Consider the Wildflowers

036. Catherine Guidry: Grass Roots Your Way to Success

March 16, 2023 Catherine Guidry
Consider the Wildflowers
036. Catherine Guidry: Grass Roots Your Way to Success
Show Notes Transcript

One client, one wedding, one new offer at a time. Catherine’s story of grass-rooting her photography business growth may not look flashy or instagram worthy but slow, steady, incremental growth often goes hand in hand with longevity in business. From launching her photography career right out of college with no past experience or blueprint to follow, to becoming the main income earner for her family and now a new mom, today’s guest, Catherine Guidry, shares how she has pivoted and shifted her business along the way to continually support the life she wants to live and the work she loves doing. 


Catherine Guidry (00:00):

Thought I was going to become an architect. And then while I was studying, started to dabble in photography and found a real passion for it, and decided by the time I finished grad school that I just loved photographing weddings. And so I started my business full-time right out of college. I never worked at a firm or worked for anyone else. I was like, you know, I'm going to grassroots this business. And so I did. And now here we are in 2023, Shanna Skidmore (00:24):

You are listening to Consider the Wildflowers, the podcast, episode 36, 1 client, one Wedding, one new offer at a time. Katherine's story of grassroot. Her photography business growth may not look flashy or Instagram worthy, but slow, steady, incremental growth often goes hand in hand with longevity and business. From launching her photography career right out of college with no past experience or blueprint to follow to becoming the main income earner for her family and now a new mom. Today's guest, Katherine Guidry, shares how she pivoted and shifted her business along the way to continually support the life she wants to live and the work she loves doing. If you dig professional bios, here it goes. Katherine Guidry is a New Orleans based wedding photographer, podcaster and educator. She has photographed nearly 400 weddings and successfully built a debt-free six-figure business over the course of the last decade.
She's been featured in a variety of publications including Southern Brides, salami, pretty The Knot and More, and is now helping other photographers and creative entrepreneurs embrace imperfection and pursue their passions through the podcast. Mistakes make magic. Her greatest achievements include creating memorable experiences for her clients in teaching other creative entrepreneurs and photographers how to successfully run their businesses. Okay, formal introductions over, let's dive in. Hey, it's Sha, 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, turn business consultant, I have a unique opportunity to see the reel. 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 in business on your own terms. Welcome Wildflower. I'm so glad you're here. Hi, Catherine. I'm so excited to have you on this show today. Welcome. Catherine Guidry (02:30):

Thank you. I'm very excited to be catching up with you. Thank you so much for having me. Shanna Skidmore (02:35):

I feel like this is such a full circle moment because I was on your podcast years ago and I'm trying to remember if that was before we met in person. I think it was before we even met in person. Catherine Guidry (02:50):

I think so. I Shanna Skidmore (02:51):

Think it was, and then I got to meet you at a speaking event in New Orleans. So yeah, it's fine. And we haven't caught up really since so much life to catch up on. Catherine Guidry (03:00):

It's good to hear your voice again. Shanna Skidmore (03:02):

Okay, so you've had a baby. I've had a baby. And now Congrat, you're pregnant with baby number two? Catherine Guidry (03:09):

I am am. I'm still early on in the pregnancy, but yeah, baby number two, here we go. And we're having a girl, so we'll have two baby girls. Shanna Skidmore (03:18):

Oh, sisters are so sweet. So I have a sister, and we are only 15 months apart. And I remember when Miss Madeline, my little girl was six months old. I was like, my mom was getting pregnant with me right now, and I was just like, no, no. Ooh, Catherine Guidry (03:39):

I Shanna Skidmore (03:39):

Know. That's close. That's close together. Catherine Guidry (03:42):

Yeah. I mean, I feel like as it is, Opal still, my daughter, she just is at she's two, so she kind of understands, but kind of doesn't. And I'm like, Ooh, this will be interesting. Yeah, I think too that don't understand. Shanna Skidmore (03:56):

So mama real talk before we talk business. Yeah. How's it been with Ms. Opal and Oh, good. Doing mom life, business, life, all the things. Yeah. How was that zero to one transition for you? Catherine Guidry (04:10):

Oh man. Oh my gosh. So many lessons learned. I think especially, so I'm a wedding photographer by trade, which is kind of an atypical profession with an atypical schedule. And so I think for me, the biggest transition was initially the pregnancy, which I'm going through that again, announcing to clients who have booked out 18 months in advance way before I ever knew I was pregnant, sharing that news with them, that was a process to learn about and go through. And so going through that again, and then once she came, just trying to photograph weddings while breastfeeding was another adventure that I had to figure out how to do. And then right now we're in a different season too of her being two and being away on the weekends because Brad and I do photograph together. And so just trying to constantly create the business in a way that is also fulfilling for life and just learning lessons with that. And then, we'll, now we'll be doing it with two different age, two different ages. So it's definitely been a challenge, but I think it's also made me a lot more intentional with business. It's also made me a lot more focused, and I think those are all really, really good things to have to grow as a person. Shanna Skidmore (05:25):

