97: What I’m Loving in 2024

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What am I loving in 2024? In this episode, I’m sharing four things that have made a major difference in my business this year. 

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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Review the Show Notes:

Outsourcing (1:33)

The Eisenhower Matrix (12:33)

The Round Table membership (16:47) 

Profit First (17:37)

Treating my business like a game (22:56)

Episode Links:

Instagram

Mike Michalowicz: Profit First

Profit First professionals: Kelly Marshall and Val Duvick 

The Round Table Fall Prep Class

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Review the Transcript:

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, we’re here for you. 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. So I’ve had this idea for a podcast episode pretty much all year. And here we are in Late June. So I guess it’s time that I finally share this podcast episode, right? Consider this a quick list of things that are making a really big difference for me in 2024.

These are going to be things that I am loving that have become pretty non negotiable for me. It’s four things and it’s seemingly random. But I always love to hear this kind of information from other solopreneurs and women who are balancing motherhood and business. And so I thought, well, if I’m fascinated with this information from other people, maybe my audience would want to hear what I’m loving this year, things that are working for me, things that have become non negotiable for me.

So. I have four random things in no particular order. The first thing is not really a shock. It involves outsourcing. I have been a very, very long time proponent of outsourcing. I have been outsourcing things like an assistant job and my editing for years and years and years, probably eight years, maybe even more at this point.

And just slowly over time, as my business has grown and shifted and morphed, I’ve outsourced various other things as I see fit right at this point in time. I have a lot of people that I managing that do various jobs for me and I’m loving it. And it’s so important because at every level of outsourcing, I am giving away things that are taking up my time or that I am not good at.

And that. Obviously allows me more time to do the things that I am good at and that I do need to have my hands in and that I am the best person for the job, right? It keeps me in my zone of genius. You’ve probably heard that term before. So this year in 2024, I actually added two additional people. for outsourcing and pretty straight away, almost immediately within hiring them.

I was obsessed and I thought to myself, why did I not do this sooner? And so I’m going to tell you why and who those people are. Shout out to Rachel and Jaden. First of all, I hired Rachel. She is a designer. And I have for a very long time for years now, ever since I’ve really leaned into this online education space, I’ve been doing all of my own design.

And when I’m talking about design, I’m not talking about my website or my branding. Although, you know, I didn’t do either of those things, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about worksheets, PDFs, freebies, slide decks for talks and presentations. I had been doing all that stuff myself. And here’s why I waited so long to outsource it.

I can do those things. I know my way around Canva more than the average person. I know the shortcuts and the secret tricks and all those things. I also don’t mind doing those things, right? Like it’s super easy to create this stuff and to do it on my own, whatever. I had been holding onto this job for a really long time.

And part of it was because I could do it. Another part of it was I hadn’t found Transcribed The right person, the person who felt like a perfect fit for me as far as their style and their efficiency and their vision and being able to truly hand over things. I wanted this to become something that I could say, Hey, I need a PDF that includes these five things.

And is this many pages long? Come up with something and have them do it and do it right off the bat. Right. So here’s the thing, uh, at the beginning of this year, I was talking to my business coach and I’m talking about, you know, how busy I am with things and how many new projects and building of new things we had planned for this year, how many seeds we were planting.

And she’s asking me like, what do I need to be successful? And I was telling her that, you know, specifically. Parts of this process were stressing me out and overwhelming me. And I didn’t think like, how could I possibly do all of the moving parts with all the things I’m already managing? And she looked at me straight in the face and said, it’s time to hire a designer.

And honestly, I hadn’t even put two and two together yet. Like I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak, right? Like, as soon as she said that, I was like, Oh, you’re right. I immediately thought, of course I do. And all of a sudden, all of these things that I could start giving to a designer and taking off of my plate started popping in my mind.

And it was immediately like, yes, absolutely. This has to happen. And I was so thankful for her to point that out to me. So I immediately reached out to people. Other online educators and business friends. And I started reaching out to people and asking them who they’re using, who they’re loving, who they know of that their friends are using, et cetera.

