Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat
My Top 5 Biggest Business Struggles!
Grab your dark roast and your headphones. We will be sipping coffee and chatting about: My Top 5 Biggest Business Struggles!
Nobody is immune to facing challenges along the way. We all encounter struggles along our business journey but it is how we face them that truly defines who we are and what our business stands for that matter. Come find out what I've been faced with along the way during the last 6 years and how I was able to get moving forward!
Episode 7 Coffee Chat Replay
Episode 7 Podcast
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Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning everyone! How is everyone doing on this lovely Tuesday? We are now using Crowd Cast for the first time! So shout out to them.
Let's dive in! Today is a little personal and you know I have no problem sharing! I am an open book! All I ask in return is you don’t pass judgement. Let's create a safe place!
Today's topic isn’t one that is overly easy for anyone to talk about. I am talking about my own struggles and failures I have encountered. It is something that has taken a lot of work to be able to acknowledge. The reason I’m sharing these with you is because I want you to:
know that you aren’t alone
see and recognize the ways to deal with certain situations that may arise for you.
There have been a couple times I probably could’ve dealt with the situation a little bit better. But you live and learn! I’m not doing this talk to gain sympathy, but its because I want you to know you are not alone when shit hits the fan. We have all experienced it.
TOP FIVE STRUGGLES
My fifth struggle is… just recently I have noticed and found some people copying verbatim either portions of my website, courses, PDF’s (that I offer for free that they are now selling), I have been shown a lot. It sucks.
A couple weeks ago we talked about “staying in your lane”. I am very much the type of person to put their blinders on. I get distracted so easily! I have to for my own sanity and mental health no pay attention to all the noise, so I can do my own best work. So I can see my own ideas and things I want to create happen! Otherwise I have in the past gotten very distracted and then I’ve noticed a certain project I’ve started to work on will take a different shape and a different form. That’s not me! That’s not my goal anymore. Its me witnessing someone else’s ambitions and I feel I need to incorporate it into my own stuff.
With that being said, I don’t pay attention to the noise. So its even more so hurtful when I see someone who is in the same sphere… do something like that. What would you do in a situation like this? It has happened a couple of times. It is still occurring and happening.
I am the type of person if you do me wrong once shame on you, do me wrong twice shame wrong on me. It is really difficult for me because I try to see the good in everybody.
Where is the line drawn for creatives? We all have ideas pop into our head and nine times out of ten something like that has been done before. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. And it probably will end up hurting me in the long run.
But on top of that, when I first started planning, someone locally without even knowing me or meeting me, already had made up their mind that they did not like me. She went so far as to talk smack about me to local vendors. On top of that had somebody hop on my Facebook page and leave a comment on a review I had received from a past bride saying:
“Does Lauren even have any experience? Because when I met her a wedding expo it seemed to me she didn’t have any wedding experience what so ever.”
I have never met that person at an expo because I have only done two for my own business. It was a bit of an eye opener that not everybody is here to lift you up. Not everybody is here to help people. I always give. I am a giver. I have a hard time receiving. It just really sucks when somebody is malicious. Not just mean or rude, but malicious in their intentions.
That was number five.
This one very well could bring me to tears. Just putting it out there! I contemplating putting number four as my number one because of the gravity of it and how much I lost. It is not something I talk about ever anymore. I had to learn the hard way that being best friends and business partners doesn’t always work. It was a really shitty lesson I had to learn.
For those of you who don’t know, I had gotten my start in this industry by being a studio manager for a Boston wedding photographer. We met by pure chance. We met because she was coming to where I lived to do a couple photoshoots for a contest and I reached out to her because she was shooting one of the children I knew. I was pregnant at the time and told her I didn’t have a child of my own, but I had one in my belly. Long story short, we literally had our session and ended up finishing each others sentences. She was my long lost sister. It felt we had been separated at birth.
She had asked me to help her run her studio and her dog had cancer and just had her leg amputated and been given 6 months to live. So she wanted to give her fur baby the best last 6 months to live. And that meant focusing on her and not being able to focus solely on the business. With my own job and career I had no problem leaving and saying “absolutely, I will totally help you”.
