Our Biggest Mistakes | Episode 005 transcript

This is the transcript for Episode 005 | Our Biggest Mistakes.
We speak about the biggest mistakes we made in our careers and how to avoid them.
Visit this post for show notes.

Jack: Hello! You are listening to Episode 5 of the Get To Art podcast. I’m Jack Roach, author of Naan of Your Business.

Jennifer: And I’m Jennifer Roach, Atlanta wedding photographer.

Jack: Premier wedding photographer.

Jennifer: You say that every time.

Jack: And yet you don’t. Today we’re going to be talking about the biggest mistakes we’ve made in our careers.

Jennifer: Yey! It’s going to be fun episode. We’re just talking about all the bad stuff that we did and all the mistakes that we made.

Jack: Oh it’s going to be a short episode because I haven’t made any mistakes.

Jennifer: Yeah, right. Okay.

Jack: As always, I am an indie author and Jennifer is of course a wedding photographer and we just want to help you avoid some of the mistakes that we’ve made. Learn from us, stand on the shoulders of yours.

Jennifer: That’s good.

Jack: I’ll start off Jennifer, just so you don’t feel so awkward about having that fest up so quickly.

Jennifer: Okay. I know what my mistakes are.

Jack: I’m just going to read down the list of things that you think were mistakes on my part.

Jennifer: Okay, and you’re going to explain how they weren’t actually mistakes but you totally meant to do it that way?

Jack: Exactly.

Jennifer: Okay. I’m not going to buy it.

Jack: The first mistake that I made was starting of trying to get publish in the traditional route rather than launching immediately into the self-publishing world. I spent too much time acquiring agents and looking for you know print publications to run my short stories when I could have save myself a year or few months, whatever long it was, just by launching into the path that I’m actually on right now. Statistic shows that most New York Times best seller authors have a full time job. They’re not earning a living of being published. I’ve already got a full time job; I don’t need one of those so I may as well just do the self-publishing.

Jennifer: Yeah. I remember when you first came to me and told me that you were going to write a novel, and I remember asking a question that you got upset about. I said, “Oh, are you going to self-publish it?”, and you took that to mean that like I thought that you couldn’t get it published traditionally.

Jack: Well, it’s because you phrased it “Are you going to do it the right way or you’re going to self-publish?”

Jennifer: That’s not.

Jack: You know, real photographer, portraits.

Jennifer: Yeah. That’s not what I said. I ask if you were going to self-publish and you said, “Why? Why would I ever do that?”

Jack: How little I knew at that time?

Jennifer: Yes.

Jack: To be honest, I wish I had known more about self-publishing before I had bothered with any of that. I didn’t know anything about the world. I didn’t know about the market. There’s a just thriving industry of self-publish works so people making exceedingly good money by putting out their own stuff on Amazon and Kobo and Books-A-Million without having to bother dealing with an editor or an agent or waiting three years for a book to go through the production cycle.

Jennifer: Yeah, I think that you were still caught up in the same mentality from many years ago where seem like self-publishing was not as acceptable as it is now but that was you know when we first graduated college and we’re looking into writing.

Jack: Hey, hey. Come on now. I’m a young man still.

Jennifer: Am I telling our secret, so I’m still 29.

Jack: I don’t drink loads of coffee to wake up and then take loads of pills to go to sleep.

Jennifer: Well, I guess I’m still 29 in my heart where it matters. I’m still 29. But you know there was that mentality years ago.
Jack: But in your back when you stand up it sounds like a string of firecrackers.

Jennifer: Yeah, that’s what the chiropractor is for. Okay, so are you ready to move on to my mistake.

Jack: Well, let’s have the format real quick. We’re going to be doing three mistakes a piece. So I’ve done one, I took the high road and went first.

Jennifer: Yes, because you apparently think that you didn’t make any mistakes.

Jack: I stretched, and stretched and came out with three while you sat there and waddle down your list.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Jack: Jennifer, mistake number one.

