As entrepreneurs it’s easy for life to become Eat. Sleep. Breathe. your business. We wake up to the sounds of “you’ve got mail” (not in the romantic Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks) kind of way but more in the Dolly Parton working 9-5 kind of way. Without even realizing it, our identities become wrapped up in the work we do, leaving no room for identity (or hobbies) outside of work!
In today’s interview, Hope opens up about what it’s like to literally grow up with her business. Starting her photography career as a 16 year high school student, it’s taken years for her to learn how to create healthy boundaries for work and life.
As I’m sure most of us can attest: working is a habit that can be hard to break. And while “work” isn’t to be vilified, not being able to turn off work is a fast pass to burnout. I am so grateful for the insights Hope shared in today’s conversation about protecting her mental wellness and practical ways she promotes healthy work/life balance.
WILDFLOWER SHOWNOTES : shannaskidmore.com/hope-taylor
Hope Taylor: (00:00)
That was a huge help of her, of somebody else that didn't really know me well, looking at me and being like girlfriend, of course, you're freaking exhausted. Like here's, here's all the things that you're doing. And here's the 0% of things that you're doing for yourself. Like no wonder you're anxious and not sleeping. And like just burnt out on every front. Like nobody's taking care of Hope. And I was like, oh, thanks, Maria. That was a serious little, uh, check right there because I needed that. Um, but it really was like a gut check. I was like, you're right. Like nobody's taking care of Hope because that's my job and I'm not doing it well,
Shanna Skidmore: (00:34)
You're listening to Consider the Wildflowers, the podcast, Episode 11. I met today's guest Hope Taylor in the summer of 2019. Wait, my brain totally just went to a Bryan Adams song. Okay. I'm back. We were both speaking at a conference and her smile and personality were like sunshine. We bonded over a late night dance party and our love of the low country. I have truly wanted to be her bestie ever since. So when today's conversation went from our love of Taylor Swift to talking about going to therapy in the span of about five minutes, I felt our bestie status was for sure solidified . But in all seriousness, this episode covers really important topics regarding mental health wellness and avoiding burnout. I'm grateful that Hope opened up about the good and the hard seasons of her nine years in business, as well as sharing a perspective that only her and T swift have in common which is becoming extremely successful before ever graduating high school. If you dig professional bios, here goes. Hope is a senior portrait and wedding photographer serving both Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah Georgia. She began her business when she was a 16 year old high school student and has now been a full-time entrepreneur for almost a decade. She now educates photographers on how to build profitable businesses and lives that they love. Okay. Formal introductions over. Let's dive into the Hope and Shanna coffee talk. Hey, it's Shanna. And this is consider the wildflowers, the podcast. For the past 15 plus years, I've had the honor to hear thousands of stories from entrepreneurs around the world. As a former fortune 100 financial advisor turned business consultant. I have a unique opportunity to see the real behind the highlight reel. I'm talking profit and loss statements, unpaid taxes, moments of burnout, and those of utter victory, or as my husband says, the content everyone is wondering, but not many are talking about. And now I'm bringing these private conversations to you. Hear the untold stories of how industry leaders, founders, and up and coming entrepreneurs got their start, the experiences that shaped them and the journey to building the brands they have today. Stories that will inspire and reignite, encourage to redefine success and build a life and business on your own terms. Welcome wildflower. I'm so glad you're here. Hey, Hope. I'm so excited to have you on the podcast today. And I mean, we have so much life to catch up on, so y'all just welcome to the Hope and Shanna coffee chat.
Hope Taylor: (03:03)
oh my gosh. I am literally so excited to be here. This is gonna be so much fun. Like you said, I cannot believe we haven't caught up in this long.
Shanna Skidmore: (03:11)
I know. So we were saying right before we hit record, the last time we saw each other was in 2019, I think at creative at heart, that was three years ago. Mm-hmm and so much life has happened in three years.
Hope Taylor: (03:24)
It's I mean, truly just, I don't even know where to begin. I mean, I, yeah, I mean, I'm almost, I'm getting married now and I wasn't even dating the person that I'm about to marry last time I saw you. So that, that is how much life has happened since I last saw you
Shanna Skidmore: (03:38)
And I have a year and a half year old. And that also is brand new.
Hope Taylor: (03:44)
Just crazy. Oh gosh. I just can't believe it.
Shanna Skidmore: (03:46)
Okay. So we're gonna catch up throughout this whole conversation. I wanna hear everything that you're up to everything about business. Like this podcast is so fun. I'm just, I love having being the host because I'm like, oh my goodness, let's catch up over three years and see what's up. So, but I want you to just tell everybody who you are. If those listening don't know you, and then we're gonna start by just like throwing it way back before you ever even started your business. So let's dive in.
Hope Taylor: (04:14)
Yeah, I love it. So I'll give the, the kind of cliff notes version of how I got started. And then you can tell me where you want me to elaborate. So basically I began my business when I was only 16 in high school. And so I was working a part-time job at a retail store. I don't know if any of the girls listening, remember justice, like the super girly little girl store that everyone loved, but I was working there and I, while it was a super cute place to work, I just felt super, super stuck and very, just kind of like a lack of purpose, I guess, would be the best way to describe it. And I was making minimum wage. I was only 16. So they had limits on how many hours you could work. So I wasn't even really making any money. I just was like burnt out and exhausted.
Hope Taylor: (04:58)
And at the same time I was taking a photo journalism class, just for fun on the side and ended up slowly taking photos of friends for fun, slowly started getting paid to do that. And fast forward to my senior year, I went to school part-time. So I left class every day by noon because I just, I had enough credits to get to do that. And so that was kind of the year I went full-time with my business almost by accident. I had so much going on in my life that I don't even know that in real time I was realizing how much it became truly a full-time job as my senior year was progressing. So I ended up applying to seven universities and committing to one, and I went to orientation, signed up for all my classes, had my dorm, had my roommate. And about a month before I was supposed to move in, I just had this huge shift in my heart of what I wanted to do. And I revoked my admission and went full time instead. And that was 10 years ago in August, next August. So a little over nine years ago now
Shanna Skidmore: (06:00)
That like gives me chills. I mean, what an incredible story. So, okay. You're working at justice, which yes. Is justice still even exist? I don't even know.
Hope Taylor: (06:11)
I think that it does. I think that Libby Lou was the original justice. I don't know if anybody is gonna remember Libby Lou, but
Shanna Skidmore: (06:18)
Then I don't even remember Libby Lou. No.
Hope Taylor: (06:19)
Okay. And then it evolved into justice and now I think that I think justice is still around. I do.
Shanna Skidmore: (06:25)
So. I mean, did you have to work like financially? Was that just how your parents kind of raised you or yeah. Yeah,
Hope Taylor: (06:32)
I think so. So even before justice, I actually worked at Chick-fil-A. It was the only place that would hire a 15 year old. So I worked at Chick-fil-A when I was 15 and I really don't know because I mean, my parents wanted me to work, but there was no reason for me to be working at 15. Like I didn't have a financial need for that. Yeah. Um, my dad was in the military. He retired around that time. And so we weren't incredibly well off or anything like that, but I just didn't have bills or expenses obviously. Yeah. And so, cause I didn't even have a car yet, but I think that I always just loved the independence of having my own money and having structure and routine to my life in general. Yeah. And so I think I just always enjoyed it to be honest.
