#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

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

Oh my gosh you guys look how amazing this shrimp serata cocktail looks meet Beatrice an avid Instagram Stories user and visionary to her followers. I can’t wait till you guys try this out. Yes, I’m talking to all three of you. All two of you. Well, I guess I’m just here by myself now. Why don’t be a basic Beatrice on Instagram. Keep your audience wanting more by learning how to edit your Instagram stories like a pro. Visit and learn these simple free tips that will have your friends impressed with your Instagram Stories for years to come.

#008 – On Hustle As An Art Form, Pursuing A High-Risk Career, and Success As An Introvert With Brooke Shaden

You’ve all but heard it before: “Follow your dreams”, “Turn your dreams into reality.”—the list of clichés goes on and on. But maybe there’s some truth to the hundreds of famous airy quotes about dream following. Maybe they’re just motivational words, for never giving up on your deepest desires. Or maybe it’s even simpler than that.

Maybe they’re just straightforward instructions.    

Brooke Shaden is the physical embodiment of what life would be like to literally follow your dreams.

As a self-portrait artist, she brings back from her slumbers the most imaginative thoughts, transforming them into visual storytelling masterpieces.

And with such an introspective ability to see her dreams, she offers many words of wisdom for those seeking to follow their very own.

“The people who are most successful…are the people who are doing something in their own unique way.”

In this Podcast you’ll learn:

  • How Brooke Shaden broke out of a job she hated to pursue a creative career despite the risk.
  • How she has created success as an introvert.
  • How she engages meaningfully on social media without obsessing about the numbers.
  • How she sees hustle as an art form.

Get lost in Brooke’s story:
IG: @brookeshaden

See her in person:
Promoting Passion Convention
Joshua Tree, CA
October 4-8, 2018

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 today’s episode I speak to world renowned photographer and a dear friend of mine, Brooke Shaden. On how she broke out of a job she hated to pursue a creative career despite the risk, how she has created success as an introvert. How she engages meaningfully on social media without obsessing about the numbers, and on how she sees hustle as an art form. Welcome to 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 lift? 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, friends, this is episode number eight of on purpose with Alex Beadon. And today I’m super excited to release this episode for two main reasons. Firstly, it is a game changing episode. Regardless of if you are a creative or not. I want you to listen to this episode with an open mind and ask yourself how can you take what Brooke is saying and apply it to your own business? After I finished recording this episode, I could not get Brooks words of wisdom out of my head. No joke, like I was driving the car like after like probably a week after I’d recorded this episode. And I was just like, wow, that was such a game changer. So chances are you’re gonna think it’s a game changer to Secondly, Brooke is a dear friend of mine. As I mentioned, we don’t see or talk to each other very often. But I can tell you I have a deep love and respect for this woman as a creative as a businesswoman. And as a human being who wants to be the best she can be she is. So what’s the word? She’s just such an impressive person in so many different ways. Like really and truly, she is a gem of a human being. She’s a photographer, speaker, author, philanthropist, and one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Now go enjoy this episode. And when you’re done, don’t forget to go and give her art a look. It is truly one of a kind and absolutely unforgettable. Are you ready? I’m ready. Okay, so the first question is, what do you find most nourishing about having your own business?

Brooke Shaden 2:37
Oh, that’s a good one. Good start. Well, I specifically like the word nourishing because I think that it’s a word that doesn’t get brought up very often in business specifically. And I think that it should be what business is all about. So when I’m running my day to day life and thinking about how I’m going to run my business, the best thing is to ask myself, What will nourish me and then only choose to do those things, which I recognize is quite a an honor to be able to do you know, because people don’t always have that choice right away. But for me, what nourishes me is having a sense of routine and a sense of home, even when I’m not home or even when I can’t go through my normal routine, just being very, very in tune with what makes you happy. What makes you feel most grounded and creative and inspired at any given time. To me, this is how I run my business. So whether I’m traveling, whether I’m doing something stressful, I always take time every single day to have a little moment of grounded inspiration, no matter what. And for me, that usually takes the form of daydreaming, which is a little bit weird and cuckoo but, but for a creative, I think it makes a lot of sense. And so I spend five minutes every single day having like a guided Daydream that I do with myself where I imagine that I’m a character and I’m going through this little story that I’ve created. And then by the end of the five minutes, I feel like I just had a little adventure and it was fun and it was inspiring. And then I feel like totally myself in the best way possible.

Alex Beadon 4:21
I love that so much. So I feel like I have so many questions to ask just off of what you just said. But where I want to start is Have you always been super intune with prioritizing, wanting to be in line with your passion and your purpose and wanting to and being aware of what it is that nourishes you and incorporating that into your life.

Brooke Shaden 4:45
I actually think that I started out extremely in tune with myself and then lost that somewhere along the way and then found my way back to it which I think is how most people start their businesses because you start out being like, oh, I want to do this thing so badly. And you know why you want to do it and you’re excited about it. And then whether it’s through a series of successes or failures, or both, you start to question what you’re doing or you start to move in a different direction, because it feels like you’ll be more successful that way. And then you burn out on that. And at some point, you have to return back to why you started in the first place. So I started my career super in tune with what made me happy what I wanted to be doing, to the point where people were offering me money. And I was just turning it down. Because I was like, I don’t want to be this type of photographer, I don’t want to be this type of artist. And it allowed me to cultivate a career that that started very, very quickly, because I was only focused on what made me happy. And then it’s somewhere along the line, I started to take other jobs, because it seemed like a good opportunity, even though those opportunities aren’t necessarily where your heart is. So I started taking those opportunities. And then, at some point burned out, which really, I think was just a couple of months ago, then. And then I found my way back to what is it underneath all of this success and failure combined, what makes me actually happy. It’s such

Alex Beadon 6:18
an interesting thing, the balance between doing what you love doing what nourishes you doing what feels right, what lights you up and getting paid for it. And then also having to pay the bills and having to sometimes sometimes deal with the harsh realities of being a business owner. So I’m curious, maybe for some context, you can tell us, what are your main sources of income? What are the main ways that you’re generating revenue in your business? And how do you find that balance? Between the intuitive side of you that’s like, yes, it’s really like to know, and the realistic side where it’s like, okay, I need to pay my bills.