Jennifer: My first big mistake was undercharging for my services. I was afraid to ask for more because I thought that people wouldn’t pay it, and I even went so far as to when I first started out tried to market myself for a little while as the affordable photographer and as the budget photographer. Even some of my Facebook post would point out that other photographers were more expensive than me and that was a good thing and that you could afford me if you couldn’t afford to go to the other photographers, and that was a mistake.

Jack: How much time do you fame lying awake at night regretting that?

Jennifer: A lot. It took a long time really, honestly, to dig my way up from that and I’m not disparaging anyone that I ever took pictures for but there was a certain level that I aspired to and $50 sessions in the park was an it. And that’s all I was getting, and that was not doing anything to further my career or to make me any kind of money because I was spending more money than I was making. $50 at a time that’s a ridiculous amount of money for a pictures.

Jack: Absolutely, especially considering all the time that you spend editing the photos after.

Jennifer: That’s what I think people don’t really realize that there’s a lot of editing time and everything that goes into at it as well.

Jack: There’s an old meme now but the, “What society thinks I do, what my mom thinks I do.”

Jennifer: Yeah.
Jack: Yeah. And the one for photographers is this is, you know camera, camera, camera but the what I actually do is just somebody sitting in front of a computer all day.

Jennifer: Yeah. I’ve seen that. Everybody thinks that you’re just running around like that, but I don’t know if you’ve seen the video of the really hyper little wedding photographer guy whose doing flips and stuff around the couple.

Jack: This photographer is taking the tension away from the couple on their big day?

Jennifer: He’s just flipping around like he’ll do a back flip and then take their picture and then do a little summer salt and take their picture.

Jack: Okay. I wouldn’t hire him.

Jennifer: I guess like he’s trying to get reactions out of them. People think this is set, it’s just running around having fun and shooting all the time and it’s not. I spent the majority of my time at my desk.

Jack: In your pajamas.

Jennifer: It well.

Jack: In my pajamas.

Jennifer: No, they’re mine.

Jack: Stop wearing my pajamas Jennifer. My grandma gave those to me for my 18th birthday. I don’t care if there’s an elastic left, they still feel great.

Jennifer: Let’s talk about how long you go your 18th birthday was while we’re doing the math.

Jack: I’m not sure if you could do that math.

Jennifer: That was big mistake number one and it took a long time to climb my way out from that hole that I for some reason intentionally dug myself there for a while like waving my hands and I’m like, “Hey, I’m the cheap person.”

Jack: And for those of you who were not listening to our previous episodes, this was so hard for Jennifer to overcome that she had to abandon her brand and start fresh.

Jennifer: Basically, yeah.
Jack: It wasn’t the matter of sending an email and saying, “Oh, by the way, I charge five times more now.” It was pretending that flip flop photography, not a terrible name, did not exist.

Jennifer: Yup, changed my name, change logo, colors, website, and I started going the style shoot so that I can get more high end pictures from my portfolio. So yeah, and all of that basically erased flip flop photography.

Jack: You spend a lot of money overcoming being the cheap photographer ironically.

Jennifer: I did ironically.

Jack: Mistake number two – getting bad newsletter sign ups. As anybody will tell you in the self-publishing world. Your goal is not to sell books it’s to get email subscribers because email subscribers will buy your books. I actually have to confess. I recommended doing this to couple of subs back. I’m sorry. I did participate in a group giveaways on you know prolific works and services like that with fifty other writers and everybody who downloaded the free stuff will get fifty emails from fifty authors and then hit unsubscribe fifty times. Because we’re not engage, they don’t care about any particular author on that. My unsubscribe rate actually got so high that MailChimp, my provider, shut down my account for a little bit while I sorted out. And they did this two days before I set my book to free for a week and couldn’t tell anybody.

Jennifer: Yeah, that was not a good time for MailChimp to put you in jail.

