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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
Your website copy allows for you to connect with potential clients and convert them into paying clients. At Green Chair Stories, Rachel Greiman and her team are helping photographers craft copy that converts. In today’s episode, Rachel joins us to share how her business has pivoted over the last couple of years, how the pandemic impacted her, and how she’s navigating every change she’s experienced in life and business in the last few years!
The Business-First Creatives Podcast is brought to you by CRM and Dubsado expert Colie James. Join Colie each week as she discuss how to build a business that brings you joy and a paycheck! From business advice with fellow entrepreneurs to sharing automation tips and tricks, Colie and her guests are sharing industry trends and resources, along with a little bit of sarcasm.
Here are the highlights…
[:47] Get to Know Rachel
[3:36] Reflecting on 2019
[8:13] Impacts on Businesses Due to COVID
[13:31] Scaling Her Copywriting Business
[14:42] Where Business are in 2022
[16:44] Rachel’s Copywriting Team
[22:20] Hopeful Marketing
[25:01] Life & Parenting
[31:05] Tips for Expanding & Scaling
[37:09] Flexibility in Entrepreneurship
[37:55] Preparing for Support
[39:14] Return on Investment for Outsourcing
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Review the Transcript:
Colie James: Hello and welcome back to the Business-first creatives podcast, I legitimately cannot tell you how excited I am to have today’s guest. She is like my best friend that I have never actually met in real life. Guys. We have so much in common, including living in the same damn city, but I have never wrapped my arms around Rachel and given her a legitimate hug.
So Rachel, welcome to my podcast. How are you this morning?
Rachel Greiman: morning. I’m so good. Thank you so much for having me. I am pumped to be here and to talk to you.
Colie James: I am just hoping that having you on my podcast, like sparks us, being able to go to brunch or coffee. Once we get our children situated, like that is my life goal right now.
So tell our listening audience who you are, why people pay you and where you’re located.
Rachel Greiman: I’m Rachel I live in Denver,
People pay me write website copy for them. I should clarify photographers, pay me to write website copy for them.
Those are the only people that we serve. I shouldn’t say that. I say that on all the podcasts and it’s mostly true, but if you’re a creative professional, like a designer and you slide into my DMS and I love what you do, I will write for you. I write for designers quite a bit,
Colie James: So wait, let’s back up. because every time I have ever tried to hire you, you tell me no Coate, your website’s great, but listen. If you will actually write for something that’s not for photographers. No, I will seriously hire you to the Dubsado website and like give a glow up.
Rachel Greiman: look
Colie James: 100.
Rachel Greiman: say no to you because your website is working.
Colie James: I know.
Rachel Greiman: You don’t need me that that’s my full disclosure for anybody that comes our inbox asking I look at their website and I’m like, oh, you don’t need the full thing.
This is what you need. would never ask for somebody’s money unless I actually think that I could help them in a meaningful way.
Colie James: Well, I think you could help everybody in a meaningful way because every time you and I have a conversation about real things or absolute bullshit, I walk away with so much knowledge, which listening audience. I just wanna put a plug in here. This is the first time that I’m ever going to link to someone else’s podcast in the show notes, because I wanna preface this by saying, although I’ve known Rachel for years through the internet, when she was recently on the get paid podcast and it was legitimately the best podcast episode that I’ve ever heard. This is also why she’s sitting here right now. Ready to talk to me. wanna say that you have to listen to that episode first. But like, if you like what we talk about today, I would highly recommend that you go check out that other podcast episode. It is long. Like I kicked my kid out of the car so that I could sit in the garage and finish it, when I started listening to it.
So it was really good. And Rachel’s talking all about, you know, how she got started in her business, what she pays herself, you know, running a business during a pandemic while having kids. All of the things, and we’re gonna touch on most of that today, but just in case you feel like, okay, Rachel is someone that I could listen to all day long.
I highly recommend that you go listen to that episode.
Rachel Greiman: Claire has a million good episodes.
Colie James: She does. She’s like who I wanna be when I grow up. I’m like, she has the perfect amount of like sarcasm and cussing, which we all know is what I aspire to be in life. So yes, I am obsessed with her podcast. And then when I heard you, I was like, oh my God, Rachel’s on her podcast.
So. Let’s move forward guys. Cuz I’ve given you a little hint about what we’re gonna talk about today. This is like totally an unscripted episode. I didn’t send Rachel questions. Again, cuz I know Rachel, but I also really knew what I wanted to talk about with her. So Rachel, I wanna take you back to the end of 2019, which for all of us listening, we know that’s like the last, regular business year that we had before COVID hit. So Rachel, tell me what your your business looked like in December of 2019.
Rachel Greiman: oh, this is such a great I was violently ill. I was in the first trimester with my son and I was eating a lot of like Popeye spicy chicken sandwhiches. That was like the only thing that sounded good.
That’s like what I remember about that season of my life and burritos.
Colie James: Okay.
Rachel Greiman: Sorry, that was like just a flashback for me for a
Colie James: That’s okay.
Rachel Greiman: business though, I had just launched a full rebrand of my website because, I, my copywriting, I used to be just a photographer and my, the copywriting side of my business really blew up in 2017 and 2018, but my was still Just all Like you went to, I had one page about copy even though probably 80% of my income during those years came from
Colie James: copy. Mm-hmm.
