Help Me See

How to Create Your Business for the Life You Want to Live w/Meghan Doll

October 05, 2022 Bianca Morra / Meghan Doll Season 2 Episode 56
Help Me See
How to Create Your Business for the Life You Want to Live w/Meghan Doll
Show Notes Transcript

Sometimes we can take something that energizes us and somehow turn it into something  draining. But how does this happen? Why is it so hard to see it while it's happening? & most importantly, how can we empower ourselves to pivot in a way that is aligned with our highest self?

Meghan Doll has been a professional photographer for the last 20 years. She now educates and coaches other professional photographers how to create sustainable, profitable businesses that allow them to live the life of their dreams. Meghan talks about how her original dream business ended up completely depleting her and what she decided to do about it.

Stereotypical success doesn't mean a thing if it doesn't feel good to you.  You have the power to define your success & your path. Meghan's story inspires us to reconsider what isn't serving us well in this season.

More from Meghan:
https://meghandoll.com/
https://theartofthesale.com/
https://www.instagram.com/theartofthesale/
https://www.instagram.com/lovemeghandoll/


More from Bianca:
www.biancaleamorra.com

PS-
Are you an artist looking to strengthen your vision & connection to your work? I'm currently working on a course for photographers on connecting to your innate vision & finding calm and trust in your ability to see in any circumstance. I believe this will redefine your photographic practice, your confidence, your work, & ultimately lead to deeper fulfillment.

If you resonate with this topic, I would LOVE to hear from you. Feel free to DM me with your thoughts/struggles/anything that comes up.

It would be so helpful in ensuring I am touching on as many points as possible in the work.

If you want to make sure you are in the know when the course & coaching is launched- join the waitlist here: UPCOMING COURSE WAITLIST



More from Bianca:
www.biancaleamorra.com

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IG:
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https://www.instagram.com/biancaleamorra/


[bianca_morra]:

right hello hello welcome to another episode of helping me see and today we have a special guest megan dol megandol is a photographer and an educator so obviously very near and dear to my heart

[meghan_doll]:

oh

[bianca_morra]:

i'm so excited to talk with you today mean welcome

[meghan_doll]:

thank you so much i'm happy to be here and i will just say this my last name is just dull

[bianca_morra]:

all i love it

[meghan_doll]:

oh i know i love that you were trying to put a spin on it because everybody is like is that really your last name i'm like yes it is

[bianca_morra]:

i love

[meghan_doll]:

um

[bianca_morra]:

it

[meghan_doll]:

straight up doll i always i think that you know like when my parents moved here from like the scandinavia was d

[bianca_morra]:

yes

[meghan_doll]:

a h l but because there were so many in minnesota so many swedes and norwegians in the area that they changed it to d o l l just to be different so

[bianca_morra]:

yeah

[meghan_doll]:

little back o it's just dolf

[bianca_morra]:

oh

[meghan_doll]:

like baby

[bianca_morra]:

some welcome megan doll i love

[meghan_doll]:

yes

[bianca_morra]:

it how are you today

[meghan_doll]:

i'm great i'm

[bianca_morra]:

yeah

[meghan_doll]:

great it's been fun morning this is one of my days that i dedicate to education so to the education side of my business so it's been really fun

[bianca_morra]:

love it love it so today megan and i are going to have a conversation around what it looks like when you're in a business that you love so much or you have a craft like photography or what have you that you love so much the line between you know rest and play work and personal gets really hazy and blurred and how easy that can be but before we get into that conversation i would just love to know again how you got to where you're at today

[meghan_doll]:

yeah absolutely well i think to start from like the very beginning like i was just always one of those kids that was like obsessed with photography i had a family of photographers in my um like my uncle was a photographer my grand dad was a photographer he had a dark room in his basement so it's just like everybody was always taking pictures around me and when i mean i found a journal when i was ten years old i was when i grow up i want to be a photographer or a ballerina was like okay i was about right um so it's just always been kind of ingrained in me and so when i started taking pictures in high school it was just like an instant love affair of just like exploration and like you know i just remember being like struck so deeply and to the point where my teacher was like are you okay because i was like frozen in time and just like like couldn't even like move i was so like inspired and shook and like just like it hit me really hard

