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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.
Whether you’re building a new brand or refreshing an existing brand, there are so many considerations to keep in mind of what you need to be adjusting. I bet you’ve never considered the systems and setup inside of your CRM as a part of that! In today’s episode, Ashlee Burke joins us to share about refreshing her brand with a new website, copywriting, and a Dubsado VIP day with me!
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.
Ashlee is the founder of Love Joy Collective, an inclusive photography studio for womxn creatives located in Boulder, Colorado. When she is not helping womxn creatives show up as their best selves in their business, she is likely hanging out with her husband and two children.
Here are the highlights…
[0:24] Get to Know Ashlee
[8:09] Pivoting & Rebranding
[11:14] Lessons in Rebranding
[12:40] CRMs in Business
[19:24] Thoughts on Automations
Dubsado – Use COLIEJAMES for 30% off your first payment, month or year!
Review the Transcript:
Colie: Hello everyone and welcome back to the Business First Creatives podcast. Today I have a special guest. Her name is Ashlee Burke, and she is a family photographer turning into a brand photographer here in Boulder, Colorado. Guys, she is technically the closest guest that I’ve ever had, like to my physical location.
So, Ashlee, how you doing this?
Ashlee: I am doing well.
Colie: Ah, I mean, I already kind of hinted at your switch from family photography to brand photography, but first, why don’t you tell me how you got into photography in general. Like what is your origin story, if you will?
Ashlee: Funny enough, my husband is the one that introduced me into photography in the photography world, so I was a special. education teacher prior to having kiddos and decided to take some time off after our son was born. And just after the first year, I was like, oh, I need like creative outlet. I need something to fill my cup.
And as much as I missed teaching, I was like, I just can’t do teaching. And mom, a hundred percent. So for my. , I guess it was my first Mother’s day. Hunter hooked me up with a local photographer to do something called Photo Camp, and I spent a day with other moms learning how to use my camera and take awesome photos of my son, and I just fell in love with it.
Like there was something about being on that side of the camera that made me show up in a different way when I was engaging with my son and other people, which I fell in love.
Colie: Nice. And I mean, I feel like that’s an origin story that many family photographers have in that, you know, you had kids, you bought a really fancy camera, you figured out how to use it, and you were like, Hey, . I can use this on other people too, besides the people that you know live in my house and I gave birth to.
So, I mean, that’s kind of how I started in photography as well. I was also a teacher, but a professor at the college level, and I had been largely off for almost a year before I had Chloe because I was on bedrest and. we moved, and so I hadn’t gotten like a teaching job here yet. And so after I had Chloe, I was like, yeah, no, I’m not going back to the class.
I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m not going back to the
Colie: I mean, I had played around with opening a daycare because I do love children. like I love children. And even though I’ve never taught like elementary school or anything like that, I love babies. So once I got into photography and I got to hang out with like the same families over and over again and watch their babies grow, I was like, okay, now this is awesome.
This is what I wanna do forever. . But I mean, so that’s how you got into photography. and this year you’re making a pretty big transition into 2023. Not only are you offering brand photography as like your main, source of photography going forward, but I mean, you’ve like birthed this entire new brand.
So what, what was the impetus to kind of start Lovejoy Collective and why are you transitioning from mostly shooting families into shooting women led brands?
Ashlee: So I am a huge believer that like the universe sends us message. when we’re ready to receive them or if we put them out there right. And we can manifest things. And so I would say over the last couple of years, well, I love, love, love photographing families and working with kids and seeing that connection.
I realized I was missing out on some of my own family life and memories. , obviously you have to shoot at the golden hour. It’s beautiful. But I’m gonna say note, it’s taking me away from baseball games or play practice or all the other things that my mama role needs me to do, right? And so when I’ve been photographing families lately, a lot of the mamas specifically are.
Noodling are thinking about starting their own businesses or transitioning from their corporate job to doing something that allows them to do what their heart most desires or give them some more flexibility too. And I was like, oh,
Ashlee: I would love to support mamas, other women, other entrepreneurs, creatives, bring this vision to life.
and I sat on it for a long while and then I had, a client reach out to me and she has a friend in New York who’s a photographer, and she was like, you two should chat. And we just started like jiving and riffing off of each other and was like, this is what I’m meant to do now this is my next step.
