Modern Marketing : Sustainable & Authentic Marketing for Your Photography Business with Stacey Owen from Meet Pepper
Today’s guest, Stacey Owen, started her marketing agency for photographers and creative entrepreneurs because she wanted to be able to share the education that she was seeking when she first started as a photographer. Her passion is very much about being behind the camera in her zone, but she wants photographers to be able to build a business that they love, too.
We’re chatting about how Stacey started her business, how prevalent burnout is in entrepreneurship, and some helpful marketing and branding tips and questions to help you find alignment and avoid burnout in your business.
This episode is full of laughs, full of tangents, and full of great advice about burnout, marketing in your business, and finding the passion that drives you to keep going at your own pace, in your own way.
What’s in this episode:
- [02:48] Why Stacey pivoted from VA services to marketing for photographers and creative entrepreneurs
- [05:10] A little tangent on why we have both chosen to quit drinking, and taking the step from acknowledging your burnout to doing something about it
- [16:28] Stacey’s passion for noir stories told through photography
- [19:15] The biggest marketing mistakes that Stacey sees from photographers and entrepreneurs, and her advice on where to begin when rebranding and important questions to ask yourself
- [23:42] Stacey’s advice for me on creating marketing buzz around my business when I end my sabbatical (hint: I’m not ready for marketing yet)
- [27:25] Where to start with SEO and why it’s important, and how a Google Business Profile (and keeping it updated) is an easy SEO win
- [31:29] Information about Pepper U, the best piece of business advice she’s received, and her advice for photographers just starting out
Tune in to this episode with Stacey Owen to learn how to approach your branding and marketing from a place of alignment!
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This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
Stacey is the founder and CEO of Pepper, an all-female marketing agency for photographers and creative entrepreneurs. Pepper has been nominated for Emerging Business of the Year multiple years in a row, won Best Marketing Agency, and Stacey’s photography work has been recognized by the boudoir industry.
Connect with Stacey
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Did this episode with Stacey Owen inspire you to get to the heart of your business and its marketing? Check out this episode from Krista Marie Lynch that offers you even more insight on finding alignment in your business!
[00:00:00] Stacey Owen I feel like as like when you’re going through burnout and you’re still wanting to maintain because you’re obviously you’re still maintaining aspects of your business and this like this part of your business. I think for people in general that are feeling burnout and are looking at their business, they’re like, okay, I have to I have to keep working because this pays my bills. So what can I do to maintain something or not just completely burn out, but still be able to keep going? And I think for that, what I keep focusing and telling people like, don’t do things that are draining you. So, for example, I just deleted Tik Tok off my phone. I know. I know. It’s a good marketing tactic. I know that it works. I even recommend to people if you enjoy it totally, you can absolutely do that. It’ll it’ll help you and help your business. But I don’t recommend people utilizing tactics for marketing their business or running their business that’s draining them or that’s not good for their mental health. I would never, ever recommend that. So I personally am like had to tell myself that like I’m a marketer. Just because I am does not mean I have to do all the tactics I’m allowed to take my own advice. Literally, just today I took it off my phone. I’m like, That is not for me. That one is is just not.
[00:01:08] Lisa DiGeso Welcome to the Art and Soul Show where we dive into heart opening chats on photography, business, life, and that messy in-between. I’m your host, Lisa DiGeso, a mom, a photographer and entrepreneur, and I’ll be sharing honest conversations and advice for photographers with insight on mindset, entrepreneurship and creativity. The goal of this podcast is for you to be able to gain insights and strategies that will get you real results. Because let’s face it, having a photography business can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. This is the place you can go when you need a boost of encouragement, a kick in the pants and inspiration to pick up your camera. This is the art and soul show. Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome back to the show today. I’m super excited to dive into today’s conversation with Stacey Owen. Stacey is the founder and CEO of Pepper, an all female marketing agency for photographers and creative entrepreneurs. Pepper has been nominated for Emerging Business of the year multiple years in a row, won best marketing Agency, and Stacey’s photography work has been recognized by the boudoir industry. And she also lives in my city, which is pretty awesome. And so we’re just we’re so excited to dive into this conversation. We haven’t chatted it in ages. So you’re just gonna be listening to two girls have some girly chit chat, so I’m so excited to dive in. Stacey, welcome.
[00:02:32] Stacey Owen Thanks for having me. I’m so stoked to be here. And we were doing like a little chatting before you hit record. I’m like, We’re going to we’re going to have some conversation back and forth. This is not a one way, my friend. You don’t know what you signed up for.
[00:02:43] Lisa DiGeso I love it. I love it. So honestly, tell us who you are and what you’re passionate about.
[00:02:48] Stacey Owen I feel like as a service provider, that’s one of the hardest questions to answer because you’re so much about the other person and everybody else. But to kind of keep it short, My name is Stacey and I’m the founder and CEO of Pepper, and basically that means I help creative entrepreneurs and photographers be as successful as possible. So I’m successful when they are successful, and that’s on the business level. On a personal level, I am a new mom and that is its own wild and crazy journey. Like insane, Absolutely insane.
