New Client Designs - Crossfit Bayonne, NJ

It's been a little quiet at RBFocus with all of the new and exciting things happening but I promise we'll be updating you all soon!!! TODAY we're really excited to share one of our recent designs and client sites!!! 

Not to be biased because we attend this awesome Crossfit gym or anything but as part of our http://www.rbfocus.com/ Project, we had the pleasure of working with Justin Frimme and the coaches at Crossfit Bayonn in freshening up and building their new online presence. 

Like us, Justin, the owner followed his passion and left his career in finance to pour his heart and soul into something he absolutely loved!! Everytime we're back home and attending his gym at 6:30am and having him and his coaches there to push and motivate you, really keeps us going!!! 

It was such an honor to help a local business. I firmly believe that if you're a business owner, whether you have a physical business location or not, your online presence should be Number 1. Our online presence is our storefront no matter how you look at it. We're in an age where people Google Everything and making you and your business known online is key. But most importantly making it clear that you have a passion for what you do as well as showing that you really care about your clients!! That's what matters most!!! 

So, check us out at http://www.rbfocus.com/ for more information about building your brand / business, and most importantly if you're planning on getting fit, working out with an awesome group of people and staying motivated, check out our local Crossfit in Bayonne, NJ!!!

Special Credit to one of the group members for providing us with a few of the photos used on the new site!!

Write Down Your Yearly Goals!!

It's Official!!! We have only a few days left of 2016 and 2017 is right around the corner!!! How often do we take the time to sit down and recap on the previous year? The good, the bad and everything in between?? Regardless of how your year has been, I find it is important to take a moment and review your year. We always ask ourselves what have we done this year that we can do differently the next which will make us better overall? Most importantly, we take this time to write down our goals for the coming year. If you have been writing down your goals for the previous years then NOW is the time to pick up that list and cross off your accomplishments. It's alright if you didn't accomplish them all, sometimes it'll take a few years or there may be smaller goals that'll need to be reached first before moving onto the bigger ones, but the important thing is that you are moving forward!!

I have been doing this for a long time but Andrea and I started doing it together since around 2010. Every year towards the last week of the year we will sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and jot down our goals for the coming year. With the previous year's list at hand, we will look at what we have accomplished and what we haven't and we will then create the new list accordingly. Regardless of how big or how small those goals may seem or how crazy they may be, we will write them down. The most important reason we do this is to subconsciously carve them into our minds so that we can work on them throughout the year. 

Rarely do we ever look at that list again until the end of the year; maybe once or twice but that's about it. The reason we do it this is so we don't get caught up into ONLY following our written goals. Sometimes we'll end up accomplishing things we didn't write down however they were still great achievements. 

Going back to an article I wrote earlier this year, "5 Reasons Weekly To-Do Lists are so Important," I talked about the importance of writing down your to-do lists. Although those lists pertain to daily tasks, I truly believe 3 of the major steps; 1. Getting your thoughts out of your head, 2. Aiming High, and 3. Checking it Off are key in achieving some of those goals.

Writing down our goals is the very first step in making them real.

If they are ONLY in our heads then they are ONLY an idea but once those thoughts are written down onto a piece of paper they have now become physical!! 

Aiming high?? Why limit ourselves??

I firmly believe that the universe wants us to aim as big as the universe. We shouldn't limit ourselves whatsoever and we should NEVER limit ourselves based on other people's opinions. If anyone thinks your goals are too big to be possible then that only means they're limiting their lives!!

And Most Importantly Crossing them Off...

There is such a great great feeling once we cross things off right!! Imagine crossing off yearly goals such as becoming closer with family and friends, paying off a big debt, or buying your dream home?? You'll feel so much better and that feeling will only attract more greatness in your lives!! But in order to cross things off you must first write them down!!

So, as we get closer to 2017, take a few minutes to review the year and then find a nice quiet place to write down your goals!! Put as much positive energy into it and I bet you'll achieve more than you have ever imagined!!!

Happy Holidays Everyon!!!

5 Signs Telling you it's Time to Quit your JOB!!

I was recently chatting with a few friends who currently work a 9 to 5 job and are not really doing what they love. They each have a degree in a specialized area and are currently working in that field, however, it seems that within the past couple of years they realized this wasn't for them. They realized they were passionate about something else, something totally different and they asked us when we thought was the right time for them to quit their job.