Jack: To avoid this, I suggest that if you’re going to go the desire route is to not cast such a wide net. Don’t go to potential readers and trying almost trick them into being on your newsletter list. Make it a little bit hard so the people who do sign up are the once who truly, truly care because they’re going to be the most engage once anyway. Jennifer will back me up on this. It’s better to have an email list of a hundred really engage, really passionate fans than ten thousand people who don’t open them.

Jennifer: Yeah, exactly. It’s kind of like on Instagram. You’d rather have you know fifty people that follow you religiously and love everything that you post and constantly like your post and comment on your post rather than ten thousand followers that they’re just playing the follow game and they’re just trying to get more followers and they don’t know who you are and they never look at your post and they couldn’t care less about you.

Jack: Now, are those the once who follow you hoping you’ll just follow them back automatically? Is that what’s going on?

Jennifer: Yes, so it’s…

Jack: Social media is weird.

Jennifer: It is weird. It’s called the follow-unfollow game. It’s not a cool thing to do. I really don’t recommend doing this because it’s a scammy thing to do. You go on Instagram and follow somebody and like several of their post to get their attention and then when they see you and then they follow you back, then you immediately unfollow them just to get your follower count higher. There’s nothing to do with engagement or anything. It is just trying to trick people in to following you. So you talked about getting the bad newsletters sign ups.

Jack: Unengaged audiences.

Jennifer: Yes, unengaged audiences. This is sort of like the umbrella, the topic of there.
Moving on to my next mistake, I’m going to say that I waited too long to create, we were just talking about this, a brand, a personal brand. I don’t really mean so much as I didn’t have a logo, and a name, and colors and all that stuff, that’s really what people mostly think of when they think about branding like, “Oh, you have a brand, oh okay you have a logo and a name and some colors.”

Jack: And a font.

Jennifer: And a font, yeah. I mean that’s part of it. You should have a font, and colors, and all that, and logos. When I first started out, I made the ugliest little logo that I think exist ever.

Jack: Wait, are you talking about the flip flop logo?

Jennifer: The flip flop logo.

Jack: How dare you madam?

Jennifer: No, not the circular one that you’re thinking of. You’re thinking of the circular one with the like a dotted line around it.

Jack: With the flip flops in the middle?

Jennifer: Yeah, that wasn’t the first one that I made. The very first one that I made was a little pair of flip flops that I’ve sat in Photoshop, brushing out the white between the black lines of the flip flops.

Jack: The best way you could spend your time?
Jennifer: The best way I could spend my time because I didn’t want to buy a graphic and I needed it to be transparent because it was going to be my watermark and can go on photos so I need it to be transparent. So I spent all that time with a brush, brushing or erasing the white out of the picture that I downloaded of this little flip flops. It’s a little clip art of flip flops. And then it said Flip Flop Photography next to it and just this… It almost looks like comic sans.

Jack: Papyrus play in chance.

Jennifer: It wasn’t Papyrus. It was like Kristen or something. So it wasn’t quite comic sans but it was pretty close.

Jack: So that’s not a brand. What is a brand?

Jennifer: So now as I’ve learned years later that a brand goes beyond your logo and your colors and everything but you want to become the face of your brand and you want to connect with people and have them know you and like you so that they will give you money because consumers now don’t want to buy from nameless faceless corporations. We millennials have ruined everything I guess.

Jack: Did you say we millennials?

Jennifer: Well, I know you aren’t.

Jack: I am Gen X.

Jennifer: Well, I’m technically millennial. No, you and I are the zennials. We’re that little mid like 1980 to 1983 that little pocket. We’re like we’re kind of both. I don’t know. It’s a thing. But anyway, I’m technically a millennial.

Jack: I don’t like this.

Jennifer: Like barely, like I just made the cut off. I was like 1982 I think and that’s the year I was born, so.

Jack: I love how on the internet Gen X has become the baby boomers.