Brooke Shaden 6:53
Yeah. So okay, so for for really good context. When I started my business, I started with a gallery show, I wanted to be a fine art photographer who exhibited in galleries and made my money that way, because I wanted to be a hermit. I was like, I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t want to have clients, I just want to stay in my house and make money that way. So I did, and I had my first gallery show. And that same day that my gallery opened, I quit my job. I had been working at Paramount Pictures, I was a legal assistant, and hated it. And I quit my job thinking I’m about to make so much money doing what I love. And of course I didn’t, I ended up losing $4,000. And then I didn’t have a job. And I just had to figure it out that year. So I started that way with wait.

Alex Beadon 7:43
So when you say last $4,000 it was that you invested $4,000 into the gallery hope answering right hoping everything would be super successful and that it was a flop. Exactly. Okay. Okay.

Brooke Shaden 7:54
I’m on your page. Yeah. So yeah, I should think of it that way. Now, when I do my taxes, I should be like, I made the $4,000 back. Party. So yeah, so I started my career with this bang of like, I’m gonna do what I want, and it’s gonna make me money. And then it’s somewhere along the line. That was not the reality of the situation. And I realized that I had a choice to make, I either had to take jobs, that would get me money, but were not in line with what I wanted to do. Or I had to just eat ramen soup and not have any money for a really long time. So I sort of made a little bit of a compromise. And I say, compromise, because at the time, it felt like I wasn’t doing what I set out to do, which was to be a fine art photographer. But looking back on it, what I actually did was allow myself to expand my interest, and then pursue different interests. So even though I wasn’t making money off of galleries, I was making money off of writing, I was making money off of teaching, and doing things that I also love doing that eventually led me back to a fine art career, but weren’t exactly what I thought I should be doing to be a stereotypical fine art photographer. And just

Alex Beadon 9:12
to be clear, when you say you were writing and you were teaching, you’re you’re talking about photography related things, though. Yeah, exactly. So it was still in the realm of your passion and what it is that you were doing, but it felt like a compromise.

Brooke Shaden 9:25
Exactly. And the compromise was okay, this is not me sitting at home, not talking to people and making money off of my prints, but it is in line with what I love. So why not explore those avenues until I can make money doing this one specific thing that I think I should be doing?

Alex Beadon 9:45
Yeah, that’s super interesting. So now, fast forward. Are you doing galleries? Are you doing what it is that you imagined for yourself to be doing? You’re still doing a lot of teaching. I know you’re doing motivational speaking, you’re selling books? Yeah. I feel like you’ve got so many things going on. Can you just break those down for us so that I have like this clear vision in my mind?

Brooke Shaden 10:11
Yeah. Let’s see how we do. So um, so yes, I like half of my business now is fine art selling through galleries. So I have, you know, anywhere from five to 10 shows a year, I sell through six different galleries that represent my work specifically. And that’s like half of my career. And if I knew if I needed to, I could live off of that. But I want a few more revenue streams just for security. So I have that side of things. And then the other half is I licensed my images for book covers and album art and things like that. I do commission shoots for people, sometimes, specifically, music artists, a lot of the time. I do teach and I speak, although I teach a lot less now as of this month. And yeah, I think I think that’s about it. I also write but not so much for money right now. So Right.

Alex Beadon 11:10
Yeah, that’s so I what I love about you the most is that so you’re a photographer, and I put photographer for those who are just listening and like air quotes, because I feel like you’re so much more than just photographer. You’ve really like created and crafted this business, this online presence, this brand for yourself in such a unique way. Like even when you look at just the photography itself, is so different. I mean, I think you were like one of the very first who was creating pieces like this, you explore topics that are so deep, and so different and unique. And you know, you look around at a lot of the portrait self portraits, I get taken in a lot of selfies nowadays, especially now with Instagram. And it’s just like, oh, how can I make myself look really pretty in front of this camera? And you’re like the total opposite of that. You’re like, How can I create my own world? Through the camera and Photoshop and all of your artistic skills? Yeah. And I just feel like so besides just the fact that you’re such a unique photographer, you’ve also created this career for yourself where you have you I mean, I was just going through your social media, sorry to put you on the spot, but 920,000 likes on Facebook, 193,000 followers on Instagram, like, you’ve really got a huge following of people who love your work who love what you’re all about. Was that on purpose?

Brooke Shaden 12:44
No, but but here’s the thing is that social media is so frustrating and exciting to me at the same time. Because I think that, like, let’s just say you get on Facebook, and you make a Facebook business page. Of course, your goal is to get followers, like, of course, that’s what you’re hoping for. And I started out the same way. And I remember I refuse to set up a page, I was like, no one’s gonna care about this, I’m not doing it. And my friend sat down, she was like, I’m gonna do it for you. So she did it all for me. And then she handed over the access to the page. Like, just set a goal, like just set a goal for yourself. And I was like, Okay, let’s try to get 50 people by the end of the month. And then she was like making 100. And I was like, You’re crazy. So that’s how I started. And I was like, You know what, I’m going to try to get 100 people. And by the end of the month I did and I felt really crappy about it. Like, I just felt like, what am I doing, like collecting people like their stamps or something? This is ridiculous. So I had this moment where I was like, I can’t do this, I cannot invest my time into collecting people like trophies. So I completely changed my attitude. And I just said, You know what, I’ve got this weird dark art that I want to put out there. And if anybody feels connected to that, then that’s who I want to gather into my circle. So I started to put out messages that were really heartfelt, really meaningful to me and just genuinely asking who else feels this way? And by garnering this sense of me to through people, people saying I feel that way, too, I feel that way too. Suddenly, I created this group of people who were really tuned in to that message that I wanted to send and who felt the same way. And that’s how I’ve been doing it ever since 2010. So So yeah, I started out really wanting to grow my page and now I don’t care at all. I remember

