Justin Lofton – A Photographer Podcast Interview

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On today’s podcast, Matt interviews Justin Lofton, who is not a photographer. Justin works in marketing, SEO, Facebook ad agencies and coaching. Justin’s passion lies in helping entrepreneurs skip some of the challenges we face. Listen in to see what he says about your energy. Delegate or delete things that drain your energy. Do more of the things that you enjoy and that you are still excited about doing when you go to bed at night. Listen to your body to avoid burnout and stay connected to your passions. You don’t want to miss how serving yourself first lets you serve others at your highest level. 80/20 your relationships. Observe what got you where you are and what you need to focus on to get you where you want to go.

Contact with Justin

80/20 Business – 8020business.com – free strategy call

Zenfusion.com – Facebook ads help

 

 

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00:00 This is Justin Lofton and you’re listening to from nothing to profit.

00:04 Welcome to from nothing to profit a photographers podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster.

00:19 Hey everybody. Well, I’m going to podcast. So as you heard in the introduction, I have Justin Lofton on today and you’re probably thinking Justin Loften photography. I don’t know who that is. Well actually he’s not a photographer and he’s somebody that I’ve ran in the same circle with for years. And Justin, we met years ago at icon, which is infusion site was, it was Infusionsoft’s like annual conference for their users and Yup. And for people that don’t know, Infusionsoft is a CRM that we use in our business. But you had some businesses there I think when we first met, when you were doing syncsumo. Yep. And um, and so to that, tell us a little bit about like kind of what you do and stuff like that. And then I’ll tell, I’ll tell my audience kind of why we have you on the podcast.

00:57 Yeah, of course. So you know, I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a kid and I really owe the last, call it 12 to 18 years. I’ve been doing a lot online selling products and I’m doing marketing. I’ve done a ton of SEO, search engine optimization, manipulating Google’s algorithm. And I’ve, I’ve run, you know, tons of Facebook ads. I’ve probably spent over 15 million now on Facebook’s ad platform. And so I’ve done it all in terms of running an agency, which I still have syncsumo, which is a software as a service company that connects CRMs like infusion soft with a Facebook ad platform to sync up those contacts. So I’ve got multiple e-commerce brands now. Like I said, I’ve got zen fusion, which is a Facebook ads agency. And then, you know, really my passion project is one on one coaching, helping entrepreneurs and business owners accelerate the growth of their business through the use of the business acceleration lifecycle, which I’ve developed over the last 20 years.

01:55 That’s awesome. Yeah. And so that’s kind of how we ended up here. So I’m interested enough, like I literally reached out to you yesterday afternoon after I saw a post on Facebook that you’d post, cause we’re obviously friends on Facebook and it comes from, you know, your, Your 80 20 coaching branch of, of your world now. And you were talking about, and I just want you to share this with the audience. And so you were talking about this concept that I’m going to butcher, but if the idea is that it’s all about an energy game, right? And it’s like, so talk more about exactly what you mean by that and how you look at business now.

02:29 Yeah. And just like your listeners, you know, I’ve been through this, I’ve fallen on my face so many times over the years. And really that’s where my passion comes from now really helping entrepreneurs and business owners sort of skip a lot of those challenges that I faced. And I’m sure that many of them have already faced some of those challenges. And at the core level, one of the things that I learned from one of the many things that I learned was that, you know, a lot of what we were taught through the system from our parents, you know, they did the best they could, but you know, they have their own limitations, right? We all, we all do, right? And so we only learned what the system at that stage when we came into this game, you know, could teach us. And one of the big things in terms of how this game works is that it’s really about your energy and that should really drive your decisions and what you do throughout your day and what you do in your business.

03:23 You know, the whole concept of right and wrong and good and bad and all these, all these Duke, what I call dualistic concepts that kind of are based on the current reality that we live in. Those really don’t exist. And really what that is, is the system trying to drain your energy. That’s the, uh, what I like to call the screen. It’s sort of like our world around us is constantly throwing stuff at us to distract us and to keep us from fulfilling our passions. You know, what’s, what’s deeply in our heart energy. And what happens is that we start to make decisions based on perceptions that aren’t accurate in the reality. And so really what you need to be thinking about is making decisions that support and benefit your energy because we sort of been taught to just work hard and grind and hustle and do all this hard work.

