Inside of Marketing School for Photographers, we have a monthly coaching call where I not only answer student questions, but coach them through the questions. See, a lot of times the answer to our problems isn’t just to get an answer. It’s to FIND the answer. And through the journey of searching for the answer, we grow as people and as photographers and as business owners.
There’s an old saying that goes give a man a fish and you feed him for a day –teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. Now, which is faster? Giving the man the fish, right? Teaching him takes longer, but it serves him more fully.
This is why I love coaching students and why I love getting coaching myself. It can be uncomfortable at times, but it is how we truly grow.
Now when you listen to this hot seat episode, I want you to pay attention to the questions I asked her. You can ask yourself these questions too. You likely know the answer you’re looking for if you just ask the right questions!
How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Making Progress
I know we talked about this before, how to stay consistent, but I can’t seem to stay consistent with anything – posting, networking, studying – what the heck is wrong with me? I go through phases where I’m all in and then phases, where I just stall out. What should I do? How can I be better?
Tavia: I love this because that is me. My best friend and I always joke about how we’re so extreme and black and white. And we’re just like all in or not like, I’m going to do it every day or I’m not doing it for seven months. Literally, there’s no in-between.
But also there’s a mindset problem in there. Identifying yourself as someone who does or doesn’t do certain things, you’re just like fulfilling that prophecy. Even me, myself, when I was saying it to her, I was like, “I’m saying, I am this person, so of course I am this person. I’m saying, I’m so black and white, I’m either all in or all out.” And then I was like, of course, I’m going to be that if that’s what I’m saying about myself, right?
So when it comes down to like an identity, that’s big. You’ve now taken on this identity. That’s really hard to break because you’re like, I am the kind of person who does or doesn’t do this thing, right?
So, how can we shift that? Not even saying like, “I am consistent” necessarily, but like how can we shift this belief of, “I’m not consistent”?
Student: Oh, no, I just get so overwhelmed with everything and it gets to where I think I can only do one thing at a time and once I’ve done that, then I’m done for the day and it’s very frustrating.
Staying Consistent Even When Life Happens
Tavia: When you say “I’m doing all the things, I’m doing everything,” what does that mean? What does that look like?
Student: When I’m all in and I’m being consistent for a minute, that’s like posting on my social media, on Instagram, trying to learn more about Instagram and Facebook, and working on Canva and sending out my emails and working on my workflows.
It’s like, I get really good at time-blocking and filling those times out and then something will come up, like I’m moving into a new house, and then all my business stuff just stops. And then all I can do is focus on the moving stuff, and then do some social media, and then pack a box, but I’m trying to figure out how to get my brain to work that way.
Tavia: Well, moving is a big deal. So, give yourself a little grace, that’s a lot of stuff to be dealing with, you know, and trying to run a business. Let me ask you this: when you’re posting on social media, when you’re good and doing what you are supposed to be doing, how frequently are you posting every week?
Student: So I was getting to where I was at least three times a week. I was following the social posts that you gave us. That really helped me a lot, because then I could read that and be like, “Oh, I know what picture to go with that.” So I felt like I was really good with that.
Instagram is a little harder for me. So I’m like, “Okay, now I have to think of hashtags.” What hashtags are going to work. And then people say, oh, they saw you from this hashtag, I don’t even know how to figure out how do I see my hashtags, you know? So, I felt it was really good at three times a week.
Tavia: That’s great. Why do you think you need to post on Instagram?
Student: Well, I started off mostly working with Facebook and I’ve had one person even connect with me on Facebook. So then I wanted to try Instagram. I was getting a lot more interaction on Instagram than Facebook, you know, more likes, more comments. And so I liked that better and I felt like I could focus more on the businesses that I wanted to. I wanted them to recognize my name.
Tavia: Okay, so then why did you go back to Facebook?
Student: Because I don’t have to think about hashtags, I think.
Tavia: Hmm. That’s interesting. Okay. So if hashtags are the problem, how can we solve that? Are you using different hashtags every single time?
Student: Yeah, so I’ve been collecting hashtags for a long time. And so the last time I was working on the course, I kind of divided them up. If I’m posting about a mom thing, I’m going to use these mom hashtags. If I’m posting about birth thing, I have these birth hashtags. But it seems like it’s harder for me to copy them and get them over there and then post it on my phone than it is with Facebook. And I’m not with my computer all the time.
What’s Holding You Up?