[00:03:18] Lisa DiGeso Is it ever. When I first met you, you had a VA company and I loved that. And you have recently made a switch from a marketing company for photographers and creative and you just share maybe how that transition happened and why you felt that call to pivot.
[00:03:33] So when we first started, it was a VA agency like specifically for photographers, because I felt like that’s what photographers really needed, because that’s what I needed. Truly, that’s what I needed. When I got into it and we were growing, adding to the team and going through like helping photographers and truly seeing what they were struggling with and what they actually wanted from us. It went from like, Yes, admin is nice, it’s a nice thing to hand off. But what they were looking for was guidance in growing their business and having structure in their business. So they’re coming to us for VA help and admin help, but truly they’re like, help us with the structure of our business. Help me with the strategy of my business. How do I have and run a successful business where I don’t hate my life?
[00:04:12] Lisa DiGeso I love that. I think I think that is so important because I I’ve had the experience of hiring you guys and I had a VA. She was amazing and it was kind of at a time where I was in this like, I’m running two companies and I’m really overwhelmed and I don’t think I can do both. And I knew that at the call that I needed to just make a shift. So this year I’m actually taking a sabbatical from photography. So it’s been really an interesting process of going, okay, I need help. But sometimes, like that help isn’t enough with what’s going on and just addressing the deep burnout that I actually had. And we talked a little bit about that in before we even started. Can you share a little bit on your own burnout and your experience with burnout? I know we just are coming out of a pandemic, and what are you seeing in the industry and what are you guys doing as a company that helps your own team? But also it’s helping photographers. So many questions.
[00:05:03] Stacey Owen Like which one? And they’re all so good and they’re all very deep and layered.
[00:05:10] Stacey Owen I think this I think this conversation should be happening over wine.
[00:05:13] Stacey Owen You know, I don’t I don’t know what.
[00:05:15] Stacey Owen This water is doing here.
[00:05:16] Lisa DiGeso You know, which is funny because I know that you quit drinking, too. And I quit drinking. I know. Since you actually. Okay.
[00:05:22] Stacey Owen Can can we just start there quickly and then I have your questions in my mind, and I promise we’ll go through them. Tell me about your no drinking.
[00:05:28] Lisa DiGeso Well, you know, it’s so funny because I started it started a few years ago when I was like, you know, am I living my best life? And I was like, how? And just sort of acknowledging like I’m 45 and acknowledging how alcohol was making me feel. It wasn’t that I was over drinking every day. It was just it was dulling how I was feeling and how I was showing up. And I just was like, you know, I started reading I read the book This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. And it was a really it just kind of gives you the facts of what alcohol does to our brains and our bodies. And you have the choice if you want to have it or not. And I was like, okay, like, maybe I just I just I over the past few years, I’ve had, like, stints. I don’t drink for like 60, 90 days. Then I have like a couple of cocktails and then I feel like crap. And then I’m like, I think I just. This isn’t for me. Additionally, I was going through a bit of a health challenge. I found out I had an autoimmune disorder and a thyroid disorder. That’s right. That’s right. Well, big deal. Yeah, no big deal. So, like, with that, my body wasn’t metabolizing alcohol like it should, so. Which caused me to have killer hangovers. So I was like, this just isn’t worth it. It’s not worth it to me. So then like, I just went back to went to Mexico. My husband and I had a few drinks there and then we I came home. I was like, you know, do sober January. And then I was like, Well, maybe I’ll do sober February and then maybe I’ll just continue to do sober March. And so it’s just gotten to the point where I’m like, Yeah, I can take it or leave it. And honestly, like I wake up fresh every day. I don’t feel like crap and like this heavy weight on me. And so that was sort of like where it came from and just, I don’t know, it’s based on how I’m feeling.
[00:07:01] Stacey Owen And it’s such a personal choice. Do you think, like back to the burnout, if you’re having just regular everyday stress or you’re burnt out or you’re in a pandemic world or you’re in a post-pandemic world, it’s been a very layered journey. And not drinking is like one thing you can decide to do if it makes you feel better. Yeah, you know, some people like some people ask nine every day and it makes them feel great. That’s all. Like, that’s all good. But being able to identify the things like you said, like, this is not serving me. It doesn’t make me feel good. Obviously, like the other health things you have going on. Yeah, that’s a whole thing. So I think that’s amazing. So I also want to ask you about burnout. Yeah, because I feel like people we talk about it, we ask each other about it, we look for advice. But I think also most of us and your listeners are solopreneurs, like you’re working for yourself. Maybe you have someone that’s helping you an assistant, so you’re so used to dealing with things on your own. How do you actually take that that step from you’re feeling the things you’re feeling burnt out and the stress and be like, okay, I actually do have it. I have to say it out loud. And then what for you, What did that look like and what what was that transition?