Rachel Greiman: and everything else you got there and you thought I was a family photographer, which I still was, but not as much. And. We were living in Philly. And so I rebranded the whole site. it was equal parts, like a split screen when you landed on the homepage for photographers.
Colie James: I love that website.
Rachel Greiman: um, I know it was really good. Maddie tag green is my website designer and she is. Fabulous. And it was, like family photography on the other side. So it was kind of like a choose your own adventure site because I felt like am both of these things. I was trying to establish myself in Pennsylvania a documentary family photographer, not knowing that the majority of my time spent there would be in a pandemic where I’m not going into people’s homes. so I spent. Thousands, literally thousands of dollars on this rebrand to set myself up for a business that I’ve never really got to do. So, which is fine. It’s fine.
Colie James: fine.
Rachel Greiman: So I had just launched this website and I was really excited to position myself as both. Finally, publicly, if you had worked with me, you knew that I did both, if you were a random person and I was getting found on Google more, that was coming to my site.
It was not clear that we were like real legit copywriters and that I had a team. So that was 2019. I was really. Looking forward. I had six months left of my pregnancy and I was going to try to fit in a lot more photography. And I was going to a couple different copywriting conferences. I was hiring. I hired another writer in January of 2020, my second team member. So I was really ramping up that side. So big plans for that girl—for 2019 Rachel.
Colie James: I mean
Rachel Greiman: For
Colie James: and then of course there was January and there was February and then March is when the world basically ended. But one of the reasons that I wanted to get you to take us back to December, 2019 is because you and I have this in common in terms of we are both photographers and we both have a very
Rachel Greiman: very
Colie James: side that is very
Rachel Greiman: very
Colie James: business driven.
That is not specifically related to our photography, but they are aligned. Because we both help photographers
Rachel Greiman: Uhhuh
Colie James: our side. And so I really missed that website. I just wanna put it out there because for any of my clients that came to me and were like, oh, co, but I do this and this, I would always send them to your a really good example of how to completely different.
You know, offers services could live together as long as you had
Rachel Greiman: had
Colie James: cohesive messaging. So that was my favorite thing about your, your website. If you have a screenshot, I would love it. If you could just send yeah Just send that over to me. So I have that for my files.
Rachel Greiman: still built in the backend of Squarespace. Cuz my new website is on WordPress. I launched another website because obviously that one was not working for me in the COVID world, like March of this
Colie James: Yeah. Yeah.
Rachel Greiman: I’ll send you a screenshot.
Colie James: I love it. And so let’s talk about like the pandemic hit, and I know that you were already planning to take time off because you were pregnant. And so I want you to tell me about the process of kind of ramping up your business. You thought you were gonna do more photography and then like all of us in home people, I was like, yeah, I’m not going into your home for hours to breathe your air.
That’s just, that’s not happening.
Rachel Greiman: uh,
Colie James: How did your progression from thinking that you were gonna do all of the photography to then backing up and solely focusing on copywriting? How did that go during the pandemic
after you had your son, and then you were basically in Pennsylvania with like no support team, because there was a pandemic.
Rachel Greiman: Uhhuh. So honestly, as soon as COVID hit and it became clear that it was going to last longer than two weeks, I very quickly said I’m not going to focus on photos at all. this is not a focus of mine. And I had just hired another writer. So it became very clear that I was gonna put all of my energy into copy and getting clients for that side of my business. So it, and there was no time to mourn that loss. I mean, I was a photojournalism major in college. I was a photographer for nonprofits for several years after college. I was a family photographer before I started copywriting. Photography is like my first love, and I did not even have the bandwidth to be like, this is sad that I’m not doing this anymore. And honestly, that’s something that I still struggle with now. But it was like, okay, go mode. This is not working. We gotta lean into the copy. And it was bad timing. I had hired a Facebook ads team. I had never run an ad in my life up until that point. And I was scheduled to start running ads on March 14th, 2020. And
Colie James: Which is the day.
Rachel Greiman: yeah.
Colie James: was the day. Yeah. Okay.
Rachel Greiman: they were all book. We had finalized it the week before.
and I had asked this agency, if we could pause, you know, just take a beat, let’s just see what’s happening because I didn’t want, I, was like, this is unprecedented, obviously. let’s like figure this out. And they told me that they would not honor that because I signed a contract. So
Colie James: So wait, I’m sorry. Pause. I rarely interrupt.
Rachel Greiman: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Colie James: But like what, in the actual fuck they told you that they would not pause.
just wanna clarify, were the ads for copy or were they for photography?
Rachel Greiman: They were for copy.
Colie James: Okay. Continue.
Rachel Greiman: So I get it. They’re scared. They’re running a business too. They don’t know what’s happening, but I’m on like a monthly payment plan. It was either through, I think it was three months and it was like two grand a month maybe. it was like, while I’m out two grand, if I don’t run these, so I started running them. It was fine. I probably broke even ultimately on that,
Colie James: Okay.
