Real Vendor Talks: Emily Steffen Photography

Yeehaw! We’re ringing in the new year in style. I couldn’t have thought of a better wedding pro to help me kick off the new Real Vendor Talks video series than the one and only Emily Steffen of Emily Steffen Photography.

Emily is known for gorgeous wedding pictures, her whimsical style (slash) brand and her ability to juggle roles as a successful mompreneur. Or momtrepreneur, if you want to french it up a bit.

In this video, Emily speaks about dealing with the tragic loss of her parents, finding work-life balance, building an authentic brand and preparing for parenthood as an entrepreneur. Don’t miss this valuable small business advice in our chat below.

Guest: Emily Steffen of Emily Steffen Photography

Real Vendor Talks is a video series where Cake Coaching founder, Jeff Hellenbrand, engages in gutsy conversations that matter with passionate wedding pros and the entrepreneurs who serve them.

Be Strong. Be Yourself.

A lot of wedding entrepreneurs take on clients against their better judgment. They think, “maybe this will turn out to be a good client,” or simply “I can’t afford to turn down business.” There’s a myth lingering from the old-school way of business that says “all business is good business.” Which is nice. It’s just wrong.

I’d like to show you why you can’t afford to be anything but yourself. Here’s why you should be strong and be yourself:

1. Being fake isn’t effective.
So many people “turn on the nice” when a bride walks in the door. It doesn’t work. I mean, it beats just being a total jackass. But brides smell fake a mile away. So if you’re having a horrible day, find a polite way to mention they caught you on an off day. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you open up and Continue reading

Audio: My Secret Weapon

Okay, I’ve done it. I’ve gone and given up my my best coaching secret. It’s a tool I recommend to almost all of my clients and it’s responsible for creating a big shift in people’s lives. If you’re unhappy or exhausted, this is for you. It’s not going to be what you thought it was, but I promise you, if you try it out, it’s going to pay dividends. The call is just fifteen minutes. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip to the eight minute mark to hear about the coaching tool. The first part of the call is focused on how coaching helps wedding entrepreneurs, though, so you may not want to miss that.

Listen Here: 

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Or access the MP3 directly: Audio: My Secret Weapon

Audio: Flipping Marketing on it’s head

This week’s call is quick. In fifteen minutes, I highlight the difference between thinking like most people and being super creative when you’re at your best. I help wedding entrepreneurs see themselves and their world differently. When your perspective changes, your marketing strategy changes with it. And you’re going to be blown away by what happens as you become more and more fearless. The key to getting more of the brides you want isn’t spending more money. It’s a whole lot easier (and harder) than that.

Listen Here: 

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Or access the MP3 directly: Audio: Flipping Marketing on its Head

Time: Are you Penny Wise and Dollar Poor?

You’ve probably heard the expression penny wise and dollar poor. And you’ve heard that time is money. But time is also time, and unlike money (or any other resource) it is limited. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. So you can get more money or happiness or fun, but you can’t get more time. As a wedding business coach, I help wedding entrepreneurs get a whole lot smarter about how they spend their time. It’s fascinating to me that someone who runs a successful business and understands the importance of investing money in the right places can still be somewhat foolish with how they spend their time.

Okay, let me give you an example. Most of the wedding business owners I work with think like bootstrapping entrepreneurs. When you’re starting out, you’ve got lots of time and no money. But now, they’re working with all of the brides they want (and the money is rolling in) and time is the scarce resource. The problem is that they still act as though there’s plenty of time and no money. So let’s say you’re a wedding photographer who’s now booked solid after a couple of years of hard work. Between photo editing, sales and client meetings and actually shooting the weddings you are slammed. Not to mention blogging, staying up on trends, trying to learn more about social media and everything else. You don’t delegate anything because you’re stuck in the old mindset of I-have-to-do-everything-myself.

So how do you break out of the penny-wise-dollar-poor mentality?

1. Know what you absolutely love to do (and are crazy-good at). Usually, for a wedding photographer, this is actually taking the pictures. This is where you want to spend the most time (because it makes you happy and it makes your life better).

2. Root out your time-hogs and give them to someone else. Many great photographers can outsource their photo editing to a cheap, but talented assistant. This isn’t just about saving time. If you dread doing your accounting chores each month, to the point where you are thinking about it constantly, imagine how much energy and time you’ll save by outsourcing that to a professional bookkeeper.

3. Know how you make money. Those time-hogs are sinister because they keep you from doing things that get you more business. Don’t try to do everything yourself just because you can. Outsource as much as possible so you can focus on getting more business (so you can spend more time doing what you love).

4. Love yourself. No joke. As a business coach, I don’t just give quick-fix advice (actually, I never do) – we explore why a coaching client isn’t being wise with their time. If you’re using up all your time on tasks you could outsource, ask yourself why. Chances are, there’s some fear there, or possibly the feeling that you don’t deserve to work just four days a week. It takes a strong person to love themselves and to say, “You’re worth it. You deserve to spend your life working on things that you love, instead of mind-numbing tasks.” Are you worth it?

5. Remember that this applies to money, too. I hear wedding business owners say things like “I can’t afford that” all the time in response to investments like marketing opportunities or (ahem) coaching. But what is your return on investment? If that marketing opportunity (or, ahem, coaching) will bring you ten times as much money as you pay for it, how can you afford not to? If it will save your sanity or give you ten more hours a week to spend on things you love, how can you afford not to make the investment?

It’s easy to think small and to make excuses. I do it all the time. But then I remember, there’s a better life out there for me. And for you, too. So if you are twice as productive on days when you hit the gym, can you afford not to hit the gym? I can’t.

Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Where have you been penny wise and dollar poor in your life (when it comes to time or money)? More importantly, what the hell are you going to do about it?