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: Well, hello friends, and welcome back to the ReWork. Today is part two in our marketing series, Marketing What’s Working Now. Joining us will be Miss Mary Fisk-Taylor from Hayes and Fisk Photography in Richmond, Virginia.

Allison Tyler Jones: Mary and Jamie have been running a luxury portrait studio for many years together, and they know marketing inside and out. They have done it all, and I mean all, they have. Maybe not a sandwich board on the side of the road, but other than that, I think Jamie and Mary have literally done it all when it comes to marketing. So with this wealth of experience, Mary is joining us today to talk about what has worked, what is still working, and a brand new way that she’s working with clients to be influencers and asking for referrals in a whole new way that aligns with her luxury brand that doesn’t feel cringey, that doesn’t feel weird. I know you’re going to get some great ideas. So join us for part two, Marketing What’s Working Now, Asking for Referrals, with Mary Fisk-Taylor. Let’s do it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, we could not have another moment go by without having MFT back in the podcast studio. Yay. I’m so excited. When I got the email, I was like, yes. Here she is, the ever famous cohost of Get Your Shoot Together, Ms. Mary Fisk-Taylor. Richmond, Virginia photographer, business owner extraordinaire, Louis Vuitton devotee.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Oh, yes, ma’am.

Allison Tyler Jones: Starbucks medicine ball drinker.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yes, yes. I just introduced ATJ to my guilty pleasure.

Allison Tyler Jones: So I think you need to tell them what it is.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: So I call it a medicine ball, and it’s from Starbucks. I guess Starbucks got real upset about that name a couple years ago because a lot of people would get this when they felt sick because it’s good for congestion and honey is a naturally antibiotic, right?

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Honey’s a good thing. So they didn’t like that. They call it citrus mint tea. I always add two shots of peppermint to my venti. Now if you don’t get a venti, two shots, you might want to do one.

Allison Tyler Jones: Be too much. Okay.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, but I like a venti. Actually, I’ve already had, this is my second. Yes, honey citrus mint tea with two shots of peppermint, you will not be disappointed. You won’t be disappointed.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay, I love it. I have my 44 ounce Diet Coke with extra ice from Sonic right here.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: But Sonic ice is, I mean… It’s a cult following all in itself.

Allison Tyler Jones: It is, it must, needs to happen. Okay, so we have our drinks and we are ready to talk, and we are ready to talk marketing, and we are ready to talk marketing about what works right now. Not what worked 10 years ago, not what worked for people that are talking that haven’t photographed forever. What is working in the trenches at this moment at Hayes and Fisk Photography? What’s going on? What are you doing?

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, that’s a really great question. So it’s so cool that this is coming up now because, okay, so we’re about 30 years in. Our studio is, that’s about, we’re at 30. I think March it’ll be 30 years.

Allison Tyler Jones: Congratulations, by the way. That’s amazing.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Thank you, it’s amazing we’re still here. We had a very in-depth conversation about this time last year. What happens when you’re, it’s like, oh, cool, you’ve been around that long and all these people, but guess what’s happening? Everybody’s aging out. We all of a sudden, I’m looking for collateral for a blog or a posting, and I’m like, why don’t we have any littles? What’s going on? I mean, like older kids, don’t get me wrong, but I was like, you know what? I’m not going to say I’m slacking. I was doing the same things and it wasn’t working as happens, because 30-years in, you get it. I used to just put up a mall display and the phone would ring. Can you even imagine? I mean, that’s-

Allison Tyler Jones: What’s the mall?

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Exactly. Exactly.

Allison Tyler Jones: My nephew, we were driving down the road and we were driving by the mall and my nephew said to me, “What is that building over there?” And I said, “That’s the mall.” He said, “What’s the mall?” Not even kidding.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Wow.