And, um, I set up some calls and reached out to some people. And within a week I had, um, had a call with Rachel and immediately knew that I was going to test her out. And I gave her projects and it was laughable. Laughable how fast, how efficient, how much better she was at this than I had ever been. She was able to create things that were not only like on brand and looked great and were exactly what I wanted, but she was able to do them in so little time.

Efficiency is one of her zones of genius. And I. Like immediately felt this huge weight lifted off my shoulders. This is something that maybe my photographer friends out there listening won’t understand. But if you are a creative, if you are an educator, if you are doing other things that involve a lot of pieces of design, you’ve got podcast graphics, you’ve got carousels for Instagram, you’ve got Pinterest graphics, you’ve got PDFs, downloads, slide decks, all of those things.

Oh my gosh, if you do any of that in your business, you know, this has been an absolute game changer for me. Rachel, you can never leave me. Um, I started out with a small package with her and I, I like, I literally go over my hours every single month and I’m like, just bill me, just bill me. I don’t care. Just bill me.

I just, the floodgates have been opened. All of the things that I have been able to outsource and get off my plate and not only get off my plate, but again, let me make sure you hear me say this. She does it so much better than I ever did so much better than I ever did. It has been such an absolute game changer for me.

The other thing that I have started outsourcing this year that I also held on to for too long was my social media plan. So I hired someone, shout out to Jayden, I hired someone to take all of my ideas and my launch plans for the year and the future and come up with a social media strategy for me. So what she does for me is basically everything except actually creating the thing and posting the thing.

So she has mapped out what I’m launching, when, when I need to be talking about certain things, how I can hype up certain offers and things that are coming. And she literally tells me on Monday, you’re going to talk about these things in your stories. And on Monday, you’re going to create a carousel that says these things.

And on Tuesday, you’re going to talk about these things in your stories. And Tuesday, you’re going to have a reel that does this and here’s the hook. And here’s the music. It has been so dang incredible. So I still do my social media. I still create everything myself. I post everything myself. I respond to everything myself.

I am engaging on stories. I’m responding to comments. I’m responding to DMS, but she has taken the heavy lifting off of my shoulders and. Similar to the designer. I held onto this for so long because I can do it. I know what to do. I coach women through their social media strategy all the time, all the time.

I give ideas for hooks and reels and ways to share things and ways to repurpose things. I do this. I coach women on this and I also enjoy social media. I am not one of those people that like hates it and wants to pull my hair out. I think it’s fun. I really do. And so I held onto this for so long, but I got to a point where coaching my students through this and running my photography business and being the CEO in my education business, it was too confusing for my brain.

And yes, I can look at your business and tell you immediately what you should be doing for the next 30 days on social media and give you some incredible ideas for what to do and how to implement that. But for some reason, it was too much to be holding that information for you and for myself, for both parts of my business.

And it was just this constant mess, right? It was just this constant dumpster fire in my brain. And I was having a hard time, like, Getting through the clutter and getting where I needed to be. Okay, so I held on to it for so long because I could do it. I was fully capable of doing it. Okay, I have great ideas for social media.

I enjoy social media. Again, I know how to do these things, right? I’m not one of these people who’s never done a real and is scared and doesn’t want to do it. I’m not one of those people who won’t go on, go live on Instagram, right? I, I love all of it. I’ll do all of it. And so I held on to it for so long, but again, similar to the designer, as soon as I realized that this was had become like a crutch for me and was actually getting in my way, I was wasting so much time and energy trying to call through the mess in my brain.

And as soon as I decided to give that job to somebody else, such a weight was lifted and I was given so much clarity. So much clarity because that’s off my plate now. All I do every day is I get into this, uh, this app that we share and I look at, okay, what is, what do I need to do today? What has Jaden created or told me to do today?

And I literally do exactly that. And it’s been this way for a few months now. And my social media is growing. My engagement is growing. I’m getting all kinds of feedback on people that are like, oh my gosh, you’re killing it. We love this stuff you’re sharing. It feels like I’m actually seeing it. Staying on track for my launches and whatnot.