Rachel Greiman: is fine. It is what it is. Everybody’s just doing their best at that time. But it was just like a series of unfortunate events that I think all of us experienced. And it was like the ads aren’t really doing much for me. I just need to keep. Talking. So I would, I found my role as kind of like the, team during that season on social media, would hop onto Instagram and be like, how are we doing today? What’s everybody feeling. And just try to find moments of levity and humor and fun, but also like, this is what’s happening in the world.
How do you all feel about it? You know, just giving PA people a space to breathe, helping photographers come up with creative ideas. To keep their businesses going. You know, I really viewed myself as a support person as much as I could then. And we were fine. We were fine. We had enough. I actually stopped writing for the most part.
I did a couple more projects that year, but my nanny of my at the time who was two, when I had my son in June, she was pregnant. She had a baby the same week I did. And she was going to watch. boys, we were the babies
was supposed to go to preschool that fall.
Colie James: that didn’t happen.
Rachel Greiman: was supposed to have, you know, two and a half months with the new baby get into that routine. And then she was gonna take him and she was going to preschool. Full-time childcare set up. Yes,
Colie James: Um, everyone’s dream
Rachel Greiman: Yeah. And it all went away. And so my husband and I were both stay at home. Full-time working full-time parents and that continued until. For almost a year. And it was so goddamn miserable,
I, the lowest point of my life which is such a bummer because two year olds are so fun my daughter was so fun and I just missed it because I was in a fog of fear and, uh, It is what it is.
And I’m very proud of myself for like making it through. I paid myself less that year in 2020 than I ever did. And it just needed to happen because I needed to be present for my kids. Like one, I was nursing and not sleeping and trying to entertain a two year old in a five story town home in downtown Philadelphia.
Like I just, there wasn’t a lot for me to do.
Colie James: That literally sounds like my worst nightmare. I know. I feel like, and I don’t wanna say I had it easy because I don’t think anybody had it easy during the pandemic,
Rachel Greiman: Did,
Colie James: but I think that my life with a 10 year old at that point was very different than the lives of those who had young children or particularly those who had multiple young children, because when it came to virtual schooling, that first, like, you know, the last two months of the school year in 2020, we actually did great.
Rachel Greiman: yeah.
Colie James: Chloe was thriving. And then the whole next year, when she did virtual, like Chloe was doing really, really well. But I know that most other people didn’t feel that way because they were trying to manage their small children who really had no business sitting on a computer all day long. Let’s be honest.
But then they, if they had
Rachel Greiman: if they
Colie James: multiple
Rachel Greiman: multiple
Colie James: it’s like, how do you help both of them at the same time?
And so I know you took a step.
Rachel Greiman: step.
Colie James: You let your team do most of the copywriting and you were just kind of doing the managing, you paid yourself like this minimum salary. And I will say for myself, like at that point I was mostly doing photography.
So when the pandemic hit, I was like, yeah, I’m not going into people’s houses. And I have the luxury of knowing almost all of my clients intimately.
And so when we did open back up, I think it was a full two months that I wasn’t allowed in someone’s house.
when we finally did reopen and I started going to my client’s houses, I did have the luxury of feeling comfortable because I knew all of them were taking the exact same precautions that I was taking.
Rachel Greiman: was
Colie James: And so even though I was spacing them out, I was only going to one client a weekend. I was, you know, keeping as much distance as I could. I was wearing a mask like I did feel comfortable.
Rachel Greiman: Right.
Colie James: my client’s houses. So that was a luxury that I think I had that a lot of other people didn’t but like N
Rachel Greiman: I feel like were in these tight spaces with sweaty people dancing. And it was, I felt so bad for people that didn’t have a lot of choice about who they were with at their jobs every weekend.
Colie James: I agree. And so like now at the end of almost 20, the end of 2022, I will say my photography business looks much, much different. Like, I am like you, I even now, like I’m going into people’s houses. I have three sessions this weekend, but like,
I get anxiety from like going to photograph the clients inside their houses.
Not really because I’m worried that they’re gonna give me COVID, although truth. I did get COVID from a client wearing an N 95 mask, but like, I am more anxious about getting COVID from one client and passing it to another.
Rachel Greiman: another.
Colie James: So like in comparison to like what previous years would look like, I’m still like relatively shooting, like the bare minimum number of sessions that I can.
Rachel Greiman: um, but that’s also because of pivots you made during the
Colie James: It is. Yeah.
Rachel Greiman: other side of your business.
Colie James: It is. So just like you really leaned into copywriting, I really leaned into setting up Dubsado for other
Rachel Greiman: owners. .
Colie James: And I’ve always loved doing it, but I never offered it as a separate service. It was always part of like my mentoring photographers, like, oh, you come to me.
Rachel Greiman: to.
Colie James: You wanna be a documentary family photographer.
I’m gonna help you with your technical side of like, getting really great photos in homes. I’m gonna help you with your website, because if you are not converting off the website, you are not gonna have any clients. And then I was also like, okay, but when you get the leads, what are you doing with them? So then I would help them with their Dubsado, but it wasn’t until 2020 that I was like, okay.
Yeah, no, I can actually do these Dubsado setups. So by the time I entered 2021. I actually made equal amount of money doing Dubsado and doing photography, which my photography in 2021, I actually earned more than I’m gonna earn this year. Because again, I’ve kind of been ramping it down, but like, that was a
Rachel Greiman: operating businesses. You can’t
Colie James: yes,
Rachel Greiman: on both at the same
Colie James: no, well, you can’t without help.
