3 Practices to start undoing a poverty mindset - Almond Leaf Studios

We are a husband and wife team practicing gratitude in the mountains of Asheville, NC. Together, we juggle the beauty of parenthood, capturing weddings around the globe, and equipping entrepreneurs to build wildly successful, profitable brands doing what they love. 


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3 Practices to start undoing a poverty mindset


elizabeth marx, david hasenmyer, almond leaf studios, heather payne photography, 3 practices to start undoing a poverty mindset

Image of us taken by our talented friend Heather Payne


Growing up with no money, I think there’s been this deep seeded belief that somehow MY time wasn’t worth THAT kind of money. Does that resonate with you?

I always felt like, sure, THEY could make that kind of money … after all, they were … well … them.

But I was … me. And MY time wasn’t worth that.

I don’t share all of this to ask for pity or validation. In fact, I’ve come a long long way in realizing how valuable my time, expertise, and craft truly are. To be honest, though, it’s come through a lot of lessons learned the hard way. I wish that someone could have sat me down early on in my career to teach me how to do the math and calculate out how much time I was spending on things like editing a wedding and how it truly wasn’t worth my time. (Spoiler alert: I outsource a lot of things in my business now and it actually makes my personal life AND my business better.)

Here are three practices to start undoing a poverty mindset, and consequentially start making more!

1.Do the math!

If you’re a creative like David and I both are, you probably cringe at that statement. After all, you didn’t start this creative business to do things like math. Am I right? …. But here’s the deal. You have to do it in order to know and understand your profitability and your worth! I really can’t stress it enough, and I’m embarrassed to admit how many years it took me to learn this lesson (the hard way, I might add), so do yourself a favor and start today! Count up your hours or use a time tracker to figure out how much time you a spending on tasks that take you more than an hour, and then do the math to figure out what you’re making from that time invested. Then do a little research to figure out what it would cost to hire someone else to do it. Would that be worth you having that time back?

What if you could use that hour, or 5 hours, a week to focus on growing your business or building a new income stream for your business? Would that move your business more towards the work life balance you dream of? Would it allow you to start working less and making more?

Example: I can’t tell you how many years (more than 5, for sure) that I spent SO. MUCH. TIME. editing my own weddings. I couldn’t give up control, to be completely honest. I felt like no one was going to do it as well as I would, and after all, each wedding felt like my baby. I need to care for it, tend to it, and carefully edit each and every image. The thing is, my clients were getting a beautiful product, but they were having to wait forever …. AND … my personal life took the brunt of it! I finally sat down to do the math and track my time and I realized it was taking me 60+ hours to edit ONE wedding!!!! You guys. ONE freakin’ wedding!!!! Do you know what that came down to when I did the math? Even at a conservative estimate in that stage of my career, at most, it would be about $25/hr. Let me just tell you, when I started outsourcing my editing it was the biggest change in our business to date, and it’s one I have never ever regretted. Even if I need to go back and spend 1-2 hours making some small adjustments when I get the images back from my editing company, that is still worth every penny. If you’ve never tried to outsource your editing and you are a wedding photographer, I can’t recommend trying it enough. Please, do yourself a favor, and go give Vital Edit (or any other company you trust) a try. In fact, here’s a promo code if you do decide to try Vital Edit! 

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2. Recognize that you’re worth it.

I wish I could sit down with you and have a cup of coffee, or a cocktail with you to tell you that you ARE worth it. Your time is worth it. Your family and friends are worth it. Being a business owner and an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice time with family, friends, or even alone time. I’m as guilty of it as anyone else, and if you ask my friends and family about those first few years of business they will tell you that they rarely saw me … And sadly, when they did, I was still distracted and often thinking of work or stressed about my workload.

Can I just tell you, lovingly, that you are worth more than that? I wish for nothing more than to sit down with you and talk through all the areas of your business that are pulling for your time and attention. All the things that keep you from feeling light, airy and free. All the things that seem to forever be piling onto your never ending to do list … and then sit down and tackle them one by one with a game plan.

What are your top 3 priorities? What are some ways you can block out time, tackle large chunks of each area in one sitting, and begin to automate? What are some areas you can start to outsource? … And then, a few weeks later when you start to doubt all of those decisions, I wish that I could take you out again for drinks and remind you to trust the numbers, remember that your time is more valuable, and that you are simply worth it.

3. Establish a financial goal and then go after it!

Let’s get real for a moment and talk about money. When I started this business, it took me a few years before I was grossing $60,000/yr. I felt like I was really making it because I had matched, and even exceeded my salary when I was a graphic designer. I was so proud of myself, and for good reason. It was a major milestone! Now, with a lot of new expenses, and some huge business dreams and goals we have, $60K doesn’t really seem like much. To be honest, we’re setting a goal for ourselves this coming year to increase our revenue by double that! Yes, by $120K … in one year. You want to talk about undoing a poverty mindset?! Oy. That goal was a tough one for me to get comfortable with. In the same breath, I know we can 100% accomplish it, and in the other there is still some deep part of me that feels like no one should need or want that kind of money. Why? Simply because I grew up with very little and so it feels indulgent. Selfish. Greedy, even.

Day by day, though, I’m peeling back those layers and doing the work to speak truth into those lies, because I know that I am worth it. We are worth it. Our time, creativity, years of experience, and our expertise are worth it. And you know what? YOU. ARE. TOO.

So, let’s create some financial goals for this year, then sit down and map them out together. Let’s start by determining the number that would really change things for you, your business, your work life balance, and your family. Then, let’s work backwards and figure out how you’re going to accomplish that. Time and intention will be the lifeboats that carry you from point A (today) to point B (where you want to be with that financial goal.)

… And can I just be an encouraging reminder that it is OK to want to make more money? Let’s tackle our lofty financial goals together!