96: How To Succeed When Business Is Slow

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What should you be doing while business is slow? In today’s episode, I’m talking with Rachel Greiman of Green Chair Stories about how to succeed in a slow season. We’re sharing our thoughts on trends we’re seeing across the photography industry, plus how to set yourself up to thrive when the slow season ends. 

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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Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

This episode is brought to you by Portfolio On Purpose, my step-by-step framework for planning and executing a successful model call. Model calls are so important for getting fresh eyes on your business, to create fresh images for new offers, and to create without the expectations of paying clients. With Portfolio On Purpose, you will feel inspired to take action and will have the steps and tools necessary to run a successful model call and get the images that your business truly needs. 

Review the Show Notes:

Meet Rachel Grieman (2:10)

What’s happening in the photography industry (3:53)

What to do while things are slow (9:25)

It’s time to tackle your forever to-do list (16:27)

How to show up authentically in slow seasons (18:30)

Create opportunities for connection (22:46)

Don’t take the writing too seriously (25:11)

How to stay positive to stay consistent (26:00)

Changing the energy and taking the pressure off (29:31)

Trust the process (31:32)

Look outside the industry and get creative (33:51)

You may not need to hit your goals (34:56)

Rapid-fire questions (37:00)

Connect With Rachel:

Instagram

Green Chair Stories

Photography

Episode Links:

Episode 14: Creatives and Overwhelm with Rachel Greiman

Portfolio On Purpose

Instagram

Website

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Review the Transcript:

Sabrina: On today’s episode of the shoot it straight podcast. I’m interviewing my dear friend, Rachel Griman of green chair stories. Rachel and I are talking about kind of the elephant in the room. Business is slow. Inquiries are down and it’s happening to everyone across the country, across experience levels, across price points and genres.

Things are just slow. And she and I are both seeing. People struggling with this. We’re seeing frustration. We’re seeing fear. We’re seeing people want to give up and just completely let go of their business. We’re seeing people panic and we don’t want anybody to do any of those things. So we’re having a real honest conversation about the state of the economy.

Um, And what’s happening in the photography industry and what we can do while things are slow to drum up some business to get some clients and how we can not only survive this, but come out on the other side, just absolutely thriving with businesses that are killing it in 2025. This is a really, really great episode, and I cannot wait for you to take a listen.

So here we go. 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, we’ll 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, 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 today we’re chatting with my friend Rachel Griman of green chair stories. Welcome back to the podcast for your second time. I’m so glad you’re here. Yay. Me too. Thank you

Rachel: so much for having me. It is always a pleasure to chat with you.

Sabrina: Yes, before we dive in to where we’re going, which side note, I’m really excited about where we’re going today.

Give the audience a quick little introduction in case they don’t know you.

Rachel: Yeah, so my name is Rachel. I own Greenchair Stories. It is a small copywriting collective for photographers. That’s the long version. The short version is we write websites for photographers. That’s what we do. It’s very niche. It’s very specific, but y’all really don’t like writing.

So it’s been, there’s a never ending supply of clients. That’s for sure. Yeah. We’re just really passionate about helping people specifically photographers. Find out kind of what they’re passionate about photographing and why and then finding the clients that align with that and helping them write copy that draws those clients in.

Sabrina: Yeah, exactly. And Rachel, you have a really cool perspective because you are writing for photographers. So you’re getting to be like in the brain of all of these different artists all over the country in different niches. But also you are a photographer as well. And so you also wear that hat and know what it’s like to be behind the camera and experience those things.

So it gives you a really, really cool perspective for what you do. Yeah. And for our conversation today, it’s going to be really great. So. A little back story. I shared something on Instagram a few weeks ago and it got a lot of really positive feedback and a lot of people reposted it, including you. Thank you very much.

And it got me thinking that maybe we should use that as an inspiration for our discussion today. And the premise of the Instagram post was this, Photographers everywhere are saying that inquiries and bookings are way down and people are like legitimately in panic mode. You and I have very similar feelings about how we’re handling this, but we’re going to kind of dive into what’s happening and what everybody should be doing instead of panicking.

So. Inquiries are down. I mean, I’m hearing it for my students. I’m hearing it for my audience. I’m hearing it when I go to conferences from people all over. I’m curious, what are you hearing and seeing from the people you’re working with?

Rachel: Exactly the same as you. Um, I think it’s been a weird year and this is a completely non scientific hypothesis that I have.

And I think 2024 is just kind of the year of balancing out the market a little bit across every industry, and that, of course, is going to trickle down to small businesses like photographers. Um, and I think specifically for photographers, everybody got really scared in 2020, but it actually, the pandemic ended up being, Very profitable for photographers because people were booking.

