Posts in wedding blog
9 Helpful Resources for Non-business Savvy Entrepreneurs

One of the main reasons I didn’t want to start a business, was because “crunching numbers”, paying taxes, and potentially being audited by the IRS scared the FLOOP out of me.

What if I didn’t understand it all and was doing it all wrong? What if simple mistakes would cost me thousands of dollars or jail time? It sounds crazy, but these were my thoughts.

9 Helpful Resources for Non-business Savvy Entrepreneurs

So I let a lot of fear keep me from starting a business. Brett encouraged me to educate myself a bit more and to not let the fear of the unknown keep me from pursuing a creative career. Thanks Brett. You’re a rockstar.

Maybe that should be my unofficial number one Resource on this list: Get you a Brett. Someone to tell you CAN and SHOULD.

I’ve come across SO MANY helpful resources since I first started my business. I want you to know about them too.

Office Makeover-15.jpg

“Sharing is caring”, as my summer camp counselor used to say.

  1. Join The Rising Tide Society if you haven’t already. 

The Rising Tide Society has been REALLY helpful for me. I don’t understand a lot of Tax stuff and it can feel so intimidating, so their resources have been SO helpful. The PDF they put out mostly for their Tuesdays Together meetings are amazing. If you’ve never been to a Tuesdays Together in your home city, I’d encourage you to look it up on Facebook and see if you can attend 1-5 meetings. I joined when I first moved to Lubbock (I just showed up to the coffee shop they were meeting at after a photographer saw I was editing a family session at a different coffee shop and recommended I go to some meetings so I could meet other creatives).

These meetings changed my life because they allowed me to ask the kinds of practical questions you’re asking (about pricing, taxes, Search Engine Optimization, marketing, client communication, collaborations, networking, etc.) and feel loved and supported by other creatives— not out to cut my throat and compete with me, but out to help all of us succeed. Tuesdays Together, if you carpe diem the friends you make there, can provide many opportunities for networking, styled shoots, and networking.

If photographers or wedding planners or bakers show up to those meetings and they like your work, they might recommend you to future potential clients or ask to work with you in the future.

I guarantee you when we move cities, I’ll be hitting up the Rising Tide Meetings there ASAP.

2. Rising Tide Monthly Newsletter.

These meetings changed my life because they allowed me to ask the kinds of practical questions you’re asking (about pricing, taxes, Search Engine Optimization, marketing, client communication, collaborations, networking, etc.) and feel loved and supported by other creatives— not out to cut my throat and compete with me, but out to help all of us succeed. Tuesdays Together, if you carpe diem the friends you make there, can provide many opportunities for networking, styled shoots, and networking.

You’re supposed to read these before you go to the meetings, but sometimes I can’t go to the meetings, so I Just read the newsletter. These have been SO helpful. The PDF’s they send out every month have literally saved my business from doing things illegally. 

3. Take Free Business Courses via your local university or library. The state of Texas offers a course and free counsel for businesses.

Texas Tech offered a “How to start and run your own business” 6 week course that I took when I first moved to Lubbock.

This course calmed my fears.

It helped mostly with all the legal stuff. Like registering your name with your city, Deciding what kind of business you are (I’m a Sole Proprietor, but they help explain why it might be better to have an LLC), making you official in the Texas system so you can properly pay your taxes when you start making money. Rising Tide also has information on this.

I could ask questions in this course, and not feel stupid for asking.

This is something you could google for your area or call your local university or library and ask about.

4. Setting Pricing when you’re just starting out. 

How to price your product when you're first starting out

Maybe you’ve been offering your service for free for years and you’ve decided you want to start making money off of it. Maybe you’re just starting out and still figuring out how to make your product or service the best it can be.

What helped me start thinking about my business seriously and about what I charge seriously came from changing my perspective. What did I make in my first job when I was working at UNT as a hall director? I think I made $15-$20 an hour.

So using that as a starting point for my own business really helped. I started charging clients a $20 service fee an hour (so it’s important to know about how long it takes you to do things). And since then, I’ve gradually started charging more. Depending on how much money you make, remember that a portion of your pay check goes to taxes. If you offer a product, you’ll want to charge the service fee and the supplies fee. Personally, I tack on shipping and taxes to the overall price. Always consider how much of your check goes to taxes.

5. How much Free should I offer people?

I did a lot of heavily discounted or free things for clients while I was getting my feet wet and still figuring out what I wanted to offer clients and how much my service was worth.

Storybrand  The podcast will make you rethink everything about your website.   The five-minute marketing video, wrecks you.   Everyone should be using Storybrand

When I started charging clients (around year two of my business), I stopped doing things for free. I was down to negotiate pricing and communicate with clients why pricing was set in some areas. But once I started charging people for weddings, free services were intentional and initiated by me. I always try to offer a free wedding to a client every year. And maybe do one or two giveaways. But not much else because my time is valuable…. as in, my time gives me my paycheck.