Rachel Greiman: help. Yeah.
Colie James: so let’s talk about our help. Rachel, does your team look like?
Rachel Greiman: like now? Yeah, so we have three writers right now. all female, all in Denver. I
Colie James: Hm. I did not know that they were all based here. That is fascinating.
Rachel Greiman: And I love it. I love being able to see them and hug their necks. And, my assistant too, also female also in Denver. And so Jess is my virtual assistant. I call her my captain of organization. That’s her official title here at Green Chair stories. She is magic. makes my world go around and, my writers are contracted.
They’re not employees. Neither is Jess. Contracted. But they get paid by project.
Colie James: Mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: so when they, and they have control over whether they say yes or no,
Colie James: okay.
Rachel Greiman: a link. This is who the photographer is. I think you’re the best match for them. Here’s why what’s your availability.
And do you want this? So they can always say no to me, there’s no punishment for ever saying no to me. work as much or as little as they want on any given month. And. They, so they get paid by project by website that they
Colie James: Mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: paid hourly, cuz she does a lot of other things for me.
Colie James: okay.
Rachel Greiman: my writers, follow the same exact process that Jess has beautifully written out in my workflow.
Colie James: Nice.
Rachel Greiman: so they’re pretty uniform in everything. and Jess is more, Hey, what do we need to do this week? So she manages my inbox. She manages my Dubsado. She does invoicing. She does schedules. She handles my acuity. She. Helps me with blogging and content creation. You name it? Jess
Colie James: I mean, does she with those reels though? Let’s be honest. Is she healthy with those reels? Is that all you
Rachel Greiman: That is all me. I am the Reels commander over here, for better or for worse.
Colie James: I feel like every day. And, and I will also say Instagram is doing a really good job of showing me your shit. I will say that I have not seen a lot of people’s stuff, but like this morning when I woke up, I mean, maybe they were looking inside of my email box and they knew that we were chatting today. But the first thing that I woke up to when I looked on Instagram was your real from, I, it, I don’t know if it was today or yesterday.
Rachel Greiman: Yeah.
Colie James: You know, one of them and I was like, oh, this is so awesome to see Rachel’s face before I see Rachel’s face. Um, but so tell me about what you are doing in your business right now. Because again, like before you were passing everything off, paying yourself a minimum salary,
you kind of like for a lack of a better term, have you come back to work?
Rachel Greiman: yes. I mean, I have been so diligent in marketing and I. Am realizing that that is what I love. love to market this business. I love to brag about the people who are doing the writing. I love to write my email newsletter. I like to do site You know, I’m really just enjoying that side of it. I write about four newsletters a month.
And I try to create four reels a week, which sounds ridiculous, but it is
Colie James: But you’re so good. I know.
Rachel Greiman: thank you. But it is not a small feat for me. try to show up in stories. try to be, I answer every single inquiry that comes in our inbox. Now Jess the front end of that. And then I come back and give personalized
Colie James: Mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: it still requires my one-on-one attention. And I have written five sites this year, so far. This is September. So I’m trying to take it kind of easy. It just takes a lot of brain power to write a website. I did both admin and writing for so long. And I know that both weren’t perfect and I like to do things as close to perfect as possible.
Colie James: yeah.
Rachel Greiman: I, now that I’m focused on marketing, I feel like we have. A good system and to our marketing. I’m, you know, pitching people for guest blog posts. As, you know,
Colie James: Mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: one sitting there waiting to send to me,
Colie James: deal.
Rachel Greiman: I’m trying to just get I’m pitching podcasts all the time. You know, I have another interview today. I had another interview yesterday. So when you. You fill the time that you have. And now that I’m not writing, am able to fill my time with so much more And I’m trying to keep three writers busy
Colie James: Mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: month, we need to have a shit ton of inquiries coming in. So. That’s my, that’s my focus right now. it’s never been a problem, but this is always the season of the year where I get a little like, okay, where are they?
Colie James: Where are they? I haven’t had a sales call in weeks. Like where are they? Yeah,
Rachel Greiman: Everyone’s busy. You know, photographers are so busy. photographers are winding down. Family photographers are ramping up. This is not when people think about redoing their website.
Colie James: no, but it’s coming.
Rachel Greiman: I am, and it’s, it’s hard because sometimes my writers will be booked out two months ahead of time.
So they know their schedule. And other times it’s like, I will probably get them email today and have to be like, Hey, can you start a website in 10 days? Are, can you do that? Can you do all that prep? You know, it’s just
Colie James: mm-hmm.
Rachel Greiman: Dependent on that. So, and in a post COVID world, there isn’t that natural rhythm and flow that there was in the first couple years of my copywriting because photographers, worlds were turned upside down
Colie James: mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: was still wild.
They were shooting triple the amount they normally did. So there was no slow season. There was no slow season for photographers last year because of all the COVID reschedules. So year, I think we’re slowly easing our way back into some normalcy, but yeah, so that’s what I’m doing.