After 4 years, I had never once gotten a raise. I was doing everything under the sun except taking photos and editing. I was evening calling. I was calling, marketing, emailing invoices… I had to make a difficult decision to walk away. Not only was I losing her… I was also losing my other best friend who is a second shooter and we were a trio. If you hired us for a wedding... all three of us went. There was no reason for me to go except to be the bridge for communication between the bride and the studio. Who wouldn’t want to spend a day working with their best friends? It was fun!
I had brought up I felt we needed to discuss my pay, a couple of times, and it was always something that was going to be talked about later. So then I want to say it was the second week in December… all of the sudden she started to 100% ignore me. Ignore my texts, ignore my calls, ignore my emails. Now I’m still running the business… during the holidays. So busy! It wasn’t until the middle of January I heard back from her. We had a major blow out via text. We never spoke again.
In that one moment, I lost both of my best friends and my job. I was beside myself. It was probably the lowest point of my life. So that is number four!
Number three is way easier to talk about! How many of you have children? Or spouses? Or partners? Or pets that are like your kids? We have lives! We have things outside of our work, even though our clients forget that. One of my biggest fallbacks was the fact that I can’t get back the time with my kids when I was working 16 hour days. Not only for my own business, but for the wedding photographer. I can’t get back that time. As business owners, we are so committed so our work and to doing it well, because we love it! We often times forget to set boundaries for ourselves. This was a tough lesson for me to learn. I am hoping that by talking about it you can learn something.
You have to be careful with making sure you set up your boundaries for yourself so that there is a work and life balance. I know for a fact many of you have struggled with this. Time seems to be one of the most common struggles. There aren’t enough hours in the day!
I hope at least one person will take something from that and do something about it. You need to make sure your work schedule is:
B) it works for you.
We get so caught up in our work that we sacrifice a lot. I challenge you.. before you take on one more task, as yourself if it is worth it?
Not charging my worth! Can I get an amen!? Because oh my freakin a! Why do any of us accept less than we deserve? We all do it at some point! Here is the thing… you are not going to know til you try. You are worth so much more. What we do, not everyone can do! It doesn’t matter if you are a florist, a photographer, a videographer, a water color artist, a caterer…
Time is money! It doesn’t matter how you justify it or how you break it down. Especially if you are new in the industry and you feel like you can’t compete with some people who have bene in business for over a decade… you can’t think that way! You need to charge your worth! If you start undercutting (not on purpose), you are
A) going to make some enemies but
B) you are devaluing the industry you are in.
There is no need to devalue you yourself! When you start treating your business as a hobby and only charging every now and then… that’s a problem!
Number one! My biggest struggle! I might need to censor this out… my number one was finally stepping into my effing truth. And it feels amazing to just even say that. Even though we all want to fit in and be viewed as part of the whole, we all have quirks. Those quirks make us who we are! There are quailities in all of us that make us unique. But how many of us… truly… are able to express them, own them, and live it?!
I’m not talking the “mainstream quirks”. Like Jenna Kutcher. I love her! She has built her brand around puppies, yoga pants, and mac and cheese. Even though those things are unique, it has created this “mainstream” movement. It gives us little things to talk about. Like I love mac and cheese! But dig deeper! What makes you, you?
What is one of your God given gifts? God given talents? That not everybody knows. What is the one thing that you wish you could incorporate into your business or you wish you could express about yourself? Think about this.
We need to own who we are, what we have, and what we don’t have. Don’t be afraid to voice who you are or to truly express your talents, because your ideal client will find you… and love you for it! It is when you neglect those little quirks... you fade into the crowd. There is no distinction between you and the next person. You need to stand out! Be your badass boss self!
Wrapping it up…
Those are five business struggles that I have encountered and gone through in my own business. Let me know what your struggles are! I never want anyone to feel they are not being heard. Don’t be afraid to post in our Facebook group… ask the “stupid” questions and the crazy off the wall stuff. This is a safe place.
Next week we will talk about embracing the cycles of business, what they look like, and how to ride them out.
And a HUGE announcement… we are on iTunes! We officially have a podcast! If you ever miss a coffee chat and want to listen, find us on there.
Thanks for another successful coffee chat!