July 5, 2018
Today I am interviewing a couple who have been entrepreneurs and creative business owners for the better part of their 12 years of marriage. Shay spent 8 years as a wedding and portrait photographer before transitioning into commercial product styling and photography in 2012. In 2013 she created the SC Stock Shop and inadvertently launched an entire stock photography industry. Graham is an audio engineer turned unlikely entrepreneur and YouTuber who over the past 8 years has built one of the largest audio education websites in the industry, The Recording Revolution. His most recent endeavor is his business coaching website where he teaches others how to build successful online businesses. Together, they nerd out on business books and share a mutual love of teaching others about building wealth and financial health. They have made their home in Florida where they both work from home raising their two daughters. So welcome to the podcast Shay and Graham!
WHAT YOU’LL HEAR IN THIS PODCAST:
MANAGING BOTH BUSINESS AND PERSONAL ROLES
Their businesses are run separately and exist in completely different worlds, but there is a lot of overlap with things such as running newsletters or managing employees. In those areas, they like to help each other brainstorm, work through things, and give each other advice. As far as personal roles, they operate as true partners and share the bulk of responsibilities in most household things from raising the girls to taking care of the home. It’s a unique set up, and they have found through trial and error how to make it for them. These shared experiences allow them to better understand each other and it gives them insight to what’s going on in each other’s heads and hearts.
SHAY’S WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Shay started working two days a week after having kids because she really wanted to have more days spent with her kids than days spent working. She would get child care for only those two days a week, and any work was completely futile on the days without child care. She realized early on that she needed to keep the two completely separate because she didn’t like being in the position of choosing between the child on her lap and the email to a client. It was hard for her at first because she loves what she does so much, and people respected her and valued what she was doing as an entrepreneur, whereas parenting doesn’t always feel that way. It worked best for Shay to compartmentalize, so she could be either a business owner or a mom without having guilt, distractions or interruptions. This allows her to be mentally present and engaged on the days she’s working and just as present and engaged when she’s with her girls. In order to do this there has to be boundaries, so to make things work she had to set up rules such as all work (including emails) is contained in those two days a week and work hours are set at 9-5. As far as positives, it keeps Shay creatively fresh by not taking enough work to burn out. It also helps Shay to keep home as her priority as a mother and wife. As far as negatives, the limited work hours allows for a much slower growth. Project that should take a few weeks end up taking her months. She has to turn down possible clients due to her time limitations.
GRAHAM’S PATH FROM AUDIO ENGINEER TO FINANCIAL COACH
Graham first got into music as a musician and songwriter, and that led him to recording music. He went to school for audio engineering thinking he would work in a studio making records for a living. In 2009, they moved to Florida, bought a house, had their first baby, and he lost his job shortly after. Without his job or clients, he was trying to resurrect his previous freelance career taking any gig he could find. He started a blog in the meantime as a resource for his friends after Shay noticed he was answering the same questions over and over again. He though if he was blogging about music and recording it could be an avenue to get more clients. He put out some tutorials and training and started making YouTube videos. While it did get him clients, it got him even more questions and requests for more videos. Without a 9-5 job, he had the time to make these videos between freelance gigs. He was making as much quality content as he could, and over time this turned to The Recording Revolution, a business that he’s learned how to monetize through selling courses and training. Through the process he fell in love with entrepreneurship. This led him to business coaching helping other entrepreneurs launch their business and pretty much anything that helps them run it such as meeting their income goals, and helping them with marketing and content creation. Shay and Graham have always loved helping people with their finances, because they got some really good wisdom in their first year of their marriage. Applying the financial principle they learned early on has allowed them to handle not only losing a job and a recession but also their success. Those principles stayed the same and is the thing that took them through their financial hardships into thriving businesses. The financial part of it has always been interesting to them and the see it as a blessing for them to help other people have the financial freedom that they’ve found.
FINANCIAL MISTAKES THEY’VE MADE
Some of Shay’s biggest and most frustrating were in the last few years, and they centered around making investments in things that sounded like a good idea at the time or like they were too good to be true. One instance was hiring coaching and consulting without knowing what she specifically needed. She wasn’t determining whether the people she was hiring could actually deliver something that is valuable to the business, because she didn’t know what she really wanted to accomplish. She was just looking for someone to help her shoulder the burden of making decisions. Another instance happened when she invested in a company saying they’re an influencer marketing networking among Indian female business owners, and it ended up being a scam. It wasn’t what it promised to be and she hadn’t asked for the right proof before investing. When you see other business owners around them doing all kinds of shiny things, it makes you believe that you need to do that to reach the next level, and it doesn’t typically pan out. Know what’s really going to drive the bottom line and know where your financial resources are best invested. Don’t get caught up in what other people are doing!
Graham’s financial mistake was in the way he initially handled cash flow in his business. As an entrepreneur, some months you make more than others and some months you have to spend more than others. There was a stretch of a few months where Graham would overdraft. Graham finally decided that when he had a good month of making money, he would decide on a new baseline of what should stay in the account as his new minimum. That way you’ll never have to stress out if you have a lot of expenses one month. Have a buffer for when your business ebbs and flows!
Another mistake Graham has made is not having a financial target for his business. When you start seeing success in the early stages of your business, it becomes a dangerous track of wanting to grow bigger and bigger indefinitely. It’s like running a race without knowing where the finish line is, and that can feel frustrating and unsatisfying as a business owner. If you don’t have a goal, you can see success without ever feeling successful. Take a personal look at what you want your business to look like and what defines a successful business. Then make a target monthly minimum and a target monthly goal. Once you reach that goal you’ll have succeeded, and anything above is extra.
TWO TOP TIPS
The way to be successful in all aspects of the word is to add value to other people. Be a giver. Find out what people need and want, and find ways to give it to them. It forces you to think about other people and not yourself. Putting your customers or audience’s needs first is the key to business success and fulfillment.
Generally, people are working too much with lack of boundaries, priorities, and self-care. 50 years from now, you’re never going to look back at your 20s and 30s and say “I just wish I had put in 10 more hours a week.” Live in a way that reflects the things that are truly important. Put boundaries around your work so that you can take care of yourself and spend time with the people you love. You have to be willing to prioritize and think through what’s really going to have mattered in life.
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