There was so much uncertainty that people were thinking, especially for wedding photographers. If they wanted to do it, they had to do it now because everything was under control with the pandemic and we didn’t know when we were going to get another surge. So I feel like there was kind of this heyday for photographers from 2020 to.

Like mid 2023, where people were just being really assertive on bookings and booking way ahead and all of that. And now we’re kind of seeing things level off a little bit. And people think it’s something they’re doing wrong. And I just genuinely think it’s an evening out and we’re coming back to kind of stability here.

And there were also a lot of photographers that started in 2020. And so I think the market is more saturated than ever. So standing out is more important than ever. So it’s not that people are technically doing anything wrong. It’s just the things that worked from 2020 to 2023 are not going to work anymore.

Sabrina: Yeah, I agree. I we’re in this weird economy right now. And you’re right. 2020 ended up being a really great year for a lot of people. I know personally, and I’m sure you were the same way. That when businesses are shutting down and we couldn’t do things, we were like throwing money at things that we loved, you know, I mean, my internet orders for small businesses was like through the roof because I’m like, I’m going to order my stationery and my earrings and my makeup and all this stuff from people because I want them to stay afloat.

And. Part of that was possible because we had all of this economic support from our government to like, survive the pandemic, which felt like extra money to people. And so we were just throwing it at stuff, right? Like we were just online shopping and doing the curbside pickups and giving money to everybody that we could.

And it ended up being really, really well, great for people on the other side. Um, and like you said, a lot of photographers had people booking ahead of time or buying gift cards or whatnot. And so it ended up being a pretty great year. But now we’re in this weird, like you said, it’s a balancing out. I also think, you know, we’re in an election year and that always freaks people out.

And we’re also seeing weird stuff happening with the economy and other places. I like to bring up insurance as an example, like insurance is bananas right now. We’re paying four times what we paid a year and a half ago for insurance, which is horrific. And it’s not just like my provider or where I am.

It’s literally You can get on threads of any neighborhood in any city across the country and people are complaining about, you know, groceries and gas and insurance and all of these things that are necessities, right? Like, we have to have these basic things to survive and stay afloat. And photography’s extra.

You know what I mean? Like, yes, people are still getting married. Yes, people are still having babies. But all of the rest of it is kind of like, well, we could put off family photos. We could skip the newborn photos. We could, you know, and And when you combine that with the fact, like you said, that there’s more photographers than ever.

It’s, we’re just in a little bit of a

Rachel: rough patch. And it’s totally, but it doesn’t have to be, I don’t want to sound unhopeful because I know Sabrina has a lot of ideas and I have a lot of ideas, but I think it’s really important to Understand why and then move beyond it. I think a lot of photographers right now are stuck in the why is this happening and this isn’t working and they’re not coming up with solutions that are creative to the problem of 2024.

This is not something that a lot of people have faced because and here’s another thing that I’ve even had to tell myself. When your business has been growing for a while, year over year over year, you panic a little bit when you have a year where you’re not growing or not hitting the same amount. This is normal.

It is normal to have a year where you don’t grow. Not that I’m saying it’s a good thing, but I’m saying it’s very normal. And I don’t want people to panic. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing well. It just means we got to adjust. Yeah,

Sabrina: exactly. And And this is, it’s normal. Not just it’s in any industry. It’s normal.

I saw something on Instagram the other day that showed like the Facebook, the net worth of Facebook and met, which is now meta, um, over the years. And it literally was like up, down, up, down, up, down, big, up, big, down, big, up, big down. That’s the way it goes. And sure, some of that is investing and making changes, but we should be doing those things too, even as a small business.

Um, and so you’re right, like not panicking is huge. So as much as we hate to admit it, things are down. It’s slow. It’s weird. People are in this panic mode, but just because it’s slower than normal, doesn’t mean that it’s time to just wave the white flag, throw in the towel and shut your beautiful business down.

Uh, which is so tempting for so many solopreneurs because it’s just them. And they think, like you said, I’m doing something wrong. People don’t like me anymore. Uh, and they just think, nevermind, I’m not doing this anymore, which is really, really sad. But like you said, economies go up and down and we’ve got to figure out how to weather the storm to move through these things.

So I’d love to know what you are doing and what you’re encouraging people around you to do. Wow. Things are slow.

Rachel: Yeah. A great question. I have a very real life example from just last week with the copywriting business. So we have always increased our prices. Cause we write about 65 websites a year.

That’s a lot of experience and knowledge that we’ve gained. So every January we raise our prices and it’s not a lot, but. It’s enough that we’ve noticed a stark decrease in bookings in 2024, which we have not had one of those slumps maybe ever in the last seven years of doing this business. And so I met with my team last week.

