54: Shame and Business

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In this week’s episode, I’m talking about shame. As creative entrepreneurs, we are our brand, so we often feel a deep sense of shame when something goes wrong in our business. Today I am sharing seven of the most common ways that I see shame pop up for photographers and creatives, and what you can do to move past it. 

The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight

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This episode is brought to you by The Round Table, a community built for female photographers who want to continue growing their business while forging industry friendships along the way! Every month, you get access to three new pieces of content covering a vast variety of topics from myself and guest speakers. Come join us and get access to the content and private Facebook community!

Review the Show Notes:

Not selling-out an offer (1:46)

An unhappy client (3:11)

Not enjoying photography anymore (5:03)

Raising prices and losing clients (7:23)

Owing taxes to the government (9:15)

Making mistakes in business (14:32)

Not having as fast of a turn-around (17:18)

If you don’t have a business bestie (20:48)

Episode Links:

The Round Table

Root to Rise Mastermind

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Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gephardt. Here I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur. while balancing business, motherhood and life myself along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff to to shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.

Welcome back to the shoot it straight podcast. In this week’s episode, I’m going to touch on something that has come up a couple of times in a few of my recent coaching calls and inbox or hours with a few of my mastermind students. And that’s the topic of shame.

Most of you listening are photographers or creative entrepreneurs of some sort or another and in that space, we, the people are our brand. We are the artist, the creator and the CEO of our business. And that means that when something goes quote unquote wrong in our business, we can feel a deep shame with that we feel it deeply as if we are what’s wrong. So in this episode, I won’t go into coaching about shame in general, because that is as you can imagine a really massive and heavy topic. But I do want to cover seven of the most common ways that I see shame pop up for photographers, and creatives. And then I want to speak to each of them briefly. Consider this like a mini coaching experience for each of these things. All right, so let’s dive in. The first one I want to chat about is not selling out an offer. So here’s the deal, there is so much pressure to quote unquote sell out an offer. And sure it can feel really good when you do. But here’s what I want you to hear. There is no shame in not selling out and offer none. Remember that the pressure to sell out something is mostly stemming from what we see happening on the highlight reel of social media of the people around us. And the key here is that it is a highlight reel, you have no idea what the backstory is, have you ever stopped to consider that maybe they only had three of that something to sell out.

Or maybe after a couple days of selling, they lowered their availability so that they could say that it sold out. Or maybe they sold out. But they lost money because they invested so much in advertising. You don’t know the full story of what you are seeing on the internet. Instead of feeling shame around not selling out of something. Let’s look at it objectively. What can I change about this launch next time? What can I do differently? How can I prime my audience better? No shame. Just use the data and try and use it for the better next time. The second thing that I see so often is having shame about a client experience or a client who is unhappy. So here’s the deal. This happens to everyone from time to time. As long as it isn’t happening to you regularly, you’re doing okay. The fact of the matter is that we cannot please everyone. Oftentimes there are people who are literally impossible to please no matter how well you serve them. In my experience, most of the time that a client is unhappy, it is more about them than it is about you. When it comes to photography. A common issue is that a client is unhappy with how they look in the photos, despite you posing them in a flattering way and guiding them with their wardrobe. This is a problem with their self esteem. In this situation, there is literally nothing that you could have done, they aren’t happy with how they look and nothing you would have captured would have been good enough.