Allison Tyler Jones: 11-years old, no awareness of the mall.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: 11, I was going to say, how old is he? Okay, so this is where we’re going. Then we’re a tiny little business. I mean, just a tiny little business in Richmond, Virginia, and I can’t compete that well in the online marketing. It’s really hard to break through that noise. It’s really hard to garner any attention, but I will say that I, five or six years ago, did read all of Russell Brunson’s stuff, and really I was one of the-

Allison Tyler Jones: The click funnels.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, I was in real early on that, and I did real good.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, you were.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: I did real good. It was really, very successful. Now everybody’s doing it, so it’s even harder. We still do have a drumbeat of that going on certain times a year. Once November hits, I don’t bother because I can’t compete financially in Mark Zuckerberg’s world. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing that right, because I don’t have the… My spend a day is what these companies are spending a minute. So I don’t, it’s not worth it.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: So at certain times a year, I still do that and I have it very honed in to my ideal client. So I’m doing a mirror audience, and you’re not going to get the look at my ad unless you’re in a lot of different things because I have my ideal client vision board as I’m looking at it. So the zip code, the education level, the car you drive, where your kids go to school. I have it very honed in, so I only get a very small amount of leads.

Allison Tyler Jones: But they’re qualified leads.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: They’re very qualified, and because they have to fill out the information and ask to be in the sweepstakes or whatever you’re doing, whatever it is, they’re not a cold lead. It’s not like I’m just getting a name and calling, they have to fill out a pretty extensive little form. You have to really want it. So it’s not like I’m just cold calling. It’s a warm call, I would call it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay, love that.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Okay, so that’s a constant thing that we have going on. Obviously leaning into your past clientele is great. I mean, I think we have the best clients in the world and we’ve always leaned in on them. Of course, we take great care of them. Then if we have a special project come up, we have the whole idea of, oh, because you will look and say, okay, we haven’t seen them in three years, let’s give them a call because we’re going to do more new images for our website or for marketing collateral or whatever. So yeah, I mean, I’m always reaching out to them, or, I’m creepy stalker and I see them on social media and see that their daughter’s graduating or that she’s the lead in the Nutcracker. Just so happens I want a ballerina. Those types of things. Those are all great things.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: We still do the charitable marketing. We’re going to be in the auctions, we’re going to do all that great stuff. I love getting connected with a really great charity. As a matter of fact, I’m working with one right now I’m very excited about. The way that we work for a charity is not just donate a gift card or something to an auction. We want to be present. I want to, the way I usually spend it, and of course I’ll donate to their auction, but I want to be able to do new headshot for them and do their group board portrait and gift every one of the board of trustees a gift card to come in because I have my own studio space and because I’m very honed in on the type of session. I know I’ve probably talked about this on this podcast, but we’re very divided.

Allison Tyler Jones: You haven’t.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Okay, I don’t know. We are very divided between signature sessions and heirloom sessions. So if you get a gift card, you’re getting a signature session, which for me is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, between 10:00 and 4:00, in-studio. However, if we’re chitchatting and you get one and you want to upgrade that session or you’re going to come in for a consult and we’re going to do, you’re talking about an install, of course we’re going to make that an heirloom, or of course you can buy into an heirloom session, that type of thing. So I’m really good at-

Allison Tyler Jones: So an heirloom session is going to be more prime-

Mary Fisk-Taylor: On location or outdoors.

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay, on location, outdoors, and probably more prime maybe a Friday or a Saturday or something like that?

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Maybe, and that’s a great question too. We used to not do weekends, and if you don’t make it easier on your clients, it’s very hard these days because lives just changed. So absolutely, if you’re pre-comm committing, and if I’ve done a proposal and you’re committing in over obviously five figures or something. Yeah, I’ll come in on Saturday or Sunday, yeah, I probably will do that. I’m not stupid, I’ll just take off Monday and Tuesday. Stores are less crowded on those days.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: So we’re doing all the stuff, all that stuff and being very active in our community is important, but for about 10 years now, I’ve worked with outside sales reps and we’ve done really well with it. What I mean by that is, really great clients who love us, who are already sending us business. What I said is, hey, would you like to be a sales rep for us? What does that mean? Well, it’s very simple. So anytime they send a client, they get essentially a percentage of the sale. It’s very simple. We’ve done that, like I said, for about 10 years. They’re independent contractors, they get 1099’d. I’ve had people that have made over $10,000 with us, I’ve had people that have made $100. So it ranges. I always pick people that they’re already evangelists for us.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, they love you.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: They’re already talking about it. They’ve spent with me so they know-

