions came in for you, Emily, what made you want to do this? And you almost touched on it when you were answering your question with the mentors, and then you stopped or I interrupted you and what was your tipping point to keep doing it?
Well, I saw your first class. I bought it immediately and called my mom and said, mom, you have to come watch this. At that time she actually was struggling with her weight and was about she's lost 70 pounds since then. But she had had that weight for 20 years of her life and had always been a struggle, had always avoided cameras. She came over and watched the segment where you were posing map one and showing curves posing. She watched that and she said pause it, I have to tell you a story. And she told me something that had happened to her two years before, that I had never known. She didn't share it with me until this moment. She said, last time your sister was getting her family's picture done, I came and helped out and I asked the photographer if she would take my picture while I was there. She said sure, and then I said, can you make me look cute and skinny? And she said, well I can't do magic. She pointed to you and the screen with map one on it and she said that is magic. When I really was seeing her and seeing her needing it, that magic, and wanting to see her in giving herself permission to exist at all and to be seen. That that is why, it was just this shield, that everything else just fell away and it was, this is what I have to do. This is magic.
Makin' me cry. (audience laughing)
I'm pulling you out of the crowd right now. Talk to me.
I was searching for a type of photography that spoke to me and I was doing everything. Between weddings and taking pictures of families and taking pictures of pets and it was a pet picture. I just was kind of hanging out with my family. I took a picture of my nephew holding a dog over his shoulder and I snapped it. I saw this contest to enter her picture into a magazine. I'm just like, what the hell, I'll just do it. I sent it in, I got second place. The prize it was a ticket to WPPIU. You were there.
Oh cool, I didn't know that.
And I'm sitting in the front row and you're standing there, because you're hosting, and you keep going back and forth and back and forth. You introduced your portrait photography and you started talking about it and I was like, oh my god, that's it, that's what I wanna do. You said you were teaching a class on CreativeLive and I'm like, I am absolutely tuning into that and I am watching it and I'm learning everything I can about what she does. I have never looked back since. I practiced and practiced and practiced everything that you taught on that class. And we watched it over and over again and I failed at posing. I kept doing it over again, did practicing with friends and the very first shot that our shoot that I did I hated all my pictures but one, and it was that covergirl pose, I nailed that one picture. And I'm like, I can do this. Even with just that one picture, and all the other ones are crap to me. I just kept practicing, no matter what, because I wanted to do it. It's because of you, because of that class. And all classes since 20, 28 days, all of them.
That's so cool. Are there any important questions for the mentors, because I'd like to finish with slides. I don't like to finish with Q&A although we could ask. Before we go any further, if you join In Bed with Sue on Facebook you're going to find all of these mentors, you can find them all on Facebook. I don't know if they'll accept your personal friend requests or not, that's up to them. But their business pages, we've been putting in chat and their Instagram. if you join SueBryce.com, you will find all of these mentors and you can go and ask them direct questions. There are many small questions coming in, 700 questions on there, that we can't ask right now. I have a problem with Q&A, doing live segments, because I feel like when you're doing Q&A, you're asking, you're only speaking to one person, instead of thousands. Right now we need to give you the general overview of where you need to be and then you need to contact these people to get more, and me too.
I just, again, want to say thank you. In the chat rooms people are crying with you ladies. But also say that they want to hear more, this is really, really helpful for them to be able to connect with your stories.
I think, actually, one of the questions you asked, McKenna, at the break was the first six months. Everybody's really interested in the first six months. What I might, actually, do is, maybe even if I get the girls tonight to write something about their first six months. What they did, how they did it and I'll put it on the blog tonight, so that you can read it. The first six months seems to be the moment when you don't have a studio, you buying the first V flats, you're confused. How did you approach people, anything. Tomorrow we're gonna talk about selling yourself. That's actually going to come up. Let's shift that question to tomorrow's selling and maybe get the girls to write some bullet points around their first six months, because they were coming in hot and I feel like everybody's just asked that question over and over again, tell us about the first six months, tell us about the first six months. If you guys can write something tonight, we'll blog about it on CreativeLive as well. And also, we'll bring it up in sales tomorrow and in the selling yourself section. It's in segment two of tomorrow. Because I feel like we're not answering those questions and people really want to hear from you around what you were doing and how you overcame that. So, if you can write that down that would be awesome, that's homework.
Yeah, and it's also, it's that, but it's also, coming up over and over is do you think that you had to hit a low in order to, through those struggles, in order to then bounce back up in to where you are now?
