Marie’s Results for January + February 2019 Intentions

It felt like January was half over before I was in motion after holiday break, but I’m not allowing “feeling behind” in my vocabulary. What’s come up in recent years is a need to feel awake in my life.

I’m learning, being AWAKE, requires a great deal of acceptance for where you’re at. Otherwise, you’re always thinking about “what’s next” in any given moment. Your desire to be (or to reach a certain status) in the future overpowers satisfaction in the present.

It’s no secret that one of my biggest fears is to unintentionally dismiss seasons or worse — people — and completely MISS the opportunity to acknowledge + respond to that connection in the highest level possible… especially when caused by my own flaws to slow down & pay attention. 

“How did I get here?!”

“How did I miss all of that?”

“I wish I would’ve been more present in  ___________.” 

“Damn, I wish I would have told so & so how thankful I am for that memory or how they were special to me, and now I can’t. She’s gone.”

CHILLS.

Here in my early 30’s, I’ve already experienced the cost of living in a future-centric, ambitious state. It feels like void. “I wish I would have”‘s. Grief. Missed opportunity to fully express how special someone is or to enrich important relationships.

Time wasted.

CONFESSION: Currently,

  • I’m better at doing the business thing than I am at relationships.
  • I’m better with ambition than I am with contentment.
  • I’m better at what’s possible than I am with what is.
  • I’m better at planning tomorrow than soaking up today.

All of these things have served me in great ways, but being better on the other side can, often, serve us better.

That said, now, I have an awareness I didn’t have before. It’s a different way of seeing that I couldn’t switch off if I tried. My word of the year, peace, is an attempt to be better with: more love on my relationships, contentment, acceptance, presence, etc. You know, all the new-age buzz words ha.

The Preservation Project truly has been an anchor for stronger awareness.

Note: This article contains affiliate links. Without further adieu…

January 2019 Big Intention Results

Here’s my original January intentions in full and my 2018 wrap and 2019 intentions for good measure.

Parenting Progress: ✅

This month was like a total 180 from last month. The HELP we sought out for mental health & behavior in recent months has paid off in dividends.

For anyone who’s home has endured defiance, yelling, aggression, etc., my advice: ASK for help. If your current village isn’t serving you, build your own damn village. Turn to neighbors, doctors, other community members, anyone outside of your usual go-to people until you find the support that GETS your situation. It’s out there. Don’t stop until you find it. For so long, we gritted our teeth — waiting — for things to get better on their own. They didn’t until we asked for help.

Get a handle on the numbers: ✅

My 2018 Bookkeeping took 18 hours. A few things I’ve learned:

PROFITABILITY: We’re having amazing results with our evergreen lead generation and sales systems, which translates to working less on the front end of the business.

This allows me more time to do what I love: work with current customers, create new content, grow my skillset, and more and LESS time worrying about where my next leads + customers are coming from.

EXPENSES: I spent a grand total of $47,435.40 in expenses, which is amazing compared to the $72,749.53 from 2017 (which was high from higher team expenses + web development costs).

Yes, we were in the black (profitable) both years.

Top 3 expenses were: Team + Professional Services – all things to make F&F run smooth ($21,368.90), Software & Web Hosting ($9,337.28), and Professional Development & Education ($5,276.12).

2019 EXPENSES: I created my 2019 expense budget, which will (likely) reduce expenses even more and increase my net profit. Yay! Yes, this is a good thing, no one is losing their job or anything. I’m able to do this, because of the systems in place and all the “building” expenses that came in the early years of our branding and website, designer pretty programs and deliverables, etc.

New expenses include: I’ll spring for a new laptop this year, an official editor for our all the stories we publish (submissions are open), and more work to make The Preservation Project better.

Moving on…

Bench is working out beautifully for my 2019 bookkeeping (we’re in our third month together).

Additionally, I met with my business bank and learned that I’ll earn more interest with a different type of saving account, which is pretty exciting as that nest egg continues to grow. I missed out on some money in 2018 from not knowing this!

All that to say — the numbers? HANDLED.