Colie James: Rachel, I’m just gonna hit on this because I mean, you’ve talked about how you love the marketing, but I legitimately love that you are talking about the
Rachel Greiman: the
Colie James: outreach and not the passive,
Rachel Greiman: passive,
Colie James: because I think, I mean, you are actually talking about marketing copywriting,
this is true for any service. I feel like people get too comfortable in like what I have termed hopeful marketing.
Like you put new stuff out there and you just hope that people are gonna contact you and people just don’t realize I. If you are sitting legitimately at your desk and just waiting for the inquiries to come, they’re not gonna come in whatever
Rachel Greiman: whatever
Colie James: capacity you want them to. It will never come at that level.
So you do have to reach out to people. You do have to collaborate. You do have to legitimately ask your clients to refer you. It’s easy as photographers, right? Because as photographers, our clients have images and they all want to share on social media, but guys, you have to remind them to say, oh, Colie was my photographer.
If you want her information here, it is like, you have to remind them to do that because that is not a natural thing. It is not a natural thing for us to get photos and be like, oh, Rachel took these of my family. Let me put them. and make sure that I take her website late and put it there and make sure that I tag her on Instagram.
Like that is not what people are thinking about. People are thinking about, oh my God, I got these amazing images. Don’t I look good.
Rachel Greiman: good. Yeah, totally, totally. And it’s not their job. It’s your job. it’s your job to tell them.
Colie James: mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: see photographers get frustrated.
Well, they didn’t even tag me. And I’m like, did you ask them to, was there any, at
Colie James: was there any
Rachel Greiman: In your email template that you say here’s the images. Does it have a line that says, please tag me my business lives and dies on referrals. I would so appreciate a shout out. Like
Colie James: is caring.
Rachel Greiman: Sharing
Colie James: know, that that’s mine. And I actually put on my care bear outfit. When I say sharing is caring.
Rachel Greiman: it’s perfect. But you know, we’re copywriters. We show up on the first page of Google for copywriters, for photographers. I think we have really good copy on our website. That does not mean I am not hustling for. You know, like my website does its job when people get there, my website is not naturally bringing people there every day.
I’ve gotta tell people, Hey, go here, go here, click this link, go here.
Colie James: I mean, and yeah. And so like, you want your clients to talk about you, but like, and your clients want to talk about you for anybody in the listening audience. It is not that your clients don’t wanna brag. It’s just, you know that just doesn’t come to mind.
Rachel Greiman: mind.
Colie James: So, you know, as much as you remind them and you ask them to do so, and you make it easy for them to do so.
I mean, Hey, service providers. Is there a way that you could make a little graphic and share it with your client and be like, Hey, when you talk about me on your social media, could you share this? It’s already got my information there. I mean, it can just be as easy as that,
Rachel Greiman: hundred percent just ask.
Colie James: just ask. So, what are your plans for the rest of 2022? Do you think you’re gonna be writing any website? Are you just gonna be chilling with, oh, actually, let me just back up. How is parenting going? Like have you actually found childcare? Is your daughter preschool? Cause I mean, you’re in a new house. You are back in Denver, you belong.
Rachel Greiman: Yeah, we bought a house a year ago. We moved back to Denver in 2021. we’ve been in this house since last June. We’re about to remodel the whole thing. So we gotta move out for like nine months
Colie James: Okay. You and everybody else, Rachel. So Chloe’s bestie right now. They’re living in a townhouse that the in-laws own while they are getting, they got lucky. Okay. Let’s just got lucky.
Rachel Greiman: have rent and a mortgage. So not
Colie James: that’s so scary.
Rachel Greiman: but it is fine. We bought exactly where we wanna be. It’s in our favorite neighborhood in Denver. want our kids to go to school, to high school here. Like we bought the home full knowing full well that we were gonna have to redo it.
It’s just. Nothing is easy. You know, now that they’re finally back in preschool, she’s there five days a week. Praise B. is there three days a week and my mother-in-law has him one day and then I have him Tuesdays, Tuesdays are me and my boy. um,
Colie James: I love that you’re getting that, you know, alone time with him.
Rachel Greiman: And he does too. Oh my gosh. He would crawl back into my bloom if he was able to, he loves his mother. And it’s great. I’m so grateful that I have the flexibility to spend a day with him. You know, I wouldn’t be able to do that if I worked somewhere else. So yeah, that’s how parenting is going, but they got, my son got COVID last week. The rest of us didn’t the rest of us were fine. Like six negative tests for all three of the rest of us.
Colie James: Mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: and he had it, so they were both home for a full week.
Colie James: Okay.
Rachel Greiman: like, even when you have like best laid plans, There’s always something that’s gonna mess ’em up. So it’s like I have a, B and C planned out, but plan D is usually the one that I have to come up with last minute. So, I am fully booked for the rest of the year with various projects,
I I’m only writing one more website, but I, my calendar is open for January 2023 Try to get people to book my writers though, because I’m like, Hey, they’ve written less photography websites than I have. I, this brain has cranked out 200 photographer websites. I would
Colie James: lot. Rachel.
Rachel Greiman: one of my writers and then I will edit it.
You’re still getting the Rachel grim experience. You’re just getting a fresher brain.
that’s why I’m not booking really, because it’s cheaper to hire an associate. I think they’re just as good as we, so,
Colie James: and then plus if you’re putting your final touches on it. So, I mean, I will say after I listen to your episode, I got like all kinds of motivated. First of all, I hired a new virtual assistant. Second of all, I hired a new podcast editor manager. Uh, yes, Rachel, I’m outsourcing all the things that I can possibly outsource.