No, because Tammy would tell you otherwise. She didn't need to hit a low, she left a corporate job that paid her well and then and created an income that paid her well. Can I ask a personal question? Do you earn more in your business than you did in your corporate career?
Ah, so yes, that's an interesting target. Because I went and created a business that paid me exactly what my wages were. Because I had a limit on the money that was allowed to come towards me. When I shifted that, there was a significant shift in what I was earning because, basically, in my mind, I just needed this much money and no more and no less, correct. Okay, Nikki.
I'm earning exactly when I was making as a school social worker, no more, no less. I'm not even kidding.
Oh, let's blow this one out of the water. When I left my job, I was earning $400 a week. I went and started a business and for the first year, guess what earned? ♪ Da da da dah ♪ Because that's exactly where my mind was, no more and no less. Now, I meet people all the time that tell me they have debt and savings. Then I find out their debt and their savings are the same amount. I'm like, why don't you take your savings and pay off your debt and then you have no credit. Because if you minus the amount of credit you're paying on that debt, that is the smartest thing you can do in business. The first thing I did in my money evolution was challenge the amount of money I was allowed to earn. Because that was my glass ceiling. Then, I think about that and I think the most incredible part was when I actually smashed through that. I did it, again, in evolution increments because you don't do it, you don't win Lotto, you just have to go up 10 grand more than last year and 20 grand more than the year before and save it. Then I tell people all the time, now, I watched an Oprah episode maybe 15 years ago, 10 years ago, years and years ago. Oprah took 100 people and she paid their debt. The debt range from $3,000 to $140,000. It was small debt and she paid it all and then 12 months later she went back and guess what. They were all in the exact same debt. They've gotten themselves out of trouble and then they'd financially returned to the same debt. Why do people win Lotto and then spend it? Why do people not keep money? Because you haven't changed a core belief or you haven't changed something. Now, I don't believe you can shift a core belief. I think core beliefs are ingrained in you from a very young age. What you need to do is work through your value system to shift what values are there. Because when you value what you are making then you can keep money. Because then you start banking a self value library that changes significantly over time. And yes, you will be reminded of this over and over again. I'm so tired of hearing, I'm doing everything right and it is not working. You are not doing everything right. You are not looking at your truth. There's a truth there that you need to see. And instead of seeing it as a block or hurdle, start with your evolution and confront it. If you were earning the same amount as you were as a social worker, but you're significantly happier, then it stands to reason you've purchased a great amount of happiness. I would like you to earn twice as much as you did as a social worker, please.
Come to me in 12 months.
Okay, I will.
I know. (laughing)
All of these mentors are already ahead of you out there, why? I thought a lot about that. I met them them, I was like, okay, I like their work. Nice girls, there's something about each one. Lori's already built a business. Johanna has a desire to transform people. Bethany's already built a business. Nikki has a desire to transform herself and money and what she's worth, because we talk about that a lot. Shauna has a desire to transform herself as well because we talk about that a lot. Tatiana has a desire to transform others. Hika has a desire to transform and grow something that is beautiful and you're busting through your own limits. Emily's already built a business. Tammy's already there with corporate going to. They're already a step ahead of you out there and if you identify with one of them, they're all a step ahead of you because they've already learned something. If you're like me and you're starting from zero and you have to learn everything, it's gonna take you a little bit more time to clear the rubble. But the truth is, is these photographers are ahead of you, ahead of their game, be working my business model because they've already taken a step up, that's why they're mentors. That's why they can mentor you into the next step because that's what they've done. I thought a lot about that and getting them to write about their first six months is actually gonna be really powerful and we'll definitely include that tomorrow.
I was just gonna say, I already wrote an article on my website about my first portfolio building process and I include like the scripts that I sent on Model Mayhem and everything.
