Advice

#MontanaBoss Friday: Tori Pintar of Tori Pintar Photography

Happy Friday, boss! A day of lazily closing out the week, chatting with your co-workers (aka your pets) about your weekend plans, and hopefully closing up shop juuuust a little early. Each Friday, we'll be doing a feature on an amazing creative business owner in the Big Sky State, so that we can all learn a little bit more about the struggle and the awesomeness of being a business owner. Click here to read other interviews with amazing women from around the state!

Tori Pintar from Tori Pintar Photography

Tori Pintar from Tori Pintar Photography

Hey girl hey! Introduce yourself and tell us about your biz!

Hi! I'm Tori Pintar of Tori Pintar Photography. I'm a Wedding photographer for couples who break the rules because they want a wedding that reflects who they are and the love they have for one another AND the love they have for those dearest to them. For the moms and dads that are rule breakers and raising future rule breakers I also love to spend a morning with them capturing real, chaotic and beautiful family life.

How did you start your boss lady journey?

Accidentally. You might laugh at that, but really. I didn't realize I'd crossed the threshold of self-employed and entrepreneurship until I'd been all in for six or nine months, maybe even a year.

Specifically, people who cared about me helped to create opportunities for me to pursue my passion as a business. They'd noticed just how much I loved taking photographs of people and how fascinated I was with the creativity in the wedding industry and two key things happened.

A friend who did event planning connected me with a couple who couldn't afford photography in a traditional sense and they hired inexperienced me. I pulled an all-nighter to make a slideshow in iPhoto of my 'portfolio' paired with terrible, sappy music to get the job.

On the day, I worked 15 hours for $300.00 and I loved every minute of it. I thought that was so much money!

Then, my uncle connected me to Kene Sperry of Eye in the Sky Photography. This is when serendipity really stepped in, because for the first time, Kene was looking to expand and add a studio manager and possible associate photographer. I worked for free for him that summer to make sure I was the person he hired.

Getting my first paid job was huge, because the idea of being paid to do something I loved seemed impossible and something that 'other' people do. Teaming up with Kene, I found an incredible mentor, learned so much about business and realized that I wanted to run my own, and being a business owner was just as exciting and fulfilling as the photography.

Have you gone full-time with your business?

I pursued payment for my wedding photography services because it felt like the only option for me. Photography was my passion. I was living, breathing and sleeping it.

Fortunately, I found out that I also really liked being a boss lady. Building a brand and a service and experience driven business was fascinating to me and presented constant challenges that kept me on my toes.

At some point, I transitioned mentally from I need to do this passion project to I'm going to build a successful business and life doing something I love. I was hooked by the self-employment beast, but I still hadn't taken complete ownership.

After about two and a half years since I'd made my first $300, I hired a business coach. I was scared to break away from Eye in the Sky and sad to leave such a great team, but deep down I knew that I had to take the reigns and complete responsibility of my business.

Kene and I both knew it and we mutually decided I'd become full time Tori Pintar Photography about two and a half years ago.

How do you build an income and a life through Tori Pintar Photography?

Each calendar year I photograph 15-20 weddings and about 15 families. I will occasionally take on other projects for past clients and local community members that range from event photography to portraits at the school if they're the right fit for me or I need the additional income.

What do you LOVE about being your own boss?

The responsibility.

As much as I'm sometimes terrified that it's all me, I love that I have moments where I look at the clothes hanging in my closet, some of which are actually kind of nice now, and I think I bought those with the money that I--painstakingly at times--made.

Or I recently, joined a wine club, something five or even one year ago would have been impossible. And while it only costs about $200 a year, it feels like such a big deal that I was able to make that happen with out any sort of traditional employment. My family is fairly conservative in a lot of ways, and I've always been the walking to the beat of her own drum member, so I've found huge empowerment in living a life that feels authentic to me but still being able to successfully (at times) adult.

I get bored easily. I couldn't live in southern California anymore for a lot of reasons, but the perfect 80 degree days in December and May and October are high up there on the list. That consistent weather was just so boring to me!

Being a boss lady, I wake up challenged almost every day. The possibilities of what we can do with our businesses, the directions we can take them, the changes we can make, simultaneously excite and overwhelm me.

As the years in business increase, I'm getting more sunk in to the excitement however, because I've also realized that the endless possibilities and choices we make for our businesses most are not permanent. It's ok to test something out and not have it work out or to have something start as an orange and turn into a watermelon. This shift in mindset makes me ecstatic about all the things I can do with my business!

What was your most expensive mistake?