Rachel Greiman: addicted to outsourcing.
Colie James: It so awesome. But I will say. One of the things that I didn’t realize when I hired a virtual assistant was I happened to get one that’s really good at Dubsado, like legitimately the first. So what I’ve been doing for my Dubsado setups is on day one it’s strategy for our call with me, we talk about all of your business, kind of what you do, getting their voice, all that stuff.
And then I sit down and I basically lay out everything that they need. And then I turn it over to the VA to prepare their account for me to go in. She loads all the forms, all the email. I, I cried when she did first one and she did it as fast as I would’ve done it, because I will say for a while, in case you guys don’t know this, my husband was helping me at the end of last year with the prep.
And it was great. I mean, he really got in a groove, but like, I mean, that’s not his thing. And so he was nowhere near as fast as me, like.
Rachel Greiman: like
Colie James: Two times as slow as me at least, but it was good cuz he was doing it and I didn’t have to do it. And when my VA did it the other day and it was just as fast as I did, I was like, oh my gosh.
So yeah, she does all the. And then I go in there and I do the actual implementation. So, you know, fixing everything and like connecting it. So I feel like you, Rachel, I feel like right now you’re getting the best parts of me. Like you’re getting the strategy and then I’m letting the VA do something that is just legitimately mindless, like copy and paste over and over again, like stuff that I hate.
I usually watch TV while I’m doing it.
Rachel Greiman: this
Colie James: then I come back and I’m doing, you know, I’m customizing your forms and I’m doing all these things. So, I mean,
Rachel Greiman: mean,
Colie James: Awesome that you have found a way to still put your touch on like all of your client stuff,
you can hand it off so that you can do more of the things that you love.
Like, I mean, I think it’s so fascinating to hear that you just love marketing. I mean, I think we should have a whole marketing chat.
Rachel Greiman: jazz. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s just, uh, I don’t I should rephrase. I don’t know that I love marketing. I love using my brain in a different way
Colie James: Yes.
Rachel Greiman: it. And. I think I love marketing though. I it’s just very fun. not like I’m ready to be like, Hey, let me market other people’s businesses.
Like I’m not there by any stretch of the imagination,
Colie James: But marketing your own is a good feat. Yes.
Rachel Greiman: I really, really enjoy it. It’s very, have found that it is much easier for me to talk about how fantastic my writers are than it is
Colie James: Then it is to talk about yourself.
Rachel Greiman: Mm-hmm , which is
Colie James: Yes.
Rachel Greiman: everyone. Nobody likes to brag about themselves.
So when I can say like, oh my gosh, look at Caitlin. this website she wrote so incredible. It’s so easy. It becomes so much easier. So to like, don’t get it twisted. I am so proud of what I’ve built. I am impressed the time that we’ve been able to get to where we are, but
Colie James: After pandemic
having two children. I mean, I just feel like I have to keep on throwing that out there because you had like, you know, Things just kept on layering on you in order for you to not be able to like continue this amazing business that you had, you know? Yeah.
Rachel Greiman: the beauty is in the people that do it with me. Like I would’ve never ever been able to build something like this by myself, the, it, it got to where it is because of the other people that have been with me along the way. not a team is not for everyone. I am not saying that, but for me, my life is so much better.
Colie James: So let’s, let’s bring up tips cuz you know what, every time I have one of these interviews, I end up asking people for tips. And since I didn’t know where we were going with this, I didn’t think of tips beforehand, but Rachel, if you had to give a. Tips, however many you want to a certain provider that is thinking about expanding their business, hiring a team, kind of doing those things.
Rachel Greiman: things.
Colie James: What would be your number one tip in that area?
Rachel Greiman: My number one tip is to make a list of all the things you hate doing in your business, then prioritize them hate the most hate the least but make that list and have an honest conversation with yourself about why you’re still doing it, because I bet some of those things, you could stop doing some of those things.
You could just change how you’re doing it or how often, and some of those things you could hire someone else to do. I would say, if you made a list of five of those things, you could get them all off your plate in one way or another. you are honest with yourself, because the biggest thing for me. Was, I felt like people hired because I’m so vocal on Instagram and always
Colie James: Yes, they hired you.
Rachel Greiman: yeah,
Colie James: Mm.
Rachel Greiman: me.
And so handing it off to someone else felt like I was cheating them, which is like, so narcissistic when I say it out loud, but you think that you have this special sauce and people aren’t gonna want it in a different way, that’s just a positioning problem. People are hiring my process. People are
Colie James: Yes.
Rachel Greiman: there. There are so many brilliant people in the world that can help get those results. I just happen to have them on my team now. And so taking myself and the pride that I, or the ego I had how we operate taking that off the table. That’s what transformed things for me. So I, yeah, it make that list of things you hate.
And it’ll tell you a lot about and the state of your business.
Colie James: And Rachel, you know, this, this podcast is not just for photographers, but I’m gonna take one step back because what you specifically said is how all photographers feel about their editing? Let’s be honest.