Wow, that's great, let's share it tomorrow. I'm doing everything right and it's not working is not the truth. I need you, if you're feeling like this at home, I need you to go, I need you to look at the nine areas of mastery. I need you to look at what you're not getting and I need you to start there. I need you to work on it but I also need you to know that this is doable. You just need to break it down, go slow, be gentle with yourself, you're learning. Now, I wanna talk about this. This was a message I got the other day. This is probably one of the most interesting things I've ever heard. You probably feel that way, more so, because you have made it. I've made it, I've arrived. But out in the real world, because I'm not in the real world, I'm in a fake world where everyone's got money. Where photographers hunt for clients like they need to eat, because they do. People very much search for any and every type of photographer, especially in portrait. Somebody messaged me after my website went live and said why would you choose images over SEO? And I responded because I'm a portrait photographer and images are more important than SEO. Photographers, the very basic of marketing, the very basics of marketing include SEO, that's not true. The very basics of marketing will teach you that people look for everything on the internet, that is true. My image gallery is all marked super, so I have an outstanding search engine on my images. But not on my words and this is what's upsetting this person. My images are not what sells portraits. My words are not what sells portraits. My images are. And the way I connect and take and sell myself. The very basics of marketing will teach you that people will look at everything on the internet, especially portrait photographers. I am really disappointed to receive this email from you. From which I responded, earlier this morning, sorry to disappoint you. (audience laughing) You're gonna disappoint a lot of people, you might as well get used to it. Now, I thought a lot about this message. And today, I've gotta finish with this, you do not need chill skirts, you do not need flower crowns. Yes, they are beautiful, and about the first 20 years of my business I didn't own a single one. You do not need search engine optimization, unless your winning photographer and maybe even, as we're building up, you can start including search engine optimization because glamour photography is gonna become a household name. I've been in a portrait studio for 26 years, and I have never needed to have search engine optimization. Now, if it gets to a point where you're all getting a lot more work than me, I will start including it, yes. But I don't know how to teach it. I can outsource it, but again, what I need to bring you back to is this, stop spending money on logos. It's not gonna sell your work. Stop spending money on search engine if it's not gonna sell your work. If it's gonna sell your work then, yes. What is my golden rule? If it doesn't make the ship go faster, you don't buy it. I started my business with a Cannon 10D that did not shoot raw and one kit lens, which was a 24-105. I rocked that camera for one whole year and then I bought a 20D that shot raw and I used the same kit lens. I did not have bells and whistles and think I had polystyrene boards to reflect light and a whole lot of hustle. Stop telling me you need more, and you need this, and you need that, and you need more, and you need this, and you need that, and you need more and more. That takes me back to, if only I had $30,000. If only someone discovered me. I do say stick your limits. It's not the core of how you start. The core of how you start, is start taking photographs and work from number one in your area of mastery. Then learn how to retouch them. The first boss I ever had said to me, the greatest gift of photographer can have is knowing how to retouch their images so you can fix your mistakes. You already know how to retouch like a master, you're gonna find this easy. You know what I mean? That's what it came down to for me. It's gotta come back to basics and stop telling me what's right and what's wrong. I don't need you to tell me what I need after 26 years. I've got this, I've made it. Come on, and you need this, and you need this plug-in and you need these actions, and you don't. You need a whole lot of selling. You do not need most of what you think you do and you certainly don't need more wardrobe and accessories. Classic example, 99% of women are glamour photographers there's a small percentage of men, enjoying it, that are doing really well. Remember, I was taught by a man. My first two bosses were men and they shot glamour really successfully. It's not a woman's genre. Although, I gotta say, I said to Kelly Brown the other day, how many women come to your newborn workshop that have never had a baby? Because how many people would go and do newborn photography having never had one? I find it interesting that everybody's saying, where are all the men? When there's 30% of men on In Bed with Sue and I don't see any men at newborn workshops. But you guys can make babies just like us. Because I feel like different types of people are drawn to different genres, and that's fine. But for the guys, you do have a different hurdle. But your hurdle is also self-imposed. I'm a guy, therefore, I don't wanna be creepy. So, don't be creepy. I meet creepy guys, I meet non-creepy guys, some guys are creepy, some guys are not creepy. If you're not creepy, nobody's gonna think you're creepy. If you think people are gonna think you're creepy, I would say that the problem exists in you thinking you're gonna be creepy, probably because you're a bit creepy. Or maybe, you're not creepy at all, you're just worried that people are gonna think you're creepy and therefore, again, is somebody telling you at home that you're creepy? That you're being creepy? Because what's happening here, you keep telling me that you don't wanna be seen as creepy, so don't be creepy. I don't know that argument, all I know is I was taught by a man who loved women. He was a man that could look at woman and tell them they were beautiful without looking at their body. I admired that about him. That same man told me I was an uneducated bomber from South Auckland, with no dress sense and poor elocution. He said I'd never make it as a photographer, I simply lacked the people skills to do it. Broke my heart. The truth is, is he was right. I was all of those things. I was from the wrong side of town, with