Again, this is an issue with them, their perspective of themselves, not you. No matter how long you’ve been in business. Unfortunately, this is still going to happen from time to time, because we are not in control of the people that we’re serving. We are serving them the best that we can we are guiding them we are posing them. We are doing our absolute best but I and you we have no control over what is going on with them and totally and emotionally. It’s not our fault. It’s not our job. It’s not our business. You will have an unhappy clients every once in a while. I hope that it’s very rare. I hope that it’s maybe one every few years, but it’s going to happen. Okay, there’s no shame in that. Most of the time it is about them and not about you. The third thing is feeling shame around not enjoying taking pictures anymore, or not wanting to take pictures of your own kids, that’s when I hear a lot. Okay? First of all, it’s okay to do this photography thing as a living, and not feel inspired to take incredible pictures of your kids, even if that isn’t the way that you used to feel. Okay? I totally get that my origin story. And many of you listening your origin story is you had kids, you were inspired to take photos of those kids. And then you went into business, that that’s how it went. That doesn’t mean that that will always be and that’s okay, because now this is your job. It’s okay to love your job, but then also want to put your camera down, that’s fine.

But one thing I want you to consider is, if you’re just feeling like you’re not enjoying taking pictures at all anymore, if you’re in that position where you’re not really enjoying working with your clients, you’re just you’re not really enjoying anything you’re doing. You’re not loving what you’re creating, whether it’s personal or professional, just the thought of taking pictures, is not a good one. This is a really big sign that burnout is happening, that you are in it or on the verge of it. And that’s something that’s worth exploring. Because if photography is something that you were passionate about once and now that passion is gone, that is an alarm that’s going off, that is a red flag. Why? What happened to it? Probably, you are in burnout, because you are overworked. You’re overcommitted, you’re overwhelmed. There’s anxiety, there stress. Those are all signs and symptoms of burnout. And overwork is a really big piece of that. And I’m not going to go into the huge coaching about burnout. I have podcast episodes about it, I go into depth inside all of my training groups, whether it be my mastermind, my course, my membership, burnout is real. And it’s a problem. So just pause and ask yourself, if you are feeling shame, because you’re doing this photography thing, and you don’t even like taking photos anymore. Maybe it is because you’re struggling with burnout, and you didn’t realize it. The fourth thing I want to talk about is feeling shame about raising your prices and losing some of your favorite longtime loyal clients.

So I cannot reiterate this enough. It is not personal, it is business, my friend, it is not personal. It is business, you cannot continue to serve people at a rate that isn’t profitable. And or isn’t indicative of your level of experience. If they love you and support you. And when I say love you, I don’t mean you as the human I mean your business, your work, the work that you’re providing, the experience they’re getting, if they love working with you, and they truly support your business, they will stay with you and figure it out. Okay, photography is an investment, just like a car is an investment. A house is an investment, private school, tuition is an investment, okay, people save for things that are valuable to them. And if they don’t stay with you, that’s okay. Because others will fill in others who are happy to pay your new higher rate, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still run into these old clients around town and chat and see them socially.

And it definitely doesn’t mean that they’re going to hate you. It’s just business prices go up. Every single day, in every industry around the world, period, end of story. People have a choice how they’re spending their money, okay, this is about them, and what they value and how they are choosing to spend or not spend their money. It has nothing to do with you. They are choosing to leave you you are not forcing them out. Okay? No shame around raising prices and losing some of your loyal clients. Number five, this is a big one. There is no shame in owing taxes to the government. So I feel like this one is a really hush hush topic that is not brought up. Okay. you file your taxes or your CPA files your taxes and you realize Holy crap, I owe five figures. K and it is a scary number. And you feel so shameful because you don’t have said five figures that aside. Okay? There’s no shame here. And the other thing I want you to know is more people owe taxes than you realize. When I say oh, taxes here, I’m not talking about if you have done your due diligence and you set aside for taxes and you write a check, okay?