It is going so well. I can literally not imagine like taking her off my team at this point. Absolutely not. Let this be proof that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Right. When you think of me, um, as the CEO of my business and I have these two branches, I have the photography side and I have the education side and I have things growing on both sides and new things coming and changing and I’m managing all of this growth and planting all these seeds.

There are so many parts of my business that I have to do. Right. I’m the visionary. I’m the one that needs to follow through on the ideas. I’m the one that needs to show up on coaching calls. I’m the one that needs to record the podcast. Okay. There’s certain things that I have to do. And even though I was capable of doing design and planning out my social media, that’s not the best use of my time for where I am today in my business.

And it was finally time to take those things off of my plate and let people do them faster and better. So that’s the first thing that I’m absolutely obsessed with this year is my two newest outsourcing jobs in 2024. And I hope that that encourages you to look a little deeper in your business. If you’ve started outsourcing, great.

What else can you outsource? And if you haven’t started outsourcing yet, it’s time to take the leap and do something. It’s time to take stuff off your plate. You’re always complaining that there’s too much to do and never enough time. So fix the problem. What can go and stop thinking about things that you don’t know how to do and start thinking about things that you maybe can technically do, but you don’t need to be doing.

The second thing that I’m absolutely obsessed with in 2024, and I have mentioned this so many times recently on the podcast. So bear with me while I mentioned it again, in case there’s any new listeners, I am obsessed with using the Eisenhower matrix. to plan out my to do list, uh, every single week. That has been a total game changer for me.

If you are not familiar with the Eisenhower matrix, you can Google this. You can also, I’m going to tell you how to make one yourself. Literally you take a piece of paper, you draw a line up and down, down the middle and horizontally across the middle. So you end up with four quadrants. You take your to do list and you are going to take item by item and put them into a different quadrant based on their urgency and their priority.

Okay. So one of them are things that are important and urgent. These are the things you need to do immediately. These are things that have a deadline or are emergencies. Okay. Then you’re going to have a category that is not urgent, but is important. Okay. These are things that you need to schedule onto your calendar so that you can make time for soon.

Okay. This is stuff like your daily, um, priorities like exercising, okay. Or meditating or doing your morning routine, that kind of stuff. This is also where you’re going to focus on your goals and your long term projects. Because if you don’t plan that stuff, if you don’t schedule that stuff, it’s not going to happen.

Then another box, another quadrant are things that are urgent and not important. Okay. So these are things that need to happen soon, but they’re technically not super important. Okay. Um, so these are things that you can either avoid because they’re actually getting in your way because they feel urgent, even though they’re not important, or you can delegate to other people.

You can delegate them to a teenager, to your partner, to a VA, that kind of thing. These are things that are interrupting you and distracting you. Okay. So maybe it’s other people pushing their priorities on you. Like they need help with something. They have questions, right? It’s distractions, it’s interruptions, it’s notifications, it’s phone calls.

Um, it’s stuff that feels urgent, but it’s actually not important. Okay. These are things that you can get rid of or just avoid altogether. And then the last quadrant is things that are not important and also not urgent. These are things that are again, a distraction they’re getting in your way. And you actually need to just probably delete them altogether.

Okay. These are projects that are good ideas, but they are not a priority for right now in your business or your life. They are things that are actually getting in your way, like scrolling social media. These are things that could get put off for like a month or more and it’s the world’s not going to end.

It’s not, things aren’t going to burn down, right? These are the random things in your mind that are like, Oh, this would be fun to do or to look into or to whatever, but there’s no actual timeline associated with it. Right? So I’ve been using this on a weekly basis to untangle the to do list in my brain.

This is helping me so much because like I mentioned earlier, as the head of my business with multiple parts to my business, multiple umbrellas with multiple projects coming in the future and seeds being planted and moving parts. Plus, It’s summer. My kids are home. There’s a lot of things that are going on at our house right now on a daily basis.

