Ah, the smell of Q3 in the morning…a new quarter always gets me hyped up. But before we dive headfirst into a new quarter, it’s time to reflect and audit our progress over these past few months.
I’m not going to go full corporate with slides filled with pie charts and statistics (at least that’s how I imagine quarterly recaps go – I’ve never actually worked in corporate).
Instead, I want to pull back the curtain on the real stuff.
Y’all. Q2 was hard.
It wrecked me in a lot of ways before we saw real growth.
A few weeks ago I came across Vanessa Lau’s blog post recapping her Q1. She shared the lows and struggle points – the real stuff. As I was reading it I thought, I’m writing our own recap for Q2. This is so encouraging.
So buckle up. We have 3 months to go through & I’m going to make them as concise as possible so you’re not here all day (who am I to keep you from your afternoon coffee run). If you need to take a break and come back, I won’t be offended. It’s pretty in-depth, but my hope is that pulling back the curtain on our own Q2 journey will show you that you’re not alone in your own journey.
Our first stop is…
APRIL: the month where everything blew to shreds
At the beginning of every month, I sit down and write down my desires for the month. For April I wrote down a lot of personal desires. I wanted to rest, feel excited about things again, have fun, and soak up as much life as I could. My biggest desire was to create a life I love.
What you didn’t see:
In the months leading up to April, there were a lot of changes:
- We had numerous family health scares
- We moved out of our Chicago apartment
- We decided to travel for a bit before we settled again
- And Lyndon and I were still learning how to work together
Any one of these things by itself would drain me of my energy – put all three together and you can imagine the state I was in (hello burnout city).
Between all of these changes and creatives everywhere experiencing what felt like the longest slow season in the world, finances were pretty tight. We had to make some cuts, including taking a step back from working with our previous SMM. It was a hard decision to make but ended up bringing immense clarity and allowed us to experiment more than we had been.
We also launched our membership in April and welcomed in five new members the weekend we launched which we were so grateful for. Seeing the way they used the photos and graphics we created for them filled me with so much gratitude.
We decided to restructure everything:
Lyndon and I had a lot of conversations about the business in April. We were taking a good hard look at every angle, determining what direction we wanted to take things together.
We formed a united front and basically felt like we were starting everything from scratch. At the time we knew it was going to pay off (even though it was so hard to see when) and now I can officially tell you it did. We wanted to re-establish ourselves as branding experts, starting with photography first and then, in time, expanding to coaching again. This was tough because we both LOVE coaching, but we were noticing that our content felt all-over-the-place and it needed to be cleaned up before we could do that effectively. So we went back to square one and began re-establishing our authority again.
We posted consistently about branding photography and began educating our audience about our photoshoot process & brand strategy. It took a second to re-establish our authority again but it worked. Flash forward and we’re consistently booking dream branding clients & we’ve now been able to diversify our offers again (which you’ll read more about in June’s report).
We also re-defined our roles. Lyndon took over client communication which was an immediate sense of relief I didn’t expect. I had no idea that I needed to let that responsibility go & allowing him to step in and manage it opened up more space for me to get creative and do the things I really wanted to be doing.
On the personal side, April was a month of rediscovering myself and being honest about what I needed. It felt like I was having meltdowns over everything and I realized part of it may be hormone-related, so I began educating myself on balancing my hormones. Some of it was also finally going through so many emotions I’d buried down and needed to finally process through. Now that we had our own space again it was as if my body said, “No more. We’re letting all of this out now. It’s time.” As hard as it was, it was so necessary and I can tell you now how much of a difference it made. I also re-connected with a couple of friends, having hard conversations and opening up about what had gone wrong and what I needed. It was incredibly healing and lifted a weight I’d been carrying for too long.
April was mental health month and we did a series of episodes on the podcast to bring more awareness to mental health in entrepreneurship. It was fitting – I needed these conversations as much as anybody. The first one was with Monica Denais which is still one of my fave episodes to date. Go have a listen if you haven’t yet.
At the end of April I did a reflection exercise per Monica’s recommendation. Here are a few of the questions:
What content did I enjoy?
- @lifebyalissa (content on people pleasing & being an HSP – Highly Sensitive Person)
- @shanabeefree (encouraging quotes about faith)
- @Shaylaquinn (lifestyle content)
What habits supported me in my business?
- Letting go of my ego and becoming more open to feedback
- Beginning to meditate every morning before hopping on social media
- Listening and asking questions before jumping to conclusions
- Trying to get in daily movement
- Investing in my friendships
What were my accomplishments?
- Having hard conversations and allowing myself to trust others again
- Worked ahead on things before traveling so I could fully enjoy our travels
- We signed on a new client!
- Enhanced our client experience + gained more clarity around marketing
- Cut back on expenses and consolidated things
Books I Read:
- Embrace Your Almost by Jordan Dooley
- Think Like a Girl by Tracy Packiam Alloway
- Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski (a definite fave)
At the end of the month, we got everything squared away for May’s drop of content inside the membership & then hopped on a flight for the first time in 4 months to go work with @sammypetersonrd in Phoenix, AZ.
We had a blast working with Sammy and connected with her on a more personal level. It was exactly what we all needed and we’re all closer than ever as a result.
- Listen to your body. If it is telling you to rest, give it rest. If it needs to process emotions, allow it to do so. Even if it’s uncomfortable it is worth it.
- Meditating makes a huge difference in the way you process emotions. Doing so first thing in the morning, for me personally, sets my day up to feel more centered.
- Having hard conversations, although uncomfortable, is freeing. Creating a standard for yourself beforehand allows you to enter the conversation with poise and confidence – you’re not allowing the outcome of the conversation to be based on the other individuals’ reactions or comments, but rather on your own pre-set standards for yourself (ie: did I communicate what I needed in love? Was I honest? Yes? Okay, then it was a successful conversation).