Alex Beadon 14:47
going to the promoting passion events back in 2015 2016 2015 it was done. And I remember just being blown away by how little you really cared about the strategy. And I mean, on the best way possible because you come from a place and this is why for me, like, I just love you so much more is like you aren’t really trying to, you know, I mean, I think you’re trying to make an impact, but you’re not sitting there being like, How can I be the most popular person? Or how can I make people follow me? Or like, where like, what strategy can I use? Like, you’re just very much like, I’m gonna show up, I’m gonna do my thing. And if you like it, you can follow me.

Brooke Shaden 15:31
Great. That’s right.

Alex Beadon 15:33
Like, that’s it. So I think the main takeaway for people listening is to do the work and be really aligned with your work and what connects with you and what matters to you. And the following will come like don’t obsess over how many likes you have, or

Brooke Shaden 15:50
I mean, here, this is really an interesting point, because people spend so much energy trying to get followers like attention to all that behind the scenes, which can be very important and valuable to do. I’m not saying that it’s not. But I think that what people miss most of all, is that there’s somebody out there who will love what you have to say, no matter if you’re saying the craziest thing in the world or not. There’s somebody out there who’s going to be in alignment with your mission and your goal. So if you recognize that instead of freaking out about how am I going to find these people? And how are we going to push this content to them. And you just started saying what’s in your heart, people are starved for that kind of interaction, people are desperate to feel connected to somebody. So if you put yourself out there, so genuinely, someone’s going to recognize that and it might not be 100,000 people, but it doesn’t have to be either.

Alex Beadon 16:50
I love that. And I think that word you use genuine is just so spot on. So my follow up question to that is how did you find the courage to put yourself out there in such a vulnerable way through your writing, even through your photography, like your photography is exploring some? You know, I mean, death rebirth, dark lights, like it’s some intense work. And I feel like at first, it must have been scary for you, or maybe intimidating for you to put yourself out there. Or maybe not. Maybe that’s just me projecting. But I’m curious, what was that like for you?

Brooke Shaden 17:25
Well, I actually think that it started in a in a slightly self deprecating kind of way, because I created about five images in a week. And it was the first time I’d ever used my camera. I didn’t know what I was doing. But I had these things that I wanted to say, and I photographed them, and I put them on Flickr. And that was how I started my career that first week, I put those images up. And what I said to myself was, no one’s gonna look at this, like, how would anybody even find it? I had never been in this online world. So it was so foreign to me that anyone could even find my page and comment and things like that. So when I put it out there, it was dark and like super creepy, what I was putting out. And people saw it. And I was my mind was blown. I was like, How Did anybody find this? First of all? And no, why are they talking to me about it? Like I just, I was just doing it for me. And I think that that was a really big blessing because I was doing it just because I wanted to and I put it online to have a place to contain it. And then suddenly, people were responding. And some people were saying, this is horrible. You should not be on the internet, you can not share this kind of thing. And other people were saying the opposite. They were saying thank you so much for doing this. And I didn’t expect either reaction, I didn’t think anyone would care. So when I realized somebody cares, that immediately cancelled out anyone who doesn’t you know who’s upset about it? Who doesn’t want me to do that? Because if you can change one life, visually through an image or through your words, or whatever your medium is, is that not worth doing, no matter what anyone says. And that’s how I started.

Alex Beadon 19:12
I love that you’ve used the internet as such a tool for self expression. I love that you you know, I think you’re very helpful artists first business person. Second, I think you’re also very aligned with what you want your lifestyle to look like, and building your business to support that lifestyle. So has that always been a very intentional thing where you’re like, Okay, this is what I want my lifestyle to look like you’re nodding yes. How did you go about getting clear on what you want your life like, do you ever have to stop and say, Okay, I don’t like doing this. I like doing this. I want more of this less of this and talk to us about that.

Brooke Shaden 19:55
Yeah, I mean, I I’m very fortunate to be a very decisive person. So I I always know what I want. Exactly. And I very easily formed pathways to get there, mostly out of being stubborn. I think like, I just don’t want to live a life that I don’t value, which I think if more people became, I guess selfish in that way, which I use that as a good word, because I think it’s really, really important to be selfish. If we can find our selfishness enough to just be honest about what we want and how we live our best life, then suddenly, all these avenues open up that you never thought of before. So I was I was working, as I mentioned, as a legal assistant. Before I started my career, and I hated going to work every day, I went to bed sick to my stomach, I woke up sick to my stomach. And I recognized that that is not a good way to live. Before that I was in film school. So I went out to Los Angeles, I was working at Paramount just to bide my time before I could make it big as a director whenever it was going to happen. And I also had this really honest talk with myself where I said, Okay, I hate corporate life, I don’t like working in an office. But I also just spent three and a half years in film school with a degree that I don’t want to use, because I don’t actually like making films. And I didn’t realize that. So I was at this dead end, I was like, I can’t wake up and do this for the rest of my life. And I don’t even want to pursue what I studied. So when you’re at that place where you’re just so unhappy. And then you see so clearly, oh, this creative thing that I’m doing makes me happy. It makes sense to start doing that thing. But unfortunately, people don’t because of the risk involved in doing that. So I had that risk in front of me, and it was a matter of I would rather be dead poor, then work a job that makes me money. And I made that decision. And it’s a decision that not everyone can make right away because of children or responsibilities, or all these different things. And I was so fortunate to be 21 years old and had nothing to my name, and it didn’t matter. But I think that that’s the choice that has to be made at the same time.