6. Storybrand

The podcast will make you rethink everything about your website.

The five-minute marketing video, wrecks you.

Everyone should be using Storybrand.

7. Making Money is Actually Challenging

What are your competitors charging? Producing? Marketing? Communciating? 9 Resources for women starting a creative business

Someone being real with me: Making money off of creative services is really challenging. Stay in the game. Work really hard. Don’t turn on netflix for a year or two. Collaborate a lot and put forward the work you want your ideal client to see— don’t settle for clients and projects that don’t fit the vibe you’re aiming for. Set boundaries.

8. Look around. Use other similar businesses as a resource.

What are your competitors charging? Producing? Marketing? Communciating? I just went on etsy two days ago and took a ton of screen shots of other people’s hand-written vows. My goal is to have my vows be the number one paper anniversary gift couples purchase for one another in the next five years. To do that, I need to look at what others are charging (some of them are charging too much and some of them…. I’m not sure how they are making money off their business) and see how they are styling their pictures, wording their policies, etc. I’ve learned a lot of shop policy talk from looking at etsy shops that already exist. Copy and pasting shouldn’t be a thing, but learning what to communicate with customers from others’ etsy shops, is actually REALLY helpful.

Whether or not you are selling on etsy, in person, or through your own website, Etsy has a whole blog and handbook dedicated to helping business owners be successful on the Etsy platform in general.

Knowing what other people are charging is helpful too. Some of them have been doing this a long time and have an awesome reputation and they can charge a bunch. Some of them haven’t been doing this very long, and their pricing might not be as extravagant. See if your prices look about the same as 10-15 people in your area (or on etsy) doing something similar to you. See what all they are charging. What packages do they offer?

Some clients won’t take you seriously if your prices are too low. Some won’t take you seriously if they are too high. When your’e starting to charge people, I think it’s okay to start on the lower end and raise your prices every six months to a year. Or charge more in the summer versus the winter. Ask other professionals in your arena what they started with.

9. Go Live HQ Blogs

These blogs are so helpful (and REALLY inspiring and fun looking… they are like modern day scrapbooks) if you are unsure how to put together a website. Any free courses or videos Promise and her team produce, are amazing and SO helpful when it comes to coming up with blog design, website design, and overall brand marketing. My personal blog’s design is based loosely on a Go LIve HQ template!

Have any questions about what I’ve shared? What has been a really helpful resource for you?

Josh + Caitlin | Wedding

I want you to know that Josh and Caitlin are some of our good friends. We love them and were humbled to photograph their wedding in Colorado Springs.

Josh lived with us for a semester and because Josh and Caitlin were in a long distance relationship, we sometimes hosted Caitlin at our house when she was in town.

Their wedding day was a million wonderful moments, one after the other. I choked up several times and laughed out loud more. When two of the most intentional, fun, and kind people get together to get married, you can’t help but have all the feels.

What I’ve always loved about Josh and Caitlin is how their leaning into celebrating their inter-racial marriage. They’re both coming from two different cultures and haven’t ignored that. They’ve embraced it. The up’s and the down’s of it. I love that.

When we first talked about their wedding day, Josh told me I was allowed to take charge of things and do what I needed to get good pictures—- except try to take Caitlin off the dance floor. He told me once the dancing starts— she can’t stop won’t stop. I thought I already knew this about Caitlin. But it’s true. true. true. Caitlin and Josh both are about a good dance party. And they certainly hosted a crazy fun reception.

The goal of their wedding was to celebrate their miraculous love. To let God be glorified as the Author of Love. I hope you can see their goal coming to fruition in these pictures.

P.S. This song is the song Brett sang while they were lighting their unity candle. One of my favorite moments from our time in the Springs was driving by the Garden of the Gods while listening to Brett practice this song in the car. These were such sacred words to have on my heart the days leading up to their wedding.

Vendors:


Skylar Clow- DJ
Sasquatch Cookies (for Gluten Free guests)
A Stitch in Time by Dianne - alterations

Dinner- Qdoba

Suzie Masse - Wedding Coordinator
Ceremony Venue: First Christian Church
Reception Venue: Creekside Event Center Coordinator

Lexi + Dean | Ransom Canyon Wedding

When I met Lexi for coffee a few months before her wedding, not all her wedding planning was going well. Vendors were falling through and I could tell she was really hoping I wouldn’t be another bump in the road on her way to getting married. Would I, the person she’d chosen to photograph her wedding, show up and be organized? Would I be intentional with her? Would I offer kindness and truly be pumped to celebrate her wedding day when other vendors didn’t seem to be coming through?

We talked for a good while, and I left our meeting wishing her wedding wasn’t months away. I honestly loved her. I loved how she talked about Dean and I loved that she told me he’d be full of jokes on their wedding day (she wasn’t wrong). I loved that she was sweet and kind with a good dose of sarcasm and dry wit humor. That’s a Bride I’m ALLLL about.