And I’m super excited to see where it takes.
Colie: I don’t think we talk about the transitions enough because inside of my course of CRM Blueprint, while I have largely marketed it towards family photographers for a very long time, I do have a handful of wedding photographers that get in there, and one in particular, she’s actually local. , again here in the Denver area, and. When Terry started having her, her daughters, she was talking about transitioning from weddings into families, and I have another client, Christine, who was talking about doing the same thing. So I think that all of us feel it, you know, in some capacity regardless of what we are actually photographing.
There comes a time when you no longer want to set a aside your weekends to either do wedding. Or family photography or anything else like that, that you start to think, okay, what can I do? With my camera in a more traditional nine to five, well, not even nine to five, I mean, for us that wanna be home. When our kids get home, it’s more like nine to two.
Like, how can I use my camera from nine to two? And branding work is a really good way to get that done. Also, um, commercial work, like if it’s for, you know, large corporations or even small businesses, um, you can usually get that done during the week, during the hours of nine to two. Now I will. The other way that you can get that done is newborns.
I mean, I love shooting in-home newborns, number one, cuz it doesn’t depend on being outside with the sun, which, you know, I hate Ashlee
love that you own that.
Colie: I do. I’m, I’m Indoorsy, I, you know, I have a t-shirt that says the Great Indoors. Anyways, . But I do feel like newborns are a really good way to also, if you wanna continue to work with families, but then the thing is, well, what happens when they’re not newborns?
Like, I mean, so it’s a struggle. It’s a struggle. But I am really glad that we had this conversation because I did not know what was prompting you to make the change. And of course, I love it when anybody makes business decisions in order to make their personal life. better or create the life that you know we all desire, which for you is you don’t wanna miss baseball games, and I don’t blame you.
Ashlee: Totally, and I think it’s hard is like women moms, right? Like. To make that adjustment and be okay with saying, this is what I want. Cause for me at least, I put a lot of pressure on myself to like do it all. And at some point, like you’ve gotta put something down or you’ve gotta make a change. And I’m always wanting to learn and grow as a photographer, and I think this is the perfect time to kind of invest in learning more and growing my.
Colie: and it’s, it’s odd because sometimes someone say, well, you know Coley, when you do these v i P days, like what do your clients have in common? And I tell them, you know, honestly transition is what my clients all have in common. Now you are a little special though, Ashlee, cuz not only were you raising your prices, Offering new session types.
I mean, you created an entire new brand, an entire new website at the exact same time. So why don’t we talk a bit about why you decided to make like all of these changes? Because you could have easily just started offering brand sessions under Ashlee Burke photography, but you chose to transition to a new name.
So how did you come up with Lovejoy Collect? and why did you make the decision to basically rebrand your entire business when you’ve been running Ashlee Burke Photography for quite some time.
Ashlee: Yeah, so it’s funny, I feel like, as a human, I’ve been doing a lot of evolving lately and really trying to feel into who I am. And when I started Ashlee Burke Photography. Like felt imposter syndrome like most of us do. Right. And I don’t feel like I really leaned into my own craft or who I was or really put my voice out there on my website.
I was always just trying to play catch up. I felt like essentially, and. I’m sick of it, , I’m ready. Like I’m ready just to be me. And I’m ready to, um, put myself out there in a way that I feel like it’s authentic. And in order to do that, I had to just go full throttle and redo the whole thing.
Colie: Because you’re doing the opposite of what people normally do. Like most of the time, or at least most of the people that I’ve worked with, if they’ve had a brand that wasn’t their name. They almost always transition into a brand with their name. I mean, now, you know, I don’t know if the listening audience actually knows that Colie James is not my name.
We’re gonna pretend for all intensive purposes that it is my actual name, but I mean, I built everything under that name even though I originally wanted to name my photography business. Chloe Reese Photography. because my name is Nicole Johnson. And Nicole Johnson is very plain, uh, it’s very common and it’s very hard to get a unique URL guy.