[00:08:13] Lisa DiGeso It was long, Stacey, it was long. It was like because I’m a people pleaser and I’m an overachiever and we’re service providers. Yes. And I will sacrifice my health and my family to say yes to someone. And that was not a healthy position for me to be in and like to the point where I was doing 85 fall family sessions plus holiday minis and then trying to deliver it all and edit all myself like it just on top of having an entire other company. Like it just was so much. And like my marriage started to tank, my relationship with my son started to tank, my health started to tank and finally, like it got to the point where I was like, This has to stop. Like, I’m not happy. I’m over drinking now because I’m trying to numb out my misery that you have to just finally say, okay, I need to get off this ride. Like this is this ride is making me sick and I need to find out maybe a better ride for me right now, because this one is is not the one for me. So it came for a really long time. Like I was one of the people in the pandemic, like when my husband had me home every single day. I have never seen that man happier. Like he was just like just living his best life, having us all home. And so going back to work and like going, I knew that I wasn’t going to go back full steam. But even the capacity that I was going back, I was like, things are so different than before the pandemic that I’ve actually changed and I need to change my business. And right now that means closing it for a little while and taking a sabbatical. And it’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay, it’s okay and it’s going to be okay. I can always come back to it.
[00:09:48] Stacey Owen Nothing is lost. It’s all an evolution. Your experiences will always be your experiences. Your skills will always be your skills.
[00:09:55] Lisa DiGeso And it’s okay. It’s okay to press pause. And I think I think instead of saying I quit and I’m over this, I’m just saying I am not making a forever decision on a temporary feeling. And that’s okay.
[00:10:07] Stacey Owen I love it. I do think it is really difficult for a lot of entrepreneurs to say that, to say like, I need to change something. I need to take a step back or I need to take a break. I need to rest. Like we can tell each other that we can post about self-care and all and hashtags and whatever. But actually truly doing it is a brave move.
[00:10:28] Lisa DiGeso Thank you. It’s it’s been actually easy, to be honest. I thought the biggest thing is like your mindset around it, thinking, okay, my clients are going to hate me. I’m never going to have another client like we live in the same city. I’m like, everyone’s going to be like, What the heck is milk and honey? You know? No, no, no, no. And I’m like, okay, nobody said that. Everyone said like, Wow, you’ve been working hard. You’ve been working hard for 14 years. Probably you need a break, right? Awesome girl. Amazing. Amazing.
[00:10:51] Stacey Owen To me, it was just be me. Like I would like because to be honest, what I am seeing in the industry right now and I think just in online business is during the pandemic there was a certain level of stress, but I see it and I personally feel it so much more now. I mean, I had a baby last year. That’s a whole other thing. And I mean, she’s amazing. I sound like a terrible person, but but like, I do see a lot of other entrepreneurs, like, really struggling. And then the response that I’m seeing is like, don’t give up. Push through yet still rest. Like they’re saying all the right things. But then there’s still that pressure of like, do the things and show up. Show up as your best self and like, now is the time, Like you had that rest in the pandemic, but now is the go time.
[00:11:36] Lisa DiGeso And the funny thing is, did we actually have rest in the pandemic or were we all in like this entire state of shock that our whole nervous system was like, shattered and recovery takes 2 to 3 years? It does. Like we were in an extended period of trauma. Yeah, Collectively. Yeah.
[00:11:56] Stacey Owen Exactly. Exactly.
[00:11:58] Stacey Owen So how you’re feeling is a normal response to what you’ve experienced, what we’ve all experienced. There’s nothing wrong with you.
[00:12:05] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, so that’s me.
[00:12:07] Stacey Owen I love it. I feel like. As like when you’re going through burnout and you’re still wanting to maintain because you’re obviously you’re still maintaining aspects of your business and this like this part of your business. I think for people in general that are feeling burnout and they’re looking at their business, they’re like, okay, I have to I have to keep working because this pays my bills. So what can I do to maintain something or not just completely burnout, but still be able to keep going? And I think for that, what I keep focusing and telling people like, don’t do things that are draining you. So for example, I just deleted Tik Tok off my phone. I know, I know. It’s a good marketing tactic. I know that it works. I even recommend to people if you enjoy it totally, you can absolutely do that. It’ll it’ll help you and help your business. But I don’t recommend people utilizing tactics for marketing their business or running their business, thus draining them or that’s not good for their mental health. I would never, ever recommend that. So I personally am like I had to tell myself that like I’m a marketer, just because I am does not mean I have to do all the tactics. I’m allowed to take my own advice. Literally. Just today I took it off my phone. I’m like, That is not for me. That one is just not.
[00:13:15] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, I felt that way when it came to stripping away layers of my business. Like because at one point it was at one point in the beginning I was just maternity and newborn and then it was maternity, newborn baby, and then I was maternity newborn family and then I threw in some headshots there and some personal branding stuff.