And you know what? Any hesitation I saw on her face at the beginning of our meeting was completely gone by the end of our meeting. I could tell she was all the more pumped for her wedding day—-but I could feel it in my heart too. I was excited to too.

When their wedding day came Lexi and Dean let me call them by nicknames I made up for them. Dean was never without a joke or a theatrical face. And I could really tell that Lexi was able to soak in every moment she needed and wanted to soak in. It had come together.

So, here’s to finally getting to post SexyLexi and Deanster (pretty sure I called him Dean Street a few times too) and their beautiful Ransom Canyon wedding.

And here’s to coming through for Brides, valuing them as a friend, cheering them on as a friend, and getting to deliver to them a snapshot of their love story.

Until the next wedding,

Stacie

P.S. Dean and Lexi’s Dad made their wedding backdrop! And I absolutely loved it! Also, those market street floral bouquets were some of my favorite bouquets of this season’s weddings— the mix of all the colors was surprising and different and OMG I really LOVE how it turned out.

Vendors:

Dress: Davids bridal

Flowers: Market Street

Cakes: Patricia Gomez

Food: Gary and Deanna Ward (family friends)

Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie

Men’s Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse

Backdrop: A DIY by the Bride’s Father and the Groom

DJ : Music to the Maxx

Hair: Narci Brooks, Lubbock TX

Makeup: Mari Zavala, Lubbock, TX

Shoes: David’s Bridal

Necklace: Kendra Scott

Lexi’s bracelet and ring were her grandmothers  

Venue: The Ransom Canyon Ranch House on the Lake

Coordinator: Alyssa Timmons, Lubbock, TX

Photo Booth: Tony Pham

Mission Statement | Creative Visuals to Help Marriages Thrive

JAMBOREE PROVIDES CREATIVE VISUALS TO HELP MARRIAGES THRIVE and stand the test of time. 

Two ways we do that: 

Romantic and candid wedding photography to remember every sacred moment, relationship, vow, and emotion.

Hand-Written and Framed Vows from your wedding day, because weddings are one day, and vows are a lifetime.

 Styled Session by  Greenhouse Creative

Styled Session by Greenhouse Creative

We have two things on our bedroom wall from our wedding day: a picture of us and our vows to each other, hand-written and framed.

If we woke up to a fire in our house (I've been watching a lot of This is Us), I honestly think I'd grab those two things because they mean so much to us. We both wrote our own vows, and it would be hard for me if they were forever lost or forgotten. 

I believe something bold and crazy about our marriage.

I believe our marriage is successful and thriving, in part, because of what we vowed (covenanted) to one another and because we've taken time since we got married to look over and remember our vows. 

Do people really do that after their wedding day? Do they really recall what they said? What they promised? 

 
 

It makes sense to me, as I value my own marriage thriving, that I would value my clients' marriages thriving.

 
 

It gives me purpose deep in my bones and where the butterflies flutter in my stomach, to have a mission statement that values a couples' real life success beyond their actual wedding day. 

And I mean that truthfully--- having a mission statement that's just a gimmick literally makes me sick to my stomach.

I value taking time to understand you and your relationship. I value cheering you on as I snap, snap, snap at your wedding or write up your vows on my ipad. I value candid moments between you and your family members because one day those people won't be around anymore. One day you'll look back at your pictures with loved ones with tears in your eyes. I value you remembering so many sacred moments. I value helping you remember the deep-rooted reasons you got married in the first place. 

I want you to have amazing photos from your wedding day and I want you to understand how hard I'll work to get those photos-- but not just so you can have them in an album on your coffee table those first few years-- I want you to have amazing and real photos, so you can really remember how deep your love is for one another. So you can remember your love is worth celebrating and fighting for.

I want you to have vows written in beautiful calligraphy, not so your wall will look pretty, but so you'll be forced to live them out. "Forced" in all of the best ways we can use that word. I want your marriage to be saved, reconciled, or thriving because you stopped and took a glance at your vows on the wall, and were reminded of what you promised and who you promised you'd be. 

 
 

It's my honor to visually and creatively help you prepare for a lifetime together.

 
 
What a wedding photographer should value: I value taking time to understand you and your relationship. I value cheering you on as I snap, snap, snap at your wedding or write up your vows on my ipad. I value candid moments between you and your family members because one day those people won't be around anymore. One day you'll look back at your pictures with loved ones with tears in your eyes. I value you remembering so many sacred moments. I value helping you remember the deep-rooted reasons you got married in the first place. 

I want so much for you and I haven't even met some of you yet. 

I need you to know (potential clients and past clients) that I've crafted my business from my heart. That I don't take it lightly. 

 
 

I'm looking forward. Beyond your wedding day. I look forward for you and with you. I'm hoping so deeply that the services I'll provide you with, will move your marriage forward. 

 
 

The number one First Anniversary gift you should consider gifting to your husband