So that is where Colie James came from. It is a completely made up name, , but I mean, that is um, I guess I could say this is who I pretend to be on the internet. I mean, but this is my personal brand. Like most people out, you know, inside of my business world, do not call me by my, the name that’s on my birth certificate or on my mortgage, if you will.
but I just think it’s really interesting that you decided to do the opposite. Um, and I really, I mean, I love the name. I’ve told you this a million times. Like I really do think that the name is a perfect fit for where you are going with your business. I just did want to address the fact that you are like going up the street against the traffic
Ashlee: That’s how I do things. Let’s be honest, , like I, I like that, I guess to beat my head against the wall until I get to where I need to be. But I think the reason I landed on, love Joy is because one of my clients said to me at one point, they were like, you know what? You bring so much love and joy to these sessions.
And I was like, yeah. Like that’s how I want all of my clients to. when they show up in the middle of their session and when they leave that it’s like this is a safe space where we just like hang out, have fun, and enjoy the process.
Colie: so. Let’s get one more question and then we’re gonna transition to a different topic. But as you have rebranded, because you know you hired me for Dubsado, which we’re gonna talk about in a minute, and you hired Green Share stories for some amazing new copy, and you also got brand new branding and a brand new website.
Like what are some Lear some lessons that you learned in the process of rebranding your entire.
Ashlee: Whew. I bit off a lot at once, right? So take it from me. Maybe do baby stuff. I learned that, let’s see, like outsource the things. That are not your superpowers, right? Like I was trying to do it all and I wasn’t doing it well, and so I realized I need help and that’s not always easy to ask for.
And I’m so grateful that I got to work with you and Green Share Stories and Ashlee Carter on my website because it really has brought my voice and my intention how I wanna be in the world as a photographer to life. And I couldn’t have done it without a support.
Colie: I mean, and I’m so excited for you, and the website is not even live yet,
Ashlee: No, I know
Colie: so excited. By the time this airs in
Colie: everything will be live, guys. You will be able to go to her brand new website and see it. But I mean, I’ve just been getting, you know, little peaks and every once in a while I type in the URL to see if it’s live.
Yet Ashlee has assured me that she’s gonna tell me when it’s live, but I just do double checking every once in a while just to see.
Ashlee: I promise it’s coming very soon.
Colie: Okay, so now I wanna ask you a few questions about DTO, because of course that’s how you and I worked together. So how long had you, had you been in business before you got a C R M?
And was DOA your first c r m?
Ashlee: Okay. So I’ve been in business, gosh, almost
Ashlee: Um, Dubsado was not my first. but I’m so grateful that I switched. However, I was not using it to its fullest capacity for a very long time, like five years and And I kept thinking like, oh, I’ll get to it. I’ll get to building that workflow. And the reality is I am not tech savvy, as you know, from working with me.
And that’s when I was like, I just have to ask for help. I have to get somebody to make it look party.
Colie: So what challenges were you having inside of your DOSA system before you hired me? Cuz like you said, you didn’t have any workflows,
so like what were you struggling with most before we redid all of your systems inside Dosa.
Ashlee: I was still doing everything like one off, right? Like if I got an inquiry, I would sit down and I would. Respond. I w I was doing everything like step by step and it was taking so much time. I would rebuild proposals based on new images that I had or what I thought the client might need. I mean, it was, it was crazy making, so I just didn’t know where to start, and it felt so overwhelming that I just froze and was like, I’m not doing anything
I just, oh.
Colie: Well, let me ask you a question because the first thing that I do as you know before we do anything inside Dosa, is we have a very lengthy conversation. I mean, I think our conversation was actually like the full four hours to where you tell me all of the things that you want your systems to do before we sit down to actually plan out how we’re going to implement it in Doto.
So had you ever mapped out like what you thought your actual customer journey?
Ashlee: I had piecemealed some things together, but I had never really sat down and processed it all. And I think that that’s been a big learning through this whole process too, is like I was kind of half ass doing things and I think that it really started to backfire. And that’s when it was just like, I have got to do this.
A hundred percent if I’m going to move forward. And so it really helped to sit down and have someone help me organize my thoughts around what I’ve wanted it to look like and what it needed to be.
Colie: so Lovejoy is technically not live yet, but I also implemented new systems inside of Ashlee Burke photography. Have you had a chance to use any of the new systems or the emails, proposals for your family photography clients?