[00:13:33] Lisa DiGeso And I was like, Does this bring me joy? And as much as I do love my clients, they didn’t. Like, I just want to do maternity and newborn and that’s all I want to do.
[00:13:43] Stacey Owen But that and that and that’s okay. And I think, yeah, right.
[00:13:47] Stacey Owen I do think other people like they can get in your head, especially when I like to call myself a recovering people pleaser. Yes. And then, okay, well, this person like, gets excited about that and like, it would make them happy. So maybe they’re right. Like, maybe I should try that add that into my life. But then you just got it. I love how you worded it. I think you said, doesn’t bring you joy. Doesn’t bring me joy. Yes. So do the things. So if you’re feeling burnt out and you need to keep going in some way, analyze that and really pick the thing, identify the item or the tactic or the part of your business that you enjoy, what is the thing that brings you joy will also bring you energy, which will also allow you to keep going.
[00:14:23] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, I completely agree. And I love I love that you’re stripping things away, especially when you’re like you’re just acknowledging that maybe this isn’t good for your mental health, because I think a lot of the time we think we have to like have all the different plates spinning of all the different things, and it’s just like exhausting, exhausting.
[00:14:42] Stacey Owen And as a business owner, you think, well, as a business owner, I have a set of responsibilities that I need to fulfill. And you forget. I mean, I forget. So I’m projecting, I’m just sharing this with you guys. Like I forget that I’m also a person. And I also need to care of myself. I can say that to other people. I can hear other people saying it to me and all that. But truly, it is such an easy thing to like, just put yourself last. When you are nurturing person, you’re, again, I like saying a service provider because really what you’re doing is you are in a profession that you love because you love serving other people. So it’s very easy to put yourself last and you just don’t want to do that.
[00:15:20] Lisa DiGeso So are you still shooting? Are you still taking photography clients?
[00:15:23] Stacey Owen Like a crazy person. I only have only a couple. Only a couple. I actually had two, which was the hardest thing ever. I had to after I had said yes to a couple of things, I had to go back and say, I’m sorry I overcommitted, I got excited, but I can’t actually do this. I was that was so hard.
[00:15:40] Lisa DiGeso I love that and I want to touch on that too you a little bit because that is so brave. Instead of sacrificing your your health and your family and your mental health by overextending yourself, you actually just went back and said, I overcommitted and I’m sorry. And that’s okay. Thank you. Right. Okay. And I think I think that a lot of the time we push through it and we don’t have to. We can we forget that we are actually the bosses. Our lives and our businesses and our time, and we get to say that. So I commend you for that.
[00:16:13] Stacey Owen Thank you. So I still shoot because I still love it. I still love it. I love holding a camera. I love who I am when I am shooting. Yeah.
[00:16:22] Lisa DiGeso And so your passion would be boudoir?
[00:16:24] Stacey Owen Definitely.
[00:16:25] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. Yeah. It’s so funny because I’m like, I don’t do sexy.
[00:16:28] Stacey Owen But like I said, the term boudoir is, like, the most commonly used one. But I don’t even. I don’t like. I wouldn’t even call my work boudoir, because when people picture boudoir, that’s really not how I shoot. Yeah, I love shooting more documentary storytelling and it has those aspects in it. So like, if you were to do a boudoir shoot with me, I’d say like 25% would actually involved nudity. I mean, girl, you’d be naked at them. Probably like. But most of it actually would not be.
[00:17:00] Lisa DiGeso I know you were doing the noir stories, right? Yeah. Yeah. So tell us a little bit more about those.
[00:17:07] Stacey Owen Ah yes I would love to. Maybe you should do one. What I love to do is I love to have the conversation with the person. And it is an experience like, like all shooting is like whether no matter what the genre is. But I love to decide with the person, Are we creating a character to like a fictional character that you get to embody so you can experience something that you wouldn’t normally feel like you could? Because that’s not you. You’re like, I’m like, Lisa, let’s do this thing. You’re like yesterday’s. I love that. I wish I could, but that’s just not me. Even though inside, like, I really want to. But that’s not who I am, so I’m not going to do it. Okay, well, you want to experience this thing, but it’s not you. So let’s create a character that you can embody. So then now you’re allowing yourself to experience it because it’s no longer you.
[00:17:50] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, it’s like an alter ego.
[00:17:52] Stacey Owen Yes, exactly. So we either base the story on that or we base the story on something that happens in your everyday life and we romanticize it. And something like so simple, like, for example, I did this couples noir story and the plan was for it to be like, quite sexy. But when I got there and I got to know them and we talked it through, it just really not like it just felt so uncomfortable for them. Truly not just like could be their alter ego, but like, actually was not them. So we ended up basing the story on their real life. And when she got the story afterwards and they were saying that it reminded them what they did truly have, what they actually had was so special and so and so beautiful. And it reminded them that that’s what they had. It was incredible. I love that.