- If you don’t like your life the way it is right now, what can you change so that you do? What are you missing – can you bring it back into your routine? What do you need & how can you communicate that with those around you? Begin incorporating habits and practices that bring you joy. It’s the little things that compound and make a huge difference.
MAY: the longest month there ever was
I’ll be honest, May is a bit of a blur. When I sat down to review the month all I could think was, May felt so long.
We kicked off the month with a branding session in NYC with @theweberco, and I fell in love with New York all over again. It was a blur of a trip given the fact we missed our original flight and couldn’t get on the next two stand-by flights. As a result we were waking up at 5 am four days in a row…I was exhausted. But, when we did officially make it the photoshoot and entire experience was exhilarating and New York was so beautiful. We got to walk around Central Park and everything was in full bloom, we rode the subway everywhere, and I got to pick up pastries from an adorable lil’ bakery inside the subway station on the Jersey side.
In May I rediscovered the things that bring me joy and we became more intentional in doing those things more often.
I also started working with @sammypetersonrd on my health & wellness journey. She’s been helping me to balance my hormones and uplevel my wellness. It’s been incredibly impactful already.
Yep, that’s pretty much all I’ve got for May! Maybe this makes up for how long the recap on April was?
Books I Read:
- Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb (LOVED this one!!)
- Happy people are annoying by Josh peck
- Get to the airport early – travel has definitely picked up!
- Make time to do things that bring you joy
- Prioritizing your health is so important & plays an impactful role in everything else!
JUNE: the month of expectation
If April and May were months where I felt challenged, June is where it felt like everything finally came together and paid off.
June was a month of practicing expectations. I really challenged myself to expect clients to come in.
My desires for the month of June were:
- Work with brands
- Onboard more branding clients
- Book some clients through TikTok!
- Lean into more of a personal brand
- Swim more
- Launch sales campaign via email funnel
We actually created some accountability for ourselves by creating this post at the start of the month to share our goals with our Instagram community.
As you can see, we were able to accomplish every desire except for working with brands – which is literally because I never reached out to any brands. Whoops.
It was especially exciting to book clients via TikTok! We ended up having a couple of videos go semi-viral. One, in particular, boosted our following quite a bit & we gained more followers on our Instagram account as a result, too. A few of them expressed interest in working with us and we’ve booked at least one! (PS, if you’re not following us on TikTok yet, you can here).
In July we’ll be doubling down on our efforts with TikTok! In June my entire goal with the platform was to simply have fun & treat it as a creative outlet. Lyndon commented on this yesterday and I thought, if we saw results from treating it as a hobby, just think what we could do if we become even more strategic about it! If you know me, you know I’m low-key obsessed with marketing. It lights me up, I geek out over it. So this will be a fun goal for me in July.
We started the month of June off in Detroit where I photographed a boudoir session (follow @boudoirwithjo to see more). It was such a fun way to kick off the month!! I freaking LOVE photographing boudoir so if you’re interested please send me a dm on my boudoir account, I’d love to chat more about working together. Now that we’ve established ourselves as authorities in the branding space, I’m excited to do the same with the boudoir account.
The second week of June we traveled to Kansas City to work with Chloe of Deeper than Money. This was such a fun photo shoot, we leaned more into the editorial side. We’ll be sharing her photos on the blog next week so stay tuned!
During this trip, Lyndon and I also talked about ways we can diversify our offers more. We’re super excited to start offering a few new passive offers soon – the first one being a Posing Guide!! Stay tuned!
Shortly after our trip, we announced our masterclass for the month of June: How to market to the 4 different buyer types. It was a pretty big hit and we had so much fun teaching it! If you’d like to watch the replay, you can get access by joining our membership for $47/mo.
In the third week of June, the floodgates opened. We had consistent inquiries coming through every day and it was exhilarating in the best of ways. By the time we wrapped up the month, we had booked:
- 3 new branding clients
- 5 masterclass sign-ups
- 6 new membership sign-ups
- 1 90-min intensive
God really showed up this month. I’ve been sitting in so much gratitude these past few weeks for how far He’s brought us and how He’s provided. It’s not something I take for granted.
On the personal side, I started seeing a significant difference through working with @sammypetersonrd on my health & wellness. My mood has stabilized and my energy has increased significantly. Back in April I was so tired and burnt out. Now, I feel much more energized overall (this doesn’t mean I don’t have my days where I need to slow down and rest, but overall I can feel a big difference).
I also started taking myself out on a lil’ solo date every Monday morning to kick off the week. This is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It’s such a fun way to start a new week! I took myself out for coffee and to walk around a greenhouse one morning, and another morning I tried a free pilates class (not my thing but it was fun to try!). Highly recommend it.
Also, I re-setup an amazon storefront in June! You can see all my fave amazon finds here.
Books I Read:
- The Mountain is You by Brianna Wiest (going to re-read this a second time it was so good)
- How are You, Really? By Jenna Kutcher
- Book Lovers by Emily Henry (looooved this one!!)
I learned so many lessons in Q2. It may have challenged me beyond my expectations, however, it also exceeded my expectations in positive ways, too.
- I learned to show up for myself & advocate for myself.
- Developed healthier habits
- Learned how to trust myself more & my intuition
- Lyndon and I learned how to work together better and became more united as business partners and life partners.
Now, with Q3 officially in motion, I’m so excited for what’s to come. By doing the work in Q2 (so much inner work) we set ourselves up to experience even more fulfillment and alignment in life and business.
If you made it this far, thank you for hanging out with me! It means a lot that you wanted to spend your time reading about what we learned. If you enjoyed it, it’d mean the world if you share it on your Instagram stories and tag me so I can say thank you!
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