Allison Tyler Jones: How much it is.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: The barriers to the point of entry. So it’s great. We’ve done that through the years, and we’ve really not, I’m not going to say we’ve kicked it up a notch. What happened is in January, I said, we really need to dig in deeper on that because we need younger people and we need different things. Allison, because I just let that run itself, and I was so busy on funnels, and I was so busy on getting in the calling and wining and dining and community partners and all this stuff. We worked really hard this year encouraging our reps and having, I’ll jump on a Zoom with them about once a month. How’s it going? What’s going on? What can I help you with? Creating new collateral, come in for a new headshot, and then they post it and then that gives them a reason to talk about us. I needed to give them reasons to keep talking about us. So they’re like little micro influencers because that’s what happened. I went down the TikTok rabbit hole, which, don’t do it. Don’t, don’t, don’t do it. I thought, these influencers are making millionaires. I mean, they’re making millionaires. People have a product and you just get the right person to talk about it. That’s not going to necessarily happen for us, but I’m trying to create little micro influencers. That’s what’s happening.

Allison Tyler Jones: In your community.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: In my town, yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: Very local, yeah.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Extremely, yeah, five zip codes. It’s been great.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love it.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: But those are the zip codes that deliver. I know where my clients live, so I’m finding those people. I’ve dropped the sales rep thing, I really have. I think it was March through a funnel, I had an amazing client come in. She had three of the cutest little kids, adorable.

Allison Tyler Jones: Love it.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Placed one of the biggest orders we’ve ever had. I thought, I only need 20 of you. You know what I mean?

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, yeah.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: That’s what I need. I started having really honest conversations with them about how much I appreciate them, and this is what we love to do, and we’re incredibly passionate about it, and we would love more people. Do you know more people that might be interested in… We would be happy to extend a complimentary session for them and as a gift from her. Would you help us? I’m definitely digging into my Phil M. Jones here. Would you do me a favor? It’s insane what has happened. We surpassed our yearly goal six weeks ago, which was a, it was a hefty goal. We are on track to have probably our best year we’ve ever had in this economy, which I just was like, well, I’m going to start putting my resume out.

Allison Tyler Jones: Stop it.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: You start getting, well, it’s true. We get nervous and why I get nervous-

Allison Tyler Jones: Always, every year. We’re all Chicken Little, when you own your own business, you’re all Chicken Little.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: All the time, yeah. I literally just had a practical argument with Jamie Hayes. Well, what are we going to do in February? He’s like, well, I don’t know, Mary, let me get through December. I’m like, well, that’s fair. I’m already forecasting that we’re going to be destitute by February.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, in a van down by the river, all living together.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: 100%. My kids will not have shoes, even though they have better jobs than me. So we just really started leaning in. So you get someone in and you want more of them. They know them, and all of a sudden they get excited and then their friends are excited. It is just, I think this is marketing. It’s just spending my time and energy on those people, not just reaching out to my existing client base. Of course, I am an email queen, I’m a Donald Miller evangelist. I do my newsletter. I do all this stuff. I have… And guys, I outsource a lot of this stuff. I’m not doing everything by myself, by the way, because I want to be fair about that. But just really taking great care and asking.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: I will tell you, probably even three years ago, I would get a question, like if you’re out teaching or talking to people, do you ask for referrals? No, ma’am, I do not do that. I’m too good for, I don’t know why I had an opinion about that, but I did. You know what? Mary Fisk-Taylor? Yes, ma’am. I am asking for all the referrals because if they love you, they want other people to have it. By having that incredibly candid conversation. Now, I’m not talking to them from a space of, well, we just really need business. I’m talking to a space of, we want more of you. You’ve made my job a million times better and it was great to start with.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, like we love you, we love your family, we love people like you. You’re the perfect… Yeah, yeah.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Exactly. I need more of you.

Allison Tyler Jones: So the words that you’re using are? What are some of those sentences that you’re using that you have found helpful?