Uh, they all came over to my house for lunch and we were just kind of brainstorming and. I realized that, you know, me offering something different than I’ve done before is not devaluing what we do. It is meeting people where they are at. We have heard so much feedback from people. We want to hire you. We want to hire you.

We just can’t afford it. So why not give them help in a way that they can afford it? So we created a brand new offer in one hour, me and my team last week, and it’s 2, 000 less than our highest package, which is almost all we booked in the last two years. And. We launched it just to my email list and we sold out almost our whole summer.

We went from like almost having nothing on the books, which again, does not happen to us to having a fully booked out summer. And it was such a good reminder to me that I think when things are good, you hear from a lot of coaches, don’t offer discounts, don’t do this. And it’s like, sure. Yes. I think there’s a time and a place for that.

But then I also think that there is a time and a place to reevaluate what the market is demanding and needs. And as a photographer, what I’m encouraging my photography clients to do is the same thing. Your old packages that were working for you the last couple years might’ve been selling awesome. And I’m not saying you need to take that off the table, but you might need to add one in that is a little more cost conscious for your clients because your ideal clients do not have the dollars that they did last year or the year before, or maybe they have them and they’re scared to spend them, which is totally valid.

So, We ran like a in real time experiment last week and it worked. People are not not wanting to invest. They’re just not wanting to make scary investments and you might be a little scary to them. So you want to have something that still works for you and your financial goals and needs, but also meets them where they’re at.

So I’m encouraging my photographers to look at what they can take out of their packages that they offered before. How can they find a middle of the road? Offer that is still very much in line with their vision and what they do that their clients are going to want to jump at.

Sabrina: Yeah. I love that. I’ve been saying the same thing to my students and it’s not, it’s exactly what you said.

It’s not so much discounting what they offer. It’s changing what the offer is and sure. And years past, we’ve all had a number that is like our ideal number that everybody books and guess what? Just like you said earlier, we have to have creative solutions and that may not be a number that is. possible.

So what is gonna keep you afloat? What is gonna keep clients coming in your door? Meet them in the middle. Like you said, maybe it’s a lower dollar amount from you, but you’re also spending less because maybe there’s less included in that offer, less time, less, you know, deliverables and whatnot. And the other thing is, Like you said, you’re used to raising your prices every year and a lot of people are with supply and demand, with experience and, and I think that’s fantastic.

I don’t know that this is the year to raise your prices right now that now

Rachel: we know ,

Sabrina: right? This is maybe not the year to go through with a price increase, but also I don’t want anybody to hear this discussion of like creating. Coming up with this lower, different, unique offer as a permanent solution.

Totally. We launched it for the summer. Yes, exactly. This does not have to be a new thing that you have all the time. This can be a 2024 and then it gets put away offer, right? This is just for right now to get over the slump, to, to get you until things. Settle down a little bit more.

Rachel: And I think many sessions are a great example of this.

I think many sessions are a great thing to add if you don’t do them, because if people love you, they’re going to want to book whatever you’re putting out there. That’s within their budget. You just might not have an offer that’s within their budget. So see what you can renegotiate with what you offer.

And I use this example all the time because it obviously means a lot to me personally, but it’s such a great. picture of how this applies to other industries. My dad is a home builder and he’s owned the business as long as I’ve been alive. You know, it’s been even more, it’s been over 40 years. And when the great housing recession hit in, you know, 2011, 2012, I think was like when he got hit the hardest.

He. went from like, I don’t know the exact number, but it was like 150 ish employees to like less than 20 throughout this. He had to keep downsizing and downsizing, downsizing. And he changed his offer so much to just make sure that there was enough money to keep his business going. Now he was one of the only builders left in his area by the time they all recovered because he was just doing what it took to stay afloat.

This might not be the most banger year for you. I know my dad had a Five horrible years, but he now has 250 employees. His company is the biggest it’s ever been because he hung on and now he was passionate about it. He needed to, he was the sole earner for our family. So like, he didn’t really have a choice, but he also wanted to.

So I’m not saying if it’s not going well to like at all costs, hang on to your business, but I am saying you can get really creative. He offered different packages for starting homes. He started doing custom design again for on your lot stuff. There was so many offers that he offered for a limited time just to get some cash in the door to build the business back up.

And I was so reminded of that last week when I was brainstorming, this does not need to be a complete pivot in your business. Like, well, I guess I’m a mini session photographer now. No, you can just say. I hear you. You don’t have a lot of money for the rest of this year. This is what we’re doing. If you want it.

And I guarantee you, people will jump on it.

Sabrina: Yeah, exactly. And I love what you said about the story with your dad and how he had to put in a certain amount of hustle and hard work and stay really focused and how he came out on the other side, completely killing it and thriving. That’s what I keep trying to like hammer into everyone’s heads.