Finalize my newest revenue system: ✅

It’s live now! People have already registered WITHOUT promoting. Now, waiting on development for the updated Sales Page. Then, we’ll go back to promoting.

Bonus: It’s not only a revenue system, but STARTS at lead generation, which I’ve not typically set up out of the gate before.

Continue publishing the Intentional Documentary Podcast: ✅ & NO

It’s baaaack. 037: Documenting Goes *Beyond* Photography has been released. The next 3 episodes are on their way. BUT, I’ve had a harder time than expected getting back behind the mic. Why? Holiday break hangover I suspect.

I recorded a fantastic episode for you with Cathi Nelson of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers yesterday!

Move my body. NO

Insert emoji dog with tail between its legs.

Cultivate an environment to set + reset intentions and track progress + results. ✅

Moving along well with tracking especially. I’ll do a future podcast episode on this for you. Comment below with questions on what / how to track your business (or life) for insight.

January 2019 Small Task Results:

  • Do ONE PR or Revenue task daily — tasks that take 20 mins tops NOPE
  • Fully establish Dreama Spence as our Director of Stories and have all our stories through February ready for publishing
  • Record at least 5 podcast episodes + publish 2 or 3 of them CLOSE
  • Re-Open The Preservation Project
  • Send 4 surprise TPP Playbooks as TY gifts
  • Finish the setup for the free 7 Day Storyteller’s Challenge + invite our audience to participate when it’s ready & NOT YET
  • Celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary with a date! – SO MUCH DAMN FUN! Bonus: Kendall CRIED when their new sitter left, she loved her THAT much.
  • Do a sleepover with each kiddo
  • Show up for all 3 doctor appointments + school meeting
  • Spend 30-60 minutes on my historic bookkeeping daily until 2018 is ready for our CPA
  • Meet with Bench + answer their questions
  • Complete my weekly newsletter
  • Finish filling out my own TPP Playbook to set myself up for 2019 NOPE
  • Plan graphic needs + assign tasks for Design for February NOPE
  • Meet up with local photographers + entrepreneur biz buddies NOPE
  • Dive into Pitch It Perfect to plan out potential 2019 collaborations ✅ & NO

January 2019 Story to Pay Attention to:

My intention was to write to Kendall — write her {recent bits o’ life} story. ✅

I spent 40 minutes writing to my sweet Kendall and feel so relieved to have given HER the attention I’ve been wanting to via documenting.

This is just one of many small, but atomic actions we do in The Preservation Project. 

Final Extras, Memories, & Reflections for January 2019

I revamped my main email sequence this month, which was needed and feels more aligned with F&F’s brand evolvement.

After 2 years, suddenly, FAKE email subscribers made their way to my list.

At first, I thought, YES. I’m a rock star. 7-13 new subscribers on this ONE form daily… without doing any work to send traffic to my site?!

After a few weeks, I was so glad I put my too good to be true, investigator hat on. They were mostly FAKES. Luckily, I quickly found a solution: I’d never turned on the double opt-in requirement in the back end of ConvertKit, so I just had to turn that on and I *think* it’s stopped. So far so good, but it’s only been a couple days.

My lead generation and sales systems still prove to be worth the up-front effort.

Recently, I spent about 5 hours in work (setting up emails, social posts, light back-end set up) and brought in over $27,000 in revenue from ONLY those 5 hours.

Not bad for 5 hours time, right? The building work & refinement in previous years has paid off. (Creating this type of system is what you learn & build in Mastery Moment-Seekers)

I purchased over 30 books that had been in my Amazon Book Wishlist with the intention to read more, stream less.

Each kid got a date with mom & dad this month.

We took Kendall to a restaurant with fancy milkshakes + on a walk & trolley ride downtown. We biked the Swamp Rabbit Trail and ate pizza with Levi. Dedicated time, like this, is always worth it. Always. 

I played Tooth Fairy for the first time!

“Jesus” keeps coming up.

I know, this is out of character for me to talk about, stick with me. I’m not taking you to church here.