Yeah, I think that's so interesting how you said that sometimes those time constraints, whether it's having a little one, having a full-time job, whatever those are in some ways are a blessing. They make you get more strategic, get more, really outline what you value, get specific on how you want to build it. Yeah. So that's so interesting. Do you feel like it took you a while to find your groove and blow? Are you still finding it so nice? I feel like I'm still finding it. Catherine Guidry (05:58):

I think definitely the latter. I think that it's constantly changing, and that was something that I didn't really understand the concept of before, at least not understand it from the perspective of a mom. I mean, I know my business was always changing and growing, and so I was adjusting to that. But even now in the position of a mom and having a little girl, she's constantly changing. And so I do think I'm always figuring it out. I don't think that I've completely figured it out, but I think that if someone came to me and asked me, oh, well, how would you handle your maternity leave? I've done that so I could share on it. But as things are moving forward, I think I'm still figuring it out as I go, because the seasons change and her needs change, my needs change. And so yeah, we're just constantly adjusting along the way, and I'm sure you can relate to that. Yeah. So you have one? Shanna Skidmore (06:53):

Yes. Yes. Okay. Have Madeline, she, at the time of this recording? Yep. She is 22 months old. Yes, she will be two. I just can't believe it. And she's just so much fun and it's made me so grateful for the flexibility that entrepreneurship provides. I'm just so grateful for that privilege and also has just a lot of learning of mom guilt versus being so proud that we own a business and we run a business and that she gets to see me working. So it's this, for us, me, it's been this really figuring out how I want to show up as a mom and how I want to show up as a business owner. So yeah, Catherine Guidry (07:36):

I think one of the biggest lessons that I had to learn was that I needed separation of things. Because when she was first born, we had in-home care and I was working while we had someone here, and I think everyone's a little different, but for me, I found myself exponentially happier and more focused when I was working with her now being out of the home during the day, and then when she's home, I don't work at all. And I feel like less, I personally have felt less guilt with that because I just felt like never good at anything. I guess for the first eight months, that's how long we had in-home care. And then once we transitioned, I was like, okay, now at least I feel like I am getting work done and I am being a mom when I'm around her. So that's been one big lesson that I think for this baby right out the gate, we are going to try a little differently. Shanna Skidmore (08:27):

Yeah. Well, I love hearing that, Catherine. Thank you for sharing and for everybody listening, hopefully there's some moms or new moms or everybody so can hear. I'm over here just taking notes because that's something that has been so good, especially even just getting to host this podcast, hearing and talking to so many people about how they find harmony and work and life. And for each person, I truly think that it's different. I have found that I'm the same. I compartmentalize a little bit better. For me, that works better. I need structured work time so that when I'm with Madeline, I don't feel pulled. Whereas some people do the integration of the two so well, and so just that empowerment to find what works for you. That's so good. Absolutely. Okay, mom talk. That'll probably come back later. Let's talk about Katherine, you said you're a photographer. Just kind of share who you are and what you do for your work. Catherine Guidry (09:23):

So I am 36 years old, which I think is important to note because I started my business at somewhere between 21 and 23. I did it while I was studying architecture. I do have my undergrad and grad degree in architecture. I thought I was going to become an architect. And then while I was studying, started to dabble in photography and found a real passion for it and decided by the time I finished grad school that I just loved photographing weddings. And so I started my business full-time right out of college. I never worked at a firm or worked for anyone else. I was like, I'm going to grassroots this business. And so I did. And now here we are in 2023, still photographing weddings full-time, almost exclusively. I don't really do a ton of other photography types anymore. I mean, I've done architecture, families, commercial work, all the things, but really my passion is in weddings and I govern in the recent years that I also enjoy educating. I know you and I met in person and then over the podcast, I love just meeting other creative business owners and helping other wedding photographers build their businesses. And so here we are now all these years later, I feel like I'm finally at a place where we've gone from 20, in 2017, I think I've photographed like 56 weddings, and this year we have 25, which is much more vanil, especially at the scale of weddings that photographed now more details. And so it's been really good. I like where we are right now with the business. Shanna Skidmore (10:57):

Yeah, that's So 13 years in doing photography, will you talk about the early days? I mean, how did you find traction? How did you get clients and get your pricing figured out? How did you start building up your portfolio? Catherine Guidry (11:15):