Those of us that are willing to do the work now and stay consistent and show up and be creative and put in the hustle are going to be killing it on the other side when things balance out. And that’s where you want to be. You have to be willing to stay focused on the long game. And we’re going to get to this in a minute.

That is a little bit of a mind struggle for sure when you’re in this, but Coming up with these creative offers to get over the hump is definitely one big thing. Another thing I think is so important, and this is similar to what I was telling people in 2020, this is a really great time to do all of those projects in your business that are always on the forever to do list, right?

Like how many tons of ideas are on the list that were like, I want to try this and I want to update this and I want to do this and I want to make these videos and I want to X, Y, Z, all these things. If you have all that time on your hands now, instead of sitting in, I’m scared, nothing’s working, this isn’t paying off, I’m not getting inquiries.

Those are facts. There’s nothing you can do about that right now. What can you do? You can control what you’re working on in your business. You can control your energy and how you’re spending your time every day. Do things that are going to pay off. In the long run.

Rachel: Yes. And I think a lot of people did that during COVID.

Like we had a great year in 2020 because photographers who were so busy that they could never work on their website came to us and they’re like, okay, I’m ready. Like, let’s do it. I’ve got some time on my hands now. And those businesses that hired us in 2020 are are doing the best because they took that free time and were productive with it.

And I think you’re absolutely right, Sabrina. And I think it’s really easy. And I did this a little bit during COVID too, to just get sucked into like the scroll and like the self pity and like, I don’t. Or you think you’re productive because you’re on social media and you might make a real out of something you see.

So you just sit there for a while. That’s not productive. That’s not serving your goals. So and I mean, I’m not saying don’t feel bad for yourself. You’re allowed to throw a little bit of a pity party. It’s hard, but I just want to normalize the ups and downs of small business ownership and it’s never going to be in the money, in the green all the time for decades and decades.

It’s like these years happen and. The fact of it is that all we can control is our reaction to it.

Sabrina: Totally. Exactly. So we know that it’s hard to continue to show up for your business. When things aren’t great, like it’s just, it’s hard. It is being a solopreneur. We are wearing most of the hats and we’re also carrying the energy of our household and our families.

And it just, it can feel like we are totally failing on multiple fronts. It’s hard to show up when things aren’t good. How can we stay authentic to our business and the way we’re showing up without necessarily like. Waving this flag of desperation across Instagram, right? I mean, that’s okay. I guess if you want to be brutally honest with your followers, but maybe you don’t want to do that.

And, and I don’t know, come across like you’re begging for business. How do you continue to show up in email and on social media when you’re working? And it feels like nothing’s paying off, if that makes sense.

Rachel: I think for me, it’s leaning into your brand voice, like our brand voice as a company is extremely honest and it is extremely transparent.

So for us, it was saying, Hey, I know you don’t have money right now. I just called it out to our email list. I said, I hear you loud and clear. You’re nervous. You don’t have a lot of dollar bills to spend. We created something for your budget. And that’s it. So that is my brand voice. So I just went back to the basics of how we always communicate with our people, no matter how much money we’re making.

I think you can have a lot of different brand voices. A lot of photographers are resource based. So they, no matter how busy they are, they’re always a resource for their clients. So I think if you have a lot of time, you just need to up the ammy. on the resources that you’re providing. You need to start making fun series on your blog or on TikTok or on Instagram Reels or in carousels that are really deep diving informative posts that catch people’s attention.

And you need to more than ever understand who you’re talking to. You need to understand who that ideal client is, what their desires are, and they might have changed because of the economic shift. So, Maybe asking them, you know, what are you prioritizing right now? What are you feeling? So it’s leaning into the brand voice that you already have.

Like ours is honest. There’s resourceful. There’s fun. Maybe you’re an entertainer and you’re just there to make people laugh. You just lean into that and you pump out more content than you normally would because you have more time on your hands. I don’t ever think it behooves anyone to say, I’m terrified for the future of my business.

Please book me. It worked a little bit in COVID because it was so unprecedented, but I’m having a hard time imagining a scenario where that would make me want to give someone money. It does not instill trust. And most of getting hired is being trusted. So. I think honesty is one thing, begging is another.

And I think there’s a fine line there. So yeah, my main advice is lean into the brand voice you’ve always had. And if you don’t have a brand voice, now’s a great time to figure out what that is.

Sabrina: Friend, I want to take a quick second to tell you about a new freebie I have that I’m so excited Super excited about whether you are hoping to launch a new offer this year, or maybe you’re just burned out and looking for some creative inspiration.

You will love this new freebie portfolio on purpose. This is my exact step by step framework for planning and executing a successful model call that I’ve been teaching my paying students for years. In case you don’t know why this is so important, model calls are a great way to do a lot of really positive things in your business.