Gee... To be quite honest with you there are many answers to this question and hundreds of ways to look at it. There are so many things I could have done differently when the time came for me BUT at the same time I wouldn't change a thing!! Just to name a few, here are 5 signs that were slapping me in the face every time I went to work:

#1. Lack of Happiness!! I just wasn't happy doing what I was doing. I had made great friends and built some amazing relationships where I was working and I was working on some cool projects but overall I wasn't happy. I dreaded driving to work every single day. I was bored with the same routine. I always wanted to leave as fast as possible meaning that I was supposed to stay till at least 5pm and the time from 4:30pm to 5pm was the longest 30 minutes of my life every single day. Simply Put I Just was NOT Happy!! 

#2. I had found something I was passionate about. When I discovered I loved photography and could potentially turn it into a business, I immediately knew this is what I was meant to do. 

#3. 95% of my time at my JOB was spent thinking about what I really wanted to be doing. I felt like a zombie at times. Standing there at my job doing what I was supposed to be doing just because it was what I had to do but my mind was nowhere near. I couldn't wait till I left to get home and start working on my business.

#4. The top 3 Signs lasted about 3 full years. It was dreadful and exciting!!! 2009 was when I probably discovered the possibility of doing this as my career. Before then photography was only a hobby. Taking photos of landscapes, flowers, animals, etc. But around 2009 I started going to little events. I started photographing friends and family and I was hooked!! I thought about monetizing my work but I was unsure about how or where to start. Then in 2010 Andrea and I officially photographed our first paid wedding. We Loved every single moment of it and it was then that I realized this could actually become a thing.

I became OBSESSED!!

This is when my time at my Job changed. Now instead of arriving at work at 8am, I'd get there at 6 or 7am and spend an hour or 2 in my car working on my website, my photos and my business. Lunch time was at 12pm and at 11:55am I was ready to head out the door to go to a nearby cafe and continue working on my business. Then I'd get home around 6-6:30pm and I would work straight till about 2-3am. I remember there were nights I'd get 3 hours of sleep if that. But I didn't feel it. The excitement of building my website, the excitement of editing photos from the previous weekend's gig, the excitement of possibly making this a full-time career was like adrenaline!! I was spending More time working on my business than anything else!!!

#5. After all of these months of working on my business, we began booking more work here and there. It got to the point where I was now not only spending time building my branding but I had to deliver. I had deadlines for my clients and I had to meet them. 

In my opinion, this is when I saw the ultimate sign. I had a choice... 

A. I could stay working in my Job potentially putting my health and my business at risk because doing both was just too much.

B. I could quit my Job and fully immerse myself into my business giving it 110% of my time and effort and energy. 

And so it happened. This is when I realized it was really time to Quit my Job!! 

Of course, I could have done things differently. I made my calculations to see if I could actually live off of this but my finances were nowhere near perfect. Maybe I could have waited to be in a better financial situation but then again I may have never quit. I took the biggest pay cut of my life and we hit some pretty steep pot holes but the reason I don't regret my decisions is because I now see these failures more as lessons than anything else!!

Now before I conclude this article... This was MY story but it didn't end here. Once our business began growing more and more it was now time for Andrea to quit her job too. Although some of the reasons were the same such as she really enjoyed what we do and her time away was time away from our business. We really sat down and took calculated risks. After about 2 years of financially planning her time to quit, we knew that the end of 2015 was it. When the amount of time she was spending at work just didn't make sense because that time could be invested in our business and the return would be much greater, that is when we knew it was time for her to go!

We really wish this article answers some of those questions. When you come up to that split in the road and have to decide whether you're going left or right, follow your heart. Remember the time you spend today doing something you don't love is time lost. Do what you love and as long as you have faith and are willing to work harder than any other time in your life, I'm sure your decision will be well worth it!! Most Importantly... Stay Humble and Be Grateful Everyday!!

Thank you for reading and have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

RBFOCUS BOOKSHELF!!! "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

I'm so excited to share another great book I read a few weeks ago!! To be honest, this book isn't just any ordinary book, this is like a bible, a dictionary or an encyclopedia. It's the type of book that you're going to want to go back to and reread multiple times. You are going to want to reread your notes and read it over and over again. At least that was my experience!!

As an entrepreneur and a business owner I find it extremely important to read about topics such a productivity, proactivity, time management, prioritization, thinking positively, learning to listen and understand people, knowing how to work with people and create something bigger and better and most importantly understanding how to become an effective person all around.