Shanna Skidmore: (07:13)
I know. I, I think it's just so interesting to hear someone talk about like in high school, in the job you're doing. I mean, I think most, I mean, I don't know, I don't wanna speak for high schoolers everywhere, but it's like in high school, it's just, you get a job to make money and have money for gas. And you know, to hear you say you wanted purpose in your work or you were feeling like burnout and stuck, you know, that's just so interesting. It's almost like that entrepreneurial spirit was in you so long ago
Hope Taylor: (07:39)
That see, it's funny that you say that because even looking back further than that, back to when I was little, I was constantly doing lemonade stands. I was constantly, I used to mix my shampoo with water and then rebottle it and go door to door and try to sell it to my neighbors. Like I, I don't know that I've ever actually said that on a podcast before, but I literally, I, I mean, I was insane. I don't know why I did that. um, but
Shanna Skidmore: (08:06)
Your poor neighbors.
Hope Taylor: (08:07)
I know. I mean, truly, truly
Shanna Skidmore: (08:09)
Here's some water down herbal essence.
Hope Taylor: (08:11)
Yeah, exactly. And I, I mean, I would get up in the morning if my parents were having a garage sale and if it was cold out, I'd make hot chocolate. And if it was hot, I would make lemonade. I mean, I was just always wanting to do something to make money for myself. Always.
Shanna Skidmore: (08:24)
Yeah. That's so interesting. Okay. So when you were working as a senior, I mean, did you think to yourself I wanna be a photographer or was it still just like, this is making me money. I'm good at it. I mean, at what point did that shift happen? Was it when you already applied to college? I'm just so interested of like when you were at, oh, I'm gonna be a photographer.
Hope Taylor: (08:47)
Yeah. So I honestly don't know that there was ever a thought process of, oh, I'm gonna be a photographer. I think it was always, oh, I love being a business person and photography is what I'm good at right now. And so that, that was an accident. Like photography was an accident. I started just doing it for fun for friends. And I remember there was somebody I was photographing them for free and they gave me $50 as a tip kind of on the way out as a thank you. And I went from $7 an hour to, you know, $50 an hour. And all of a sudden I was like, I mean, I was rich. I mean, at 16 years old, I was rich. And so that was kind of the shift in my mind that went from, oh, this is just a fun hobby to, oh, this could be a career, but I still don't know that there was ever a moment of like, I desire to be a photographer or an artist. I think it was always more like, oh, this could be the thing that allows me to pursue business in the way that I've always wanted to.
Shanna Skidmore: (09:41)
That's so interesting. And do you, did you, when you went to apply to college and went that route, I mean, did you have a plan in mind where you're like, I want to be X, Y, Z, or is that just like people go to college? That's what you do.
Hope Taylor: (09:56)
So it was a little bit of both. It evolved from nursing school. Actually. I wanted to do, um, like I wanted to move into the medical world and I did like 500 hours of volunteering at my local hospital or something before I started doing photography. So it shifted from that plan to, I'm gonna go to school for business and marketing once my business got started. Yeah. And then as my business evolved, it went from that to, okay. How can I get home as much as possible on weekends to maintain this level of work to just kidding. I'm not gonna go . Yeah. So that's, that's how that happened.
Shanna Skidmore: (10:31)
Okay. Now I'm just dying to know what did your family think when you came home and said I'm not going to college?
Hope Taylor: (10:39)
So there were two sides to this coin. So my mom and I are best friends, we always have been. And so I always joke that she knew I wasn't gonna go to college way before I did, because she always would say to me, I mean, I'm sitting there filling out college application and she would kind of walk in and, and give me a snack and be like, just so you know, if you wanna stay home, I just want you to know that that's an option. And I could, I would get mad at her. I'd be like, stop trying to keep me here. Like I don't, I wanna go be a normal teenager, like leave me be. And so she knew she saw it coming. So when I woke, I have this vivid memory, I woke up this morning in June and I was crying and I was, I was hysterical. And I was like, something just feels super off about this plan. And I don't think that I wanna go to school. And she was just immediately like, okay, like, we're gonna do whatever we need to do. Like that's, you know, that's fine. My dad on the other hand was not as supportive. He waited until he was in his thirties to get his degree. So his perspective was it's way harder to get that degree when you're in thirties and you have kids just do it now. And photography will always be there as the fallback. And so the compromise was that I would do community college. So I did a semester of community college while trying to balance my business. And I had meltdown after meltdown, after meltdown, trying to balance both of those things before he gave me permission to take one semester off. And then it escalated into going full time after that semester off.
Shanna Skidmore: (12:04)
Yeah. Wow. That's amazing. All right. Walk me through those early days of business. I mean, how did you come up with your pricing, your offers? Did you know, you know, did you get an LLC, like, just talk through how we learned at when 18 years old, how to run this photography business?
Hope Taylor: (12:23)
Yeah. It was a lot of trial and error and a lot of failing is what it was. So I did not get an LLC at first. I actually remember before my senior year, I walked into the courthouse with my mom, like the tiny little courthouse in our little Virginia town. And I was like, Hey, what do I need to do to legally run a business here? Like just give me the paperwork and I'm gonna sign it. Um, and that was, that was the extent of it. I mean, I was just considered a sole proprietor and I was just, I mean, I was literally just charging money based on supply and demand. So I started out, I think as most photographers do where I was doing everything. Right. Yeah. I was anybody that would pay me to take their picture. I was doing them. I was doing newborns families, extended families. I was, I mean, I was just doing the most random, I could come up with a long list. But I was basically just charging based on supply and demand for each specific niche. And so my senior portraits, which is now what I've kind of become known for was what was most popular, which was, I mean, just such a natural thing because all of my peers are, are who I was photographing. And so that was the most expensive thing that I offered because it was the most in demand thing that I had. And I started at $50 and I think I raised my prices like 50 bucks every time I felt like I was getting more inquiries than I could shoot. Yeah. But I was shooting, I mean every single night. And so I was just raising those prices as the demand for all of those things increased.
Shanna Skidmore: (13:49)
And did you get to a point, I mean, did you have like a sales goal or how much money you wanted to make or was it just a season of like, I'll do anything and everything to learn?
Hope Taylor: (13:58)
I was basically just doing anything and everything to learn. I mean, at this point, I, my parents gifted me a car for my 16th birthday, which was the biggest blessing. So I didn't have literally a single expense. I was living with them. I mean, gas was the only thing I was really paying for myself. And so I didn't have a need for financial goals until probably 19 18, 19. And so I would kind of set a, I need to buy this lens goal for myself. Those were my financial goals. Is okay. I wanna afford this $2,500 lens. And so that's my goal. That's what I'm working for right now. And that was kind of the constant cycle of finances in those first, probably two to three years of my business until I was 18, was okay, I wanna attend this workshop. I'm gonna work for this workshop. I need to buy this thing. And I, I mean, I probably invested 90% of what I was making back into my business in some capacity, whether it was education or travel or gear or a website, I was, I was just turning over my money back into my business in any way that I could.
Shanna Skidmore: (15:04)
Yeah. And would you say that you had photographers? I mean, how did I'm just so intrigued of how you learned to do all this? Were you taking education? Were it sounds like you were doing workshops? Like how did you figure it all out?