[bianca_morra]:

okay what about it pause what what was it

[meghan_doll]:

hm

[bianca_morra]:

that you were seeing because i had like similar experience

[meghan_doll]:

yeah it was the decisive moment are you familiar with henry carter

[bianca_morra]:

yeah

[meghan_doll]:

bresson like

[bianca_morra]:

yes

[meghan_doll]:

like like

[bianca_morra]:

yeah

[meghan_doll]:

what is going on here it was just

[bianca_morra]:

yes

[meghan_doll]:

like just it just struck me like how impactful an image can be and just capturing that one tiny moment in time and it's just like if you wait for it line it up and just like set yourself like it's just so like i don't know visually like gasmic is that a word i don't know

[bianca_morra]:

it is in this i have goose bum so i get i'll take it

[meghan_doll]:

a

[bianca_morra]:

i remember in high school my high school photography class it was the same thing exactly what you're describing so i resonate so hard i had been taking it for a while i loved it but then i came across jim goldberg's work he does the series the rich and the poor with the black and white of the families and then the writing they would

[meghan_doll]:

um

[bianca_morra]:

write whatever they felt about the picture when they looked at it and there was something about that because all that i had seen before was like flowers and fashion and but

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

when i saw that my brain went like i totally started fritzing out like oh wait a minute and this new world opened

[meghan_doll]:

m

[bianca_morra]:

and that's exactly what you're describing i just had

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

to enter i love

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

that

[meghan_doll]:

it's so exciting so when you like to find a passion like that you know at a young age like that i feel like it's such a gift because from that point on it was just like me be lining towards it so i was like i got to college i was you know i took a photography course and i was like i'm goin a do this this is what i'm going to do and my parents were all like now what are you doing like you need real job you need to like you know get a pay check and how are you going to do this i was like don't worry i got it i'll figure it out like it was just i was just so like focused on it um so uh after college i started a wedding business um i shot i built that up for about ten years and i had this great wedding business and i had shooters underneath me i had all these people like doing their own weddings we were it was wonderful it was also the most exhausting thing i've ever done and it ended up sort of breaking my spirit in a way because i realized how physically challenging it was to shoot at that high level and that capacity in that length and all of that and so i just got to huge breaking point of like i can't do this like i cannot do this any more and it was a real like yeah in my life where i was like how am i going to i love photography so much in the thought of breaking up with photography like there was no other choice for me like i can't not take pictures like i love this this is my pet but i couldn't do this part of it any more so i was like okay well something got to happen i need to pivot and to do something and so i just like pulled the plug on weddings in two thous eight which is like a terrible time to pull the plug on anything if you remember the housing crisis and the conomic crisis everything like collapsing around us so but i was like so to my brim it's like i can't go on any more so i quit weddings and then i switch to portraits you know a lot of my clients you know everybody gets married has babies so it seemed like a very easy like you know transition and i just started spreading the word and ran a group on and got all sorts of crazy with that but that's a totally different topic it was kind of crazy and then and then here i am and i've been running this portrait business for the last ten years twelve years now it seems yep twelve years and it's just been like so incredibly rewarding and i just feel so grateful to have this gift of a business and i just ah here i am

[bianca_morra]:

it's amazing what what helped you to find your way towards the education side of things and sharing that knowledge with other photographers

[meghan_doll]:

yeah you know it started several years ago where i was just like i got i was asked to speak at the minnesota photographers association convention um and i was like oh my gosh like really this is like you want to hear from me and you know i had been talking a bit about like the art work that i like to provide for people and you know i think in my community in my town my city like i'm known for that and so um so i did a whole presentation about like just the art of the sale and how how to create heartfelt art for clients to create a business that will you know really be profitable and sustainable and just like you know provide so much like joy and you know reward be rewarding for you and um and that's kind of what no ball did but it was a very slow so so start so i just started like you know contributing to lie blog posts and other like websites and just being contributor to certain things and then it wasn't until twenty twenty that i was like okay let's do this and so you know everybody having a whole existential crisis and an i doan like what am i doing with my life how am i serving what can i do more of or what do i want to do less of and so that's when the real pivots came for the education and i just started focusing more on it and m yeah so i've been doing it for a couple of years now and it's just growing and growing and it's really fun