04:17 And so by the end of the day, we’re just completely exhausted and we hope that we get enough sleep, which is an opportunity to sort of refresh the body and the mind and, and regain some of the energy that we used up through the day. And we certainly consume calories and try and get in the sun when we can because all those things are actually helping you restore energy and keep your energy levels. But instead of thinking of your personal energy as sort of something to be drained throughout the day and making sure that your energy levels stay high enough until you can hit your head, can hit the pillow at night. It’s really about thinking about how can you start to build your energy by making better decisions, by observing what’s happening around you and make decisions that benefit your energy as opposed to, you know, taking away your energy.

05:03 And that really, in many cases, some people say, well, you know, it sounds like you’re being selfish or you’re, you know, you’re putting yourself first. Yes, I am. I think that’s the most important thing. You can’t really help other people and bring value to their lives and bring value to your marketplace that you serve if you’re not focused on yourself first. Right? So, you know, if you’re in an airplane and an accident happens, they say put it, put the oxygen on yourself before you start helping other people. It’s the same thing in this conversation here about your personal energy. You can actually start building your energy and when you go to bed at night, your excited about the next day, you’re not exhausted from the day that just passed you. You’re actually building her energy and you’re not giving it away to things that don’t serve you, that don’t benefit your energy and your state in this reality. Right. And so where this resonated with me, I’ll talk about kind of like my personal example, but then I also talked about what I see in

05:57 our photography industry as well. But in my personal example, if I’m working on a project that I’m really passionate about and I’m excited about it, like I can put a, you know, I can put a 24 hour day in, but you know, realistically like a 12 hour day in pretty easy. And then I, when I go lay down to go to bed, I still want to be working on it and I’m excited and I’m passionate. But then when I’m doing things that I don’t want to do, I mean I instantly zaps my energy and kind of takes me off my game for the whole day. And it’s like, well I got to do this but I don’t really want to. Or there’s things on my to do list that I never want to get to and I keep putting them off. And so when I saw your Facebook posts, which for you guys that missed is, I mean it’s exactly what he just explained. I thought about man, you know, I think the right thing is do is just focus on things that fill your energy bucket. You know, am I, am I getting towards what you’re thinking too?

06:45 Totally. And, and you know, the beauty with that is, is you can start to observe that, that feeling, right? Oh Wow, this is really zapping my energy. I’m not excited about this. That’s you. That’s your source self trying to tell you that this is not where you should be putting your energy. That’s this is not what you’re passionate about. Find a way to either delegate or delete it. Okay, fine. Either find somebody that can do it for you and there’s lots of resources out there across the world that can do a lot of these things that do drain our energy or delete it altogether. You know, you mentioned my coaching business, 80 20 business, a core focus of everything in my life is based on the 80 20 rule, which says that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. And so again, when I’m looking at anything I’m doing, but on this topic in terms of energy, I’m looking for those 20% of opportunities that generate the most results in building my energy.

07:39 Right? So just to your point, like, Hey, I want to focus on my passions. I’ve got multiple businesses, I’m excited about all of them in different ways. But what of my true passion is, is helping entrepreneurs and business owners exponentially grow their business. To tell you a little story at when I ran the SEO business back in 20 2010 to 2014 time, I would just be, I would just do calls with small business owners all day long. And at the time I was like, well I want to do these calls and figure out if I can help them with SEO. And what I ended up doing with most of those calls and telling them, hey, SEO is not right for you. You need to be doing this and this and this before you, you know, you work with us, you’re not ready for us. And what I learned a few years ago was that the reason I wanted to do all those calls all the time and I enjoyed them was because that was really my passion was helping business owners.

