Intro by Skip Cohen

I love this post from Sarah Petty, because it describes so well the “failure system” so many of us have built. Yes, I’m including myself and a few projects in my own business. The challenge is taking the time to really sit down and just think about your priorities and what you want – not just out of your business, but life.

So many of you, when I’ve commented on different aspects of your website that need to be cleaned up for example, have explained, “Yes, I know, but I just haven’t had the time!” Yet, a website for most of you is your most valuable piece of real estate. And these days that’s the equivalent of a bricks and mortar store 10-15 years ago.

Think about the places you like to shop the most – whether bricks and mortar or online, it’s about the experience. It’s about the search for the products you want. It’s not just the cost, but how easy it is to shop, and get help if you need it.

Thirty years ago, Dean Collins jokingly commented that all you need to be a photographer is duct tape and a Yellow Pages ad. Today, most photographers don’t know what the Yellow Pages even were. And the most important ingredient in a successful model for your business is all about building relationships, but you don’t put enough time into it.

As 2022 ends and a new year is about to start – take the time during the “slow season” to be anything but slow in your mind and heart. Take the time and think through what you need to accomplish to make 2023 an even better year than the one we’re wrapping up!

Need a little help? Sarah Petty needs to be on your radar!

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I recently spent a day with a longtime mentor of mine, Dan Kennedy, and something he said was a huge “aha” for me (and I think it will be for you, too). 

If you don’t know who Dan Kennedy is, he is amazing. He is a marketing thought leader and is highly respected! He’s written many, many books. Recently, I got the opportunity to go to an event one day early and there were about 800 of us out of 1,000s who got to spend the day with him!

It was super special to me because he was one of the very first marketers I had ever studied when I started my business. Over 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to invest in a day with him… and it was $18,000 (that I didn’t have at the time)!! But I just knew that I needed the information that he had in his marketing brain on my business.

Looking back, it’s one of the best investments that we have ever made at my company. It got me to where I am and truly changed everything with the trajectory of my business. I’m super grateful for that.

Now, he’s an amazing marketer, but he doesn’t use the internet or phones. In 2010, to get ahold of him, we had to fax him! And I think he still works this way even to this day, which I find so interesting. 

Because as a marketer, I would think he would really want to know what’s happening on the internet!

But nope. 

Now, my mentor, who is the best internet marketer I think there is, has a company that runs backend software that all of us use. And he actually bought Dan Kennedy’s company, so he’s sitting on stage with his mentor who doesn’t use the internet.

We all had a good chuckle about that. 

To Dan, the internet is a distraction.

He shared a lot about the systems that we set ourselves up with. He said, “We either have a success system or a failure system,”

I think what most people have set up for themselves is a failure system, which means no matter what you do, how hard you work, and how much you want it…Whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish is set up for failure. 

For example, say you want to write a book, but you go to Starbucks to do it. Inside the loud and busy Starbucks, it’s so easy to be constantly distracted. I’m sure someone somewhere has done it, but I know for me that if I am trying to do some heavy thinking in an area where there’s lots of noise, it’s not going to happen.

I love this thought because we’ve got to think about setting ourselves up for success or failure.  It’s not about having the exact right thing, it’s about setting yourself up for success so that you have what you need to succeed.

Whether it’s the quiet time to write a book or the healthy food to live a healthy life. 

You say you want to build a photography business, and I believe that you do. But are you setting aside time to work on your photography business? Not just IN your business, but ON it.

When it comes to marketing or relationship building, are you setting aside time to do it? 

If you don’t have any dedicated time to spend working on that business, and you just take whatever comes to you, then it’s really just a hobby.

Another failure system I see is people jumping into a studio before they have the revenue or steady client flow to support it. It’s really dangerous to jump into that monthly mortgage. 

I’m in a 12-month coaching program, and this is what we offer to our students too, a 12-month coaching program. Because we know that things are going to happen in a year!  

You might need a small surgery, or you might have a parent who needs you to go take care of them. And what happens is people look away from their business, and a day turns into a week, and a week turns into a month, and a month into a quarter, and into a year. Then you’re at the end of the year and your business isn’t looking good. 

If you set yourself up with a success system, like being in a program that’s 12 months, when something in life happens, you have a plan and all of the things you need to get back into your business.

It’s a success system.

You’d never believe how many people go along in their business year after year, just guessing and telling themselves if they work hard enough, they’re going to have success. That’s not a success system.

If they’re not putting the people and the systems in their path that ensures that they’re going to succeed, then they don’t have a success system. 

I want you to ask yourself if your business is something that you really want in your life… and is there something else that you need to give up so that you can accomplish your goals?

I have freedom, flexibility, and so many great things that can come into my life because of my business. But I have to make hard decisions so that I can invest in a success system and make sure that I am putting myself in a place to succeed. You’ve got to prioritize it.

Is it going to be easy?

No.

Might you have to make sacrifices in other areas of your life?

Absolutely.

But we all have the same 24 hours in the day.

And when you’re at the end of your life looking back on everything, you will be thankful that you had success systems that helped get you where you wanted to go faster so you could live your life in an amazing way.

Prioritize your goal in your life and put your resources there. Your two most valuable resources, your time and your money. 

Today, spend some time with yourself looking at the goals that you’ve been telling yourself you want to accomplish. How can you put a success system in place instead of a failure system?

Because likely what you have right now is a lot of guessing going on, and that is a failure system. I want you to have a success system.  Keep going, my friend!

I’m telling you, it is worth doing the work and having hard conversations with your spouse or partner about why this is important to you.

You can do this!! 

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