In this book, Stephen Covey digs deep with life-changing examples. From changing the way you think to a more proactive mindset to understanding the concepts of leadership and building relationships with people and your clients. All of which we use on a daily basis and some of us don't even recognize. 

One of my favorite topics covered is the idea of "Beginning with the End in Mind". Covey states,

"To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you're going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction. 

It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it's leaning against the wrong wall..."

So many times in life we work at something because it's what we grow up doing. This is what we're trained to do since we're little. When we start school we're taught to work hard at getting a JOB but how many times are we taught to work hard towards something we're truly passionate about. It only took me a little over 7 years to realize Information Systems wasn't my wall but thankfully I figured it out and now I can honestly say I've never been happier!!

So go out there and read this book. Keep it by your side because you're going to want to refer back to it every time!!

Enjoy!!

 

‪Working with your Spouse

Many people know that Andrea and I work together 99.9% of the time. However on the day of weddings most people are surprised to hear that we're married unless they already know us. And the number 1 thing we hear every single time is...

"I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU GUYS DO IT, HOW CAN YOU WORK TOGETHER WITHOUT KILLING EACH OTHER!?!?!? I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO WORK WITH MY SPOUSE...!"

Well actually in my opinion you can. Maybe it's because we really have been doing this for quite some time now and we've gotten used to it already but the most important thing is that the both of you are on the same page. Like a marriage, a business is no different.

Having goals, delegating tasks, and most importantly communicating about every single thing is key. If you are in a career that allows you to work with your significant other then just imagine the potential of 2 people working hard towards a goal. In my eyes it's double the power, double the energy, and we should be able to handle more.

BUT YOU BOTH NEED TO BE READY TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER NO MATTER WHAT

Now this doesn't just happen overnight. If you and your spouse are in sync right off the bat, then you're one lucky couple. For us it took a few years before we were both on the same page. Not only we we both working separate day jobs but my passion was ultimately photography and Andrea's passion was ultimately makeup.

But what made us partner up in our business? Personally I think it was the fact that we both wanted to support each other and we both wanted the freedom to become entrepreneurs. 

So we tried to make it work in the beginning. Of course we would bump heads all the time... Sh**t we still bump heads sometimes. I'll admit I needed to work on my teaching and patience skills and according to Andrea she needed to work on her "Accepting criticism and using it to make myself better at what I was doing." We had numerous arguments and conversations about how and what we needed to do in order for our business partnership to work. And the conversation always ended like this...

"If you're not willing to give it your all then we each go back to doing our jobs and that's it"

But we loved what we did so much, we love the freedom it could potentially give us, we both have a common love for the people we work with, we're both passionate about what we do and our goals are on the same page. 

This is where I really have to give Andrea most of the credit. When she really picked up her speed on learning photography, understanding everything about it and really pushing herself personally and creatively. And this is where I learned to be patient, to teach her without breaking during the moments that were difficult and to allow the makeup and photography to work together.

My point here is that we each had to push ourselves out of our comfort zones yet support each other for the bigger picture. We had to constantly communicate and recognize the good things we were doing. We had to give each other the ownership, the authority and the credit we deserve and most importantly always trust one another. Personally we both agree it not only will bring you closer but if you're willing to give each other that support you need we bet it'll be one of the most rewarding experiences!!

 

The Importance of Calling your Clients!!

How many times do we get inquiries and think the best way to reply is simply by sending an email? I mean who actually wants to call clients? Sending an email is so much easier right...? It takes less time, you don't need to actually do any talking, and you don't really need to do much more...

NOW...

How many times has a simple and standard email allowed us to really get to know our clients? This is where calling comes into place. Sure it takes time, sure sometimes it's awkward or we don't know what to say but in all honesty this has been the best form of communication for our business. Of course there are times we simply cannot communicate with our clients via phone because they didn't leave a number, or maybe we're out of the country but 95% of the time we'll give them a call first before replying to their inquiry and if they don't answer we'll leave them a voicemail.

WHY?

Here are a few reasons why we feel calling our clients has truly helped us.

1. We actually get to speak with someone and hear their voice. Allowing them to hear your voice can truly show how we feel. We really want them to hear how excited we are that they contacted us and if it isn't face to face then a phone call is just as good. I mean, we can send them an email full of Emoji's but that isn't really professional in our opinion so we will always call first!!

