This year was truly a transformative year for me because my entire mindset shifted and I’m so happy the way the past year has forever changed myself and my business. I wouldn’t even be here with Tea with Jainé without the help of these books (first two recommendations) but I also wouldn’t be more myself with how I communicate without the other (the last one).
I started the year off with the goal of reading one book a month because I realized that had all but STOPPED reading books (according to my library card) for almost two years!! I began with a book about organizing your home and then I went directly into marketing and business books, and after a few searches, I found my first recommendation. After that book, a fire was LIT from within that I found the next book and after listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Weddings For Real, I found my last recommendation. It’s so funny how life works and things can drastically change because someone else opens your eyes to the endless possibilities you didn’t know existed. Right??
I’m happy to share my top three business and personal growth books of 2018 with you and I hope they help inspire your own journey to finding and creating a life you always wanted! xo
No 1 - Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk - This is by far the biggest and best influence in my life. I had previously read “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” in 2014 but I couldn’t even tell you what it was about. I found it confusing and just never read it again but Crushing It, I’ve read it twice, bought the paperback and downloaded the audio book to quickly go back to chapters for inspiration. This book is the one thing I needed to read about giving myself PERMISSION to do what I’ve felt that I wanted to do for a while now - which was to TEACH. I wanted to help other wedding photographers, either those just starting out or who were within their first few years of their business, and share my knowledge and tangible advice that I have learned over the last 8+ years of being a successful wedding photographer in New York City. But why wasn’t I? I was holding back because in my mind I wasn’t a “superstar photographer” that everyone knows, I hadn’t won any WPPI print awards, and I wasn’t hosting classes on Creative Live so I thought, who would listen to me?
Well, I got over that real fast and as it turns out that A LOT OF YOU want to hear what I have to say and it’s truly been an incredible transformation on my part.
I was holding myself back from opening up to you but once I realized ( more like decided!!) that I didn’t NEED (or want!) anyone else’s permission to do what I wanted to do, the flood gates opened up for me and Tea with Jaine was born. I started with my Instagram Stories, than IGTV, then I created a Facebook Group, Blog and now a Podcast. It’s incredible what I can do on my own and you all are LOVING it - YAY!! I am SO happy to help you and answer your questions, give tangible advice, and make useful recommendations to each and every one of you. I was (and still am!) so SICK of other wedding photographers just SELLING you guys stuff (and myself included!!) and making you feel that you aren’t good enough, that I wanted to be the voice that you could trust and respect because I have absolutely NO hidden agenda. I have nothing to sell you - I just want to help you!!
This is what Crushing It made me realize that you can help people, be successful, and potentially earn money from doing what you love and sharing it freely with the world for anyone who wants to listen and learn. This year I found myself online. I found my VOICE on Instagram, my website, and I am still learning and growing everyday. I am sharing more of who I am and it’s all due to this book. Seriously, you NEED to read it!!
No 2 - Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis - I can’t remember how I stumbled upon this book (I think it was from Gary V?) but I found Rachel Hollis and boy, it changed my life! I borrowed the book from the Brooklyn Public Library and I devoured it within a few day. I also bought the audio book to refer back to it because very so often, I need to hear Rachel give it to me straight!! I literally rocked my world!!
So many epiphany’s, myths broken, and the LIES we tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough is exactly what I needed to hear to start believing in myself and start doing what I wanted to do.
Again, it comes back to PERMISSION (can you sense a theme here?) and giving yourself the space to be yourself and not look at anybody else to make yourself happy. The biggest quote and “A-HA!” moment for me was when Rachel shares the #truthbomb that “Someone Else’s Opinion of You, Is NONE of your Business” OMG - I think I was reborn after I read that. It was as if I instantly stopped caring about the haters (that weren’t there) or what my other photographer friends would say about me in that instant. Why did I care so much what others would say about me when they weren’t saying ANYTHING about me since I wasn’t doing anything anyways. It was in that moment that I gave myself the PERMISSION to stop the lies and be who I truly am.
I’m forever grateful to Rachel Hollis for opening my eyes even wider and cannot wait to read her next book Girl, Stop Apologizing which isn’t even out yet but you know I’ve got it pre-ordered and ready to go! Girl, Wash Your Face a must-read and I recommend it to everyone I know.
No 3 - Why Don’t They Call Me by Alan Berg - I found out about this book through one of my favorite podcasts “Weddings For Real” which I was also a guest (if you didn’t already know) and it was as if the book was sent to me at the EXACT moment I needed to read it (errr, I bought the audio, so listen to it ;) Alan’s book dissects how we (as vendors) respond to our clients and how if we aren’t responding correctly, we are LOSING the sale before its even happened. WHAT?? Alan talks about how to mirror your clients inquiry level of excitement, tone, and demeanor all via email, text, messenger, etc… How NOT to sound like robot and who to get funny with your follow up replies.
After listening to Alan’s book I IMMEDIATELY changed how I was responding to potential couples to sound like myself (again, finding my OWN voice and giving myself the PERMISSION to be who I am in my emails right from the very beginning!!!) and I swear, after I changed my responses to sound like me, I have booked consecutive weddings, family session, maternity, and newborn sessions in a few months time. I KID YOU NOT!! Just from being myself in email, responding super fast, and following up more than two times (which was my normal rate) it’s seriously improved my booking rate drastically.
Honestly, for you guys reading this, I would download it immediately and listen to it as you edit your next wedding or when you are traveling to your next shoot because it’s really smart advice from someone who has worked in the wedding industry for very long time. I will note that this book is sponsored by Wedding Wire so Alan references their site often, which could be a bit annoying but hey, he’s got to pay his bills to, ya know?
Oh, and don’t forget to listen to his podcast interview on Weddings For Real because that’s well, free advice and then pick up his book !!
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