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How to Live an Abundant Life

Posted by on January 18, 2012 with 2 Comments
  These are excerpts from a wonderful article written by President Thomas S. Monson

Living the Abundant Life

At the advent of a new year, I challenge all, everywhere, to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life—a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings. Just as we learned the ABCs in school, I offer my own ABCs to help us all gain the abundant life.

Have a Positive Attitude

A in my ABCs refers to attitude. William James, a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher, wrote, “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. Charles Swindoll—author, educator, and Christian pastor—said: “Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, … than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill… The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.

Believe in Yourself

B is for believe—in yourself, in those around you, and in eternal principles. Thomas Fuller, an English churchman and historian who lived in the 17th century, penned this truth: “He does not believe who does not live according to his belief.” Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities. You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.

Face Challenges with Courage

C is for courage. Courage becomes a worthwhile and meaningful virtue when it is regarded not so much as a willingness to die manfully but as a determination to live decently. Said the American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” Have the determination to make the effort, the single-mindedness to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that inevitably come but also, to make a second effort should such be required. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.” May we remember these ABCs as we begin our journey into the new year, cultivating a positive attitude, a belief that we can achieve our goals and resolutions, and the courage to face whatever challenges may come our way. Then the abundant life will be ours.
Filed Under: Inspiration
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

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Meeting Marian – My journey to find my roots.

Posted by on January 16, 2012 with 2 Comments
So many of you have been asking to here the update on what happened after THIS POST. Here you go…  I never quite knew where I came from. Like an awkward silence I wondered who had come before me, if I could be proud of who they were, what my ancestors cared about? And so I started searching… I was especially baffled by my dad’s dad’s line. As my family tree grew in every direction, that line stayed a mystery. Armed with a Christmas Card written to my Grandpa dated 1985, I sent a letter to South Charleston, Ohio. I didn’t know if I would hear anything back, or if anyone could possibly give me any answers but I pushed up the flag on the mailbox and sent it off with a prayer attached. And than I got the call. Four years ago, while pushing my girls on the swings my phone rang, and my introduction to Marian was made. …Read the full back story HERE. This last Christmas, I asked my dad to go to Ohio with me to meet Marian. I didn’t really have any expectations. I was just so excited to meet her, Marian is 98 years wise and after 4 years of talking over the phone, email and through letters I would be blessed to meet her in real life! After a day of traveling, my dad and I arrived in So Charleston at 4:00 pm local time. We laughed as we drove through the small town. We’d been planning to grab a quick bite to eat so as not to show up to the house hungry but there was nowhere to stop. This was a SMALL town. As we drove down the quiet road of Main Street we found the house! This was the house that Marian had lived in, and her mother Leah had too. This home was rich with my family history and I was being given the chance not only to learn the stories but to stay in and explore the house for 3 days. All I’d ever known was that I was named after two great aunts. Leah, was on my dad’s side and Remillet (my middle name) was on my mom’s side. Marian is the daughter of Leah. What I found out… My family is huge and amazing! Pretty much I come from a long line of awesome, oh yes – that’s right! On the first night family came piling in to have dinner with us. There was at least 15 people there, all to meet my dad and I. They were as excited to meet us as we were to meet them which is really saying something because I was like a kid waiting to walk in a candy store. The most wonderful and incredible part of all of it was how at home I felt. Both my dad and I commented on it over and over again, it was so natural. I didn’t feel like these were introductions, I felt like I was just getting together with family I hadn’t seen for a while. There were no awkward ‘wait to get comfortable moments.’ The whole night was filled with laughter and stories and a little bit of heaven placed on Earth just for us. The following days were filled with more magical adventures of laughter, love and memories. I visited both family cemeteries seeing generations dating back to the 1800s! I asked sweet Marian question after question, prodding her to tell me more and more stories. Her memory is amazing and I learned generations worth of history from this one angel of mine. In Marian’s sweet way she casually mentioned as I prodded about her own career as a mathematician that she’s heard Albert Einstein speak, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then pick it up again as I shrieked and giggled like a little girl in front of Justin Bieber. We talked about anything and everything I could think of… What her advice was for me in raising good kids, how she met her husband, what the great depression was like for her, what Leah (her mother) was like… What she thought was wrong with the world today, what it felt like to have seen the world go from horse and buggy to orbiting the Earth. What she loved about her childhood, what question she didn’t enjoy (which was “how are you feeling today?”). It was one of the most enlightening and enriching weekends I’ve ever had. I visited and explored from basement to attic not only the home on Maine Street but also the original home that Leah raised her family in, which they refer to as the farm (bottom right). I climbed up in my first turbine tractor and the tires were taller than me – it was awesome. I learned about farming the hundreds and hundreds of acres that have never left the family.  I also had sauerkraut for the first time ever, which turns out to be delicious! Although it might only be because of the wonderful chef who cooked it for me! I’m told the trick is chicken broth, white wine, garlic and onions to calm the flavor. All I know is that I was really nervous about what was piling onto my plate and I ended up wanting seconds!   My trip was amazing! As I write this I find myself putting together all of the moments in my head to tell this story to you. I can’t help but feel in awe over the chain of events. I know with everything in me that Marian was kept here for me. I know now that my deep need and love for family comes from a long line of generations that needed, loved and took care of one another. And most importantly I know that prayers are heard and answered. I feel so incredibly blessed to have spent this last weekend with Marian,our family and my dad. There is no question that angels were a part of all of this and I am grateful, so grateful to belong to this family! Family is the most important gift we have in this life. Families are meant to be together forever!     
Filed Under: Business
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