[bianca_morra]:

how are you i know it's different in terms of like the hours and probably the intensity of the day weddings and portraiture and family stuff like that but what did you decide to like put in place or like what was your mindset going into portraiture in an effort to not repeat the pattern that had happened with with the wedding business

[meghan_doll]:

you know well the the whole idea of making the switch was that okay babies families are like half hour forty five hour long sessions they can be longer but they're really kind of like the shorter so that was like part of it just like physically what am i capable of because really the amount of work physically that weddings required for me it literal like when i say it broke my body down like it broke my body down like i had to go to handtherapists just from carrying all those heavy cameras and lenses and i had her needed a disk and i had like you know it was really like physically crushing me so i was like okay so you know just kind of making like knowing that when i switched to portraits that's what's gonna i'm gonna already have lightened my loads so much um but it was interesting because when i when you love what you do you want to work at it all the time anyway so it still kind of came up a little bit just in a different way like all of a sudden started getting like risk problems from all the computer time or you know just like it's still like you still want to work all the time when you love what you're doing and an there's nothing wrong with that and if that's going to be you know until it starts like causing problems in your life or causing problems to you physically or mentally or just like you know maybe somehow stagnating some other part of your life then it's time to take a good hard look like okay it's time to do peel away open it up you know like let some of that go you don't need to be working every night you can have a social life you can do the things that normal people do and so it's really been a balancing knack and i still struggle and i still you know i'm gonna work in progress um but i've gotten so much better at it

[bianca_morra]:

i'm like you can have a live

[meghan_doll]:

oh

[bianca_morra]:

what

[meghan_doll]:

oh

[bianca_morra]:

what kind of boundaries have you set in place for yourself

[meghan_doll]:

oh yeah so i well first of all sunday is a hard no hard boundary like i never work on a sunday and um yeah i just you know i think it started as joke like it's the lord's day i'm not i'm not like a hugely spirit like religious person but i'm very spiritual but i was like it's my day it's like my day it's my self care day and i am going to dedicate my my sunday to myself so and it kind of started with weddings because after a saturday wedding you're just like so crushed by the next day you can hardly move so it's like you've been hit by a trap but now it's just like you know i'm gonna self care sunday every sunday so that's my one hard boundary i also i don't really shoot on the weekends hardly at all any more so i think a lot of photographers get in the mind set that they have to catch the golden hour they have to shoot nights and weekends right and they have to shoot on saturdays to like weekends to like the right clients and i just have been like never really purveyor of that mindset like i'm like my hours are just like everyone else is well a little different but like ten to five you know and that's when we shoot and if you want to come then you will come and you don't then i'm sure there's a million other photographers out there that you can find so um m so around the busy season which is this time of year i do shoot one saturday a month but i have just gotten really selective and like really picky and if you know i'm just if it's not going to yeah it's not necessary you know most times people want to get out of work or they know and everybody works for homes they can come for lunch or they can you know there's come after school and so it all works out ah

[bianca_morra]:

i think that it's really easy to forget just how much freedom and power and economy we have in this in any business that you're creating on your own really i mean i remember that i used to feel this i don't know kind of like an insecurity around how i didn't think i needed to only shoot or own golden hour everyone was like oh yeah like i would see all the forums being like oh they wanted to shoot at this time and i said no way and like but why

[meghan_doll]:

i know i love that i've never understood that either i actually love it i love it like i had a home session the other day and it was like this horrible stormy day and i was like this is going to be exciting like how am i going to make this work

[bianca_morra]:

oh

[meghan_doll]:

it's

[bianca_morra]:

my

[meghan_doll]:

like

[bianca_morra]:

gosh

[meghan_doll]:

just such a fun challenge and they were gorgeous the photos were gorgeous and you know so

[bianca_morra]:

gosh i am with you when trillion per cent i had actually recently and it was like highest sun like

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

basically near noon in a small

[meghan_doll]:

my

[bianca_morra]:

back yard lash in the house and the house was really dark my favorite session have ever done i like

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

there's so much beauty in the constraints of

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

what is and if you can walk into wherever you are not feel panic and like all of a sudden let that you know cloud you and there's just such a world open i feel like that's a metaphor for like everything in life

[meghan_doll]:

yeah you know

[bianca_morra]:

what do you what do you find to be a common thing that your your students come to you for

