“That’s not a real job”.
As entrepreneurs it’s a thought that simmers underneath the surface that many of us have to battle against. When “replace corporate salary” becomes the goal less out of financial need and more to prove to ourselves (or a family member) that it's “ok” to pursue our dreams. It’s far too easy to find our identity in our resume and believe we have to do something important, social proof our way to Forbes magazine, and have a list of metrics a mile long before others will take us seriously—let alone take our own selves seriously.
Owning our story, believing our worth, pursuing dreams and overcoming limiting beliefs. Well. That’s a storyline today’s guest, Mary Marantz, knows all too well. From a trailer in rural West Virginia to graduating from Yale Law School, her story is captivating and will help us all find more comfort in our own skin.
WILDFLOWER SHOWNOTES : shannaskidmore.com/mary-marantz
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Mary Marantz (00:00):
So many times when the people around us don't catch the vision for something, they don't see what we see, we can take that to mean that it's not, it doesn't have what it takes or it's not meant to to be. And what you have to kind of wrap your head around is like in this world is actually a very small percentage of people who can call something out in you before they can see it. And most people can't see it until it's already done. So don't take anybody else's, you know, lack of ability to see it as proof that it's not what you're meant to do. And that they might not become the biggest supporters of it once it's done.
Shanna Skidmore (00:34):
You're listening to Consider the Wildflowers, the podcast episode 12. "That's not a real job". As entrepreneurs, it's a thought that simmers underneath the service that many of us have to battle against when "replace corporate salary" becomes the goal, less about financial need and more to prove to ourselves or to others that it's okay to pursue our dreams. It's far too easy to find our identity in our resume and believe we have to do something important, social proof our way to Forbes Magazine, or have a list of metrics a mile long before others will actually take us seriously, let alone take ourselves seriously owning our story, believing our worth, pursuing dreams, and overcoming limiting beliefs. Well that's a storyline today's guest, Mary Marantz knows all too well. From a trailer in West Virginia to graduating from Yale Law School, her story is captivating and will help us all find more comfort in our own skin. If you dig professional bios, here goes. Mary Marantz grew up in a trailer in rural West Virginia, the first of her immediate family to go to college. She went on to earn a master's degree in moral philosophy and a law degree from Yale. After turning down six figure salary firm offers in London and New York, she started a photography business with her husband Justin, where they were named to the prestigious pro Photo Legends of Light. They have since gone on to build a successful online education platform for tens of thousands of creative entrepreneurs worldwide. The bestselling author of Dirt, which was the finalist for the 2020 ECPA Memoir of the Year. Mary is also the host of the highly popular podcast, the Mary Marantz Show, which debuted in the iTunes top 200 and has featured guests like Kathy Lee Gifford, country singer, Lauren Elena and Duck Dynasty, Sadie Robertson Huff. Her second book, Slow Growth equals Strong Roots released in Spring 2022. And her work has been featured on CNN, MSN, Business Insider Bustle, Thrive Global ,Southern Living, Hallmark, Home and Family and more. She and Justin live in an 1880s Fixer Upper by the Sea, New Haven, Connecticut, with their two very fluffy golden retrievers. Goodspeed and Atticus. Okay, formal introductions over, Let's dive in. 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 Mary, I'm so excited to have you on the podcast today and I think you are the first guest that I have never actually met which is
Mary Marantz (03:46):
Shanna Skidmore (03:47):
Shocking to me. I feel like our circles are so tightly encircled at I'm just like, I know Mary, I should know her. We should be besties. So welcome!
Mary Marantz (03:56):
A hundred percent same. I have thought that for years. I'm like, I feel like I would really, really like her
Shanna Skidmore (04:02):
<laugh>. Yeah, I know. I'm so, I'm very excited to do this. I'm very curious to know you better. I am. I, as I was kind of saying before we hit record, I just love getting to have these conversations because there's so much I want to know about you and your story. So thank you for being here.
Mary Marantz (04:18):
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I was saying before we hopped on, when I got the email, I was so excited. I was like jumping up and down in my office cuz I've been seeing the episodes come out and I love the concept and I just, I love the work you do and the integrity that you stand for and I just, I knew it was gonna be like the whole podcast is gonna be like such a helpful resource, so I'm thankful to get to hang out.
Shanna Skidmore (04:38):
Thank you darling. And okay, so I'm gonna link this in the show notes because years ago we did a series on my blog called The Best Thing I've Learned About Money and you were a guest on there. It's an audio blog. So if you have, if anyone listening after you finish listening to this episode with Mary, I'm gonna link Mary's episode on the best thing I've learned about money. And it's so good. And I just want to read this little tiny excerpt. You haven't, I mean this was what, probably 2018 I would say. When we did this. So you said, um, I was not someone who has ever taught about money growing up except maybe to fear it and that there are exactly two kinds of people in the world, rich people and good people. And as I was taught, the two shall never be the same. So I'm exci we're gonna dig in and we're gonna talk like about numbers and money and all the good stuff. But I just wanted you to kick us off, Mary, and take us all the way back to life even before you started your business. I just would love to hear more of your story and then how you kind of got into the business world initially.
Mary Marantz (05:43):
Yeah, so I grew up in a single wide trailer on the top of a mountain in rural West Virginia, uh, mountain called Fenwick Mountain. And my dad is a logger and his dad was a logger and a coal miner and grandfather was a logger and a coal coal miner. So we kind of are like the West Virginia state flag, like we think something like eight generations back. Um, especially on the logging side when they, you know, my dad when he, he started working in the woods when he was 12 and they still used horses, Shanna, horses to bring the logs down to the mill, which is just feels like 1863 kind of stuff. And you know, I can distinctly remember that message, you know, there are good people and then there are rich people and the two are not the same. This idea that if you are not struggling for it, if you didn't have to like, you know, break your body and, and scar your hands and pursue to the work to get to barely like scrape by then it was probably handed to you and you're probably not a very good person. And I remember being in, you know, the county I grew up in is Nicholas County, West Virginia and there's sort of like the Richwood side where I went to high school and then there's the Summersville side, which is the like county seat. So, which was like a really big deal and that felt like the more affluent side of the county, even though like we're not talking about like, you know, super, super rich people we're just talking about like a little bit more. And we were in Summersville, we were on that side of the county, we were at a pizza hut and my dad pointed up from the parking lot to a house up on the hill and he said, If I ever catch you being that person who has a house up on the hill looking down on people, I'll disown you. You know? And so that has sort of the Yeah, yeah. Right. So that was sort of the very, I mean it was unspoken, but very spoken as well, um, sort of belief that, that the rich people were out to get the little people.
Shanna Skidmore (07:29):
Yeah. And so I would love if you would share more of this story of that you did, you know, way back in 2018 when you talked about your dad losing his equipment and his logging business. Mm.
Mary Marantz (07:42):
Yeah. So, um, this actually ended up making it into my first book Dirt of, you know, you, you know what it's like to be that little kid if you grew up when I did, of knowing what it looks like to have a phone with a cord attached to the wall <laugh> like that used to happen. And you also know if you grew up without a lot, that when that phone starts ringing, it's not good because it's a lot of people who want mon more money than you have. And you know, I, I remember one of the very few times in my life I've seen my dad cry was sitting at that table, he and my mom across the table from one another. And it was like, it is a trailer. So the tables like attached on one side, you know, it's like a prefab table, uh, to the wall below the phone. And them just sort of like facing down on opposite sides. These, the stack of bills in the middle. And I watched him kind of break down and cry and just the phone ringing and ringing. And very shortly after that the bank came and took away our log trucks. And when I say log trucks, I am not talking about like pickup trucks, I'm talking about 18 wheelers, which is the kind of thing people notice when they're being, you know, sort of wheeled away. And I talk about how I watched him get smaller and smaller as those trucks drive away cuz he had inherited them when my grandfather passed away very suddenly and unexpected at like 49, 48 years old. When I was only two. And so, you know, from two until like I was like, I don't know, 7, 8, 9, somewhere in there, the business had gone into the ground. Well I don't know if he drove it into the ground if you wanna say that, but he, he was a logger. He knew how to do what he loved, but he didn't know how to run the business side. And so he inherited, you know, all this responsibility and within just a few years he's watching it drive away. It's hard. It's really, really hard because we think that doing the thing you love should be enough. You know? I love it. I'm really good at it. I'm gifted at it, so it should work. And it just doesn't always work that way.
