88: Q2 Business Besties Chat with Colie James

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88: Q2 Business Besties Chat with Colie James 3

How are your 2024 goals going? In today’s episode, guest Colie James and I are getting together for our second quarter business besties chat. We’re checking in on our goals from the first quarter and updating our plans for quarter two and the rest of 2024. 

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! In this group, you will learn practical ways to move your business forward, while finding community and accountability with like-minded photographers. Come join us and get access to the content and private Facebook community!

Review the Show Notes:

Being intentional with our time (2:18)

Saying no (4:32)

Creating a virtual summit (9:53)

Creating tripwires and passive offers (11:46)

Crafting a super-long email funnel (18:58)

Crafting a high-ticket offer (20:18)

Sticking to your boundaries (22:44)

The Root To Rise alumni retreat (26:10)

The fall run of Root To Rise (29:00)

Our plans for Q2 (31:29)

The end of 2024 (47:27)

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Episode 75: Quarterly Business Chat with Colie James

The Round Table

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88: Q2 Business Besties Chat with Colie James 4

Review the Transcript:

Sabrina: Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gebhardt. 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 too, The 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. My friends, this is the second edition of the quarterly business bestie chat. Uh, back in episode 75 in January, I brought my business bestie Coley James on the podcast and we had like a real conversation. I had a little bit of guidance in there. I kind of knew where I wanted the conversation to go, but we really did just let it go.

And it was kind of a test run situation. We didn’t know how it was going to land, but I got so much positive feedback from listeners about this episode. They really did feel like they were sitting at a table with us, hearing a true conversation between the two of us, which was exactly the intention behind these conversations.

So it was a success. So here we are with the second episode of this, which I hope becomes a long running tradition on this podcast between us because it’s really fun. So the difference this time is number one, I’m not going to introduce Coley James. This is like her sixth or seventh time on the podcast.

You can go listen to any one of those episodes and find out how awesome of a human she is and what she does. We are just diving straight in today. The other differences I have. No notes. I have no guidance. We are truly winging this conversation, but I think the best place to start would be to kind of touch base and recap on some things that we mentioned in the last episode, just to kind of like check in, like, Hey, how’s that thing going for you?

And what’s the update on this thing you mentioned? And so we’ll kind of talk about those things first, and then we’ll talk about our plans for Q2 and what we’re working on. How’s that sound? Sounds fabulous. Okay, so I’m going to start at the very top. One of the things you mentioned in the last episode is that for 2024, you really wanted to focus on being intentional with your time.

How do you feel like that’s going for you? I mean,

Colie: Sabrina, I have even less time than when we did the Q1 chat. Um, I don’t, I haven’t, I haven’t recorded any new episodes for my podcast, but most people don’t know my husband took a new job. And with that new job, I lost my Fridays, which were all on my own to work.

as long as I wanted. Um, he also can’t pick her up on Tuesdays anymore. So I went from having like those two hour, those two, two hour blocks every day that I talked about, plus a Tuesday afternoon, plus all day on Friday to now I literally have two, two hour blocks every day. And cause currently my mom who helps me shuttle Chloe around is also gone.

So I might’ve had some lofty goals guys in Q1 about how I was going to be intentional with my time. But now that I have even less time, it’s like, what is absolutely mandatory for my business from now until the end of the school year? Cause I just got to make it two more months. If I can make it to the end of two months, I’ll be good.

Sabrina: Yeah. And when you say what is mandatory, are you, are you even attempting to work towards any goals right now? Or are you literally like invoices, contracts, checking in with clients, like the bare minimum to stay afloat mandatory?

Colie: I mean, I think the funny thing is Everything that you just said assumes that I’m doing client work.

So in Q1, um, I finished up, I think when I, when we spoke in January, I was fully booked as, as of people booking in December and January, but then I did not book any new clients because again, less time than I started with. Um, so I have been really focusing on. improving the systems that are like behind the scenes for the template sales and the course because while nothing that we do in this business is passive, that’s as passive as I can get for me.

So that is where I have been putting my energy. It’s actually where, well, we’ll get into Q2, but this is, yes, this is what I ended up doing for Q1 was in what little time I had, I was trying to improve the systems behind the scenes. Okay.

Sabrina: So I said, you said you were going to work on being intentional with your time.

I said, I was going to really focus on saying no more. How’d that go for you, Sabrina? I don’t know. Um, I will say, I don’t think I’ve had, I was going to say, I don’t think I’ve had a lot of opportunities to say no, um, but that’s not true. I’ve had a couple of client inquiries come through that were obvious, not the right fit as far as photography clients.

And I did it. Tell them no, I’m not their photographer. So that’s good. I did say yes to all of the podcast requests that came my way, which actually was really exciting because I kind of fell off the podcast interview wagon of me being the interviewer last year or the interviewee, me being interviewed last year.

And so I had a flurry of those requests come in, in January, um, which I was all really excited about. So I spent a lot of time Interviewing and being interviewed, um, which is fun and good for momentum and marketing and whatnot, but it does take up a lot of time, you know, your, it’s more meetings on your calendar.

It’s less time to do other things. That being said, things have kind of dwindled and we are recording this at the very, very beginning of April. And I know that next month is going to be really hard. May is the end of the school year. They ask a million and one things of us parents, um, come to all the things, participate in all the things, volunteer for all the things, you know, it’s a lot.