I think that is, gosh, the hardest thing starting out because I knew that I had the skills of success in me. I believed in myself. I think confidence is important. Just the desire to learn and grow and work really hard, those are components that you really need to be an entrepreneur. And so it's like, oh, I knew I had those things, but also I didn't really have a portfolio. No one really wants to hire you unless they can see that your work is good. So initially, in the early days, I was in college the two years before going full-time, and I started just photographing architecture people, anything that I could, tried doing portraits. And my very first client, of course, was a friend of the family, and she came over to my apartment at the time with her mom. She was getting married, and I literally printed out a bound album of just people's photos and architecture, and she could tell that I had a passion for it, but I didn't.
I had never photographed a wedding before, but she knew my character and she knew I'd work hard. And so at a very affordable price of $1,000, she hired me to photograph the wedding and paid me two 50 per session for her engagements in her bridal. So that first paid job as a wedding photographer, and I photographed that wedding in the fall of 2008 with my best friend. I would say I still have the photos. I would say that it's, it wasn't my best work ever, but it was a start. And if you show up well for people, and even if the photos aren't as great as someone who's been doing this for 15, 20 years, if you show up well and you treat people well, and you do a good enough job, you know have gear and you have backups and all those things, then that person refers you. And so that's what happened. I basically started a referral business and one referral led to another. And by the time I did graduate, I wasn't making a ton of money, but if I lived small, I could afford to not go and work at an architecture firm, which I didn't want to do. I did try to work under other photographers, but it's kind of hard to get your foot in the door in any industry really. I was like, wow, I just have to make mistakes and learn on my own. And that's exactly what I did. Shanna Skidmore (13:26):

Yeah. And so did it just start growing, like you said, word of mouth really naturally mean? Did you just start increasing your price? Was there ever a point where you were like, I need to get help with the business side, or did you just figure it out? I like how you said grassroots along the way. Catherine Guidry (13:43):

Yeah, I mean, I was super grassroots about money. Money is a topic that I'm very passionate about. My dad, he's actually retired a few years ago and became a certified financial advisor. So he's someone that has always been really interested in money and has really helped me see the value of learning about it. And I knew that even though photography was where my heart was, that I would never be able to do what I loved if I didn't do the money side well, yeah, so in the beginning, I just sort of based my prices upon what I thought people would hire me for and basically like, oh, this is what other people are charging. Let me charge less, which I think is pretty typical. But over time, before I've mapped out how I do my pricing now, I just sort of increased over time based upon flying demand.
If it was booking up too quickly, I would raise up my prices a little bit so that I could keep up with the work. And then over the years I actually started developing pricing strategy. I would present preset offerings to clients, and depending upon how much they would spend, I would discount them a percentage of the total to incentivize that they could save more if they spent more. Right. But yeah, over time my prices just gradually increased and over time I would become a little bit more profitable until I got to a place where I was actually profiting in the business. And I would say it probably took about three or four years before I was there. And I know you had mentioned the word grassroots. I think that that should be encouragement people that when they start their business, they don't have to get a big business loan or they don't have to get the best equipment. I mean, you can buy camera bodies that are 30, 40, $50,000. When I was photographing that very first wedding that I talked about way in 2008, I rented that camera. I didn't actually even buy it. I didn't have the cash to afford it. And so there was a local camera shop. I went in, I rented the camera, rented the lens, rented the camera for my friend, and it just cut that out of my profit. And then over time, I had enough to actually invest in gear. Shanna Skidmore (15:49):

Yeah. Oh, that's so good, Catherine, and such good encouragement. I mean, entrepreneurship. I am over here. I love entrepreneurship. I'm such an advocate if people want to start their own business, and that's why I do what I do every single day. And sometimes we make it so complicated, but I think if you want to make it happen and you get out there, we figure out a way to build it from the ground up and just, you did that with the grassroots effort, word of mouth, getting out there and doing it step by step by step. I think so often we went a fast track, we live in a fast paced, get quick results kind of world, but just one foot in front of the other will get you to where you want to go. Yeah, that's so true. What would you say, looking back, that there was a significant time in your business where you saw a major pivot or a turning point in your business where it really took off or a big change in your business? I'd love to hear any significant moments in your business that something shifted or changed or really took off. Catherine Guidry (16:55):

Interestingly enough, I think that that's happened a couple of times. You'll get to a point where you feel a shift. One shift was whenever I moved from Lafayette, which is a smaller city in Louisiana to New Orleans, actually physically relocated for business because the business was better, there was more opportunity I could fly. And so that was a big personal transition. But I think in terms of business, we just gradually around year 10 or so, moved into this market where our price point was so much higher than ever before. You know, hear of photographers booking like $10,000 wedding offering, but that had never really happened to me up until that point. And maybe we had done one or two offerings like that and they included a whole lot of sessions and rehearsal and product and all that. But over time, when we were slowly increasing our base offering, we started to see this shift in client Bend.
And yeah, I think around the 10 year mark, that was when we really started to work with wedding planners and we're photograph photographing weddings that were half a million, a million dollars, these crazy things that we hadn't experienced before. So that was a big shift in responsibility for me, knowing how to show up well for an event of that magnitude and all the things that were happening. I actually had a father of the bride at a really big event that we photographed turned to me and he said, you know, must do a really great job if Mater hired you for today. And I said, oh, well thank you. I appreciate that sentiment. And he said, and I hope you do because there's no, Shanna Skidmore (18:42):

I know. No pressure, no pressure, Catherine Guidry (18:45):

Pressure. I was like, as if I didn't feel enough pressure already. Shanna Skidmore (18:48):

Yeah, I know. Catherine Guidry (18:50):

So yeah, that was a big transition for us. Shanna Skidmore (18:53):