We’re also planning for all of the fall stuff, right back to school and fall sports and travel. There’s just a zillion moving parts on any given day. And I can often feel overwhelmed by all the stuff floating around in my head. And so when I’ve been doing my weekly, weekly prep meeting, either on Sunday afternoons or Monday mornings, I am utilizing the Eisenhower matrix to.

Get very clear on what tasks actually need to happen to move my business forward or to stay afloat, right? So I’m doing a brain dump first of everything in my brain and then I’m sorting. Then I’m sorting the things from my brain dump onto the Eisenhower matrix and it has been such a game changer for me.

I’m absolutely loving it. So I actually want to take a quick minute here in the middle to share something that’s coming up soon that I’m really excited about. In just a couple of weeks, you are invited to join me inside my beloved membership that you’ve heard me talk about before. It’s called the round table.

I want you to join me for a one day live training. Okay. So for just 11, you can attend a call with my favorite group while I am teaching what I’m calling a fall prep class. Okay. In this training, I’m sharing the foundational steps to having a profitable and successful fall busy season. So if you’re needing help getting your fall together, or you’ve been wanting to see what the round table is all about, check out the link in the show notes and join us on July 17th.

I hope to see you there back to things I’m loving in 2024. Number three, profit first profit. First is a book. It is a style of accounting for business. You can also do it for your personal life, your personal budget. But I read this book and worked with some professionals back in late 2021 and early 2022 to get this set up in my business.

And it has been An absolute game changer. And yes, I’m talking about things I’m loving in 2024. And so if this is something that I implemented two years ago, and I’m still obsessed with this, that should let you know how important it is. Profit First has been the biggest game changer in my business for so many reasons.

Number one, I have had a regular exact number steady paycheck every other Friday since I implemented Profit First. Okay. I want you to sit with that fact for a minute for the photographers out there listening or creatives that have seasonal businesses where you make a ton of money during the holidays and then things are really quiet the rest of the year.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to not be in that scarcity mode? When the months are quiet, right before implementing profit first, I did what so many of you probably do. I would make so much money in the fall and I would take home so much money in the fall. It was like raining money, right? Like woohoo.

We’re in the money. We’re making all this money. Let’s take it home. I’m taking home these distributions. I’m taking home all this money, paying for Christmas, paying for vacations. Life is great. And then January comes. And February comes, and March comes and it’s real slow. The bookings have stopped. Uh, the print orders have stopped.

The inquiries have slowed down, and I would panic because all of a sudden now I’m not making any money. I’m not bringing any money in, and therefore I’m not able to pay myself anything. And it was like feast or famine year after year after year. And profit first changed that profit first. The premise is that you are pulling out your paycheck before you pull out anything else.

It’s a reorganization of. Where your money comes in and the kind of buckets that it gets put into. You’re going to put it into an owner’s pay bucket, a tax bucket, a profit bucket, an operating expenses bucket, and maybe other ones, depending on your business and your choices. Every time money comes in, you are allocating this money into different buckets.

And so what that means is you always have money in your operating expenses account to pay your bills on a regular basis. You always have money going into your tax savings account. So taxes aren’t a big surprise and you always have money coming into your owner’s pay. Which means you can take a paycheck.

And when you go through this process, especially if you go through it with a profit first professional that can give you their honest opinion about your business and what your numbers should be, they can tell you, here’s what you can afford to pay yourself. Here’s what you should set your paycheck at for the time being.

And then over time, as your business and your revenue grows, your paycheck goes up, right? It has been. Absolutely incredible for me for so many reasons. Number one, taking a regular paycheck every other week for the last couple of years mentally feels incredible. It feels like I’m a legitimate business.

That’s making legitimate money. That is having a really legitimate impact on my family. I no longer go through those moments of frustration where I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m working so hard and I’m not making any money. Right. The other thing it does is it keeps me in a place of abundance and out of fear and scarcity.

Because now I can go through slow season and I’m not panicked because I can see that my owner’s draw bucket has money in it, that I’ve got paychecks lined up for the next couple of months, whether or not somebody books or not, right. Whether or not somebody hires me to coach them or not, that money’s there.