If you have the money set aside, and you pay the taxes easily, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to those of you who are shocked and surprised, and you’re not prepared to pay the taxes. Okay? Here’s the thing, Bravo for owing taxes, that means you had an absolute killer year, and that your business is growing. This is not a bad thing. Okay? I’m not saying that going into debt is okay, or something that I necessarily support, you have to make your own decisions. Okay. But what I am saying is, the United States government has made it extremely easy to set up payment plans and pay on your taxes, and it’s literally not a big deal. Okay, I’m gonna tell you right now, to the listening audience, that I’m still paying on taxes from 2021. And I’m recording this, nearing the end of 2023, I was able to pay my 2022 taxes in full. And it was more than last year. Okay. But the 2021 taxes caught us off guard. And we weren’t prepared for that. And I take full responsibility for that. And that’s okay. But we put it on a payment plan with the government, and we’re chipping away at it. And it’s literally no big deal. The great thing is in case you’re curious, and you’re finding yourself in this situation, you can literally set up your payment plan to be whatever you want it to be, you pick the number, you pick the timeline, and the department and all the things, it’s so easy. And you can pay more on it whenever you want. Kind of like paying down your mortgage faster, or paying down your car payment faster. You can pay the minimum payment when you need to, you can throw a few 1000 extra dollars or a few 100 extra dollars, whenever you have an influx of income. It’s literally not a big deal. So I want to encourage you if you find yourself in that situation.

First of all, don’t be upset and ashamed. Do not beat yourself up. This happens to people all the time. I also want you to really reframe your thinking and be proud of yourself because your business is doing well. That’s a good thing. And then I want you to just be very objective about creating a plan to save for taxes next time. Okay. That’s why I personally like setting my payment almost as low as possible, so that I can continue to very easily save for future taxes while paying back the back taxes. Okay, like I said, anytime I have a little bit of an influx, I throw a couple $1,000 Extra to it. And so it’s not always the minimum payment, so it makes it feel easy and not stressful. Okay? There is no shame in owing taxes. Yes, I want you to plan for them in the future. Yes, I want you to set money monthly into a separate account that you’re not going to touch for future taxes, okay, but don’t stress out. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be embarrassed if you owe back taxes. It’s not a big deal.

Today’s episode is brought to you by the Roundtable, a community built for female photographers who wants to continue growing their business while forging industry friendships along the way. learn practical ways to move your business forward while finding community and accountability with like minded photographers. Every month you get access to three new pieces of content over a broad variety of topics. In the past, we have covered topics like pricing, editing, goal setting, website reviews, social media and videos from me behind the scenes at real sessions.

Members have also had the opportunity to learn from incredible guest speakers and industry leaders on a huge variety of topics. I pride myself in giving you just enough education every month to keep you growing and moving forward while not overwhelming you with content. Oh, and the private Facebook community is absolutely incredible. Consider it your space to ask all the things, get all the support and make real life business besties. If you’re ready to join us, you can head over to Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash membership and enroll today. And now back to the episode number six. There’s a lot of shame around making mistakes in business. So if you’re a photographer, maybe you left a session and you forgot to take a key shot that you always take Okay, or maybe you forgot to email a client reminder.

Maybe you forgot to send an invoice on time. Maybe you sent to Gallery later than you promised. Okay. Whatever it is you made a mistake and use feel ashamed about it. First of all, you’re human. Okay? You’re not a part of a major corporation where you have a zillion little employees and worker bees under you getting all the things done and buttoning up all the details, you’re most likely wearing all the hats or most of the hats, okay? You’re only human, it’s okay. The other thing I want you to realize is instead of feeling shame about this mistake, let it show you that there is room for change, so that it doesn’t happen again. It’s the same thing we teach our children, and we talk to our friends about mistakes are okay. Everybody makes mistakes, what can you learn from it, don’t be ashamed, don’t be embarrassed, use it to propel you forward. Okay? A lot of these things that I mentioned.

And a lot of small mistakes that slipped through the cracks in business is because we need to be automating, or outsourcing, or both, we need to set things up to happen automatically, so that we’re not having to think about all the little tiny minut details in the day to day part of our business, okay, or we need to outsource part of our business. So that again, we free up some mental bandwidth and some time so that we’re not dropping balls. Okay. Another thing that making mistake in business can be indicative of, and I mentioned this one earlier, but you could be overworked, you could be overworked, overwhelmed, maybe you’re burnt out, maybe you’re on the verge of being burned out. And this is a sign that you need to pull back. Your head is spinning, you’re anxious, your to do list is a mile long, you’re forgetting things, you’re making mistakes, those are signs that you need to pull back, where you can, not taking on any more clients, not doing the extra things, pull back from your social media, pull back from your marketing, pull back from your email list, pull back from all of the things that can wait so that you can get your head above water, so that you can get back to level. Okay, so that you don’t feel like you’re drowning anymore.

