#022 – Community Building Online and Offline with Asia Croson

Online communities are great. But how connected are you to your real-life community?

For Asia Croson, a professional photographer and budding philanthropist, connecting to others was more than just a passion. This is her life. As a College Senior photographer, Asia has been able to bring meaningful changes to her community through creating charity events that range from helping those through personal struggles to starting their own businesses.

“As much as I want to put myself out there online, I think it’s just as important to put yourself out there where you live.”

Learn more about her motivations, her backstory into her own business and why she thinks it’s key to reach out to those around you in a meaningful way.

“People wanted to get photographed by me because they knew me, liked me and trusted me…”

This is On Purpose.

In this Podcast, you’ll learn:

  • Turning hobbies into successful businesses
  • Forging relationships with your community
  • Introverts vs extroverts
  • Guerilla Marketing and how it can benefit small start ups.
  • & the importance of alone time

Join the Community:

IG: @asiacrosonphotography
Website: www.asiacroson.com

Loved this and want more? Check out our other episodes here.

Spark a conversation! Leave a comment below or say hello @alexbeadon on Instagram.

Transcript Available Below

Alex Beadon 0:00
In this episode I speak to Asia Croson, who is a professional senior photographer. Asia is a pro when it comes to community building both off and online. And in this episode, she shares how she leverages her strengths to build that know, like and trust factor so that she’s the very first person her clients go to when they’re looking for a photographer. The best part is that her advice in this episode is relevant to everyone, regardless of your industry. It’s about the importance of knowing yourself well enough to create a business and a life that supports you exactly as you are, and sets you up to win. This is on purpose. Do you ever feel like you’re trying to balance it all? nourishing your health while growing your business and living a life well lived? And no matter how hard you try, sometimes you slip from purpose driven into autopilot. Take a deep breath, relax, and let’s get you back to where you belong. On purpose.

Hey, brands, welcome to today’s episode, I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Asia, Asia Croson and I first met because she was actually one of my very first coaching clients back in 2012, or 2013. And I got to know her and just absolutely fell in love as you’re going to hear her personality is one of a kind. She’s someone who not only oozes talent when it comes to photography, but she’s an incredible human being who is using all of her strengths to create a life of impact, meaning and service. This episode is a fantastic one for anyone who is looking for the inspiration to be the best versions of themselves, and is trying to figure out how to put themselves out there without feeling all that fear. So take a listen to this episode. And let me know what you think on Instagram afterwards. Enjoy. Asia. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Asia Croson 2:00
I’m so happy to be here for the second time. Are we? Are we like allowed to tell people that?

Alex Beadon 2:04
Yeah, tell people. So basically, when I first started the podcast back Well, I first started recording episodes for the podcast back in December of 2017. And Asia was one of the very first people who I interviewed. And unfortunately, or fortunately, I think, fortunately. So true. We did our recording, and there was a lot of construction happening. What was it was in your building? Was it your neighbor’s? I don’t know.

Asia Croson 2:31
It’s just outside my building. It’s just like the plight of the world right now. Is it the whole, like our whole town has been under construction. So they’re oddly removing all of our parking lots and replacing them with hotels, which just feels like oh, and now we have no parking. And then there’s construction behind the podcast. So it’s, you know, it’s the worst, truly, it’s horrible. But I always like to say that God is the best secretary. And so he’s always moving things around in our favor. And we were just chatting before we recorded how that yeah, that’d be nine months ago. So many things have changed. And so I’m, we could have almost done that one and kept that content and read on a whole separate a whole separate episode. And it would have been two awesome ones. Totally, totally.

Alex Beadon 3:07
And I’m so excited to hear all about it. But before we dive into that, I’m going to ask you the first question that I asked everyone, which is, what do you find most nourishing about having your own business?

Asia Croson 3:20
Can I tell you that I like listened to every episode. So I knew that these were the questions that were coming, prepared for this. So I know that everybody says like freedom, I was just listening to promises episode. And that’s like, one of the things she said was like, okay, so people like know that freedom is super nourishing, but I wanted to get into a little bit more about like, why that’s so nourishing. And I feel like the first basic thing was like, I have the freedom to continue to nourish myself, since I run my own business. So I have like, of course, that’s like self care. And then with being like creatively fulfilled, I’m able to do that because I run my own business. So if I were working somewhere else, and I felt like maybe I couldn’t, I don’t know, take a break or I couldn’t do the things I need to do take care of myself, I wouldn’t be nourishing myself, or I felt like I was just, you know, working like a mind numbing job that’s also not nourishing. So I feel like really having the flexibility and the freedom. And then of course, one of my big why’s that I have my own business. So I can see my family, my sister, my nephew, and my whole extended family. They live up in Washington State and I’m California and so I’m able to go to go visit them and to go see them and that’s just like nourishing for my soul. So really the the freedom really is like the biggest the number one thing but it’s more than just like oh, I can like do whatever the hell I want. It’s the freedom to continue to nourish myself for sure.

Alex Beadon 4:34
I’m so curious what you said last time. I have a feeling you said something very similar.

Asia Croson 4:39
Oh my god, I’m sure I did. I know. We need to like listen and try to like, tune out the construction noise. Totally compare this so interesting. Totally. I would love that. I would so love that.

Alex Beadon 4:50
So for those of us who are listening and have no idea who you are, I would love for you to quickly tell us about what you offer your clients and how you might Make your money.

Asia Croson 5:01
Great. So I am a photographer. I live in the central coast of California, San Luis Obispo. And so I make all my money with photography, which is amazing. And I work primarily with young women, particularly sorority women out of the university, which is Cal Poly. And my main clientele is college graduation gals. And then I also do weddings, and also do braiding photos, and just so many great things with that. But over the last year, especially since we’ve talked recently, I am also I really hate saying calling this myself a philanthropist. But that’s really what it is. And I’ve been doing so many charity events in my community. And this year, my goal is to actually turn all that into a nonprofit. So I’ve always used I it’s a it’s a big deal. I cannot believe that wasn’t a thing in December. And now it’s definitely a thing.

Alex Beadon 5:50
You know, I feel like you had started doing it.