Jennifer: Yeah. Gen X are the old people.

Jack: Gen X are the bad guys who took all the jobs.

Jennifer: And now we millenials were happen to be scrappy and all of this.

Jack: When I was a teenager and when that’s sort of labeled went more, Gen X were the slackers and the…

Jennifer: The stoners.

Jack: Yeah.

Jennifer: Wearing flannel, listening to Nirvana.

Jack: And then we turn into our dads.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Jack: I don’t know when did that happened.

Jennifer: I don’t know but yeah I’m technically a millennial, or like I said they had that little pocket thing. Anyway, we are going off track again. So you want people to know who you are and see you as a human being and not just a company.

Jack: So, I was listening to a podcast that you actually turn me on to Jenna Kutcher?

Jennifer: Yes.

Jack: The Goal Digger Podcast?

Jennifer: The Goal Digger!

Jack: And she actually talked about creating a brand in her early days too. It’s interesting that you bring it up but you haven’t listen to this episode.

Jennifer: Not yet, no.

Jack: But she also said that she confused her brand with a logo and a set of colors and all that but said that a brand is the feeling that you inspire in people. That’s seems pretty woo-woo.

Jennifer: Well, but it is. You need to have a personality that shine through and not everyone is bubbly and happy, you know there’s some people that you know your brand might be that you’re intense and deep or I can’t even think of another personality type but…

Jack: Bubbly and happy or intense and deep.

Jennifer: Or intense and deep.
Jack: Pick one.

Jennifer: Or like you know you’re artsy fartsy and kind of eccentric and weird or like this kind of popular now, this like bohemian.

Jack: Rhapsody

Jennifer: Rhapsody.

Jack: Made a movie about that.

Jennifer: Yeah, it’s a great movie. But then they have this bohemian vibe, wear these hats and there in this long boho dresses and I don’t get it. That’s not my thing.

Jack: What would you say my brand is? Or if I had to make a brand, what would you say it is?

Jennifer: You’re funny, make humor, you definitely have the humor. I really kind of see you as you’re more…

Jack: I don’t understand why the word sexy isn’t falling out of your mouth right now.

Jennifer: I say yes. My jaw was on the ground, so I wasn’t able.

Jack: Oh I got you, you had that scoop that baby back up, right?

Jennifer: Yup.

Jack: Alright. So we’ll take this brand discussion off air. I’m very curios though to talk to you about branding for authors.

Jennifer: Well that seems that I would need to look into more because it’s not something that I’ve had studied but I have that book coming that we could talk more about it.

Jack: Alright. Well readers, stay on the edge of your sits because we may never come back to this. Alright my last mistake, if you can call it that, is not launching my book. When I release Naan of your Business, it was right around my birthday, right?

Jennifer: Yes, because you got the cover from the graphic artist on your birthday.

Jack: That’s right. I went down in to my office, which is the corner of our den, our finish basement, and I went on Amazon and I clicked upload and I set the price and I publish and I brought you down and say look I did it.

Jennifer: Yup.

Jack: Now, what you’re supposed to do is go to your email list and tell them six months ahead of time or you know some time out, here’s what my covers going to look like and then you wait a month, here’s the first chapter, and then you wait a month and you get you know beta readers to read through and give their initial feedback, and then you wait a little bit and send out advance review copies when you get people a copy of the book with an expectation that when the book launches or even before, they will leave a review on it because reviews increase your sales basically. And then you have a pre-order open so that when it actually goes live your numbers are going way up and you go up to charts and you’re more discoverable. I did none of this.

Jennifer: Nope, you finish writing the book and put it up for sale.

Jack: Well, I don’t want anybody to think ill of me. I finish writing like the fifth draft of the book. It’s very polished.

Jennifer: Yes. You didn’t you say, okay done and throw it up there.