So I’m kind of trying to steal myself for that. I feel like. That personally, I’m going to get requested to do a lot of things. So, you know, we’ll see, but it’s going okay. It’s going okay. I’ll say, well, I am proud of you for saying no to the things that you did say no to. Yeah. Yeah. Here’s to hoping I can say no to more things.

I, I definitely, the intention behind me saying no or wanting to say no more was because I feel like I have so much stuff on my plate and. While I didn’t say no to a ton of stuff, I, I have, uh, I’m realizing that I have a pretty good support team at this point. Um, I have a lot of people that I brought on.

I think since I, since our last, I don’t remember when I brought her on. I think it was since our last call. I brought on a social media manager. So I have like, A bookkeeper, a social media manager, a podcast manager, a designer, somebody who helps me with writing. I have all, a VA, an actual assistant. I have all these people on my team, which is great.

I have all these people doing little things for me, but now I’m in the seat of like, it takes a lot of time to manage all that stuff. You know what I mean? So now I’m like, I need somebody to manage all those people doing all those things. Cause it still feels like I’m They have relieved a lot off my plate and they’re helping me get more done and better having it done better, but I don’t necessarily feel the time freedom that I thought I was going to have with that because I’m still having to approve things and assign things.

And you know what I mean?

Colie: I do. And I think, uh, one of your goals, I’m not going to put it on you for two for Q2. Let’s hold it off for Q3. Okay. But I think an office business manager is in your future.

Sabrina: Yeah, I would really love that. I feel like it’s I have felt that for a while and I finally feel like I’m at a place.

Where that would make sense because I am truly, and this is something we’ll talk about as we get into the episode, I am feeling held back for the things I want to create because I don’t have time to create them, you know, and that’s, that’s the only, that’s the only way I will say another thing that I need to work on is none of my people are talking to each other.

I’m the go between. And so I need to figure out. who can start talking directly to who and cut me out altogether. So we’ll see. Um, okay. Yeah, it is exciting. It also sounds really expensive.

Colie: I mean, so if you create the things that are on your bucket list to create, I’m sure that is going to create the funds to pay for the office business manager that you need to be in between you and all of these other people.

I will say. I’m not, I would just put a little bug in your ear. I feel like I can’t not say this as the automation systems person on this call. Um, the way that I run the podcast is there are three of us that have our hands in my podcast episodes. Technically it would be four because I hired the same designer that you did.

And I actually hired her with the intention of her doing the graphics for the podcast. And that just hasn’t played out yet. Um, But I am actually having Airtable do the communication for me for everybody’s job related to the podcast. Now, you’re doing more things, people are touching more things, but I would encourage you to figure out if there’s a system solution for now, so that then in Q3, you can actually talk about a person.

Sabrina: Yeah, that’s a really good idea. And that was one of the first things I’ve thought about is, you know, Because right now related to the podcast, I record it, I record an intro and then I create the graphics and then I upload everything into Asana and our podcast manager does everything else. She does the blogging, the scheduling and all of that.

But if I could take one of those small steps off creating the graphics and somehow ping my designer and tell her when it’s ready and have her do that. It’s just, you know, one small step, one, one last thing on my plate. So that’s totally doable. Sabrina. Totally. It is. It is. We’ll get there. Okay. Let’s see.

Other things that we’ve mentioned that I feel like we need to touch base on. Uh, you said that you were hoping to create a virtual summit in 2024 and also with the intention of focusing on more collaborations. How’s that going?

Colie: Yeah, that’s absolutely not going. I had absolutely no bandwidth in Q1 and I will not have any bandwidth in Q2 in order to get that done.

Now, when it comes to photography, I, I did a, I did a challenge last year in July and I felt very overwhelmed, but it wasn’t because of the challenge. It was because of how many visibility, um, things I stacked in July, one right after the other. And so by the end, when I was launching like a slightly different.

Version of my course where they got different access than they normally would. I was exhausted and was like, never again. But I do think that virtual summit slash challenge will be done in Q3. So we’re not even going to think about it for Q2. I, I know right now I don’t have the bandwidth, but going into Q3, I am hoping that that is going to be on my plate.

Now I am participating in a photography summit that is being hosted by someone else. And so again, like I’m going to get to see, you know, kind of behind the scenes, if you will, about the summit. And I’ve actually interviewed a few people that are going to be on my podcast. In Q3 or in Q2 that are talking about hosting a summit to grow your business.

So I feel like those two will lead up very nicely into me doing it for myself the first time.

Sabrina: Yeah, that’s awesome. I love that. I’m, I’m really excited to see where this goes. I know, I know personally what, uh, what you’ve been managing with your personal life and your schedule and your. Time constraints and all of that.

So I figured nothing was going on there. Plus, you know, I hadn’t heard about it in our boxer conversations, but for the listening audience, you know, you mentioned it. So I wanted to follow up on it and get the update. I had mentioned that I was going to be creating, um, some more freebies and some passive offers in the form of tripwires.

And I have two new freebies and two new tripwires that are running. And one is way more successful than the other, which is great. I mean, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. Um, the good news is the one that’s more successful is the one that took longer to create. So that feels good. And I actually have it running to ads right now and I’m about to actually today, the day that we’re recording, I am.

Um, it is, I don’t want anybody to think that it’s just printing money at this point. It’s not, we are still working out some of the kinks. I’m only the, the freebie itself is doing really well. Um, right now it’s bringing me about five leads a day, um, on its current spend, which is great. So it’s growing my email list.