Asia Croson 5:54
Oh, totally. Because the funny thing like if

Alex Beadon 5:57
you were involved with the charitable organizations like I feel like that was definitely

Asia Croson 6:02
yes. So I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you the evolution of it. So I’ve always like my clap my, my social media platform. And just like my in person platform, I am all about like being out there and my community. And as much as like I want to put myself out there online, I think it’s just as important to put yourself out there where you live, always been super involved, I’ve actually never been involved with another charity organization, I’ve always just put on my own events. And I think that goes back to like the freedom one of my one of my biggest core values is autonomy. And so I just happened to find myself doing things on my own instead of initially connecting with somebody else, and then kind of bringing people to me to help me out. And so one of the biggest things that I’ve done is it just the clothing swap, and we bring all the clothes, you typically donate to Goodwill, and then we swap with each other. And then the remaining items, which is typically like 100 to 200 bags. So it’s so many items get donated to the women’s shelter here in town. And we’ve I’ve been doing that since since I was in college, it’s been a long time. And now it’s grown to having one time we had over 600 people come, it was humongous. And so we’ve always been doing that. And then another thing I do is called BYOB build your own business. And that’s for it’s not really just for women, but mostly it’s women who come to get them started on building their own business. And the tickets are just $8. And really, we just did that to make sure that people come because when people pay for stuff, they happen to more. But it’s really to invest more in the local like entrepreneurial woman side of the town. So those two and then the biggest one that I did in March, which is something that I was probably working on when we were when we did our first episode, but it hadn’t come to fruition yet. It’s called girls who handle it. And it is essentially an art gallery showing off Cal Poly women. So the university students who have dealt with anything, some of them really, really traumatic experiences, like boyfriends committed suicide, or their mom’s dying suddenly, or a sudden illness, etc, to things that are more commonplace, anxiety, etc. And then comparing that to their Instagram feeds. And really just like putting in your face that like everybody on social media is that’s like such a a farce, I guess. But it’s really as a highlight reel. And so we’ve been on this huge event where we had a picture of every girl and then two pages of their story, what they were really going through, and then their feet at that exact moment that those things were going on. And it was incredibly powerful. We didn’t it was one of those times almost like everything in my business where I started doing something. And then I realized like the impact it’s having or then I realized I started the business on accident or whatever. We didn’t realize it was a thing until we had about Yeah, that was was also about 600 people standing outside in the rain, wanting to come in, people were reading every single story that we had. And then people started donating. And we didn’t even ask for donations. And that’s when he has everything clicked for me. And I was like I have been doing all of these charity events and all of this like what would be considered like nonprofit work without being a nonprofit. And so I might as well like kind of make it official and really, like move forward with that. Wow. Yes, it’s been a big change.

Alex Beadon 9:16
That is amazing. It’s not a change. It’s more just like the direction has been unveiled. Unveiled. I keep using that word. It’s not a word revealed.

Asia Croson 9:25
revealed and unknown. Unveiled. It’s totally a word is it? Yeah, like it wrong. Okay, that’s not a word that’s true. Unveiled, revealed. Yeah, that’s exactly what it is like. And I kind of been joking. So John and I have been engaged since January 2017. So Oh, thank you. And I was joking to somebody recently, I was like, you know, my, my nonprofit is kind of like my marriage. Like we’re doing this thing anyway. Like the government just doesn’t recognize it. And that’s really how it is with with making everything that I’ve been doing you You know, I guess the goal is to make it into nonprofit but really having to discern why we want to do that. Because making into nonprofit doesn’t make it do anything different, like the three events are still going to be continuing on. So but yeah, you’re right, just having the direction be revealed and using, we’re all coming back to it, like my photography and my, my online and in person presence to, to bring attention to those things.

Alex Beadon 10:23
Yeah. Okay. So I want to get into everything. But before we, I feel like I need to kind of just bring it back to your business. And I really want to know, you got Okay, so how did you get started? Because I feel like you’ve done such a good job of really differentiating yourself as a senior portrait photography, which I feel was not something that was particularly big, where you were and when I say senior, I mean, like college students, yes. As opposed to like high school students, because I think the high school thing was the thing. Whereas what you created was specifically more for the college. demographic. Yes. So can you talk to me about that? Like, how did you figure that out? What’s What was your path with that?

Asia Croson 11:06
Yeah, that so for sure, high school, senior photos are like definitely an established thing. And college seniors we’re not. And the reason that I really pursued that is because that’s what I got started with. So I got started photography, my senior year of college with a girlfriend of mine who was graduating, I want to cut pictures and make her feel special. And so it was the only thing I knew in the photography world was like, I want to take pictures of people graduating college, because those people are my friends, and my friends, friends. And at the base of that I just liked making my friends and my friends, friends feel good. And so I didn’t have any kind of connection or like really motivation to pursue other things in the beginning. Because I was like, this is this is what I like, and this is what I do. And then I also connected so well with that, because I worked my ass off in college, I paid for my own way. And I really just became the person that I just like, fell in love with myself and my college process. I loved my friends I loved where I came to school in San Luis Obispo, and then I moved away for a year and coming back here and settling here. I love it here. And so I just felt like the end of your college career was so much more you than the end of your high school career. And though how I did that was so the reason I work so closely with sororities is because I decided to go through them to kind of funnel into the working with them one on one. And Alex, when you and I started working together, she doesn’t 13,014 When you were doing one on one business coaching 112 years ago, roughly. I know so long ago, I started doing this, this thing called fall photo off, which I’m actually currently in at this very moment where I take one photo of every single sorority house, and then I put it on Instagram, at the end of all the photos. And then they have essentially a liking competition on it. And it always changes and it was on Snapchat for a bit but it’s always been on Instagram, but now it’s just mainly centered on Instagram.

Alex Beadon 12:57
To be clear, it’s 100%, free like that, that part of it is free.