Jack: It went through professional editing, professional cover design, all of that. But I didn’t do any of this launch activities because one, I didn’t know; and two, I hadn’t built a readership yet. So, how do you build an audience without anything to read? I don’t know. But I guarantee you, I will launch my next book properly. So this is a mistake that I’ve learned from.

Jennifer: Yes, and you’ll be more prepared for the next one. You’ll know about releasing little tid bits here and there, and you’ll also have more readership built up too because you’re supposed to do a launch with your email list but, I mean, if you had an email list at that time, it wasn’t much.

Jack: The email list that I had at that time was a holdover from prowritingtips.com

Jennifer: Oh my goodness.

Jack: That blog that you and I had together concurrent with Idle Hands Graphics.

Jennifer: Idle Hands Graphics, yes.

Jack: Which was intensively writing tips but was actually mostly grammar, I was copier at that time as well I was in to. That was my first brush with fame.

Jennifer: With our blog.

Jack: That was back when blogs make money.

Jennifer: And people trying to get rich off of writing blogs.

Jack: I had a copy of the Pro Blogger book.

Jennifer: We’re going to make it big between that and Idle Hands Graphics.

Jack: Just for reference, we were extremely broke back then so were desperate for anything to develop side income.

Jennifer: Yes.

Jack: If only we could see now back then. I mean we’re so extremely broke but we’re happy.

Jennifer: We’re okay with it.

Jack: And we also have lonely. Alright Jennifer.

Jennifer: Yes.

Jack: Number three and I feel like this is the big one.

Jennifer: This was actually the one that you suggested to me when we were making the list and I said something else; totally different, and you said no and.

Jack: You said marrying me.

Jennifer: Well, I mean you didn’t say it only had to be within the scope of our profession. I didn’t know our personal life couldn’t be involved too.

Jack: Look lady, you can do a lot worst in Jack Roach. Well you can do worst. I’m okay.

Jennifer: I can, I can do worst so you give me your permission? Am I allowed to, you’re glaring at me.

Jack: I’m just not dignifying that with a response.

Jennifer: Okay.

Jack: I love you honey.

Jennifer: You’re going to edit this out.

Jack: No.

Jennifer: Okay. Cool.

Jack: This is my brand.

Jennifer: Awesome. So this ties into something that I said first which was when I said that I undercharge and I didn’t charge my worth. Jack you felt so strongly that this is needed to be a whole separate topic that didn’t just tie in and I said, oh it could just be part of undercharging and then you said no, it has to be a separate thing.

Jack: This was a very specific and memorable event in our lives because I remember the moment you told me you’re going to do it and I didn’t know enough to stop you.

Jennifer: No and I think if you, either one of us had known then what we know now. Hopefully, I wouldn’t have ever thought to do it but even if I had, I hope that you would say, no.

Jack: And a year later, once the consequences were fully realized, you pulled me aside and said never. Let me do that again.

Jennifer: Yeah. Never ever let me do that again.

Jack: Well enough anticipation.

Jennifer: Enough with the mystery.

Jack: What did you do?

Jennifer: So, I start to believing in myself and raised my prices and started charging my worth because I didn’t want to be the budget photographer anymore.

Jack: Yey! Great for Jennifer.

Jennifer: Yeah that was great, except the problem was that I didn’t really have the advertising know how or any other stuff to go into that. So I was still in the same fish bowl? But just saying that my prices were higher.
Jack: So you were still in these Facebook garage sale groups.

Jennifer: Yeah. I was still in the Facebook garage sale groups and…

Jack: The bigger budget photographer.

Jennifer: Yeah, well I mean no one else is going to, they’re not, if they’re in a garage sale group for weddings, they’re not going to pay more for photography. So I was barking at the wrong tree. Anyways, so the mistake that I made was I raised my prices believing in myself and believing in my worth and said, okay I am worth more than $500. I’m going to raise my prices to a more respectable amount. So I raised them to, I think it was $1,500. It was still, wasn’t even…

Jack: Still low, very low.