It's so interesting, Katherine, that you say that because I think so often, or I see this, I don't know if you see this in the education space or I don't want to blame it on social media, but in the business world, it's bigger weddings, luxury, higher price points, but I'm like those higher price points come with a lot of expectation. And while yes, you want your business to grow, also jumping into that before you're ready. I mean, like you said, there's no, Catherine Guidry (19:24):

Yeah, and I think that's why it's important to price yourself properly, not just for profit, but also for market and expectations, because you don't want to enter into a contract with an expectation that you really can't fulfill. I mean, I was actually grateful that things did in my business progress really slowly over time because I learned about photography along the way, and price is often a reflection of skill and portfolio and experience. And so I think those two things do need to coexist whenever people are setting up their pricing as a service provider. Shanna Skidmore (20:01):

Yeah, that's so good. Okay, so it sounds like though your husband works with you as well, will you talk about how that came to be, what it's supporting your family with the business, and that's a financial pressure too. I'd love to hear a little bit about that. Catherine Guidry (20:20):

So we have been through, we've been together about the same amount of time as I've been running the business. And so as with anything in life, I think it ebbs and flows. When we met, we met whenever we were both in architecture school and then Brad pursued music. And as a fellow entrepreneur, I was supportive of that, yes, go pursue your dreams. But unlike the photography, which really took off and from a financial perspective worked out to pay for our bills and stuff like that, the music industry is very, very, very challenging. And so it didn't pan out from a financial perspective. And so thankfully Brad has his masters as well, and when we revisited the music endeavor, it was like, okay, well what are we doing from here? And he decided that he was going to try and pursue architecture. But again, it's just been, I think, really challenging for Brad having gone into music and then kind of figuring out his place in architecture that a lot of the financial hardship I guess, fell on this business.
And Brad came on board as a second right around the pandemic, but actually up until then, he had been kind of figuring out his place in life. And so he started his own business as an architect, actually in, I think it was around 2019, we renovated our house in 2018, and then 2019 he started his business. And having been through that journey of starting my own business, I saw him go through that as well. And it's like now he's, he's at a point where his business has really taken off and is doing excellent, and not just in terms of portfolio, but in terms of finances. And so it's been nice, especially now that I'm pregnant again, that I'm seeing, okay, we're kind of sharing that financial responsibility. But yeah, it has been tough. But Brad has always been my number one fan. My number one supporter you saw when we got on the podcast, he's working on something, he has a meeting for in 15 minutes, and he stopped everything he was doing to help me set up audio.
He's just always been, I feel like my backbone for the business. And yeah, I couldn't have done it without him. And I think even my parents, they looked at our situation sometimes, oh, Catherine, you're doing all this. And I'm like, but I'm not. Brad's doing everything with me. He's come to every conference, he has been there anytime I need to test out gear, and now he shoots with me. So he will continue to do that moving forward. We've decided to only take Saturday events so that he does have his time during the week to do architecture, and then on the weekends we'll continue to shoot together. And it's really there. You asked about transitions and pivots. It's hard to always know what's really going to take with the business, but having Brad shoot with me has been amazing. I clients love his personality. We work so well together as a team. And so that's another thing that's happened in the more recent years having him shoot with me that we didn't always do that. Now that we are doing it, I mean, I don't think we could go back. It's been amazing, but life is what it is. So if it changes, it changes. Yeah, that's Shanna Skidmore (23:33):

So fun. And that's so interesting. No, I hear you with Kyle, my husband, I also see he's an engineer, but in the engineering field I'm, it's probably similar with architecture. You, you're on the path, people don't leave the path. And when you leave the path, it can be hard to get back on that path. From day one of the business, Kyle has done all of our production, all of our ads, all of our marketing. He's the most valuable asset that's unpaid. So yeah, I totally get how it's, I think for all entrepreneurs probably it takes a village and hopefully a very supportive family to get it done. Would you say that with the growth of your company and now going into motherhood, are there any shifts that you're hoping for your business? Are there any ways, and it sounds like you're added education or when did all that happen? I'd love to hear how do you envision your business growing now with your family and your husband doing his own business too? I'd love to hear with your time and availability, what you see happening in the future. Catherine Guidry (24:44):

