Cathi Nelson is the CEO of The Photo Managers and has a passion for photos and storytelling. She helps small business owners become professional photo managers and also educates consumers on the importance of saving and organizing their photos and videos.
Today, Cathi joins me to talk about her journey as an accidental entrepreneur and how she got her start with her unique business. She’s also chatting about how she’s been able to evolve her money mindset as she’s shifted her business model and increased her revenue streams.
Join Cathi and me in this information-packed episode to learn why it’s so important to have multiple streams of revenue as a female entrepreneur and how you can start diversifying your income today.
In this episode, Cathi & I also discuss:
- How Cathi got started in this unique business 2:00
- The importance of knowing who you are as an entrepreneur 8:24
- What motivated Cathi to have more than one stream of income 13:21
- Changing your mindset to be open to having multiple streams of income 16:58
- Why it’s so important to have more than one revenue stream 19:41
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Read the episode transcript
Welcome back to entrepreneur money stories. Today we have Cathi Nelson on the show Cathi, the CEO and founder of the photo managers. Cathi has a really unique business. I had no idea that this even existed. I couldn’t wait to share this with you guys. She has a global membership organization that serves entrepreneurs through training, professional certification partnerships and educational conferences. Cathi’s mission is really twofold. She helps small business owners worldwide achieve success as a professional photo manager, and educate consumers on the importance of organizing, saving and sharing their photos and videos. When Cathi is not working. You’ll find Cathi daydreaming about her next hiking adventure or practicing a new sport, be it pickleball or golf. I love this conversation with Cathi, one of my biggest takeaways was her framing her business as a tent. You’ll learn all about that. So stay tuned for my conversation with Cathi. Welcome to entrepreneur money stories, the podcast that will transform the way you think about business, finances, and money mindset. I’m your host, Danielle Hayden, and I’m thrilled to be here to help you take your business to the next level. On this show. We’re going to explore everything you need to know about managing your business finances, building wealth, and most importantly, developing a healthy money mindset. Throughout the podcast, we’ll share key insights and strategies that you can apply in your daily life as a CEO and business owner from identifying your financial goals to building a solid financial foundation. We’ll give you the no BS checkup on your business finances. So get ready to be inspired, motivated and empowered as we dive into the world of business finances, and money mindset. Cathi, welcome to entrepreneur money stories. Thank
you for being here. Yeah, excited to be here.
Thank you. So Kathy, and I were jumping in and talking about all the good stuff. So we had a bit of a pause and jumped to the beginning. Kelly, I really do appreciate you sharing your wisdom and expertise. You and I had the opportunity to meet at the leadership lab. I know we’re here though, a year and a half ago. So I think you know, the reason I wanted to mention that as well. One shout out to Shelly Warren and the leadership lab, because I think what she has put together is pretty, pretty amazing. But the focus that you have, as a business leader, is to always be growing and learning. And I think that’s really special and, and something to celebrate. But tell us a little bit about who you are and how you got started in the photo managers. Your business is very unique. And so I think hearing where that came from will be really exciting for the listeners.