08:29 Cause I had already developed these, these formulas on how to grow businesses. At the time I was just doing, you know, SEO because I was very good at it. I knew how to manipulate Google’s algorithm very easily. But really my passion at the core was continuing to help others through business, sort of expand their own personal wellbeing as well as help them exponentially grow their business easily. And that’s why that’s my passion today, because I had to go through many years of just sort of doing it and not realizing that listening to my source self telling me, hey, you need to be doing more of this instead of the SEO work itself. That’s what you enjoy. And so you need thing to those signals, you know?

09:10 Well, yeah. And I think we had the same conversation when years ago when we talked about when you started sync sumo, so that was your branch of your world that, you know, syncs contacts in the CRM with Facebook so that, you know, you can market to segments of your, of your email list. And you were talking about like, you know, my passion is just to help people grow their business and this is just a huge opportunity right now. You know? So like at the time it was just the tool that was going to help entrepreneurs and business owners achieve the next level of their business. Cause so it wasn’t necessarily about the Facebook, but I think you saw it as like, here’s an opportunity to do this bigger mission that I’m doing. Exactly. Yeah, that’s awesome. Okay, so here’s where I think it applies to the photography world.

09:50 So, and it probably applies, this is probably true in all businesses, but my world is photography and so I see a lot of Facebook posts and different things like that from photographers and they’re like, should I do this or should I do this? You know, like should I do a or should I do B or you know, how do I do this the right way? And I heard you and in your Facebook posts talk about there’s not really like a right or wrong way. I guess the way I would, I would say that I would answer them after watching your videos, I would say, you know, don’t do a or B or if you’re going to pick one, which one fills your bucket, there’s not a wrong or right way. It’s like, which one, you know, gives you more passion, more energy so that you actually accomplish it, you know, at a higher level. Is that fair to say as well? Yeah,

10:33 I mean, yeah, absolutely. So you know what, which decision benefits me from an energy perspective. Not like, Oh okay I’m going to go make some money or whatever. Sometimes we make decisions on that. But also, you know, you want to be looking to say what also challenges me because that actually surge your energy, those challenging opportunities helps you break through so that you can actually grow your energy. So, but yeah, absolutely. It’s really about that simple decision you make in your head in a, in a microsecond is basically saying, well that decision or that project benefit my energy or will it drain me?

11:09 Right. Well and the interesting thing as some people say, you know, say it’s not always about the money either and cause some people aren’t motivated by money. So if like if money doesn’t help you actually with your energy, then yeah, you may meet no need to make the decision based on financial reasons, you know, it could be other, other reasons as well.

11:25 Yeah. And I think in general, people as a whole, we’re not motivated by money. We’re motivated by the things that money can help us achieve. And I think that’s key to remember because in today’s world we’re, we’re sort of, you know, they dangle the carrot on money and making you assume that more money is going to create your happiness. Happiness is already inside of you and no matter what you have and in the material world and they want you to think that it’s on the outside of you and that money is, is a big proponent of somehow delivering you, you know, with happiness. And that’s just not the case.

12:00 Yeah, that’s a really good point. So my wife went to Africa like 10 years ago and like, you know, did some work and stuff over there and uh, produced, uh, a photo book and stuff like that. And she just talked about when she got back the Mo, one of the most interesting things she saw is like, just how hopeful and happy everybody over there was, even though they didn’t have any material stuff, you know. And I think that made her realize, you know, it’s not about material stuff. It’s about, like you said earlier, listening to your body and listening to like, this is what I need to be working on right now. I’m not listening to what other people say will make me happy, or what society or the school system or my parents or whatever said it’s what is my body telling me right now that is going to give me the most energy in my day so I can complete this task of the world? Like really high level.

12:43 Yeah, no question. I know that a lot of photographers get into that business because they have a true passion for it and they also have, you know, the programming of a society that tells them they need to make x amount and have a specific things in life and all that. And, and I think that they struggle with that sometimes in terms of finding that balance of, okay, I’ve got to pay the bills, but also, you know, not losing the passion that I have for the, in the reason that I got involved in photography. So I think it’s really important that using that sort of 80 20 approach on why you’re truly doing what you’re doing and in the situations where we have to take on and do work because we need the money to pay the overhead that we have, that we look for opportunities to either challenge ourselves, learn or create amazing relationships in those situations. When on the surface we say, you know what, it doesn’t feel like this is gonna benefit my energy, but I need to do it and I’m going to look for opportunities to improve myself, be a better version of myself in this, you know, challenging job or situation or project that I have to do to support my family. And you’ll come out the other end of it with a completely different perspective on whether that decision benefited you or not.