Yes. I'm always reevaluating. I mean that as well as I do as an entrepreneur, we have to constantly be that visionary. What does the business look like? How is this impacting my life? And I think when I didn't have Opal, I truly love weddings. I am kind of obsessed and have been for a long time, and it's surprising that I still love them this much, but I do. But before her, I didn't mind missing a lot of personal events. I mean, truly that is the life of a wedding photographer. You're going to miss your sister-in-law's baby shower maybe because that was the only date that worked for them, or you're going to miss so-and-so's birthday party or whatever. And that is just the sacrifice that you make. You're giving up your weekends to document other people's memories, but sometimes you might miss out on your own.
And thankfully, I like my immediate family. They do consider my schedule and some of our very best friends have done their best, but at the end of the day, such as life, but now that I have Opal and another baby on the way, I don't know that it's a different level of I want to be there for them, even if it's a school play, I could cry thinking about missing something like that. And so that's been very heavy on my heart and I don't know that I'll be able to make everything, but I want to at least increase my chances of being there by reducing the amount of events that I am doing. And so my plan has been to continually market and move into this luxury event space, which we've started to do over the past few years. And it allows us to do bigger events at a higher price point in one weekend versus a ton of smaller events over several weekends.
And so that is my goal moving forward. I would love to get to a point where I'm even doing 15 weddings a year versus even 25 and at a higher minimum. And I feel like our knowledge has to be there, our portfolio has to be there. And so we're just working really hard to become the best photographers that we can be so that way people when they hire us are willing to make that substantial investment. And then from the educational side, so I started doing speaking engagements probably seven years ago or so at conferences and stuff like that, but have built more of a personal educational brand over the past, I would say two years with course offerings and a YouTube channel. And our podcast we started in 2018, and then in September of last year, we actually launched the Wedding Photography Society. It's a membership offering for full-time and interested in being full-time wedding photographers. And that has been really cool to just see grow. We've done two open enrollments so far. We have in-person meetups. And so that's been a really neat endeavor. And I think my long-term goal will be that eventually we are doing 50% of our revenue at the service side of shooting weddings because I think it's important as an educator to actually be in it and be doing it.
And then I think I would love for the other half of my weekdays and the time outside of actually shooting that I could be helping other photographers as they're growing their businesses. Shanna Skidmore (28:13):

I love this so much, Catherine, and hearing just the strategy of offers and growth over time and with different seasons of life. And so often I think I wonder in the beginning if you have this picture of this is what it's going to look like, this is what I'm, I'm going to do weddings, I'm going to take pictures of people's weddings, and that's when I'm going to be a wedding photographer. And like the vision gets bigger and it expands bigger and the opportunities expands the longer you're in it. And my friend Brit Bass, I don't know if Brit, she's an artist based out of lean. She's so wonderful, but she told me so long ago, the only thing a business that doesn't change is that business changes. And it's like, I just want to get there. I just want to have the plan. But it's like it always shifts and pivots and there's beauty in that because we can shift it and we can pivot it to mesh with our season of life. Okay. I'm going to ask you a couple questions just about money, especially knowing with your dad and that that's been a big part of your business as well, and that you have been, sounds like for a while in your family, the main income earner, what would you say? I would just love to hear about your relationship with money. What do you feel has come naturally to you? Have there been any things that have been more of a struggle as far as financially? Catherine Guidry (29:42):

My relationship with money, I think inadvertently came from my dad. Just he was an entrepreneur. All of my, myself and my brothers were all self-employed. And even though I'm the only girl in the family, I think di inherited that desire to lead and be self-sufficient and independent. And so my relationship with money has always been that it's important for me to make money in order to be self-sufficient and a strong individual person and to do whatever I wanted. Money doesn't solve all the problems in the world, doesn't solve health or happiness. However, I wanted to just be in a position with money to where if I wanted to purchase my home, eventually I could do that. And I did. I bought my first house myself and my car, and I just always really, really desired to be independent. That was super important to me. And that those two things go hand in hand. Money and independence go hand in hand. So that was my relationship with money, especially as a female like that I could marry for love and not any other reason other than that I just love Brad a whole lot and he makes me real happy and that's it. And I feel like the money will come and it did. But I wanted to marry him because I loved him and I didn't want to feel like any pressure to be anything other than just independent on my own whether or not I got married. Shanna Skidmore (31:05):

Yeah, I love that. Would you say there's been anything that's been more of a struggle or something you've had to, a mindset you've had to overcome or anything like that? Catherine Guidry (31:14):

I think the struggle for me has been, especially as an entrepreneur and as a wedding photographer, understanding spending. Because when you receive a booking and you receive a retainer, that's a large sum of money. And you have to understand that that event hasn't even happened yet. And then at another point you're going to receive another large sum of money and you have to space these sums of money out over 12 months, even though in August, especially if you're doing more local weddings, I was in the beginning, you're not going to be getting any weddings in August. Yeah, it's just super hot. And so spending, I think for me was a struggle just trying to balance budgeting. Still to this day, it's still very difficult. And when we purchased our home, we underwent a huge renovation out the gate just to be able to live in it.
I mean, it was in really, really bad shape. And even with savings, I overspent the money. I just stepped into a house that was way more than I didn't know about it. And so that was a real struggle. But I think the ongoing thing for us has just been trying to figure out how to balance self-employment and entrepreneurship with an inconsistent revenue with consistent expenses. Your insurance is going to be every month, your software is going to be every month. And so that has, we've basically just had to build out a bigger cushion of savings that we could pull from when things are ebbing and flowing. Just that's been my ticket to that is just keeping a bigger balance on things so that when the expenses are ebbing and flowing, you don't really feel it as much. Yeah, that's really helped Shanna Skidmore (32:52):