They get fresh eyes on your business. They give you a way to create images that support a new offer that you might want to launch. Model calls give you a place to play and create without the expectations of paying clients. And they’re a great way to fine tune your skills and expand your portfolio. The portfolio on purpose freebie includes a video worksheets, checklists, examples, and everything you need to make this process super easy and super successful for you.

When you go through portfolio on purpose, you will walk away with the knowledge of what the benefits of model calls are, how they can support your business, creativity and growth, how to create one that pulls in the right people, how to keep it organized. Including a step by step workflow at the end of this freebie, you will feel inspired to take action and have the steps and tools necessary to successfully put the model call out, find the right models and most importantly, get the images you are looking for.

If you’re hoping to run a model call or maybe a few this year, head over to Sabrina Gebhardt. com backslash model dash freebie to get yours today. Okay, back to the show. Just like you said, using your brand voice, but what you also said without saying it was really connecting with your audience and creating those places for connection.

And that can be email and social media and on a blog, but really focusing on like, if you were hanging out with a group of your clients in a social situation, what are you guys talking about? What are you connecting over? Are you talking about kids nap times and road trip hacks and where to shop for the senior sessions and whatever it is, like, What are you talking about with those women, those clients, if you’re going to hang out session, okay, great.

How can you take that and create content and really show up and focus on connecting with them? Yeah. I want you to sell. I always want you to sell and let people know your availability and your offers. But what if we just focus on connection and being the person that they want to hire as soon as they do have those dollars and they are ready to sell?

This

Rachel: is such good advice like everyone listened to what she just said because I think that conversational piece of it is so important and it’s what a lot of people are missing. They don’t understand how to reach that point of casual conversation through social media. And I think it’s so important and if you can get good at that, people are going to think of you when they’re ready to hire.

And A lot of marketing is not convincing people, but just reminding people that you exist. And if you are hiding right now and you’re not showing up, you’re not going to get hired. Now more than ever, you need to be constantly showing up in people’s inboxes, in their feed, wherever you shine, that’s where you want to put your face right now.

Sabrina: Yeah. And like we said, I mean, you’ve got time on your hands. You know, it may not be, you may not love to do the reels and to spend the time making the carousels and all that. But quite frankly, you don’t have a whole lot else going on. So I’m, that’s just where I’m going to put on my tough coaching hat and say, you need to prioritize this stuff.

Not hiding, like you said, continuing to show up and being available so that when they are ready to book, you are top of mind. You want to get those DMS and those emails from people who literally just found out they’re pregnant and they send you a message. I’ve been following you for years and now I can finally hire you for a newborn session.

You know, like that’s the kind of stuff you want. And. You create that kind of opportunity when you connect with people. And when you have created that following where they just, they’d love to read your posts. They’d love to watch your reels. They love to repost things. They always open your emails. Um, it’s that connection stuff just to get into like the writing part of it for a minute.

I think people overthink this, you know what I mean? They, they think, well, I’m writing something. It has to be perfect and sound perfect. And it’s, I have always taken the road of. As long as it sounds like me and if it’s something that would come out of my mouth, good enough.

Rachel: Uh, more than good enough because usually people let it paralyze them to the point that they’re not posting anything.

And I will say a bad Instagram caption is, well, I don’t know about that, but I would say a not perfectly written Instagram caption is way better than nothing. Because again, your marketing is just reminding people. You don’t have to blow them away with every post. You just have to remind them like, Hey, my name’s Rachel.

I still photograph kids or whatever it is. And I’m available to be hired. Like it does not have to be deeper than that. Yeah, exactly.

Sabrina: Okay. So we’re stuck in this weird economy and we’ve talked about how it can be really a mind game to continue to show up and do the work day after day when it feels like I’m writing this blog, I’m creating this content, I’m sending out these emails and nobody’s paying attention and nobody’s booking and nothing’s working, right?

It is so frustrating. How are you For yourself and also for people around you. How are you encouraging people to stay positive so that you can stay consistent? That’s

Rachel: a great question because I think consistency is where a lot of people fail. It’s like, you can say positive, but can you stay consistent?

And for me, I have been in business for 10 years. I’ve been doing the copy side of things for seven. And I think. For me, it’s looking back at moments that felt like this and remembering that I made it and that my business made it and that we’re doing just fine and reminding myself that everything is a season because there are a lot of days where I do not feel like making a mother freaking Instagram real.

Like I just don’t feel like it. But then I remind myself this is a small thing that I can do that not only can bring in a lot of money for my business if it resonates with one The one right person, it can get me a client, but it’s also supporting my team members and their families, which is really important to me.

But also it’s a promise that I made to myself. You know, I told myself that I wanted to run this business and that I wanted to support other people’s livelihoods through it. And I made that promise to myself and I don’t disappoint myself. I will not be the reason this doesn’t work. And so I think for me.