Rachel Greiman: was gonna say
Colie James: We are all like, It’s okay. Cuz I’m gonna say it because I, that kept me not outsourcing my editing for the longest.
And I don’t know if you specifically know this, but I didn’t outsource editing until I couldn’t see when I lost my eyesight. outsourced my editing because I legitimately could not see the computer. And then six weeks later I was like, oh, these look just like I did them. You know what? I don’t have to do that.
And then I will tell everybody in the listening audience, a little tip. I hired a film editor, which I legitimately, never thought I would do. I mean, people are hiring me for my like extra sauce when I’m making their films. Finally, last December I hired a film editor and I will say up until now, she was just editing the films.
When I got them, I was like, oh, that’s amazing. I’m still going in and tweaking for like, at least an hour. Cuz I’m OC.
Rachel Greiman: right.
Colie James: I will say
Rachel Greiman: say
Colie James: recently I was waiting on her to give me a film back and it’s not her fault. I don’t wanna say that she was behind because you know, it wasn’t, but I decided to go ahead and make the film.
Right. Took the time, sat down, made the film, almost gave it to my client. And then she gave me her version. The next day.
Rachel Greiman: next
Colie James: Now I will say 80% of the footage that we used. We used in a very similar way, but I preferred her film. I preferred the way that. I mean, dude, I mean, and we had never done that because why would I pay her hundreds of dollars to make a film?
And then I do the same thing. And I, I was just amazed at, she picked like four clips that I did. I decided not to use. Cause I mean, I let’s, let me give you a number. I mean, that client had 200 clips. We probably put 40 in the film. So I mean, we’re whittling it down and think about it. The two of us picked almost 80% of the exact same clips,
Rachel Greiman: that’s
Colie James: but.
Rachel Greiman: editor for your business.
Colie James: Isn’t it though, Rachel, but I will say the four or five clips that she chose, that I didn’t, I was like, I have goosebumps about how much better that transition is with that one clip that she chose. And I was like, oh, so I sent the client, her phone. I mean, of course I did my tweaks. Cause there are just certain things that, yeah.
I, I still can’t bless and release all the way, but I’m really close.
Rachel Greiman: but that’s what I do too.
My writers submit the sites to me I don’t bless and release. I, they get an
Colie James: A little bit of Yeah.
Rachel Greiman: either me or another writer. I pay a writer on our team if they would like an editing, income go through an edit every like, look at every word on the site and make sure it flows. And I was gonna say the same thing. I have learned from my writers. I have learned because just like you saw your editor’s film and you were like, oh, I like this better. is so much to be learned and gleaned from the creative process and collaboration. And I didn’t have any of that when I was solo. I didn’t. If, if, if I was gonna learn something, it had to be on a podcast or I had to take a course
Colie James: Yeah.
Rachel Greiman: have people on my team that I can say, Hey, can you just read this paragraph?
This isn’t flowing for me. Can you help? And they’re right there. so there’s so much beauty in that collaboration and in letting someone else do what they’re an expert at.
Colie James: Mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: is an expert at editing. And like what a gift that your clients are getting in that they have two experts on their stuff for them.
That’s how I like to see it
Colie James: Yeah, the client that I’m talking about, like I just delivered the film and she didn’t watch it yesterday because I guess her husband wasn’t home, but she sent me a text message first thing this morning. Oh my God. We cried. I’m like, oh, that’s amazing.
Rachel Greiman: That’s all
Colie James: I mean, she probably would’ve cried at mine,
I know, but I sent her the better film.
And so I’m like, awesome.
Rachel Greiman: that
Colie James: Yes, this is. Yeah.
I mean, that is one thing that you should, I mean, you know, I feel like you will know when you have the right team members. So you said to make the list of things that you hate. I’m gonna say that my tip is once you hire someone, trust your gut. If it’s a good fit, you will know it.
If it’s not a good fit, do not try to make it a good fit.
Rachel Greiman: should
Colie James: evaluate why you think it’s a bad fit, but what’s the, what’s the phrase higher, slow fire, fast. Is that phrase. Okay.
Rachel Greiman: it. Yeah.
Colie James: I think that’s gonna be my, my little bit. I have only had to do that one time, but you know, I’m telling you, like when you meet somebody and I mean, it’s the same thing with my virtual assistant when she did it.
And she did it just as fast as me, I was like, oh my God, this is gonna work. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel because now. That we’ve made the decision that Chloe’s gonna be completely homeschooled instead of virtual schooling. I am actually taking on more personal responsibility than I have even during this pandemic.
Rachel Greiman: pandemic.
Colie James: So it’s great that like you and I have businesses that are so flexible allow us to spend all the time with our kids and hire team members that we can pass stuff off to when we need to.
Rachel Greiman: to. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, so many of my clients right now are so behind on editing because of all the rescheduling this year and all of that. And I have so much grace for them in my heart, but I’m also like, Hey, don’t wait until you are in an emergency state of mind to look for an editor. Like you want to have that editor that you can
Colie James: Yes,
Rachel Greiman: your back pocket before you get to a place where you don’t have a minute to breathe. Because now
Colie James: I hope
Rachel Greiman: it’s like, well, I could hire an editor, but it’s gonna take me a whole week to set them up
Colie James: to train them. Mm.
