Wow…It’s already been a year since I launched the Inspired Stock Shop! As they say, time flies when you’re having fun and doing what you love. What is truly wonderful is reflecting on this past year and identifying how much my business has changed, adapted, and grown while still keeping the same mission to serve women business owners by providing visual branding that are connected to heart and soul.
When I first launched Inspired Stock Shop, it stemmed from the desire to give women entrepreneurs easy access to unique, fresh, modern, spiritual, and beautiful photos that truly connected them to their powerful messaging.
As a personal branding photographer, I have had the opportunity to work with so many professional women who have used my services so they could have high-quality photos that really resonated with their target audience and most importantly, themselves.
Powerful visuals are the first piece in bringing people in to read your message. This is when I realized that I wanted to bring this same effect to all sides of a brand.
I dove in head first and began to look for ways that I could accomplish this. This is when I started to study the stock photography market. After looking at dozens of sites, I felt like something was missing.
There seemed to be a gap in many of these stock photo libraries. Don’t get me wrong…the pictures were high-quality, feminine, and beautiful… but one thing seemed to be missing: authentic emotional connection. None of these photos compelled me. None of them aligned with energy or told me a story. Right at this moment, I knew this was exactly what I was meant to birth and create. ⠀⠀
The Inspired Stock Shop was created to bridge the gap of inspiration, emotional connection, and online branding. Every photo and gallery is carefully placed to evoke those same feelings for my members and all who come into contact with their visual imagery. ⠀⠀
Becoming an online business owner has been one of the most amazing and at the same time, hardest, things I have ever done. I have experienced so much in this past year and wanted to share with you the 5 things that have truly helped me grow and taken this business to the next level.
My hope is that these thoughts inspire you to continue on your journey of entrepreneurship and searching for ways to keep going even when the going gets hard. ⠀
Let’s dive into my top 5 lessons from this past year…
Invest in a mentor or coach
This has been fundamental to my growth, as I quickly learned I didn’t have to do all of this on my own and that investing in high-level help was exactly what I needed in order to expand and reach the next level.
Having a coach is not only vital for the support, but also to help you strategize, set goals, shift mindset blocks, and give you pep talks and genuine encouragement when you need it! I highly suggest starting with weekly sessions for 12 weeks, and then winding down to bi-weekly or monthly calls once you’re on a rhythm.
Give yourself space
When running your own business it is easy to get over consumed and drained in the business itself, especially when it’s close to your heart. Learn to take breaks and separate work and private life. I typically don’t work past 4pm and the majority of my administrative work takes place Monday through Wednesday. Thursdays and Fridays are my creative days that are reserved for shooting collections (which never feels like work) and having a more relaxed feel to my days. Weekends are for spending time with my husband or taking a weekend trip.
Giving myself space is my own form of self care. I need it in order to operate at my highest level. The more I allow myself to truly rest in my off time, the higher I function when I’m working. I highly recommend taking time out to workout, meditating, taking a bath, and getting outside! Nature is medicine..
Be open to change and growth
I have always been the kind of person who adapts quickly and am always open to change and growth. If something is not working, I find the solution and adapt. If I don’t know how to do something, I figure it out and learn how to do it. When I get suggestions from others, I apply it to my business if it resonates. When my members have needs, I fulfill them as best as I can.
It is so important for us as entrepreneurs to adapt and grow to not only our ever changing needs, but also those of our clients and those who we serve.
The fact is that we are not always going to get it right and that change is good! We learn and we grow by being open to the ebbs and flows.
Invest in education
Apart from having a coach, there were so many pieces that I needed to learn to run a successful digital marketing business. Copy, visibility, messaging, collaborating, tech etc… so I took the time to invest in courses and workshops to learn. I even took prop styling workshops online to better my styling skills and improve my workspace and styled collections. I also always have a business book on my nightstand that I read every night.
As a business owner, the self-education journey never ends. Stay open and current to new trends and always continue finding ways to make your business even better by learning from those beyond you.
If you’re looking for some fresh reads, here’s my list of favorite books that you can pull inspiration from!
Outsource Help before You’re Ready
Slowly but surely the Inspired Stock Shop team is growing. I hired my first social media manager a month ago and haven’t looked back since. Taking social media off my plate and handing it over to someone who loves it has taken a load off my shoulders and I can now concentrate on the bigger picture of Inspired Stock Shop, such as improving the membership experience, working on mini-trainings, as well as designing and shooting new collections (I could do this every day). My growth has skyrocketed since making this move.
I also suggest having a business integrator in some form in your business (I suggest reading this book if you don’t know what an integrator is). This can sometimes be your coach if she fits that role (my coach also acts as my integrator).
This is especially helpful for creatives who have a million creative ideas (who else here as a new business idea every day 🙋♀️) but lack the strategy or get confused on what to focus on first, or what makes sense to their business in that moment.
My next step will be hiring on a copywriter now that I have all my messaging down (thanks to a copywriting course I invested in earlier this year). Make sure your ‘brand voice’ is nailed down, and you have a trello board or word doc that houses all your copywriting pieces for them to pull from. This includes things like your vision and mission statements, core values, elevator pitch, ideal client avatar, and a copy bank.
Freeing up your valuable time will help you grow your business, reach new goals and create more valuable content for your clients. Investing to gain more time so you can invest in the money-making side of your business will profit you every single time!
Looking towards the future…
First of all, I’m so excited to announce that Inspired Stock Shop is currently in the midst of getting an entire face lift behind the scenes! We are currently revamping the shop to include all images that are in the member library so they can be available for individual purchase, as well as a much wider range of individual bundles. There will be a filtering system in place to filter by categories, colors, orientation, and keywords. Trust me, you’re going to be obsessed and love these new changes!
Second, we are officially starting to include fun and interchangeable Canva templates and graphics to the membership only to better help our members use our stock photos! This will make designing and curating for your business ten times easier and save you SO much time!
And lastly, I have been working around the clock creating trainings around how to use stock photos, how to design with stock photos, and how to implement online business strategies with stock photos in order to help our members learn and grow. We want our members utilizing these photos at the highest level and we are on a mission to help our community get even more creative with them!
This is literally just the beginning. Inspired Stock Shop is a year old now…but we are truly just getting started.
Thank you for reading this and I hope it reminds you that you are not alone on this journey. Business ownership and entrepreneurship were not made for the weak.
Allow yourself to lean into the messy and hard parts so that you can see where you need to grow so you can reach that mountaintop. Take the risks that scare you a little so that you can experience that next level!
Thank you for being a part of this community. I truly appreciate you!
Founder + CEO of Inspired Stock Shop