Yeah, happy to. My name is Cathi Nelson. I’m the CEO and founder of the photo managers. We’ve had a variety of names over the years, we were once the association of personal photo organizers. When I started in 2009. Looking back now I can’t believe I called it my I started as a result of what I call my incredibly shrinking paycheck. Because I came out of a direct sales model. Actually scrapbooking it was Creative Memories in those days, where I know, right? It’s crazy. Where there was a time was like a billion dollar industry. And people were buying consumable products to put their photos into photo albums. And I made money on both selling products, but also developing teams like people that would sell it. But as soon as we switched to digital photography, people stopped printing their photos, and it’s only gotten worse, right? So that was just crazy how it’s a huge shift. It’s a huge market shift. I wish I could tell you that I really had a true crystal ball to see how bad it would get. But I didn’t. But I did notice that people started asking me for technology help like how do I get my photos from my memory card to my computer? How do I email a photo because in those days, we weren’t even emailing photos yet. You had to compress the size and you didn’t know how to do that. And I thought it hadn’t come out yet. And so somebody started asking me, what do you charge per hour to help me and I immediately went to the typical woman. I think responses like don’t charge anything per hour. You know what, I’m just gonna help you because I’m your friend. But fortunately, a good friend said no, no, I once paid a professional organizer to help me out. You know, when I was moving. I hadn’t heard of professional residential organizing at that point. And so I was intrigued but I finally agreed that she could pay me. I got to her house and not only did she have a computer she still loves his story because she knows now that she gets the credit for an industry that didn’t exist that now exists worldwide. But yeah, she was a good friend and she got me too so I helped her take her photos from her computer memory cards were computer Her husband was a Mac user. She was a PC, a very typical problem, but not only was she had inherited boxes of photos from her parents who had passed away. She was one of four kids. She said well I told her siblings you know, I All digitized, though she hadn’t done it. So I feel guilty. And her kids had a mixture of analog and digital photos because they were in high school. And she still kept the I don’t care how long it takes by guarantee there are hundreds of other Marines just like me, who’d pay somebody to do that. I was like, wow, I drove home, I thought, I’m going to call myself a photo organizer, because I wanted to make a photo book for her to tell a story of her family’s life. And I found the photos had to be organized, right, there had to be a beginning, middle and end to do a narrative. And so that’s where the word organizing came in. And, you know, here we are, it’s a long story. 13 years later, we have a support professional for organizers throughout the world. We have members in the US, Canada, South Africa, I just certified a member from our second member from Ireland, the Netherlands and UK, Australia. So it is a growing need, right? And it’s it’s. So eventually I switched my model from me being offering those services to clients, one on one, to people asking me, could I teach them how to do it. So really, I switched my business model from me doing it for clients, to eventually teaching others how to do it and starting what would now be known as a membership community. But when I started this, there was no internet membership community, it wasn’t even a word there wasn’t, you know, I use the word association, because I saw the National Association of professional organizers and I realized, oh, there’s an association and I came up with a certification so that people would be certified a code of ethics. And that’s how it grew from there.
So those people would become the organizer. So you weren’t teaching? Or I guess somebody made it a question. Were you teaching individuals how to do it themselves? Or were you teaching people how to run the business of photo organizing?
Yeah, once it’s an interesting thing we have, those are two markets that we could really attack, I have chosen to stay focused on supporting the professional market. So these are entrepreneurs, small business owners who are like myself who have a passion for photos and stories, because it’s really all about the stories, I just always have to say that it’s like, the idea of photo organizing is like watching paint dry, almost. I mean, it’s like a big yawn. Right? But if you understand the connection of why, which is really why do we take photos, right? Or videos at this point, we’ve certainly switched to video in a significant way to tell stories, right? You were just telling me a story about your son skiing. And you know, I’m sure maybe you have some photos of when you went skiing together. Well, there’s a story behind that. I’m sure you said he was a snowboarder. I already know he’s probably like an adventure kid. He probably you know, he’s a snowboarder. He doesn’t follow the rules. He didn’t want to be a skier who wants to be a boarder.
But I know that, but all those are assumptions that we can make from photos and videos, and then telling those stories really matters. So I’m focused on the entrepreneur who wants to help the consumer that’s completely drowning and overwhelmed in their photos. We do offer online classes as part of these additional revenue streams to what we call that DIY market, because it’s a big market out there. But really, my heart lies with the small business entrepreneurs and helping them have successful businesses.
So I know one of the big things that we want to talk to talk about today is diversifying our income streams. But I think in doing that, let’s just pause at you know, you made a decision. And you could have gone a DIY route and taught people how to organize their own photos. Or you could know, the route you chose made you even know that you were choosing a route at that time? What made you choose that route?