Rachel Greiman: just have to edit myself I feel so bad that there’s so many people in that situation, but that’s what use your slow season for people
Colie James: That was what I was gonna say. Like January and February, I feel like every year photographers should hire a backup editor during that time. Like find somebody that you love, train. Because I will say I’m still not sure. Cuz I used to use one of the big editing companies and then their, their turnaround was just so long that I, I just couldn’t.
and I still don’t think that a lot of them have like rebounded to like what their editing turnarounds were before the pandemic. So I mean, absolutely. We all have to look for places, but for photographers, listen. Editing is the low hanging fruit. Please take it from me. I mean, you can see my images on the wall.
I was like, no, no one can do it like me. It is a lie. It is a fucking lie. You can train anybody to edit, like you,
Rachel Greiman: in the world.
Colie James: that might even edit it better than you. Mm-hmm.
Rachel Greiman: you’re special. but you’re not that special. That’s what I say to myself all the time.
And I just wanna say this for any outsourcing, for any business, anyone don’t. I made so much extra work for myself by not being willing to part with a couple hundred dollars. Like I think a lot of people don’t outsource because they’re like, well then that’s $500 off my bottom line that I have to pay someone else.
And it’s like, yeah. But then you can shoot more like you don’t and you don’t understand it until it happens to you. You don’t understand how valuable that investment is in your mental health and in. like how much you like your business until you feel the freedom that comes with it,
Colie James: Yes.
Rachel Greiman: hand someone, your images and not have to sit there for seven hours and edit a wedding or a family session or whatever it is.
Or like for me in my business not have to watch my inbox like a Hawk and wonder if there’s someone I’m not getting back to, I will pay Jess all day to do that for me. And to take that mental load off my plate. And I don’t miss that. I don’t miss that money at
Colie James: No.
Rachel Greiman: life is so much better from it.
So editing yes is low hanging fruit, but there’s so much low hanging fruit in outsourcing. don’t let a couple hundred dollars like steal your peace.
Colie James: Yes. Yes,
Rachel Greiman: feel so much better. Once you hand that to someone else
Colie James: Rachel, I, I couldn’t have said that better myself, like legitimately. I, I mean, and I know it’s like a scarcity thing in the beginning of your business, but.
Rachel Greiman: had it for years.
Colie James: but once you do it, it is so addictive. Cuz like, and I had a podcast episode about this. I will link it in the show notes, but I had this epiphany recently, like, are you still in the DIY stage of your business or have you moved on to like now when I add new things to my business or my plate, I am not trying to figure out how to do it myself.
I’m trying to figure out who I can pay to.
Rachel Greiman: exactly.
Colie James: Like that’s my first, that’s my go to who can I pay? Oh, well, I don’t have anybody to pay yet. Okay. Let me take it on for now. But I’m actively looking for someone that I can pay to do this extra thing, because at this point I don’t need to add things to my plate.
I need to them off. to share with
Rachel Greiman: And you hear that quote from the business bros, you know, time is money baby, but they don’t explain what it means.
What it means is you’re going to spend an entire Workday doing that dumb thing that would’ve cost $200 for someone. To do for you. And then it’s not always even about making money. It’s about you have seven hours back in your life to do whatever the hell you want.
Colie James: Yes.
Rachel Greiman: that, to me, in this phase of life, gives me seven hours. I would cry. I would cry. anyway, sorry, I’m feel like I’m shouting about this, but I’m very passionate about it. Just
Colie James: And I You’re passionate about this. Rachel. I swear, like we should just make this like a quarterly thing. you on every quarter and you, and I just have a conversation about whatever we’re feeling passionate about. So Rachel, for the photographers or the designers that just happen to slide into your DMS, tell them where they can find out all of your information.
Rachel Greiman: Um, I’m on Instagram, it’s just at green chair stories then there’s eight years of free advice for writing on my blog. So greet your stories. Dot com. Those are the two places you can find me. I respond to every single DM. My inbox gets a little hairy because I’m disorganized.
Colie James: No. And I, I will say like, cuz I’ve been talking a lot about customer research and she has this guide. If you’ve never done it, if you’re trying to figure out how to like, write your website, write your website. Isn’t that what it’s called?
Rachel Greiman: It’s called write your website. The photographer’s guide to write your website, right?
Colie James: Yeah, all those Ws, but I will say like, it’s amazing. And I learned so much from like her list of questions that you should do for customer research. So I mean, guys, if you’re feeling stuck and you don’t know where to go, like that’s a good intro, but like she said, she has tons of amazing blog posts because hello, she’s a writer and she knows how to communicate Rachel,
Rachel Greiman: you,
Colie James: uh,
Rachel Greiman: DIY phase of your business, like you said, that’s okay too. You can DIY, if
Colie James: Yes.
Rachel Greiman: you don’t have kids. You’re starting. So. Up. Don’t invest in things you don’t need. But that guy that co just talked about is like perfect for that.
Colie James: Mm-hmm
Rachel Greiman: DIY in the beginning. I will also preach about that and shout about that and get really passionate about that.
But anyway, sorry for interrupting you.
Colie James: oh, it’s okay. Rachel. It was amazing to have you thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Rachel Greiman: you. This was so fun.
Colie James: See you next time, guys.