Recorded: Welcome to The Rework with Allison Tyler Jones, a podcast dedicated to inspiring portrait photographers to uniquely brand, profitably price, and confidently sell their best work. Allison has been doing just that for the last 15 years, and she’s proven that it’s possible to create unforgettable art and run a portrait business that supports your family and your dreams. All it takes is a little Rework. Episodes will include interviews with experts from in and outside of the photo industry, many workshops, and behind the scenes secrets that Allison uses in her portrait studio every single day. She will challenge your thinking and inspire your confidence to create a profitable, sustainable portrait business you love through continually refining and Reworking your business. Let’s do the Rework.

Allison Tyler Jones: Hi friends, and welcome back to The Rework. This is a special episode today because, for once, instead of me doing the interviewing, our very own, Jessica Mackey is going to be interviewing me for this episode, and we are going to be doing a little bit of a year in review, what 2022 has taught us, both bad and good. And this is also going to be our last episode for this year because we are closing out this season of podcasting and then we will start again in the new year. So without further ado, here’s Jessica.

Jessica Mackey: Hi friends. And welcome to our final podcast of 2022. Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, it just seems that there are some years that we have found hit harder than others. Like you just walk away feeling a little more tired and battle worn. And I would say that 2022 has been one of those years for us. We are not super sad to say goodbye, but regardless of how we feel the end of the year, one of our most favorite practices is to look back at the year in review and it helps us to gain some useful perspective and also prepares us to better handle problems moving forward. So today we are talking to Allison and making her analyze the year in review of Allison Tyler Jones Photography. So Allison, looking back at this year, what are some things that you felt went well for 2022?

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, I feel like it has been a hard year in that we have just been really busy. There’s been a lot going on. We’ve had the Rework on top of ATJ photo stuff. We’re getting ready to move our studio. I’m getting ready to move my house. So there’s a lot of things just personally that have collided with ATJ photo stuff. So I felt like there’s been a lot going on. Also, I feel like this is the first year that we really are out of the pandemic. It’s kind of the first year of everybody’s hit the ground running. And I feel like maybe sometimes I’m a couple of steps behind everybody else. Do I really want to go to Costco? No, I don’t. I want to do Instacart for the rest of my life. I never want to go to a store again. I feel like maybe I’m a little bit behind on some of those things. I don’t know if you feel that same way.

Jessica Mackey: No, definitely. And I think it was interesting listening to you list all the things for this year because it really has felt like a big year. But looking back as you’re saying all those things, I’m like, it’s been a growth year personally and professionally, and sometimes growth years are kind of exhausting. Like you-

Allison Tyler Jones: No, always, always. And I’ve had this conversation probably with you, but I feel like before this year, maybe before 2021, I was in this little bubble. I had the house that we live in, regular studio. We just had the things that we normally do. We just knew how to do that. And then we decided, okay, let’s start the Rework. And that popped the bubble as far as the comfort bubble. I know how to do the studio, I know how to do that. I’ve been doing it for many years, but I don’t know how to do education, online education or any of that. So that popped one bubble. Then it was like, oh, let’s renovate this house in the middle of shortages and all the things. And so that was another. And then now, my sister moved her design studio. She purchased a church in a neighboring town and renovated it into this really cool design studio and we’re going to be moving over there.

And so, now we’re going to unpack 17 years of who knows what’s in the basement. Let’s just be honest. We don’t even know what’s down there. We don’t go down there.

Jessica Mackey: We don’t want to know.

Allison Tyler Jones: We don’t want to know. But I’m sure there’s treasures down there that we just need to have, some props and things. So we’re going to have to move all of that. And as happens in life, you think it’s going to be consecutive, one thing after another, but it actually all comes to fruition at the same time. So all good things, all blessings, all amazing, but very uncomfortable, very unsettled, very, I don’t know where I’m going, what I’m doing. And so I’ve had all of that on top of just the regular run a business, run a busy portrait studio with amazing clients.

Jessica Mackey: Right. And that can really kind of take its toll emotionally and on your sleep habits probably.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Oh, and I had two kids get married this year.

Jessica Mackey: That’s right.