I don’t know if it’s like shopping for a new car when you start seeing your new car everywhere, but since the summer, breadcrumbs to Jesus have subtly come up when I haven’t been looking for it.

It’s strange. It’s all new to me. It’s certainly all around in general here in the south compared to when I lived in Michigan. For the record: I believe in God, but I’m skeptical when it comes to humans telling me their church preaches “THE truth.” It’s paralyzed me. Point being: Things keep coming up and I’m open to receiving whatever may come & feeling braver in taking (very) small steps to lean in.

I needed to document this somewhere, so there ya go.

Speaking of, I created a 5 day challenge for a local church.

It’s been really fun stretching my marketing legs outside of the industries I’m used to! We’ll see if they USE it.

Top memory of the month:

A couple nights ago, I was in a DEEP sleep.

The kind of sleep where you’re all clammy, sober, but practically drugged out of it you’re THAT out, and it feels like a hangover to be awakened.

Well, Levi burst into my room and I was instantly in a conscious daze. Highly upset, he muffled through his tears, “Y-y-you didn’t come for me when I called for you. Ihadabaddream,” as he simultaneously marched straight onto my bed, and practically collapsed on top of me with the biggest hug of my life.

Usually, he comes to the *side* of my bed first, so I knew he was *really* upset. My heart melted as I squeezed him right back, the way a momma does.

Soon, I got uncomfortable with his weight on me and had him roll beside me (after a sharp “NO” on going back to his room). He grabbed my hand and held it to his chest with both hands.

It was one of those unexpected, this is everything moments.

His dream was about clowns getting him, in case you’re wondering. Previously, it was monsters. Before that, witches. This is a newer thing going on in our home. 

Overall Monthly Business + Life Intentions for February:

Write something meaningful everyday. 

A 28 day challenge, if you will. This may be a memory, content for F&F, a solid (fresh) social media post, a guest post to pitch, emails, anything. I’ve been holding my breath and it’s time to let it out.

Launch the 7 Day Storyteller’s Challenge

Beyond excited to bring this baby back, a little different than before, because it is NOT a photography challenge. I repeat: not a photography challenge. It’s about documenting an important story in your life, however you choose to do so, and then USE the story for good.

HINT: You can get in right now. Visit here. You’ll be one of the first of this returning challenge 😉

How to Document Your Life Stories in Pictures, Words, and More

Finish 3 books in February. 

Currently reading Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life and Atomic Habits. I’ll pick another off my self after these.

Last month, I read (and loved) If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher. This was one of those unexpected breadcrumbs to Jesus I mentioned. Hannah’s words were literally some of my own thoughts.

Also unexpectedly, bits of this this book highly validates the purpose of The Preservation Project. I was expecting this book to be more on the the actual letters to strangers and their stories of finding them. So much of Hannah’s thoughts were on the same wavelength on how everyone wants to feel needed & seen and how we have the potential to literally change someone’s whole day — or life — by simply paying attention & responding well.

Hannah’s multiple messages in this book will stick with me for a long time. You’ll love it too. Here’s my link to get there quickly.

Continue tracking my time, traffic, money, and fulfillment like a boss.

I’ve been using every one of the tools I mentioned last month (you can revisit those here), which has made me feel like my eyes are wide open in what I’m doing and deciding. I’ve already been in a long-time habit of this, but I’ve been going deeper than ever.

Test drive themed work days.

I’ve felt like I’ve been bouncing around projects too much. In my early days and in my past business, I found success in delegating different days for specific areas of my business: Marketing Monday, Team Tuesday, Client Coaching Wednesday, etc. I’m going to try the same between working on our publishing, the podcast, serving the community, system maintenance, and a wildcard day.

Record 5 podcast episodes.

I’m either doing this or I’m not. This will be the month to tell!

START PROJECT: Revisit the Honestly Documented challenge.

Remember this?! We’re bringing it back, but have some work to do first.