Alex Beadon 22:12
What do you think it is about society that has us almost brainwashed in a way to not even be aware of how we’re feeling? What, what do you wish more people knew?

Brooke Shaden 22:24
Yeah. I mean, I feel like I’ve witnessed most of my friends in the position that I was in, and they’re still in it all these years later, no matter how many times I yell at them to stop, you know, and that’s how a lot of people are. And you can’t blame anyone for feeling that way. Because I think that we’re taught that you’re not supposed to enjoy your life that much like we’re taught that you should go to work, and you should put in the hours and achieve greater success, for whatever reason, just for status, or money, or whatever it is. And we’re not taught that when you put risk into your life, you get much greater rewards. At least I certainly was not taught that in school, I was taught that you take a career that will be sustainable, you go to college, and then hopefully that career buoys you up. And I think that really the biggest takeaway from my life has been that there are so many ways of doing any one thing. There are just so many ways. And I remember starting out and thinking, how am I going to make a living as a photographer. And now the way that I look at that is, well, there are about a million ways to do just that. But I don’t even just want to be a photographer, you know that our interests and what what our passions are in what we love to do are so great and varied. Because, necessarily, there are so many great and varied things to do in this world, that if we just simply take a couple of them and take concrete steps forward, we’ll find that there’s this momentum pushing us on and we’re going to eventually get to a path that feels more comfortable.

Alex Beadon 24:09
Especially in this day and age with the Internet. I feel like it’s so and some people like Oh, that’s easy for you because you’re an extrovert and like, it’s easy for you to put yourself out there. And I’m like, No, dude, I know so many introverts who use the internet to build careers for themselves and make money online. And it’s just not an excuse anymore to be like, Oh, I don’t there’s no way for me to make money doing what I love like fig. It’s figure out all right, you can figure it out.

Brooke Shaden 24:36
Totally. I was I was actually just having a conversation with someone about you in particular, because they were saying like, how do I you know, build a career and I was like, just look at Alex and then she was like, she’s so extroverted. That was like fine. Look at me, because I am so scared to talk to people, but you don’t have to. The thing is that we get in our heads this idea that To do a certain job, you have to be a certain way, when in fact, the people who are most successful and who who build these bridges for other people are the people who are doing something in their unique own way that nobody else has done before. So you know, what, if you’re not extroverted, who cares, do it your way, and then see who follows across that bridge, because guaranteed people will follow.

Alex Beadon 25:26
Amen. And I just think it’s so important, like looking at you like, what you’ve done is you’ve taken your innate strengths, and your zone of genius and everything that makes you you, and you’ve turned it craftily into this career, right. So I just think that is available to everyone, even if photography is not your thing, even if you’re introverted or extroverted, or whatever the key isn’t what you’re doing. It’s taking what your God given skills are, and what your innate gifts are, and really turning into something that’s been created with it. That’s why creativity

Brooke Shaden 26:03
is so important. Yeah, you know, I was just having conversation with a friend about this. And I was, you know, she was saying, I don’t like my job, I don’t like my life. I don’t like where I live, I want to change it. And I said, so change it, what’s wrong? And she said, Well, there’s so many things that I could do, how should I invest time into just one of those things? And it’s like, okay, so instead of doing that, you’re just going to sit here for the next however many years not investing your time into anything worthwhile, because you’re afraid that it’ll be the wrong thing. And I think that that is a confidence issue. That is an issue of people saying, there’s so many things, I could invest my money, and I could invest my time, and how do I know which one to do. And it’s like, in the time that you’re thinking about these things over and over, you could be doing every single one of those things, even if it’s in a small way. And I’m always telling people, just do something every single day, do one little thing that will get you closer to that goal. And you’ll find that you’re there all of a sudden.

Alex Beadon 27:07
So I’m curious, what would you say is your superpower?

Brooke Shaden 27:15
Um, I think I’ve been thinking a lot about this, actually, when I haven’t been saying superpower, of course, but about what it is that has allowed me to build a career that I love, and to do the work that I do. And I think that a large part of it is my ability to analyze my life and what I love in life, what my passions are, what intrigues me to analyze that, and then spit it back out in a way that’s recognizable and easy to digest. And that builds community. And I’ve always done this, whether it’s reading books, and I love to find the symbolism in books, or whether it’s, you know, looking at an experience I just had and understanding the lesson of that experience very quickly. So being able to analyze myself in a lot of different ways. And then regurgitate that into art, I think has been my greatest superpower.

Alex Beadon 28:13
That’s so I love that this is something you’ve been thinking about. Oh, yeah. I feel like oh, that’s a good question. And you’re just so prepared. You’re like, Oh, I’m ready to answer this question. That’s awesome. I’m totally. Okay. So my next question for you is, you have all of these different ways, all of these different channels online, like lots of different ways to express yourself, you started doing video, you obviously have your photos. You’re now getting into writing, which is awesome. I want to hear what your perspective is on using social media in a way that doesn’t kind of just act as a distraction. Like, I feel like you do a really good job of not getting too caught up in it. I remember when I was up promoting passion, you were like, I can’t remember what Oh, you were like, how do I hashtag it? Like you didn’t know? about it? Yeah. Like, do you have hundreds of 1000s of followers? And you don’t know this one simple thing. So like, you obviously use it as a tool. You don’t let it distract you. And I’d love to hear you speak on

Brooke Shaden 29:21
that. Yeah. And it’s funny that you say that because lately I’ve been feeling like, I need to get off social media. It is distracting me. But I’m glad to hear that it doesn’t seem like it is no but it’s really not usually. I view social media as a vehicle to connect with people. And that’s it. And I know that that’s obviously that’s why Facebook was created, for example, but I think that I do so in a way that is in a very specific way that doesn’t engage with the type of content that I’m uninterested in. So one way that I do that is I don’t follow anyone or anything that isn’t in line with my passion. It’s so important. You know, like, people are following all these magazines and celebrities and nobody actually cares.