Ashlee: Yes. And this is what I have to say. Like it has made my life so much easier and it’s taken a lot of the pressure off to constantly be like checking my email because I know that like I’m gonna get a reminder or I know where I am in the workflow, right? Like it’s,
Ashlee: I’m not in this constant limbo space of like, what should be happening, what should I be doing, who should I be responding to?
Like Is my website actually sending me contacts and all of that, so
Colie: Which guys listening audience. If you don’t get inquiries for a while, I do highly recommend that everyone send themselves a test contact form every month. Um, If you’re someone who you know, gets inquiries very sporadically, you do wanna make sure that your form is actually working, so please do that
Ashlee: Great words of wisdom.
Colie: So Ashlee, what is your favorite thing that I created for you inside of dsa?
Ashlee: Ooh. Um, I love my proposal
Colie: Your proposal is pretty fabulous, I will say, and I can’t even really take credit, like the color scheme that you used, just, it really made, especially your brand proposal, like your main, it, it’s, it’s so amazing with the colors I. , I was really excited about your colors cuz they, they are just a slightly different version of my own.
I mean, you have a pink, whereas I have a coral, you have a c a blue that’s a little bit more aqua than my teal. And then we both have gold. So I was like, ooh, this is like making my own. I mean, after I finished your proposal, I was like, it’s time for me to go give my proposals a refresh so that they can look more like Ashlee’s
Ashlee: Yeah, it, when I look at it, it makes me happy now, and that’s how I want people to feel when they land there to see what they’re gonna be investing in. Right? Like
not only are they.
Colie: proposal does, it does exude happiness. It really does So was there anything that was surprising about working with me or going through the process of setting up these new systems inside of your dto?
Ashlee: You know, I came away with so much more than just you setting up my ddo, right? Like I really felt like you gave me great words of wisdom. You coached me through some questions that I had. It wasn’t just like, here, do my ddo workflow. Good luck. It. You are such a great communicator. You really saw me for who I am.
You saw my brand for what I want it to be, and you really have helped me step up my game, which I am forever grateful for.
Colie: I’m so happy. It’s funny, I have to figure out a way to put this on a t-shirt because almost everyone says that when I set up their doza, it’s like business coaching, but I’m like, I don’t know how to do it any other way. Like I need to fully understand where you think you’re going with your business before I can try to help you set up the systems.
So every podcast that I’ve ever been a guest. . You know, they ask me, well, what’s something that someone should do when they’re looking for A C R M? I’m like, well, no. Full stop. First they have to figure out what they want the C R M to do, and then they can go shopping for A C R M because until you have like a clear vision, and of course I’m happy to help you with this, but until you have a clear vision of exactly what steps you want your clients to walk through and what touchpoints you want to like interact with. I mean, you, you, the c r m is not where you should be starting. Like you have to get those pieces in place before you can, you know, make grownup systems for your new grownup business, . So I know you haven’t had a chance to use it in the branding side, but in the photography side, How confident do you feel using the new systems?
Because I mean, you weren’t using any workflows before, so how are you feeling in terms of confidence, in terms of knowing that things are happening as they should? Because that’s one of the things that, you know, people are very shy about, is that they don’t wanna implement workflows because they’re so worried about stuff happening that shouldn’t be happening.
Ashlee: So I feel like I. Still getting to know it, right? And I’m still getting used to the new process. Um, I’ve been totally like, candid with my clients to say This is new. And I’d love feedback. Just bear with me. So I’m trying to be vulnerable. like this is new for me too, and it’s been great because I’ve been getting great feedback or there’s been some questions and so it’s really helping me dive into what I might need to change or communicate better.
Colie: And that’s just the best attitude, Ashlee, because when I tell people, I’m like, no. When I hand it over to you, it’s a hundred percent ready to go. , but everyone should be thinking about their systems even, I mean, me included, every three months, every six months. Because as you use your systems, whatever they are, and in whatever C R M they exist in, as you use your systems, every time a client asks you a question, that is an opportunity for you to think about how you could make the system better and where perhaps you could have addressed that question before it even formed in their mind.