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Following the Map to Profit & Success!

Posted by on January 13, 2012 with 2 Comments
 When my oldest sister first got her driver’s license, my three sisters and I used to try to get lost. We thought it sounded so fun and adventurous. We would give Kristin (my oldest sister) all kinds of direction, “left, right, right, left, right”. …Most of the time though, we just ended up driving in circles. When it comes to a business (and gasoline efficiency) circles are a bad thing. If a business is going in circles, it means that no (or very little) growth is taking place. Without a map, every road looks promising and all too often photographers find themselves chasing down road after road to see if “this” was the thing they were missing; often at great expense. But with a map… with a clear vision and determined goals, the right road becomes obvious. HOW TO FIND YOUR MAP. In order to be able to use your map you have to know what it looks like. 1. THE ROAD BEHIND YOU. The first step in creating your personal map is to know what is in your rearview mirror. This step is the foundation for your entire map, it is the ‘express lane’ to an accelerated success route. In order to be able to get that rearview mirror attached to the windshield, you’re going to have to carve out a nice chunk of time. Make yourself a delicious pot of hot chocolate and give yourself some easy listening music to set as your backdrop, hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign and settle in to crack the case.
            • Pull all of last years’ client files.
            • Have paper (or excel spread sheets)  ready and write the last 12 months across the top of your lengthwise paper.
            • Determine how many shoots you did each month.
            • Write down where each client came from. (Create categories and subcategories. For example, Referrals may have ’15′, you would need a subcategory for who referred. 3 Referred by Smith, 1 Referred by Jones, Tate and Chang).
            • How much cash was brought in each month. (Determine how much came in and how much product cost you had). Ex; for the month of January 10K came in with product cost of $1500. COGS is 15%. (Formula: PRODUCT COST / REVENUE = % of COGS
            • Expenses for each month. (Utilities, Props, Gear: Where is your money going?)
            • You can get more data but this will be enough to start.
2. PLANNING YOUR COURSE. Now that you’ve collected this information you will start to get a clear picture of where you’ve been. This information is invaluable! With it, you will be able to see a clear picture of which months may need heavier marketing, which avenue brought in the most clients and where you may need to have savings established to create a cushion for slow times. You can also see if your spending is in line with your profits which is critical for any sort of long term viability. 
  • Based on the number you collected in step 1, create a forcast for the following year.
  • Make notes for what worked well and not so well in your marketing efforts.
  • Assess your pricing structure and determine if it is in line with your long term goals.
3. LEARNING TO SEE THE OBVIOUS ROAD. Every photographer is clear on one thing, they’d like to be better. But better how, better where, better why? These are question that many, maybe even you, can’t exactly identify. It can be nearly impossible to get on the right road if you’re not sure which direction you’re trying to go. And what happens instead? You’re taken by whims very easily, you see a new prop, a new e-book, a new set of card templates, album templates, new gear, new lighting, new website, new blog template and you wonder if each of these things is what you might be needing?
When you’ve taken the steps to make the road become obvious:
  • You will have clarity on where to best invest your money.
  • You will be able to see clearly which areas need refining through education or investing and which road should be avoided like illegal U-turns.
  • You will be able to see which efforts resulted in profit and which efforts should be abandoned.
  • You’ll have the confidence to move forward because you know exactly what you’re trying to reach!
  Have you had time lately to work on your business? As small business owners we’re wearing hats of all different sizes and shapes. It’s so easy to get caught up working in the business and seeming to find little if any time to work on your business. The problem is that when you’re working in the business, what you’re ultimately doing is just keep’n the wheel turning, but in order to build a successful company, you must do more than turn the wheel… You’ve got to build the tunnel too! Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