Alex Beadon 30:13
People are following people. And then five years later, still following that same person, like, I’m always calling my feet, I’m following unfollowing following unfollowing. Like, keep it fresh. Yeah, totally.

Brooke Shaden 30:25
It was funny the other day, one of my friends said to another friend, she said, Did you see this thing that she posted? I was like, No. And they’re like, why? I was like, I don’t follow her. And she’s like, but she’s your best friend. I was like, Yeah, but I don’t care that much. Like, I’d rather text that person, call that person then actually engage online with that person. So yeah, so it’s something that I feel very passionate about, I only follow about five people on Facebook that show up in my newsfeed, I love it. It’s great. You’re one of them. It’s like, it’s I think it’s just necessary. So I don’t engage in anything that isn’t in line with my passion. That’s the first thing. I always keep my conversations as positive and nurturing as possible with people. So if I’m online, it’s because I’m having a genuine conversation with somebody and not just to, you know, like, give a comment here, give a comment. They’re trying to get people to come to my page. So when I post something online, I make absolutely certain that I’m there for at least 30 minutes to engage with people and to have conversations. And after that I’m done. You know, like, I’ll get off, I’ll put my little timer on my web page to let me know that I’ve been on too long. And then, and then I’m off. And I think that it’s really great to do it that way. Because then you’re engaging meaningfully when it matters most. And you just check in the next day.

Alex Beadon 31:54
Hey, guys, quick interruption to our episode, I wanted to give you guys a really fun opportunity. And I’m giving this to the people who are really listening to the episode. If you’ve listened to this far, I’m super impressed. I’m giving you the opportunity to win a 20 minute phone call with me where you can ask me anything, pick my brain, I think you’re gonna love it. But in order to enter to win, here’s what you need to do. I want you to take a picture of you listening to the podcast, or maybe just a screenshot of the podcast itself, posted to your Instagram story, make sure to tag me at Alex feed in and somewhere there, I want you to include the yellow hearts emoji. Okay, that’s how I will know like, that’s the gonna be the clue that you’ve listened to this part of the podcast is that it has the yellow heart emoji, okay, so include the yellow heart emoji, tag me post about the podcast to your Instagram story. And bonus points if you tell me what it is that you’ve loved the most about this episode. And I will be picking one of you lucky people to win a 20 minute phone call with yours truly. Okay, that’s it. Now back to the episode. So my next question is, I really want to hear how you balance flow and intuition and more of the feminine energy with hustle and making things happen and getting things done. Talk to me about that.

Brooke Shaden 33:15
Yeah. Like for

Alex Beadon 33:17
you in your life,

Brooke Shaden 33:18
I feel really fortunate because I think that those two things are 5050 in my body. So I’ve got like this need for inspiration and flow as everyone does. But I also have this innate sense of hustle that excites me that I see as an art form unto itself. And I think that the more you can see hustle as an art, then the more flow works into the hustle. So if you’re if you have a dream, if you have something that you love, you know, go for it. And that’s great. But ask yourself, How can I go after that thing with the most intensity, but also with the most heart with the most soul in a way that makes me feel calm, relaxed and inspired. So that’s kind of how I marry those two things. You know, I’ve got a dream, for example, to write a novel, and I’ve been writing it for years and years. It’s way, way, way too long in the making. But I have this dream, and I decided next year is going to be my year I’m going to put this novel out there. Okay, that’s going to be it. So I’ve got this sense of urgency hustle of doing it now I’m going to get it done. But I also recognize that it’s not going to feel like me, it’s not going to be my most authentic offering, if I don’t do it with a sense of peace and a sense of self and a sense of calm. So every time that I work on it, I sit down, I clear my mind I write I strategize, but I do so from this place of when I put this out there this is going to be the most me thing that I could pop Simply do, and that really helps.

Alex Beadon 35:02
So you mentioned hustles, and art form, which really excited me. Yeah. Because I love that you look at it like that, I think something that I see many of my clients struggle with is they’re like, I know what I need to do. And I’m not taking any action, because I’m afraid or because I have never done it before. And I love how you, you spoke about hustle as an art form, then you also spoke about knowing that it’s going to feel kind of weird and knowing that it might not feel like yourself, but you’re doing the best you can, and you’re not married to it being perfect. And I think that’s so brilliant, because and it’s something that professional artists, I think are really, really good at, because they just realize that like, put it out there, like just give birth to it. And it doesn’t say anything about you, it doesn’t represent you like a part of yourself is in it. But it’s not the end all be all. So it’s like you’re very detached from the outcome of it, which I love. So can you talk to me a little bit about that?

Brooke Shaden 36:02
Yeah, I’ve never been a perfectionist at all in my life in any way, which I think is horrifying to my husband. But nonetheless, it just never has been something that’s affected me. So when I and you know what this has been probably a great lesson in photography, because I’m creating a lot of images and putting them out there. And, you know, I’ve created an average of about 100 images a year since I started. And that’s a lot of imagery. So you’re putting it out there and you realize, especially on the internet, how quickly it gets buried, how quickly nobody cares anymore. And when you start to realize that you care about yourself, way more than anyone else is going to that is so liberating, to just sit down and be like, nobody cares, great, I’m gonna do whatever I want and take it or leave it, this is how it’s going to be. Because in five years, you’re not going to be defined by that in one year and one month, probably you’re not going to be defined by that. So the earlier you recognize that the better because that’s the barrier that stops people from creating.