Allison Tyler Jones: Just in case anybody-

Jessica Mackey: In the busy season.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes. Yeah, my kids don’t love me. So-

Jessica Mackey: Even with all of that, there were some things that went well.

Allison Tyler Jones: Oh yeah.

Jessica Mackey: That you look at. And even in the uncomfortable, there were some things that I feel like were golden nuggets this year. What do you feel like are some of those golden nuggets?

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, I think definitely one of the bright spots has been the Rework. The people that we’ve met through the podcast, the DMs that we get from just kind people that are giving us good ideas for content, that are also letting us know what is working for them, what has resonated with them, our mind shift, members, community is just a bright spot for sure. So love the Rework. Our clients, our ATJ photo clients, our regulars are amazing and supportive. And we’ve had so many new clients. This has been our busiest year yet, and it’s been awesome with that.

Allison Tyler Jones: And last year, we hired Kaitlyn. And so she has just poured gas on the fire because she is bossing us all around and making us work harder and more efficiently. And so that’s been great. We have Rose who we brought into the Rework. So new employees, even though sometimes it seems so scary to hire somebody new because you think, oh, I don’t know if we can really afford to do this. But just the sum is greater than the individual parts. And so it really has created some great momentum to have those new employees.

Jessica Mackey: And it just sounds like everything you just said was about people, the building of a community. So you’ve got the support of all of the new photographer friends and that community that have just… There have been so many times that maybe something was hard at the studio and they’re just cheering us on too. It’s a back and forth relationship. It goes both ways. And like you said, the good clients, all of this is building a community that is cheering you on, that’s supporting you and validating everything that you’re doing.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Right. And what I realized too, there were a couple of realizations, and I have to relearn this lesson again and again, is because we launched the Rework a year ago, summer, so 2021 summer, we didn’t really get that break in the summer that we normally get here. So we had been working on Rework, Then we went into the busy season and then Rework, we relaunched the course again in the spring. So it wasn’t until May that that course ended that I realized I have not had a square to spare. I have not had one bit of a break. And I kind of hit the wall mentally. And so I took off, not total, but about four to five weeks and just went to the mountains with my family and just kind of hung out at home and just took a minute to read a lot of crap fiction and do puzzles because I needed time to not do anything. I felt like I had just been stretched way too thin.

Jessica Mackey: You took time to prioritize your mental and physical health. And I think that sometimes, especially solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, it’s hard to make that time to recognize, like you said, I don’t have a spare to square. I’ve got nothing left. I need to take some me time. And that can be hard.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, it is. And if I didn’t have the team that I have to keep things going at the studio, Kaitlin and Stacy and you coming in and out, you and Rose handling the Rework, that would not have been possible. So it was really needed and I’m glad that I did it. So, that’s one of the things that was good. I mean, whether it was actually maladaptive or good is… I mean, you could make the case.

Jessica Mackey: It had to happen. It had to happen.

Allison Tyler Jones: That eating chocolate chip cookies and doing puzzles, probably I could have been reading business books and doing yoga, but I didn’t do either of those things. I just went into the things that are comfortable and that I loved, and my family. So, that was really good. So coming out of that, we knew going into 2022 that we always look back at 2021. So we looked back at 2021 and said, all right, what were the problems of the fall season, the busy season? And what I do is during the busy season, I have a notepad that I have next to my computer and it is for one purpose only. And that is next year, this is how we’re going to do something different, because I am an optimizer, I like to do things, but then I don’t ever want to do it the same way twice. I want to make it better and better and better the next time.

Allison Tyler Jones: So I’m either writing notes that I’m going to send to Ron Nichols about how to improve ProSelect because there’s something that I need that isn’t working that I needed to do, or that we need some form that we didn’t have, or whatever the way to optimize the production or optimize… Maybe we’ve had a difficult situation with a client and I need to write a note. Okay, make sure in the consultation that we’re explaining this better, whatever. So looking back at 2021, which was really a hard season because we had so many vendor problems… There was one holiday card, I’m not going to say the client’s name, but who I’m talking about, I think we printed that five times.

Jessica Mackey: It was bad.