No, I’ve learned that I did. Actually, I tried both routes for a while they no because yeah, but I kept as I would continually learn and take courses and watch, I realized that you know, to be successful, you really have to be good in one one area it so I realized what did give me the most satisfaction was I know, at the end of the day, when I put my head down, that I helped. I’ve helped hundreds of small business owners and people told me, you know, I’ve changed their life. But I mean, I in a way I have there was no such thing as professional photo managers, we have members with multiple employees and earning six figures and things based on an idea that I had now, could they have maybe discovered this themselves, of course, but really, I’ve created like the umbrella organization that has given it legitimate, it has made it a legitimate, legitimate business. And that’s what gives me joy. So that’s where I’ve stayed in that lane. That’s, I might have made more money in some ways if I went to the DIY market, but that’s not really what it’s all about for me. So I think knowing what you value. And you don’t always know but I think taking the time to constantly out Who am I for? I guess that’s the question. Somebody wants that to me one day, to be a good business owner, you have to answer this question. Who are you for? I remember, I just sat for a lot of time on that, you know, who am I for
specific that you are making a decision? And I am asking I’m really drilling down on this because I hear people say I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I don’t really know what I’m doing. I don’t know. That’s the business side. Right. So were you kind of making mistakes and and falling into this path or were there specific things that you were doing? If that were Oh, that was hoping you can pave that path like I want to work with zona?
Yeah, that’s a good question. Because I think earlier a few years ago, I might have played that, like, I’m an accidental entrepreneur, but I’ve gotten over that like, because it’s not necessarily true. I mean, I haven’t gotten to where I put my, I put my time and you know, I’ve been a committed learner. So I had to, I joke, sometimes it’s like, I got, I’ve got my MBA in the last 10 years. I don’t know, what did I say, I probably know a lot more than I would have if I got an MBA. So I’ve made, I’ve made mistakes. But I’ve always sought out wisdom from others that are ahead of me, or I’ve always just been inquisitive and asked a lot of questions. And so I think the person that actually a person that came alongside me, I happen to meet her, she was the woman who started blurb, the photo book company blurb, which some of you may have, but she’s one of the top women CEOs in Silicon Valley, had an opportunity to have coffee with me, she didn’t know anything about my background, she was very intrigued by what I was doing. And she kind of took me under her wing for a while. And then that was the question she kept sending me Kathy, but to be a good business owner, you have to know who you’re for. And so blurb had to know who they were for in terms of the photo book company and I that her wisdom is what helped give me that direction further than where I was.
That’s perfect. So always be learning, right? Make peace with being an accidental entrepreneur and know that at one point, right, this is intentional, and we’re putting in our time and learning from our mistakes, and then being inquisitive as we are making these decisions constantly asking, Wherefore I miss anything?
No, but I also think about the exponential or being inquisitive. I mean, I don’t know if we’re gonna get to this, but about knowing your numbers. I remember early on, you know, people always say know your numbers, know your numbers. I’ve always felt so insecure that I didn’t. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. Right. So that’s what I’ve said, I’ve got, I can look over at my neck and look over the books I’ve got. But finally, I think just in the last couple years, too, I realized two things. One is I might have been asking the wrong questions when I didn’t understand. So what was so I didn’t have the right language. And so the words I think I was using was confusing to people that were trying to explain it to me, because I was thinking I might have been using a set of language that was different from theirs.
And it’s true. Yeah, we run into that a lot. People ask me terms, and I’m like, Well, hold on, we are defining the terms differently. So we have to, in order for us to communicate, we have to be speaking with the right definitions. That right, the right interpretation of the definitions.
And then that insecurity, I think that can come over us like that imposter syndrome that we can get filled with feeling like, oh, you know, I don’t want to look stupid, or how embarrassing. I keep asking this question. And I think I decided, I remember at one point, I just thought, I’m just going to let that go. And if I have to ask the same question. So I meet with your team, because I mean, obviously, Danielles’ team has been awesome. And they know I mean, I joke with them, too. I’m like, Okay, we’re gonna go through this budget again. And I’m not embarrassed anymore to just say, Yep, this is what you do every day. But I’m looking at it every month now. And can you remind me again, of what this means? And I just don’t feel embarrassed anymore. And I keep thinking eventually, some more, more and more of it becomes part of my, my understanding, and I excel in other areas. So that’s taken me a long time to come to peace with that.