The tripwire, I’m only getting about one to two sales a week. So it is not a high producing thing. But since the beginning of the year, I’ve sold about 50, which is exciting because I’ve never sold anything passively before. So it feels like a win. So we’re trying to work through, I’m working with my business coach on fine tuning the language on the landing page, fine tuning the, the ad graphics, fine tuning the things that will make it convert higher.

Um, which. Audience, if you’ve never done anything like that, it is a big fat game. It’s like tweak this, test this, wait and see. I mean, it’s all just a game. And so we’re just trying to figure it out. And um, my, my email list is growing a lot, which is great. And the people are clicking and opening They seem to be engaged.

Um, so it’s great. So we’ll see, I had hoped to get three freebies and three trip wires going before the end of Q1. That just didn’t happen. Uh, that was too lofty. I would love to get another one running by let’s say July. I have a million ideas, uh, but like we talked about on the last, on the last chat, uh, they, it takes so much time.

You think it’s going to be easy to create the thing and get it launched, but between the landing page and the links and all of the funneling and the ads, it’s. It’s, it’s 500 steps to get one thing done. And so it just takes longer. And that is a weak point for me realizing how long these things take. And

Colie: we talked about that on the last call.

I feel like I want to interject maybe to educate the audience a little bit. I feel like you and I both understand like self liquidating ad spend, but I feel like we’re glossing over it. And so I just want to mention, so Sabrina said that she’s getting five leads a day and she’s only getting a handful of sales, right?

50 since the beginning of the year. But the goal with something like this is not actually to turn a profit. It is basically to use what you make off of the Tripwire sales to pay for the ads so that you are not coming out of pocket to pay for your ads. The Tripwire does it for you. And that way you are growing your email list for free.

And then of course, you got to start figuring out what you’re going to do with all these new people and how they convert to your other offers and all that good jazz. But like 50 sales a day, Sabrina, that’s nothing to sneeze. Our 50 sales from the beginning of the year is nothing to sneeze at. So yeah,

Sabrina: no, I’m, I’m really excited and we’re definitely not to the, you know, it’s paying for itself yet.

It is paying back some of it, which is great and feels like a win. Um, the other part of doing ads, um, to a tripwire is, and I think it’s really important to mention is. Training your audience to pay you money and getting them used to paying you for things that you are good at, right? Paying you for not, not just wanting your free content, and that is something that’s brand new to me.

Up until this year, I have just grown my list. With freebies and challenges and, and various things like that. So I have not been training them to spend money with me. And so we’re, you know, we’re flipping the switch. We’re, we’re training them to spend money. And, uh, there’s a whole lot of ways that I have plans to do that.

This is the starting point. So we’ll see. I’m excited. I’m a little bit nervous because, you know, tripling the ad spend. Is a lot so, but I’m holding it loosely. We’re going to triple it for a month. We’re just going to let it sit for a month and see what happens and re evaluate. So that’s part of the game.

It’s just like any other investment.

Colie: The good news with ads is normally, if you have a funnel that is running successfully, you’re Doubling, tripling your budget actually just brings you the same level of success. It doesn’t normally increase your level of success, but it does, you know, bring you more leads that are doing the exact same thing.

So if your funnel is really, you know, getting it done for you now, then tripling it is going to bring in, you know, the additional people. And I will say. On the back end of that. So last year when I ran my challenge, it was a free three day challenge and I ended up giving out templates to everyone who participated in the challenge.

That is not what I am doing this summer. This summer I am going to run the challenge. Anybody can join. It’s still going to be free, but you are going to be presented with an offer to buy a template packet specifically to enable the challenge on the back end. So that’s going to be like me testing exactly what you just said.

Sabrina: Yeah, that’s awesome. And are you going to, is it something that’s currently offered in your shop?

Colie: So the templates themselves that I’m packaging together, um, they do exact, exist in like some form, most of them inside of the template shop, but it’s going to be the way that I’m packaging it. It’s going to be like the specific trainings that come with it that do not exist currently in my template shop.

Um, and it’s going to be like, okay. You know, if you end up buying it right when you join the challenge, it’s going to be significant savings over what you would spend in the template shop. So we shall see. And the new thing is. The honey book templates will be included in this. So those still don’t exist in my shop, but by, you know, July, they will.

Sabrina: That’s exciting. And so will they have a choice to choose Debsado or honey book or will they, okay, they’re not, they’re not going to get both. It’s they’re going to like,

Colie: I mean, I feel like I could just make it to where it was one product and you got them all, but I just, like, I don’t want people to get overwhelmed and like, look at a video for the wrong one.

So. On it, it’s going to ask you what CRM do you currently use? And I also need to be very specific because you can join my free challenge if you use any CRM. Right. But the template packs are only going to be for Dubsado or HoneyBook. So if you have 17 hats, you’re probably still going to get some value out of my free challenge, but the specific workflows, the specific templates that I’m giving you wouldn’t apply to your CRM.

Love it. I

Sabrina: think that’s awesome. That’s going to be. I’m going to mark it right here. That is going to be a really successful tripwire upsell situation to the challenge. I can’t wait to hear how that goes. Are you going to run ads? Are you going to run ads? Oh, Coley’s coming back to ads. I feel like that’s another conversation for another day.

