Who Is Your Business About?

My business is for my clients. Seems like a wildly obvious declaration doesn’t it? Well I am not convinced it is. I don’t think that owning a business equals truly serving your clients. I believe we can get so caught up in getting the next client that we aren’t paying attention to the incredible ones we already have. In the stress and busyness of business we can forgot why we began our careers, wanting to offer something beautiful and valuable that only we can provide.

Kate is a neuroscientist and Owner/CEO of Body Mind Balance

Every step of what I offer in my photography business is about what I am giving to my clients.  It begins with the first phone call, finding out exactly what they want in their business, author,  office-lifestyle or family portrait, to coaching them during the shoot to reveal their very best self, to helping them select and utilize their new photographs to up level and represent their business.

My goal is to always create a space where my clients feel taken care of, heard and seen. I want  every single one of them to walk away with one of the most fulfilling & fun experiences  they can have knowing they have invested their hard eared money well and that the results will be impactful. 

I have a friend who owns a restaurant in San Francisco, @PazziaResaurantadnpizzaria,  and I swear to you every person who walks in that place is greeted like a dear friend with a huge smile and or a hug. While I know they go for the incredible food I also know they go, as I do, because how Massimo the owner makes them feel. This is a variety of connection and customer focus that is so endearing and valuable! I also see this gratitude and love for clients in amazing Canadian photographer @NatCaronPhoto and it’s one of the reasons I adore her and her gorgeous work. She is always boasting about her clients, not the photography and it’s genuine not simply a gimmick. 

Marie-Christin Is a Global Digital Transformation Program Management professional

So in this hurried time of posting, rushing and hustling to get the next gig check in with  this question, “Who is my business is about?”.  I guarantee if you make it more about who you are serving, what you receive back will be rewarding and substantial.

When Are You Going To Be Enough?

Over the last few years I have been positive I’ve been meant to do more, that what I am doing is not enough. I am inundated with messages of “Get more followers”, “How to Kill it as an Entrepreneur!” “Top 5 Things You Must Do for Your Business” or “You suck and Should Be Working Non stop!” Okay, that last one may just be my internal dialogue, but I think you follow me. I am constantly getting and earful and eyeful of  what I am not doing and what I need to be doing to be successful. Everyone is an expert and everyone has a secret to success. OMG I am exhausted just writing about it!

That feeling of exhaustion was actually my wakeup call. (AH, the bodies genius, always keeping us on track if we listen.) I was going into my photography studio everyday, a business which I loved but now struggled to enjoy and was EXHAUSTED! I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open while at my desk. I was thrilled when I was actually shooting, but immediately after I would sink back down into defeat. I even hired consultants and coaches to help me unearth what this mystical and magical new path might be. I was more than a little annoyed when one suggested, ” What if there isn’t something more?” WHAT?! NOTHING MORE??? Then what the hell am I doing? Where is my value? What is the point of me and my business? This can’t be IT I thought. I need to do more to deserve what is coming to me. I need to give more  before it’s “over”.  (Slightly dark I know) As if running a full time photography studio wasn’t enough….I SHOULD be doing more. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Anna Scott was right. Side note, check her out…she’s amazing!

Since no great lessons come in one perfect  little package it took a few more gentle hits on the head for me to get this one. About a week ago I went to a goodbye party for a friend who is moving to Ghana. I was inspired by her huge life choice to sell her house and begin a new adventure, and also by something she shared, “We don’t have to push ourselves to absurd limits to deserve the good we receive.” Certainly based on almost all advertising this was inccorect. Why just today an online retailer emailed to tell me the coffee table I deserved was on sale.

I sat with this wisdom for a few days as it melded into my consciousness. I would roll it around and try it on for size. It felt good in my body. It felt right. It wasn’t saying don’t effort, just effort less and flow more, do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do. Then one day….ummmm,this past Monday, I had an incredible “shift”.  This business I have created over the last 30yrs, THIS is what I do and I do it pretty damn well. It doesn’t need to be MORE, I don’t need to be MORE.  It’s simple I know, but this simple revelation released me from this heavy weight of, ” I am not enough” and I immediately noticed as I repeated this new believe throughout the day that I wasn’t struggling to stay awake at my desk. I was enough and so was the work I was offering to my clients from my heart.

What if we relaxed into this? What if we balanced effort with flow? What if we all knew that this career, family, who we are and what we are so passionate about is enough just as it is?

 

…and of course here are some visual reminders of what it looks like when we allow ourselves to show up as enough.

 

Even while feeling under the weather at our shoot Cathlene was glowing and bright.

 

CEO Michon transformed by the end of our shoot & clearly that is the confident expression of woman who knows who she is.

Knowing you are enough and knowing who you are go hand in hand. Jonathan was not new to any of this knowing.

Lisa relaxed into the couch and herself with total ease as the shoot unfolded. This moment always comes…it’s when we know we are enough.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Trigger Happy

Last week I participated in a woman led, all women attended capital raising workshop. It was terrifying! So much so that in the days leading up I sent multiple emails to my business coach and inundated my friend with a should I or shouldn’t I conversation at least 5 -10 times in a 7 day period. I don’t normally have this much trouble making decisions but this was brutal. I would soon find out why.