Yeah, it always does. And every time you look at those numbers, and every time you meet with the team, and every time you ask the question, and ask the question differently, you’re learning something right there. There might not ever be a day that everything clicks, but you’re learning one more tool in the tool belt, you’re learning one more piece of it. I think of running a business as a big giant puzzle. And it’s a puzzle. It’s never complete, right? But we can shift the right pieces and see what pieces fit and keep building out the puzzle. And that’s all you’re doing every time you ask those questions. And you and you look at the number. So I appreciate you sharing that. So you have multiple streams of income. And I think that this is something that there’s a lot I’m going to say back and forth or talk within the entrepreneurship world about: do you niche down into when you do one thing for one group of people or do you diversify? And so as you started to branch out, you know, what made you make that decision? And Was it intentional?
Yeah, it was intentional. And it’s funny, I’m not in, I have probably stepped out of a lot of the entrepreneurial world conversations that might be happening. So I don’t, I’m not. I’ve learned to limit how much interaction I get from. There’s a lot of conversation out there you could get. I spend a lot of money on bright shiny objects. And some of them are really good. Some of these marketing people are brilliant marketers, and so I’ve spent a lot of money it’s I don’t pay too much attention. But yeah, it was intentional. When I first started I remember I had heard that term. I have a friend of mine. It just made sense to me that because my income stream had dried up, I think it was probably I think I understood that is because I had thought I was going to be doing what I was doing for life, it was kind of the the, I can’t believe I bought the whole whole thing, hook line and sinker, whatever. I mean, that’s a whole nother conversation. But I did buy into this idea that this business model that I was pursuing, and at that time in my life was going to be around forever. I didn’t, there was no recognition that the market would change. Right. And so I saw the market changing. And because I saw my paycheck shrinking, and I financially could not afford that. And it was, I think it was a really scary moment, because I didn’t know how I would go back to my old job. I was in sales and marketing at local television stations and things and had left when my mother had small children. And I had this feeling like who would ever hire me again, I don’t want to work like that. So Oh, my gosh, I need to figure out how I’m going to make a living. And so by adding these other services, suddenly, I was talking to my oldest customer base, instead of selling them a consumable product, I started selling them to my knowledge. And that was a new concept to me, right charging an hour for my time and charging hourly fees for my time. And I think in that process, I realized, well, what if that what if that closes up? So for me, the decision to have multiple streams of income was really based, I think out of a fear factor of one stream of income didn’t dry up. And so I think I’m still pretty, that’s just from a life experience. So for me, I do understand when you say niching down, I say do what you love and outsource the rest. This is language that I use from our members that are starting photo organizing businesses, because they can’t do everything. You can’t, you don’t, you’re not going to convert people’s home movies and scan their photos and make photo books for them. And, you know, there’s like a million different things that you can do within this profession that we’re in. But you can’t make money on all of those. If you have good people that you’re that you become the project manager. Right. So you’re not turning away business, but you, I guess, look at myself more like a project manager.
Hey, listeners, I hope you’re enjoying another great episode of entrepreneur money stories. If you’re ready to dive deeper into your money mindset, I invite you to book a strategy call with the kickstart accounting team. The KSA team is eagerly waiting to help you and support you as you make your dream business a reality. Don’t put us on one of those to do lists that never get done. We know what it’s like for accounting to follow you around like a black cloud tax to get started 28444996969. Again, tax get started 28444996969. Do it right here right now. Go ahead and press pause. As you’re thinking about it. This is something that is too important to wait, trust me, you’ll wish you did it a lot sooner. All right. Now, back to the episode. So tell us a little bit more, if you don’t mind, what are your different streams of income? And how quickly did you add on or really refine this process so that you had each one of those? And before you do that, I just want to touch on the money mindset. You mentioned how this was a story, right that that happened, giant market shift that happened. And so I created this money mindset story for you. And I think it’s important to pause on that, because I can’t tell you how often I hear shame around. But I’m not good at money, or I did this out of fear. And then we forget that we are living lives and that we’re part of this human experience and part of that human experience as being part of this giant market shift. And that is going to create a mindset, right? If not our, you know, are we maybe a sociopath, if we don’t write like if we are not impacted by these things that happen in our lives. We’re not having the full human experience of learning and growing. So just wanted to touch on that because it’s when we, when we think about money mindset, it’s okay to acknowledge the fact that it’s because of things that have happened to us that are constantly creating that story.