And so I think a lot of people. , like when they think of systems, they really wanna hire an expert as like a set it and forget it. And I’m like, that’s just never gonna happen. I mean, if your business is evolving as it should for almost all of us, your systems have to evolve with it. So, I mean, yes, I’m giving you systems that work, and we’ve done a lot of research and we’ve done a lot of talking to make sure that everything is mapped out like you want.
But in three months you might decide, oh, well, you know, Colie, we decided. , but like, that’s not what I actually want it to do. Now that I’ve been using it for three months, I actually want it to do this. And in most cases, those are like really simple, you know, modifications inside of your systems. So I encourage everyone, every time you get a client question, every time you find yourself having to do something that wasn’t already in your systems, just keep a running list next to your computer so that when it comes time for you to give your systems an update, that’s the list that you should be starting.
Ashlee: and you told me to do that from the get-go. Right? Which I so appreciated. You had all these little like tips and tricks that I really held onto that. Made the process that much better and moving forward, I feel like I’ll be able to communicate better in the future around it.
Colie: I mean, communication is such a big part of the systems. I mean, I. I really get people on, no, but I can make your proposals look fucking amazing. Like that’s how I get you But in the end, I think that communication is what I am most proud of setting up for other people. Because if someone asked me what the biggest time suck was, either in my own business or what I see in almost everybody else’s business that I get my hands on, it’s the communication we spend way too much.
Writing emails, like you said, from scratch. Every time someone sends you an email, you’re sitting down to like, think about what it is that you need to tell them back without starting, you know, from a template and templates, get a bad rap guys. I mean, if you start with an email that’s 80% written and you do 20% customization, that is gonna save you so much time in the long run of your business.
I mean, it’s, it’s almost that you can’t even calculate how many hours you will get back in your life just by doing.
Ashlee: I believe it. Yeah, a hundred.
Colie: So, I mean, Dubsado, website, new brand, what are you most excited about in 2023 for your business?
Ashlee: I cannot wait to meet the new people that I get to work with, and help support their brand and their business and help them bring their vision to life.
Colie: I mean, and I’m, I’m most excited to see who you end up getting in your membership, because I know a lot of people try to run memberships and guys, memberships are good. I mean, I have a membership for my family photography clients, Ashlee starting one for her branding photography. Clients, memberships are a good way to work with the same people over and over again, and also get recurring revenue inside your business.
But I mean, I think I’m personally most excited to see what you do with your branding membership.
Ashlee: I am excited about that too, and. Feel like, my membership’s a little different than what your typical membership looks like. My, hope, the reason it’s love, joy Collective is I would love to bring a group of women together as a collective where it’s the same group every month. We show up. We’re not only there for photos, but we’re there to support each other.
Cause let’s face it, being on the other side of the camera can be painful. I get that way right, like . And so how fun would it be to have other women cheering you on and making you laugh and helping you show up as your authentic self? And then it’s also a way to like organically network.
Ashlee: Throw your social media presence online cause thought is we’ll, like tag each other and give each other shout outs.
And, I’m gonna be partnering with some really cool local businesses to photograph in their space. So I’m really excited to get that off the ground and running.
Colie: And I mean, I think we are still, you know, I don’t wanna say the pandemic is done cuz I don’t know that we’re ever gonna be done with this pandemic, but I do feel like on the other side of what was. A solid 18 months of barely seeing people. Well actually we’re going into almost year three, but I, I’m getting away from the topic.
After almost three years, I feel like we are all still starved for opportunities to be in spaces with other like-minded people because we spent so long inside our. Basically in isolation. So I mean, from that perspective, I’m also really excited to see who ends up joining. And then what kind of, um, you know, like you said, networking opportunities and just making new entrepreneur friends because you know, that’s what it’s all about, going through this life and entrepreneurship with other women.
Ashlee: agreed and just being supportive. Right. I really love that about women in general. I feel like we. Want to support each other and lift each other up. And it’s, you know, collaboration over competition. And I really wanna lead with that and bring it full circle for the membership.
Colie: So amazing. Well, guys, if you would like to find Ashlee Burke next year, Ashlee, tell the, tell the listeners where they’re gonna be able to find you.
Ashlee: So you can find me @thelovejoycollective.co or on Instagram under the Lovejoy collective.
Colie: Okay. Thanks for tuning in guys. This was another episode. See you next time.
Ashlee: Thanks, Colie