Shanna Skidmore (09:32):
Hmm. This is so good. And we're in like five minutes in Mary because that's why I do what I do every single day. Because money isn't the reason people go into business, but oftentimes it's the reason it keeps them in business. Um
Mary Marantz (09:47):
Yeah. Or they go out of business <laugh>.
Shanna Skidmore (09:49):
Exactly. Yeah. So walk us through, I mean, this background that you've grown up in and money and having money really isn't highly looked upon. Just walk me through how you ended up at Yale Law School, <laugh> and how did this all come about?
Mary Marantz (10:09):
Yeah, that's not the, like, I mean even though we've, we've read that book or we've seen that movie, it's not the usual outcome. When I say I grew up in a trailer in West Virginia and you know, I think honestly Shanna, if I had to put something to it, I think there's two sides. There's sort of two domino tracks that fell that lead to this outcome. And the one is that I never wanted to live a life of regret. I never wanted to live a life of settling because so much of my parents' lives were defined by getting in a hurry and saying, We'll just do this for now and then we'll fix it later. And so what I mean by that is, you know, there, I talk about this in Dirt. There's a moment where they get married super young. My mom's 17, they spend the first two years in their marriage living with my dad's parents, my, my grandparents and my mom basically says to my dad, she kind of gives him an ultimatum. If we don't get our own home a place to call our own, I'm gonna leave you. And so my dad, without even like consulting her goes and buys the single wide trailer and has it hauled in on an 18 wheeler and dropped on the back half of his parents' yard. And he says, just for now, just temporary. And we lived my entire life there from zero to 18. Um, and beyond. And so there's that side of it of like, I witnessed them make these decisions and these compromises and these just for nows that became much bigger, you know, like snowballs. I don't think they realized how much they were gonna define their lives. And then the other set of dominoes is just that my dad had seen that in his life. He had seen, um, this life sort of, he felt predestined for like he didn't have much of a choice. And so he, it was very important to him that I would get out in terms of going to college as long as that college was still in the state of West Virginia. Um, and he started me in these workbooks when I was little and by the time I went to kindergarten I was in fifth grade math and sixth grade reading levels.
Shanna Skidmore (12:01):
Mary Marantz (12:02):
Yeah. And so it kind of started off this chain of people saying, teachers saying, Oh, you're smart. And then when people call you smart, you act smart. And so between those two things, me never wanting to live a life of regret him being determined that cuz he could see Shanna, you know, I'm growing up in the same yard he did. I'm going to the same Sunday school, I'm going to the same small four room elementary school where second and third grade have to be in the same room. Um, and he could just kind of see like the trajectory was set and if he didn't do something to alter the course, it was gonna end up the same way. So it is, it is this really, there's tension and there's gray scale there and there's like complexities of he both wanted to start me on a path to get out, but I also really wanted to go.
Shanna Skidmore (12:44):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So tell me like, how did the doors start opening for you to walk, you know, into a different life than, you know, this trajectory that you saw with your grandfather and then your dad? Like how did this all come to be?
Mary Marantz (12:58):
You know, I think one of the most defining moment, there are many pivot defining moments along the journey, but one of them was I had wanted to go to WVU. Like I was like, that's where I'm gonna go. That's where you go. That's the, that's the school in the state. Yeah. Uh, Marshall fans would not agree, but that's okay. <laugh>. Um, and then I was standing in my guidance counselor's office and there was a poster on the wall that had like a huge picture of Woodburn Hall and then all of these like stats broken down and I saw 22,000 was the number of students that they had. And our whole town had 2000 people if you brought them all down from the mountains and like gathered them for the Cherry River Festival, you know, And so I immediately, I equated if you start small, you stay small. And I said I, if I go to a school that big where there's a lot of out-of-state students, even cuz it's cheaper to go outstate at WVU than in-state at Rutgers for example, I will be number 22, 001. I will be the least of these, the last of these because people who start out like me don't do well. That was just the, I mean that, that's, that was not like hyperbolic or like self deprecating or Oh no, that's not true. Like I genuinely, genuinely thought I was gonna flunk out if I went to a school that big. And I had already decided to just go to a local community college and be a teacher. And then I watched a movie <laugh> really dumb movie with like Kramer and Jeff Daniels in it about being lawyers <laugh>. And it reminded me that that's what I'd actually wanted to do my entire life. Like I used to wear suits. Wow. My grandma's suits and watch the people's court <laugh>. So I said, okay, well I I really, the, the dream really is to go to law school and I, there's a part in there that's one of my favorite parts where it talks about this worrying these waring two people, like two versions of yourself inside one that's terrified to try and the other that will be so mad at at you if you don't. And so I looked it up and WVU was the only school in the state that had a law school. So I was like, well I guess that's where we're going cuz I thought you had to go to undergrad where you go to law school. And that last minute pivot and it became the only school I applied to, I got in an early decision, didn't even think to apply out outta state, set me up to go to a school and a four year experience in college where suddenly like these, I say like the irregular heartbeat of the undulating border of the West Virginia outline, you know, it suddenly seemed permeable. Like it didn't seem like that was like a a, a wall that kept you in, you know, it felt like you could go anywhere. And I was on the debate team and we would travel all over the country and we were talking about like global politics. And suddenly when I didn't flunk out at WVU and I actually did very well there, I started to think, well maybe there's something outside of this. And then that becomes a tension point. Cuz my dad was like, get out, go away. Go fly, but wait, not that far. You know? Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah.
Shanna Skidmore (15:53):
So yeah. Was your family supportive of your undergrad?
Mary Marantz (15:57):
Very supportive of my undergrad. Very like super all in on the undergrad. And then, uh, heading into my senior year I started applying for scholarships to go study abroad in England for a year. And I called my dad one week after September 11th to tell him I'd gotten a scholarship to go abroad. That did not go over very well, you know, and bringing back to our early conversation, it was a Rotary scholarship. So these are business people who've done very well and can afford to be the rich people who do good in the world. And here are these men in ties who are sending his only daughter, you know, away for a year. And it just, it did not go over well.
Shanna Skidmore (16:35):
Yeah. But you went
Mary Marantz (16:36):
But I went, yeah. Yeah. I went and got my uh, masters. Got my masters for a year, uh, master's in philosophy in England. And then that's when I was doing all the law school applications and they started coming in around Christmas time when I was home for a week and I got into Georgetown first of all. Wow. And that had been like the dream, like oh my gosh, what a reach. Yeah. And I got in early decision. I was like, Great, I'm done. Well I'll go there. And then I flew back to England and there was an acceptance letter there waiting for me from Columbia, which was a New York City. And I, at that time, you know, I still said it like New York City <laugh>, like the the commercial or whatever. Yeah. Um, and I was like, Oh, are we really gonna do this? You know, in the city bars on the windows, The whole thing, in my mind it was gonna be terrifying. Yeah. And, but it was a, a leap from like, you know, a number 13 school to a number three, something like that. It was this big jump. And so I was going to Columbia from December all the way through May. I had my housing, I had my financial aid and then my dad kept calling me, you know, on this little cell phone transatlantic, which in 2002, 2003 was not the most reliable. And he kept saying, Oh, you know, like, Well what about Harvard or Yale? Have you, you heard from them? Cuz like now he's starting to kinda get on board that this is possible. And I snapped at him and I said, Will you just like stop asking? Like it's not gonna happen. I'm never gonna get in there. And he said, Oh, cuz they called the house, you know? Um, and Wow. And that's when I found out that I'd gotten into Yale.