Asia Croson 13:03
Yes, yes. And all of that is free. So a free photo shoot for every single sorority. And actually this year, I’m really excited because what I did was offer them an upgrade, which is something I had never done before. And from like a business perspective, I was like, this is brilliant, because truly three shoot, but they were able to, to upgrade and get you know, more more individual photos as well. But the free photo shoot is just with the whole house. And then we do a couple ones of like first year, second year, third years, whatever, and then putting that on Instagram, and then they are putting it everywhere, etc, etc. And so that that has taught me so much about like guerilla marketing, essentially. And then also so much about giving free work, or however you want to call that this is really it is me giving them something for free. But just knowing that it’s planting seeds for them to want to come back to me, because I found that a favorite clients are the ones who I’ve thought about before. And so the more opportunity I have to photograph them in any other setting, the better. They are primed when they come to me later. And so yeah,

Alex Beadon 14:04
and that’s part of their like tradition. Oh, yeah,

Asia Croson 14:08
totally. I mean, it’s crazy how I’ve been doing this my sixth year doing it because I started in 2013 And so now it’s been a couple years where the girls are like, I met you my freshman year. Like I met my best friend at Fall photo off and I’ve been dreaming about taking my picture with you since then. And that is like oh my gosh, like moves me to tears like every time I like you don’t even know how much that means to me and like how cool that is. So definitely ingrained and I feel like it took a long time because like with everything you have to be consistent like the second year people still didn’t know what they were doing. And now I feel like it went by in the blink of an eye now I feel like all of a sudden I was well and they know who I am. But it did take a lot of work especially like you were saying in the beginning with the with the question was like it was a market that didn’t exist yet. So not only did I have to like essentially invent a market but I had to say oh and also pick me. So also do graduation photos, but also do them with me, not just with me. So,

Alex Beadon 15:06
so I want to connect some dots here for the people who are listening, if they’re thinking about like their own business and how to translate all of the concepts that you just shared, really what it’s coming down to is making sure that you’re inserting yourself into the conversation that that your ideal clients are having in some way, shape or form. And also making it really super easy for them to say yes to working with you, even if it’s initially for free. Knowing that you’re building that relationship, you’re planting the seeds, you’re investing in that relationship with them with the hopes that they’re going to see the value that you’re offering and providing and then end up choosing you as their photographer, or coach or whatever it is that you are in the future.

Asia Croson 15:48
Totally. And I think that I’m when I look back, I’m honestly surprised that the inside I was like 23, or something that like it was really playing the long game. I knew, like I wasn’t gonna get, like, let’s say that my first group of gals, I had, you know, a quarter of them first year, second year, third year, fourth year, I knew that those fourth years, were essentially not going to be my clients, because they only worked with me once. And I really was investing in those first year gals. And so I knew this was really going to pay off big time in four years, when they are in three years, whatever, when they were going to be becoming seniors and will have worked with me the whole time. And I was dead on the money with that. And when I had done it for three or four years, then I was completely fully booked. But I knew in the beginning, don’t get discouraged if this isn’t like immediately turn around with an insane amount of clients because they can only work with me at one point, which is a little bit different for other people, for like coaches, etc. Who can businesses can hire them at any time. But for me, I’m only doing graduation photos, so they can only work with me at a certain point. So I knew it was a long game to be to be priming them enough in the beginning to know that they want to know me like me and trust me to be able to hire me when they get to that point. But it really has planting seeds I think is so huge. I think there’s nothing wrong with and it’s better to play the long game for sure.

Alex Beadon 16:59
I love it. Okay, something else that I think you’re really good at is showing your personality online, like you went from blogging, and then you were making videos, and then you’re on Snapchat and Instagram. And so I’d love for you to share with us your journey of putting yourself out there online, and what the benefits were, if you had to overcome any hurdles. And yeah, just talk to us about that.

Asia Croson 17:24
Okay, great. So one of the questions you might be asking me maybe is like non negotiable stuff. And I have a separate answer for that. But that was one of the things that came up to my mind in the beginning was like sharing me and my life has always been like a non negotiable part of my business and part of my life. So from the very beginning, when there was no Snapchat and Instagram wasn’t like it is now because it was six years ago. It was about blogging. And so I used to blog and I loved it. And I started blogging before I had a business because actually, my blog was called because my grandma doesn’t have Facebook, because I wanted my grandma to know, like when I was doing because I lived in France for a year. And so no blog random things so that I could just connect with, you know, my loved one. And then I started I don’t know, at what point I realized that I’m kind of funny. I don’t know when that happened. And but then I started blogging, like really funny things that were going on. In my

Alex Beadon 18:17
videos, you’re like, you’re funny, but it also comes with a dash of wisdom, inspiration, like, I just love your vibe is so great.

Asia Croson 18:25
That’s so great. Thank you so much. Yeah, I used to, I would Yeah, I guess I would just bought funny things. But you know, I wasn’t super consistent with it. And so as soon as and then I did videos, which I also really loved and they were there was called taking shots, how to take shots the classy way, which I thought was incredibly clever. It was about obviously photography, and I really love that. But it was so cumbersome. It was like so much work. Oh my gosh, I mean, YouTube videos are a lot of like work in production. What’s that?

Alex Beadon 18:56
I said, it’s a commitment.

Asia Croson 18:58
Yeah, I totally is, oh my gosh, it’s such a blimp and I loved it. It was like it almost felt like more of a hobby. And it was so super fun. But then Snapchat came along and I was like, oh my goodness, I have like there’s all the cumbersome. pneus of it is now gone, I can just record it and then upload it immediately and no editing and no file saving and no exporting and importing. And it was like such a game changer for me. And it was really natural for me to share my life and my day on there almost immediately. And I remember in the beginning people would and I don’t think about it that much. I think that I have like a very thick skin against haters. I was bullied a lot when I was younger. So I think I’ve kind of just like learn to tune them out. But in the beginning people would always like make fun of me about like, oh, here we go again. You’re just gonna Snapchat like your walk to Starbucks and Oh, guess what, you’re at Starbucks again, or like whatever. And I’m like, Well, you’re the one watching. You don’t have to like every day like you know that I go to Starbucks every single day like you watch me enough to like be bothered by my ritual. Like I’m so sorry about that. Like don’t watch it. It’s not my problem. Um, but some people have asked me like, oh, you put yourself out there so much online? Do you know what do you how do you handle the haters? And I’m like, I’m do I don’t know, I’m sure I have any. But I don’t honestly don’t see them. Like, they don’t bother me. But so Snapchat was going great. And it was really being it was a huge part of my business. And I had once I started getting using a CRM, what is that called? Or a client management system? Yeah. I would ask people like, how did you hear me or what, what inspired you to choose me as your photographer, and so many of them would say that I follow you on Snapchat. And I thought that was so interesting, because the big difference between Snapchat and Instagram is, of course, not being able to upload photos that weren’t taking live. And so something I’ve done with Instagram has been able to put the actual photos peppered in with the behind the scenes. With Snapchat, I couldn’t do that. So I truly didn’t show off my work on Snapchat, people weren’t people were just seeing behind the scenes, they weren’t really seeing the actual photos, my actual work, which is what you would think, would make clients hire whoever it is. So not, that is so not true. I that is not true in any way, shape, or form. People wanted to get photographed by me, because they knew me like me, and trust me, and they wanted to be around me. And that’s what the experience they wanted to get their photos done. And now it’s so much easier with Instagram, because I can show off my work in addition to what it’s like to work with me, but it was it just really reaffirmed for me that I need to just be myself on Snapchat and or on whatever putting myself out there. And that will attract the right people to me. And also needs to do it in abundance, because I don’t know who’s paying attention and when they’re paying attention. And if I just like throw glitter up in the air, eventually I’ll catch something. And so doing it everyday consistently has been a huge game changer for my business. So Snapchat, then moved over to Instagram, I was incredibly resistant to moving to making the change because I had been doing Snapchat for like four or five years, consistently, it was like Snapchat queen. But I’m loving Instagram. Now it’s so different for sure. Like there’s so many like, psychological reasons. It’s such a different experience. But I’ve gotten a new routine, but I don’t do it. As the day goes on. I feel like it takes too much time. So I just sit down and do it for like 45 minutes at the end of my day, typically is what I do. And I don’t talk to the camera as much as I used to, which I’m kind of sad about I really miss doing that. So actually today a little bit I did but yeah, I used to talk to the camera all day. It was like a daily vlog but Instagram. So different, little more aesthetic. So working on the transition, but it’s going very well.