And what that does is it energetically, it leaves you in more of a positive place so that you can continue moving forward with your business intentionally without feeling like you have to create these offers out of scarcity. You’re not saying like, Oh my gosh, I need to run a sale. Oh my gosh, I need to launch many sessions.

Oh my gosh, I need to do this, that, or the other offer discounts. You don’t have to do any of that. You can confidently move forward in your business knowing that things are going to pick back up again, that, uh, people are going to start booking again and that you’re just fine. You’re going to continue to be able to pay your bills, right?

So if you have not looked into profit first, I highly recommend it. You can absolutely read the book first. And side note, if you Like to listen to books. It’s a great audible read because the author is really, really funny. And there’s lots of stories in there and it doesn’t feel like a businessy type book.

It’s a very easy read, but I also really recommend working with a profit first professional to get your business set up. Okay. And I will have a few of my favorites linked in the show notes for you. Okay. The fourth thing that I am loving in 2024, that has been such a game changer for me again is something I’ve mentioned on the podcast before, but I had to put it in this episode is I have been approaching my business and treating it like a game and making it more playful.

I’ve been taking the seriousness out and putting this fun, playful energy in. Okay. What does that look like? That looks like being willing to try things. and knowing full well that they could just catastrophically fail and being okay with it because it’s a game being willing to launch something and see if people like it or it lands or it goes well and if it does awesome i’m winning and if not no big deal They didn’t like that game.

I’m going to come at it with a new idea. This has given me such a great perspective because it’s not that deep. My friends. Yes. Business is hard. Yes. Business is important. Yes. I want you to take it seriously and do it with intention, but at the end of the day, we are doing creative jobs. Okay. We’re not curing cancer.

We are not saving lives. This is fun. It’s fun. And taking the pressure off of myself to always do it perfectly, to always do it well, for everything to be so serious and everything has to work. It has been so much more fun. It has been so much more fun and it has created so much more ease. Like, yes, I’m working hard.

Please don’t hear me say that I’m not. I am working hard and I really do put in a solid effort for every single thing I try, but I don’t hold the outcome so tight. I am holding it more loose. Like I hope it goes great. I hope it’s fantastic. I hope this offer takes off. And if it doesn’t no big deal, we move on to the next thing.

That energy has been a game changer for me. I’m an Enneagram three. I’m a people pleaser. I am can, I can tend to be a workaholic, right? I can tend to be somebody who wants to win all the time and taking the pressure off myself and approaching my business with this fun, playful, chill energy has been huge for me.

You know what else? Also, it’s been huge for my productivity. This really supports the done is better than perfect way of looking at your business and getting things done, which means that in 2024, I have already done more this year than probably all of last year combined. Because I’m not taking it that seriously.

I’m giving it my best effort, but I’m also meeting my deadlines. And if it’s not perfect by the time my deadline has come, okay, that’s fine. We’re going with it anyways. And if it goes well, great. And if it doesn’t great, like it’s no big deal. I am approaching things with so much more of a playful energy and that has made a difference in my, like me personally, how I feel it makes a difference in how I show up.

It makes a difference in how I’m showing up for my family too. So if that has been a struggle for you, taking things too seriously, I encourage you to really embrace the fun and the playfulness because as creatives, we get to create. That means we get to try all kinds of random ideas and they’re not all going to work and that’s okay.

Okay, my friends. So just to recap, in 2024, I am absolutely obsessed with outsourcing things that I am terrible at and that I do not need to be wasting my time with. I’m obsessed with using the Eisenhower matrix to filter and prioritize my to do list on a daily basis. I am still obsessed with profit first and that way of accounting and organizing my business finances.

And I am obsessed with approaching my game, my business, like it’s a game with playful energy. That’s it for today, my friends. I can’t wait to hear from you and hear what you were loving in 2024. And I would also love to hear what resonated with you in this episode. So come find me on Instagram, send me a DM at Sabrina Gebhardt photography, and let me know.

That’s it for today, my friends. We’ll see you next week. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at Sabrina Gebhardt dot com backslash podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhardt 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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