Tavia: I just don’t want hashtags to be the thing that holds you up. Because it doesn’t sound like you’re not telling me, “I don’t know what to say.” You’re not telling me, “I don’t know what to post, I don’t have photos.” You’re not telling me any of that. You’re telling me hashtags is what’s holding you up. Is that accurate?
Student: I think so. Because I feel like if I don’t have the right hashtags, no, one’s going to see my posts. So then it’s a waste.
Tavia: False. I mean like literally if you didn’t post hashtags, I don’t even care. I do think there’s value in hashtags, but I think that people freak out too much about hashtags on Instagram. Like I do think that there’s value in it, but ultimately you want to continue to foster the relationship of people who are already following you as well as get new followers.
But if you’re using the same hashtags every time, I’m fine with that. Okay. Because I would rather, you get in the habit of posting three times a week consistently, than fuss about the hashtags and then not do anything. You know what I mean? Hashtags are important, but they’re not the end all be all in my opinion. There might be people that disagree with that.
Student: Let me just start off by doing my post and then as I get more comfortable with it, add the hashtags, and then go through them again.
Tavia: Totally. Or literally, like I have, birth hashtags, newborn hashtags, personal hashtags, and I think maybe location specific hashtags. And if it’s a newborn photo, I literally just copy those.
Where are you copying them from? Let’s simplify this for you. I use Planoly, but you don’t have to. Do you use apple products like iPhone?
Tavia: Use your Notes app, and title it hashtags, and just copy and paste them whenever you’re posting it on Instagram, because then it’s on your phone and you’re ready to go.
Student: That makes sense.
Tavia: Yeah, you can totally use your notes up. Just copy that. I use Planoly but I have the paid version of Planoly and I can schedule my posts with the first comment to be hashtags. I think you have to have the paid version to do that. But it’s scheduled that way, but literally, sometimes it doesn’t post and I just go back to my Notes app and copy them and paste them.
So that’s what I would say to you. First of all, is when we’re talking about consistency and the fact that you’re like, that’s, your holdup is amazing. Like that’s a super simple problem to solve. Like just, you know, don’t fuss about the hashtags and if you get five instead of 30, like who cares? You know, it’s not that big of a deal.
Operate from Facts not Feelings
Tavia: And then let go of Facebook. If you feel like Facebook is not bringing you your ideal client, and here’s the thing I did hear you say “I feel like” several times when you were talking to me. And so I just want to make sure that we’re operating from facts, not feelings. And that what you’re saying to me is actually true. And it’s not just how you feel because feelings change, right?
So if you’re on Facebook and you can say. I’ve posted consistently I’ve posted calls to action where I’m asking people to, message me, DM me, fill out my contact form, visit a website. They’re not clicking links. They’re not commenting. There is no engagement on Facebook. That to me is facts. Those are that’s data that we can make a decision based on instead of I feel like my ideal person’s on Instagram and I feel like Facebook isn’t worth, you know what I mean?
So do you think that right now, based on what I just said, you are operating from facts or feelings when it comes to Facebook?
Student: Actually, it will be facts because I have gone into my numbers in Facebook and they’re just not interacting.
But one of the presentations that you had had, you had said to do the data for Instagram as well. And so that night I stayed up until like one in the morning, going all the way back to my first IG post and putting like what I did, what category it was, what did I get out of it? And I realized I wasn’t doing call to action. I wasn’t using the right words to bring people in. And so all these years I was doing Instagram wrong. So now I’m ready to do it the right way. But I was getting hung up on hashtags, I guess.
Tavia: Yeah. Don’t let that hang you up. That’s amazing that you have all of that data. Now you can go back and say, okay, here’s what worked well for me, here’s how I can improve it. That’s amazing. So I would forget Facebook if you know it’s facts, not feelings when it comes to Facebook, I would just focus your attention on Instagram.
The 1 Thing to Focus On in Marketing to Get the Fastest Results
Tavia: Okay. But this is only like a blip on the bigger question, which I know a lot of people here also struggle with, which is how do I stay consistent? And then you started rattling all these things off to me of like social media and blogging and networking and all of these things. So, what I would like to see you do is focus on one thing until you’re consistent with that one thing.
I personally would like for that one thing to be content, and here’s why you can repurpose that content for social media, and then it’s done. If your one focus is content, everything else kind of becomes easier.
I think you’ve heard me talk about repurposing your content on social as well as emails and all of that stuff. So when you have one core piece of content, it makes everything else a lot easier.
So I personally would like to see you focusing on consistent content on your blog or however you’re delivering content and then let everything else come off of that. So if nothing else gets done, as far as marketing goes, you’re creating content and getting out there to your people. So, what are your next steps then? When it comes to your content, what have you been doing?