Shanna Skidmore (18:06):
I mean, I have goosebumps all the way down my arm. <laugh> that's, and I'm, I think I have, I mean, I get teary eyed over here. It sounds like our, our dads are in some ways kind of similar and to hear that he's getting on, like you are feeling more of his support now.
Mary Marantz (18:23):
Yeah. I think for him and he actually, uh, in 2018 we went home for a football game to WVU and the game was over and we were waiting for our Uber to come and we were like sitting on these like stairs and he said to me, you know, Mary, I really wanna apologize to you because he had said to me at the time, If all the smart kids keep leaving w you know, West Virginia to go to law school somewhere else, then how's it gonna get better? And I kind of put that on me as like, you know, obligation and duty sort of thing. And he said, I'm really sorry, you know, that I basically put like what I couldn't see possible on you. And so that was kind of a, you know Yeah. However many years later, 15 years later sort of moment. Yeah.
Shanna Skidmore (19:03):
Yeah. So you go to Yale, I'm assuming all of the schooling is via scholarship.
Mary Marantz (19:10):
You know, what's interesting is that Yale does a lot of things to make sure that they are not ranking their students or making their students compete in any way. Or, or like giving out rewards or awards based on merit because they know that it's such a group of like a plus plus overachievers that they really try to remove that. So they were not scholarships necessarily, but there were like need based grants.
Shanna Skidmore (19:37):
Okay. Got it. Yeah. Okay. So you're at Yale. Yeah. And like tell walk me through kind of career path and how you ended up in photography.
Mary Marantz (19:47):
Yeah. <laugh>, it's a, it's a really expensive way to go into wedding photography, I'll tell you that. So I never went to law school to become a lawyer is the first thing I'll say. I wanted to be a law professor. And when I got there my first semester, I realized that the law professor, law student relationship is more transactional than I've been used to in my undergrad or my masters. So there is such a pressure on professors to publish, they call it, you know, publish or perish that it becomes very much like research for my next book and I'll write you a recommendation letter. It's just very all business. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and I'm sure that there are exceptions to that rule, but I had just seen enough of it and kind of gotten a taste for what it would look like to live that life that I was like, well I guess I'm not gonna do that. Um, maybe I'll become, you know, an undergrad professor. Maybe I'll do like a different, maybe I'll go get my PhD in philosophy and teach in that department. Something like that. But I met my husband Justin the summer after my first year of law school. And like by our third date, Shanna, I feel like you'll appreciate this. I was like rewriting his contracts and changing his pricing <laugh>. It was a very hot third date, you know, <laugh>. Yeah. And I have, I come from a long line of small business owners, you know, we had best logging company and I, like I mentioned earlier, I'd watched that really struggle my whole life. And so I had said to my dad a thousand times, I'm gonna come back and take this business over and make it a success. And he said, Over my dead body <laugh>, you know? Um, you will not work in this very hard life. But I think that, you know, in the e myth they call it that kind of like entrepreneurial seizure. That moment when you see your life working for yourself and you can't ever unsee it Right. Had already happened. And so when I met Justin, I saw a new business and a new life we could build working together, you know, for the majority of our lives versus me being at a law firm for a hundred hours a week where people brag about sleeping under their desks and you, the firm will refund you when you have to cancel your vacation. That I did have offers at in London and New York, but I turned them down heading into my final year and we decided to start the business instead.
Shanna Skidmore (21:52):
So was he doing photography at the time or like how did you all meet? I mean, was he at Yale? Tell me the story.
Mary Marantz (21:58):
Yeah, match.com is the short answer. Uh, in, in like early match.com, like 2004 match.com. And he had gone to school at RIT, which is the number one photo program for advertising photography and had moved to Connecticut to work for one of the top advertising photographers in the world. Really. And he ended up getting an apartment in New Haven because his roommate was working 45 minutes to the east. He was working 40, sorry, to the west. He was working 45 minutes to the east and they split the difference. So it, it's very much like, you know, luck ear quotes. That we met and he had just moved to the city and my friends had all left for the summer to go work in internships elsewhere. And mine was in New Haven and this was the days of match.com when you could still go on just to meet friends. It was like early, early match.com. And so we, I took, I had three day free trial, we winked at each other on a Tuesday. We had coffee on Thursday, uh, went hiking on Sunday and I canceled my membership before I ever had to pay. So that was a success story. Yeah. Yeah. <laugh>, I think I must have canceled it like Friday or something like that. Yeah. But yeah, it was fast. I mean we, we got engaged a year and a half later and married, uh, about just about three years later, three and a bit. So we took our time at that point, but I just sort of knew pretty quickly and I, this was coming from a place where I thought I would be the girl who never got married cuz I had watched my parents' marriage, you know, buckle under financial pressures and everything else. Yeah. So we, we built the business together as part of the, like a side job while I was in law school. And then when I graduated we went full time September, 2006.
Shanna Skidmore (23:38):
And then I would love to hear how your family felt or how you felt about being a photographer.
Mary Marantz (23:47):
Yeah. <laugh>, you know, I think in a really interesting turn of events, I feel like my family had sort of started to get used to me pivoting or following, you know, my gut. I'm gonna go to England a week after 9/11. You know, they kind of, they'd already sort of gotten a little bit of like an a a tolerance for it I guess. Yeah. Um, I think it was like Justin's parents who were even a little more surprised cuz it was their first experience of like, you're gonna do what? You know, you're gonna, you just, you just finished law school and you're gonna not take these offers and you're gonna start a business and, and what are you gonna do in this business? You know? That's not a real job kind of thing. But I will say same thing, they are now our biggest, you know, as we built the business became our biggest cheerleaders. And I think that's something for people listening is like so many times when the people around us don't catch the vision for something, they don't see what we see, we can take that to mean that it's not, it doesn't have what it takes or it's not meant to to be. And what you have to kind of wrap your head around is like in this world is actually a very small percentage of people who can call something out in you before they can see it. And most people can't see it until it's already done. So don't take anybody else's, you know, lack of ability to see it as proof that it's not what you're meant to do. And that they might not become the biggest supporters of it once it's done. Mm-hmm.
Shanna Skidmore (25:05):
<affirmative>, I already think about this with my daughter Madeline. She's 18 months old and it's like, you know, I want her to always know I'm her biggest cheerleader. But there are gonna be moments where, I mean I'm sure our parents with Kyle and I were like, what are they doing? I mean I remember right after we got married we kind of both quit our jobs moved for Kyle to go back to school and we were had like zero money and we sold our cars and started commuting in Atlanta, Georgia by bikes. Which A, let's just talk about safety hazard there, <laugh>. But you know, it's those I could imagine as a parent being like, okay, you're just here, ride your bike. And you know what I'm saying, they cause parents end up buying us a car because they were so nervous about our wellbeing on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, on our road bike. But you know, it's like as a parent now, just being like, okay, okay there's gonna be moments like no, like you said, no one else can catch the vision. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and sometimes it doesn't go well, you know? Um, and, and that's okay too. So tell me about those early days of business. So was Justin still doing advertising photography? Did he like have a job or did you just like both go in to the business? Like how'd you come up with your offers and get your first clients and price yourself?