Alex Beadon 22:24
Is it interesting how it’s so different. It’s incredibly

Asia Croson 22:28
different. Like I could literally like write a book about it.

Alex Beadon 22:32
It’s funny, because it’s like the exact same format Instagram Stories versus Snapchat stories. But for some reason, what you would feel totally comfortable doing on Snapchat stories you wouldn’t necessarily feel 100% comfortable doing on Instagram stories.

Asia Croson 22:46
I think there’s like a different culture. Yeah, for sure. There’s also like an expectation because you can upload things later, you almost feel as if they should be higher quality, whereas Snapchat was like, it was just understood that you just snap the pic and you put it up there. Like you could put a blurry picture of like somebody running by with funny pants on and be like, Ha ha like those Funny Pants would never do on Instagram. Like that’s not a thing like relevance to your story. And so what I’ve been doing since starting Instagram, because I still have a couple, however, my a couple 100 People still following me on Snapchat. And so I’ve just been using Snapchat, it’s kind of like my camera roll, I’ll just take pictures and add it to that. And then I’ll save them from my snapchat later and kind of curate it into my Instagram. So yeah, it is so very different. But I enjoy it. I really like the potential in the opportunity to network with people that way to be able to tag them and, and show show off their stuff. You know, you couldn’t do that with Snapchat. And so I think there’s so much more a big thing that I’m just realizing is there’s so much more of a community on Instagram, Snapchat, I’m putting this out there, I have no idea what’s happening on the other end. But with Instagram, you know so much more and you’re able to connect so much more.

Alex Beadon 23:53
That to me was like the big thing about Instagram. I mean, besides the fact that everyone kind of left Snapchat. Besides that, yeah, there’s also the fact that like, you can actually see who’s looking at your story. And it’s not just like a random name. And then you go to their profile, and there’s nothing they’re like, you can actually file and see what they posted or see if they have a story and maybe follow them or leave a comment or it’s just so much more of like you said, it’s so much more of a community, which is awesome. So do not post to Snapchat at all anymore.

Asia Croson 24:27
Now I do the thing, like I said, I like use it as kind of like a camera. I literally just went in brief. And my story. I just added it all I don’t even look at it later on. And I was on there. And it’s kind of essentially a camera. And then because there are still some people who use it, but I totally forgot. Overnight, literally 90% of my followers disappeared. And then I would try to go watch somebody else’s story and I couldn’t figure it out either. So I was like, I understand why you can’t find me. So I Yeah, so that’s another reason

Alex Beadon 24:54
Oh, Snapchat. They really have thrown everyone for a loop in so many ways and like they’re really not listening to their are creators. It’s such a shame because I feel like they had so much potential like, and you and I both know, like, we were both hardcore Snapchatter

Asia Croson 25:08
Yes, we were, we were, we were doing so good with it. And I was just listening to your thing with promise. And she was talking about how she still blogs because she’s saying, you know, you have to go where the people are. And then they change their mind and blah, blah, blah. And it’s I mean, it’s such a thing. That’s still how was a Snapchat, but there’s always a replacement. So yeah, I feel I feel good about going like where the people are in. But I was I was very hesitant to move over to Instagram until it was like, wow, okay, I have to now because nobody’s like,

Alex Beadon 25:36
Yeah, cuz even last time we spoke, I think you were still more active on Snapchat than you are now.

Asia Croson 25:43
Very reads. It’s a very recent thing. I think I’ve learned to appreciate being able to do it all at one time. I feel like it really, with Snapchat, it was I mean, it was super easy. It’s not like it was really interesting in my day, but you didn’t have to add it immediately. So was even like minute interruptions, and I wasn’t as present. But with Instagram, you need to take a picture, you can do whatever. And then I have, like I said, like 45 minutes where I just sit down. That’s all I do. So I can really focus on it. And not have to interrupt like my experiences with other people throughout my day.

Alex Beadon 26:12
Yeah, I think that’s a big one for me, too. People ask me that all the time. They’re like, how do you? How do you post this and put so much attention to it and still be present? I’m like, because I don’t post it when I’m actually now they’re like, record it, save it put my phone away.

Asia Croson 26:27
Exactly. And they do it all later. Yeah. It’s way better that way, way better.

Alex Beadon 26:32
Okay, so my next question for you is, I’m trying to think what do I want my next question for you to be I have a list of questions. I remember last time, we spoke a lot about community. And I’ve, today, it’s been a day. Like I said, this is like my fourth interview of the day. So I feel like a lot has happened today. And I’ve not had a lot of the conversations that I wanted to have, because I ran out of time. So I’m like, let me just get to what exactly what is it about today, which is community like I feel like you’re someone who you’ve done such a great job of building that community offline. Sorry, online, and then made that translate into the offline space into like, the real life like actually here with you, in person. And it’s interesting, because I think your business as well lends very well to it. Because like, obviously, when you meet with your clients, you’re meeting with them in person, you’re taking pictures of them. So I’d love for you to talk to us about how you have cultivated such a high quality level of community, I think it’s something really special. It’s something I myself am not good at at all. Like I’ve spent my entire life moving, like pretty much every three years, like from country to country to country to country. And so I’ve almost taught myself to really not rely too much on my community. Because in the back of my head, I’m like, well, you’re leaving soon anyway. And now I’m at an age where I’m like, I want to have connections with people who are like, on my safe weight, same wavelength and who I’m really cultivating a special relationship with. So I would love for you to talk to me about that and how you do that.

