I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family & branding photographer AND a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & SOPS to better impact the backend of their businesses. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
A few weeks ago, the LulaRich documentary was all the hype on social media. People everywhere were glued to the mini-series that opened the door into the LulaRoe business and model of work. Like so many others, I watched the documentary – I was fascinated!! And while I watched, I realized that there were a few lessons I could learn from as a small business owner. I wanted to share these lessons with you, too. This post is hopefully going to be a source of inspiration and to remind you that you are enough – and your dreams are yours alone. Here are some lessons learned from watching the LulaRich documentary!
Again I know it’s just so silly to have gleaned something from a very strange documentary but I just cannot help myself, I wanted to share a cautionary tale to remember as business owners
We live in an oversaturated market in the creative space. And while some days, it feels like the end of the world, the reality is that it’s not a bad thing. There truly is space for us all. But, there are some educators in our field that tell up-and-coming business owners that they have to spend money to make money. But what they fail to teach is there is a cost of doing business and there are smart ways to make and spend your money. Instead, they’re taught to chase this dream of becoming super-rich.
I know that I was guilty of spending and spending money when I first opened my business. I was simultaneously chasing this elusive income that someone “higher-up than me” told me I needed. It was really hard and confusing for all of us. The reality is that everyone’s goals in business are different. We all have to decide what’s the most important for us and what success really looks like. For me, it was beneficial to take a step back and lay out my business goals against my personal and financial goals to determine what I needed to be doing.
It is actually a breath of fresh air to me whenever I encounter other business owners who are not frantically chasing the 7,8, or even 9 figure dream, but they are content in running their business, because they know EXACTLY what they need (and they are not allowing the culture of MORE shape their business).
So cautionary tale #1 is this = know why you’re in business, and yes know the numbers of what it takes to run your business, but don’t allow other voices to shape what you think your goals should be (because with the advent of social media, we all know that there is an oversaturation of voices online, so we must be very cautious of WHO we listen to).
The other thing that’s important to remember as a small business owner is that while, yes, there is a cost of doing business… spending money to spend money isn’t going to change your business. You have to know your numbers. While a mastermind seems like a good idea, is it actually going to help your bottom line? Are you making a profit? Things like this are important to understand. And the person that’s teaching you probably doesn’t know your exact business. It’s easy to want to become super rich but like the consultants came to realize, it’s usually the people at the very top who get the richest. And the rest of us are struggling below. If you listen to someone else’s goals, you’ll probably find you aren’t making a profit and that’s no good for anyone.
What it really comes down to is knowing what you want from your business and taking the actions to get there. It means understanding that what you need to do isn’t what everyone else is necessary and there’s nothing wrong with that. For many of us, it’s earning a much lower amount than the big CEOs of LulaRoe so that we can still have time with our families, have boundaries, and remembering the grass is just as green in our yard as someone else’s.
I may ruffle some feathers again when I state this, but you don’t have to invest in a $10,000 mastermind or an online course in order to be “successful”. Instead, if you are in the beginning stages of your business, why not truly dig into the numbers of your business, dig into the DATA of your business, and hone in on your skillset in your specific services and offerings.
Growth takes time. Growth takes patience. And overall, growth takes wisdom.
I think there is wisdom in slowing down to assess your businesses numbers to see what the bottom line is AND I think there is wisdom in investing in someone (THAT YOU TRUST) to help guide you (so yes, invest in a business coach, but the caution is this= make sure you actually have the money to invest in someone you trust in) Don’t blindly put things on your credit card and assume everything will work out because “you’ll just speak a good mantra over your life”!
You need to make sure that your offers and services are converting and people actually want what you are selling. So you may have to continue to work your desk job while you chase after your dreams (while building out your offers and solidifying your services) -and of course, no ONE wants to hear that!
Everyone wants to get rich quick…but that is not reality and that’s not healthy.
I know I have stated this already, but social media is oversaturated with so many voices and opinions, that it is VERY hard these days to find a trusted source that is not only relatable to you and your business but someone who is genuine and has gone before you.
This may seem extreme, but try cutting out the noise by only subscribing to a few podcasts, youtube channels, and social media channels in order to hone in on your business and stay in your lane.
Cutting out noise also helps with the danger of falling into the trap of “squirrel marketing” where you want to do ALL the things (aka disco ball syndrome) and it causes you to be scattered, confused, and easily frustrated because you’re not making any traction.
I hope that you feel a bit more encouraged now to sit down with yourself and ask which goals matter to you after reading my lessons learned from the LulaRich documentary. Once you know what you want to achieve, laying out the foundations of workflows and systems to help you reach them will take time, but as you learn about your services (and learn about your ideal client) you will start creating a strategy that works for you! I believe in you! Remember, your business is YOURS and your dreams are the ones that matter to you. Let’s agree to stop chasing someone else’s dream and believe in ourselves.
And let me repeat myself, Growth takes time. Growth takes patience. And overall, growth takes wisdom.
I have invested in so many coaches, mentors, and programs while growing my business, but I had to make sure I knew my numbers first before jumping blindly into a program. AND I had to make sure that the people and programs I invested in, were in alignment with my business (and sadly I have learned a lot of hard lessons along the way).
Again, this blog post is out of the norm for me because I normally just write and share about Systems and Workflow education-but this is something I see even in the creative space as well!
Be wise with your business, and be patient in your growth!
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & branding photographer and a creative business owner who educates other family photographers on how to best streamline their family photography business by using powerful automation tools in order to find the JOY in workflows and systems. Dolly loves serving families, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography. And, she also loves educating other business owners on how to set up systems and workflows that will ultimately help them save time in their business.
She has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Dubsado, Email Marketing, and Business Systems with new creative business owners & family photographers in an encouraging and supportive way because she believes that anyone can find joy in automation! Plus BONUS: Systems is where the MAGIC happens!
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), loves eating way too many sweets, and listens to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, fill out her contact form here.
Interested in learning how to best automate a part of your business but you have no clue where to begin? Check out www.dollydelongphotography.com/automate to begin your automation journey today!
Or maybe you're not really sure how you'd use your new collection of branded images? Download my free planning guide to learn how to plan an elevated brand photography session to impact your business!