Hope Taylor: (15:17)
Yeah, I think that the first year or so was all straight up trial and error. Um, I learned the basics of camera gear when I was in that photo journalism class in high school. And the rest was YouTube and late night Googling. Like I was just figuring it out as I went. And then I, I would say when I graduated high school is when I started investing in education. I kind of replaced what would've been sororities and college education with workshops and conferences and things like that. And that was truly my thought process. And my, it was my parents thought process too. They would gift me the ability to attend Kaitlyn James's workshop for Christmas, because it was like the one that I, you know, couldn't afford or didn't save up enough for. And so I was really replacing what would've been a formal education with photography specific education, but that wasn't until probably a full year in.
Shanna Skidmore: (16:10)
Yeah. That's so interesting. And I would love to hear you just talk through, like, what do you feel like you did really well in those first kind of three to four years? And then what do you feel like you could have done better or differently? You know, looking back now, of course hindsight's 2020.
Hope Taylor: (16:26)
Yeah, of course. I think that what some of the things I did really well were that I always took my business really, really seriously. Like I never treated it as just a high school side hobby. I always wanted everyone else to view it as professional. And I always valued professionalism in what I was doing. And I just kind of, I think subconsciously knew that in order for anyone to trust a 16 year old, that could barely drive a car to invest money into, uh, I had to kind of set a standard for professionalism and client experience that maybe somebody in their forties wouldn't wouldn't have to do. And because that's what all the, that was the age of all the photographers in my market, I kind of had to out like earn their earn people's trust, I guess. Is kind of my thought process. And so I think I did a really good job of that of always kind of taking myself seriously before anyone else did. And I got a lot of slack for that in my public high school, like people. Did not like that. It was a whole lot of who does this girl think she is, but I, I, I wanted people to take me seriously. So I took myself very seriously. And I think I also did a really good job of being strategic about making myself appear to be in demand. I wasn't just out shooting all the time, but I was very intentionally sharing about those shoots and sharing the behind the scenes and posting on social media and marketing everything that I was doing so that there was intention behind everything to, I mean, to the best that there could have been at that age.
Shanna Skidmore: (17:56)
Hope Taylor: (17:57)
I think some of the things I didn't do well, I think I got really excited and rushed into a lot of things. I ended up redoing a lot of things because I did them quickly and I did them rushed and I still tend to do that. Like I still am a very much a done is better than perfect person, but I ended up spending money on like a logo and a website. And then two weeks later being like, I, I hate this actually. Like why did I do that? um, and I did that very often. And I also, I mean, I think that this is probably a very common thing that you hear, but I also wish that I had been more intentional with my finances sooner. If I had started investing and being really smart about finances at that age, I would've set myself up for a lot of success. And I, I don't think I took finances seriously until probably three or four years in. And so that would be another thing I wish I had been a little bit more intentional about.
Shanna Skidmore: (18:49)
Okay. You know, I'm gonna ask you more about that. Cause I'm like, yes, let's talk through it. I think that's so true though. And like you said, I hear this so often at those first few years, it's honing your craft, getting better at your craft, understanding how to do your craft better. And then at some point it's like, oh, I need to figure out the financial side. Yeah. So I'd love to hear for you. I mean, especially, it sounds like you're living with your family. You don't have a ton of expenses. At what point did you start thinking to yourself, Hey, I wanna figure out the money side of my business.
Hope Taylor: (19:21)
Yeah. I don't really know. I don't have a specific moment that comes to mind of when it clicked that like I needed to take this seriously as in terms of finances, but I do have this vivid memory of, I was invited to an educator's event for my website company and I was in the same room as a lot of people that I looked up to. And I remember actually, Jordan, Demos made a joke and said something along the lines of, if I had started investing, when I was your age, I'd be, be a millionaire already. And I was like, Oh, oh, I haven't even thought about that. Like, nobody has said that to me. And I have not thought about that. And so that was, I think when it clicked in my mind, like, oh, I really need to start thinking about longevity and I need to start thinking about retirement. And I mean, it's just terms and things that I was not thinking about at 18. Um, cause I think that was about the time that, that he made that joke and I was like, oh, oh, oh, I need to actually think about this. And so that's probably when it clicked in my mind that it needed to be a more intentional thought process for me.
Shanna Skidmore: (20:26)
And where did you start learning those types of things?
Hope Taylor: (20:30)
So my dad actually gave me a suggestion for a financial advisor around that same time. And I moved into my own house. I was renting a house and I remember I had a consult call with him and he was basically very nicely. Like, you don't make enough money yet to pay me to do like monthly services for you. But here's what I would suggest. And I opened up an IRA, like just super basic stuff that I should have done much sooner and started making monthly contributions to that account. And that was kind of where I started. Um, and kind of what I did for quite a few years up until probably three or four years ago when I started doing a little bit more with my money. But that was where I started and kind of where it stayed for a while.
Shanna Skidmore: (21:18)
Yeah. Okay. Now walk me through, so those first few years, it sounds like you're just honing your craft, getting better taking on all the clients. Like when did you feel like your business started to grow and shift? Are there any significant kind of turning points or big moments that you can think of in your business?
Hope Taylor: (21:36)
Yes. There's a very, very specific one. And it started with a massive mental breakdown as I feel like a lot of transition seasons of business do. Um, but I vividly remember I was, I had my house in Virginia, so I was technically living on my own, but I think I was staying at my parents for the night or something and I was in my parents' basement and I had been maintaining just this impossible level of service based work. And I was shooting, I mean, five nights a week at minimum. And now I was also doing weddings on weekends and those engagement sessions. And at this point I had started breaking into education a little bit, which is what makes up the majority of my income now. But I had started doing mentoring and coaching and workshops and it was like, everything was happening at one time. And I had this meltdown of the century where I was just like, I cannot maintain this anymore. Like I am burnt out on every front. I'm exhausted. And I, at this point kind of realized that my heart and my passion was being reignited for the education side of my business and was just so burnt out on the service side that I knew something major had to change if I wanted to scale that side of my business. And I remember that night, I made the decision that I had to completely pull something from my lineup of services and products like something had to go. And now it would be crazy to think that I would do this, but I decided that I was not going to photograph any more portraits. I was completely pulling senior portraits from the lineup of services that I offered, which was, again, the thing that I'm now known for and the biggest thing that, that I started with, but something had to give. And so for a full year, I completely pulled that from, from something that I would offer and free focused my attention at scaling the education side of my business. And I think that that year of really focused attention on the digital side of my business is what allowed me to have the margin to, to do what I do now in, in the capacity that I do now in that side of my business.
Shanna Skidmore: (23:45)
So what, how long had you been in business at this point? Like what year was all that
Hope Taylor: (23:49)
I would say that was probably 2017 ish, 2017, 2018. So I had been in business for about four years. Three or four years.
Shanna Skidmore: (23:56)
Yeah. And so did you start getting people reaching out, asking you for coaching? Is that how the education side started to grow?
Hope Taylor: (24:04)
Yes. So that actually started the same year that my services started because I was getting people wanting to learn from me in the high school capacity. Like I had other students, like, how are you doing that? Like, I wanna do my own thing on the side. I don't wanna work at Chick-fil-A anymore. Um, and so I was, I was always offering some form of education, whether it was small workshops or one-on-one mentoring, but the demand just kept increasing as I put out more and more free resources. And that was kind of that catalyst that was like, okay, like this isn't scalable as a service anymore. I need it to shift into a product that's scalable. So that was kind of what shifted that, that thought process.