[meghan_doll]:

uh most people that i've been talking to recently coming to me for more like strategy and just like how do i set this up so that it's not going to crush my life like they're at the they're at the breaking point or if like this isn't sustainable i don't know how i'm going to do this i don't know if i want to do this and it seems like that's where they find me and that's sweet spot is just like you know setting a business up so that it's not gonna ruin the rest of your life you know so that you can you can grow it it can like flourish and like really um thrive but it's not going to like make you stay up till two a m editing and it's not going to you know make you work every week end it's not going to take time away from your family it's not going to take you know just so kind of like the i help people iron all of that out and just get all the systems in place of that you can have a life

[bianca_morra]:

right and you know and then like ironically it seems like when you start to be a little bit more hard lined about your boundaries and giving yourself the space from your business it's not taking away from your business because you're showing up to your business fresh and with like this renewed energy

[meghan_doll]:

m

[bianca_morra]:

and purpose right

[meghan_doll]:

yeah yeah absolutely it's like you just get a lease on life you know it's like each day is new and you're like okay let's do this yeah absolutely

[bianca_morra]:

and can i hear that a little bit i cannot help try so hard to see some of the pictures in your background can

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

i hear about your it's kind of your vision for your photography specifically

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

like what is it that you're looking for and i love knowing that your

[meghan_doll]:

oh

[bianca_morra]:

inspiration point began with enrcardprzone

[meghan_doll]:

oh

[bianca_morra]:

and wow sophisticated high school or yes

[meghan_doll]:

yeah so my vision for my photography is really just to be the mirror for people to just see the love in there life you know um i feel like i'm not a parent so i can't speak for this but i feel like as i have witnessed like it's hard it's hard for people to like see through the every day and really see like why why they're doing it all what's it all for and so i just want to be that little window into the why and bring the beauty and bring and bring the the love and just show them love of their family so when they see their photos they're goin to like you know feel that little well in their heart that little flutter when they walk by him in their home or you know when they're looking through their album they're going to be taken back to that stage an age of their kids lives and that like you know that fun moment we had or they had in the studio um so that's that's kind of it's really simple like i'm not out to like you know i've really kind of tailored my style and my the way that i work with people to just be like as easy as possible like i only shoot in the studio i do shoot some stuff like on location or outdoors if people have been with me and they were i requested but otherwise i just make it really simple and keep it really classic and really neutral and just like you know capture love

[bianca_morra]:

you know it's so funny as you're speaking i can't help but assume that like that vision and that um m athos is probably mirrored to your students right because i'm sure you're mirroring back to them what it is they're coming at you with but they're not seeing just the way sometimes parents can struggle seeing the love in their life like where are the points in there business where it's draining versus energizing

[meghan_doll]:

yeah that's a really good point i bet i bet that's really true yeah absolutely

[bianca_morra]:

m

[meghan_doll]:

i love that idea i've never thought of that oh

[bianca_morra]:

now see look and

[meghan_doll]:

i

[bianca_morra]:

i back to you this is what you

[meghan_doll]:

thank you

[bianca_morra]:

m

[meghan_doll]:

but that's all that's all of life right we're all just a big old reflection

[bianca_morra]:

yes yes that's all it is to what is going on for you right now what do you have on top like in your business what's going on with you at the moment

[meghan_doll]:

um at the moment i am working on doing ah well a few things so i am working on a workshop with some focus on like getting over the fear of social media and like how to help people over

[bianca_morra]:

yeah

[meghan_doll]:

that hurtle i feel like that's something that's coming up a lot that people are just like kind of have this like just i don't even know what the word is but they just like what is the world they have a block around it and they can't get through it and they are scared to post don't want to post don't want to feel a slave to it like i get it i totally understand but it has become such a um yeah integral part of doing business in this in this way in this world especially for photographers so just helping people with the hurdle there and getting them past that so i'm kind of putting togethe this workshop is going to be at the end of the month for that um it's busy season in the portrait world so you know i'm what i'm really trying to this season is to not feel the overwhelm and it usually starts for me this around this time of year and so i'm like okay what are we going to do differently this year that we didn't do last year how can how can we do it better than last time you know because it does inevitably um seem to reach a crescendo and it's like it feels a little too m i feel a little too exhausted by the end of december then i want to and i also am like what happened to fall it's like my favorite season and i'm like it's gone and i'm like i want to enjoy it