Jennifer: Still very low, especially in Atlanta. It is still on the very low end, just not as dirt cheap the $500 is, but still well below average.

Jack: But still marketing yourself, if you can call it marketing; still marketing to the same people who you’re marketing to is you can’t afford a real photographer so hire me.

Jennifer: Yeah, and then there I am in at the same groups posting, “Hey, I’m a wedding photographer”, and so I was getting you know people interested but then I would send them my prices and I wouldn’t heard back from them and I start to getting really panicked because I had maybe two weddings booked for the whole year and that was it.

Jack: Now, everybody needs to understand that when other people saying panic they mean like, oh no I’ve just had a car crash or I lost my job. Jennifer experience that level of panic when the milk starts to getting low in the fridge. So when Jennifer says she’s panicked, that’s something it can to watching the bomb drop of your tuner.

Jennifer: Jennifer maybe has a little bit of anxiety problem. Okay?

Jack: They’ve renamed it to Jennifer disorder.

Jennifer: So little bit of anxiety going on with me, just a smidge, but you’re right. I did get a little crazy and I was looking at my calendar and I just thought, there’s no way that I could make any money doing this this year. I’ve only got two bookings for the entire year, and the year was already half way over. But I only had two weddings in the future and that was it for the whole year, and I think that I have already done one of them. I had one in April and then I had another one like way off in October. And so I’m looking at it I can’t make the whole year with just two weddings. So I, very quickly, got in InDesign or Photoshop or something and then whipped up a little banner, real quick, and threw it up on Facebook. And it was basically the cheapest wedding prices that you could see. I don’t remember the exact prices but they were extremely low. I do remember that it was the low one was $400 for four hours which only point out now, I don’t like doing weddings that are shorter than all day. I like going for the all day, you know eight or ten hours because that allows me to do my job better, to people that when I’m going in for only a couple of hours, I don’t, they don’t get ready made photos and I don’t get involve with this much. So that was mainly what I was getting the questions about because this people were seeing just $400 and they weren’t even looking at the other options. I think I had a few other options in there for a little bit more expensive but all of a sudden like everybody started booking the four hours for $400 package, and I regretted it when it came time to photographs those weddings. It was a huge mistake.

Jack: Now, even though you said you don’t get involved and they don’t get as many pictures, a 4-hour wedding is still almost the same amount of work as an 8-hour wedding or an all-day wedding, whatever you want to call it.

Jennifer: It is, yeah. It still a lot of work.

Jack: So to put the perspective for everyone, you were working every weekend and every week taking and editing these pictures and making less money than you are now for one wedding.

Jennifer: Because nobody booked me for the other options that I put up on that banner. I think it was four hours for $400, six hours for $600, or eight hours for $900 or something like that. Nobody booked the eight hours for $900, nobody booked the six hours. Maybe one person did for the six hours for $600, but everybody booked the four hours for $400. A lot of them were kind of far away too so I drive an hour to get there and an hour back. You know take their pictures, be away from my family. You know I do the wedding, I shoot the wedding, I come home, edit the pictures. Return the pictures and then turn around and do it again, and alright here’s another wedding and so I’m going to another wedding. And so I was so busy yet and on paper it look like I was doing really well. In my social media, I’m showing all these pictures from all these weddings that I was doing but in reality, I was exhausted? And I was kind of depress, honestly because this is going to sound harsh but the people that were paying that little for photography didn’t care about photography and they didn’t care about me. They only wanted someone there to click a button because they had to have pictures on their wedding. They weren’t willing to spend more on it to get a better quality product. They just want pictures, they don’t care what they look like. It could be anybody saying that there pressing the button, it wasn’t about me. And so it made me feel really bad about myself, it made me feel really bad about my work because they also a lot of times weren’t even saying thank you? Or that they like the pictures? Or really anything, like I never got any kind of feedback from them. And so it was very disheartening.