It’s just looking at the history of what I’ve accomplished in the past when things have been tough and knowing that I’m capable of it. And then also saying, if I can’t trust myself, then other people can’t trust me either. And so just keeping that promise to myself is really important to me. Yeah. I love

Sabrina: that.

I love how you said that I won’t be the reason this doesn’t work. Um, I think that’s huge. Um, I think that’s absolutely huge that we, you know, we can get in our way so much sometimes. And like we’ve said before, it really feels like in this space. Uh, in this current economic space that it can feel like we’re doing something wrong.

Why is it not working for me? What am I doing wrong? Why don’t people like me? And it’s not you. It is not you. I mean, I don’t know how much I can continue to say that over and over again, but I can tell you, I coach women coast to coast and it’s everyone. It’s every experience level. It’s every city. It’s every state.

It’s every genre. It’s everyone.

Rachel: And I think even flipping that would be really helpful for people. It’s not what you’re doing wrong, it’s what you aren’t doing right. It’s not that you haven’t done something or good things in your business, you just haven’t found the right thing to hook in this year. So you need, more than ever, you need to test, you need to try, you need to experiment, you need to put stuff out there.

And I’m not saying you shouldn’t be strategic, but I am saying if you’re feeling desperate, try something, try anything, especially something you haven’t done before. It’s literally insanity to keep trying the same thing and expect different results, which is what I was doing for a little while this year.

It’s like, well, it worked before. Why isn’t it working now? And I was like, kind of getting frustrated. And then I was like, oh, because people can’t afford what we offer and putting that new offer out there. Juvenated, revitalized, refreshed everybody’s spirit in the business. Like we are all feeling so much better.

I feel like we can breathe again this week. And so I just cannot recommend enough trying something new, trying something you’ve never done before.

Sabrina: Yeah. I have been really focusing on that in the last, I don’t know, 18 months or so of this energy of treating my business like a game. And And not taking it so seriously.

And I, I don’t want you to hear me say that and think, Oh, Sabrina doesn’t need her business income to survive. Oh no, we do. Like we pay bills off of my income. Okay. My friends, like my business matters to my family, but I’m taking off that like life or death energy and I’m putting it in, like, I’m going to try this.

Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t. And if it does awesome, I’m going to throw myself a party. And if it doesn’t cool, let’s move on to the next idea and really just treating it like a game. Just seeing what. Sticks. I think changing the energy behind what you’re doing makes a huge d It takes the pressure off.

Yes, a hundred percent. My old coach used to say that we’re not in the business of creating oxygen and for us photographers and creatives, same it. It is not life or death. We are not surgeons. We are not ER doctors. We are not curing cancer. We’re capturing memories. It is not. I mean, it’s important. It’s very important, but it’s not life or death.

Like, let’s just let off the gas a little bit and let it be fun. Let it be, let it be that energy of like, look, we’re going to try it. If it fails, that’s okay.

Rachel: Yes. And that goes back to your point of like, you’re not doing anything wrong. If something doesn’t work that you try, no one cares. No one cares.

Like, unless you’re being like blatantly, like racist, maybe like, don’t experiment with that kind of thing. Hard no on that. But I think as long as you’re just trying things out that are within the realm of possibility for you, if something doesn’t work, that’s not going to be the reason someone doesn’t hire you.

But if something does work, it might be the reason a lot of people hiring you. So failing in public doesn’t failing, quote unquote, doesn’t do anything to hurt your business. It’s just an experiment. So exactly. You can reframe that and be like, I just haven’t found the right thing. So keep practicing until you get the right

Sabrina: thing.

Yes. I love that so much. So for the listener out there, who’s nodding her head, she’s listening. She’s like, yes, this is me. I’m in this exact seat. She’s frustrated. She’s been blogging. She’s been updating her website. She’s been getting on social media. She’s Hired somebody to educate her or taken a course.

She’s literally feeling like she’s done all of the things right. And she’s tried things and there’s, she’s not getting any results. How would you encourage her to keep going and trust the process that things are going to turn around?

Rachel: That’s a great question because I’ve been there before and I know that feeling like puts a pit in my stomach thinking about it.

But all of the things you mentioned are probably things that she has tried before. It goes back to everything that we were just talking about and she’s probably seeing other people do. You know, this is when you dig into your big girl pants and you find. The creativity that led you to start the business in the first place, because whatever motivation you had to start the business, there is ideation in there that you haven’t tapped into.

There are. Ways of marketing that you have not tried yet. There are audiences you haven’t reached yet. I don’t know a single photographer that has pursued every single kind of marketing. You know, there’s just too much. You could partner with local businesses, get your card in there, you know, do giveaways with them.