Alex Beadon 37:11
I love that so much. That’s so brilliant. Okay, next topic, self care, and really nourishing yourself, aside from what you’ve got going on business wise, and always finding that piece of that center. What has kept you going? Do you have any practices that you swear by? Talk to me about that.

Brooke Shaden 37:34
I love self care, it’s so good, especially as somebody who very much ignored that for a long time, it’s really good to feel centered in that practice. So I do yoga every day yoga is my happy moment. And even if it’s just 15 minutes on the mat, I think it’s really important to do. I’m a firm believer in hot drinks, which is ridiculous, but like, but I always have a mug next to me, and it just makes me feel really calm. So I love drinking tea. It’s just kind of silly. And I mentioned earlier that I do this daydreaming thing. And that’s really my big, everyday thing that if I just spend five minutes daydreaming, as silly as that sounds for an adult to say, I feel so myself, I just feel like, like my best, most creative self is going to come out that day if I do it. So I do those three things. And I also

Alex Beadon 38:35
sorry to interrupt you, with the daydreaming do you fit because I feel like it must be also kind of very, like holding hands with your work because your work is very, you know, deeply imaginative, you obviously have a very rich inner world. So probably doing that really helps you to express yourself and just know yourself better, and be able to

Brooke Shaden 38:58
like, Yes,

Alex Beadon 38:59
but my question is, how do you think that that would be just as important to someone who let’s say they’re a graphic designer, or they don’t consider themselves an artist, and maybe they are a coach of some sort? Or they’re a financial person or whatever. Like, how would you translate that? For someone like that?

Brooke Shaden 39:21
It is so hard because anybody who even anyone who’s listening right now, if you’re thinking, I’m not creative, this is really weird to me. I get it because I have plenty of friends who say that they’re not creative, but at the same time, I completely disagree with you. I think that everybody has creativity inside of them. And that might sound like hippie dippie and whatever. But it’s true. Everyone has this sense of creativity. And the problem is that we are taught not to exercise that or we don’t practice it. It is an exercise that you have to go through every single day to keep it up Then yes, I have a very active imagination, extraordinarily so. And I am so glad that I do. But even if you don’t, you have to think about daydreaming as letting your mind relax into its natural state into whatever it wants to be thinking about. So, while my daydreams might include me riding a dragon through a volcano or something, yours might not, you know, yours might be something seemingly mundane or ordinary, but it’s still so important to let your mind relax into its natural state to begin your day or to, you know, just have a have a more peaceful reality.

Alex Beadon 40:42
I love that. And I couldn’t agree with you more, I feel like creativity. I think the problem with many business owners is that they feel like creativity doesn’t have a space. Right? And I’m so glad there’s so I’m so grateful I was a photographer before because I’m, I know how important it is to be creative. Like, even when it comes to things that you wouldn’t think are creative, like coming up with what my price should be, alright, with, like, what often should be or whatever, like, my strategy, like I use my creativity, everything I do. And so I love that you say, you know, it’s really important to use it like a muscle and to use it.

Brooke Shaden 41:19
Yeah, it is. And, you know, I’ve, I’ve trained people before, who have come to me and said, I have no imagination, but I want to be a photographer, I want to do this thing. And just start there and watch somebody over the course of just a month Daydream every day. And then by the end of it be like, I am so creative. It happens all the time. You know, I run into people constantly who are like, I’m not creative, I’m not creative. But it’s never true. It has never been true of one person that I’ve met. So I know that it’s there to be cultivated.

Alex Beadon 41:53
Okay, so next question for you. If someone’s listening to this, well, my hair just flew into my

Brooke Shaden 41:59
nose good. I apparently got

Alex Beadon 42:02
overly excited. If so, there’s and there’s, they know what they want to do with their business. They know what they want to do with maybe artists, if they’re listening to this, because it is book shading, after all, but they feel like they just cannot figure out how to make money or like they just feel like they’re banging their head against the wall with figuring out how to become profitable. What would be your piece of

Brooke Shaden 42:24
advice for them? That’s a really hard one. Because there’s the logical side of me that’s like, I can’t tell you how to make your money. That’s too much pressure. You Alex would never think that because they’re like, No, I’m gonna tell you exactly how to make your money. But with the other side of me, this is, this is my truth, at least from day one. In my life, I grew up with not a ton of competence, I grew up thinking that nobody would care about what I had to say that I would never contribute anything that meaningful to society. And it was not a result of my upbringing or anything. It’s just a normal thing that I think a lot of people think about themselves, like, who am I to contribute something to the world. And at some point, I didn’t stop feeling that way. But I just started doing, I just started making things and putting it out there. And in doing that, I realized that my greatest and most unique form of expression is a business. It doesn’t matter if I’m a photographer, if I’m a writer, if I’m a speaker, what matters is that I am in any way that I can think of sharing my most intimate self. And that brings in revenue. And that might sound hippie again, like, oh, just do what you love. And that’ll bring in money. But I never thought that I could do what I loved and make money. I just I never thought that and yet it happened. And it happened in a really big way. Not like a ton of money, but in a lot of different small areas of success. I’ve been diversifying. I’ve been pushing myself, I’ve been sharing pieces of myself that I never thought I would let anyone see. And the more I do that the more success happens. And I think that that’s the key. People want to feel that connection. And people will pay for that connection as well. Not to put it in a to businessy of a way, but it’s true. I mean, if you want to be an artist, if you want to be someone who expresses yourself for a living, do that somebody is going to be there.