14:01 Yeah. Because when our industry, we talk a lot about, about burnout and on, so I’m just, I think, I feel like I’m just putting buzz words on top of what you’re saying. Way better than some of these buzz words actually say. But a lot of people come into our industry and they have a passion for photography and then all of a sudden they take on overhead and bills and then they have, then they start listening to Facebook groups or listen to other people that tell them this is how you run a business and stuff like that. And all along the way, I think they’re making the wrong turns. You know, they keep turning towards things that are probably not fulfilling them and they’re moving towards things that are actually burning them out. And then at some point they get to, they get down the road and they’re like, you know, this isn’t worth it.

14:39 This is not what I signed up for. And the truth is, it’s not what they signed up for because they didn’t necessarily listen to themselves. They listened to a Facebook group that said, you know, you need to charge this much and you need to do this type of session. And you needed that. It wasn’t, that’s not, that wasn’t their passion. It actually may have been the opposite of their passion. Sure. And so they ended up just burning out. And then they’re like, I’m going to go so funny on that. And then you probably hear this in your industry too, but then they were like, I’m going to go get a real job, you know, which is one of my favorite lines. But, but yeah, I think if you’re not listening to yourself, it totally, it totally burns you out.

15:11 Yeah. No. And it’s, it’s really important that we don’t just get disconnected and get distracted from our true passions and, and fall into that societal, this is the, you know, hey, this is, this is the thing I need to, I need to just sort of accept this as, you know, I just, it doesn’t work for me. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not good enough to do this because we’ve listened to other people that told us what we need to be doing. One of the things that I recommend that you do in any of those situations, and in general, this is how you should be thinking about it from an 80 20 perspective and how you can sort of get yourself back on a better path is look at the relationships that you already have. Do an 80 20 on the relationships that benefit you most.

15:54 Okay. And again, I want to remind you that I don’t speak from a dualistic perspective of selfishness and unselfishness. Actually anything that you do has an element of both. So think of it as serving yourself first so you can serve others with higher value over time because you’re building on that energy that you have, building on the passion that you’ve always had and really write it down. Write, write down the all the relationships you have, and then 80 20 that meaning, figure out the 20% of those relationships that bring you 80% of the benefit in your life. Whether that’s through finances or just working with those people just is so amazing. And think about ways that you can, simple ways that you can show your appreciation for those relationships. Give them a call, send them brownies, send them a card, find the way that makes the most sense to re-engage that relationship and show your deep appreciation for that relationship. And what you’ll find is that more of the exciting work that you love to do will just come your way.

16:59 Great. That makes sense. And like you said, it’s not a selfish reason, but like, yeah, it’s like lean, lean into the stuff that’s, that’s filling your bucket and, and start to just, you know, like you said, I don’t remember how you said it, you said delegate or delete, you know, some of the other stuff that’s not, that’s not bringing you happiness or energy and all those different things. Yeah, that makes, that makes a lot of, um, definitely makes a lot of sense. So is that what you would recommend to people that are like at the point where they’re getting pretty close to burnout? Would you just say start with relationships or is there any other exercises that you can think of that would help somebody that’s pretty far down the road and made some, made some bad choices when it comes to their energy?

17:40 You know, I think that it’s important that you really just step back. Okay. And no matter where you’re at, even if you’re, you’re having great success, I always stay in a state of observation. Okay. And so what happens is a lot of times we sorta just get into the mode of, you know, most business owners are technicians, right? They started in this case with photography and they were forced to go and figure out how to run a business, basically. Right? You know, they didn’t just wake up and were like, yeah, I’m going to go do some, you know, accounting, you know, or I’m going to go, I’m going to go figure out how to generate new business. Um, no, they just generally had a passion or they invented something or they came out with a service and they were passionate about that. And so what happens is, you know, as we start to step into this business world and we start to learn some skills and you know, we might run off and learn some stuff from, from somebody and start applying those in our business, whether they work or not, we sort of get in that we feel comfortable in the, in the mode of a technician and we’re constantly just working in the business day in and day out, right?