[00:18:40] Stacey Owen So, yeah, it could be it can be based on real life or or whenever you want to do.
[00:18:46] Lisa DiGeso Like I pose babies and I read books.
[00:18:48] Stacey Owen The book. The book one would be, maybe not the posing the babyy. Maybe we leave that one for something else.
[00:18:54] Stacey Owen But noir story the book one would be. Can you imagine. Yeah. My brain is already creating something for you.
[00:19:00] Lisa DiGeso You should see all my books. I have so many books.
[00:19:03] Stacey Owen Yeah. Romanticizing and creating a little indie film based on that would be incredible.
[00:19:09] Lisa DiGeso I love it. So do you do do you do video as well?
[00:19:12] Stacey Owen You know, I used to, but it’s not something I’ve done recently.
[00:19:15] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. So fun. I love it. I love watching your work. So I want to switch gears and we’re going to like roll back into marketing. And I want to talk a little bit about the biggest marketing mistake that you see creative entrepreneurs and photographers making.
[00:19:28] Stacey Owen Oh, I guess. There’s like three things that come to mind immediately. So the first one would be looking to see what everybody else is doing and feeling crappy because you’re not doing all those things. So it’s like a bride that sends you a Pinterest board with 100 images. And those 100 images are the like the number one best photo of that wedding from 100 different photographers is the same thing like marketing. You see someone’s amazing on Instagram, someone’s amazing blogger newsletter or whatever it is. You don’t have to be 100% on all the things, so don’t put that pressure on yourself and overwhelm yourself and burn yourself out. So then based on that, think, okay, what you need to do is identify your goals, not not what you think your goals should be, but truly what are your goals? Cause like Lisa your goals are going to be different from mine. Some people want to do destination and others are like, I have a family. I don’t want to go to Mexico for a wedding that doesn’t appeal to me. So your tactics, your strategy are going to look different. So don’t just follow generic advice. Don’t just do what everybody else is doing. Create your own strategy based on your real capacity, not your “what it should be” capacity, but your actual capacity. And then follow that. Start small, pick up momentum and then you can add.
[00:20:42] Lisa DiGeso So I want to talk a little bit about branding a little bit, because when you need a marketing overhaul, you’re going to hit overwhelm. I know that I’ve done it multiple times and I often don’t know where to start. So if someone is like looking at rebranding themselves entirely, what advice would you have on where to begin?
[00:20:58] Stacey Owen So are we talking about talking about …
[00:21:00] Lisa DiGeso Talking about the whole shebang. I’m talking about logo, I’m talking about colors. I’m talking about like website, everything. And they want to go. From the floor.
[00:21:08] Stacey Owen I would have so many questions.
[00:21:10] Stacey Owen Is this something that you were planning?
[00:21:14] Lisa DiGeso No, probably, probably not. I love pink and white and Times New Roman, so I think I’m staying there.
[00:21:20] Stacey Owen You’re solid, you’re set. You’re set. So if someone were to ask me that, I would want to know why are you doing a rebrand? So starting there, like the intention, the purpose behind it. Because I can’t just give someone I resist the generic generic advice, like there’s some best practices and things like that. So you ask the question, Why am I doing this? So I feel like I need to because why? From outside perspective and people are telling me or because deep down when I look at my brand, I’m no longer aligning with it. Or maybe you’re taking your brand in a different direction. So getting really clear on the why before you even touch anything. And I would say it’s like jumping to the end. But when you start your rebranding process, don’t ask a bunch of people for advice because they’re going to look at it based on what they like. Not maybe like, how are you best representing yourself? Do you want to represent yourself? Like, here, this is my photography logo. It’s green. I went with that because I love green. Like, that was when I first started getting into branding. And it was just like no reason other than I like green. It’s fine, it’s cool. I like it. But when I did Pepper, I went through the whole process of like, okay, well, how do I want the audience to perceive us? What kind of emotion do I want them to feel or thoughts that I want them to have when they look at our branding? So I did it based on that. So it’s a different approach. I would recommend this way. I would recommend the totally this the Pepper way, not not the Stacey because I. Because I like green. Cause I like green.
[00:22:49] Lisa DiGeso Well, it was funny because I literally wrote milk and honey photography in like Times New Roman and Arial and I have stuck with that since the day I made my first watermark. I was like, every time I try to change it, I was like, Nope, that looks weird. Nope, doesn’t look like me. Like it’s classic boom done.
[00:23:04] Stacey Owen And then there you go. Not any generic way. It has to be authentic to you. Yeah, but there is a process you want to go through. I see people that are piece mealing it and they’re doing they’re pulling like one little bit here. They add a little bit there and then it’s not consistent. And then you have like different colors on your social media, different colors on your website and fonts all over the place. So no matter what you choose, whether it’s the green because you like it or you’ve gone through the whole process for brand messaging and identity and all that, no matter what it is, be consistent across all platforms and then you will look professional and people will know you’re legit.