How to make your dream REALLY happen in under 300 words!

Posted by on January 9, 2012 with 8 Comments
I’m in process of taking on a HUGE project! It’s something that I am so passionate about and excited to offer to you. The challenge of creating it and  getting it to the point where I can actually share it with you is a little daunting. But this is important. It can change lives and I know with everything in me that it will be worth the work. This will be the game changer for every photographer who truly dreams of thriving! We all have dreams… We make plans and too often those plans never see the light of day. But someday, at some point, something in you shifts and as if screaming upward toward the mountain that awaits you – with every part of your soul, you’ll shout, ” I WILL WIN TODAY!”  The most important thing that you will need in order to win the battle of your dream is,  first: determination, and second: a good plan! With my current project (and I think this is relevant for anyone), there are some tasks that I’m not looking forward to. They feel overwhelming. It’s our instinct to push those tasks down our priorities ladders but this is a fatal mistake! Instead, take those items which cause you the most anxiety and break them down into manageable tasks. Make them as small as you need to in order to make it reasonable in your mind. Then, go to work!  But here’s the secret! Start with the tasks that are most daunting. Break those down into manageable steps and conquer (yes I mean conquer)! Once those items are checked off your “dream to-do list” that mountain won’t appear so tall… Instead, you’ll be looking at a grass covered hill with lovely wildflowers growing along your path!

Fantastic Print from ExLibris Journals on ETSY

Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

It’s Really Happening!