Allison Tyler Jones: It just kept coming in wrong again and again and again. And we’re not even going to-

Jessica Mackey: And it wasn’t even just the client.

Allison Tyler Jones: No, it wasn’t the client, it was the vendor. And we’re not even going to mention the vendor’s name because we know how hard it is, how hard it has been, for people to get good people. So anyway, we reprinted this card five times, and by the time they got their cards, it was really close to Christmas and probably way too close to Christmas. But we did make it by Christmas, thank goodness. But that was such a stressful thing. And because that was going on, we were having to go back and forth with a vendor, go back and forth with the client, go back and forth with our couriers. And so it was that one card order probably… We’re probably negative, a couple of thousand dollars on that card order just from the time of going back and forth. So as I thought of that on my list of things to change, was next year we are going to book everybody early.

Allison Tyler Jones: All of our people that we know come every year, we are going to. When we do our calling program, we are going to get everybody in early. And then especially any clients that need more time to decide because we have a couple of those who they cannot decide quickly. They have to go away and noodle and think about it and ask their cleaning lady what they think. And so those clients can’t come in October or November. They have to come in July because we need time to work with them. And so we just kind of started saying, “All right, let’s try to see if we can book everybody in August, September.” July is almost impossible because everybody’s out of town here because it’s so hot. But school started really early this year in August. And so we thought let’s just book everybody early. So how we did that was we used our regular client calling program, got our list of all of our clients, and then we just started to text our clients. And did you do some of that or was that all Kaitlyn?

Jessica Mackey: That was all Kaitlyn. I was part of the planning process, deciding who… Because you start with your number ones and start with the people that you know are going to be there every year.

Allison Tyler Jones: So the texts looked a lot like, “Hey, this is Kaitlyn from Allison Tyler Jones Photography. Oh, you just wanted you to know that you have first dibs on Allison’s calendar before we release it to the public. How is August 15th,” blah blah blah, looking. “Due to the vendor and labor issues that are going on in the world, we’re booking everybody early this year so that we don’t have to worry at all about timeframe and getting things delivered for the holidays.” And so we sent that out and the response was really good and we booked up August. Now that sounds like a win, but we’ve booked up August before. And then what happens is people come back from vacation and they decide they want to change their schedule, then they rebook. Remember, like 2020 or 2019, we’ve booked August before. We’ve tried to book people early and then they just reschedule later in the year.

Allison Tyler Jones: So the thing that was helpful about that text and saying about the vendors and about the labor market is everybody knows that they’re experiencing that in their own businesses. They’re experiencing it in every facet of their life. So they understood that the reason why we’re booking it earlier is because if we don’t, you’re not going to get what you need. And they did not reschedule.

Jessica Mackey: No. They want those holiday cards to go out. That is a big deal.

Allison Tyler Jones: It is a big deal. And they want their gifts and all of that. So what happened then, now that we actually did it? So we were shooting quite a few people the week that school started, so a couple of days before school started. We had overwhelming positive response to that. So people were saying, “I’m never doing it any other way. This is awesome because now my kid’s hair is cut, they have cute clothes, they’re ready for school to go back. And we were tan from our trip and rested, and please make sure that you book me at this time every single year,” because now why was I piling this in November when we’re on top of Thanksgiving and all of this other stuff? So, that, we’ve had overwhelmingly a positive response to that.

Jessica Mackey: And I feel like from a production standpoint, it has just helped so much with employee mental health almost because I heard Ivan humming while doing cards last week.

Allison Tyler Jones: That’s amazing.

Jessica Mackey: And Ivan humming is a happy sound. And when he has stacks and stacks of cards that have to be packaged and delivered, normally that’s the end of November. He is like max stressed, and yet he was humming because we are that ahead of the game. It just was such a relief I think for everybody to front load it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Right. And it still was super busy. It just moved all the busy, the really crunch time instead of right this week, which is the week of Thanksgiving that we’re recording this. Instead of this week, really the crunch week was the first week in November. So now we’re kind of bleeding off the back edge of it and then we’re done for the year. We still have things that we’re producing, but it’s nothing like it has been in the past. And so when you make these changes and you’re afraid to do it and you’re afraid that your clients are going to be mad at you and then you do it and you realize, oh my gosh, why did I wait so long? This was the best thing ever.

