Lessons Learned from a $25,000 Mastermind (That Can Help You Grow Your Photography Business)

In this article, you will learn:

Importance of Investing in Business Education

So I hesitated to share this episode a little bit just because it’s kind of personal and I never want to speak badly about anybody, but I want you to learn the good and the bad from what I experienced in a high level mastermind last year. This was definitely the most money I’ve ever spent on a mastermind and it definitely wasn’t what I expected – both good and bad.

Anytime I invest in my business, I always look at it as an opportunity not only to learn more, but to be in the room with higher level people. And I actually don’t believe there are mistakes in business, only lessons! Some of these lessons were hard (and expensive), but I’m taking them with me as I continue to build this business.

I believe in continuing education no matter what stage of business you’re in, there is always more to learn and new ways to grow! I’ll always participate in some kind of coaching or mastermind because I’ve seen how much it’s helped my business grow up to this point.

There was definitely a time early in business where I thought I couldn’t afford to invest in education, and I realize now that I couldn’t afford not to!

Being able to take someone’s decade or more of knowledge and get to learn it and apply it in a few weeks is such a gift that’s worth the money it costs.

One of the things that I often remind myself of is when I pay, I pay attention. And I’ve said this on the show before, if you’ve ever listened to any of the older episodes, I want you to pretend that you paid me $100 for this episode. How would you show up differently knowing that you paid money for it versus it being free?

Most of us are going to show up a lot differently when we pay for something. We’re more likely to listen multiple times, more likely to take notes, and the most important piece, more likely to take action.

We’re more likely to take action when we’ve paid for something because we put our hard-earned money out there and we want to see your return on that. And it’s so interesting to me that we value money so much more than time (a lot of people do), when in actuality, money is the only renewable resource that we have and we’re never going to get our time back.

Time truly is our most important asset, but for some reason we treat money like it is, and so we do all these things to save money that end up costing more time. So in the last five, six years, I’ve been of the mindset that I would rather give money that I can always make more of than give my time, which I have a limited amount of.

Lessons Learned from a $25,000 Mastermind

Lesson 1: Research before you join a paid program, mastermind, or group coaching

I was ready to leave my larger group coaching program and find something smaller and more intimate. The group coaching I came from had 200+ other business owners and I wanted to be a part of a smaller group, so I could get (hopefully) more individualized attention. I also wanted some in person events because those hadn’t been happening with my other group due to COVID.

I asked around to some trusted friends and one girl mentioned this mastermind she was a part of that had around 40 business owners. She raved about how great it was, so I decided to check it out.
After briefly researching the mastermind and seeing what they offered, including their pricing – 25k for a year membership – I was sold. It felt like a good investment for my business and I jumped in without doing enough research of my own.

Lessons: Always seek trusted opinions. And REALLY ask yourself before joining: Why do I want to join and what am I specifically hoping to get out of it?

Lesson 2: Manage expectations before you join a paid program

I have learned this the hard way over the years – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And nine times out of 10, it’s not the person creating the mastermind or the program that is tricking me into believing that, but it’s my optimistic personality that wants to be like, “This is what’s going to take me to the next level.”

And anytime a peer tells me about, you know, some Facebook ad strategy that’s going to blow up their business or how to use Google ads, and that’s really going to be the thing that takes them to seven figures, I really have to stop and remind myself that there is no magic pill, and that’s true for you too.

The key to success, and what I’ve learned over years, is persistence.

There’s not a magic pill, not something that’s going to catapult you to the next level in six weeks. It really is continuing to show up and do the things that work and continue to work with people who are smarter than you to help you get to that next level.

Lesson: And so my lesson here is if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Lesson 3: A healthy business uses ads for leads and organic methods for leads

The next lesson is a little bit more strategy based: a healthy business uses ads and organic methods to get leads.

Now, I know if you’re listening to this, a lot of you are not using ads in your business. You’re primarily relying on organic leads, which basically just means people coming from social media, from referrals, your email list, and you’re doing that without using ads.

I actually kind of went the opposite route. Because of my photography business for so many years, I heavily relied on organic leads. As I’ve shifted into the online business world, I’ve relied a lot more on Facebook ads, especially working with this particular mentor because he knew a lot about Facebook ads.

And when I did some reflecting on that choice, I realized I accidentally didn’t spend enough time growing my organic audience and getting organic leads.

And my takeaway is that a healthy business really has a little bit of both – paid and organic traffic and leads.

Maybe hearing that you’re like, “Actually I think I’ve been relying too much on organic leads. I should look more into using ads to kind of accelerate.” I always say it’s all about building your marketing system and then using ads to accelerate that marketing system. So if you don’t have a marketing system that’s working, it’s not time for ads. But if you have something that’s already working, maybe your next step is kind of the opposite of what I’m saying is my lesson here and that is to lean into using ads to grow your business and kind of throw gasoline on the fire that’s already starting to work.