Asia Croson 28:11
Yes. I think that’s also a big reason why you and Laura are so close. Still. Because yeah, she’s so is your community, and how awesome would it be if you guys could be in the same placement, why it’s so cool for like when she comes down there and stuff. So yeah, this is a huge part of I mean, I only I can’t even call it a huge part of my life because it just like is my life is, is my community and my network. And I so you have a podcast called face to face with Paige Poppy. And it was about your online space and then being face to face and how people who can run their businesses online. Like you also need to invest in the in person, community. And then on the opposite side, people like me who, of course, I need to have an online presence. But you know, since I’m meeting with people face to face, my online presence isn’t as important but I need to be investing in that also. So I’ve always really understood the that the crossover and how important that is. And I think so much of that has to do with one the fact that I’m an extrovert and so me doing it by myself is not sustainable. For me. Of course, I’m not like needing to be around people 100% of the time, but I do get energy from being around other people. And especially other entrepreneurs who are super passionate, super excited, I totally feed off that vibe. And so for me, it just makes sense that I need to set myself up for success and be around people like that. Because it just gives me more energy. And then on top of that, like you are the five people that you surround yourself with or the average job or whatever. And so I knew how important it was to surround myself with people who would be uplifting to me and to be able to see them like not on a daily basis but actually literally probably on a daily basis. I see someone like that and so I’ve really made sure to to pepper that throughout my day to connect with people. But as far as how I did that I think I’m why know that I’m Very good at discerning between, if I don’t want to call it just like someone because that feels like very surface level and judgmental, but like, do I feel like this is an awesome? Is this gonna be an awesome, like friendship and networking relationship or not? And I realize that until someone recently was like, that’s a kind of a personal question like, I feel like you have, you’re really good at setting boundaries, and you have really great friends. And I never met one of your friends who I don’t like. And I was like, Wow, what a compliment to me. Like, that’s so nice. I just like collected humans, but I think it’s because we all have a quota of time, like the quota of energy, like it is, it is limited, it’s limited in our days, and we’re in our lifespan, and the time that you’re spending with people who aren’t doing whatever it is they need to be doing for you, or like feeding your soul or whatever is time that you are not spending, finding the other people or spending time with or investing in other people who would be doing that. And so I think that I have a very like cut and dry snot system, I don’t even realize I’m doing it or I’m like, No, they were fine, but like, probably not going to do anything with them. And then I’m able to really hone in on the relationships that I love so much. But one of the things that that I’ve done is with we’re connecting with humans all the time, we’re talking to baristas, as a photographer, I’m a makeup artist, I was a photographer, my clients are buying their clothes from somewhere there is already built in in our lives, like a network of humans that we could be connecting with. And I’ve just realized, like, it takes 90% of effort to like talk to them in general, or to connect with them at all. And if you just put 10% more effort into that, then it’s going to be you know, 100% and a very big deal. And so you might as well maximize those connections. So if I’m talking to somebody at all, I’m wanting to connect with them. I’m talking to the races already, I’m already talking to the makeup artist. So I might as well like really, really maximize that connection. And that in itself has just been huge for my community.

Alex Beadon 31:51
I love that so much. I feel like you also do a good job of reaching out to people and being like, Hey, let’s go and hang out. Totally. Yes. And not even just people that you know, but like people that you maybe just found online.

Asia Croson 32:06
When I Gosh, cool. Sorry about that. Actually what she may know already. But my friend Amy Young, she actually I saw her first. I first saw her video through the spark lounge. Yeah, which is amazing throwback. And she is a life coach, and she’s a YouTuber, and I saw one of her videos. And I’m not a big YouTube watcher. I think I watch Alex Beadon AMI on and that’s literally on YouTube. I don’t watch. But I saw her stuff. And I just loved it. And I subscribed to her email list and like, whatever. And I was like, kind of like in her like fandoms fear for a couple months. And then I was like, I checked out her website, and she had no photos of herself on her website. And she’s so adorable. No, she said adorable. She’s gorgeous. I’m adorable. Amy is gorgeous. There’s a difference. So I reached out to her. And I was like, I feel like you don’t have any photos or you don’t have any photos of yourself. I don’t know where you live. But I live in California. I love your emails. And like her emails were just so clever. They were essentially like a different blog. And then it would say in the middle of it like, oh, you can read more about this on my actual blog. And I just thought it was so brilliant. And so yeah, I reached out. And I was like, if you have any photos, I don’t know where you are. But I’m in California, if you’re ever out here, and like right in the middle of the state. And I would love to do photos of you. And so I she brought me back like a month and a half later. And I felt like Beyonce had written me. I was like, Oh, my God, this girl is famous. And she just wrote me back like, dinged when I was driving. And I remember like looking at it while I was driving, which is like a big no, no, but I was like, I’m gonna pull over, I’m gonna read this whole thing. I was so thrilled. And anyway, so we connected over Skype. And then she went flying out here from Boston. He did her first round of photos. And now she’s been out here four times. And one of those times she sat here for two months. And now she’s my best friend who just here she just left a couple days ago. So my god that was like, I really feel like in something even with the sororities when I first reached out to them. It’s so intimidating to reach out to somebody who don’t know, especially somebody who has either a reputation or an abundance of women in one place like a sorority. It’s that you’re not familiar with and I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is like, literally just reach out to anybody. Like they’re all humans, you know, like, the worst thing they can do is say no or just not respond like whatever. And that’s like really done well for me with connections being like, oh, that person seems like you know, they’re just too big of a deal for me or whatever and but you might be exactly what they’re looking for in whatever partnership you’re you’re trying to approach with them. And for me, she was like, I love your photos so much. Absolutely. And I was like, Okay, great. Amazing. Like let’s be best friends now. Perfect. So yeah, kind of like not being scared to do that has and I’m sure that it’s affected my life in so many small ways and put I can think of like five huge arrays that I’ve had. And I think that’s a, that’s a big thing to reach out to communities. Everybody’s human and nobody’s like too weird to reach out to or too big to reach out to or whatever. So yeah,

Alex Beadon 35:11
I just love that so much. And I love that you’re so extroverted. And it’s so funny because I don’t think I ever really understood extraversion until I started dating my current boyfriend, Nick, because like, you guys are just the best people.