Yeah, it right. I agree with that completely, and taking the time to track all that it’s hard to change the story. It’s one thing to identify it. But I think it’s, you know, the older I get, the longer I just look at different generations to and I think we’re all impacted by key times in our lives, you know, what, where was what was money, like in your 30s or 40s depending on when you’re starting your business too. And I think those things make a big impact. My kids were just in grammar school when I started you know, so they were in college was I mean all these things that you’re worrying about right paying the mortgage and all that stuff was was much more real to me and then and then I feel like today because we’re I’m at a different stage but but the multiple streams have been Give me so I think early on I saw I realized like trading dollars for hours kind of going away during the work itself when people started asking me to teach them how to do it and people that knew me from the past other people that were in that in that direct sales model were like, Oh, look at Kathy. Now what is Kathy doing? And at first I was this idea of like, oh, we give all our information away. But it took me like a year, a year and a half of a lot of effort to come up with a business plan to come up with the methodology that I was using. And I finally got smart enough and thought, why am I I shouldn’t be giving away my intellectual property, what if I sell it at a reasonable place, but what I wanted people to be successful from it. So that was like, then I started diversifying. So I was still working with clients, but I was kind of selling the information that I had, that I had created the systems, the concepts and things like that. And then, because we always used to do events, I’ve, I could have been an event manager and my other life, but I decided that we would do a conference, I had no idea. I mean, I I’m doing my 11th conference in like four weeks. So I can’t believe I’ve got 11 years now of conferences under my belt. But because I had done scrapbooking events and stuff, I was comfortable with gathering money from people and getting people to come to things. So I just said, I signed the contract for a conference in Chicago. And, uh, and just put it out there and 100 and something people showed up, and I had exhibitors, and I just figured it out one step at a time. So that’s a significant, another revenue stream it also, I think, it was one of the best decisions I think I made because it’s created a sense of community, we have members that love to come to, you know, who can say I’ve been to all live and conferences, there’s like a bragging rights at this point within our community about how many conferences you’ve been to. And we mixed it up, we changed it up this year, we added a magic show. I mean, we always have a dinner dance party now. People love to be with other people in relationships that happen in the community. So I’m big on community, I’ve created a lot of communities. So I think that was another. So that’s another stream of income. That required a lot of focus on my attention. But it was intentional. It was
intentional. Are you thinking of it as I’m doing this as a stream of income? Or were you thinking of it as a passion project?
I love it. I knew it was another stream because I had had experience knowing that I was even diversifying my income when I was doing this scrapbooking kind of direct sales model, right. I was doing, like I said, we had 1800 People come to the Connecticut Convention Center, the first. I mean, I signed that contract. And I organized that to make that happen in Connecticut. So I was always an entrepreneur, I was always thinking big. In a way I was a risk taker, I still am, I’m maybe a little less, but I was definitely a risk taker by nature. So I knew when I’d sign those contracts, I was putting in my you know, my reputation on the line, I had to like pay those bills. So it was intentional. It was another intention. And then
action paralysis is what I hear as well. taking leaps and committing and figuring it out. As you go one piece at a time. I was just on a client call the other day, the woman said, I just want to make sure I get it all right before I launch it. And I said stop getting it. All right, right.