It used to be a simple photo challenge to document something in your life, each week. We gave away credit to the F&F shop for our favorite & did a blog post of the top 10 or 15. This will be DIFFERENT. It’s about documenting, but it’s not necessarily about photography. More later, friend.

START PROJECT: Create a VIP List for our Story Contributors with fun $$$ incentives & sneak peeks. 

We’ve had some of the best storytellers on F&F, haven’t we? I mean, have you looked at the Journal lately?

As we continue to grow our publishing model, we want to create space for those passionate in writing, or just plain love the conversation of documentary things, to continue sharing on our larger platform (and still welcome NEW voices, of course!).

Leverage our content like a smart CEO.

I’ll admit: my social media game has fell to the wayside in recent months. Frankly, I don’t love being on social media. I’d 1000x rather have a conversation in my inbox or use the podcast to connect with my audience.

I do love the consistent website traffic social media brings when we share consistently — even if my social posts aren’t engaging on the surface, people are clicking through, which is typically our goal.

I find that my traffic and email list growth nearly doubles when our automated queues are flowing. So, I’m gonna get back on top of that this month in batches.

Small, Impactful Actions for February:

  • Go on one family bike ride along the Swamp Rabbit Trail complete with a picnic or a restaurant visit
  • Submit our 2018 Tax Packet
  • Finalize new bank account
  • Weekly: Complete one tiny action for my own Preservation Project
  • Send Valentine’s cards and / or care packages to our loved ones
  • Have the kids make birthday cards for my MIL
  • Write for and pitch two sites for good PR
  • Create a 100 Fails List (or as many as I can think of) inspired by Amy Porterfield
  • Get at least 5 Pinterest & IG Stories graphics for our Journal Stories and share them
  • Likewise for the podcast
  • Ask for 2 new TPP success stories
  • Weekly: Send a thank you or hello note to important contacts
  • Move every 30 minutes – literally set a timer on work days
  • Drink 5 bottles of water daily
  • Attempt to be in bed (reading) by 10:30 every night, lights out by 11 (currently, it’s 11:23 p.m. ha)

Wishlist:

  • Edit my backlog of pictures: Finish June 2018
  • Print pictures for our parents + mail them
  • Go on a long walk 2x per week
  • Mass clean out the kids’ rooms when they’re not home. #purge

February 2019 Story to Pay Attention to:

Our life right now.

You know how much I picked up the camera in January? Twice.

That bothers me — to an extent. My ego tells me I “should” pick it up from my years in the photography community. A part of me wants to feel included with my peers (probably you reading).

Here’s the thing…

I picked up my iPhone, wrote my Tiny Love Bombs in my Madness planner daily, grabbed voice memos + phone videos of my kiddos, and wrote stories for Kendall in January.

Point being: I’m strengthening my muscles in documenting via other ways that went neglected from hastily running The Photo Factory. It also feels good NOT to create more to edit. Editing takes me ages compared to what I think others are doing in LR. I’m a dinosaur.

That said: I’m a photographer at heart and DO want to intentionally shoot from memory this month. Not a random, day in the life and calling it “this season,” but the stuff that’s anchored in my memory about this season. There’s a difference.

It starts with awareness, so (obvs), I’m gonna pull from The Preservation Project program.

Tools for Intention Setting & Tracking for 2019:

Some are affiliate links.

Bench for 2019 bookkeeping.

ConvertKit for all my email needs.

My iPhone to track my walking mileage.

The Preservation Project playbook to assess what area of documenting to focus on next

Asana (free version) to track the progress of our publishing + organized communication with Dreama

Madness Planner – this has been my lifeline for daily + weekly “Ok, I know exactly what I need to do next.” I love this thing and how it fosters space for all the madness in my head 🙂

2019 PowerSheets from Cultivate What Matters. I purchased this in 2017, skipped it in 2018, and am excited to lean into this beauty in 2019.

Reflect & Thrive Report from Kyla Roma’s program. 

Toggl (free version) to track my time into categories. I use the free version.

So, that’s it! 

What else would you like to know about how I manage my documenting, how I run my business? Ask me anything! Comment below. 

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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