Alex Beadon 44:40
I love that. What is your sense of self worth come from? Do you feel like you’ve always felt this just innate sense of self worth? Do you think it’s something that you actively have to cultivate? Are there moments when you wake up in the morning even now 900,000 Facebook fans in and you’re like what am I doing? Who am I talk to you about self worth.

Brooke Shaden 45:01
Yeah. I have always felt that I’ve had worth in inserts. I haven’t always been confident about putting that out there. But I always felt that I was deserving of something, whatever, I don’t know what money or a certain lifestyle or something. And I know that a lot of people come at self worth, from a very opposite point of view where a lot of people don’t feel worthy of anything good. And I really sympathize with that way of, of seeing things. I think that if you have a unique perspective, if you are living your life in a way that is authentic, necessarily you have worth. And I’ve always put that mindset into how I operate. So if I’m creating something and putting it out there, that is authentically me, and I am sharing my message, I know that that message is worthy because I have felt it. So I feel something, then I know that somebody else out there needs to feel that same thing. And it’s all about connection. And it’s all about who can you touch and how can you better yourself. So this is kind of a roundabout answer about self worth. But I think that it’s a really multifaceted question. Just in terms of where does it come from? How do you cultivate it? How do you sustain it? I don’t know if I have all the answers to that. But I do know that everyone is worthy of it, because everyone has a voice. And that voice is worth a part

Alex Beadon 46:32
of it. Something else that I really love about you is how deeply you care about people, and how you use your platform not just to add to your own income levels, but also to help other people and you’re a philanthropist. Yeah, so I also feel like it’s just very deeply ingrained in who you are. Is that wanting to give back? Yeah, um, has that always been very easy for you? Is that something that you were just super intentional about from day one?

Brooke Shaden 47:07
It’s sort of I, I went into my career without thinking about other people at all. And I was very forceful about that, like, I went into it, like, this is my art, I’m gonna do what I want. I don’t care what you think. And I was really proud, because I felt like to be a strong person. That’s how you had to act. Until I realized that that’s not at all how I felt. And I actually really wanted to positively impact people. And I cared about what people thought, not that I was going to be brought down by negativity, but just that I really do want to help people on. And that is important. So I started to realize that that was something that I cared about more and more. And beyond just releasing images and hoping people liked them and stuff like that, I realized that there, there didn’t seem to be a voice of positivity in the art world that I easily found that I went online I went searching for, you know, like, who’s really doing good with their art. And of course, there are tons and tons of people. But at the time, I was thinking this feels missing, like something is not right here. There’s a lot of hustle. There’s a lot of putting images out there, and not a lot of heart. And I decided that I wanted to be somebody who could have that heart and that soul and really put that into what I was doing. And I realized that I don’t care about making money, about my career about anything as much as I care about even just one single individual person. So I started to change the way that I worked. And I changed the way that I structured my business so that I could travel to help people so that I could touch more people so that I could start a convention to bring people together and things like that. And that was the best change of my career.

Alex Beadon 48:58
What was most surprising to you, once you made that change?

Brooke Shaden 49:04
I think the most surprising thing was the hunger for it the way that almost other people were waiting for permission to do the same thing. I think that on the internet, especially any emotion that’s put out there is going to be exacerbated and pounded on like, if somebody puts out hate lots more people are going to start putting their hatred in that person’s vein. And at the same time, if you put out kindness, a whole bunch of other people are going to start sharing their kindness with you. So I think the most surprising thing was just you don’t have to act any certain way to have a successful business. You don’t have to be tough and you know, be all about selling and be all about this or that. You can simply put your work out there and do it in the kindest, most genuine way possible and people will echo that back to you

Alex Beadon 50:02
Speaking about hate, do you experience a lot of hate online?

Brooke Shaden 50:06
Not so much anymore. I mean, it started out as people telling me a lot, like, you know, your images are horrible, and don’t put them out there. And it’s offensive and no do that. And it took me, you know, a couple of years to really stop caring about that. And I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care at all. If somebody doesn’t like what I do, I’m just like, oh, well, that’s entertaining. You know, like, at least someone thinks something feels something that’s good. But I think that what, what hurts the most, and this is probably the biggest flaw I see in myself currently, is that I care so much about being loved. And I say that in a really authentic way, like, a really raw way. Because it’s something that I’ve been struggling with lately is not the amount of people that are following me or anything, but the people who do look, I want them to see me for who I think I am. And when somebody doesn’t, when somebody writes to me, and they’re like, I know you’re really a horrible person, or you know, something like that, it gets me because I don’t want to be misunderstood just like every other person on the planet. So, yeah, so that’s been that’s been interesting, I don’t receive that much hate, really, I think, over the years, putting more and more kindness out there really has done its job. And I get pretty much only kind of lovely interactions. But sometimes it happens.

Alex Beadon 51:41
That makes me happy that you don’t get that much that it does happen. Like if you put yourself out online, it’s gonna happen. It’s kind of unavoidable. For sure. So that’s good. Um, so I want to ask you, one main business question. Do you have an email list? Yes. And how important has your email list been for you to cultivate your relationship with your people? Or do you think that it really hasn’t been that important?

Brooke Shaden 52:13
Okay, let’s be honest.

Alex Beadon 52:15
Let’s be honest,

Brooke Shaden 52:16
it has not been important at all. I need to take the Alex Beadon. Course. 101, about mailing lists. That’s the honest to goodness truth. I don’t know what your life yeah, it’s not been great. And I think that part of that for me is because it feels less personal than posting on the internet. Because I feel like when I post online, it’s like me with my account number responding to people with an email list, it goes out, it’s in their inboxes. And then if somebody responds to my email, then it’s just a one on one interaction. And I want people to be able to benefit from my responding to people’s questions online. So I haven’t done it properly. You know, to have one

Alex Beadon 53:04
you should just send out like, if you write something on Facebook, or wherever your blog was, whatever, just send people there and just say, Listen, I’m not going to respond if you message me directly to my inbox, but please respond to my blog, or please respond to my like, just asked her. Okay, I’m gonna take that as a challenge. I’m challenging you.