Us. So good. And so I'm so glad you shared that, Catherine. Thank you. Because cash flow planning is actually one of the biggest reasons that businesses struggle. And it's one of the biggest things and questions that I hear from my clients and students, especially in an industry similar to yours where you can have big cashflow months and low cashflow months. And what I try to teach all my students is personally to figure out, like you said, you have consistent expenses. So if you can name those and know, okay, I need every single month personally, $5,000, whatever the number is, yes, I need every single month in the business, $2,000. So that means I need $7,000 every month figuring out how to create consistent need. And then it's almost like you, I talk about it with my student that you fill the bucket, you just pour the cash in, but it's almost like you open up the nozzle and a consistent amount comes out. So you kind of don't even look at how much is coming in can be really full, but a consistent amount trickles out and you nailed it. The key to that is keeping cash in the bucket, having a bigger, Catherine Guidry (34:02):

And also a bigger amount of pool for what you acknowledged, which is that a lot of programs and softwares and they'll offer annual, and I don't know what your thoughts are on this, you dabble in money and educating about that a lot more than I do, but I've always kind of gone with, oh, what's going to save me more money in the beginning? Oh, well, if I can save $10, I'm going to do the annual subscription. But over time, I realize that the monthly option is actually better for me at least, because I can keep better track of how much is going out every month and also better monitor whether or not it's something that I'm actually utilizing because it's showing up every single month on my statements. So that's another thing that I had to learn. I wish someone would've taught me that sooner, but it's really helped me to understand exactly what those monthly expenses are. Shanna Skidmore (34:52):

Oh, that's so helpful. And I think I try to teach so much about behavioral finance because exactly what you said, sometimes what makes sense financially isn't always what makes the most sense psychologically. So you have to find what works for your brain and finding for you a consistent drip every month, even if you're paying a little bit higher for a monthly makes sense. And it makes you evaluate, am I actually utilizing this software? But if you only pay for it once a year, it's like, oh man, you know, only think about it once a year. So I love how you said that. Yeah. I've even had some clients and students in the past in a similar industry tos, instead of doing a big chunk at the beginning and a big chunk right before the event, do monthly payments for their so that they can create consistency.
So always what I try to teach is here's the fundamentals, here's the strategy we need, and then you've got to figure out how does it work behaviorally. When I worked in finance, this is a side note, and then I want to ask you one more question. We'll go into quickfire. When I worked in finance, I learned all the financial principles. I learned if you can save money, like you mentioned for the annual payment versus the monthly go for the annual or with debt reduction, pay off the highest interest rate first. But then I started learning so much about the psychology of money, behavioral finance. It's like, it's so good to pair what makes sense financially and the numbers with, but what will I actually do? Because those two things aren't, are often different. So I like how you touched on that. Okay. One question I always love to ask is, what is the best thing you have learned about money? Catherine Guidry (36:32):

The best thing I've learned about money is probably that it's important. I think it's necessary to live, but it doesn't bring you fulfillment. And we also, in addition to having to learn about money and how to manage our money and be successful, you simultaneously really have to keep a pulse on how you're living along the way. Because I think I was so focused for such a long time on making the business successful, and it's okay, I can miss out on all my own personal things and it's going to be fine. But then it's like you kind of get to a point where you're like, what am I also fulfilling my soul, my inner self? Even though it's, it's not directly about money. I think money is a lot of times on the forefront of our brains because it's part of our survival. We are not living for most of us, we're not living O on ranches anymore and living, we're going to the grocery store, we're paying for insurance.
We're just kind of in this societal world. And I think it's really easy to focus a lot on the money, but you'll learn that it just feels like it's never enough. Even if you get to the point where you're making enough money to pay your bills, it's like, oh, but now I can make more money and then I can get a bigger house and I can get a better car. And I, so I think that you have to really keep a pulse on, but how is your inner joy and inner happiness, and are you also kind of balancing that learning and that education for yourself too, so that you have enough money to live, but you're also still making time and space for you to be content in your own life? Shanna Skidmore (38:06):

Yeah. Oh, that's so good. It's that whole kind of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Money is a need. You have to take care and pay for our life groceries. But like you said, yeah, there's a certain point and there's so many psychological studies about there's a certain point of income where income and happiness no longer start to correlate, and then there becomes a certain amount of income where it actually has an adverse effect. And I just think that's so interesting where there is a point for some people where if you make more money, you actually become less happy. So y'all look up the studies, I'll try to find them and link them in the show notes. But it is just this interesting concept of who said, money can be such on the forefront of our minds, but what we really want is joy and happiness and fulfillment. That's so good. Catherine, this has been so fun. Let's go into kind of a quick fire round. I'm going to put you in the hot seat and ask you some questions. We'll see what you say. Okay. So number one, what is one thing you would be embarrassed if people knew? Catherine Guidry (39:08):

Oh my gosh, I don't know. My husband said this at Christmas that when I shower, I, and I wash my hair, I take all the hair and I ball it up and I put it on the shower glass, and he says, it's disgusting. Eventually I take it off. But I feel like that's pretty embarrassing when he shared that with my whole family. And now I just shared it publicly. So here we go. Shanna Skidmore (39:27):