Mary Marantz (26:22):
Yeah, so he had been, he continued and he was working as like an intern really like, uh, I mean it was paid internship but like, you know, very low pay and he continued that while I was finishing law school. But we both went full cuz you know, that sounds like a good idea. Let's let both go completely full time <laugh>. Uh, we have like three clients we can go full time now. That's great. We were, were just very much living that like leap in the net will appear. We're sort of defining ourselves as the risk takers and the people who are living life always like to say unordinary because extraordinary is just extraordinary. I want totally opposite of ordinary. And you know, in the beginning he basically, he had gotten some referrals because when he was still in Rochester he assisted a wedding photographer in addition to assisting advertising photographers. And he would go and do a lot of second shooting with that guy and then eventually that guy when he was booked would give him referrals. And so when we had that first third date, you know that I was just talking about Yeah. That the third date is not the first one. We were looking at the pricing and it was $1,200 and I was like, Okay, but you have to travel back to Rochester for these weddings. So like gas and hotels. And I was like running expenses. Yeah. And we realized he was basically like paying them to go do their weddings by the time he covered the album and all this other stuff. Yeah. And so we quickly raised from 1200 and 1800 to 1,820 400 and then 2,400 to 3000. And I still can remember vividly the first time we booked that $3,000 package because we used to take payments in a third, a third, a third. And it was the first time we had a check with four digits. Wow. A thousand dollars retainer. Like we are, we arrived, you know? Yeah. And we were mostly doing weddings there. There were a very few handfuls of family photos Justin had done, but we both came at it. Me especially with this attitude of, you know, if he's gonna leave the number one photo school with advertising specialty and I'm gonna leave the number one law school and we're gonna tell people what we're doing, it is not enough to just be wedding photographers. We have to be the wedding photographers, We have to be the top of the top. You know, there was a lot of identity in being a rockstar back then, just to be quite honest with you. That was what was rewarded in our industry and that was like, you know, the the what everyone aspired to be. And I think we sort of always knew we were gonna like go weddings only as quickly as possible when we were gonna go luxury weddings as quickly as possible. And there were just a lot of leaders at the time in the industry who would say things like, you wanna book luxury weddings, you need these $1,400 sunglasses. So you show up in your $500 jeans and have a 96 inch television. You know? And so that's sort of what the industry was there for a while, but just a lot of flash and a lot of spending money to, to look, you know, to look like you belonged in luxury.
Shanna Skidmore (29:08):
What year was this Mary?
Mary Marantz (29:10):
2006 is when we went full time and when we went to our first conference and heard a lot of these <laugh>.
Shanna Skidmore (29:16):
So what was happening at the conference, I was like, this is kind of pre-Instagram, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So you were hearing the messaging like that at conferences. Okay. That makes sense. Yeah.
Mary Marantz (29:27):
Conferences, blogging was becoming a big thing. You know, people's just like fancy websites. Like I remember following a photographer and you used to have on blogger the count of number of times your blog had ever been visited ever. And when he hit 10,000 it was like a big deal. Yeah,
Shanna Skidmore (29:44):
Mary Marantz (29:44):
Yeah. And there was just, you know, there was just a lot of that, a lot of that messaging. So we knew like we wanna be, like we talked about moving to Newport, Rhode Island, the east coast version of the California luxury we'd been hearing about. And you know, we set, I remember we set a business plan of we wanna hit six figures within five years. Justin had to do a business plan to finish out his degree and we hit that the next year. Wow. We hit six figures the very following year. Yeah. Both full time, both working on it. And it was the first time we realized like, whoa, like you can start a business and actually make money. This is incredible. But we were very much focused on what we were charging and not what we were actually making. Like to the point of like we would rather sell that bigger package that where we actually make less money cause of all the stuff that it includes. Yeah. Just so we could say, oh we charge, you know, five first 5,000 and then 8,000 at 10,000 and beyond. So we definitely were not paying attention to what we were actually making.
Shanna Skidmore (30:41):
Do you feel like the bookings were coming easily for you? Cause it sounds like you were raising prices like pretty consistently.
Mary Marantz (30:49):
Yeah. So this is a really interesting journey for us, I'll say. So what one of the cool things that happened but also kind of set us up for things to be a little harder was we were getting married at the same time we were working with a very luxury wedding planner in Connecticut. Because, you know, we thought that's what you do and like, you know, you this is, it's a great way to network at the same time. And she was wonderful, she's a wonderful person, but she was referring us, she was like, Oh, like, you know, we were very much in the throes of like, here's our very signature album and here's our experience and here's our prices. You know, we were just like really putting out that luxury vibe. And so she just like started referring as some of her weddings and we booked some really big packages from her, our first big packages.
And we were very much operating on the model of, we had heard people say, you can either shoot 50 weddings at $2,000 or 10 weddings at $10,000 and they're both a hundred thousand so why work harder? You know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so we were operating on that 10, 10 for 10 was sort of our goal. And we had raise prices very quickly. We doubled very quickly into the 6, 8, 10 offerings. So from three overnight to 6, 8, 10, which is, you know, super smart for momentum and taking your clients with you in that it wasn't at all, but we were getting just enough to get by. But it became a very feast or famine swing. Yes. Like $10,000 negative 57 cents.
Shanna Skidmore (32:11):
Mary Marantz (32:12):
Yeah. And uh, I'll, I can tell you if, if you're, or if this is like way too much data at this point, but when things started to change for us was when we sat down with a photographer named Jim Kennedy at a conference and he said, Do you wanna be like popular and poor or do you wanna run a business <laugh>? And I was like, so exhausted and burned and tired of, you know, starving at that point, I don't wanna have a business. And so he kind of walked us through a better model.
Shanna Skidmore (32:36):
So tell me what year, how long had you, you been running this kind of feaster famine mm-hmm. <affirmative> route and then had this conversation that kind of changed everything.
Mary Marantz (32:46):
Uh, 2008 was that conversation. We paid to do a mentoring session with him. Like I said, his name is Jim Kennedy and I always affectionately say he's like, uh, you know, a cappuccino and an espresso and a red bull. <laugh> had a baby basically. And so he gave us like a three day coaching session in 90 minutes. And he was the one who talked about like lowering your entry point Yeah. To be able to get, you know, not super low, but to be able to get people through the door and then like walk them through value ladders up. He didn't call them that but that's what we would call them now. Like value ladders, like a may as well add on an album or extra hours. But getting more people through the door and being able to shoot more weddings overall. And so we went back to our hotel room based on what he had taught us and we called our web designer, We, cuz you couldn't update your website yourself at that point. Called our web designer and said, change them to have this $4,500 entry point. And we like crafted like a, a pricing menu and emailed it to three inquiries that were in our inbox. You know, when we went back to our hotel room essentially and we booked two of them on the spot and the other one the following week. And we were like, Okay, we're onto something. And so we jumped into 2009, 2010 we had 40 weddings. Wow. So from 10 to up to 40 and we were making, by the time they'd added everything on, we were making something like 8,000, 10,000 a wedding. We were getting back up to those price points. We were just doing a lot more and then all the problems with like having systems to support that kind of a boom. Yeah. Come into play <laugh>.
Shanna Skidmore (34:14):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think it's two very different problems. Right? So I see people a lot where they, the 10 wedding, 10,000 model, but if you only book nine mm-hmm <affirmative>, that's a 10th of your revenue for the year. You know, that's stressful. Yeah. And then you went to the like flip side of that. Now you have 40 events, which is almost one event a weekend. And that's a lot of work. Like how did you find a happy medium?
Mary Marantz (34:42):
Mm, Well yeah, I mean, I'll tell you what's interesting is that year, I wanna say that was 2010, we had three sets of triple headers. So, you know, double headers are kind of part and parcel for doing that kind of volume. But triple headers Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and two of them, the Friday and the Saturday were in one state and then the Sunday was in a different state. So, and they I know, I know. But they all booked knowing the situation and we had people on the ground in case we couldn't make it. But we shot Friday, Connecticut, Saturday, Connecticut, Sunday, flew to Florida, <laugh> to Miami. And then the inverse of that we did a Friday, Saturday in Florida cuz we'd connected with a wedding planner down there who was sending us ton of, a ton of work. And then Sunday in Rhode Island. Yeah. So we were definitely in that young and dumb and, uh, We'll never, we will never grow tired. You have no idea how hard we can hustle. So we definitely just started to have to move back down from that model when we just started to super burn out. Because you're shooting all the time and your body hurts and I mean, you've maybe heard of the wedding hangover, but like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the three, the triple header hangovers is something else entirely. And so I would say the biggest pivot out of that is I knew, I've known since I was five years old that the ultimate goal was writing books. And so I hired a coach in 2015, we started working together and the first couple years were just about clearing out the calendar. And starting to scale back, you know, from basically trading our time all the time to having more passive income. So when we were like full blown doing weddings all out, you know, we were making high three hundreds into the four hundreds, we'd scaled 300 to 400,000 a year. And then we started introducing workshops and smaller courses and we got into the high 500 600 and we just started to like do a blend over. So like turning the weddings down while we turned the education up. Yeah. And I worked with her for several years just clearing the calendar, just scaling back the wedding, scaling back the weddings, streamlining the launches to get to a place where I even had the margin to write books.