Jack: And to be blunt, people are trying to save that much money on their wedding budget don’t have great looking weddings. So it didn’t even make your portfolio look that great.

Jennifer: I was trying then to not say it that bluntly but you’re right. I was aspiring for these beautiful high end luxury weddings at these gorgeous venues and that’s not what I was getting. But it was a bummer because they didn’t care about getting great photography and they didn’t care about being friends with their photographer, getting to know me or hang out with me or anything. Now that’s my ideal clients, that’s who I want to work for. I want to work for someone who genuinely likes me and I genuinely like and I could still be friends with after the wedding and we can text back and forth and chat about things we have in common and get to the wedding.

Jack: Are you dating this people?

Jennifer: Yeah. Didn’t you know that?

Jack: Oh wow.

Jennifer: I thought I was very clear about that, I guess not.

Jack: You know earlier when you’re talking about not charging enough I thought about making a joke about being the cheapest hoe in the blog but I held back because that’s sound very respectful.

Jennifer: Well. When have you been very respectful?

Jack: When this red light that says record is going on.

Jennifer: But anyway, that was my big mistake and I did after I spent a good amount of time taking pictures of these weddings and returning them and not getting anything from it, I went to you and I said this was a huge mistake? Never let me do this again.

Jack: Well, there’s a couple of things that I want to add to the description about this time.

Jennifer: Okay.
Jack: Is one, I know you and I know that you still poured your heart and soul into these weddings even though they weren’t great financially and weren’t great for your portfolio and I know how dejecting it was for you to still invest so much of yourself in this and not get anything out of it either physically or personally.

Jennifer: Yeah, they wouldn’t even say thank you and that was I think the worst part of it was I love getting that response from couples when they get their pictures. I know it’s kind of egotistical but it does make me feel really good when they response telling me how much they love their pictures, and that’s part of why I do it because I like giving good photos to people for their wedding and I want them to love them.

Jack: If you ever want to make Jennifer’s day? Make one of her photos your profile picture.

Jennifer: Oh yeah, I do love that. Whenever I see somebody made one of my photos their profile picture, it just fills my heart. I just love it.

Jack: The other thing that I want to point out is that the tail end of these basement fire weddings coincided with the beginning of your higher price weddings, so you would go out one day and do $2,500 wedding and then the next day do a $400 wedding and it would just be so confusing.

Jennifer: Yeah. It was. They started to overlap there at the end. The last few that I had booked started to overlap with the first couple that I had started booking at my higher prices. Because once I got my calendar filled up, I stop panicking and I went back to the prices that I raised them to originally.

Jack: Even higher.

Jennifer: Even a little bit higher, yeah. Because I was getting more experience and I was getting a bigger portfolio even though I didn’t love everything that was in it. It was still more experience and more weddings and just showed that I did deserve more, and it took a while but people did start booking me at my higher prices. I went through the same thing earlier this year when I looked at 2019, and some of my friends and I were even talking about where are all the 2019 brides. Like are they not getting married in 2019? What’s going on? Because at the time, I think it was right before Christmas. I only had, again, three or four weddings. I think it was four, booked for 2019, and that was right before New Years. And so I was holding out hope for you know the engagement season boom because I know that every January, there’s a huge spike in inquiries that you get because a lot of people get engage over Christmas.

Jack: Playoffs.
Jennifer: And New Year’s Eve and stuff and so they spend a lot of time in January getting their date and getting their venue and then they start looking another vendors. And there was a very small little part of me at the back of my brain that did start to freak out a little bit again like I did before when I look at my calendar, now it’s dry erase board and see three names on there for the entire year of 2019.

Jack: This is the same process that leads to having second children. You go through the terrors of child. You know, people say it, oh it’s beautiful and natural; it is disgusting and it’s painful.

Jennifer: How do you know? You didn’t do it.

Jack: Because that’s how gross it was.

Jennifer: It was gross.