Oh, you can email me and be like, cut that part out. I know that's a hard question. It's funny when you said, I didn't read over the hot seat question. I was like, I didn't, you're going to be thrown for a loop. It's kind of like the time, but you have a podcast. Mistakes make magic. So yeah, you talk about hard things. Yeah, people probably don't want others to know. I was on a podcast years ago, I've shared this story before, but I'll tell you, Katherine, I was on a podcast, I did not get prep questions. This is why I send prep questions. And they said, if you could be any animal, what would you be? This was not your podcast. I don't know whose podcast it was. Great question. Yeah, I just, yeah, Catherine Guidry (40:03):

Good question. Shanna Skidmore (40:03):

I would've loved to, I'm, I mean, think of an animal. Think of an animal. Think of an animal, right? Put on the spot. I set a dog, which I absolutely would not be. That's a Catherine Guidry (40:14):

Good Shanna Skidmore (40:14):

One. I was like, man's best friend. I don't know. I would be a dolphin. That's my answer. I'm saying it now because they're intelligent and they're really fun, happy. I just, that's what I want about, there's my answer. Okay, I Catherine Guidry (40:27):

Like that answer. That's a great answer. Ok, Shanna Skidmore (40:30):

So I put you on the spot. It's a hard question. Okay. Step and it is. Any regrets or wish you could do over moments? Catherine Guidry (40:37):

Yeah, I mean, I think probably I wish that, I think just generally speaking, I think Brad being that he is my person, he's my main support. I wish that I could go back and just be more grateful. And over the years of us growing together, because we've been through so much as a couple and we've stuck it out and we've just been through it, but just in hindsight, I'm like, God, why did I do some of the things that I did or say some of the things that I did? So I think that would be my do over, I would just go back and be better to him. Yeah. Cause he's pretty dang great. Shanna Skidmore (41:14):

Yeah. Well, oh, that's a hard one. I know. I'm so grateful for, I have a wonderful husband as well, and he's so kind and patient, and sometimes I take way too advantage of that. Sorry, Kyle. Love ya. Oh, okay. Number three. What is a big win or a pinch me moment? Catherine Guidry (41:32):

I think personally, just daily having Opal, she is amazing. The biggest privilege and honor of my life is watching her grow my business. Pinch me would probably be, we photographed this amazing wedding that was featured on Over the Moon in October of 2000. I think it was like 2022. And it was just this insane event. And I feel like I was standing there looking at this gorgeous hookah, and it was just like, H how did I get hired for this? After you start your business photographing? I mean, I've photographed weddings all over backyards, basketball gyms, and it's been such a journey of meeting so many amazing couples and to have gotten to a place where I was standing there just being, how were we chosen? Because there's so many talented photographers in the world. So yeah, that was a cool pinch me moment for the business so far. Shanna Skidmore (42:26):

Yeah, I love both of those. And as you got teary-eyed with Miss Opal, I felt the exact same way. I have loved being a mom even more than I thought I ever could. I mean, if that makes any sense at all. I love being a mom. Yeah, it does. And it is the greatest honor and gift, so yeah. All right. Number four, best advice or just really good advice that you have received? Catherine Guidry (42:53):

My mom is also amazing, by the way. Lemme just throw that out there. But my dad, I think he, he's really just, he's such an amazing, they both are amazing. My dad though. I think I've learned these really underlying lessons and my dad has always been very truthful and forthright, even when it's uncomfortable or even when it's easier or it would benefit him to be untruthful or secretive or whatever. And so I think growing up around him and seeing him be so honest, even when it doesn't benefit himself, I think that was really a good lesson for me to learn. And I don't know if there's a phrase or a saying or whatever, but it's just this idea that no matter what, you're always honest. And I think it's benefited me in ways that I didn't anticipate from a business perspective. And then also from a personal perspective, I think that I've been able to grow these really deep, strong friendships and relationships because people know that I'm going to be truthful and I'm going to be honest even when it's hard and even when it's not pretty. And so I think that's been the biggest life lesson that I hope to instill in Opal is just to always be honest and just be good, even when it doesn't really benefit you to do that. Yeah. Shanna Skidmore (44:14):

That's so interesting, Catherine, that you bring that up because I don't know if it's this everywhere in the US or in the world, but I know in the South particularly, it's easy to avoid hard in some ways in the of you're not intentionally being dishonest, but you might not say something that would be hard to say. And so I love how you brought up though, with your friendships and your friends know from you that they can come to you and you will speak honestly, even if it's a little tough. And sometimes in relationships, that's hard to do. If you see a loved one doing something that you're like, and my household is all like, oh, that's none of your business. That's not your business. And I don't know if that's just a southern thing, but to know that you can speak up and out of love is such an interesting thing. And how wonderful to learn that from your dad. Yeah. Thank you for sharing. Catherine Guidry (45:14):