Shanna Skidmore (36:50):
Yeah. And you mentioned earlier, and I would love for you to touch on this Mary, if you, if you don't mind sharing, you talked about revenue, you know, a hundred thousand in revenue or four, 500, 600,000 in revenue. What point did you learn and how did you learn, hey, we should actually look at profit here? Yeah. Leftover money. Yeah. Not just revenue.
Mary Marantz (37:09):
Yeah. I mean, the way that I grew up, you know, I, I mean I love the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad for this reason because it talks about, you know, when you don't grow up with a lot, you really start to identify having money or being wealthy as being able to spend a lot. And I am a spender by nature. So we were just like living that high life. You know, we had all this money coming in and we were traveling and going to Australia to teach a workshop and like going on vacations and we'd bought a house. So we were doing all the house projects and we were just always really good at making money and we were always good at outpacing, Right. We were always able to make more just in time for what we were had been spending. And so I would say that we only really started to study what are actual profit margins? What are we actually bringing home? What does this actually get us? When we started to get into things like Facebook ads where there's just so much money going out and it's such a gamble each time and there is so much you are leveraging and putting out that you're not guaranteed to get back. Right? Yeah. So you spend $30,000 on Facebook ads for a launch. Mm. Like what happens if it doesn't work out? Right. And so, you know, you're hiring a team and you have the, the people running all the different, the the webinars and the Facebook ads and the design and the emails and the, you know, all the systems that have to go into that linking everything up and you start to realize you're really putting yourself on the wire. You know, when we booked weddings, that wasn't really costing us, We weren't paying for print magazine ads. We weren't paying for bridal shows. It was word of mouth, it was vendor recommendations. It was a huge network Past brides, we had great word of mouth. So we were never really as, you know, sticking our necks out so far as when we started doing that, that world, the digital marketing world. Yeah.
Shanna Skidmore (38:55):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And your expenses really went up.
Mary Marantz (38:58):
Yeah. So we got really serious about like, okay, <laugh> we're making air quotes five or 600,000 by how much did we spend in Facebook ads to get there?
Shanna Skidmore (39:05):
And is that just, did you self teach yourself? Or how did you start learning like what numbers you should be looking at? What matters? Did you have somebody walk you through all that?
Mary Marantz (39:15):
Yeah, you know, we started going to conferences. Like we signed up for Infusionsoft for our email list for our, you know, the email management and they had a conference called Icon. And so we started going to those and just like listening to digital marketers and they would put up their numbers and talk about how things had scaled and things like that. And you know, you're paying attention to things like, you know, click rates and show up rates and conversion rates and um, how much each lead is costing you. And so I think we, we sort of, we learned it in a roundabout way of first we looked at the numbers we needed to be successful and then that led us to look at the numbers to go, you know, are we paying too much for just to get a sign up or did the launch not do what we thought it would do? Things like that.
Shanna Skidmore (40:01):
Yeah. Yeah. So side question, I'm just so curious. You know, it sounds like you really shifted out of weddings mm-hmm. <affirmative> and maybe you, I don't think you do them at all now, but when you become an educator you totally change your business model. It's a completely different world. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, was there ever this moment of of like, uh, I miss my old job? Or <laugh>, did you just totally go in and like, I love this education side?
Mary Marantz (40:25):
You know, I, I think we were sufficiently um, getting burned out on weddings themselves. I have always said, you have to love weddings or you'll hate them. And so I always wanted to be out before I re ever reached that place of hating them. Uh, and you can just kind of feel yourself like, Oh, haven't heard that joke before. You know, you can start to feel
Shanna Skidmore (40:43):
Mary Marantz (40:44):
You're getting a little jaded, a little bitter. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I didn't miss that part in particular, but I watched the amazing video you just put out where you were breaking down your recent course and I did totally resonate with that idea of shifting from teaching workshops in person and watching the light bulbs go off.
Shanna Skidmore (41:01):
Mary Marantz (41:02):
To, uh, here's a video, have fun. You know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we started, you know, having like one day individual mentoring sessions people could pay for us to come back in and learn in person. Cuz I did miss that part.
Shanna Skidmore (41:14):
Yeah. Yeah. It feels like, Yeah. I just was sharing how I miss sometimes just getting to be a financial advisor, you know, like mm-hmm. <affirmative> looking at a profit and loss statement. I mean, I do that with my students, thankfully. And we just started a new, um, membership we're doing beta testing, which is amazing just to like be a CFO again, you know? Yeah. Let's look at your profit and your loss and your margins and that stuff is how my brain works. And so thinking about conversion rates and launch funnels and that's not, that's outside of my best skill. Yeah. And so it's a blessing to have those revenue streams, but yeah, I was just curious for my own self about how that transition went for you. So, Okay. Walk me through these last few years of writing the last, so the last time in 20, I think I was 2018 when you did, uh, the best thing I've learned about money series on our blog, you were about to launch your first book, so you hadn't even done that yet.
Mary Marantz (42:11):
Yeah, no. So I had, by that time I had signed with my agent and was big air quotes working on my proposal, which meant overthinking it and getting stuck in self-doubt and inner critic and perfectionism and not making any progress at all. And what happened with that is that I had a, I signed for a two year contract with my agent and it was gonna be up in like March, 2019. And so I had gotten my agent, I was working with a husband and wife team that the husband's dad owned the agency and they both ended up getting incredible offers at the same time for other jobs. And so he sort of like inherited me. He like chose of just a handful of people from their authors and took them on. And I was one of them very thankfully because he was just enough of like a cowboy meets like this, you know, imposing figure that I just didn't wanna disappoint, meets this like mentor that he got me moving and I was able to get my proposal done and we sent out pitches and I ended up getting offers from five publishers and signed with my publisher for a five book deal. So that was in 2019, which is really crazy. Really crazy to think about. You know, I wanted to be an author since I was five and I released Dirt the year I turned 40. Wow. So you can really, you know, you can really talk yourself out of things for too long. But I also feel like I've really reminded myself that none of this is wasted and I get to take it all with me. Into this new now how do you figure out how to make being an author a business?
Shanna Skidmore (43:46):
Mary Marantz (43:47):
You know? Yeah. Yeah.
Shanna Skidmore (43:48):
So tell me, what does, you know from photography to education now? Like what does business and finances look like today? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we have so many pivots and shifts
Mary Marantz (44:00):
Yes. So the biggest thing for people to know is that we now have, um, depending on how you count them, we have three LLCs and like seven different what I would call businesses within them. But, so like the three big branches are, we still have Justin and Mary the brand, which is what the education is under mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Then we have Mary Marantz the author podcaster. And you know, I have course about writing and coaching, about writing two day retreats where people come and sit on my porch and we map out their book and their proposal and you know, a course if they wanna have one. And then, uh, we also started a poshmark business a couple years ago that has become its own six figure wow. Business for us. And so Justin is doing a lot of that now with like, we are, we, you know, we live in Connecticut so we can go into a Goodwill in Connecticut and come out with an arm full of Tory Burch and amazing Ralph Lauren and whatever. And so we're finding this stuff for under $2 and selling it, Stop it, you know, anywhere from 40 to 200
Shanna Skidmore (44:59):
Now Googling Mary Marantz Poshmark
Mary Marantz (45:02):
<laugh>. Yeah. No, it's, it's @JustinandMary on Poshmark. That's our account.