no education, no clothes and poor elocution. So, I learned how to do it. Because that hurt me so much, my goal was to learn how to do it. I went home every night and before bed I would read the dictionary so I could learn more words. Because I thought if I learn more words, I would be able to talk to different people and I would be smarter. And it worked. I learned how to speak better. I learned how to dress better. I learned how to relate to people and I learned how to take photographs and I remember the moment when he said to me, you exceeded me as a photographer. I, wonderfully, looked at him in that moment and said, yes I did, and it was never about you. You don't need accessories. Why is everything in business hardwired to be overwhelming and where do I start and hard? And I've gotta say, it all comes down to this crippling, gripping fear that is not real. Fear is projected anxiety. Fear is not real. Fear is visceral, you feel it in your body. It's your biology's desire to survive. But the story you've told yourself around what you're worth having. The story around yourself of what the permission of what you're allowed to have and those are limits, it's crippling. Now, if anything today, I feel like we've hit the very positives and the very negatives of being in business. I feel like what we've done today is, at the same time, sold you on an idea of going into business and then promptly talked you out of it. Your business is gonna be as successful as you want it to be. Your business is gonna be as successful as you allow it to be. No more and no less. I can't stand in front of you and promise that you're gonna be successful if you don't believe it. I can't teach you hard lessons that you have to learn yourself. I can only tell you mine and hope that you learn something from them, which is extraordinary. But when you're overwhelmed and you don't know where to start, reconnect to a simple thing. Why do you love photography? Because when I get lost in the fray, that's where I come back to. The biggest piece of advice I could teach you today is to stop acting like you're an emotional creative and start acting like you are in business. Now, you may have had jobs in your lifetime that have given you bad head, bad bosses. You may have been treated poorly. You may have been in horrendous situations where people were not professional with you. But I'm telling you right now business is common sense, relationships and acts of service. You also have to reinspire and reinvigorate your passion to be in business every single week. It's not easy, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. Marriage's aren't easy either, they're work. And if you want a great marriage you gotta work at it. I've never seen a great marriage and nobody's working. Now listen, if I only had $30,000. If I only had $30,000 is a lie that I used to tell myself and a little bit of a poor me as well. It was more than a lie, it was a bit of a drama. Because if I was discovered, I'd be good enough, clearly, I am better than you and nobody's having me. Nobody's helping me. Now, here's an interesting point. Recently, I was talking to friends and they were going their business was failing, so they were going to the bank on Monday to borrow $100,000 to boost it up. I stopped them from going to the bank and I said, can I give you some advice about business and the advice lasted for three hours. I, sometimes, I go the long way, but it's all good stuff. I sat down for three hours and I was like, da, da, da. They said they're mm-hmm. It was a good exchange of me about harping on and them listening. I said, your business is not working because of something you're doing. So, $100,000 is not actually gonna boost your business, it's gonna give you more debt, which will give you more stress, more anxiety and then you're gonna fail. And then you're gonna fail with a bigger debt. I said, because the second I decided to run my business the work started to show up and every job that came in was enough to pay for the next one. When I started to kick into gear my enthusiasm and my passion, and my joy for doing it. The money was turning up faster and faster and before I knew it, I had $30,000 in the bank and a studio of my garage and the answer had been in front of me the whole time, paint the wall. Paint the wall in the garage, that was the answer. But people won't like the garage door. Roll it up. But there's no toilet. So, work until you can afford to put one in, which I did. But there's no door down the back. So, I told my landlord that I wanted a door down the back of the garage and my landlord went and bought a sliding glass door, a big one, for $30. Knocked a hole in the wall, put it in, banged it in over the weekend and I sealed the outside of it and next thing I had a full shooting window in my garage. Three months later, I had glass doors on the front and a toilet. Nobody gave me $30,000. Because, how do that what you're doing is coming to fruition? It's when your goals are congruent with what's already happening. Now, every time somebody has said I want this, I'm saying, are you already actively working towards it? And if they say no, I said, well you're not gonna get it. And they're like, but I thought that was how it works. You say, I want this goal. And I was like, no, because if you really want it you'd already be working towards it, and that takes no money. To get up and start working towards what you want you see, you've got you gotta get up and you gotta start working. Because you can sit on the couch and cry about it on Facebook for as long as you want and if you're not working towards it, nothing will happen. I used to say, if only at $30,000, next minute I've got a studio, I painted the wall. Everything else came to fruition. The work started to just show up, magically. I love that term, magically. No, I was actually putting myself out there for the first time ever and it was killing me. Then all of a sudden I've got $30,000 in the bank and I thought this whole time, I thought, if just somebody gave it to me. I stopped those girls from borrowing $100,000. 12 months later, I told them that the reason that's failing is because their hearts are not in it. 12 months later they're sold their business at a profit. They didn't borrow their extra money and now they're doing their own thing and they love it. You do not need more money, you need to work towards making more money and it will come. Service first. Your marketing needs to be about what you give, what you do, not what you sell.