Jessica Mackey: And you think that you’re doing it for you. You think, okay, this is best for me to front load the clients, but my clients are not going to see the value. But what was so great is that you communicated it in a way that was like, no, this is for you. You are going to love front loading your session earlier in the season. And then it was so validating because they did. They loved not having to freak out about whether or not their card was going to get there in time. And I feel like you were fresher as far as your creativity and all of that. And so it just paid dividends.

Allison Tyler Jones: For sure. And that’s a really good point that I think we don’t take into account is that when we overbook things, or for me if I’m booking three or four shoots in a day, that’s hard to stay creative. That’s hard to have maximum creativity for that many shoots because of how we shoot and the experience that we provide. It takes a lot out of me. And so I try to be really intentional, and Kaitlyn knows this, and you know this because you used to do it, but when you’re looking at booking sessions on a particular day, it’s not just a session on a day. It’s also looking at like, okay, how many kids are in that family? If we have an 18 month, a three year old, and a newborn with a couple of dogs, maybe that’s the shoot of the morning and we don’t do another one until two.

Allison Tyler Jones: Or maybe that’s the only shoot that day and we do the production the rest of the day because you’re having to manage so many people and create a lot of energy and manage your own energy. And if you’re doing a couple like that, you don’t have anything left. You’re a shell, a husk, whereas if you’ve got two parents who has an only child, who’s a well behaved 10 year old, that’s like falling off a log. That’s easy. So I could schedule that with maybe a bigger family. So it’s just looking at those things. We are so intentional with our calendar and how we schedule things to make it not only great for us, but really the most important thing is that it’s great for the client so that they have an amazing experience. They feel like it’s special because they’re only coming to us once a year, maybe every other year, or maybe they might be new clients and this is something totally different for them, especially if they’re new. They’re trusting us, it’s going to cost more than what they’re used to paying.

Allison Tyler Jones: They’re used to paying a shoot and burn photographer. They’re a little bit nervous about it. They’ve really had to prepare. These moms have had to get these outfits ready. It’s already cost them a lot of money before they ever get there. And then they get there and we’re distracted and running them through, okay, next, next, like it’s Sear’s portrait studio. It can’t happen like that. But it’s really easy in the busy season to get that way. And so I realized that how can I manage the schedule and how can we schedule these sessions so that my energy is managed and I can bring my best creativity and my best energy to every single shoot and the energy of this, the studio as well, everybody.

Jessica Mackey: Right? No, because that does… Again, you feel like you’re doing it for you, but it’s not. It is for the client. They need to feel that same level of love and attention and energy that you’re giving the very first client of the day. And so, no, that’s so smart. So if you were to look back on 2022, I’m sure there’s also things that perhaps you would’ve done differently. Anything that comes to mind?

Allison Tyler Jones: Always things on my list.

Jessica Mackey: Right? Your little notepad next to the computer.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Well, I mean, the thing I didn’t put on the notepad, but that is usually always the case of every year is that… And I don’t know how I could have made this different because of just the timing of construction and the timing of our new studio being ready and all of that is that there were things that were in my control when I made the decision to do them. But then the timeframe when they were actually going to happen became completely out of my control. And so I feel like I took on probably too much, but I don’t know how I could have really done that differently. And so I think that just happens in life. Sometimes the planets align and a lot of stuff comes your way. And so again, all good things. I can’t complain about any of it. It’s all great progress, things moving forward. But if I could have controlled, I probably would’ve just taken on less things, I guess.

Jessica Mackey: Yeah. Well and like you said, sometimes you can’t control it and it does happen. And I think that something you tried to do to offset that this year is you did try to take time to prioritize mental health. You talked about doing puzzles. You did pick up some things that were almost like, okay, it’s been a long day. I’ve had to do contractors, I’ve had to meet. I’ve had to do clients. I need to go home and do something that is just mindless and enjoyable. Put on an audio book and a puzzle and just recenter. And I feel like you had to do that a lot this year because there have been things that have been so out of control.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. So what are things that you can control? And that is true. I felt like if I went to watching a bunch of TV, I knew that I wouldn’t feel great about that, although sometimes I totally feel totally great about that. But that just wasn’t where I was at. That’s not what I needed. And so I wanted to listen to audio books, but then I feel like, okay, I usually do that when I’m driving or maybe doing stuff, cleaning around the house, but I didn’t want to clean. So I thought, well, let’s just do a puzzle. That feels like I’m doing something and then I can listen to my book. I can do two things at one time. So I’m calling that my mental health, keeping my mind sharp. At the same time, learning or listening to great literature or whatever. So, that was a fun thing.