2. Not only do they hear our voice but we will be able to hear theirs. We have been pretty blessed to work with some amazing people. Couples who truly care and value their wedding photography. Couples who somehow have so many things in common with us and share similar stories. This has allowed us to really work with people who we know we will enjoy spending time with. If we spoke with someone over the phone who really didn't care or just sounded like it was going to be a difficult client; we would be able to tell instantly if it was someone we'd like to work with or not. On the other hand imagine if you had a terrible client and all communication was done via email. There would be that chance you couldn't even tell but I bet if you would have spoken to them; you would have noticed something.

3. And lastly... We're going to talking about the "Power of Smiling" later in another blog post but we honestly feel that smiling before, during and after a call has truly helped our phone call success rate. This goes back to step 1 about expressing excitement but smiling just makes your voice sound different, inviting, welcoming... All of this adds to the experience that you're giving your client and when they book you the experience begins with that very first phone call.

We know how difficult it is to not only take the time to call your clients but also to feel comfortable. As we wrote in a previous article 3 Strategies Used When Calling Leads, it takes time and practice. But once you feel comfortable and confident, I can guarantee you that your success rate with calls will be much better than just sending an email.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes. We're excited to hear your story!!!

RBFOCUS BOOKSHELF!!! "The Definitive Book of Body Language"

Another great read to add to my bookshelf. After completing this book it amazes me how many signals us humans can give without even noticing. Signals that show how we feel, what we think, and who we are. These signals also known as body language can truly help us connect with others. What's even more incredible is how important it is that we photographers have to connect with people. How building relationships and connecting on a personal level allows us to truly capture their personalities. It's really important for both us and them to feel comfortable so that we can really document the true emotions of their day!!

On the other hand during business meetings and consultations it's been incredible to see how clients react to your services and your pricing. Understanding how they feel will really give you a good idea of their interest in your product and where they'll most likely go.

So if you're connecting with people, going on an interview, or having meetings, I really believe this would be a great read!!

Enjoy!!

The Power of Putting in the Work & Energy

The Story of Business Cards

A few years ago I read a story of two people who had attended a business networking event. Neither of them knew each other but they were both after the same thing, "Business." Prior to the event, each attendant was told it would be a good idea to bring along business cards with them to hand out to other attendants. Neither of them had cards so they went to get some done. The one guy waited till almost a week before the event to get his cards made. Because of the time crunch he just went online and copied one quickly added his name and phone number and ordered them without hesitation. A few days later the cards arrived right before the event and he was ready to go. The other man took the time to really sit down and design the cards. He had no experience in design but he really put the energy into sketching some ideas for his company (colors, patterns, logos, etc) and shared it with someone who'd make his vision come true. After several nights of putting in the work and energy he was finally happy with the product and placed the order. Unfortunately his cards didn't make it in time but he still attended the networking event. During this event something crazy happened. It turns out that the first man who didn't really put in the energy to design something gained ZERO business. He handed out cards and all but no one called him back. Now the other man, although he had no cards to hand out he literally gave his phone number away while explaining that his cards hadn't arrived in time but he was still looking forward to connecting. He gained so much business from this networking event it was unreal to him.

PUTTING IN THE ENERGY

For years I've been putting this mindset to the test. Every single time we need to create something we put in as much positive energy as we possibly could. Whether it's designing new business cards, updating websites, creating pricing sheets, editing work, etc. Anything and everything we do we try to give it our all if we really want it. We hear of so many people trying this and tying that and it isn't working. Then when we see what they're doing and their process, there is not enough energy given. If you think you're going to waste zero energy and get something in return you've got it all wrong.

PUTTING IN THE WORK

Energy & Work go hand in hand however you don't need to be an expert at something to put in the work. I've had people say to me "you're experience in web design has allowed you to design your own website and your experience in graphic design has allowed you to create your own graphics..." Yes they are right. It took a long time to learn these things and it's something I enjoy however if you don't know any of this stuff it doesn't mean that you don't need to put in some work. 

Get out there and create a vision board, draw up ideas, create a plan. If you can't draw create stick figures for all I care and have something ready to present to your designer. Meet with someone professional and don't just get there and say here's what I want, can you do it for me? No... Actually sit down with them, plan, put in the work and the energy to create something unique to you and to your brand. 

When you do this and you feel that you are exhausted and that you've busted your ass but you feel GREAT about what you've created; I guarantee you that the outcome will be much greater than if you would have sat back and expected something in return without putting in the work & energy!!

Happy Thursday Everyone!!