The history with Coley and Facebook ads. So maybe we should talk about that on the podcast in another episode because there’s a lot to unpack there. Um, sounds good. Okay, so let’s see, another thing that you had mentioned. You were working on a super long email funnel at the time. It was like 30 plus emails.

And I know that you had said it was going to be longer. Are you still working on that? Or has that kind of been put on pause?

Colie: I mean, that was my plan for my Disney cruise that I did not get to go on in February because of my health. Um, I had debilitating headaches where I couldn’t get out of bed, so no Disney cruise for me, and I have not written a single email, but Sabrina, I will say That is what’s on my list when I come visit you for your birthday.

Yay! That is actually my task. So not only will you be able to like be, Hey Koli, how’s it going? You’re probably going to get like, to help me put the content in there because you’re going to be in the same room as me. So it is on my list for the end of this month.

Sabrina: Okay. For the audience, at the end of this month is my birthday.

It is also, we are going to a conference together. Koli and myself and our friend Anami Tonkin are arriving three days early so that we can have a working weekend slash social weekend together, which is going to be so awesome. And I need to figure out what my project is for that weekend. Yeah, I need to do that.

Clearly

Colie: mine is my evergreen sequence. Now I love it. If I have the opportunity to write some emails before then I won’t say no, but like that weekend is when I’m like all about the emails.

Sabrina: Okay. I love it. Another update is I had mentioned, uh, in the first, uh, the January episode that I was creating an invitation only high ticket offer.

So I thought I would go ahead and update you guys that I did create that offer and I did launch it and it sold out in a day and, uh, it was invitationally. So let me rephrase that. It didn’t sell out like it wasn’t a launch publicly and it just, you know, fly off the shelves. Everyone accepted the invitation, and, uh, we are starting next month.

We’re starting in May, and it will run through the end of the year, and I’m really excited about this. I will go ahead and say publicly that, uh, This is an offer. This is a group coaching program where I am leading these women. These are all photographers into becoming educators. So I’m going to teach them how to, uh, become an authority, um, to market themselves as educators, to create some sort of offer in the education space.

Um, email funnels, all of these things that we’re talking about, I’m going to teach them everything I know and get them set up to launch something by the end of this year. And, um, I’m really, really excited about it. I’m really, really, really excited about it. So the group of women is incredible. We are having a retreat in July in Austin, um, where it’s going to be like a glorified working weekend.

And then we’ve got coaching calls throughout. Start to finish in there. And, and I have told them that this group is my Guinea pig and I have a general idea of how it’s going to go, but I’m also willing to modify and adjust as needed to make sure that I’m serving them to the best of their ability. Um, so the question that multiple people have already asked me that have known about this offer, will I do this offer again next year?

Will this become something that is public that people can join? I don’t know. I don’t know is the answer to that. You have

Colie: to jump in before you can say that Sabr. Yeah. I have to get started. Let’s, let’s touch bases in Q3.

Sabrina: Yeah, we gotta get started and see how it’s going and see if I, if I truly feel like I’m doing them a service, if it’s going well, if it’s successful, I need to get at least halfway through it before I can even consider.

So I would like to think that it’s gonna go well and that it will become a thing, but I don’t know, and I’m kind of treating it like a root to rise 2.0. So these women have all been through my mastermind program and they are all ready for the next level of their business. And so really, really, really excited about that.

Okay. Another update. And we have so many updates and then we’ll get to the future stuff. Um, are you still taking time for yourself and sticking to your boundaries? That was another thing you mentioned. I am. I

Colie: mean, basically because I have no choice. I mean, I, I literally in two hours, most of the time I can’t get my brain to turn on to start work.

So, uh, I’m also seeing a therapist. And so that’s another form of like self care that I have really indulged in, in Q1. Um, and again, like I’m not planning on increasing anything because I just don’t have the capacity until the end of the school year. So by default, by force, I will be doing this at least until June.

Yeah. Which

Sabrina: I want to point out is, It’s a hard pill to swallow for somebody like you, who is a doer, right? You get ideas and you want to do them, but it is such a beautiful picture of honoring the season that you’re in. And this is where you’re at right now. This is what life has. given you right now and y and say, I can’t commit t this time is absolutely n something that I coach wo They’re trying to do all they’re not realizing tha have the capacity because they’re in.

There’s nothi It’s just honoring where

Colie: I can. I mean, the business, uh, the business survived me almost doing nothing in Q1. And so I, I feel invincible. I’m like, okay, once I actually jumped back in, in like the last part of Q2 going into Q3, I do feel like, I do feel like it’s going to rebound. I mean, and you know, I looked at my numbers for Q1, even without adding additional client work.

I mean, it wasn’t too shabby. And you know, one of the, one of the other things you’re probably going to mention it, but let’s mention it now instead. Both you and I said we were going to be more intentional about our profit margins. And I will say that is one of the things that I did in Q1. And just in the last 48 hours, I cut off three more subscriptions.

So I am really trying to get my spend on external people, on software subscriptions, on all of it down so that in this season of life, I can still maintain the business without going into debt because I am doing way less work than I would normally.

Sabrina: Yeah. Um, I haven’t been so good at that. You know, I brought on another person in a social media manager.

We’re talking about how I need an OBM. We’re talking about increasing, but I, I did a podcast episode a few weeks ago with Ashlyn Carter and we talked about what it takes to scale your business. And she subscribes to the same theory that I do that sometimes you have to. You have to put the money out first before things can come in.

