Here is part of my conversation about mentorship, with Audrey of Audrey Nicole photography! Audrey and I thought it would be cool to share some of our own experiences about photo business related things.
Natalie: We were talking about the A to B. Getting from where you are to where you want to go faster and what helps you do that. Sometimes I think it's just about not getting the exact right answer, but just trying shit for you.
Like, “okay, I'm just going to try this and see if it works.”
Audrey: Yup. A hundred percent. Throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks theory. Cause sometimes we get stuck in this loop of” I want to just ask the people that are already where I want to be, how they got there.” You get hyper-focused on these people and their journey and what they're doing now. You're like just constantly looking for the right answer. You forget that the right answer is not the same for everyone. You actually have to like try a bunch of things and fail at a bunch of things in order to get the right answers.
That can be hard cause when you fail at things, people get discouraged. Then they think, “well, I suck at this so that means I need to stop.” That's actually not true at all. You have to just keep going and keep trying until finally you'll find things like, “oh, that works. Oh, that feels good.”
Natalie: Yeah, that's super important. There are things that you can teach people on a high level. Like this is how you create a lead magnet, or this is how you do a wedding contract. But then there are so many nuanced pieces in a service based business where it's like you and your client. You have to deal with styles of communication. You have to deal with personalities, creative working styles, organizational styles, how you run your business. All of that stuff is a little bit different for everybody. Not to mention everybody's life is different.
Most of the time, the failures in business, at least in my experience…they're not that bad.
Audrey: Totally. And it usually is never as bad as we've make it up in our head to be.
And also we've all gotten this far in life, figuring it out, you know? So you, you will figure it out in the moment. I just read this quote that was like
“the “you” that will figure out the future problem will emerge when that future problem emerges.”
Natalie: I don't think we're saying that you don't need guidance or mentorship at all. But it's taking the guidance and mentorship and feeling out what works for you.
I've always said that investing in guidance or mentorship or education is to get from A to B faster.
But investing just takes you there so much faster and ultimately kind of ends up being not as expensive as it seems at first, because you're not wasting so many extra weeks and months of time.
Mentors can give you a path. They can make you accountable. But they ultimately can't tell you exactly what to do in your own business.
Audrey: I have kind of a more unique situation because I actually went to school for photography and have a degree in it. I've always said, now in retrospect, mentoring and one-on-one education type things are far and beyond any other types of education when it comes to this field.
I went and got a whole degree and granted it wasn't all photography, it's a fine art degree.
But the mentorships that I've done, the in-person things that I've done, the shadowing work that I've done has taught me more than anything.
Natalie: Yeah, totally. There isn't like a perfect path, you know, and learning by doing is massive. You can't just read books about cameras, you just have to do it.
The cool thing about a mentor in most situations is that they have a totally different perspective than you do. You're going to be guided to get whatever's next on the to do list done, or to try out a new thing. You're not going to be in your own head the whole time.
You'll have someone being like, “Hey, like this doesn't read so well,” maybe you want to like take out the sentence or, “Hey, like this part of your workflow seems clunky to me. I tried to subscribe to your email list and nothing happened.” Working with someone is hugely helpful because figuring out if your system is broken isn't always as obvious to you as it is to them.
Audrey: Totally. And the accountability part too. I mean you're your own worst enemy. And I can attest to that. I'll be like “sitting on the couch eating tacos just sounds better right now,” but whenever I've had a mentorship, just knowing that so-and-so told me that I need to have these things done by the next time we meet, I would get them done.
If it was just me I was relying on, I would be eating tacos on the couch. But then I would be disappointed with myself when my business wasn't going the way I wanted it to.
Natalie: Which brings me to like one of my favorite things that just popped into my head is this idea of clarity. But if you kind of understand what clarity means in a higher level, which is just knowing exactly where you're going, it's literally like opening up a map and being like, “I'm here.”
Most folks are lacking some clarity, but then when you plug that into the greater thing, like, “why am I doing this? What is my greater goal? How much money exactly do I need to make each month in order to hit my marks? How much time do I have before I burn out? How many people do I have to say no to?”
That that is one of the huge pieces that working with someone else and talking with someone else can help you achieve too, because we all have like a little bit of a clarity problem.
And as soon as you don't really know where you're going, you want to eat tacos on the couch.
Audrey: You nailed it. ‘Cause like, I think about my own journey and the times that I've just been so overwhelmed or have been like, “I don't even know what to do” or if I've found myself in a place of burnout because I overworked myself too much, when I take the time to sit down and like map it all out, clarity is peace of mind.
And that is the truth. Like if you get it out of your head and make it clear and outline. It's just less, so much less of a beast than when it was living in your head. It doesn't take up all your energy.
Natalie: Right. Once it's outlined, having someone say, “this is the most important thing you should be working on right now” is so helpful.
Well, anyway, this whole clarity thing, cause like I can hear people listening, going like, “how do I get clear?” But I do think mentorship is the way forward with that. I have mentors and coaches and the best coaches have coaches.
There isn't there isn't an arrival point necessarily. You might hit milestones where you're like, “now I'm capable and comfortable doing this, but there's always going to be new things coming out in business, new things to learn and continuing to get the help you need and stay clear and I think mentorship is a huge part of that.
Audrey: Totally agree. And same I've had coaches and mentors, like I said, I went to school for it all.
My mentorships by far have been the ones that have helped me get the most clear and stay the most focused and get the most done and get from point A to B the fastest.
Natalie: So you're offering a really important piece of mentorship, which is for people to shadow you right now at weddings sessions. That learning by doing piece is massive.
And I'm relaunching the Greenhouse in a totally different way from last year based on the fact that I believe super strongly in the necessity for one-on-one help.