[00:23:42] Lisa DiGeso I love it. Good advice. So we talked a little bit before about burnout and how I’m kind of speaking from experience on here. I’m really a classic overthinker and I’m really giving myself this one year just to figure all my stuff out. But when it comes to my brand, I want to create sort of a buzz around my business again that really lights me up when I do get it going. So from a marketing perspective, where would I even want to start? Coming coming from like full stop?
[00:24:09] Stacey Owen What aspect are you creating a buzz around? So is this the question like what aspect of my business I want to create a buzz around or I have this aspect. How do I create buzz around that?
[00:24:20] Stacey Owen I think I want to go back to my roots of being known as maternity newborn, and you go to milk and honey for maternity newborn And my pricing definitely is going to be a lot different than it was previously because I was drastically undercharging. But I don’t like I don’t want to be overbooked, but I want to be like, this is what I should be doing. This is what I want to be doing. And I think I just don’t know how to get the machine going again is my question.
[00:24:47] Stacey Owen Are you ready for the buzz to happen? Like, do you have all the structure in place?
[00:24:52] Lisa DiGeso No, I think I think like where I’m at right now is I’m still trying to figure out the structure. So I’ve got the new website rebuilt. I’ve never paid for marketing for a day in my life because it’s always just been a really word of mouth industry.
[00:25:06] Stacey Owen Number one. It’s the number one tactic still.
[00:25:09] Lisa DiGeso Right? So and I’m just like, well, do I start going back and model calling, even though I’ve got this like my pricing is like quadruple of what it used to be? I just think I think I’m just I don’t know what to do.
[00:25:21] Lisa DiGeso I would start I start with the creative, creative standpoint. Yeah. I think don’t get too wrapped up in the marketing aspect yet. I think decide truly what it is that you want to do, what the structure is in your business. What does that look like to you? The structure, the structure. Okay, what am I offering? And then creatively, what am I designing? What am I? Yeah, what am I creating? What like visually, what is that? And then once you have that in mind, then you can start thinking about, okay, how do I create buzz around this thing that I feel very deeply about or I’m excited about? Because if you are excited about it, you’re going to it’ll be so much easier to create buzz. The number one thing I see when it comes to Buzz Kill is someone that is either trying to promote something that they’re not 100% behind or they’re burnt out or tired. And no matter how they promote it, it’s just lackluster. And if you’re not excited, then no one else is going to be excited. So the best way to build buzz is to actually be excited about what you’re doing and be excited to share it.
[00:26:22] Lisa DiGeso Is that tells me I need to wait till I’m excited. Yeah, yeah. Oh yeah. Okay. Yeah.
[00:26:29] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. Because I’m currently not excited. I’m currently sitting in like, I should be getting this ready. I should be because I’m like, I’m getting clients having their fourth and their third and fourth babies and I’m like, okay, but I don’t want to be sending them my old pricing and how I was doing thing before. Like, I’m not ready, so I’m still on pause. I’m not excited yet.
[00:26:48] Stacey Owen Wait, wait, wait till you’re excited. When you’re excited, then we’re going to have that conversation. And then then I’ll be able to have all sorts of cool ideas for you. I love it. Yeah, I’m already thinking ahead.
[00:27:00] Stacey Owen Give me nine months.
[00:27:02] Stacey Owen Nine months. That’s really funny. Maternity. I feel like that maternity joke right there. Like.
[00:27:09] Lisa DiGeso Amazing. I’m gonna birth a new business.
[00:27:16] Stacey Owen Can you please have that as a quotable, right? Yeah. Need to pull that little gold nugget out from here. Yeah. Love it.
[00:27:25] Stacey Owen All right, so I want to talk a little bit. We’re totally going to go in a different tangent here. We’re going to talk about SEO and, like, this is like the F word to photographers because everyone does not know what to do with it. They don’t like talking about it. And it feels like a naughty little secret in the industry. So can you want to unpack SEO, how it why it’s important, what we should be doing and even where you start with it?