And I really believe that. And I said at the beginning of the year, and I said this at the end of last year too, I really feel like all of the seeds I have planted in the education space over the last three to four years are really like coming to the surface and ready to explode. I just don’t have the systems and the support in place for them to actually do that.

And so that’s why I’m willing to continue to bring people on to, to alleviate things off my plate so that that can happen. Um, because I’m, I’m just, I’m stunted where I am. You know, I can only do so much and manage so many things. And so, um, I haven’t quite hit that profit that I’m hoping for yet, but, um, I’m still hopeful.

I’m still hopeful. I got a plan. So. Bye. Bye. A couple more updates and then we’re going to jump into new things. I mentioned on the last call that I will have, we’ve just had the first alumni retreat for route to rise, and I wasn’t sure how it’s going to go yet and. It was a wild success, Coley. Um, it was so much fun and for sure, this will be an annual thing.

Um, I’ve already started thinking about where the 2025 one is going to be in January, next January. I do have a problem though. And so we can talk through this a little bit. The group is getting too big, which is a great problem to have at this point. Um, about 45 women have gone through root to rise over the years.

And, uh, The listening audience may not know this, but Coley knows this. My women are crazy loyal. They are crazy loyal and they stick around and they continue to support me and they continue to support each other. And it’s like this, this girl gang that just keeps getting a little bit bigger every run.

And so last time in January, the alumni retreat was only, there was only two rounds of people that had been invited in because of when I launched it. Well, this time in July, when I announced. The, the 25 one, there will be four groups of women to be invited. And so I’m, I’m torn between wanting everybody to be able to come because I don’t want to leave anybody out, but also the bigger it gets, the less intimate it is.

And then you’re talking about, it’s like a conference, you know? And so logistically, I’m like, what is it going to look like? Do I need to find? a place big enough for 30 women? Do I need to cap it and just say, set your alarm, hope you get a spot, you know, like it’s kind of stressing me out.

Colie: I mean, I might go the route of like a small boutique conference type thing and host it at a hotel where you get a room block.

Yeah, I know you love everybody being in the house. I know you do, Sabrina, but eventually that’s just not sustainable. I mean, I would argue it’s probably not sustainable for 2025 and it will definitely not be sustainable for 2026. If you continue at the same pace that you’re going. Yeah.

Sabrina: Yeah, I know. It’s, it’s a thought I’ve had.

It makes me a little nervous because you and I have watched some smaller boutique conferences struggle with that because it is a much larger financial commitment upfront to get a block and have to guarantee all of that. And so it’s just, it’s, it’s already an expensive investment, but that takes it to a whole nother level.

And so anyways, I’m toying with, I’m also toying with getting a really large house. And then saying anybody that doesn’t get a spot, you guys get a room at a local hotel. And then we can have all of the group time in the house, like finding a house with like an awesome living space, outdoor space, that kind of thing.

I don’t know. Anyways. So that was one update. It was an awesome retreat. Yes. We’ll do it again in 2025. And then I had mentioned, I needed to decide if I was going to do a fall run of root to rise and surprise we’re enrolling now. So, yes, there is a fall run of Roots to Rise and it’s going to be in Seattle in September and Koli’s going to be one of the guest educators again.

And um, yeah, so that decision was made, check that box and moving on. So today’s episode is brought to you by The Roundtable, a community built for female photographers who want to continue growing their business while forging industry friendships along the way. In this group, you will learn practical ways to move your business forward while finding community and accountability with like minded photographers.

The roundtable consists of three main parts, new live trainings that drop every month, a growing vault of all of the past trainings, and of course, the community. Are you curious how it works? Every month you will get access to three new pieces of content over a broad variety of topics like pricing, editing, goal setting, website reviews, social media, and videos of me behind the scenes at real sessions.

Members also have 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. The membership vault is such a valuable resource that is honestly more than worth the cost of enrollment on its own.

As of today, it has close to a hundred trainings and only continues to grow. It literally holds every training from the very beginning of the membership and not to name drop, but the guest experts that come teach inside this group are industry leaders like Amanda Warfield of Chasing Simple, Maddie Pichon, Coley James, Jade Boyd, and Dawn Richardson of Tech Savvy Creative.

Just to name a few. So yeah, the education is great, but you can’t ignore the community. It is an absolutely incredible group of women just like you. In fact, I’m pretty sure that anyone in the group will tell you that the community is the best part. 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 SabrinaGabhart. com backslash membership and enroll today. Now back to the episode. We’ll Let’s talk about Q2. What are you thinking for Q2? And I know you’ve said Really, you can only maintain things until you get to the tail end of it. So what are you thinking post school year?

Are you going to just enjoy the summer with Chloe for a little bit? Are you going to travel or are you going to jump into like doing something? Cause you can have your family do something. Yeah,

Colie: that’s, that’s the answer. That is the

Sabrina: only appropriate

Colie: answer. I will also say we are kick starting the summer with a four day trip to Disneyland, because for those of you that know that I love Disneyland, I have not been since September.

I canceled my January trip. I canceled my February cruise. I canceled my February trip to Disneyland. I canceled my March trip. I had tentatively planned one for this month, and I’m 90 Five percent sure I can’t go. So in May will be the trip that does not get canceled. Four days. And then when we get back, um, Chloe is actually going to summer camp for five of the available eight weeks that she can go to this all girls sports camp that she loves.