Shanna Skidmore (45:06):
That's, My sister just like went down in her bank account a few thousand dollars. She loves poshmark.
Mary Marantz (45:11):
It's dangerous. Well I, that's why I joined it was to buy, I was on the buying side and uh, yeah, we just started playing around with that because we had seen like Gary Vaynerchuck do his trash talk series where, you know, people say, Oh, I don't have the money to start the business I really wanna do. And he's like, go start flipping stuff from tag sales, from yard sales. And he goes and he does it to show people how doable it is. And we just started playing around with it. And now.
Shanna Skidmore (45:34):
And now you make six figures flipping stuff on Poshmark.
Mary Marantz (45:37):
Shanna Skidmore (45:38):
Love your life <laugh>.
Mary Marantz (45:39):
Yeah. And Justin just did a, an interview with Prophoto our, our lighting company about it cuz they kind of see the future of eCommerce as well. So it's been really interesting. So the reason I bring that up is because the biggest problem for me now is feeling like I'm constantly switching gears and kind of figuring out how to get traction in any one of them when you're, you know, you do that and you get that going and then you got, it's like we're juggling or spinning plates I think is a really good example because you have to keep them spinning or they fall in they crash. Yeah. So that's, that's the new adventure is figuring out how to get my mind to even switch gears. Yeah. Let alone when I'm in a, a season of actually writing a book, which is basically like me scuba diving and you know, submerging 30,000 feet and I'll be back in six months guys, it'll be great. Yeah. Yeah.
Shanna Skidmore (46:26):
That's o helpful to hear. I always, um, when I first start working with students and clients, I say like, if you're multipassionate, that's great. I mean, do it. But I think at first you have to build one thing. Yeah. Because just like you said, when you're trying to build three things or have three things running all at once, it's three different systems, three different offers. Three different audiences. Yeah. So that's, I can see and imagine how shifting those gears and those wheels in those, three very different businesses.
Mary Marantz (46:56):
Yeah. And all three of them have their own teams, which is good cuz we're using, you know, that CEO mindset we've learned. But it means there's a group of people over here waiting for something very different than that group of people over there that's waiting. And so, like, if you are not rotating well among them now, it's not just you who's not getting stuff done. They're not getting stuff done either. Yeah. Yeah. So it's it's a lot of pressure. Yeah. You know?
Shanna Skidmore (47:19):
Yeah. Yeah. That's so interesting. I just love hearing your journey and your story so much. And as you were saying that, I made me think of one of my all time favorite books. Have you read the book Essentialism?
Mary Marantz (47:32):
Shanna Skidmore (47:33):
I love that book so much because I have like squirrel brain And so it's helped me to like, I would have to do like one business a day, I think Mary or somehow. To keep on track. Yes. Through all of this journey and all that you've learned, I would love to come back to what we talked about in 2018. What is the best thing that you have learned about money?
Mary Marantz (47:54):
Mm. You know, the biggest thing that's really started to change those kinds of beliefs that are anchored in scarcity or anchored in just like, kind of like, I, I think everybody listening should really just pause this for a minute and go, Is there a part of me who feels like money ruins things or money will make me bad, or money will, you know? Although, you know, they'll look at that person, they got a lot of money and then that celebrity marriage fell apart. You know, they had all these houses and they couldn't be happy. Like, is there a part of you that equates money as being like the root of all unhappiness basically, Or that you are a bad person if you have, if you're not just barely scraping by? And so for a lot of us who did not grow up with a lot, there can be this insecurity or this instability that we remember from our childhood. And we can carry, I've been doing a lot of research on this. I just had Dr. Allison Cook on my podcast. She has a new book called The Best of You, where she really dives into this. But she said, kids who grew up with instability will become adults with inner chaos. And we were talking about how we took it kind of a step further to say that experience of almost self sabotaging to return to a place of chaos because it's at least familiar. Wow. And one of the biggest things that I've been working through and learning, and she talks about this in her book, is the way we reparent ourselves. The way we break that is we start to set little commitments to ourselves and then keep them. They could be small, but they need to be important to us and we need to set 'em for about a week. And we need to prove to ourselves that for a week we could keep that commitment to ourselves. And then we'd add another one, or we go for a little bit longer. And she said, What we're doing is we're teaching the littlest version of ourselves that there is an adult they can trust and that it's us. And so I think for me, there's a reason Biblically we know that when we're faithful with the small things, we can be trusted with more. I, I don't think that's just about God saying, Okay, now you're trustworthy. I think it's about us learning to trust ourselves. And I think it's about seeing like, okay, I handled that well. I am doing that in integrity. I am stewarding that while I'm managing it well. And as our trust in ourselves goes up, our capacity to hold more goes up with it.
Shanna Skidmore (50:12):
That is so good. Mary. <laugh>. I mean, you have a way with words clearly <laugh>, but yeah. I'm just, as someone who's come from a, a background that didn't, wasn't a lot financially, you know, I Yeah. You wanna be able to trust that you are still the same person you want to be. Yeah. At the different levels of income. Yeah. Um, this is off script a little bit, but I would be interested if you would share, you know, you went to Yale, Justin went to a very prestigious photography school, and we talked a little bit about like kind of that idea of like feeling like a real business or this is legit. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how have you overcome that? You know, even now, like having a poshmark business or whatever it is, you know, where almost do, do you still feel like you've had to prove to your self like, this is important, this matters. It's not three inch high heels and power suits. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know.
Mary Marantz (51:09):
Yeah. You know, I think, um, so a lot of the journey of my second book, which is slow growth equals strong Roots and the subtitles finding grace, freedom, and purpose in an overachieving world, it was very much written from the perspective of I am the classic overachiever, gimme all the gold stars, but I need them not because I want anyone else to feel small. It's because I don't know how to breathe if I go too long without them. Like, I feel like I'm gonna end up back in that trailer if I go too long without them. And I, I feel like I don't have any kind of identity if I don't have my resume. Right. That this idea that I might have to interact with another human and never tell them anything that's on my resume. Right. That, that feels stressful because there's this like, in inner belief of like just being an old soul who's an introvert and a deep thinker and has a witty sense of humor is not enough. Yeah. Like I'd never want anybody to feel like I'm wasting their time. And so that's been the real journey recently is like, not even though, even though like I'm like, Oh yeah, poshmark right now it's six figures. Like, I need you to know that's working. I need you to know that's successful. Yes. Yeah. Um, there has been a ton of unraveling in the last couple years in my soul and in my identity and in my life in the best ways possible where I think there's a version of Mary who wouldn't have even dared say like, Yeah, I'm wearing my pearls and going and digging through bins at Goodwill <laugh>. You know, we just wouldn't have talked about that. And so I think we're just you, there's a comfort in your own skin. As you get older. And the forties are fantastic for that. And I'm just really enjoying, like, I'm just gonna tell you all the stuff we're doing and if you wanna, you know, be snide on the sidelines about it, have fun with that, but we're just gonna keep doing what we're doing. So that's a really long answer to say basically like it's been a, a long time coming, but I do think I'm finally reaching a place where I don't need you to be impressed. Not you but anybody to be.
Shanna Skidmore (52:58):
Right. No, I get it. Yeah.
Mary Marantz (52:59):
I don't need you to be impressed, Shanna. Yeah. Um, I don't need you to be impressed in order to like me and what we're doing.
Shanna Skidmore (53:05):
Yeah. Oh, I have absolutely struggled with that too. And that's why I asked, because I'm like, that's so I'm never gonna forget you saying wearing your pearls, digging through bins, but I'm so good. I'm just, that's cracking me up. But yeah, I have struggled with that as well. And people don't take you seriously or do you, It's moments, I even, I met a CFO for like a hundred million dollar company yesterday and I was like, Yeah, do CFO work too <laugh>, You know, it's this moment of like, I'm that smart. I have to know that about myself. You know what I'm saying?