Shanna Skidmore: (24:43)
But Hope, I just feel like your brain just, I mean, is this, this all coming from your brain? I'm so amazed at how you're just thinking so strategically and like how you created all, I mean, were you learning from someone, did you have a mentor or was it really just, this is how your brain works?
Hope Taylor: (25:00)
Well, you are very sweet. Um, I had, I, I had a lot of friends in the industry who were definitely inspirations of mine, but I didn't have a business coach at this point. So at this point it was all kind of self-taught strategy of seeing what other people were doing in the industry that were kind of scaling outside of the typical service based photography world and into a lot more income, honestly, through monetizing education. And at that point I had been doing education for years because I'd been doing educational blog posts and one-on-one mentoring. And I actually had a studio at this point where I was hosting workshops. And so I'd been doing a lot of in person coaching and teaching. And I think it was just a really clear next step that if I want to continue to do that without it taking up so much of my time, I need to do what I see these other people doing that inspire me. And that is turning it into a digital product that isn't directly correlated to my time.
Shanna Skidmore: (25:58)
Yeah. And you said this was what, 2017, 2018 mm-hmm , which is, I feel like in this creative industry when education just truly took off and became oh,
Hope Taylor: (26:08)
Shanna Skidmore: (26:09)
Yeah. Right. True. That's true. Okay. Tell me too, how are you again, pricing all your services. I mean, how are you figuring all these new services out when somebody says, Hey, I want you to coach me, how did you come up with your pricing?
Hope Taylor: (26:22)
So I think that for me at that point, my supply and demand thought process behind my photography services had given me kind of a general price on my time per hour. And so at that point I had streamlined enough of the back end of my photography client experience that the money that I was getting for those shoots was really just the time at the shoot because everything else was so streamlined. So in my mind, an hour of my time is worth about the same as an hour long portrait session at this point. And that was kind of how I priced everything else was okay. If you want two hours of coaching, then you're gonna pay me what would be two hours of portrait time. And then I continued to scale those prices the same way as soon as a workshop would sell out, I would open another one at a slightly higher price. And I just continued to increase those prices until there was kind of this even plateau of supply and demand in terms of what I was able to offer with my time. And I think obviously the natural thing that happens is as your time becomes a more and more limited resource your prices have to increase. And that was kind of the ball that got rolling around that time.
Shanna Skidmore: (27:24)
Yeah. And was there any point during this, you know, I think you're what you're 7, 8, 6, 7 at this time in those first six or seven years, was there any point where you just hit a lull or things weren't booking or you're like, I completely messed up my pricing or did something wrong financially? I mean, was there any point where I was like this isn't working?
Hope Taylor: (27:46)
I think that there were definitely seasons of lulls. The biggest lull that I remember was, was when I was living in Virginia, this was, this was probably actually around the same time I was getting far, far, far less wedding inquiries. And I had this panic moment of cuz my, my plan at that time was to teach about wedding photography. It wasn't to teach about senior photography. And so not getting wedding inquiries was this major panic moment of, okay, well, how am I gonna teach other people to do this? If that's what they're asking me to learn, but I'm not booking my own clients, right? Like this is terrifying. And I think that it ended up being a, a conglomerate of a couple things that had gone wrong. One of those being pricing, one of them being there was like a broken link on my website or something like that. And it just all came to this head of, of a panic mode. So there were definitely those seasons. I was really, really thankful that I had always set up my business to have multiple streams of income because I did always do that education side of things. And so even if there was a lull in photography, I, I was able to pick up a little bit on the education side, which was always such a huge blessing in those naturally low, slow seasons. But, I always increased my prices so gradually and so slowly that there was never this moment of, oh my gosh, we need to take 10 steps backwards. There have been times I've lowered my prices back down, especially when I've moved into new markets like Charleston and Savannah, but mm-hmm, that one really scary lull season is the biggest one that comes to my mind.
Shanna Skidmore: (29:15)
Yeah. I love hope. It sounds like personally your expenses moved up gradually, so they, you know, you didn't have a lot of expenses at first and then it just, you took on little by little and then would you say that allowed your business, like you said, you didn't have to make these dramatic jumps in pricing because everything grew kind of slowly together.
Hope Taylor: (29:36)
Absolutely. And I think, I mean, I was in a very, very privileged position of living with my parents and having so few overhead expenses that I was able to reinvest in my business in a way that most people can't just because a hundred percent of what I made could go back in. And I was able to create a stockpile of a savings because I had nowhere else for that money to go. And so I was in a very privileged position in that, in that way.
Shanna Skidmore: (30:01)
Yeah. I think that's so helpful to hear it cuz I work with so many people and it's like, yeah, we've gotta triple your pricing, you know? Yeah. Um, that's a scary moment.
Hope Taylor: (30:10)
Shanna Skidmore: (30:11)
Yeah. Okay. Talk me through these last couple years. You've had a lot of big changes. Yes. Just what does business look like now?
Hope Taylor: (30:18)
Yeah. So in, I mean, in addition to the current season of life, I'm in back in 2019, which would've been the last time I saw you. We, my family was picking everything up and moving from Virginia to Charleston, South Carolina. And I, we had all always wanted to live in Charleston. And so it was a very, very exciting season. But also the very first time I had moved my business that was seven, eight years old at that point to a completely new market. And in that season, I would say about 70% of my revenue was from education and only about 30% was from my services. So it wasn't nearly as scary as a transition as it would've been if I was still majority service based. But that was a fun little challenge of having to kind of rebuild myself in a new market. And then shortly after moving there in mid 2020 Hayden and I started dating and we've known each other since we were in fourth grade. So my mom and I actually always joked that if Hayden and I ever dated it would escalate very quickly. um, and it did. And so I knew very shortly after 20, like in late 2020 that we were gonna end up getting engaged and living in the same place. And he was in Savannah. So this year, well actually almost a year ago now in late 2021, I picked everything up and moved to Savannah and we have built a home here and are planning our wedding, which is so surreal, but it's been a lot of mental shifts from always being by myself to now thinking about the future and kids. And I'm also marrying a financial advisor. Hayden is in finance.
Shanna Skidmore: (31:59)
I didn't know that that's so fun.
Hope Taylor: (32:01)
Yes. He just finished the last level of his CFA, um, last week. And he is a data analyst for a really small firm here that he just loves. And so that has also totally shifted my mindset in some areas of my business. Um, so yeah, so I mean, so many changes we could dig into.
Shanna Skidmore: (32:19)
Yeah. Okay. So I love that PS I love Savannah Kyle and I lived there for two, two or three years. Oh wow. Yeah. So, uh, he did aerospace engineering there. I loved it and I love walking outside and just feeling like I have a wool blanket over me. I could just take that humidity and Kyle's like get me out of here so fast so then he moved us to Minnesota. So his two extremes, I guess in weather, but um, now we're back in Tennessee, so a healthy medium. I love Savannah. That's so fun. Okay. So tell me about, you're marrying a finance guy and now you're almost 10 years into business. I just wanna talk through like your relationship with money. What do you feel like have you've learned over these last 10 years and just even, I love hearing like the big shifts in your own thought process now that you're starting your family and you know, what does that look like now?