[bianca_morra]:

yeah you're like i want

[meghan_doll]:

m

[bianca_morra]:

to enjoy an apple orchard without

[meghan_doll]:

oh

[bianca_morra]:

a camera on my face

[meghan_doll]:

oh exactly i want to do the fun things

[bianca_morra]:

oh

[meghan_doll]:

so it's like the ongoing like juggling act you know like how do you balance it

[bianca_morra]:

right and especially and now to where it's it's the portrait and it's the education the juggle you know with the overwhelm i'm curious it seems like you're so you have a very grounded present shooting style and you're like oh it's cloudy day that's exciting

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

you know very open to those kind of things is it the volume of work that can be overwhelming

[meghan_doll]:

yeah it is yeah and because people tend to order more this time of year because they're trying to get like holiday gifts and like things like that so there's like the influx of you know i shoot a lot newborn they shoot a lot of babies so that happens like year around but at a certain point people come back once a year and so it's like all of those clients and they all want to come between like september and december because they want gifts for the holidays they want the holiday cars they want you know they've got the extra income i feel like everybody always has more money this time of year because you know versus like april when everybody s just dealing with taxes um so people just buy more and so we do a lot of like art work and albums and frame so it's just a lot more like high touch and like getting all of the things in line and ready for them so

[bianca_morra]:

i forgot you do in person sales that makes total

[meghan_doll]:

s

[bianca_morra]:

sense that is a huge

[meghan_doll]:

yes

[bianca_morra]:

part of it no wonder you have incredible art work all around you

[meghan_doll]:

yes yes

[bianca_morra]:

you're probably people's favor person for the holiday is like oh yes i know the perfect gift that everyone

[meghan_doll]:

kind

[bianca_morra]:

will

[meghan_doll]:

of like santa

[bianca_morra]:

you are oh

[meghan_doll]:

i

[bianca_morra]:

my

[meghan_doll]:

like

[bianca_morra]:

gosh

[meghan_doll]:

do you think about grandma and mom and like

[bianca_morra]:

oh

[meghan_doll]:

your aunt you're like oh my god you're so good

[bianca_morra]:

oh

[meghan_doll]:

i think perfect i love

[bianca_morra]:

oh

[meghan_doll]:

it

[bianca_morra]:

my god i love it i before we come to a close is there anything that it's just on top for you that you feel like is really important to include in this conversation of you know keeping your passion alive like whatever as you're doing whether it's photography or it's something else some other craft that you're doing that kind of feels like a slippery slope of i like it i love it so much so i can't find space for myself in that world

[meghan_doll]:

ye yeah i think you know we all have intuition into like what's going to be serving us best and we all have intuition into um you know things that aren't serving us best and if you just can i guess the biggest thing i would say is just take the time to really listen to yourself and even though you may feel like you want to push through if you can just slow down and like feel into it and like really like ses if it's in your best and highest interest make the decision from that place versus like feeling like you have to rush through it because one thing that i always am constantly trying to remember is like it's okay if it doesn't happen to like there is a tomorrow the sun will rise like and honestly nothing is really that important to get too bent out of shape about so if you can just slow down and just like m breathe through it and just like not beat yourself up for getting it all done like i feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves or can put so much pressure on ourselves to the do and perform and and you know achieve so much is like just taking all that away and saving it for tomorrow it's going to be just fine you're still going to be moving you're still going to be going forward in the direction you want to go so that's kind of the biggest thing that i always try and remember and focus on

[bianca_morra]:

yeah i feel that my my mother in law is a nurse i'm like okay i'm not saving someone's life right now i am

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

all as well all as well just bread

[meghan_doll]:

as well yeah right i know

[bianca_morra]:

oh my gosh megan where can we follow you i'll put whatever megan's links are all put them in the show notes but can you let us know where we can find more from you

[meghan_doll]:

absolutely so you can find my educational platform at the art of the sale at the art of the sale and that's on instagram or the art of the sale dot com and then my photography platform or webs it is just megandoll dot com and then the instagram is at love megandolso wherever you want to follow along i try and be as present there as possible so

[bianca_morra]:

so

[meghan_doll]:

yeah

[bianca_morra]:

thank you so much mean it was such a pleasure

[meghan_doll]:

thank you

[bianca_morra]:

m