Mary Marantz (53:39):
Yeah but you know what, that goes back to what I was saying earlier of, you know, just really this idea of like, I think the second you make peace with the fact that most people are metrics people and they're not gonna see you as like worth their time until you've already done the things. Um, I think there's, I don't know, I've, I've developed some compassion cuz like I had the very interesting experience of both climbing to the top of the top in my industry as a photographer and then immediately putting a foot as a brand new newbie in the author world. And so both being kind of like, you know, the old time, like old time legend kind of thing in one and then the "who?" In the new. And I wrote in slow growth about this dream I had of like chasing an author I look up to through the crowds and pushing past the crowds to try to get her to like turn around and see me. And I wanted to just put dirt in her hands, the book and say like, if you would just open this and read it and see how good it is, then you would tap me and I would be included. And I've just really started to develop a lot of compassion for people. Like, just because they're not seeing me. They're just, they're just metrics people. They, they'll see it later, we'll meet later. You know, but like, you ha you have to know where you're headed. Yes.
Shanna Skidmore (54:49):
Yeah. It's such a sweet place to be. So I took 2020 completely off such an interesting year to take off because I watched my neighbors go into forbearance on their homes and have to cancel their cable. And I realized that I would do what I do now for free. Like I. I mean, have to pay my bills, but I, I love it. So I was like, I'll help you with a, like let me help you with a budget and just this moment of like, I no longer need to prove my own worth. I just wanna show up and do my good work and Yeah. And it's just a, it's I think something maybe all of us have to go through. Cuz I hear this so often from people where their goal is to replace their corporate salary and I'm like, that's a great goal, but why is that your goal? Right? Know Is that just to prove to yourself that flowers are legit or photography's legit, You know? So thank you so much for sharing. How you've gone through that. Okay. We have a few more minutes and I, I wanna get into a quick fire round, but I, I can't just stop this interview without asking you, through this journey of career and growth and growing these different streams of income and revenue, what would you say that you've learned and now being in your forties. About just finding harmony in the growth of your business and also living a full life.
Mary Marantz (56:14):
Yeah. Oh man, I love this question because I do think it is the work of my life right now, Like in my life, the work that I have to do in my soul because I am, I think I'm just wired to be a person who's always like, what's next? What's next? What's next? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what's the next big dream? What's the next ambition? What's the next like mountain we can climb? And to a certain extent it's making peace with the fact that I do think God just wired some of us with a little more ambition and drive and like, that's not wrong or bad, but balance that with the fact that I am literally as I'm sitting here talking to you, Shanna I am surrounded by a million prayers answered. You know, the kitchen that I'm in right now, the house that we're in our first, this is such a fun example of like God being really both redemptive and having a great sense of humor is I grew up in a trailer that smelled like mildew because it leaked, you know, really badly mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we were able fast forward to buy our first house, which is a house on the Long Island Sound a beautiful, complete disaster on the Long Island sound because it had had a flood, a pipe burst on the third floor and ran for like days before they caught it and then sat for six months. And when they walk in it smelled like mildew. Yeah. You know, and that's why we were able to get it right. So anyway, like we're in this house, we, I have not one but two golden retrievers like I dreamed of since I was a kid and they got one on full house. Right. And like just the paint on the walls and like that candle that's from, a trip to Magnolia with my friend cuz I got to go speak on that show. Like I could sit here for hours and hours and list off the dreams come true that are around me. And it's so easy for me to miss them. Yeah. It's so easy for me to be like, like, I'm gonna be honest, all weekend I was like this, we're recording this on a Monday all weekend. I was like this waiting on this thing to come down. It's just not working involved. This isn't converting. And meanwhile we're sitting on our porch with the most perfect breeze, golden sunlight, a cheeseboard. And I couldn't see any of it cuz I was so frustrated about this one business thing. So I'm really working on that. It's balancing where we're headed and being a person of ambition with not missing every little miracle right in front of me.
Shanna Skidmore (58:21):
Yeah. We are such kindred kindred spirits. I mean, like you, it, it sounds like you listened to, I just recorded a launch debris from a launch of ours that didn't go as planned. And I forgot to mention in that whole video that doing a $30,000 launch for us is, you know, a 10th of where we would want to be, but $30,000 for many launches is amazing, you know? Yeah. And just even that perspective of like, I wish I had just said in that video, Hey, I see that this could be your dream, you know, a 30,000 I'm over here being like, this didn't go well. Yeah. And how easy it is to miss how far you've come.
Mary Marantz (59:01):
Yeah. You know what that made me think of actually? That's so good. One of the best pieces of money advice I've ever been given was from our accountant, Lisa, who has this like, she's like this spiky hair and she's like a, a, a metal rocker, but she's also an accountant <laugh>. Um, and she said move the decimal point. She said, who people are at 5,000 is who they are at 50,000 is who they are at 500,000 and so on. And what she was saying is the same mistakes they make with 5,000 they'll make with 50,000 and the same like, like the gratitude or the generosity they have at 50,000 is who they'll be at 500,000. And that like, you know, you, you get into the same kind of mistakes with 500,000 that you do at 5,000. It's just 10,000 or 10 times worse, you know? Yeah. Or whatever that math is. Yeah. Uh, a hundred times worse. I guess math is hard, Shanna. I know. And, um,
Shanna Skidmore (59:52):
Saying I need a calculator for that. I don't know the answer can't whip at all. <laugh>.
Mary Marantz (59:56):
You know, I think that's interesting. And I, I'm guessing there are probably exceptions to that rule where somebody really became like a multi billionaire and then became horrible, but, um, maybe they became a multi billionaire, became the most generous, generous people in the world. I don't know. But I, I really have taken that to heart of like, it's not gonna be an amount of money that changes things. It's gonna be the behavior. And then we can move the decimal point.
Shanna Skidmore (01:00:21):
Yeah. That's so true. I've always said, you know, I've done finance now for 15 years and I've seen a lot of different stories and I say wealth is not about how much money you make, it's about how you spend the money you make. And you know, I've, I've worked for my first five years in finance with a lot of physicians and who didn't know how they were gonna pay their bills next month. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and a lot of teachers who had a lot saved. You know, it's all about expectations and I've always said I felt like the physicians were given a disservice because they were told their whole life, You're gonna make so much money, you're gonna make it didn't matter. It doesn't matter. You're gonna make so much money. It's like we all have to learn how to manage our money mm-hmm. <affirmative> whether we have a lot or a little. Okay. This is so good. Let's go into a quick fire round. To round us off. Ugh. This has been Mary, I just love hanging out. We need to do this in person. We would talk for hours. Yes. Um, okay, so first question, what is one thing you would be embarrassed if people knew?
Mary Marantz (01:01:15):
Oh man. Um, you know, it's like, it's like I'm gonna qualify it just a tiny bit and it's not so much that I'm embarrassed for people to know it. It's more like I'm embarrassed when it's happening. And that is that in the last couple years, my anxiety has gone super, super high, but mine has decided for some reason to show up in the form of OCD <laugh>. So, you know, I am just like perpetually walking around, checking to make sure that the oven is turned off and I'm like checking room by room to make sure everything is just like exactly in the place it should be. And we have two golden retrievers who are perpetually jumping on things or moving the curtains or whatever. So it just becomes a loop all day long. And it's actually been very exhausting and very frustrating and it's, I don't think it's something you would expect from, you know, somebody who's juggling a bunch of different businesses that I'm also just spending a significant portion of my thoughts making sure that the sign is not crooked on the wall. <laugh>.
Shanna Skidmore (01:02:10):
Yeah. Yeah. It's almost like if you feel out of control, you need control.
Mary Marantz (01:02:12):
Yeah, exactly. Outside the house, no control inside the house control. Yeah. Yeah. For sure.
Shanna Skidmore (01:02:19):
That's so interesting. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. Okay, second question. Are there any regrets or I, I kind of like to say wish you could do over moments. Mm-hmm.