If you’re inside of Marketing School, you have access to a complete training all about how I use Facebook ads and how to use Facebook ads in a strategic different ways to grow your photography business.
It’s the very last module inside of Marketing School, so make sure to check that out.

And if you’re not inside of Marketing School, make sure and jump in to be in the waitlist. That way you’re notified the next time we open the doors because it’s not open all the time. To join the wait list, you can go to thebeautyinbirth.com/waitlist.

Lesson 4: The Power of Networking

I’ve always loved paying to learn, not only for the learning, but also to network with the people in the room. Some of my best business relationships have come about because I paid for mentoring or coaching to learn something.

See, I’ve made it my mission to be the dumbest person in the room. I want to look around and see a bunch of business owners who have more successful businesses than me and who are smarter than me. And that’s kind of a hit to the ego.

It’s nice sometimes for my ego to look around and be like, I’m the smartest one in the room. Maybe you can relate, right? Maybe you’re participating in groups or Facebook groups where like you kind of like being the one who knows everything. You like being the one who answers the questions and who can offer something. But it does nothing for our growth when we’re the smartest one in the room. That’s why I choose to be around people that are smarter than me so that I can learn from them.

Networking with the right people definitely opens up opportunities that wouldn’t be available otherwise.

And sometimes it can be challenging to get in the door with those people. They have businesses that are more successful than yours. How are you supposed to get in within their network? And a super simple way is to pay to be in the room and be in their network.

For example, I’ve met photography educators through paid programs or group coaching. As a result, I’ve been on their podcasts. I’ve taught their students. You’ve heard them on this show before. And the doors to those relationships opened because I first invested in myself.

So my question for you is, are you fully taking advantage of the people that you paid to be in the room with? Are you intentionally connecting with people that you can serve that can also serve you?

If you’re in memberships, masterminds, or courses, look in those paid groups and ask yourself:

  • Who would be beneficial for you to connect with?
  • Who serves your same ideal client that you can grow with?
  • And in addition to learning what you’re there to learn, how can you also collaborate with some of your peers who also paid to be there?

When I was a part of this mastermind in 2021 and 2022, I met what I call as my most expensive friend, because that was one of the best things that came out of that mastermind is this person who I consider now one of my biz besties.

We Voxxer just about every day. We hold each other accountable. We learn together, we grow together. We critique each other, we encourage each other, and that relationship never would’ve come to be if I hadn’t invested in this mastermind. And so that’s what I mean at the beginning when I was talking about they’re not being mistakes in business, there’s only lessons.

And when I shifted my perspective in this mastermind, when I saw it kind of wasn’t going the way that I was hoping it would go, I started to look for opportunity instead of kicking the can down the street. How can I make the best out of this opportunity? And I started to connect with people that were in that group and I found what is now my most expensive best friend, my biz bestie, who really has made that experience and paying what I paid to be there worth it because of what she’s given of herself, her time, her knowledge in my business.

It really is almost like having a right hand person that I’m paying to be on my team because she knows so much about my business and can help me grow my business.

Do you have somebody like that that you can look around in these groups that you’re in and try to establish that kind of relationship so that you have somebody in your corner who knows about your business, knows about you, your situation, that you can help just bounce ideas off of?

Lesson 5: Seek Coaching, Not Just Advice

As business owners, there is so much advice out there. There are so many things that I could tell you to try. But coaching really gets behind the why: Why are you trying this? Why are you doing this? Why do you want to do that?

And that’s something that I really strive to do in my programs is, yes, give you the tools and strategies that you need as a foundation, but I’m not leaning on that. I’m not leaning on advice. I’m leaning on coaching because then it’s you that gets to make that decision. And I’m empowering you to get to make choices and decisions for your business instead of just giving you advice.

And it was in this mastermind that I realized I was getting advice. And when that advice didn’t work, I was kind of left with my hands in the air going, “Okay, now what?” But when I have coaching, it empowers me as a business owner to make decisions that are right for me and my business.

So friend, I encourage you, when you’re looking for a program and it’s like a high level program, look for coaching and not just advice, because that is going to empower you to be the type of business owner that can really grow to multiple levels.

Oh my goodness. Even just saying out loud, $25,000 for one year in a mastermind is crazy. When my husband left his full-time job, that’s not that much less than he was actually making. So to imagine that I’ve now spent $25,000 in one year of a mastermind, really, truly is crazy. But I know that as I grow, I’m going to invest more and more in my education to continue hitting those next levels.

Because investing in your education really is critical for business growth. And like we learned here today, it’s important to do your own research in addition to asking trusted friends and managing your expectations and network and seek coaching over advice.

So I hope that this episode, talking about my $25,000 Mastermind experience has helped you learn some of the expensive lessons that I learned and shown you the power of investing in your growth and your education to hit your goals with your photography business.

And my friend, remember, if you have a passion, it’s not an accident because not everyone loves the thing that you love. So whatever your passion is, it’s there for a reason, and I hope that you’ll pursue that passion and make it happen.

Have a great week!


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