You could start doing Facebook ads or Google ads or Pinterest or SEO. If you haven’t, you know, there’s just too much. There’s so many things and I think a lot of people got comfortable and it worked for them for so long so they just want to keep hitting that easy button. And the fact of the matter is, there is no easy button this year and that sucks.

I am sorry. I do not like telling people that. I am annoyed that there’s no easy button for me. I have worked more in the past seven days than I have in the last seven months. I am exhausted because of this new offer. It was not an easy thing for us to do or to coordinate. But you know what? It was worth it.

And on the other side of this hard work. We are going to be so set up for 2025 and to do well. So I hear your frustration and that is valid. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel that way. If you feel like you’ve tried everything, I’m just going to kindly and gently and hold your hand while I say this.

You haven’t tried everything. So find the thing that you haven’t wanted to do and maybe try it. Because again, Sabrina said it like four times. All we have is time if we’re not being booked, which is a bummer. It’s a little depressing, but the fact of the matter is you have it. So you to use it.

Sabrina: Yeah. I also love to encourage people to look outside of our industry and see what people are doing in different industries, both for marketing and for offers, like how they’re talking about things, how they’re bundling things, how they’re selling thing.

I mean, there’s so many ideas beyond our industry. Like go look around. You know, go out into the world and see what other people are doing because you never know what kind of idea you can get. I also like to encourage creatives to allow themselves time to create for fun because I think it can help pull us out of this like panic spiral, you know, where we’re just like, it’s just the fear and the negativity and the, Oh my gosh, I’m failing.

And it’s this negative place. You started this business because you like to create whatever it is you create, whether it’s photography, writing, painting, whatever you’re doing. Okay, so let yourself do that for fun for a little bit or a different creative endeavor. Like let yourself say, I’ve got time on my hands.

It’s okay if I take a day this week to create just for fun, you know, to get those juices flowing and not feel guilty about that can be really good for rejuvenating and coming up with ideas too.

Rachel: And I just want to say one more thing that I was thinking about as we were prepping for this. Some of you need your income to pay the bills.

And I get that and you just got to do whatever it takes. I understand that. But there’s some of you that are putting yourselves in this sad spot just because you made up an imaginary number that you wanted to make. And I just want to remind those of you that are in that camp that you made it up. Like if you’re not using that.

money to pay specific bills and survive, you do not need to be beating yourself up to hit it. You know, you can just do everything you can control what you can, then take a deep breath and realize it’s not that deep. Again, I know some of you are using money to pay the bills and there’s a lot of people out there doing that.

So this is not for you, but for those of you that are just like, well, I made this much last year and I want to make more this year. Like, No, it doesn’t work that way. And so take a deep breath, be grateful that you don’t need this money to pay your bills and get creative. So I’ve heard a lot of that lately and I just want to, wanted to speak to that just for a second.

Sabrina: Yeah. I think that’s such a good point because there are a lot of creatives that do this as a side hustle or do it just for fun money at their house or to pay for vacations or whatever. And that’s awesome if you’re in that position, but Just like Rachel said, you do not need to beat yourself up over not hitting a hundred K or whatever you hit last year or whatever, because you pulled that number out of a hat.

And it would be cool to say that you hit that number like right. This is not that year, . This is not the record breaking year that we are all just going to kill it in business. This is the, how many of us can stay afloat and make it into 2025, like that’s what we’re doing.

Rachel: But if you’re one of those people that can dedicate the time and put in the effort, now, you could crush it in 2025.

2025 could be your year, and we’re what? Seven months away from that.

Sabrina: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Okay. Um, I knew this was going to be a fun chat. Uh, this is such, this is a topic that’s obviously happening current real time, but I’m so passionate about, and I know you feel the same way. Like I hate it. It makes my heart hurt to hear how many people are struggling and the frustration and it’s, it’s heavy to hear it.

day in and day out all the time. So hopefully this will give some encouragement out there to the listeners. But I do want to end with some fun questions. I’ve had you on the podcast before, so I had to come up with new, new questions since I did not do the last ones last time. Okay. What is your current favorite guilty pleasure?

Rachel: Um, so I’m actually going to Charleston tomorrow with, uh, my dear friend for her 40th birthday. And she demanded that I watch all nine seasons of Southern charm before we go. Um, bravo. It’s a terrible show. Um, uh, but I do puzzles at night after my kids go to bed. So I just have my iPad and Southern charm just playing while I have my like sleepy time cocktail and do my puzzles.

So that’s my current gets to

Sabrina: push. That’s awesome. I am not a huge TV watcher. I’m a reader. So I read a ton, but we were in Charleston in January for a retreat. And like all of the girls in my retreat watched Southern charm. And so one day we went shopping on King street and they were like very adamant about, I don’t know, seeing somebody that’s over there.