Mary Marantz (01:02:31):
Um, the first one that comes to mind, and this is more of a life one, is that we were not with my grandma when she passed away. We were shooting a wedding. So we were being very, very busy and important and traveling with our business and we knew she was going downhill and we knew we should have, um, gone home more in those last few months. And so it was like about 11 months in between when we saw her for the last time and when she actually passed away. So that was in 2011. And so I think that's, you know, I I said earlier I really wanna live a life without regret and that's the one I think I've really carried with me, you know? Yeah. And it's, it's informed my life since then. And then, you know, I think probably more from a financial standpoint, it's that I would have become a person who saw every dollar not as, what can I buy with this, but what can I invest with this? I'm not saying, you can't ever have any fun with your money, but I think I just would've like, I would have viewed the buying power of dollars differently. Yeah. You know, because there's a lot of meals that we've had that have come and gone and we, you know, we'll never experience again. And it was sort of like an in the moment splurge that we could have instead still be reaping the benefits of, you know, I think about Proverbs 31 woman where it's like she takes her income and turns it into an investment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> turns it into a vineyard and then the vineyard gives you an income that you can have fun with <laugh>, whatever. So I think I would've just really started to understand that the power of money is not in how rich you look, but in the peace, uh, in your life, how it feels on the inside. Yeah. Uh, and made more decisions based on that.
Shanna Skidmore (01:04:08):
Mm. That's so good. I have so much I could say about that, but I'm not. So good. Okay. Third, what is a big win or a pinch me moment?
Mary Marantz (01:04:17):
Oh my gosh. You know, I honestly, like, I'll be, I'll be real with you. I kind of feel like it's like day by day at this point. Like there, my, my life has gotten very weird in the best ways possible in the last couple years. So like, I sat down with Kathy Lee Gifford recently, her episode comes out, uh, tomorrow on our show. And just like I'm getting to sit down with people who have been heroes for years, authors I've looked up to, um, actors, directors. So that's just like my normal life now. So now country singers talking to them about,
Shanna Skidmore (01:04:43):
I mean, that's amazing
Mary Marantz (01:04:45):
<laugh>. Yeah. And, um, but I got, I have to feel like it was the day I found out about the book offer, you know, that that 40 nearly 40 year journey had finally happened. And then thank goodness nobody told me that they would be like years and years after that of actually doing the work, uh, to get the books out. But yeah, that was a good day.
Shanna Skidmore (01:05:03):
Yeah. Yeah. That's amazing. There was somebody, I'm gonna pull it up. There was somebody I saw on your show and it's escaping me now. I'm gonna try to remember you've had so many amazing guests on your show. Yeah. I'm gonna have to, I'll link it in the notes for everybody, but I can't wait to, um, hear Kathy Lee Gifford. That's good.
Mary Marantz (01:05:20):
Shanna Skidmore (01:05:20):
Okay. Yeah. Well, you already shared some good advice, but if there's another piece of best advice or good advice that you have received, and would like to share.
Mary Marantz (01:05:29):
Hmm. I mean, I think it really goes back to so many people are waiting, Well, okay, here, I'll just say it this way right now, there's a person listening and you are believing that because these thoughts are going through your head, it's proof that you shouldn't move forward When I'm gonna actually argue, it's the very proof that you are exactly on track and you should a hundred percent move forward. And it goes something like this. It's all been done, it's all been done better. It's all been done by somebody the world actually actually wants to pay attention to. I have to know every single step before I can start. I have, it has to be perfect before I can put it out there. I'm not there yet. What if the critics come, I feel like an imposter. What if they say, who does she think she is? <laugh>. Right. And it's like such a predictable script that fear and the resistance has in our lives that I've actually started to train myself. When those thoughts start racing through my head, it means I'm on the right track.
Shanna Skidmore (01:06:18):
Mary Marantz (01:06:18):
Do it. Yeah.
Shanna Skidmore (01:06:20):
Mm. That's so good. I have something right, right now that I'm thinking that about. So that's, Thank you. I needed that little call to power call action <laugh>. All right. Last quick fire question. What are you working on now and or what is one resource you would like to share? Mm.
Mary Marantz (01:06:36):
Yeah. So next month my publisher's actually flying in. We're gonna start sketching out book three. But book two Slow growth Equals Strong Rates came out, uh, this spring and we actually put together a really fun quiz that goes along with it. Uh, the, what's your achiever type quiz. And it goes along in the book. There are these five characters of the, um, different yet somehow all the same versions of the woman always performing. And so there's the performer who both needs to hit the goals for how she feels about herself, but also how other people see her. The con, the tight rope walker, who could care less, who's clapping, but she needs the bigger and bigger dopamine hits to feel the same high, the contortionist who's not particularly driven by goals herself, but she does it to avoid criticism from other people to contort is easier than to be criticized. The masquerader who hides in plain sight because she doesn't wanna let herself or anyone else down. And the illusionist in the distance who doesn't even think she can get started until she's some perfect version of herself. And so the quiz is about, uh, 60 seconds or two minutes long, and it will tell you what your type is, what your strengths are, where you get tripped up, and how to start moving forward towards your purpose. Then you can find that at achieverquiz.com or marymarantz.com/quiz.
Shanna Skidmore (01:07:50):
I'm so excited to take it. I think I already know which one I am.
Mary Marantz (01:07:53):
Ooh. What do you think? What do you think?
Shanna Skidmore (01:07:54):
I think I'm the performer. Yeah.
Mary Marantz (01:07:56):
Yeah. That makes sense. Cause we are, I am also the performer, so <laugh>. Yeah.
Shanna Skidmore (01:08:00):
Oh, but I'm taking the quiz. I'm so excited. Okay. Mary, this has been so wonderful. I feel like I could talk to you for another hour. We just need to make this happen again. But thank you so much for your time and I want you just to send us off with what would you tell yourself, looking back now the day you kind of graduated from Yale Law School and you're getting on your photography journey, what would you tell yourself on day one?
Mary Marantz (01:08:25):
I think it would be that the stuff we think matters is not the stuff we're gonna miss. Hmm. I think the stuff we get really caught up in and the things we try to check off the list and the milestones we try to hit. I always think about that scene from Our Town when Emily is, she's passed away and she's going up to her grave and she's saying goodbye and she's like, Goodbye to clocks ticking and coffee, you know, and, and mama's pancakes or whatever she says, and she says, You know, oh world, you're far too wonderful for anyone to ever realize. And we lost our golden retriever, our first golden retriever who was like our baby because we don't have kids. Um, we had him for 12 and a half years, and when we lost him and we came home, it was the last little tufts of fur on the ground. Like the ball that would never be chased again in the leash hanging on the hook. It was not, you know, Oh look, I've achieved some good life by having the fancy golden retriever and it was him. And so I just think we're gonna get to the end of our life when we talk about not living a life of regret. I think it's, I've been talking to Justin about this. It's like, I don't wanna lose anymore sands through the hourglass anymore. Anymore pieces of sand every day, day by day by day being frustrated about something or in comparison about something or spiraling out about something like miracles are literally happening right in front of my face. The wind is like punching me in the face with how beautiful life is, and I just don't wanna miss it anymore.
Shanna Skidmore (01:09:53):
Yeah. Yeah. Mary. Oh, that's so good. I got a little children's book and I can't remember the name of it. I just, it just came in the mail this weekend, so I will find it. I'll send it to you and then I'll post it. Um, it's about gratitude. Mm. And the very last page, I mean it like chokes me up, I hope I can get through it, but it says, I'm gonna bo it, but says something like, today is once in a lifetime, like you'll never get today again. Yeah. And just this reminder of like, let's live it. Mm. Yeah. So beautiful. Mary, thank you so much for your time and sharing your story. It's been so wonderful and such a gift to spend this time with you.
Mary Marantz (01:10:28):
Yeah, you too. Thank you so much for having me.
Shanna Skidmore (01:10:30):
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 Mary. One final thought from today from Epicurus. Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. As always, thank you for listening. I'll see you next time.