Asia Croson 35:26
But so great, like a new science because I think there’s been a couple like books that have come out about like, what it really means to be an introverted extroverted, and it’s really about like, where you get your energy. It’s not about being outgoing or shy. And I think that it’s really for sure helps the introverted community because I think they’re starting to understand like, I don’t get it I like people but like, I’m so dad at the end of the day. And so they’re starting to really get a little bit of just more strength and being like, it’s okay for me to want to be by myself at the end of the day. But I think, at the same time for me, I realizing it’s okay, that I want to be with people like it’s fine. And how can I intertwine that that’s why it’s so beneficial to know yourself. That’s why getting older has been so fun for me because they’re fun, fun. And like you when you’re younger, you’re like, oh, getting to myself, like who the eff cares. But the reason why it’s so important is because then you can make life better for yourself. So knowing I love to be around people is me being able to fix my schedule to intertwine all of my friends. And you know, some other people, if I’m by myself all day, I’m like gonna fall asleep or something. So I can’t do

Alex Beadon 36:28
the opposite. And it’s so funny because everyone’s like, Yeah, I like you’re so extroverted. And I’m like, I’m outgoing. And like, I like meeting new people. And I like talking to people. But at the end of the day, I really like being alone. I like reading my book, I like being in bed. Like even today, my boyfriend right before this interview, he came up to me, and he’s like, so there’s this art exhibition happening tonight. And we should go and so and so it’s going and I’m like, Oh my God, that sounds so overwhelming. You’re like, no, no, like, I’ve been speaking to people all day long.

Asia Croson 36:59
Like, I cannot do that. And I totally get it and my fiance’s the same. He’s the most, the most outgoing and like entertaining. Oh, wow. Like the, like, he likes to entertain a lot. But he is like the biggest introvert. Like he needs to be by himself a lot. But he works from home by himself. So he naturally gets a lot of alone time, which I imagine that you would as well, because you’re interviewing. And so that’s why that’s why that works for you guys. Because you have you already have built in just like I have built in meeting with people and even my photoshoots, which is the core of my job is with other people. So I know that that works really well for me. And I know for that with other people it wouldn’t and that was a big thing. When we talked in December, I was making an ecourse about networking. That was a big struggle for me because I was like, this is a networking course for extroverts. Because this stuff is not going to work if you don’t like or not don’t like being around people. But if that sucks your energy at the end of the day, that don’t do what I’m saying because it’s not going to be good.

Alex Beadon 37:52
Well, I think it’s a balance because like for me, it’s like I know it’s healthy when I spend time with people I’m like when I actually make the effort to go and meet new people and whatever I always enjoy it you know, finding the balance of like, not like maybe your level of social and my boyfriend’s although social is like just not my level of social like you guys are like, a whole next level which is totally great for you guys. Have you done Myers Briggs Personality Test?

Asia Croson 38:21
Yes. And I am an INFJ Oh my gosh. Yeah, that

Alex Beadon 38:25
sounds about right.

Asia Croson 38:26
I am Who did we just looked at that the other day? Because investment just did hurt your family?

Alex Beadon 38:32
When a no no then you must be ENFP

Asia Croson 38:36
Oh, you think so? Okay. Oh, I literally just did it. I’m gonna Google it, please.

Alex Beadon 38:40
Because I NFP and it wouldn’t surprise me if we are the same.

Asia Croson 38:44
Okay, okay. You’re an extrovert, though.

Alex Beadon 38:46
I’m an extrovert, but ENFPs supposedly are the least extroverted of all the extroverts?

Asia Croson 38:52
Oh, I am an ENFP I am. I’m not an ENFP How did you know

Alex Beadon 38:57
that? Wow, here we are together. We are together.

Asia Croson 39:00
This is amazing. Okay, so I have this says that I’m extroverted. 91%. So Right. Like,

Alex Beadon 39:08
yeah, it’s interesting, because yours will say so your says your 91% whereas mine is like, I think 40% or something like that. Okay.

Asia Croson 39:16
Yeah, but I think that like that 9% still plays into my day, every single day. Like I love to have like my morning routine has to be like literally entirely solo. And I mean, I, I just have also built in time to like, be where I am by myself. And so I think that it is so important for every human to be able to spend some time on your own. I also as I’ve gotten older realize that I like my own company. I like being with myself. And so that’s been that’s such a joy. And so I don’t mind being alone at some point and that is very refreshing. I used to call it stare at a wall time. It used to be me, me for family and friends. And I’d be like, I’m just gonna go stare at a wall because I just need like, I’m not tired, but I just need to like stare at a wall. So I make sure I get in that as well. out, but for like energy and you know, I want to use the word ignition but like when I want to ignites or whatever I have to be around people, for sure.

Alex Beadon 40:08
That’s really interesting. Okay, so takeaway for everyone listening is to know yourself. I think that’s really what we’re coming down to here. Yes, no true,

Asia Croson 40:16
so true. And then like, make it happen. You know, like, the first, the first episode of my podcast when I’m by myself was like, pay attention to your life. And it was like, pay attention to the things that you’re doing and the things you surround yourself with, and everything affects you and everything matters. And there are some things that are draining you and like, they’re either my mom used to tell me that friends are either rocks or balloons, like they either hold you down, or they bring you up. And I feel like it’s like that with everything in your life. Like, the way that you dress, the way you present yourself, the coffee that you drink, like what you’re seeing when you’re sitting in your office. I think all of those things, it’s such we live in a very holistic life. And that’s one of the things like does it feel good for me to be by myself all day? Or does it not? And then, and then adjust from there, you know?

Alex Beadon 40:57
Oh, my God, I love that your mom’s quote about rocks and balloons?

Asia Croson 41:01
My mom, she’s so wise. And I think, why is your parents are?

