That title can be read multiple ways, but the way it came out of my mouth was..."why do I have any value to add?!" That's crazy, right? I'm a small business owner, creative entrepreneur, #magicalunicornladyboss...etc. That's what I hope everyone thinks about me anyway, but on the inside, aren't we all a little scared?
When I was asked to be a guest on MY FAVORITE podcast, Misses Ambitious, I knew the right answer was yes, but MAN did my fear take over. I showed my husband the message from lady bosses, Blaine & Kiley, and immediately said, "I can say no, right?" He though I was nuts! My hubs has always pushed me just a little farther outside of my comfort zone (for my own benefit) than I like. I blame him for my successes lol! He talked me into doing the right thing for my business and sharing my story to help others just chomping at the bit to take their little baby businesses full time.
Rewind a bit...
When I was a youngin' (before I wanted to be Harriett the Spy even) I wanted to be Jem from Jem and the Holograms (shoutout to all my 80s girls), on the stage, on broadway, singing/acting my guts out and being loved by millions. I even played Snow White in "Snow White and the 7 Pizza Toppings" once...true story. People who know me now would probably NEVER guess that about me. At some point in my life, that inner "you can't do it" voice took over. But before shame, embarassment, worrying about what others would think of me, and snarky pride took over, I was a natural born performer...take examples a, b, c, & d...
Enter middle school and I just did a complete 180! I started being a little shy, a little scared, a little chubby...those things can do a world of damage to a young girl. I transitioned through different friend groups never fully fitting into one until halfway through high school (to my lunch table people: I love you guys!)
Let's fast forward a little more... college Elizabeth was lost again. My friends all slowly went their own separate ways. In the midst off trying to find my purpose, my parents got divorced, I battled with depression (while trying to not let anyone know how I felt), my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, my husband's (boyfriend at that time) mom passed away unexpectedly, my dad passed away unexpectedly. I was SHOOK TO MY CORE! I was rarely in church during the college years and not focused on anything other than my own sadness. I eventaully got my degree (after more years than I care to admit- okay 6...it was 6 years) in Art Education. I loved my art ed girls at MSU so stinkin' much, but teaching in the traditional classroom sense clearly wasn't for me. I've never done anything "traditionally" - I couldn't even if I tried. So what did I do, I worked at restaurants, a tanning salon (never do that btw- it's so dangerous), more restaurants, Hallmark, a couple churches and nothing was the perfect fit! Side note- nothing will feel right when you're not walking in your purpose... All throughout all these traditional jobs I did photography on the side "just for fun." I had taken some film photography classes in college, but never thought I could make a career out of "just a hobby." Being creative behind the lens was helping to heal my broken heart, though. The more time I spent observing creation, the deeper my relationship became with Christ too. I was spending more and more time working with my camera, photographing families, weddings, events, real estate...and I kept getting asked more and more to shoot. If you all have read my previous blog posts you know, I seriously just worked so much I worked myself out of my 9-5 job.
Fast forward again to now. I'm a full time photographer, a mostly confident woman (we all have our moments), a happy little social media "performer" HA!, and apparently someone worth listening to on a business podcast.
Here are my main tips for growing a successful business:
1. Invest In Yourself
Find a mentor/tribe that inspires the heck out of you! My mentor is named Cyrissa. She owns Immerse Photography and Sparkle Society where she helps creative entrepreneurs and photographers, like me, find their inner unicorn. If you need social media, email marketing, photography, or all of the above help, she's your girl. Find Cyrissa's classes here!
The Misses Ambitious hosts & listeners and The Sparkle Society girls have become like family to me! They are my cheerleaders, the people I cheer for, and my tribe! I highly recommend linking arms with like-minded people who have similar goals. #communityovercompetition all the way!
2. Get An Email List
I talk about this little bit in the podcast, and I'm serious! Go to Mailchimp...set up a FREE email list! Create a fantastic opt-in and get those people on your list. Not everyone is going to see every social media post you ever make (bc algorithm) but if you're showing up directly in their inbox, there are no tricks. They will see you every time! Join me on Mailchimp here!
3. Give Yourself Grace
Lady bossing (or dudely bossing) is so much freaking work! You don't just shut yourself down at 5pm. The social media posting, answering emails, phone calls, direct messages, and responding to everyone is something that happens at all hours. It's a good idea to set boundaries and specific times every day that you will stop working. Actually BE with your family. Be present in your own life. Heck, even take a little vacation! Find out how you can do that in this article from Sparkle Society. Your clients will be totally understanding...they have lives too ya know?! I am reading a fantastic book right now about this very topic! "Grace Not Perfection" by Emily Ley.
There are a few other little tips and tricks on the podcast episode so you'll have to go listen! And if you're wondering about how to podcast or be a podcast guest, I found this article from Don't Panic Management very helpful... "11 Critical Ways to Prepare for a Podcast Interview."
Here's the thing ladies & gents- your self worth and confidence are NOT found in what you do, who your friends are, what you look like, or how much moolah you have...contrary to what the world tells you! I was basically chasing the wind and going nowhere when those were my goals. Life is real and hard and sometimes terrible, but we are here for a purpose. Putting your faith in God and following His plan for your life, even though it's scary & requires risk, is how you truly "find yourself." So I'm done preaching to ya, but I do want to say...if you are struggling (heck, even if you're not), put your faith in God. His plan is so much better than anything you could have ever imagined for your life. If you let him, he will use you one day on a blog, or a podcast, or in front of 5 million people to tell your story so others can find their hope in him and regain their confidence, and maybe step out on faith and go full time.
I didn't get quite this churchy on the podcast, I promise.. It's about business and how I went from part time to full time. If you're interested in listening, I'd love to share with you. You can find it here (the episode number is 73) or if you're a visual learner like me and need photo directions, join me on facebook and scroll to today's post.
So to answer the question, "Why do you want to interview me?", because I found my purpose, went for it full force, and lived to tell about it. I hope it encourages you to be confident and brave. I hope you know, your dreams are worth the risk. And I hope you know, God loves you and has your back always!
love & stuff,