Posted by on January 6, 2012 with 7 Comments
I am currently in Ohio meeting Marian for the first time. This is a dream come true! She’s 98 and we’re finally going to say ‘hello’ in real life… Let me explain. I don’t just love pictures. I love the stories that are behind the pictures. Photographs offer humanity to those we don’t know and celebrate the relationships with those we do! Pictures tell the stories of our lives and everyone has a story worth telling. My love affair isn’t really so much with photography as much as it is with the idea of capturing a feeling for the world to remember. No matter how much time passes, photos are able to say… We lived, we loved, we were here. Knowing that should help it make more sense to you why I also love genealogy. I love learning the stories!! Growing up, no one really knew the stories of my heritage. And what I did know honestly didn’t leave me feeling all that proud of where I came from. At the age of 24 I started working to trace my family’s history. There really wasn’t much to go off of at first. Nobody knew much of anything but all my relatives were willing to give me what they did know/have. Within all of that was a Christmas card dated Dec. 1985 to a family member in Ohio. I didn’t know how we were related but I knew there was a connection. My chances of having anyone still live at that address and also be living (the letter had been to my Grandpa who had passed away in 1999) was not good but I had to try. So I sent a letter 24 years after that Christmas Card was sent. I explained who I was, that I was hoping to reach someone related to me through my grandpa and what I was trying to accomplish… And then I waited. I was pushing the girls on the swing set when my cell phone rang. Tears started streaming down my face when the person on the other line began introducing himself. “Leah? My name is Ted out in So. Charleston, OH. I guess we must be cousins. I’m here with Marian, she got your letter and would love to talk to you. She is the daughter of Leah who I’m assuming you must have been named after.” Tears streamed down my face; I was experiencing my own miracle. The chances that someone would still be living at the address, be related to me AND be alive was not good as far as the world is concerned. I believe with everything in me that Marian has been watched over and protected by angels just for me! If that seems hokey to you, just think about this… How many 94 year old women do you know who have an email account, can remember every detail (and I mean every single detail) dating back almost 100 years AND happen to still live in the same home that she was raised in! … M-I-R-A-C-L-E-! And so it began. Marian and I have talked back and forth for the last 4 years exchanging letters, pictures, cards and information. She’s absolutely amazing in every way imaginable and this weekend I will be staying in her house (the same house that Leah was raised in) and learning the stories of my past! Family is the most important, most incredible gift that God has given us outside of His son. I believe that this is one of the most misunderstood realities of humanity today and as a result, in my opinion the number one reason there is so much pain, anger, crime…. All of it is because people do not value the family unit! I am so blessed and so excited to be in Ohio as you read this! I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I get back but in the meantime, do something for someone in your family! Call a grandparent just to say hello, send a letter to someone far away… Start learning your family’s history.

Filed Under: Personal
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

Giving Away the Shop!

Posted by on January 4, 2012 with 359 Comments

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

I’ve been working on some new ideas to spice up this place for 2012 and I’m really excited to share with you our first new slice of sweetness… The Monthly Giveaway!  Each month will be new and different, sharing with you some of my favorite things! Each giveaway will go for the full month with the winner being announced durring the last week of the month. At the start of the month I’ll show you the new prize pack… We are going to have some awesome ones, I’m already working with ONA Camera Bags, Organic Bloom Frames, several Etsy shops and more of my sponsors are in the works! To kick things off for January, I’m giving away the shop! No, seriously! One lucky reader is getting every non-custom item we offer! Hopefully this will be the perfect prize pack to help get your resolution in high gear! January’s Prize Pack is sure to help any photographer make their 2012 resolutions really happen! 1. The Newsletter Templates { Sending a monthly newsletter just got a lot easier & better looking! ($48) 2. The Email Scripts { Don’t waste time on what to say… Scripts for your client email correspondence on subjects like ‘thanks for contacting me, sneak peak is up, ordering appointment, products are ready and more! ($25) 3.The Ultimate Marketing Kit! { This kit has over 25 different marketing templates that all come fully layered so that you can drop in your pattern, logo and switch out colors to make this kit truly yours! Need contracts, brochures, copyright education, business cards, pricing forms… It’s all there and much, much more! ($200) 4. The Christmas Mini Campaign { Have everything you need to run and promote a successful mini campaign for next years holiday shoots and avoid the holiday rush-mizer! ($10) 5. Back to Schol Mini Campaigns { Offer your clients a fresh alternative to boring school pictures with this campaign. You’ll have everything you need to make your promotion a success! ($10) 6. The iPhone Template Collection { Getting a custom case on your client’s iPhone or iTouch is a great way to get buzz going! You’r clients can’t help but talk about you when people ask them about their personalized case! ($50) And the best part… It’s really easy to enter! Just follow the 3 steps below and I’ll announce our winner on Monday, January 30th! Good Luck!

Don’t forget to confirm you subscription! I wouldn’t want you to miss a single thrive tip, giveaway or freebies!
{ If you’ve already subscribed, go ahead and move on to step 2! }

LIKE the GO{4}PRO Facebook Page! And grab the FREE WORKFLOW BOARD while you’re there!