I don’t know. Pillow store, a pillow store. Yes. Yes. And they’re all talking about it. And I’m like, I don’t know what’s happening. And then one of them ran into Southern charm. Somebody from the show, one can only hope in a cookie shop. I don’t know. And they were all losing their mind. And I was like, nodding my head, like, okay, great.

Rachel: That is hilarious.

Sabrina: Yeah. So funny. Um, okay. So you just told me you’re leaving for Charleston after that. What’s what’s the next vacation that you have planned?

Rachel: We don’t have it planned yet, but my husband and I want to go to a warm tropical location in the spring of 2025. It is very much on our list of things that we would like to do.

We have had, like a lot of people, we’ve had a very challenging last four years and we need a break. So that’s the hope.

Sabrina: Okay. Awesome. Do you think it’ll be somewhere like really extravagant and awesome? Oh, I hope so. Okay. Oh, I hope

Rachel: so. I hope so. I would love to do like the islands. I’ve never been to the Caribbean or, you know, we would talk about like St.

Lucia, like just something like that. Something where I don’t have to plan. I’m not going to feel, he wants to do like Portugal or Spain or something. I’m like, yeah, but then I’m going to want to go see. Yeah. And I just want to sit like I don’t want to feel any pressure to be cultured or educated on this trip.

Yes.

Sabrina: Oh, I love it. Yes. You guys deserve that so much. Okay. So we talked a lot about getting through this year. I would love to know if you have anything up your sleeve for 2025. Oh my gosh. What don’t I have up my sleeve?

Rachel: My other guilty pleasure is shopping for used vending machines right now. I am obsessed with buying a vending machine for each of my kids and then teaching them like how to run a business.

So that’s so fun. I really want to do that. I don’t know. They’re only six and four as of next month. So it might be a little early, but I’m like very into it. So that’s something fun. I’ve always wanted to write a book. So I think that I’ll start dabbling in that a but nothing. I’m trying to survive this year first, but I can’t wait until I can like sit down with some ideas and see what happens in 2025.

Sabrina: Yeah. That’s so exciting. I actually met with my business coach yesterday at time of recording to talk about now through the end of 2025. And so I have like, it’s crazy. And so I have homework that I need to get like launch plans and all this mapped out or whatever was different offers. Um, which is really exciting.

And then. So talking about 2025, fall of 25, my oldest will be entering her senior year in high school. That’ll be a huge year for us. Oh yeah. Like just family

Rachel: dynamic

Sabrina: shift. Oh yeah. Just leaning into all of the senior things, you know? Um, so that’s going to be crazy to even think about. Yes. Um, okay. Last, last fun question.

What is currently working for you as a work from home mom? Oh man, so much

Rachel: help. Just really leaning into our help. And I’m taking a lot of time off this summer. So I’m really excited about that. It was going to be camp mommy starting at the end of June. Um, uh, but the help has always been a big thing for me and just like loosening my expectations of myself and of my kids.

Like I’m finding myself just saying yes, a lot more and just being like, yeah, we’re going to do this because this is what works for us right now. And I. I just had such a different idea of what life would look like with Littles and working. And so I’ve just had to daily reset my expectations for everyone in the house and kind of ride the line for myself of like, tough love, Rachel, get it together.

And also like, have a little grace for yourself. This is a hard season.

Sabrina: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Always my number one piece of advice for people to survive the summer is to take your expectations and bring them way down. Um, you know, your turnaround time for clients is going to be slower. Your availability to work is going to be way less.

Your energy levels are going to be way less because naturally rhythmically we want to go into like vacation mode and slow mornings. You’re going to have little people coming in and out all the time. It’s just, It’s different. It’s different. It’s different. And I just like you, I have to give myself a daily pep talk and a and a daily pat on the back that I did the best I could that day.

Um, and you know, I’m kind of an oddball. I like the first day of school is my favorite day the whole year. I tell people that all the time. Same i, these moms

Rachel: that are crying, I’m like, who? First day of school literally is like

Sabrina: a party. I’m like, I made it. This is my day. Now we’re into the season where I can thrive and I have my child care and my quiet house and I can get in my rhythms and routines.

Um, but we can thrive in the summer too. It’s just, yeah,

Rachel: it’s just going to look different. It’s going to look different. I’m going to be fun. Mommy. That’s my goal. My goal is to be fun. Mommy this summer. Cause. Working mommy is not always fun. Mommy. So yeah,

Sabrina: I love it. I love it so much. Thank you for your time.

I knew this was going to be a really great chat and it definitely was. I can’t wait to hear the feedback from everybody, but it was wonderful to see you, my friend. Thank you so much for having me. All right. 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@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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