Hope Taylor: (33:14)
Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest and most obvious shift is that I am a self proclaim, proclaimed spender. Like I love to spend money. And I think that that has just been born from starting my business in a season where I, I could spend my money. And I don't mean like frivolously. I mean just like reinvesting in my gear, reinvesting in my business, traveling for work, like all of those things I loved to reinvest and spend my money on my own business. And I think that my thought process and that has completely shifted in the last two years from spending for one, for the sake of spending sometimes. But two, just for the sake of scaling, those two things have gone from being an exciting thing that I was just kind of, I would kind of frivolously spend occasionally to very strategic and intentional thought processes behind what scaling looks like, what building a team looks like, what long term investment and wealth looks like for Hayden and I's family, what the future's gonna look like with kids, just so many shifts and thought processes from, I mean, truly just the baseline is from spending to saving and spending to investing.
Hope Taylor: (34:23)
Shanna Skidmore: (34:24)
I love, I love this whole conversation. I mean, would you say that this is just a conversation you and Hayden have had, or did that start to shift as you saw your season in life changing?
Hope Taylor: (34:35)
So I think it started to shift when I bought my home in Charleston. So I actually bought a house in Charleston in late 2019 before Hayden was even in the picture. And that for me was a big win moment that I was able to buy a home when I was 22, 23 in my favorite place. Like I just never could have dreamed that I would buy my own house in Charleston. And so that was kind of where the thought process started shifting for me was, okay, I have to have this huge down payment up front. I have to have all of these things in line. I all of a sudden have a lot of expenses that only rely on me. And so that was kind of the shift in the thought process, just honestly from like building a business with no expenses to full fledge adulting, like just so many, so many like natural transitions that happen there. And then I think that as Hayden and I started dating and started kind of building our life together, that's when a lot of the more futuristic and like long term thought process started to shift. But I would say my mindset around money made a big shift around that time that I was purchasing a house and really kind of being forced to look at my finances in a way that I hadn't previously.
Shanna Skidmore: (35:42)
So what do you feel like came naturally? And then what has been just like really hard when it comes to this new money mindset?
Hope Taylor: (35:51)
Yeah, I think that something that comes naturally to me has always been strategy. So I think that being really strategic with the way that I scale my business has come pretty naturally in terms of building a team and outsourcing the right things. I think that there's such a, buzzworthy like principle behind work life balance, and that sometimes you, people can think that the band-aid to that is just to outsource everything. Because you need balance, but it's been a really fun journey for me to figure out, okay, no, what actually needs to be outsourced and how can I lean into only the work that I can do best, but in a very strategic way, that's, that's actually scaling my business and, and generating more revenue. And so that has come pretty naturally and been a really fun process for me as somebody who loves business. But I would say the pro the part that doesn't come naturally is the part that Hayden does, which I'm, I am marrying way up for this. Um, but the actual, just investing and long term money stuff does not come nearly as naturally to me as it does to Hayden. And it is such a gift that I've been able to just pass him, my Vanguard login information yeah. And I'm like, Hey, you ready? Set, go. You teach me everything. Um, but that side of things definitely does not come naturally to me at all.
Shanna Skidmore: (37:07)
Has someone who would say, Hey, I love to spend money. You know, has it been hard for you to I always say, spend money differently in the sense of now you're spending more money towards long-term goals? Like, do you feel like that's been hard or because you still know what that money's going for, it's helped you, you know, stay on track with those goals.
Hope Taylor: (37:29)
Yeah. It's definitely been a major mindset shift for me. I think that I like even a perfect example is travel. Like I used to travel all the time for work and I would get so excited to book a destination client where I could extend that trip and just really spend money on experiences like that. And shifting that mindset from that to the longevity of getting to do that with kids years from now, by setting ourselves up for success in the future has definitely been a mindset shift for me. I don't think it hasn't been as hard as I think I expected it to be just because Hayden and I are so clear on the vision and we have so many conversations about the longevity of our money, that it hasn't been as difficult as it would've been if we were just like saving to save, but we're actually saving for intentional goals for our future. And I think that that is what makes it a lot easier than it would be otherwise.
Shanna Skidmore: (38:20)
I, you nailed that so much Hope. Like I always say, you know, and, and I have a business finance course and I have a personal finance course. And the first lesson in both of those is setting your vision. Cause I'm like, nobody wants to be on a budget. Like a budget is like a six letter curse word. Like nobody wants to budget, but I was called the, I call budget spending plans because I'm like, we're spending money in different areas like with that intention. And, and when people ask me all the time, they're like, I just have such a hard time saving. It's like, well, you have to know what your goal is. And that just totally changes. I think the mindset of I'm I love how you said that like saving just to save is no fun, but saving with that long term vision feels completely different. And I love that.
Hope Taylor: (39:05)
Absolutely. Oh, I love, love, love that. It's so true. It really is. If you're having really intentional conversations about what that money is for, it makes all the difference.
Shanna Skidmore: (39:14)
Yeah. Okay. I love this. Okay. So I would love to hear with growing your company and that strategy, you're talking about, what were you looking at with your services to know where to put your time, where to shift what to let go of? I, I would love to hear just kind of how you figured out how to strategically grow your revenue streams.
Hope Taylor: (39:35)
Yeah. I think the biggest mindset shift for me in terms of growth has been the value of my time. And I think that that's such a, a popular topic of conversation that it almost feels like a, I don't know, just like a cop out answer. I get it. Yeah. But it really, but it really has been like, I don't think that I used to value my time in the way that a CEO would value their time. And that has been a major, major change in just what my day to day even looks like in terms of, okay, if I want to scale and allow myself to be available, to do work and projects and create new digital offers that are things that only I can do as the face of my company, then I have to free up the other areas of my time. Somehow, whether that is, you know, creating very limited availability with my services or scaling and outsourcing some of those services, something has to give so that the very limited hours in my Workday can be dedicated to work that only I can do. And so that has really allowed me to free up a lot of control. I am a control freak. I had serious serious issues outsourcing in the earlier seasons of my business because I wanted to have my hand in everything and realizing that that is just not possible. If you have a goal of scaling and creating more revenue was so freeing for me to understand and building a team of people that helped to support me and make that happen has been huge. And so now my services, my photography services are priced so that I am very strategically, only shooting two to three times a month and only shooting eight to 10 weddings a year, but still making the same amount from those services that I would've been in 2016, 2017. But with the amount of time that I need to scale the digital side of my business to well into the multi six figures of revenue too.
Shanna Skidmore: (41:33)
Yeah. That's amazing. And talk me through like, who's on your team now, what did you start outsourcing and how did you figure out how to do that?