In the days to follow, 3 to be exact, a cornucopia of emotions ranging from straight up pissed off, to fight or flight, hulk strength resistance, and finally resolution and joy flooded my mind and body. I had no idea the emotions and thoughts that would be triggered by this one workshop.

Lucky I was in a room of women who got it  including Jenny Kassen, my client and the female empowering, financially savvy entrepreneur who created and led her workshop #FundandFuelYourDreams.  As I slowly met the impressive women entrepreneurs who filled the room I began sharing my top question I had, “Why me?” Why would someone invest in MY business? I didn’t think it or I was ready. I could see the brilliance of the other women in the room and their value but I couldn’t see mine.  After 20 years creating my business and hundreds of happy clients I still struggled with my own value.

This wasn’t my only issue. Every time Jenny began speaking about finances and using phrases like, 50c3, debt, VC, and equity I did a hard check out. Yup, Jennifer had left the building. By the end of day two it all came to a head. Following the afternoon session I decided I couldn’t take it any more. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of insecurity and being in over my head. This is when my fight or flight response kicked in. I told women I met I wouldn’t be coming back the next day, that  it wasn’t for me. “I wont use this information”, I claimed. “No one is going to invest in my business and what I am creating”, I declared. Oh yeah, I was pissed…but why?

I was pretty quickly aware I was triggered and new that saying my goodbyes was a cry for help. I wanted someone to stop me. My more expansive self  knew I could do this. I knew this was the next big step in my business as I just had my two most profitable months to date. The paradigm was changing and I could change with it and float with ease down stream or fight like hell and stay stuck where I was.

As the other women began talking me off the ledge they reminded me of some very important facts.  We are the first generation of women entrepreneurs and we are learning as we go.  Even now this thought fills me with so much pride and relief!  They also reminded me that as women of my generation and others we are raised in an economic and entreprenural  boys club where we have had to fight to take our place at the table.  Along with many other women we grew up taking-in the story that finances were to confusing and over our heads. Some of us grew up with our value in being a nice girl, being accommodating which was unlike a lot of our male counterparts whose value was in what they offered and were encouraged that what they wanted was theirs for the taking.

This awareness was exactly what I needed to acknowledge my fears.  I thought I had to know it all, I thought I wasn’t intelligent if I didn’t and I thought if I couldn’t do it all on my own I had failed.  Knowing I was not alone, that many of these women struggled with the same stories, I relaxed into being comfortable with what I didn’t know, that I can rely on others and that I don’t have to do it all on my own.

Tara Mohr, author of “Playing Big” has created her book and a leadership program around women learning how to show up and put their dreams and goals into action. I highly recommend you checking out her book. It is eyeopening and a revelation!

I’d love to hear your stories of what has come up for you as a female entrepreneur or woman in business. Happy #EqualPayDay ladies! #WeAreStrongerTogether

BOOK a Complimentary Phone Consultation &  find out how a phenomenal Business Portrait can take your business to the next level.

Who We Are Is Our Greatest Gift

JG_PORTRAITS_SELECTS_REFERENCE_089_Karen during our on location session in her home.

I stood in my way for a long time in relationship to my photography career. I was afraid I wasn’t good enough, that I had to reach some unseen level before I shared my work. Even after being championed by a friend for years I still didn’t believe I had what it took. I was convinced what my work wasn’t good enough. I realized what I was actually wondering was, “Am I good enough?” and when I dug further it was really, “Am I enough?”

I think many of us question what it is we give or if what we give is valuable and makes a difference. Especially now with the ever present comparison beast of social media and the tendency to question, “AM I ENOUGH?” it is imperative we see ourselves for who we really are and what we offer. 

In the midst of mourning the loss of 36 young artists to the Oakland warehouse fire I found myself going back to this question of what we each offer.  What is it that we each give effortlessly and does it need to be more than simply showing up as who we are?  As I read accounts from family and friends about their loved ones they tragically lost I saw a little light in all of the darkness and an answer to my question. Everything from their art to their loving kindness was a gift to those who loved them and nothing was too small.  What they gave didn’t need to be modified or bigger, it only needed to be authentic in its giving. They gave exactly what the world needed, which was who they were and and will always be to those who loved then, and this is the best any of us can do.

We touch one another everyday in the deepest ways by offering our truest selves, our gifts, our laughter, a smile, our compassion and our passion.  

There is true power in knowing WHO we are and that WHO WE ARE IS ENOUGH. It is our greatest gift to those around us.

 I believe one of most important responsibilities in this life is to listen to that small voice that drives and encourages us to offer exactly what we are meant to.

So whether it is your laughter, your song, your voice, your passion, your art, your shyness, or your empathy, offer it boldly and without reservation. We need you and who you are.

My thoughts and prayers are with all the beautiful souls who left us on December 2, 2016, Oakland CA.