[00:27:45] Stacey Owen Ah just so you know, don’t be surprised when the numbers drop off this podcast just at those very words SEO. Photographers hear SEO and they will look away and you’re like, Turn it off or skip it. And I like it. SEO is like the antithesis for a creative. Yeah, is really difficult. And I get that. That’s the thing is it doesn’t have to be scary. And I think we built it up to be something that’s just feels like intangible, but it’s not like it truly is such a structural part of your business. So it’s a tactic that most photographers don’t utilize, and because of that, it can be very successful. So most people still Google and actually social media now is also using SEO, but that’s a whole other conversation. But most people, if it’s not word of mouth, they’re Googling it, so they’re finding something online. Your website is searched by Google every three days. So it used to be faster than that, but now it’s a gazillion billion websites on the Internet on the old interwebs. So it takes every three days for Google to come around. And it’s like it sends out little spiders into your Web site and it’s analyzing and it’s saying, okay, when people search these terms, I want to provide the person searching the best possible answers. So is this website going to be one of the best possible answers for the search term? So you are a maternity and I almost said boudoir, maternity and like newborn photographer. So you want to be coming up for people searching those terms. So there’s a way to show Google like I am an expert, I am the one that you want to show to these people searching this. And it comes to the structure of your website and the content of your website and how often you update it. So are you an expert in your field? And there’s also things like backlinks. So that’s why if you do submissions or other people are mentioning your work, getting on podcasts and people linking back to you is showing, okay, this website, this person is an expert in their field, like they know what they’re talking about. They’re very trustworthy. They have high domain authority. So I’m going to show this to the searcher on Google. So the different ways that you can do it, something simple is have a Google business profile that is like the easiest win as a very overlooked thing that photographers don’t even think about. So if you do that, it is already going to put you ahead of most of the pack and then updating it. So if you’re blogging, which I highly recommend you doing.
[00:30:13] Lisa DiGeso I was going to that was my next question was like, is that dead or is that still?
[00:30:17] Stacey Owen No. Yeah. Blogging. She not dead. Get that on the list. Yeah.
[00:30:23] Stacey Owen So there’s there’s blogging without SEO and which is great for a portfolio piece is great for a relationship building you can be linking your vendors on there. It’s great for you, like, you know, past clients sharing, that’s all. Still great is still a good tactic, but there’s a way to optimize a blog, which is a little bit more in-depth than I could really explain here. But that’s you can join Pepper U, you have it on there. How to create a Blog Efficiently Using SEO. But I was like at the beginning of this, a blog. So every time you create a blog, you want to also upload that to your Google business profile. So that’s another way to keep it updated, right? So then it’s active, it’s active like that. That makes sense. It’s a fresh link and you’re, you’re updating it so it’s current. It’s not just here’s my Google business profile, it’s just stagnant. Nothing’s happening there, but keeping it updated. So if you were to update maybe like every other week. Yeah, would add a post, add a photo, share your blog, Google will love you. Easy win, easy win.
[00:31:21] Lisa DiGeso Full confession. I don’t think I’ve updated my Google listing since 2015.
[00:31:25] Stacey Owen It’s time. Right there. Yeah.
[00:31:29] Lisa DiGeso Love it. I’ll be on that next. So you mentioned Pepper U. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
[00:31:33] Stacey Owen So Pepper U, for me it was the answer to how do I actually do the thing. So there’s a lot of education out there, like very good educators. I mean, you’re an excellent educator and we know lots of excellent educators, but for me, Pepper U was how do I actually blog? How do I how do I do that? I was told that a newsletter is a really great tactic, and I’m very inspired to create a newsletter, but how do I actually do it? So it’s the how tos of the content marketing for photographers.
[00:32:06] Lisa DiGeso We’ll definitely include that in our show notes for our listeners because I’m sending everybody there.
[00:32:10] Stacey Owen And it’s just a membership. So it’s like $99 month. You stay for one month, stay for three. Stay for the year. Stay for as long as you need either the monthly support or the education.
[00:32:20] Lisa DiGeso I love that. That’s so great. Okay, so you ready for the Lightning round?
[00:32:23] Stacey Owen Oh, my God. I’m ready.
[00:32:24] Lisa DiGeso Okay. It might mean ish lightning might be like thunder a little slower. Morning person or night owl?
[00:32:30] Stacey Owen Night owl. I want to be a morning person. I’ve tried so hard. But. Night Owl.
[00:32:34] Lisa DiGeso Same. Favorite show as. As a kid.
[00:32:39] Stacey Owen I didn’t have a favorite show as a kid. I was an Archie Comics kid.
[00:32:42] Lisa DiGeso Same. Oh, my gosh. I love Betty and Veronica so much.
[00:32:46] Stacey Owen Yes, yes, yes.
[00:32:49] Lisa DiGeso Okay. Last thing you did for yourself as an indulgence.
[00:32:52] Stacey Owen I slept in.
[00:32:54] Lisa DiGeso That’s nice.
[00:32:55] Stacey Owen Yeah.
[00:32:56] Lisa DiGeso What did you want to be when you grew up?
[00:32:58] Stacey Owen It was a few different things. Architect For a little while. Oh, that’s not right. Sorry. Archeologist, like, was like, all the. All the dinosaurs and, like, every other kid.
[00:33:06] Lisa DiGeso Interesting.
[00:33:07] Stacey Owen And then. Actually, I really wanted to be a journalist.
[00:33:11] Lisa DiGeso That makes sense, actually. Yeah, that makes really a lot of sense. Do you have any personal projects going on right now?
[00:33:18] Stacey Owen Trying to get my toddler to sleep through the night? That’s my personal project, right?
[00:33:24] Lisa DiGeso Yeah.
[00:33:25] Lisa DiGeso Go to karaoke jam.