Mary Fisk-Taylor: So because most of what we’re doing at this point are larger installs. When we go, when we… I don’t mention it at all until we’re installing. So I want them to be standing there crying, weeping over the portrait that we’re hanging above whatever it is. That’s when I’m like-

Allison Tyler Jones: They’re receiving the value that they paid for right then.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: 100%. Hopefully they felt very taken care of through the whole process. I mean, guys, it’s not just at the very end I’m going to care. You have to care the whole time but at the end, they’ll say something like, “I can’t thank you enough.” I’ll say, “No, I can’t thank you enough. You have no idea how much we’ve enjoyed this entire experience. Working with you has been a dream, planning this together.” I really lean into, we did this together. I pretty much offer to put their name on it, like, “You did this.” As long as you pay me, I don’t even need my name on it. If you want to take all the credit, take it, but we did this together. Working with your kids and designing for this home, oh my gosh, it’s just so beautiful. I wish I had more people like you. Then usually they’ll go, “Well, my sister-in-Law or my neighbor or this, or have you talked to this person?” I’m like, “Oh, wow. Could we connect with them because nothing would be better than for us at this point in our career to work with more people like you. That’s where we are, we’re slowing down, moving out of the wedding, but this is what we want to do.”

Mary Fisk-Taylor: It’s just insane, people… Sitting here I just got a text from somebody who’s like, “I forgot this person,” and then she sent me a name. What I asked them to do is I was like, “Would you do me a favor?” Is where that line comes in, and it’s, “Is there some way that maybe you could just email connect us or talk to them and we can do a quick call together?” I need you to introduce me because I don’t want them to think I’m creepy, just calling them up. “Hey, can I photograph your kids?” That just doesn’t sound right. I make a joke because my personality. You have to do what’s good for you.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Jamie probably does it a little bit differently, but as a mom and stuff, I can lean into that type of stuff. They’ll say, “Absolutely.” Sometimes I’ll leave their house and before I get back to the studio, I might have five texts or I might not have any, but I tracked back. So we’re almost at the end of the year, but doing that alone, just if I only track the clients that came in through that type of what I consider marketing, and I don’t know what you would even call it.

Allison Tyler Jones: I would call asking for referrals.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, referral marketing, whatever, but just alone, that has been well over a half a million dollars to my business this year.

Allison Tyler Jones: Amazing.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: So that’s why my year is blown up. We usually land in right at seven figures, but we will… It’s been so-

Allison Tyler Jones: That’s great.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: … Awesome.

Allison Tyler Jones: So the thing that I, just listening to you, I’m just taking notes here of some of the things that you’re saying. What I’m hearing you say is that there’s a lot of things that have always worked that still work.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Correct.

Allison Tyler Jones: So taking great care of your clients, providing a stellar experience.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Number one.

Allison Tyler Jones: That’s never going away.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Ever.

Allison Tyler Jones: Paying attention to them, seeing what’s on their radar, keeping in touch, keeping the relationship strong. That’s never going away, but people do age out. We definitely, families get older and hopefully we go down to the next gen, but sometimes there’s a lag there before the next gen starts having children and that sort of thing.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Especially now, at least here, it’s very much so.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, they’re definitely delaying families and stuff longer. So we’re needing more new families so that we can start the whole process over again. So really, you’re still doing everything, but you’re just leaning in different ways. So rather than just, okay, how many silent auctions can I go to and go drop my stuff off and then leave hands off? You’re leaning into community relationships and how you’re making their lives better in all the ways that you possibly can. So you’re part of the solution and part of their team, if you will.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Absolutely.

Allison Tyler Jones: Then this new thing, “new thing”, asking for referrals. I mean, how many times have we heard that talked about? But I’m like you, I’ve never been one to ask for that because it always felt cringey. It’s always felt weird, and I’ve never found a good way to do it that felt like me.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Believe me, I totally turned my nose up to it. It just so happened that I said it at this lady’s installation, just I was like, “You’re a dream. I just need you.” She said, “Mary, I’ll help you.” I’m like, well that’s… You know what I mean?