I don’t know what she’s gonna do for those other three weeks, but I might send her to Texas. I am planning on this being a working summer, legitimately. I mean, we’re gonna do Disneyland in May, and then we’re gonna do Disneyland for her birthday trip in August with my husband, and like, in between. It’s going to be work time.

So, the main goals that I have for the end of Q2 to kind of get me ready for Q3 is, as the systems person, I have really ignored my systems. I mean, I’ve been so busy working on everybody else’s systems. You know, it’s that, that old, you have to schedule time for yourself. So, there’s a couple things that are going on.

Number one, with the things that have been happening with my health. I just can’t keep stuff on the brain. There is absolutely no retention at this point. Like if I have a conversation with you a month ago and today, I don’t even know that I remember what I did for you. Like the retention is just so low.

So I need better systems that I’ve never needed before. In order to track client progress outside of my head, and I don’t just mean like where they are in my, you know, client journey because I can already see that in the systems that I have, but like more specifically, creating habits for myself to where when I get off the call with you.

I am not relying on the fact that I will just remember what we talked about four weeks later, or even that I can reread the transcript. So it’s kind of like a difference in how I am running my business. I need slightly tweaked systems for that. The second thing is I have had a lot of like, I will do this when I have time things.

And the truth is these things that I’m about to talk about don’t require huge chunks of time at a, in one time in one sitting. So I do think that this is probably the perfect time for me to work on these things. One thing that my students get when they join the CRM blueprint, either for the Dubsado version or the HoneyBook version, is I specifically ask you, do you want to finish this course in 10 days or 30 days?

Now, I give them a click up board that shows them which modules they should do on each day in order to finish the course. But Sabrina, I have probably planned for at least eight months to have an email sequence that goes with that. That, you know, every day for 10 days you get an email that’s like, Did you do this?

This is the goal of this lesson. Like, way more instructional design, Which is, of course, what those degrees are in that I have that I don’t really use anymore, but like I have a lot of things like that that I really want to use to improve the course now that I have essentially taken myself out of the course, it’s available for self study, you purchase additional support as an add on, but my goal is that everyone can go through my course as a self study, and so the email sequences are just the first step, but like I have them big on a piece of paper on my desk that this will get done.

Before June.

Sabrina: Okay. That’s really great. I love that you have allowed yourself to kind of wrap up some kind of open loop stuff before diving into new stuff, because it’s really tempting to dive into like the fun ideas. Yeah. When you’re like, well, dang it. I want to do a virtual summit and skip over all this stuff.

Um, I think that’s really important. I was thinking just this morning about a whole slew of open loops that I have that I really need to get buttoned up before I move on to something else, but yeah. As I mentioned a little bit ago, I’m currently in the middle of launching something and if you’ve ever launched something, you know that it eats, eats up every little last brain cell you have.

Colie: So Sabrina, do you know when I find that I can actually write down my list of open loop stuff? on the plane going somewhere. I will tell you there is nothing better than being on a plane with a laptop, with internet if you pay for it, but really no internet because sometimes even when you pay for it, it doesn’t work.

But like I have found that those are my most productive times to just make lists. Like the last working weekend that you and I did, I didn’t think about it. At all, what I was going to do for our working weekend until I got on the plane to head to Dallas. And then, you know, by the time I landed, I had a whole clickup list with subtasks and due dates and just everything.

So I, I just want to tell the listening audience, if you are feeling motivated to like do some of this open loop work yourself. First, you have to find a quiet chunk of time. To figure out what those open loops are. And then you can set out a plan to kind of work through them.

Sabrina: Yeah. And again, it’s not sexy to do that work.

You know, that’s not the fun, exciting stuff that we tend to want to do, especially as creatives when we have ideas, but it feels so good to do that stuff and to check it off when you know, it’s been like weighing on you and just floating around in the back of your mind for months or years, right. Just to get it finally done.

Feels awesome. It’s the same. I equate it to when I finally sit down and make all the phone calls that I’ve been putting off, put off phone calls like the plague. I absolutely hate having to call to schedule dog grooming, call to schedule the dentist appointment, call these people back. I mean, I absolutely.

hate it with every fiber of my being. And I will, I will put them all off until I’m like, that’s it. I’m going to carve out an hour and I’m going to call everyone. And then it takes me like 11 minutes for six phone calls. And I’m like, Oh, that wasn’t so bad. But you procrastinated for months on doing it. I know it’s ridiculous.

It’s ridiculous. Okay. Q2. What am I doing in Q2? Um, let’s see. April, May, June. That means I will be wrapping up the current run of the Rootrise Mastermind. They finish in early May, so I’m gonna serve those women really well until the end. June, skipping over May. June, I will probably work on a project. June is one of the months where I’m not running a program.

I will be working with my new education group. There’s six women there, but it’s a smaller lift than running a huge program. There’s 19 women in route to rise right now. So it is a huge group of people that I’m serving. So I’m hoping to kind of get a focused project done because I won’t have all the calls and I won’t have all the boxer hours, you know, um, but I will have the kids home.

So, you know, I don’t know if that’s too lofty of a goal or not, but may may right now, as it stands, I am planning on doing another live launch of the aligned photographer. I have not done a live launch of the aligned photographer since Black Friday of 2022 . Okay. Which is ridiculous. Wow. Yeah. And so you ask, well, no wonder that course is not selling.