[00:33:27] Stacey Owen Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics.
[00:33:29] Lisa DiGeso Oh, that’s a good. What three things do you want to be remembered for?
[00:33:33] Stacey Owen I never think about that. I never. I never something that I ever think about. I just think about how do I want to live my life with as much fulfillment as possible.
[00:33:44] Lisa DiGeso I love that. Favorite guilty or not so guilty pleasure.
[00:33:48] Stacey Owen Coffee, I know it’s cliche, but seriously. Coffee.
[00:33:51] Lisa DiGeso Oceans or mountains. And why?
[00:33:54] Stacey Owen Oceans. And just because.
[00:33:58] Lisa DiGeso What is something you’ve accomplished as an adult that your younger self would be proud of?
[00:34:03] Stacey Owen Creating Pepper.
[00:34:06] Lisa DiGeso Favorite comfort food.
[00:34:09] Stacey Owen Also coffee?
[00:34:14] Lisa DiGeso Where’s the IV bag? Yeah, it’s funny because that light almost look like you could hang like an I.V. bag from.
[00:34:19] Stacey Owen It’s ready. I’m ready. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to go.
[00:34:22] Lisa DiGeso Where do you feel most centered and happy?
[00:34:25] Stacey Owen I am not a very like, like, calm centered type person. I feel like the happiest I am truly is when I’m shooting and I’m having so much fun and I feel really connected to what I’m doing. I am the most deeply fulfilled and excited but I would, say, like, calm centered happiness. Probably currently, probably cuddling my baby. Yeah, I go get pretty good. Pretty good, Pretty awesome.
[00:34:51] Lisa DiGeso What are you most grateful for in this season of life?
[00:34:54] Stacey Owen Truly knowing deeply I have full control over my life and I get to decide whatever I want to do with that.
[00:35:02] Lisa DiGeso What has been the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
[00:35:06] Stacey Owen It wasn’t advice. It was more of a lesson, I guess, this kind of advice. But it was. When you make a mistake to realize you were only even able to make that mistake because you got to the stage in your business or your stage in life. So you make a big mistake. Right now. You’re like, I should I shouldn’t be making mistakes. I’ve been in business for however many 15 years. You said 15 years. No big deal. You know, the thing is, you’re going to make mistakes that two years ago even you would never have made because you weren’t in that stage of business you are now or stage of life. So you’re like, Congratulations, self. You got to the stage where you even you were even able to make this mistake. Congratulations you got here. Where are you going to learn from this.
[00:35:45] Lisa DiGeso I love that. What advice do you have for someone just starting out in the photography industry?
[00:35:51] Stacey Owen In creative creatively or business marketing?
[00:35:55] Lisa DiGeso Either your call.
[00:35:56] Stacey Owen Okay I would say don’t worry about niching down immediately. That is the thing that a lot of photographers hear like you have to niche to be successful. You know, you can niche and be very successful, but you don’t have to. So don’t put that pressure on yourself at the beginning. Just shoot a lot of different stuff, see what you like, still have some goals, still set some strategy, but have some fun first. Don’t don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
[00:36:22] Lisa DiGeso Totally. Great advice. Where can our listeners learn more from you?
[00:36:26] Stacey Owen Well, they can find us on our website. www.meetpepper.ca. On Instagram @meet.pepper And YouTube and Tik Tok. But I’m not there anymore. But the team will be there having fun. It’s pretty much the best places to find us. Yeah, I’m hanging out with you on your podcast.
[00:36:48] Lisa DiGeso I love it and I love to end my interviews just with this last question. And it is what are you currently curious about or artistically curious about?
[00:36:57] Stacey Owen I kind of want to try some studio portraits. I feel like that’s been really outside of my regular go to, which is very documentary, but studio is really appealing to me lately. I’m very interested in it right now.
[00:37:16] Lisa DiGeso I love me some studio lights, girl.
[00:37:18] Stacey Owen Yeah, yeah right. You have full control and you can like whatever you envision you could actually create instead of just capturing. Creating on purpose.
[00:37:29] Lisa DiGeso I love that. Well, Stacy, thank you so much for joining me today.
[00:37:33] Stacey Owen Thanks for having me. You’re amazing. Just, you know, you’re such a boss. It’s ridiculous.
[00:37:37] Lisa DiGeso I feel the same about you.
[00:37:38] Stacey Owen Thanks, man.
[00:37:40] Lisa DiGeso Oh, my beautiful friends, thank you so much for listening in today. I am sending you so much of my light and my love today and every single day. We’ll see you next time. Thank you so much for listening to the Art and Soul show. If you’re the kind of person that likes helping others, please share this podcast with your photographer friends. Sharing is caring, and it’s our mission to help as many photographers create a business and life they are truly passionate about. I’m here to support you on your journey, and if you have any questions, topics, or guests you would love to hear from, please shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may even feature your question in an upcoming episode.
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