- RECENT EVENTS, TIPS, AND OTHER GOODIES -
May 8, 2014
April 1st began a series that will allow me to be transparent about the people that have influenced my personal and professional growth. When I look at where I have achieved success, I can honestly say that I never did it alone. There was always someone there that believed in me, motivated me, encouraged me, or pushed me to continue. This series is dedicated to those people!
Watermarks on My Soul is nearing the end and as I have received feedback from my peers, friends, and family (all positive) it’s been so shocking to me how many people told me they cried or it made their day or it was perfect timing for them to read this. It certainly wasn’t my intention to make anyone cry. I just wanted to share my gratitude with those that have been around in my life in one form or fashion. Some people I knew from work, some from school, some are family and some are from the photography industry and my gratitude for each come from the same place in my heart. Today I dedicate day 19 to Katelyn James (and her husband Michael).
I’ve been following Katelyn ever since I attended Jasmine Star’s The Fix in DC a few years ago. Katelyn received a shot out and I was still new in the industry so I decided to check out her work. I think in a matter of a few days I read all of her blog posts dating back a couple of years. As I continued to follow her, I saw that she was doing workshops and coaching sessions and each time I thought about signing up, I was too late because they would sell out. In 2013, I signed up for her newsletter because I decided the best way to invest in my business was to invest in myself and attend a workshop of an industry leader. I find it interesting when people that I talk to want to become more successful in business (any business) yet they aren’t willing to invest in their education. The first question I ask is “why not?” and it’s usually followed with “I don’t have the money”. I once heard that it takes money to make money and I usually respond with something similar to that and then follow up with specific reasons how workshops and mentoring/coaching has helped my business.
I’ve learned from Katelyn in 2 different ways- One-on-One Coaching and her 2-Day Workshop. I have been asked several times about both and since some people have to decide on one I wanted to offer help thru this post. My experience may be different from someone else that’s taken One-on-One Coaching or the 2-Day Workshop, so I’ll preface the following with this has been my experience and you get out of it what you put into it.
One-on-One Coaching: I did coaching with Katelyn first, simply because she announced it before she announced her 2-day workshop. Originally, I had only planned to take her 2-day workshop but when she announced Coaching dates I made myself think about it and decided if there was a slot still available when I got home from work, I would sign up. Some people run a business and offer workshops to make money and some people offer workshops and classes because they love to teach, Katelyn is the latter. This was evidenced by the fact that a few days after I signed up for my coaching session I found myself with a scheduling conflict that I could not get out of – a mandatory overnight business trip. I work full-time and I have a meaningful job, so I’m not willing to do anything to jeopardize that. I contacted Katelyn and let her know my situation. I was pretty convinced she would have said “no refund” or “I”m sorry, I can’t help you”, but I decided to reach out to her any way and explain my situation. Katelyn responded that she was in the mountains with her church group but as soon as she was able to find a wi-fi signal she would allow me to switch my date if it wasn’t taken. Shortly thereafter she confirmed that the switch has been made. This spoke volumes to me and while I don’t share that with people when they ask me about the Coaching Session, I do share these few things. Coaching Sessions are personalized to you and your business and whatever it is you’re struggling with, Katelyn will offer advice and a solution, if she has one. This is a half day with a portion of that time being used for headshots. What I loved about this was that I was able to walk away with new business headshots, but not only that, the first part of the day Katelyn spends with one coaching client and the second part of the day she spends it with another. So while the time goes by quickly, I was able to eat lunch with the other coaching client and I was able to watch while Katelyn demonstrated how she shoots prior to me taking photos and the other coaching client watching. That hands on coaching was so helpful and while I’m not perfect at it yet, it’s helped me understand how my clients feel when they are on the other side of my camera. When we went back to her home I could tell she had done her homework and reviewed my website, images and blog because she was prepared with feedback. We also discussed some other things that I wanted to improve in my business. I loved that nothing was off limits in terms of business. I’ve been to workshops where people don’t want to share information about a certain aspect of their business and it left me wonder why they even offered the workshop. A day after the coaching session, I received a recap of our conversation along with her invitation to me to share any changes or updates if I wanted her to review them. I did my coaching session last year and I am still slowly implementing pieces of what I learned into my business. If you are at any stage in your business and you have an idea of where you want to take your business but not 100% sure of what steps to take to get there, a coaching session may be a great option for you.
2-Day Workshop Experience: OMG! I have a notebook full of information that I refer to on a regular basis from the Workshop Experience! The Workshop Experience was a joint learning effort with me and 11 other photographers. Michael assisted Katelyn as well with some teaching and food prep. This was 2 days of everything you can possibly want to know as it relates to running a photography business. On the second day I came down with a migraine, so Michael was so kind to check on me as I had to hide in the darkest area of their loft while still trying to listen to Katelyn teach. Embarrassing! The Workshop Experience also allowed us to see how Katelyn photographs details and couples on a wedding day with a very nicely styled shoot set-up. This was also extremely helpful and has changed the way I shoot reception details, bridal details and couples. The Workshop Experience covers all aspects of running a photography business and there were some non-wedding photographers there, but I would definitely recommend this for wedding photographers that want to improve their craft, charge the right amount for their services, have their work critiqued, and have any questions answered. Because The Workshop Experience covers so much information, there is more structure to it and not as personalized as the Coaching Session, but you get so much more time at the workshop that you are bound to have your question answered on either the first or second day.
Unfortunately, I can’t say which one I would recommend over the other because they were both very valuable experiences and both have really allowed me to grow as a photographer. If you have to choose one, I guess it depends on where you are in your business and how much information you need. If you’re earlier on in your business you can benefit from both Coaching and the Workshop Experience. If you run a more mature business, maybe a more personalized approach would work, but gosh the Workshop allowed me to not only learn from Katelyn and Michael, I also learned from the other attendees and I still follow them on social media and am able to watch their growth. I guess I’m not much help, but as with anyone you want to learn from it really comes down to a personal decision of what you want to learn and how you learn.
I recently contacted Katelyn with a question and she again provided help and
a solution, so she hasn’t closed off access even though the workshops and coaching days are over. I’m not sure you would get that everywhere!
Katelyn, thank you for being a wealth of information and an open book with sharing your path to success. I have grown so much in the last year and I am thankful that I decided to invest in myself because it has already more than paid off. My hope is that your already successful business continues to flourish and you are able to reach photographers all over the world. Thank you!