Sabrina, you haven’t live launched it in, you know, a year and a half. Um, which is true. Which is true. That course has gotten not gotten the attention it deserves because is. It truly is a fantastic little course. It is a self study thing. Um, so I’m going to be doing a live launch and I am embarrassed to say this out loud, but I still don’t know what my plan is for that.

I have no plan yet. And that is, um, as, as of today, that is like a month I’ve got a month. So, um, I have all kinds of ideas for what that’s going to be. It is not going to be a traditional webinar. I’m not doing that. Um, I think it’s going to be some sort of. Three day training ish, maybe that’s live. And I’m toying with kind of pulling the easy button and doing a module from the course.

So like actually teaching it live to the public for free as kind of a teaser of like, if you like this and you found value in this, imagine what all of these other modules will give you kind of a thing. Cause I do think that would be easy.

Colie: I mean, that’s what my three free day, my free three day challenge was last summer.

I mean, I talk about putting all of your client experience together in my course and then also in my, you know, done for you offers. But specifically what I did for the challenge was I was like, okay, what three things will give people the biggest bang for their buck. And then that will put them in a position where they will want the rest.

And for me, that was coming up with your automated lead response, and then coming up with your booking proposal or smart file in order to automate the booking process, and then last year, I talked about automating your print sales. I am not going to do that this summer. This is not going to be a photographer only challenge that automating your print sale.

Like I felt so rushed on day three to do that. That’s going to become its own three free three day challenge at some point in the fall. So I’m saying it out loud so that you can hold me accountable. But I think that finding something from the course and teaching it live is a great way to push people towards getting wins for themselves.

Those micro wins that we all like talk about, but then there’ll be like, okay, so now that I did this, What else can Sabrina teach me?

Sabrina: Yeah. And, and it’s interesting that you said what three things can give them the most bang for their buck. That’s exactly how I’m looking at it at it. I’m like, what’s the most valuable module I could give them and doing that for free, as opposed to a few years ago, and this is way back.

This is when the course was called something else. And it was live launching webinar style. When we were both. Launching courses together. It was. a teaser. It was, we were taught to like give a little bit of information, but don’t give away something so valuable that they don’t need you. And at the time I had done a webinar on like the introduction module stuff that was valuable and it was foundational, but it wasn’t the real, like needy stuff.

And so now I’m flipping the script. I’m like, you know, I think I’m just going to give them the most valuable module, the thing that they would help them most support them the most that gets asked the most, and then let them have everything else. If they joined the course. I don’t know. We’ll see. I, I’m, I’m really big on lately trying to choose the easiest way to do things.

Um, I love to overcomplicate things. And so it’s really hard for me to look at what’s the easiest. Uh, and obviously doing a challenge in the form of, or not necessarily challenge, but a free training in the form of something that I’ve already created would be easy. Um, yeah. So we’ll see. Um, I really need to get my act together and kind of get that buttoned up because I want to give this.

live launch the intention that it deserves. I have been spending a little time having our designer, our mutual designer, um, create some additional resources for the course, some support things like fun little printables and, and checklists and whatnot, just to support it. Um, things that I’d always wanted to put in there and just They were open, they were open loops.

Coley. So Sabrina, why have I

Colie: not thought about giving her? Okay. You know what? Well, I literally just gave her, I have this like bonus thing that has always been in the course and it’s basically. Helping people make their offer to where someone can’t say no. Cause of course my course teaches you how to put your offer in Dubsado or HoneyBook in a nice smart file or proposal with photos and frequently asked questions and all of that.

But like the actual creation of the offer and figuring out what the most important frequently asked questions are. I had this thing and I literally gave that to her yesterday and was like, can you redesign this? But I’ve not thought about asking her to do additional checklists. I mean. You’re on to something with that.

Sabrina: And it’s really small, but it’s something that when you’re in a course, especially if you’re somebody like you or I, who likes to write things down and check things off and organize them. I mean, we value that kind of stuff, you know, and it’s, it’s just a little bit of added value. So I’ve been giving the course more attention and, um, I’m really excited about public launching that.

So that’s happening in May and I will say. I’m a little nervous about doing that right after the root to rise launch, just because it’s like a launch and then another launch and the inner launch energy is really hard to manage and it’s exhausting, but it’s intentionally back to back because. The foundational elements are very similar in the two.

One is just self study. The other one is high touch, you know, so I think it makes sense from a marketing perspective that I’m talking about a lot of the same things. So we’ll see,

Colie: we’ll

Sabrina: see.

Colie: I mean, I agree with that, but also I think that those are two completely different kinds of launches. Like you don’t teach anything for your right to rise launch.

Right. So I do think that even though it’s two launches back to back, Like, To me, it’s completely different energy. Now, granted, I’m not the one that’s doing it. So you might feel differently, but I do feel like that’s just going to be completely different energy. And I like that you’re doing it in may, because when we get together for your birthday slash working weekend, we can kind of button up those last minute details because that is right before may hit,

Sabrina: that’s probably what I’ll do that weekend.

That’ll make a whole lot of sense. I mean, I’m sure that I will have some energy spent on. Practicing my talk for the conference and fine tuning that because you know, I like to go over that a hundred million times, a hundred million times. But I’m hoping that I’m confident with that and I can kind of put my energy towards something else that weekend.