And even with money too. Yeah, there are so many situations that we face as human beings and as business owners where maybe it could be as simple as a client overpaid and you notice that the client overpaid. It's like, are you going to tell the client that they overpaid or are you going to keep the money and hope they don't notice? And I think that what happens when you are upfront and truthful and honest is that you live a more peaceful state as a person. And I also think that it comes, I do think it comes back that people learn about your character and they do trust you. And I think trust is one of the most valuable characteristics of a person, but that parlays into business, especially if someone's listening to this as an entrepreneur, there're going to be situations where you're having to choose, even during the pandemic, oh my gosh, we had contract after contract after contract, but we had to make this decision about are we going to do what's right or are we going to do what's financially beneficial? Shanna Skidmore (46:19):

Yeah. And I see this a lot, Catherine, with people who don't want to say, you're below my budget. So they will just say, I'm already booked. And in developing language, I've worked in finance for 15 years, so I think money is easier maybe in some ways for me to talk to. But I always want to say that it's not because it's easy, because I'm more practiced. I've had to have the conversations a lot. And so what I do is anytime there's a financial conversation that's tough to have, create scripts and practice it because like you said, money is one of those things where it is sometimes really a delicate and hard to talk about. So if anybody's listening and finds themselves in a situation where they're like, ah, this is always something that's hard for me, makes me feel weird, write a script, that's always been helpful for me. Yeah, because that's what I see a lot of people say, oh, I'm just booked. I'm like, probably don't want to say that because what if their best friend unknowingly booked? You know what I mean? You never know. Yes. You never know. No, Catherine Guidry (47:20):

Truly. We actually talked about that inside of our membership recently because someone had done that and then someone else discovered that they weren't ouch. So it happens. Shanna Skidmore (47:31):

It does. And I think that's actually advice people are given. I've heard educators even say, just say you're booked. And I'm like, always be honest. Lynn Easton, I heard her speak. She's a wedding planner at an event, and maybe the one we were at together, I'm not sure. And she said this beautiful way of, if somebody has a budget that's somewhat below where they need to be to work with the Easton company, she always said, we would be too much of a percentage of your overall budget. And so she would say it in a way that's like, I would be doing you a dishonor because we would take so much of your budget, there wouldn't be enough to spend elsewhere. And I always thought, what an elegant and kind way she said it more beautifully than that. But again, write a script and always be truthful and honest. Okay, so we got off on a tangent, but that's good. That's good. Okay. That's Catherine Guidry (48:24):

A good one to get off on. Shanna Skidmore (48:25):

Yeah. Last quick fire question. What are you working on now or one resource that you would like to share? Catherine Guidry (48:32):

So right now we've been working really hard on creating consistent content, consistent free content on our YouTube channel because I know what that's like to be building the business to this day. I think Jasmine Starr, she changed my life because she used to blog every day, and now I feel like people are into video and learning that way. So I'm trying to pay it forward. We're doing weekly YouTube content, and then that's for just people who want to absorb. And then for anyone who kind of wants more of that education, we do have our educational offerings, which has been so cool. We have a full-time photography, a full-time wedding photography business course that we released this past ball, and then we have the Wedding Photography Society membership, which has been really exciting. So those are the things that I feel like I've got my head down deep in right now is building out our education, just creating content learning. I feel like I'm starting a whole new business. Yeah. Oh, Shanna Skidmore (49:28):

You are a Catherine Guidry (49:30):

Up and Yeah, I know. And it's not for the faint of heart. And that's said again. Yeah, it is. It's been honestly really, really amazing. And it reminds me so much of the journey that we've been on. It kind of takes you back to like, oh, yeah, you're trying to get booked as a second. I know what that's like. Yeah. So that's kind of what we're working on right now, and all that can be found at our website, catherine, and Shanna Skidmore (49:56):

We'll link them really good resources for everybody listening as well for the membership. Thank you. And the business course. Okay, Catherine, let's take it all the way back to day one of your business. Looking back now, what would you tell yourself on day one? Catherine Guidry (50:10):

Be prepared to not have anything go as planned. I Shanna Skidmore (50:14):

Think that the truth. Catherine Guidry (50:15):

Yeah. That would be what I would, because I came from a perfectionist house and no one ever prepared me for how unpredictable and messy life really can be. Shanna Skidmore (50:25):

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Catherine, you so much for coming on, for sharing your story. Congratulations on Thank you, baby number two on the way, and thank you Little Miss Opal, and hopefully I would love to get together and for our little girls to meet. Yay. Catherine Guidry (50:40):

Thank you so much for having me, and congratulations on your family and all the success that you've had, and just thank you for continuing to be such a resource for people. I know, even within my own realm and circle of Friends, you've had great impact, and so I just wanted to tell you that Keep going. Keep doing what you're doing. Shanna Skidmore (50:59):

Aw, thank you. That means so much. Hey, wildflower, you just finished another episode of Consider the Wildflowers the podcast. Head over to consider the wildflowers for show notes, resource links, and to learn how you can connect with Catherine. One final thought for today from Chip Gaines. Smart might come from watching and studying, but wisdom comes from doing failing and trying again. As always, thank you for listening. I'll see you next time.