Hope Taylor: (41:41)
Yeah. My team started with just a virtual assistant. Her name is Emily. She has been with me since the very first time I outsourced something to her and she is an angel on earth. So I outsourced just Pinterest to her to start, like, she reached out to me and was like, Hey, what can I do for you? And I was like, absolutely nothing because I won't give up any control . Um, and she was like, okay, well, I just took this Pinterest course. And I noticed that you aren't on Pinterest literally at all. So what if I just do that for you? And I was like, okay, you know what fine, like, I'll let you do something for me that I'm not doing anyways. And that's is what started me relinquishing some control because she, I mean, she crushed it. She absolutely crushed it. And so I basically turned into like Oprah on her favorite things episode, and I was like, you get a job, you get a job, you get a job. And I just started passing so many little like tedious tasks off to Emily that were bogging down my schedule. Things like sending client questionnaires and client gifts, things like checklists to make sure that I wasn't missing out any mailing of client gifts throughout their photography experience, collecting vendors from me and their Instagram handles after wedding days. So I could tag them in sneak peaks, linking all of the vendors that I worked with on wedding days. Just these really small, very specific tasks, but that were taking up a lot of my time. And as a result, I was able to maybe book one more wedding a year with the time that I got back and that paid for Emily. And then it scaled into, I'm trying to think of what came next. I think Facebook ads came next, but I've gone through a couple of teams at that point, uh, are at this point. And now I have an integrator, which is kind of the top of funnel of my team and she is her name's Kat. She's incredible. And she basically gets on a call with me and I say, Hey, here's what I'm thinking. Here's a project that I want to launch. Here's what I'm gonna do to make that happen. And she says, okay, well, here's all the other backend things that need to happen. So that you can do that thing. And she kind of dictates to the rest of my team, Emily, my Facebook ad team, what they need to do so that I can focus on just the work that I can do. So we just had a huge shop launch, and I focused on creating the projects and the visuals behind the sales page and the email copy. And they executed all of the back end stuff, setting up the products in the back end, setting up the purchasing and the checking out and all of those things. And it just allows me to focus only on what I can do.
Shanna Skidmore: (44:04)
Yeah. That's amazing. Has it been scary to hire people to help you?
Hope Taylor: (44:09)
Absolutely. Now I'm at the point where I am paying well over five figures a month in outsourcing just to my subcontractors and my team. And that was a huge mindset shift in itself of, okay, if we're gonna be spending that much money a month, we need to make sure that the people that we're paying are directly affecting the bottom line through my ability to do work, that generates more revenue. And we need to make sure that we're scaling back on what we're paying this team during months that we're not doing as much work. There's just so much that goes into the thought process of managing a team at that scale. And so there's definitely been moments of like, oh crap. We did not make a lot of money this month because it was, you know, December and I was spending time with my family, but these people still need to get paid and figuring out what that looks like in terms of creating wealth throughout the year that will pay for that team throughout the seasons that are slower because we all naturally have them. So definitely been lots of mindset shifts happening there too.
Shanna Skidmore: (45:13)
Yeah. And would you say, I mean, do you just sit down with your profit and loss statement and look at, I mean, is this like a monthly check in and are you just checking in with yourself or like who taught you how to look like what numbers to look at?
Hope Taylor: (45:26)
Yeah, so it is just a check in with myself. Um, I have a CPA that works for me, fulltime. Um, well, not full-time, she's works for multiple clients, but I have her largest package. So she does a lot of like consulting with me and, um, reviewing all my statements and giving me feedback and things like that. So I'm just really doing a check in with myself based off of the information that she sends me every single month. And for me, a big part of it is that I just have a safe number in my business checking account that I like to keep there. And it is like six months worth of expenses that I like to just sit there because I like to just know that I have that security blanket. And so for me, that is my biggest, like check engine light is how close we're getting to that number and how much we have coming up that's going to get us past that number so that I know that that is always comfortably there. And that has been something that I've, I've kept with me from the very beginning of my business. We didn't really touch on that before, but even back in my teenage years, there was always like a safety net number of okay, if my hard drive crashes, which it did one time and I have to refund everybody that I, that has booked me right now, I need to have the money to do that. And then some, so there's always been this kind of concept of a safety blanket number in my account. That is kind of what I use is like a check engine right now. It's like, okay, is this, are we comfortable here with all of our investments and everything set up to be Auto drafted? Or are we comfortable with this number? Yeah. Um, and if not, what do we need to do to, to get to a more comfortable place?
Shanna Skidmore: (46:56)
Could somebody teach you to have this safety net or is that just your personality? Like you I'm, I gotta have something here.
Hope Taylor: (47:03)
Well, I think a little bit of both, I think I've, I've heard so many just business gurus and coaches and people talk about the concept of, you know, having a certain amount of monthly expenses as savings backed up in your account. But I think for me, it was, it was always a safety net thing of just my personality too, that I knew if I wanted to scale a business and grow a business, I couldn't do that with $0 in my bank account and comfortably serve people well. And I think that, that, I think there was almost a fear element of that when I was really young too, of like, if I want to be taken seriously and not treat this like a 16 year old would treat a normal job. Then I have to pay attention and make sure that I'm being intentional. And I think that that was more of a fear of people not trusting me because of my age. Mm-hmm that, that kind of fed into these beliefs now.
Shanna Skidmore: (47:53)
I think it's so amazing. You're kind of like a, um, a beautiful contradiction is the wrong word, but you know, you, you call yourself a spender, but yet you have this safety net there. And I just think that's so interesting. And so cool to hear you talk about Hope, because I see, so often people spin themselves into like, I, I was taught when I worked in finance that you should increase your monthly need to make you work harder. I was like, that's I think that's terrible advice. I think that's terrible advice because you, I see people and I've been in this situation where you're so stressed trying to pay your bills that you get into, like I have to sell mode and people feel it when you have to sell, you know? Right. So I think that's horrible. So I just love that. Like, though, you would say, Hey, I'm a spender. You always knew your parameter. You always knew, like, I will not go past this point. And I just think that's so easy. I, I mean, so, so amazing. And I, I'm a big advocate of building a business and your personal finances really lean because I think as an entrepreneur that keeps us nimble. That gives us options. If we're in a low booking season, we aren't so scared. And I just, yeah, I think you've done that. So it sounds like you've done that so well, like every time you take on a new expense, you weigh that really heavily with what you're bringing in. Yeah.
Hope Taylor: (49:14)
Shanna Skidmore: (49:15)
I think that's incredible.
Hope Taylor: (49:16)
Thank you. That's very sweet.
Shanna Skidmore: (49:17)
what would you say is the best thing you've learned about money? Hope?
Hope Taylor: (49:20)
Oh goodness. This is such a hard question. I think the best thing that I've learned is to, I mean, honestly, just to slow down my spending, like I, because I really was a spender. I always had that parameter of what I was comfortable with. But if I was past that parameter. I was out buying a Tory Burch bag. Let's go . Yep. That, I mean, that was my, that was always my, I mean, when I was a teenager, like I was like, you know what? I've worked really hard and my friends can't buy themselves these things, but I can buy myself these things because I've worked my butt off and I have earned it. And I mean, that was my thought process and there's truth to that. Yeah. But I was doing it way too often just because I was excited and proud of myself that I was making that much money at that age, but it was not what I should've been doing. I would've set myself up for a lot more success if I had bought one less pair of shoes back when I was, um, 17. 18.
Shanna Skidmore: (50:13)
Yeah. Well, in hindsight, I think though, what a thank you for sharing that part of your story. I love hearing you talk about your To.ry Burch flats. I love hearing you talk about, you know, taking yourself seriously as a 16 year old. I just keep thinking like you and Taylor Swift, you know, you guys are, I mean, I just feel like that's the part of her story too. She I've heard her talk about getting made fun of in high school. I feel like is, or maybe I'm making that up, but I just think that's so true, like taking yourself seriously from a young age. Okay. So you've built a big business. You sound like you have worked a lot. I would love to hear what does balance look like for you work and life? Like how do you find the right mix? And I'm sure that has shifted now that you're going into a new season of life.