The other thing that, um, I will be putting a lot of energy into fine tuning the details of the, um, education program that I’m doing. I have a lot of it mapped out already, but I’m also more focused on serving my current students than that. And so as soon as that ends, I’m, I go into switching my mindset and then I really have a goal of getting the round table up to a hundred members.

And the goal is not for Q2. It’s for the rest of the year. Um, so I have already been talking about it a lot more than I have historically, but I’m interested. I have a lot of ideas, a lot of marketing ideas for, you know, maybe letting people in for a free week where they get to attend a call or maybe get access to the vault for a certain amount of time, or maybe pulling things out of the vault.

As you know, freebies. I don’t know. I don’t know what it looks like. Um, but that membership is crazy valuable and that community is so awesome, you know, and so I’d love to see it hit a hundred right now. We’re at 70. So nice. Oh, so 30 people, Sabrina, you got that.

Colie: No sweat.

Sabrina: And it seems like it, but it is a slow, you know, I might get one or two new people a month right now.

Colie: And so, but you have not been doing visibility stuff. So let, I mean, you’re going to be going to a conference in May. I’m sure in April, May, I’m sure that you’re going to have some momentum coming off of that. Like, you know, it’s early in the year.

Sabrina: Yeah.

Colie: 30 people, no sweat by the end of 2020.

Sabrina: And one of my funnels is going to get turned on to, you know, lead into the membership.

So right now I don’t have any funnels leading to that. One of them is going to get turned on to that, uh, later this year. So we’ll see. Yeah, it’s a goal. I’m excited about it. Um, what else? So you told me what you’ve got for the, for Q2. We’re excited to get Coley through the end of the school year so she can get my life back and some breathing room.

Um, Thinking forward to the rest of your year, has anything changed for, for what you’d love to see happen for the end of 2024? Or are you still kind of thinking the same things?

Colie: I can’t even think forward that far. The only thing that I know is the conferences that I’m going to, I have booked them. So I know what those are.

I have officially gotten hotel rooms and plane tickets and tickets and all of that good stuff. Um, I mean, the biggest life change is that Chloe is not going to private school next year. So no more private school tuition, which is currently more than my mortgage guys. And that means that I get my entire babe day back.

She is going to be going to school right around the corner. I could force her to walk home and back from school. Um, so In fall, I will be back to being full time. I have changed my title temporarily to be a part time business owner, uh, because that’s what I am right now. I don’t have time to be full time, but come back in the fall and that will be me again.

Sabrina: Yeah, I’m excited for you. I’m really excited for you to get all that time back because I know it’s been hard for you to not have those bigger chunks to actually start something and finish something. I know you like to finish something as soon as you start it and not leave, leave things open. So that’s, that’s exciting.

And I totally understand you not being to think, being able to think that far ahead just in the current state you’re in. I totally, I totally understand that. My goals are still the same. Um, really focusing on, it’s funny I say this out loud, really focusing on passive offers and higher profit. When I just mentioned this other new high touch thing, and then we’re, we’re launching the mastermind, I promise the ideas are there.

Again, the passive income for me looks like tripwires. It looks like The aligned photographer, um, selling because that is a self paced offer. It looks like increasing the membership to a hundred people. All of those things are considered passive in my mind. So we’ll see. Uh, my business coach has some different goals for me.

Um, she wants me to create a much higher ticket offer. Um, which makes me nervous. Quite frankly. So I’m not sure what that’s going to look like, or if I’m going to be brave enough to take the leap to create something that’s like a five figure offer, I don’t know. So we’ll see. We’ll see about that. Um, other than that, I’m just, I feel like I’m trying to stay afloat right now.

Colie: You know, it’s the end of the, it’s almost the end of the school year. I mean, I feel like after spring break, it’s just all downhill from there.

Sabrina: A hundred percent. 100%. I feel like, and truly every day right now, I’ll show you my, my little notebook. I, and I’ve been telling my, my mastermind group this, I’ve been doing the Eisenhower matrix for, for my tasks because my brain is like, there’s too much.

And so I have to constantly sort it into urgent and important, not, not important, not urgent. Right. And kind of. Keep an eye on the things that have to get done and it’s literally just to stay afloat until the end of the school year, until the end of this current launch, until the next thing happens, um, until the conference is over.

And, um, I was telling you, I, I have a call with my podcast manager tomorrow because I can’t even think of things to talk about on the podcast anymore. That’s how fried my brain is. It’s just fully at capacity. You’ll get it. I will. I will. I mean, you know, I’ll wing it if I have to. That’s fine. Okay.

Anything else you want to add that we need to know for where you are right now in April?

Colie: Nope. I think we’re good. I look forward to talking in everyone’s ear again in Q3. I

Sabrina: know you’re going to be in a whole new place. Whole new play. Buckle up world. When Koli comes back for the next quarterly podcast chat, it is going to be rapid fire.

I have a feeling, which I’m really excited. Um, Koli in rapid fire mode is very exciting.

Colie: It is. And I haven’t been in rapid. I don’t feel like I’ve been in that mode for 18 months. So it’ll be interesting.

Sabrina: Yeah.

Colie: Here we go.

Sabrina: Enjoy, enjoy this, enjoy where you are right now. Cause it’s about to get a lot more fast paced.

That’s awesome. All right, my friend, thank you for being here. Thanks for joining us for another quarterly business bestie chat. We’ll see you next time. 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@sabrinagehart.com slash podcast.

Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gehart 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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