Alex Beadon 41:05
That’s just the best quote ever. I love it. Okay, so I want to kind of just touch on your, um, like, in between two questions right now, like, which direction do I want to take? I think okay, I think I know what we want to talk about. I want to talk to you about your sense of confidence and your sense of self worth, like you clearly are a very confident person. Like you said, you were bullied as a child. So you had a thick skin learn how to deal with with negative confrontation? Maybe? Yes. What advice do you have for someone who’s like, yeah, it’s so easy for you because you’re extroverted and like, you have a thick skin and you can put yourself out there and you don’t care what other people think? Or say, what advice do you have for people who are struggling with that?

Asia Croson 41:53
I feel oh my gosh, I wish you didn’t see me right now. I’m like moving all my body because they’re just like, so I just hate it when people. It just breaks my heart when people don’t have the competence to do that. And I think they think it’s different for everybody else. They think it’s like, oh, it’s easy for you. It’s not as easy for me. And that’s and that’s not true in any way. It’s not easy for anybody to do things. It’s easier when you start doing it. That’s the difference a difference? Isn’t it? Because you’re competent? Because you’re not competent? The difference is the experience doing it? And I think one of the things depends on how I’m feeling when I have this conversation, like am I feeling like nurturing? And I’m like, No, everybody’s beautiful in their own way. And that’s like one thing. But another thing is like, how does it actually affect you as to what other people think. And so there’s like a little tough love thing. And like, let’s talk about this for realsies. Like if this person online he’s never met before, says you have an annoying voice, go throughout your day and tell me how that actually affects your life. Because it literally does not like it doesn’t at all it doesn’t. And the only time that it does is because you’re thinking about it. And that’s something that I’ve had to learn, again, from a super young age, that what other people will think about you only affects you as much as you let it in a very real sense. Not this like hypothetical sense. And like, it literally doesn’t affect me at all. Like when I was in school, I could still get good grades, I could still, you know, be a nice big sister, I could still it didn’t affect me at all, unless I was thinking about it a bunch. And so I think with confidence has been all about how I’m showing up like, am I showing up my best self? And if I am, then I’m feeling great about it. And if I’m not, then I’m not feeling super confident. And then also taking into consideration Am I showing up my best self considering my current circumstances, like, I can’t expect myself to show up my best self, if I’m sick, or if I’m whatever. But if I’m doing the best job I can in that exact moment, I have the right to be confident doing that. And I think that a lot of it also comes for sure from my face, because I feel like that, you know, God has my back. And I know that he’s like doing things so I feel confident in the plan and in who he’s made me to be. And so again, I really feel like competence is a right for sure. And really does come with experience when you try to, you know, tell yourself and you’ve taught me this so long ago from a YouTube video. Like you just go out there and you’re like I’m the best photographer in the world. And just telling myself that when they go out to shoot like I’m the best photographer in the world helps me so much is that I’m like, okay, as the best photographer in the world, what would I be doing right now? And then that really shifts shifts my mindset. And so yeah, you feel I think I answered your question. That was a

Alex Beadon 44:22
brilliant answer. I now want to ask you. Sorry, did you say something?

Asia Croson 44:29
Oh, I said funsies.

Alex Beadon 44:34
That’s great. I love that word. Okay, so I now want to ask you about how you manage everything. Like what is your time management look like? Because so you have the business going on? You’re clear clearly, like have a very active social life where you’re investing time into your friends and your family. You also are now starting a nonprofit organization. I would love for you to talk to me about like how Are you managing all of these different things? And I know that you also don’t you have like, monthly events?

Asia Croson 45:07
Yes. Well, we got a lot of things,

Alex Beadon 45:09
a lot going on. I remember, when we spoke, I was like, How does she do it?

Asia Croson 45:16
So, okay, so the monthly events are the BYOB thing that build your own business. And that’s kind of encompassed in, in the nonprofit stuff. But what I found going back to extrovert thing is so many of those things are so easy for me because they feed into me. And so like BYOB, the monthly thing is like, it’s not it doesn’t take away from it’s not like, Oh, my God, how do you have time and energy for that? That’s what gives me energy, and therefore gives me time. And so I love doing those things because of that. And when I have less on my calendar, I am I don’t want to say less productive, because productivity is not the goal. But like, I am less energetic when I don’t have as much on my calendar. Yes, exactly. And then therefore, fulfillment allows me to be a you know, a better photographer, a better business owner, a better leader. And so being busy is how I am fulfilled. But it’s not. I have learned that it’s not just about being busy, and that I’m very, I can I can say no woofer the best of them, just like I am very picky with my friends. I’m like, I’m like, No, I don’t want to do that. Like, no, thank you. And so that’s super, super helpful. But on a practical level, I like a slave to my calendar, and all the best ways, I put everything on my calendar, and it says like, chill, eat lunch, like stare at a wall. It’s whatever. I like, I’m obsessed with my calendar. And I love it so much. And it makes it easier for everybody else to know what I’m doing and what that can be involved in. So that’s like one thing that’s really huge for me. And then another is that I have so much help. Like, I cannot tell you how lucky I am that I have three interns. I have one editor, all of the people that I’ve connected with who but anyway, are part of my business, all are so willing to help me out. And I just don’t know what I did to deserve all of that. Like, they’re amazing dedication to me. But I’m not doing anything alone. Like I’m going on on photo shoots, and I have an assistant with me who’s taking behind the scenes photos and who’s like fixing her hair and who’s doing whatever. Not that I had those things in the beginning. But right now it looks like I’m doing so much on my own. And I’m not I have so much help. And so it’s really allowed me to to let them do the things either that are extra and fun. And I couldn’t do my own. I can’t take my own behind the scenes photos, or to do the things that were kind of draining my energy so that I can really focus on doing super well the things that I’m super good at, does shine your

Alex Beadon 47:41

Asia Croson 47:47
Really good question. Not much. I don’t really like watching TV. And I know like saw this quote the other day. And it was like for those of us that you don’t watch TV, like you could just go like screw yourself. And I was like, well, for realsies I don’t really like sitting and watching to me like I don’t really John would be like don’t watch a movie. And I’m like, I would literally rather stay with him like dude,

Alex Beadon 48:07
Asia, I’m just like you and make us like, let’s watch a movie. I’m like, Ah, we have to. He’s like, let’s go to the cinema. I’m like,