Jack: And then like two years later, you come to me and say, I miss being pregnant. Lady weren’t you there? They said, oh look, the baby’s head is crowning, look. Oh!

Jennifer: And you look.

Jack: Oh, they are like go back and erase my three mistakes. I’m just going to say seeing the baby’s head crowning three times. There was a person coming out of another person and it was messy.

Jennifer: It was messy. I couldn’t believe you looked. I did not expect you to look.

Jack: And then they said you are to cut the umbilical cord. No! I’m not having any more placenta coming all over me.

Jennifer: I think the nurse was very confused when you refuse to cut the umbilical cord. You’re like okay I guess I’ll do it myself.

Jack: Let me tell everybody about when I made the nurse laugh in the middle of your child birth experience.

Jennifer: Oh my gosh. She wasn’t the nurse; she was the doctor. You made the doctor laugh.

Jack: So, the doctor’s down there in my wife’s another region unmentionable and said oh you’ve got a little bit hymen there, do you want me to, and I said, I told you they’ll grow back!
Jennifer: And she laughed, and then she apologized for laughing and then she was like that wasn’t appropriate. I shouldn’t have laugh. That’s my husband for you.

Jack: So I think that my take away from my mistakes, what I want you listener to learn from me is when you start embarking on adventure like this is you spend time beforehand learning as much as you can about it, and not assuming that you already know. So don’t wait to get involve with the communities until you know you already a part of that community. Jumping ahead of time and learn from everybody so you don’t do silly things like not launching your book, or queering eight agents with the comedic detective novel, stuff like that, or charging $400 for a wedding.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Jack: Jennifer what would you say your take away? What is your call to action.

Jennifer: So my biggest take away from my mistakes, so the lesson that you can learn from my mistakes is don’t be afraid to charge your worth and to stick to that and don’t back down. People have prices for a reason and your client shouldn’t expect to give them discounts or lower your price or anything with that and not everyone is going to be able to afford you. This is a hard lesson that I have to learn. Not everyone is going to be able to afford you and that’s okay.

Jack: Yet, when you’re looking at all the other photographers and thing and oh they’re all charging at least $2,000, I can really sneak in. There’s a reason they’re charging $2,000.

Jennifer: Yeah, there’s a reason and then you know I wonder how many other photographers now that are in the same group that I’m in now like with the two thousand and above level. How many of them ever maybe panicked than did cheap weddings or started out really cheap and then worked their way up. Because I’m sure you know everybody had to start somewhere like that but it’s not worth it. It really the time that you spend away from your family, the time you spend driving, the time that you spend working on the pictures afterwards; it’s not worth that little bit of money. It’s really not.

Jack: Well those are our top three mistakes. Listeners, what are your biggest mistakes. Email us at podcast@gettoart.org and tell us all about them and if they’re not too embarrassing, we’ll read them on the air.

Jennifer: Or if you haven’t made any mistakes yet, maybe some of mistakes that you’re afraid of making and say like how to avoid making it like something that’s holding you back.

Jack: Jennifer where can they find out more about you?

Jennifer: They can go to my website at jennifermariephotographer.com. I’m also on Instagram @jennifermariephotographyga

Jack: And you can find me at jackroachauthor.com and on Twitter @jackwroach, and you can find both of us at gettoart.org where you can see all of our past episodes, show notes and more. We all know what we are going to do next time. It’s going be great. I can feel it.

Jennifer: I think it’s time to have another guest on the show.

Jack: Alright, let’s do that.

Jennifer: We enjoyed having Kurt and Mary on the show a couple episodes back so I think well, maybe pull in one of my photographer friend or something.

Jack: That’s sounds like a good time. I love all your photographer friends.

Jennifer: The ones you know.

Jack: I don’t love all of them. Well until next time, I want you to sit down with your keyboard, I want you to stay in behind your camera, I want you to squat down in front of your easel, whatever it is that you do, put everything else aside and get to art. We’ll see you next time. Thanks for listening.

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