There’s no shame in making a mistake, let it be an indication of something that you could or should change going forward to make your business and yourself better. Number seven, there’s a lot of shame, especially for photographers around not having as fast of a turnaround as their competitors in their area. So maybe your competitors, the photographers around you in your area, have a seven day turnaround, okay, that shoot a session, takes them seven days to edit, upload the gallery and send it off. Maybe your turnaround is two weeks, three weeks, five weeks, maybe you don’t have a set turnaround, but it’s just it’s taking you that long. Your turnaround time can be whatever you want it to be, literally, you can make up a number and it can be that here’s the deal. As photographers, we are clued in to what’s going on around us with our competitors, we’re clued into what they’re charging, we’re clued into what their turnaround time is we’re clued into what their work looks like, what it’s like what clients are saying about working with them, we are clued into that potential clients are not. Okay. Unless you have a potential client who has worked with all of your competitors. They probably don’t know what everyone else’s turnaround time is because people don’t pay attention to that. That information is normally given out once clients have already booked and planned a session. Okay. And at the end of the day, again, your turnaround time doesn’t matter. It’s how you lay out those expectations in your client communication process.

That’s what matters. If you want to make a four week turnaround, great six weeks, totally fine. 10 weeks again, yes, you can choose any number, as long as you were clear with them in the beginning, it doesn’t matter. As long as you are telling them from very first communication all the way through the booking process. This is how long it takes to get your images back. You can say whatever you want. Here’s another perspective that I want you to consider. Why do we think that a quick turnaround is better? Is fast food better than fine dining? No, it’s not. Here’s to things that having a longer turnaround is actually telling your clients. It’s telling your clients that you are in demand. And it’s also telling your clients that you take time and care with their edits and all of the details. Both of those things are good things.

So you can go ahead and laugh at your competitors who have this insane seven day turnaround and they’re wasting way on their computers trying to turn around images that quickly or on the flip side, you can position yourself as the in demand expert that you are and enjoy having a more spacious calendar that has room for leap and self care and all of those good things, right? Okay, so that’s the end of the list. To recap what we talked about, I want you to stop feeling shameful about these, these common seven things. Number one, not selling out an offer. Number two, having the occasional client who is unhappy. Number three, not enjoying taking photos anymore. Number four, raising your prices, number five, owing taxes, number six, making a mistake. And number seven not having a fast turnaround. So, I hope that this little bit of coaching I did on this list gives you some encouragement, I hope that at least one of the items on the list spoke to you and that you’re ready to drop the shame story and the negative talk that goes along with it.

One last thing before you leave today, the items on this list and the discussion about shame and negative talk. This is a really sensitive subject. These are the types of things that you would normally only feel comfortable sharing with your business bestie. If you don’t have anyone like that in your circle, I would highly encourage you to get a new circle. Both my roundtable membership and my route to rise mastermind provide the community aspect that you might be missing. In both of these groups. Women ask all kinds of questions and get all kinds of support. And I know for a fact that the connections that start inside these groups continue to grow outside of the groups in Voxer in DMS on Zoom calls and in person friendships.

I cannot emphasize enough just how valuable it is to have business besties that you can trust with your most scary, overwhelming and shameful stories. In fact, I truly believe that having this kind of support, and these relationships are part of what make or break a business’s success in the long run. I’ll have both of these groups linked in the show notes if you’re interested in learning more. And that’s it for today, my friends. We’ll see you next time. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhart photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.

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