Student: So what I do is because I struggled coming up with my own ideas of content, I go to the list that I have that you provided of ideas and pick out something I know that I have a picture with and create around that.
Tavia: Beautiful. Are you saying consistent on your schedule like you want to be with that?
Student: Not lately. Last two months has been rough.
Doing a Time Audit to Get More Marketing Done
Tavia: I actually got a lesson today that I want to share with you and everyone listening. I’ve been doing a time audit since Thursday of my working hours. So every like 15 or 30 minutes, in my Full Focus Planner, there’s like a little there’s lines over here. And I write down what I’ve been doing for the last 30 minutes. That sounds super tedious and annoying, and it is! But it’s also really helpful because I can go back and look and see, where am I spending my time?
So for example, this morning I went and worked at a coffee shop. And every half hour, so I was writing down what I had done the previous half hour, and I realized I’m preparing for this launch because we’re launching the certification on Monday. So I was scheduling out social media posts and whatnot, and I realized I was letting myself slip back into learning mode.
And I was starting to like, create this content and create posts for the Facebook group and Instagram and all this stuff. And I was going back to like, okay, so how should I write this? How should I say this? Like, how should I promote this in a way that they understand? And that feels good. I should go watch a video of this.
I should go learn a little bit more. I should go look in Dropbox and see what resources I’ve saved for myself to do. And then I spent about 15 minutes doing that. And then I had to write down what I had been doing. And I was like, TAVIA…you have been learning stop that! I don’t need to learn. I know what to do.
Tavia: It’s procrastinating. It’s me getting to a point where it kind of feels difficult and I’m bumping up against something different or new or challenging, or my mind is not doing what I want it to do. And my mind goes straight back into, I need to learn. So I’m telling you all of this to tell you, as you’re writing your content, do not log into the course.
You know how to write content. Think about everything we talked about today. It does not have to be perfect. Don’t log into the course. Don’t ask in the Facebook group, block out some time, sit down and write your post. And if you want feedback on it, that’s fine. But don’t slip back into learning mode.
What did I call it? Edutainment – education entertainment. Or procrastilearning. Where you’re like, I am going to learn something because I need to, I don’t know instantly how to do this. No. You know how to write a blog post.
So even if it’s not perfect block out like an hour on a topic that when you read through the list, you’re like, I could talk about that with no research. I could talk about that right now on Facebook live for 15 minutes. No problem. Pick that topic and then just start brain dumping, everything you can think about it and then go back and start organizing it into steps or whatever you want to do. Because that’s how you get to be good at something.
I don’t know if it’s something that comes easily or not to you, but when you’re learning something new, the best way to learn how to do it is just to do it. And like we’ve been talking about fail at it a little bit, so that you can learn the lesson and move forward. So I said content because I like the idea of you taking that content and repurposing it for emails and social. So if you have this content, it makes everything else that much easier.
But I will say something that is of equal value in my mind as content is vendor connection. So if there’s a second thing that you’re going to do, it’s going to be, what we were talking about with my student was connecting with those vendors. Because SEO and vendor networking were the two things that got me the most clients, the fastest when I was, you know, had photographed under 10 births.
I realized as I was saying that that edutainment and procrastilearning are kind of different, but they’re also kind of the same, but what I’ll notice myself doing sometimes it’s like in the evening, instead of just like chilling, I will turn on a course or I’ll turn on a podcast or I’ll turn on something.
And it’s like, but I’m not actually doing anything with it. Like I’m not learning from it. I just had it on. And that to me is edutainment. I’m not actually educating myself, I’m using this as entertainment. So it’s not really entertainment. Cause it’s gotten me thinking about work, but it’s not really education because I’m not actually doing anything with it.
Then also it’s procrastinate learning where it’s like, oh, I need to be doing this like me earlier. Oh, well maybe I should figure out the best way to do this. I’m going to go learn. And it’s like, you do not need to learn, you know what to do stop procrastinating. So yes, totally guilty of it too.
But there, there comes a point where it’s like, you know what? You need to know. Like there’s definitely a time for learning, but I think that when we’re first starting out, we get so engrossed in like learning all the time. It’s just becomes like what we do. It’s like, oh, now I’m going to learn some more.
Time to Take Action
- Ask yourself some questions in order to find out what’s behind your inconsistency.
- Once you know that, look for the 1 thing to focus on.
- Finally, make sure your inner voice is supporting and motivating you–not holding you back.
If you can keep all of these things in mind, then consistency will be within reach!