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: I’m like, huh. Then she just started, and I said, “Why?” Jamie said, “Why aren’t we doing it?” I said, “I don’t know why we’re not doing this, but we to do this.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Because we’re stupid, yeah.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah. I mean, and granted, my sales reps get paid, so they want to send people because they get a check every month but these people don’t. They don’t need the money, they don’t want the money. They just want to, they have kind hearts. It’s really funny, what you put out, you attract. I can’t tell you how many of my clients right now, we all just went to Charlottesville last month. We all went to a Dave Matthews concert, just FYI, I’m an insane Dave Matthews Band fan. There were 42 of us. It was Jamie, myself, and they were all clients. My point is is that I find people like that. People that are really into someone like Dave Matthews or Grateful Dead. Super Chill, successful, it’s just a very cool genre of people out there our age, because we have some pretty cool Dave stuff that we’ve received because he lives here. Anyway, we have some cool stuff. They’ll come into the studio and go, “You have a Dave Matthews guitar? You have this?” I’m like, “Oh, yeah. We’re a big Dave fans.” “I’m a big Dave fan. Did you see this show that show?”

Allison Tyler Jones: Oh, that’s so fun.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: So it’s been funny and I’m like, how are these people? It’s not like we post about it on our business page, but what you put out, you attract. So helpful people with beautiful kind hearts that really just want to help.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Of course, I’m constantly talking about, of course, they’re getting a gift and I thank them and do extra fun stuff. As a matter of fact, Jamie just came over to tell me that somebody just picked up and she placed a really large order, and she had just hemmed and hawed over this one 20 by 20 canvas, and she’s like, “I just can’t do it. That’s just too much. I’m not going to do it.” I printed it for her, Jamie did the delivery, because they’ll come and look at it, and then we’ll go install it right after Christmas. But she stood there and bawled her eyes out over a 20 by 20 canvas, and she spent all that money with me but just that one little thing, which for me-

Allison Tyler Jones: Meant the world.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: … A 20 by 20 canvas only is, you know what I mean? It’s like an 8 by 10 or something. Just little things like that, or using their kids in all of our product. They love that. One of my people that, not Bonnie, but the second person, and she was a former client. I was like, why I’ve not leaned into, Because her husband’s a race car driver. She’s one of the top realtors in town. Why I have not asked her for business is beyond me, but we did a huge show. I used her kids. She brought all her friends and marched all her friends over. We don’t do a lot of these shows, but this is a private school-

Allison Tyler Jones: What shows are you talking about?

Mary Fisk-Taylor: So home shows and things like that that’s not… We don’t do that type of thing.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, got it.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: But there’s a private school here that does a huge thing every year, and it’s very fancy. They don’t just get to-

Allison Tyler Jones: Okay, like a fall festival or a?

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, yeah, kind of like that. It’s a spring thing, it’s called Daisy Days. It’s the-

Allison Tyler Jones: Like the fundraiser.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, it’s the $60,000, $80,000 private school.

Allison Tyler Jones: Got it.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: My kids do not go there, by the way. We’re Catholic, we just… we do, yeah. So we got in, they let us in because she got us in. Instead of just setting up and showing our beautiful work and all, Jamie stayed there all weekend and he painted. People could come, and whose pictures were we painting? Ashley’s kids. So they came over and because when you’re painting, people don’t ask how much your digital files are, or all of a sudden it’s, oh wow, this is serious. This is not… Now granted, it’s not for everybody, our style’s not for everybody and not everybody likes what we do, but that’s okay. I don’t need it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, but I’ve been in conversations. I don’t paint. I’ve been in conversations with clients where, well, potential clients, they’ll say, “Oh, what do you do? I’m a portrait photographer.” They’ll say, “Oh yeah, I have friends that do that.” I said, “Yeah, we do large scale wall art for our client’s homes and we deliver and install.” So even just saying that, they’re like, “Oh, that’s cool.” So just even saying what you do rather than what you don’t do, or I’m just a photographer or whatever. Just talking, opening your mouth, talk about it.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Oh, 100%. That show was huge for us, by the way, but it was very deliberate. I think that’s the key, is my marketing has become so incredibly deliberate, very intentional, very deliberate because I know what we do is not for everybody for a lot of reasons, our style and our price. So I’ve got to fight those two barriers, but I’m only vying for what, half of 1%. You know what I mean?

Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Well, you couldn’t even possibly service all the people-

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Couldn’t.

Allison Tyler Jones: … In your area that want what you do.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Couldn’t.

Allison Tyler Jones: You couldn’t.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: No, I’ll spend three months on a client. You have a couple going on. Yeah, obviously you have more than one going at a time but this is a long process as you know, because it’s site visits and sometimes you have to be with the decorator and there’s this and there’s the install. So it’s a three to four month process for us if we’re painting and the frame’s custom and all that. When you’re printing 80-inch canvases and painting them, you’re not getting that done in two weeks.

Allison Tyler Jones: It takes a minute, yeah.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: So it’s very deliberate. Nailing down that ideal client and making sure you’re only going where they are is number two. The number one thing in my opinion, and I know this isn’t marketing, but it really plays a huge part, is the believing in yourself that you can do it and you can charge what you deserve, and putting in that elbow grease, so to speak, and working for it. I think that’s the biggest barrier. I get asked a lot, how come… Even just, how has your business sustained, or how do you guys do what you do so many years in a row or whatever it is. Obviously, I think I work with one of the most gifted photographers in the world. I really do think-

Allison Tyler Jones: You do.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: … Jamie Hayes was just born to do this. Hands down.

Allison Tyler Jones: Also the nicest too.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Okay, well, yeah, for you.

Allison Tyler Jones: Kind of love him.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, you can have that piece, but okay, but so that’s huge. Richmond’s a great town to own a small business in, but the fact that we decided 29 years ago that we weren’t going to play in the market of what’s available in the marketplace, so to speak, and believing that we could do it and believing that we should charge what we charge. So that’s huge. I mean, that’s the biggest barrier in my opinion.

Allison Tyler Jones: It’s true, we all get in our own way. I was just talking to April Graves, another just a guest on the podcast earlier today, and she was just saying, “Why is it that everything that’s in our way is just us?” It’s always us.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Oh, it is.

Allison Tyler Jones: So that’s the bad news, but the good news is it’s us so that we can change it. We can make the change.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: It’s true, it’s true.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love that.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, and I I know April very well. She’s awesome in Chicago. She does the fairy.

Allison Tyler Jones: Fairy portrait. Yeah and she does that great charity, the charity angle, which is amazing but it is getting out of your own way, believing in yourself, all this stuff. And we know all this stuff, but it’s hard. I get it, and it’s harder I think than ever. I feel like most of the teaching and coaching and anything that I’m doing right now, I have to talk them off that. Once we could do that, it’s amazing. I had someone call me last week, and she took my Texas school class, she’s a retired teacher. We just connect, you know, need to meet somebody you’re like, yeah, yeah. She got me, I got her, I was really great but she’s like, I heard you. I went from 10,000 a year to 13, and this year to date, last week, she was at 42. She said, “Mary.”

Allison Tyler Jones: Times four times the revenue.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: She’s like, I said, “No, I didn’t do a thing. You heard me and you did it. You did all the work.”

Allison Tyler Jones: And believed in yourself.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: You did all the work. She said, she goes, “I just kept hearing you say mindset, mindset, mindset, open mindset.” She said, “I had repeated to myself, and then I had to shut down the naysayers because you might have that sister-in-law or that… That’s like, “You’re charging what?” No, ma’am, I need you to evacuate the premises and don’t talk to me about my business. We all have those people in our lives, unfortunately, but you have to shut them down. You have to close your ears to them because we let them talk us into what makes it easier, which is not believing in ourself. It’s easier to not, it’s easier to just go, oh, I can’t.

Allison Tyler Jones: To not put yourself out there.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: I’m not that good.

Allison Tyler Jones: It feels too scary.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: It’s my market, it’s where I live. I don’t have the right camera. Whatever we tell ourselves, all the brain garbage that we put in there, you just have to really throw that out. So I love marketing.