Hope Taylor: (50:59)
Yeah. I love this question because this is actually really, really big for me. Um, first of all, you were right. Taylor Swift totally was made fun of in high school and I'm like the biggest, I'm like the biggest Taylor swift fan Evert, swift UM T swift for life. But I actually also struggle with anxiety. That's like a totally hard left turn in this conversation, but that is a huge piece of who I am and something that makes me have to be really intentional about work life balance. Because when I get thrown out of my routines or feel like I'm pouring from an empty cup, it really feeds into like my anxious mind and I'll start not really sleeping great. And like, it just kind of is this vicious cycle. So work life balance for me has become just as much about work life balance as it has mental health. And that has been huge in the last few years of transition of moving to new places and buying homes and just these huge life transitions is having to be really intentional about that. So work life balance for me, looks like intentionally setting up my days so that they start and end with something that fills my cup and that can, that's looked really, really different for me in all different seasons of life. But I used to wake up in, I mean, I think just the traditional entrepreneur mindset of like, I'm gonna pick up my laptop the second I open my eyes and I'll put it down when I go to bed like that. Yeah. Was my life for a very long time. And I'm of the mindset that there has to be seasons of hustle in order for there to be seasons of rest. I think that work life balance as a blanket statement is like a unicorn that doesn't exist. But for me starting my day with the gym and a healthy breakfast before I allow myself to touch work, um, and that includes putting my phone on, do not disturb, like nobody is allowed to interrupt my peace during that part of my morning. And then same with the evening, like taking off the apple, watch, turning the notifications off and sitting down and watching a TV show or making dinner with Hayden, like filling my cup at the start and end of every single day is really kind of the core of my work life balance and making sure that there are clear boundaries set for when I'm accessible to everybody.
Shanna Skidmore: (53:02)
That's so good. Kind of putting those big rocks in first, like and hard to do. I mean, has that been hard for you to like stick to that?
Hope Taylor: (53:11)
Oh, absolutely. And I mean, I would say in the last year, which is what nine years into business is the first year that I can confidently say that I've, I've kind of forced myself to stay on top of it. And there are exceptions to the rule where I'm working until one in the morning, but sure. As a general rule, I feel like this is the first year I've really been just strict with myself and other people about what that looks like. And I think it comes from what that burnout used to look like as a teenager. And it also comes from those first few years of business. My identity was almost completely wrapped up in my brand because I was growing up as my business was growing and, and getting to that point where I was like, I literally don't have a hobby or like even joy sometimes outside of my work and my business and my love for strategy and social media and all these things. I had to make that shift. So I learned that that is way, way, way harder than getting up at 5:00 AM so that I can have some me time before my Workday needs to start, because that puts my mind and just puts my personality and my sanity in a place that allows me to serve other people totally different than when I'm coming from a place of pouring from an empty cup.
Shanna Skidmore: (54:24)
I think what you said is so helpful just to hear, thank you for sharing that out loud. Like it is easy for your business to become, you know, eat, sleep, breathe, what you do totally. And have no hobbies outside of your work. And I mean, was there a moment where you, like, something has to change? I mean, was there like a specific, or was it just, you can tell when it's coming like, you can sense it now.
Hope Taylor: (54:50)
Yeah. I think a little bit of both, I think there was a couple of years in that same timeframe when I had that kind of mental breakdown of like, oh my gosh, I am so burnt out where I was actually also in and out of the hospital with some autoimmune related stuff. And it was all like kind of stress driven. And it, it was kind of this moment of like, there has to be a lifestyle change here because I'm quite literally like mentally and physically running on E and my body is like fed up with me um, and like my check engine light is on and I was kind of forced to make this like lifestyle and mindset shift about what my day to day looked like and where my worth came from and who had access to me. And when, because for a long time it was just, everybody could blow up my phone, twenty four seven, my clients, my followers, my friends, my family, everybody had access to me all the time. And there was never a time of day where I was like, you know what, I'm in quiet, all of those voices and just be with myself. Yeah. And that was a really, really hard shift to make, but that was kind of the moment that I knew that it had to happen was those couple of years.
Shanna Skidmore: (55:55)
Did somebody talk you through that? Or was it, you just knew too much input need to quit?
Hope Taylor: (56:03)
I think it was half that and half my therapist, I have a therapist named Maria who is like my absolute best friend. Like, I, I truly think she's a bestie more than she's a therapist at this point. . Um, but she and I actually, I see her very infrequently now, but for a couple of years in that timeframe, I was seeing her weekly, I think. And that was a huge help of her, of somebody else that didn't really know me well, looking at me and being like, girlfriend, of course, you're freaking exhausted. Like, here's, here's all the things that you're doing. And here's the 0% of things that you're doing for yourself. Like no wonder you're anxious and not sleeping. And like just burnt out on every front. Like nobody's taking care of Hope. And I was like, oh, thanks, Maria. That was a serious little, uh, check right there because I needed that. Um, but it really was like a gut check. I was like, you're right. Like nobody's taking care of Hope because that's my job and I'm not doing it well. And so I think that was kind of the outside voice that was like, hey girlfriend, something's gotta give
Shanna Skidmore: (57:03)
Don't you. Um, I, uh, saw a girl Polly is her name. She's amazing for a little bit back in 2017. And, um, I always felt like after my therapy session, she's like I needed a whole day of recovery. okay. Let's process all of the Pollys that were so good.
Hope Taylor: (57:20)
Shanna Skidmore: (57:21)
Are there like, okay, I wanna end with this question then go to kind of a quick fire round, but I would love to hear just because I think it would be so helpful for people who are listening and thank you just for sharing this part of your story, cuz it's so real and easy for your business to become kind of life mm-hmm do you have, you know, like you mentioned going to the gym in the morning, starting with the healthy breakfast and then shutting down, it sounds like in the evening again in seasons of launch, I'm sure that's not always the case, but I would love just to hear, are there those three plus a couple more things that are just like, this is how you take care of Hope.
Hope Taylor: (57:57)
Yeah. Oh absolutely. This is just become such a huge pillar of, of what I believe about business and life and all of the things. So I'm happy to share any and all of this. So for me, another huge part of this is turning off all of my phone notifications. And I feel like that is such a cop out answer that probably 25 other people have said. And I totally know that, but they say it for a reason. yeah. I turn off my Instagram email and social media notifications. They stay off. Um, always, and then my do not disturb feature on my phone has become my absolute new best friend because somebody said to me, and I don't remember who it was, but that we are photographers and educators. We are not heart surgeons. Nobody is going to die. If they cannot get in immediate contact with us, like literally ever. The worst case scenario about anybody trying to get in contact with you is really not that bad. And we're so blessed for that reason. And so I think it's really important to just protect your mental space by utilizing that whenever you can. I think another huge thing for me is spending a lot of time outside and that might not look the same for everybody. There's gonna be some people that are like, I am actually so introverted and would never like to go outside. And Hayden is one of those people. He is very, very introverted. Like, please keep me in my house. But I really love like going on walks with Boone our puppy and sitting outside on the back patio and just changing my scenery. Whether that's going and working at a coffee shop or just even working in a different place in my house, just, just shifting my scenery has really helped. And then also this concept of kitchen table friends, which I've shared on a couple, like just in other areas of my life. But my pastor actually is who said this basically that there are acquaintances that like walk in your house and they knock on the door and they come in and they keep their shoes on and they like, don't know where to sit. And then you have your friends who like come in and maybe they kick their shoes off. And maybe they like stand with you at the counter and share wine. And then you have your kitchen table friends who like let themselves in kick their shoes off, sit at your kitchen table and like prop their feet up and those,
Shanna Skidmore: (01:00:01)
And get food outta the fridge.