Brooke Shaden 53:25
I know, you remember, when we first met, and you were like, Brooke, there’s so many things that you need to be doing.

Alex Beadon 53:33
That I haven’t learned. But that’s what I love so much about us that you’ve just like, you haven’t let your lack of knowledge of certain things hold you back from doing what you wanted. Like you’ve just done it your way. And in a way, that’s beautiful, because like, you’ve made it happen regardless, you know, you’re such a great example of just making it happen. If you’re not feeling for email lists that don’t do it. If you’re not feeling for Facebook, then don’t do it. So I love that you’ve made it happen. I think that’s brilliant. Okay, cool. So I have a series of questions to wrap up this interview. What is one thing you do that has been a non negotiable and keeping your business on track?

Brooke Shaden 54:14
Oh, I like that question. Oh, there’s so many ways that I can answer this.

So I think that one thing that I’ve done consistently is I have been very, I don’t know what the right word is, I guess, dedicated to wanting to sell my work through galleries. So one thing that I do every single month is I write to new galleries and I keep up my contacts and relationships. And I think that that’s something that a lot of people don’t assume that other people are doing, you know, like, you feel like you’re hustling but you’re like, oh, that person must just be so lucky. And and that’s definitely not true for me. So, so one thing that has kept My business afloat that I think is so valuable is just doing the work like putting myself out there reaching out to the people that I want to be working with and working for. That’s been one of the biggest things, I think, for me. And then also just at the start of every month, I reevaluate my goals in life, like not just what do I want to do this next month, but like, are the things that I have planned to do in line with the life that I want to be living? And I think that those two things are just massively important.

Alex Beadon 55:32
I love that so much. I want to ask you one, just one like baby question after that, how much time do you spend every month or every week? Or however often you do it really evaluating? Where am I at? How am I feeling?

Brooke Shaden 55:49
Not that much time, really. I mean, I think once you’ve already done the work, and you know the answers at your core value level, then you’ve already done the work. So at the start of every month, I just spend about 10 minutes, like writing on a little notebook page. This is what I have coming up. Yes, this is in line with what I want to do, or no, it’s not. And I’ve been making a lot of changes recently, based on that. I mean, I decided next year, I didn’t want to travel as much, because that was not in line with the lifestyle that I want to live. And I decided that I wanted to teach less. So I in the last three months have turned down 25 jobs next year, just right, like it feels so good. enough not to say the job’s just like rolling in, this is just a really busy time to get invited for things next year. But it’s it’s been such an incredible change to just say, You know what, these are my values. This is what I need to do to make those values come to life. And it’s scary, you know, to not have that job security of 25 jobs next year. You know, like, where’s the money gonna come from? How am I going to make it work? But when we start letting those thoughts and those questions of how am I going to make money interfere with the decisions that we’re making? That’s when we suddenly ended up in a life that we didn’t intend to live? Hmm, amen. Okay,

Alex Beadon 57:13
share one mindsets that every entrepreneur needs to succeed,

Brooke Shaden 57:18
that your story is worth sharing that you who you are at your core, that is what needs to be put out there. I don’t care what your business is what you’re selling, what you’re advertising. As long as it goes back to you and who you are and your message. You’re golden. So good.

Alex Beadon 57:36
Okay, fill in the blank, the world would be a better place if more people

Brooke Shaden 57:41
knew blank. Oh, if more people knew they’re worse, definitely. I mean, it. I think that if more people understood just how much of an impact they can have on other people. I mean, imagine how many amazing people and ways of living and ways of affecting people be mobilized. If people knew how much impact they could have, it’d be amazing. I love that.

Alex Beadon 58:15
The book that changed my life was,

Brooke Shaden 58:18
Oh, you’ve gone down a deep hole. Okay. Um, this is probably a really weird one, especially to tell you but so my favorite book is Dune by Frank Herbert. And it’s a wildly popular science fiction series from the 60s. And there’s this quote in it that says fear is the mind killer. And I have it tattooed on my arm. It’s my favorite thing in the world. And I grew up with so many fear issues, and I still have them, like, totally ridiculous, like, I’m afraid of zombies. Why do I spend my time thinking about that? Who knows? But I have all these silly, stupid fears. And I remember reading that book, and it’s about a lot of different things, politics and whatnot. But I remember reading it and they just constantly repeat this phrase, fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total Obliteration and all these things that that really resonated with me, like fear is at the core of humanity in a really bad way. And it’s at the core of me, and it’s how so many people connect. So if I can eliminate the fear as being the driving force in my life and the way that I feel connected to people, then what do I replace that with? And for me, the answer was passion and meaning and standing up for what you believe in and that was the best lesson ever.

Alex Beadon 59:53
That’s so refreshing. Okay, and lastly, I want you to challenge Change everyone who’s listening to leave this podcast and do one thing. What is that one thing that you want to challenge everyone to do?

Brooke Shaden 1:00:10
I want to challenge you to make something, just make something like ask yourself, Who am I at my deepest core, and then represent that somehow make something from that. I think the moment we take that first step to actually creating something in our lives, that’s when things start to take off. So ask yourself who am I at my core and it makes something

Alex Beadon 1:00:40
thank you so much for tuning into the on purpose podcast, and I really hope that you had as much of a blast as we did. If you liked what you heard and want even more, make sure you leave a review because it really helps support what I do here on the podcast. All you have to do is search the podcast app for the on purpose podcast, select it, then scroll down until you see write a review and then type away. I hope you really enjoy your week and I will see you guys again next time stay on purpose.