I have to tell people, that’s my event in our onboarding. Now we’re really clear with people. It’s if I did that, I would be having this conversation today. My motto is just say yes, and go figure it out. Look, the first client when I went back to our local Chamber of Commerce, and I decided to call myself this photo organizer, the first person who ever came up to me was a travel agent. She said, Oh, this is brilliant. I just came back from a trip to Eastern Europe with some clients like a holocaust. Saint, could you make a video slideshow to music so I could give each of them one. And I remember I thought, I’ve never done that I have no idea. But I knew what my church somebody was doing this. I said, Well, no, I’ve never done it. But I can’t figure out how to do that. Because I could ask somebody if that’s alright with you. And she was like, oh, yeah, she was thrilled because she didn’t want to have to figure it out. And so I grabbed Kristen and Kristen calm. And that attitude is critical, I think to be successful as an entrepreneur. The thing is, if you don’t know it, you can find the answer. The answers are out there and people don’t want to find the answer. That’s the key, right? So when I saw I tell our members, a lot of times too, if you’re working with a client, and they have an Android phone, and you’re using, you know, an Apple phone, and you don’t know, they don’t want to figure out how to get their photos up their Android phone into a cloud service. They could Google that and spent a lot of time figuring it out. It’s not easy. But they’ll pay you to do that. Yep. So I know, I see a lot of people wanting to take on us. We have a lot of classes, like we have this whole, and people like I’ve watched every class I’m like, Well, we had a client yet. No. Are you making any money yet? No. You’re not in business yet. Go get some quiet, make some money, then take the classes and stuff, right? Because I think that’s another thing. We sell courses, right? And that’s another revenue stream that we really started adding. I don’t know what it will be in six or seven years when online classes become a big business. You know, I’ve been in the last five or six years. And we’re seeing a change in that I think people have got to realize that they buy lots of classes and never watch them. And that’s a common scenario. But that’s what I’ve seen happen. People like oh, well I’ll just buy this class for five or $600. And then I feel terrible, because we can look and see like 60 80% of them and never even login. Login. It’s so I think that’s that tendency to think I’m going to do it and then people don’t get to it. So but that is another stream of income for so the courses were our way to meet that DIY market that we knew was out there.
This was after you did the conferences, so you say,
I’ve always done the conferences,
okay. And then later, you added in the courses,
We added the courses. And now we’ve added, we have an online academy, where we have members that have figured out that’s a lot of revenue for them, and we want to support them. So we do affiliate marketing, because we have a bigger audience than they do, right? We’re busy so we can promote their courses for them. And it’s a win-win for everybody.
So how do you keep track? Right? So thinking of the listener who’s like, you making my head spin? How many hours a day do you have? You know, I think there’s, there’s two pieces? How do you keep track of that from a financial perspective, right? Because we don’t want to try to do all things for all people, and then realize that they’re not profitable. And that actually the thing that we love to do isn’t making money or that they do great. How do you how do you know from a profitability standpoint, that you should keep all these revenue streams? And what numbers are you looking at to look at that?
I work with your team to help me with that. Now, I’m probably seeing the money that was coming in. I mean, I’ve four revenue streams. And so we do. I do have them now broken out in QuickBooks, I didn’t always I used to have it all melded together. But now I do have them set as different, you know, so we just can keep track of it. Because the other is companies that sponsor us that pay a sponsorship fee. So we don’t have to get it. That’s a different model. But that’s something that I’ve learned that has a great value to these companies I’m getting better at. We’re a thought leaders were thought leaders in the industry. And so these startup companies in Silicon Valley and stuff we’re creating all these apps, and all these great things to solve this problem are so frustrating. I’ve had 1000 phone calls over the years that nobody buys their product. That’s amazing. You think just because they have millions of dollars to develop technology products, they haven’t asked themselves, like, how’s the consumer going to find them? And then all of a sudden, they can’t, they have no traction. So unbelievable. Anyway, so I’m learning to sell my knowledge on that. But back on. I don’t mean this, again, this is a journey, I’m telling you a journey in a short podcast of 10 or 12 years. So I didn’t do all this at once at the events I did in the membership fees, but we added the other pieces later as I was ready.
Okay, thank you for saying it as I was ready. So how do you know when you’re the right to add on a new revenue stream? Because I said this earlier on? I think there can be two schools of thought, right? I need to diversify my income. And I need to have different revenue streams to support my business. And the other thought is, I need to be very careful on the other side. The other argument, right, is that I need to be super niche. And very laser focused on doing one thing for one Yeah.