Jessica Mackey: Exactly. But it also… Because everybody has those years where things just… It’s too much all at once. And I think figuring out instead of… Because you almost want to curl up in a ball and check out from the world, it’s like, okay, no, what is an activity? What’s something I can do to keep me, to recenter things? So you can keep going amid all the insanity because it’s still going. The insanity hasn’t stopped just because it’s too much for you. You still have to manage it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. And I think back to conversation I had with Catherine Langsford during the pandemic when Canada was shut down multiple times and much more than we were out here in the West a lot. And she was so concerned about her business and she kept saying, “I’m just practicing surrender. I’m just surrendering to this process because there’s really nothing else I can do.” And so she started taking daily… She called them joy walks where she could just walk and look at the beautiful Vancouver landscape and all of that. And that really helped her recenter and get through that rough time. But that concept of surrender, of surrendering to a process, when there’s… You can control as much as you can. And I think when you’re an entrepreneur and you run your own business, we tend to be very ambitious people and we tend to want to force things around us to our will.

Allison Tyler Jones: And we’re used to doing that. Like okay, we’re going to do this and we’re going to put these people in this situation and we’re directing a shoot and we’re directing all these things. We’re directing our business. But there are times in life where forces outside of your control… I can’t control when my contractor’s going to get the house done. I can’t control really when this new studio is going to be exactly ready. And there’s so many moving parts. And so when I start thinking, okay, well six months from now, where am I going to be? I’m really unhappy with that. Whereas if I think, okay, well today I’m in my house that I live in, my existing house, I have a cute grandkid that’s here on my lap, not right now, but later. My kids are down for Thanksgiving and I have a great client that I’m going to see later today and life is great today.

Allison Tyler Jones: So I don’t need to forecast all the like, well what if this doesn’t get done? What if that doesn’t get done? How am I going to bend everything to my will? It’s like, well I can’t. I’m not able to do that. So I have to look much… I think we talked about this maybe in another podcast or it might have been one of our master classes, is adjusting my lens length. So rather than looking with a 780 or 200 far, far out, I need to be macro. What is right in front of me? I am going to eat turkey and pie this week and it is going to be awesome.

Jessica Mackey: Yeah, well it’s just that being present, like you said, surrendering the fear for the future, just being present, being mindful, taking each day as it comes.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Yeah. It’s never been a good concept for me.

Jessica Mackey: Yeah. Well it’s becoming one.

Allison Tyler Jones: I know.

Jessica Mackey: You’re changing. You’re evolving.

Allison Tyler Jones: We’re going to have to learn it. Yeah.

Jessica Mackey: It’s a growth year. Allison is growing in her mindfulness practices. Surrender.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yes. Yes. In so many ways, some good and some not, but yeah.

Jessica Mackey: Okay. So what else do you feel like you would’ve done differently?

Allison Tyler Jones: I really feel like we did so many things well, and let me go back to another thing I think we did well. I’m an oldest child, so I like to talk to you about the positive things that I’ve done. But-

Jessica Mackey: Right. We need the gold stars.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. I need the gold star. One thing that I feel like I really did a lot more, going back to that concept of surrender, is really allowing the people around me to do more and to do it their way. So that’s another thing is that I think as an entrepreneur, the common mistake we make is we hire people and then we want to just micromanage them to death and then we actually ruin them. We actually either make them completely dependent on us where they can’t do anything on their own or they leave because they’re smart and motivated and they don’t want to be constantly told what to do.