18:45 Doing the, it’s basically like you own a job, you started your own thing, you’re a photographer. But if you back up, you say, well, actually I just own my own job. I don’t really own a business. And what you need to do is start looking at yourself and your business from a, from somebody that’s on the outside as an observer and looking for really what’s going on, right? Because a lot of these technicians and these repetitive steps that we’re taking every day is something that got us where we’re at. But it’s not going to be what it takes, what it takes to get to the next level. So we need to dissolve a lot of these old activities that we continue to do that might’ve gotten us where we’re at, but we’re not sort of changing, you know, those tasks to be higher value tasks.

19:31 We’re still stuck on low value tasks because we think we need to do that too to continue our growth and success. And what we need to do is step back and be an observer and look for ways to dissolve the things that again, don’t serve us any longer, serve us any longer and focus our energy on new skills and new ways or the things that have always worked that we’re not putting enough of our own energy into so that we can get that reflected back to us in improvements in our business, in our life and how we feel.

20:03 Yeah, that makes sense. So let me give you an example real quick. You know, kind of speaking to my audience, but also kind of letting you know like what I see in the photography industry is editing and retouching is one of those things that you were just kind of talking about where when you first get in the business you have to take pictures, but then you have to spend time editing and retouching the pictures, especially in the portrait world that we’re in, you know, where you just make people look nice but very quickly in your business I think becomes one of those low level tasks that you, that you could outsource at any point. But people hold onto it because they’re like, I’m an artist. It’s part of what I do, you know, it is my brand, which like we’ve outsourced our editing for years and it’s really easy for you to make a quick video and explain to somebody else that’s probably actually better editing and retouching than you are anyways.

20:48 But just explain this as what I look for and this is what I’m doing and that’s kind of where I want it to be. And the customer never will see the difference, but it allows you to take that task and mood off. But so many photographers will go out and do a photo session for an hour or two and then they’ll spend an additional two to four hours editing the pictures instead of doing higher level tasks that can actually help them grow their business. Or maybe even spending time with their family or friends or other things that bring them energy and they just, they just never get rid of some of these low level tasks. I think. So I think editing and retouching is definitely one of those things in our industry that people hold on to way, way too long.

21:23 Yeah, that’s great. And I’m glad you brought out a specific example and I would say that to your point, you know, really think about what is it, what’s the value that you bring your marketplace and what are you trying to protect by saying, well, that’s my art. What you’re doing is you’re actually limiting the value in that mindset. You’re limiting the value you can bring to the marketplace. Because imagine if you had someone you know who retouched the photos just like the way that you want. And obviously with technology, whether you’re using loom or zoom or something else to record the videos, they can really get a feel, you know, with a couple of videos, go back and forth and May, I use a lot of outsourcers in my business and it feels so good to be able to help people cross the world, you know, generate an income and let their unique gifts shine and they love doing it.

22:08 So, you know, don’t be fearful of outsourcing because you’re actually helping others in that process and helping yourself let go of things to your point, Matt, that really aren’t serving you any longer so that you can be out in the field and be looking for relationships to cultivate whether they’re existing or new. And looking for ways to bring that, that art, that gift that you have to more people. And that’s, that’s really where when you start to see your business grow and it, it’s, it’s when you start to feel, you start to feel the success that you’ve always wanted to feel that you thought was always somewhere out there. It’s actually inside of you. It’s just the way that you’re approaching what you’re doing today. So whether you’re at the stage of burnout or you’re already having success, you need to step back and be an observer both in your personal and your business life and look for those opportunities even in person, in your personal life.

22:58 Like what are these repetitive tasks that we do that you know, really don’t need to be done? You just do them because it fills your time when you could be spending time with your loved ones, you know, and your family or your, you know, looking for opportunities to hang out with your friends because you don’t have time to do that anymore. You know, look for those opportunities. The beauty is you can use these tools in your personal life and you should as well as your business and literally overnight by just using some of these tools that I’m giving you. You can just change your state of mind and just feel amazing in the work that you’re doing everyday.