Right. And you’re, we’re a big so the difference is, right, I agree with that, that you have to know what who you are, and who are you for? If you’re for one client at a time, like you’re serving your client focused business, then you probably should do that one thing really well. I have always said we’re a big tent. So I’m a big tent, right. So under my tent, I can have classes, events, sponsorships from key partners and things like membership because I’m a big, big tent. But if I was just a single solo entrepreneur, working on working with clients and organizing and managing their photo collection, I would recommend, we have members who have narrowed down to one woman, she only works with people with their pets. Like she makes his most amazing pet albums. Like she interviews the pet kind of in the pets mindset. And it’s just, it’s stunning what she’s come up with. Or we have other members who only work with families with two kids with the iCloud library, you know, like they’ve really figured out okay, this is my niche. This is my Market. That makes total sense. But it depends on who you’re for. Right. So it’s, that’s a key question. Difference between what I’m talking about I think,
yeah. And how do you know when you are ready to to add on
a new nother line of revenue? Yeah, I’m not adding any more. I think I think I had others that I’ve let go like so that DIY, we’ve kind of let that go. Because that was going to take to do that right? Was going to I don’t have the time, the band, the resources, the employees to hire to make that work really well. So we have pulled back on some of these major streams, I mean, based on probably not as good as just the numbers but also just knowing my time and the amount of energy I have. And again, who am I for right? I could have built that, you know, if I was, if I was in a math major masterclass group, I did Michael Heights, programming different people like that I am positive, they would have helped me understand that that’s where the real dollars were. And that’s where I should put my energy. But it wasn’t always just about the dollars. It’s not for me just about the money. So I learned to say it’s okay not to do. I can’t. I don’t have time to go after everything that’s out there.
Yeah. Well, I appreciate you sharing that, because that’s part of your why Right? Like, it’s not just about the money. And if you are chasing money, then you might be willing to expend more energy, more resources and money, right? Because sometimes it takes money to create that as well. So money, time, resources, energy, and is that where you want to be spending your time and energy? So I appreciate you sharing that. You’ve had a lot of business experience and a lot of wisdom and have done a lot of things that throughout the years have contributed to a money mindset? How do you keep your money mindset? Strong, right? Because being an entrepreneur is hard, right? Showing up is hard? How do you keep that money mindset strong? Do you keep showing up?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, I wrestle with it a lot all the time. I mean, the big change for me, too, was to invest in an average in advertising, marketing dollars, you know, so that I’m gonna have to keep it’s true. But that was another example. Like, I kept thinking, I need a marketing person, you know, and I try try, you know, hired this person, I did a lot of like, subcontractors, and I get frustrated. I finally again, just like with the money thing, I finally realized I had to become a better student of what I’m asking for. And eventually, in today’s day and age, when you ask for marketing, it’s not one person anymore. It’s now it’s changed again, right? With with Chatbot. Not who knows. But anyway, you know, like, there’s social, their social media, and there’s, you know, Facebook and Instagram, then there’s Google AdWords. And then there’s Facebook. And I finally got better and better understanding that I couldn’t, I couldn’t do all of those things. I wanted, like a one person to be the marketing, marketing genius. Firstly, you could do all that. And I finally realized that you, that’s not doesn’t exist anymore. And so I had to make a decision that I was going to just focus on, we’re just doing Facebook advertising for the first time, because my numbers my numbers were, I was losing, I wasn’t growing, I started noticing that there were my numbers were starting to go down because I was paying more attention to my numbers. And I had asked myself, well, why was that? And I didn’t, well, we had never done any marketing. So I thought, well, maybe I can’t trust the marketing that we’re doing. And where we’d kind of always said, we grew grassroots marketing. And it’s made a big difference. It’s like the buses turning around if we’re going back in the right direction. But so I don’t know if that’s, if that answers your question. But it’s another example of like, a money mindset. Well, it’s a lot of money. I look now at what I’m spending, sometimes I think, God, if you would have told me, even like three or four years ago, I was going to spend that much money, I’d be terrified. It still feels like a lot of money. But I’m seeing the results. And I do understand the value of what is real, I didn’t used to be able to tell you what, what’s the value of a member? Like how long does the member average each day? How much do they spend? I now know the answer to those questions, which has made a big difference. So I’ve become more educated.