Allison Tyler Jones: And so I feel like I finally, over the last few years, have got a team together that has… Everybody’s so smart, they’re so good at what they do, and that they don’t have to do everything exactly how I think it should be done. They know the principles behind ATJ Photo. They know what we believe in. They know all the things that we’ve talked about on this podcast a million times. We’re committed to a finished product, an amazing client experience. And as long as we’re keeping within those pillars, however they decide to do that with their own individual expression, that actually gives them ownership and allows them to take more off my plate than if I just restricted them.

Jessica Mackey: That’s true. But that is really hard as an oldest child to let go of that control.

Allison Tyler Jones: Oh yeah. Because you think you know exactly how it has to be, or that you’re the only one that could do it or whatever, and it’s simply not the case. And you find that actually if you do it right and you hire the right people that can grow, is they end up doing it way better than what you thought, than you could have ever thought.

Allison Tyler Jones: So then it just makes a great team. And then the clients, my favorite thing is to hear clients say now is not like, oh, you’re so talented. You’re so amazing. It’s like you have the best team. This has been a great experience. And everybody that leaves the studio when they say… After they’ve closed out their order, they’ll say thank you. But then they turn around and they walk back into your office and Stacey’s office and say, “Thank you so much.” And then they’ll go up and say thank you to Kaitlyn and to Ivan. So I love that. And I think earlier in my career that would’ve felt a little bit threatening to me. Like don’t you see that I did all of this?

Jessica Mackey: Interesting. Yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: And it’s like, no, no, no.

Jessica Mackey: It’s my name on the door.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, exactly. And still it comes back to me because I hired all of you because you’re amazing.

Jessica Mackey: No, that’s so true. And I think that that empowering really does allow the studio to grow, not just Allison, but every year we’ve continued to grow. And part of that I think is, like you said, that surrendering and empowering your employees, and yeah, I love that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Helping other people reach their dreams. And really, that’s what the Rework has all been about too. When we have meetings and we talk about content, it’s always about how can we help other people to see the value that they bring to their clients and help them realize this is a really valuable service that we do and it’s worth something. And how to help them to believe that. And so I think then going back to your earlier question, things that you would do differently is, I would just say every year I need to surrender more and to realize I don’t have to do everything. What’s something else that I can give to somebody else, not just to delegate, but to let them shine or to help other people’s dreams come true? Because it’s not just about me. It’s about fostering the growth and development of everybody that works with us and every one of our students, because that’s more fun really. In the end, it’s helping your clients have an amazing experience and then helping everybody that works for you to fulfill their highest and best use.

Jessica Mackey: Well, and what’s interesting too is even to see that same surrendering, I feel like in, let’s say, the Rework, so the mind shift Facebook group, it used to be that you felt like you needed to answer every question, but then you intentionally kind of pulled back because you realized, wait, I’m not giving the other members of the group a chance to comment. And as they’ve commented, we’ve grown. We hear what they’re saying. We’re like, oh my gosh, that is such a brilliant way to approach that. Oh, I can’t believe she used those words. That is so perfect. And you start to see that mutual growth from empowering them to speak up and come up with solutions to each other’s problems.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. For sure. And it really is. It reminds me of parenting actually, because when you’re a young mom, you have all the answers and your kids come to you and you’re the dispenser of wisdom until they get to… Actually, for me it would probably be fourth grade math and then I could no longer keep up with them. Could do the English, but the math not so much. And then more thorny problems with friends and that sort of thing. And then you realize there are answers I don’t have for them. I need to help them to find their own answers. And that’s the best teaching there, is to not just give somebody a fish, but to teach them to fish, to teach them how to find their own answers and to find their own way. And that’s what the podcast is all about too. The podcast is having guests, having people on who do things, run portrait businesses, but in very different ways and are all successful in their own unique way.

Jessica Mackey: And everybody who listens is going to pull something different and unique out of it and apply it in their own unique ways to build their business in a way that makes sense to them and empowers them.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yep. And we all stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before us. I have threads through my business of Tim Walden. I have threads of so many great photographers that have gone that are still here and people that aren’t. You say you pull out the things that work for you.

Jessica Mackey: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I love that. Is there anything else you want to add to 2022 in review?