Asia Croson 48:16
actually so funny. I love going to the movies. And like sitting at home and watching movies. I don’t know what it is like, I feel like that’s like a bad thing. I don’t know, but I don’t so much. There has to be something that drains my energy. And I have no idea what it is. But But if if there are things I would say that I have, oh, here’s an example, calling photos, cold like going through them and picking which ones to add it that drains my energy. And it also anchors down my whole process because I’m like, Oh, I don’t want to do it. And then I don’t do it for like two days. And then I could have just been done editing by then. But I didn’t do the first process. And so that’s been something that’s now part of my interns if she does that, and so that’s like so super helpful. So all of the things that drain my energy, I have worked out of the system. I’m like, Oh, I don’t want to do it. And so especially if they could be beneficial for somebody else to do or it’s somebody else’s, you know, like, area of brilliance or whatever. I’m like, excellent. You do that you watch all the TV for me and I have to

Alex Beadon 49:14
I love that so much. Perfect. Okay. To wrap up this interview, I’m going to ask you the questions that I asked everyone. And I’m pretty sure the last time we spoke about this, I was like I should have some fancy dancy name for the for the wrap up questions, but I don’t so I’m still calling them wrap up questions. The first one is what is one thing you do that has been a non negotiable in keeping your business on track?

Asia Croson 49:38
Two things one, for sure, like I mentioned earlier is like sharing my life somewhere on some social media platform. I also like that because I like to look back on myself and like see what I’ve done. It’s kind like a fun diary. And then number two is having my 9% of introversion time in the morning and I’m by myself I have my coffee and I read my devotionals and I just like sometimes just sit on the couch and like pray or just like thinking Be silent because I know I’m not going to be quiet at all the rest of the day. And that really like, fuels me up for my day and helps me be like a better person to uphold a

Alex Beadon 50:08
quick question on that, because I know everyone listening is wondering how much time do you spend in silence or like just this thing that?

Asia Croson 50:16
Yeah, this is my favorite thing about that is it’s as much time is I have and so I think some people are like, you don’t have 30 minutes, and you can’t do it at all, it takes me five minutes to read my devotional. So if I have an, I can also always be late, some to something by five minutes, unless I’m catching a plane. So even if I’m running late, I will literally sit down read my devotionals because like, I will just tell my client like so sorry, I need to read my devotional like my devotional like, whatever, it’s fine. But when I wake up, and I have like, the time that I would like, is about 30 or 40 minutes. And that’s what that’s typically what it is. But even if I’m rushing, it is like literally non negotiable. Like I unless I’m catching a train or a plane, I’m doing it. So yeah,

Alex Beadon 50:53
perfect. Okay, share mindset, a mindset, set, share, I can’t speak share a mindset shift that has made the biggest difference in your life as an entrepreneur.

Asia Croson 51:08
Oh, my gosh, in my life, not prepared, I was prepared for like in my business. Oh, my gosh, in my life is that I don’t Is that I have so much power and my decisions. And who I surround myself with and what I do, and just realizing like, oh my gosh, I can change something if I don’t like it. In my life has been huge. And if I want to do something that I can actually do, it has been like my nephew, for example, lives in Washington, and I want to see him all the time. So I’m like, Okay, well, then I should just make that work for myself, because that’s what’s good for me. And so I do so I see him every six weeks. And so I know that’s like, for some people, like that’s a lot, whatever it is, and anything for anybody that they like, and it’s different from other other people, it might seem like too much or whatever. But I realize I have the power in my life to do the things that I want to do and set myself up to do that. And like I’m not a victim of any circumstance. And remembering that. And if I wasn’t, I would be able to rise above it. So that’s helped me shift my mindset, my life that I’m not stuck in any way I really can make my life the way that I want it to

Alex Beadon 52:12
that is so powerful. I love it. Okay, fill in the blank, the world would be a better place if more people knew

Asia Croson 52:19
how to take care of themselves. That’s what I think how to live it, it’s important to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish to do that, because you need to be filling, you know, filling up your own cup before you can pour into other people. And so again, paying attention to your life and what would feel good for you and that you need to take care of yourself first before you can take care of other people are sure

Alex Beadon 52:38
the book that changed my life was

Asia Croson 52:43
free. So five leveling, which is huge. In my relationship just in my life with other people. Um, you are a badass was so good. And then a long time ago, you talked about raving fans. Remember that book, such a big, those three are sure these highly recommend.

Alex Beadon 52:59
Amazing. And then lastly, this is my favorite thing. If you remember I asked every guest to challenge our audience to do something this week to focus on accomplishing something or taking some type of action step. So what is the one thing that you would like to challenge our audience to do this week?

Asia Croson 53:15
Oh my gosh, fun. Okay, so talking about community, I would challenge to, like start pursuing a new friendship or to like, realize the friendships that you have that could be maximized. And like made and something more and like, be really grateful for them. I have so many friendships, I’m like, Oh, my God, like you are such a big deal in my life. And just sitting in that gratitude is amazing. When if you feel like you don’t have that and going out and like seeking one person that you could pursue in that way. Total Life Changes such a big deal. And so just thinking about getting in the practice of connecting with that person for sure.

Alex Beadon 53:53
Asia, thank you so much. I love you so much.

Asia Croson 53:57
This has been so fun. Round two. Can we do it every nine months, every couple months. I’m down.

Alex Beadon 54:03
Oh my gosh, I just love you. I love your energy. I think you you always just shine and I just love I love the we have not even been in the same place ever. And I feel like I know you so well. And oh my gosh, so special. And so magic. And I just want to I just want you to know how much I appreciate you.

Asia Croson 54:20
Thanks, Alex. I so appreciate you for sure. Always. You’re welcome.

Alex Beadon 54:25
Thank you so much for being here on the podcast with us today.

Asia Croson 54:28
Absolutely. I cannot wait to hear it’s gonna be so fun.

Alex Beadon 54:33
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoyed it, I would love for you to give me a shout out on your Instagram story or anywhere. Just letting me know what your biggest takeaway was. You guys have no idea how helpful and useful it is for me. When you message me telling me what your aha moments were telling me what it is that you took away from the podcast. It helps me understand what is most valuable to you and it helps Have me understand how I can be of the highest service to you. So if you could take two minutes to do that, I would really appreciate it. Thank you guys so much for watching. I hope to hear from you over on Instagram you can find me at Alex Beadon and I will talk to you again very soon. Bye

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