Allison Tyler Jones: I think that’s one thing that you probably really saw in overview, being on the board of PPA, being the president, and you get that cross section of the whole country and seeing that there are people in little tiny towns that you would think could never have a thriving business that have amazing business. Then there’s people in downtown Manhattan that can’t make it work because they’re telling themselves that they can’t. It really just comes down to finding a way and really almost saying, I don’t care what it takes, I’m going to do this. This is what I love, this is what I want to do, and I’m going to find a way to do it. Every year is going to be a little different. We were just talking about that before we started recording. Every year you have that, okay, what’s going to be the scary thing this year? What’s the war? What’s the economy? What’s the pandemic? What’s the-

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Election? Because next year is an election, so I’m already freaking out about that.

Allison Tyler Jones: Right, as is the entire free country, yes. So there’s always going to be a reason why it won’t work, but there’s also always going to be a reason why it could and why not you?

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Oh, exactly. Regardless of where you live, the type of camera you have, whatever, you’re just as capable as anyone else. I mean, because that stuff, of course it matters. I mean, I live in a larger area than some, but I live in a much, much smaller area than where you live or what, you know what I mean?

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: I mean, you just have to make it work for you, but if you live in those smaller areas, maybe your cost of living is lower and your home’s value… It all works out. So it doesn’t matter at the end of the day what you charge or how much you gross a year or all that stuff. What matters is, are you charging to be in a sustainable, profitable business? Those numbers are across the board but if you’re going in debt to run a business.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, you’re not running a business, you’re paying for a really expensive habit.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Exactly.

Allison Tyler Jones: Hobby.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Exactly, yeah, hobby, habit.

Allison Tyler Jones: Hobby, habit.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: It’s a habit for somebody.

Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, it can be habit. Yeah, that gear can be a habit.

Allison Tyler Jones: Well, I appreciate, I love your insights. I feel like it’s always the fire hose of good ideas when we talk. The thing that I really appreciate about you, and I’ve always really admired, is you don’t think you know everything. Well, you think lots of things because we are oldest girls and we do know lots of things but you are willing, even when you’ve taken a stance, okay, well, I’m not going to ask for cringey referrals or whatever, you can back off of that and go, no, actually I’m going to, and you can see another way. So that is super adaptability, flexibility, all the things. I remember my shrink telling me flexibility is the cornerstone of mental health, and I’ve always took that one to the bank. Can we be flexible?

Mary Fisk-Taylor: That’s a good one.

Allison Tyler Jones: Flexible.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Well, it’s true. I mean, I never thought I would do that but also, there was a time… And one of the things I have learned in my years of teaching or being out there is, this is what I’m going to tell you I’m doing today. You may see me in two years, three years, 35 minutes, and I may have completely shifted because shift happens and I will shift all day long to maintain the business that we’ve built, I have to. So I used to say I’m only going to work Tuesday through Friday, and I’m not going to do weekends. Guess what? When all of a sudden everybody’s schedules are changing and things are happening, and I’m getting… Yeah, I mean, you do have to be flexible. That’s a great point because there’s lots of things that I didn’t do that I do now, and I’m sure that’ll catch me in another year or two. Who knows? I’m very open to what’s going to work. I’m not going to ever sacrifice. There’s certain things I’m not going to sacrifice, my time with my husband, my family. There’s certain things that aren’t just, they’re just-

Allison Tyler Jones: Non-negotiables.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Yeah, non-negotiables, and that’s okay. We have to have those. And my prices and all that, we don’t. There’s just certain things that just don’t happen. I will do what I need to do, and it makes it easier in the long run, being flexible. So yeah.

Allison Tyler Jones: I love it. Well, I appreciate you taking the time and-

Mary Fisk-Taylor: Oh my gosh.

Allison Tyler Jones: We’re all the beneficiary of your knowledge, and I just appreciate you so much more than you know.

Mary Fisk-Taylor: I appreciate you. You’re the best. I love it, and thank you for asking me. I enjoyed it.

Allison Tyler Jones: Thank you. You got it.

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

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