23:34 All right, awesome stuff guys. Hey, on that note, let’s just take a quick break and we’ll be right back. Hey everyone, tell me if this sounds familiar. You look at your calendar and notice you need clients now so you do a little marketing

23:46 and get some phone calls. You get busy helping those new clients. They schedule sessions, they place orders and life is good, but once they’re done, your calendar is empty again, the reason is you didn’t have time to market while you were busy. Sometimes your business feels like a roller coaster and let me tell you something. It is, and believe me, you’re not alone. Photographers everywhere have the same problem, but I have some great news. Max Business, Allison Ragsdale, photography after years of trial and error has cracked the code. It works so well. He’s created a new class all about it. It’s called get clients. Now a dead simple approach to getting photography clients. Everyone at from nothing to profit is excited to share this info with you because this system help Matt and Alison Book Hundreds of clients this year at their studio and the best part about this system is that it’s simple to set up and it works while you’re sleeping.

24:34 No hard selling or creepy marketing. All you have to do is help your clients answer their most pressing questions. Clients love the system and say it is the number one reason they book with Matt and Alison. If you’re interested in learning more about this system, go to photo podcast.com forward slash simple Matt has created a short free video that introduces the system. If you like what you hear, podcast or listeners get an exclusive discount on the full class, so make sure you go to photo podcast.com forward slash simple and sign up for the free video. It will help you book more clients now and create the business you’ve always wanted.

25:08 Well, I don’t know if we have much more to cover cause I think that’s really good for people to hear. And I think you had a, you know, this is something I’ve thought about for a long time but I just didn’t have the words to put to it. So I really appreciate, you know, you posted in some of your stuff online and then coming on the podcast like in less than 24 hours to share this with the audience because I think this will serve a lot of people, you know, in our industry and you probably, when you first started this, you probably never thought, okay I’m going to post this end up on a photography podcast and I’m going to change, you know, a dozen photographers lives. But that’s probably what’s gonna happen. And so, um, I’m really grateful that you made the time to come on and do this. So let’s wrap up real quick. Basically tell people a little bit about how they can connect with you, what services you offer. I mean just just full on plug cause I know you serve a lot of people in and there might be some of our listeners that could totally benefit from working with you.

25:57 Yeah, absolutely. I’d be happy to help them any way I can, you know one obviously my passion project, you can go to 80 20 business, eight zero two zero business.com and request a free strategy session. I’d be happy to connect with you and give you some more deep insights on how you can grow your business. Also I have uh, something in the works. I’m going to be building the business transformation experience, which is going to be an eight week group coaching program that I’m going to launch at the end of the third quarter here. So it’s gonna Start October 1st so we’ll spend the last quarter of the year really helping you grow your business. So that’ll be coming soon. And then certainly you can check out zen fusion.com and that’s where we can help you with Facebook ads. If you’re at a place where you want to grow your business and you know Facebook ads can help

26:44 you, I can help you there too. Awesome. Well again, thanks so much. Yeah, if you guys need anything from Justin, obviously you can tell he is in the business of, of serving other entrepreneurs. I think that’s why we connected so many years ago and then every time I went back to the conference I definitely spent time chatting with you because I think you have the right perspective. When I think about your coaching program or in about growing your business, it’s obviously not going to be the same thing. That’s like, you know, just chase down more people in charge, charge more money. It’s definitely going to be like, you know, how can you serve people and how can you do more with less, which is, which is awesome. So I really, really appreciate it. So yeah, we’ll just jump off. Thanks so much again for being on guys. We’ll see you guys next week and if you guys have any questions, reach out to me or always a go to 80 20 business.com and reach out to Justin. Thanks so much guys.

27:30 Thank you for listening to from nothing to profit a photographers podcast with Matt and Kaya. Be sure to subscribe for more business strategy and ideas to help you create the profitable and successful business you’ve always wanted. See you on the next episode of from nothing to profit.

 

About the author, Matt

Photographer Durango Colorado

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