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, I would say as we are heading… This is going to release the first part of December. And so I would say as there are many of you that are going to be just running to the last minute to make it to the holidays, whether it’s Hanukkah or Christmas or whatever it is that you’re celebrating or that you’re helping your clients get ready for, and I would say take a minute and get that notebook next to your computer as you’re retouching into the night or editing or whatever it is that you’re doing and make some notes on what you would do differently next year. What was hard this year and what do you need to smooth out? Also, list the things that worked really well so that you can keep those going. And-

Jessica Mackey: And I think we need the gold stars, right?

Allison Tyler Jones: Oh yeah. Totally.

Jessica Mackey: Everybody needs the gold stars.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Yeah. Because if you’re an optimizer, and I think again, it’s like, okay, something can happen. So whether it’s a marketing event or a view and order session with a client, and it could be wildly successful, this is my own thing, but the first thing I’m thinking of after that is I want to do the postmortem on it for what I could do better. So I don’t take the time to go, actually that was really cool and that was so amazing, and kind of marinate in the positive of that. I remember reading a book once, I think it was Letters to my Younger Self or something like that, and they asked, I think it was Sarah Blakely, the CEO of Spanx, “What would you say to your 21 year old self?” And she said, “Life is a box of chocolates. But the difficulty is always enjoying the one that’s in my mouth.”

Allison Tyler Jones: And I think, oh, that is so true that you’re just thinking about, well look, there’s one over there that’s got nuts. Well, should I have gotten the one that has nuts, or should I be eating the truffle? I don’t know. Maybe next time I’m in I shouldn’t have the caramel because then I have to pick it out of my teeth. So it’s the constant thinking things through which makes us great, which makes us run great businesses. It’s a gift, but like any gift, it can be a curse if you never turn it off and you don’t stop to enjoy what’s going on right now. So make the list what could be better, what was good, marinate in the good, and try not to kill yourself before the end of the year. And then enjoy some time with your family and your friends and take a minute to rest before you come back for the new year.

Jessica Mackey: Absolutely. And maybe take up puzzling, right? That’s-

Allison Tyler Jones: Puzzling and audio books. I’m a huge fan. Or just make your puzzle. And I had somebody say to me, “Oh, so you’ve gone to the puzzling, you’re going there,” like I was going to do bingo at the assisted living home. And I’m like, actually I don’t…. Like we were watching Breaking Bad and you know when… You probably haven’t seen it, but when Gus goes to visit Hector Salamanca in the assisted living home and these old people are sitting there playing Bingo, I’m like, that’s seeming less and less bad to me. I can totally do that. I play games with my kids. I mean, that doesn’t mean I’m old. That just means find a fun thing, whether it’s a high… Whatever is mindless and gives you a little bit of a break, do that thing and don’t wait until the busy season’s over. Find the little breaks in between to just decompress so that you can go back to it fresh and bring your best creativity and your best experience to your client.

Jessica Mackey: Yeah. And just sprinkle that joy throughout your day because you genuinely enjoy puzzles. That brings joy. So why wouldn’t you sprinkle that throughout your day? And whatever it is.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. It could be a game on your phone, whatever. We all have things that we like to do. So happy holidays to everybody from the crew at The Rework and Allison Tyler Jones Photography. We’re so grateful that you’ve been on this journey with us the last year and a half. And this was a really, really long first season, but we’ve decided to go to seasons because for the same reason what we’re talking about right now, is that one of the things we realized is that we’ve gotten stretched a little bit thin and that we need to take a break and be able to come back with greater creativity. And to give you our very best with the podcast, we’ve decided to go two seasons.

Jessica Mackey: Absolutely. And that way, every episode you listen to is just awesome.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. Not that they haven’t been.

Jessica Mackey: Yes. No they have.

Allison Tyler Jones: But there’s a chance that they could not be because we’re getting tired.

Jessica Mackey: We need maximum creativity.

Allison Tyler Jones: We need to go do some puzzles.

Jessica Mackey: Every-

Allison Tyler Jones: And we’ll be back with some great podcasts for you in January.

Jessica Mackey: Exactly. Peace out 2022.

Allison Tyler Jones: Peace out.

Recorded: You can find more great resources from Allison and on Instagram at do.the.Rework.


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