Hope Taylor: (01:00:02)
yes. They help themselves to a full bottle of wine. Like whatever, whatever that looks like. Yeah. But those are the only friends and people in my life that I let speak into any important area of my life. And that started with business stuff because I was getting kind of bullied all through high school, honestly, with a lot of opinions and I didn't want to hear them anymore. And so I kind of shut that side of myself down to anybody that wasn't a close friend, but now it's everything like my relationship, my mental health, my family, my friends, my business, anything that I'm excited about or sad about, or just want to confide in somebody about, I will only share with my kitchen table friends because I know that they're gonna speak life and speak positivity back into those things. And I think that when you're in a season of burnout, it can be really easy to kind of turn to anybody that will listen because you're just so exhausted. And you might not always get the advice or the input that you're needing because you, what you're really needing is somebody to tell you to slow down. And I've just learned that kitchen table friends are the only ones that, that do that. Well.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:01:03)
Ugh. That is so good. I love that. I think it was Bob Goff who said be careful who you give the microphone to in your life. Mm-hmm and I just think, yeah, sometimes you have to go through hearing a lot of noise to know like, okay, who gets to speak in and absolutely who do say thank you. Um, thank you. Okay. moving on. Yep. Hope. I feel like we could talk. I feel like we're just getting into the meat and I just wanna keep talking with you, but we're like at an hour mark, so, okay. I wanna finish with a quick fire round and I think this, this is just really fun and it's just been such a joy to spend this time with you and hear more of your story and what a new season of life. I mean, just like we said at the very beginning, this last three years, I feel like has really shaped you in like such big ways of Hope. Okay. So quick, far round, here we go. What is one thing you'd be embarrassed if people knew.
Hope Taylor: (01:01:59)
I totally still sleep with a blankie, like I'm six years old.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:02:02)
that makes me so happy. My niece had a blankie, like all growing up and my sister gifted it to her for her. She just graduated high school. She gifted her, her blankie oh, and now she's like, I'm so glad to have my blanky back. I mean, yeah, that's awesome.
Hope Taylor: (01:02:19)
So sweet. I love it.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:02:21)
okay. Do you have any regrets or wish you could do over moments?
Hope Taylor: (01:02:26)
I think my first course launch back in like 2017, 2018 would be my biggest do wish for a Do-over. I filmed it as voiceovers in my parents' basement and I wish that I had had more of a thought process of wanting to do it perfectly the first time versus a done is better than perfect mindset with that, because I could have done it a lot better.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:02:47)
Oh, that's so interesting. Are you glad you got it out or do you think like, just give it six more months and you could have done it better? Um,
Hope Taylor: (01:02:54)
I think a little bit of both. I think that some, I wish somebody had set my expectations more clearly on financial side of that, because I thought I was gonna make a gajillion dollars just from creating a course and that is not how that works. I needed a serious adjustment on my expectations and I think I would've created a product. I was more proud of. Yeah.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:03:14)
Yeah. That's so good. That's so interesting too, because I feel like the world says just get it out, just get it out. Mm-hmm just get it out. Mm-hmm okay. I kind of wanna go back to that agree. Mm. Okay. next question. What is a big win or pinch me moment.
Hope Taylor: (01:03:30)
So I have two and I think I already cheated by mentioning one earlier, which was buying myself my first house in Charleston. Um, that was huge, huge, huge for me. And then I think the other was getting asked to speak at my very first event. When I was 18, Mary Marantz actually asked me to come speak at her event. It was called the event. And there were over 300 photographers there. And wow. I, I, it was my first time speaking on a stage and I think that I about had a panic attack, but I didn't. Um, and it really propelled the education side of my business forward in a huge way.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:04:03)
At 18. Yeah. That's amazing. Hope and PS, I have a call with Mary right after this.
Hope Taylor: (01:04:09)
No way. Oh, she's amazing. You guys are excited her. Oh, she's the greatest.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:04:13)
I'm so excited. Okay. Next question. What is the best advice or just really good advice that you have received?
Hope Taylor: (01:04:20)
So I always circle back to in the season of my business, where I was deciding whether or not to go to college, I went to an event and Caroline Logan, who is a photographer that is one year older than me, but had just decided to go full time instead of going to college, she happened to be there. And I always say that I feel horrible because I cornered her like she was Beyonce. And I was like, I need you to tell me everything about your life decisions, because I need to know like what I need to do. And she said to me, wherever you go be all there. And that she never felt like she could be 100% present and either work or school life, because she was always trying to do both. And she knew she wanted to be all there in her business. And that has always been kind of a guiding quote for me in all of the big decisions that I've made about my work.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:05:09)
Mm that's so good. What good advice. Yeah, I thought so. And it's, and it's so amazing to have somebody who is on the path that, you know what I'm saying? Like just one step ahead. Yeah. Okay. Last little quick fire question. What are you working on now? And, or one resource you would love to share?
Hope Taylor: (01:05:28)
So I actually last week just launched an online shop, um, of digital resources for photographers. That is, was a huge labor of love, and one of the things I'm most proud of that we've done in a while. And we released a editable template of a senior style guide, which is the document I send my clients before their session to prepare them for their shoot. And it's almost 70 pages long. Wow. And it's just, I, it was a labor of love that I worked on for months and we actually surpassed our goal during launch. So it was a huge moment we were super proud of, but it's congrats. Thank you. It's also a resource I'm just super, super proud of too. So yeah, those are on my online shop. If anybody is photographing seniors and wants to learn more about those.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:06:07)
Yeah. And we'll definitely link that below. Okay. Hope what a fun conversation. I wish I had a whole other hour with you seriously at, we have so much still to like catch up on, but I would love for you just to send us off, take us back nine years when you were, what? Sophomore in high school.
Hope Taylor: (01:06:26)
Shanna Skidmore: (01:06:27)
What would you tell yourself on day one of starting your business?
Hope Taylor: (01:06:32)
I think that this is going to sound so cheesy, but the biggest thing I would've said to myself was to really trust in your own intuition and that even if everyone around you wants to believe to believe that you're too young or naive to make your own choices, your gut and your calling knows better than anyone else is going to know. And, and trusting that will always guide you in the right direction.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:06:53)
Hope your perspective on that is so I'm thinking about my niece and nephew who literally just graduated high school and yeah. To think that they, you were two years younger to know where you wanna go and what you wanna do. I think, wow. That's amazing to hear you say that your like 16 years old, I'm sure everybody questioned you. Yeah. So thank you for sharing your story. Hope it's a joy to know you and we'l link all the resources for you guys to hang out with hope more and get her incredible seniors guide that she just released. But Hope thank you for your time today.
Hope Taylor: (01:07:26)
Oh, thank you for having me. This was such a joy and I loved these questions. This was amazing.
Shanna Skidmore: (01:07:31)
Hey wildflower, you just finished another episode of consider the wildflowers, the podcast. Head over to considerthewildflowerspodcast.com for show notes, resource links, and to learn how you can connect with hope. One final thought for today from one of my favorite musicians and authors, Ellie Holcomb, she wrote in a recent devotional that I read, "choose the kind of fullness that restores your soul instead of depletes it" as always, thank you for listening. I'll see you next time.