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THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED    THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED    THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED    

Filed Under: Giveaways
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

5 Tips to a Better Business in 2012

Posted by on January 2, 2012 with 10 Comments
Are there any of us who aren’t hoping to make this year better than last? Any who don’t plan, resolve and dream of reaching for more, being more and enjoying more… And wouldn’t you say it’s true that at this time, more than any other, we are aware that maybe it really is possible? So what is it that makes you so optimistic today? I believe it’s a combination of determination and preparation. But I guess I don’t necessarily mean preparation in the sense of planning, although that is going to make this journey a lot easier. What I mean – really – is just preparring your mind to believe that YOU CAN DO THIS! It is obtainable, it’s not ridiculous or ludicrous or so far fetched that you should keep it a secret…

How bad do you want it? Well, that’s how close you’re going to get to it. 

Of course it can be helpful to have some tangible, usable ideas to arm yourself with so that ‘this’ (whatever your “this” is) really does happen! I tried to brake down what I do into steps/tips. Here are the 5 most important factors that I believe play a role in reaching my own goals!

1. Make Time. The #1 thing you can do for 2012 is make time to work ON your business before you get stuck back in your business. There is such a huge difference between “in” and “on”. When we work “in” our business we are doing the day to day. Editing, shooting, blogging, product design… All of this is your “in” business work. But when you work “on” your business, you are planning for the future. Schedule special time where email, blogs, to-do lists – all of that is put away and you are left with your thoughts and ideas as you plan for what you want the new year to bring. (This is the #1 factor for how I’m doing at any given time in the year and I think you’ll find the same to be true too!)

2. Reflect on the past year. We talked about this last year a little bit in this video. Acknowledge (and give yourself a pat on the back) what you accomplished but also look for where you still need to grow. Be very specific and make sure that you keep this as a document so that you can refer to it through out the year and next year when you do this again. I suggest having a business notebook where you can keep this information along with pricing, promotions, branding… It will become a journal that years from now you will look back on and you’ll see just how far you’ve come.

3. Go through your Client Lists. Go through all of your clients from 2011 and determine how much each client spent and how many people each client referred. This comes back to the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your business/profits will come from twenty percent of your clients. I have a red tab that I staple to each client folder that falls in my 20%. This allows me to make sure that I remember them is special promotions, opportunities and events easily by just pulling all my red tab files.

4. Set Goals & Plan for it. I love goals, but NOT vague generic goals. The key to accomplishing goals is to be specific on what it is you want, followed with creating action steps that will break your goal into manageable pieces so that you will actually see yourself accomplish it! If you really want things to happen you’ve got to plan for it.  When we make to-do lists, if there is something on the list that feels overwhelming, we typically push that item down our priority ladder. The same goes for our goals. Make your goals and then give yourself an action plan to accomplish it!

Example: I want to read at least 15 business type books this year. First I figured out how many business type books I read last year. I could remember 13 titles off the top of my head, that made it     feel doable. Next I added a page in my notebook (see #2) titled, ‘Books I read in 2012′ with lines 1 to 15 drawn out and room for more. Last I purchased the first 4 books I want to read. I’m already making myself accountable to see this through.

5. Put your money where you mouth is. Okay I don’t necessarily mean money, although maybe I do… I hear something along these lines a lot; “I really want to   fill in blank   but I just don’t have the ___________ (usually money). Sometimes this is true. But 90% of the time it’s just not. If you had to come up with that same amount of cash tomorrow because without it your car wouldn’t go, I bet you’d have it. What’s really happening is doubt, and usually that doubt is in yourself. If I want to have a more successful business, then I would invest in coaching with… Well me. ;)

How bad do you really want it, most people lie to themselves and put road blocks up from here to forever because they’re to scared to really go for it. In the words of Nike, “just do it!”   Let’s be honest, none of these are groundbreaking tips I’m offering. You may have picked up an idea or had one of your own sparked while reading but ultimately you know this… Any yet most still won’t apply what I’m saying, still won’t do what they secretly dream of… They will still continue to let fear control their decisions. 

Will you?  Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).