I heard you say, though, throughout this entire conversation, curiosity and questions, so you ask the questions, you don’t just look at the numbers, right? Because people say they know your numbers, but then it’s like, what was great, like, it’s all about asking, asking questions. And if you’re not getting anything from the question, and maybe it’s the wrong damn question, you need to ask a different question. And it’s not that the numbers are wrong. It’s not that they’re not. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just asking a different question being really curious. So I just wanted to tie that, that thread through of of that,
I would think today again, like I said, I want to, I’m not focusing that much on all that what’s out there in terms of like, buzzwords and intrapreneurial. world, but I know with our own members we talk about because we do like, you know, every month I do a webinar, like what, what’s a photo manager do? And like, why should you want to be one, right? But I’ve learned to say to people, too, that you have to ask yourself, like I know, for our business, you have to have curiosity, you have to be willing to try and fail and try again. And you have to be like a lifelong learner, because technology is constantly changing, right? And so most of the members are women in their 40s to 60s, I mean, we have a lot more more men joining, but it’s still and who women tend not to think that they know technology, right? But they do because I guess what they do, especially in this space, but they’ve had a lot of it just like everybody else has had to learn it. And so I think today to be a good entrepreneur, because the world changes so quickly. You have to have a certain amount of resilience around asking questions and being curious and failing and trying to do. I just think those know that you need to do that. Not that you may not come naturally to you, you may do it. No. And then just behind me was my wall. I have it okay to be brave and afraid at the same time, Brene Brown, and right underneath it, everything is figured out double, which is Marie Forleo. Those two statements are, to me, the heart of what my entrepreneurial journey has been. I’m afraid a lot. But you know, I’m afraid and brave at the same time and everything is figured out double. I just had to trust at the end of the day. Everything is figured out double
trust the process. I think that was one of the most remarkable things that I’ve learned from Brene. Brown is that you can have two opposing emotions at the same time. And I think that’s a lot of what entrepreneurship is, having these two opposing emotions and until and still taking the next step forward.
Yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard work. There’s no way around it. I don’t know. I can’t imagine there’s an entrepreneurial business that isn’t because of all the complexity like oh, the marketing it now, you know, the algorithms change, or now they put out reels or whatever, you know, you don’t want to do that we help our lot of our members think you know what, you don’t have to be on Instagram, you don’t have to be you know, maybe your audience isn’t there, maybe it’s okay. Because they can spend their whole time starting a business thinking they have to become an expert Instagram poster, when that’s not where their client base is going to come from. And yet, they’re so frustrated, they spend a lot of money buying courses on how to be great on Instagram. And then they give up. They’ve not made any money because they’re not serving the client, maybe the work that they want to do.
You said, Who are you for and knowing that allows you to make that decision. We’ve always stayed super focused on Instagram and not on on LinkedIn and not as much on Facebook because we knew exactly who we were for and who who was hanging out where so is there anything else that we didn’t touch on or you wish I would have asked you in terms of diversifying income streams or really any other business lessons that you feel like are really important.
I just had that last idea that I kind of said, do what you love and outsource the rest. But that idea about being a project manager, I don’t have any experience. I mean, I’ve never been trained in project management. I meet people who say they were project managers, but I always think of it in terms of my general contractor when I had my kitchen redone, right? I just know that he didn’t put the flooring in, he didn’t. He wasn’t the plumber, the electrician, I just looked at him and thought you Okay, gi was his name? Do you figure all this out, he’d bring his buddies or whatever, I didn’t care. I wasn’t gonna I didn’t ask to see they’re like, you know, are you really truly a plumber? I was paying for it. So I don’t depend, you know, depending on what business model you’re working in. That idea, though, that there’s to partner with other small businesses to form relationships is, it can make it a lot more fun. And it’s so it’s, it’s a natural fit, I think for growth in a business. So don’t be so solo that you can’t. There’s no way that you can partner in a collaborative way with other businesses to grow your business.
That’s beautiful. Thank you for where can the audience stay in touch with you and learn more about you?
So the photo managers.com is our website. I do a monthly or weekly newsletter called Cathy’s pics, you can sign up for that on our website where I do things that I’m loving each week. And it’s lots of fun things in the photo space or video space. It’s encouraging and things and then also the fear of suddenly thinking wow, I didn’t know that was a thing. I’d like to become a photo manager. We have a free download, you can sign up for it. You’ll have it linked here in the show notes where 20 different clients and why they would hire a professional photo manager so you can kind of start to think about who could be your ideal client. Because we’re growing. We’d love to, you know, welcome people that are looking for small business opportunities as there’s a lot of growth opportunities here in this space.
Exciting. Well, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate you sharing your stories and your wisdom today.
Okay, thanks, Daniel.