Hiring someone to manage my SEO and not managing them and their progress. I paid them a small fortune for almost a year and I'm on page 5 for my keywords and I'm one of two wedding photographers who reside in Big Sky physically and my website doesn't come up on page one for Big Sky Wedding Photographers.

I tricked myself with the game of being 'busy' into thinking I didn't have time to mitigate this situation or manage my SEO another so I hoped it would just get better.

Really I was just avoiding the tough confrontation of firing them and sharing my truthful experience with a fellow business owner and admitting I had wasted so much money. I've made similar financial mistakes because of 'being' busy but I've found I'm often just avoiding something that is confusing to me which then turns into fear of the unknown and inaction. Taxes are a good example!

What's the biggest misconception that women have around business ownership?

That you're going to wake up on day one and have this beautiful routine where you run in the morning, make a nice breakfast, have a cup of tea, work for eight productive uninterrupted hours with maybe a long lunch in there and then finish for the day and mentally leave your 'work' behind you.

And when you fail at this, that there is something wrong with you and you should beat yourself up about it. Figuring out your working life, routine and habits is one of the biggest challenges to being self-employed.

No one can tell you exactly how to do this. There is no secret formula. Which is both amazing and frustrating. You literally get to build every piece of what your day to day life looks like (yay!) and you literally have to figure out through trial and error, a lot of tears and days in your pajamas with teeth you haven't brushed at 3pm what every piece of your day to day looks like.

Where would you like to be in the next year? The next five years?

With more boxes on my to do list and project list checked off.

I'm on a mission this year to finish things. My mantra is done is better than perfect! Perfection has been halting me in my tracks so I'm trying to just do. Each day I want to accomplish more little things by letting go of so much of the minutiae.

For example a Facebook post that might have taken 15 minutes, now takes 5. In the grander project scheme of things, I have a list of ideas I've wanted to make happen in my business, some of them going on 4 years now, I'd love to look back and have accomplished or at least tried out 3-5 of those.

When I think about five years, I hope I've attempted and completed some really big projects. I have one I'm in the brainstorming stages of now and it's a personal project but it could create some financial/business opportunities in the future. Right now, I'm doing it just for me and I want to keep the focus that way but I know the personal project connects to my core values and passions which will have long term benefits.

What one piece of advice would you give yourself in your first year as a biz owner?

Year One: Don't be afraid to try out a lot things and see what works for you. You don't have to get it right the first or 15th time. Just pick somewhere to start and start even if it is just baby steps. Those steps add up. I promise.

Year Three: Stop working all the time! Go outside. Make a date to hang out with friends and keep it no matter what. Life is both short and long. Short so make the most of it with the people you love but long in that if you don't do this one project today or this month, you have time do it next month. Friends, life, love, joy, you need those to be your best boss lady self.

Want to get in touch with Tori? Check her out on her website. Send her an email and tell her how you found out about her (*cough* The #MontanaBoss feature *cough*)

(P.S. Want to share your story with other Montana business owners? Click here.)

Tutorial Tuesday: How I Use Asana with Google Calendar for the Most Productive Day Ever

A tutorial on how to use Asana with Google Calendar

A tutorial on how to use Asana with Google Calendar

Last week I was all up on my high horse about being productive.

Then I realized that I was holding onto one of my best kept secrets: the way I ACTUALLY schedule and plan my day, every day.

If you're a primarily client-based business or you take a lot of meetings throughout the day and you want to know how to stay on top of your projects, this post is for you.

I'm going to show you how I:

a) Schedule my weeks and make sure my project planning is on point

b) Use a scheduling software to make sure I don't ever miss a meeting

c) Use my overall calendar with my project management system to get things done

TOOLS

1) Google Calendar

2) Asana

3) YouCanBook.me Scheduling Software

Step 1 | Better ORGANIZE!

After creating accounts with each of these platforms, I open up my weekly calendar. I have a repeating "Appointment" in the morning where I spend one hour drinking coffee in my pajamas and going through all of my projects for the day (in blue).

Using Google Calendar to plan my day with a recurring appointment

I then look at my "To Dos" for the day (the things in purple). These are synced with my Asana project management software (where I write everything down under a certain project heading) and pull in every day.

Step 2 | Brain Dump

After I organize my day, I write down anything that's floating around in my brain or that I just remembered into my Asana. On the left, there are a ton of projects that I'm working on, and my goal is to simply write down the next one or two tasks to continue moving each project forward. I then assign each "To Do" to myself and give it a due date.

How to use Asana as a project management software

Step 3 | Review my overall project calendar in Asana

After I give all my "To Dos" a due date, I color code each project (on the left in the image above) and then I flip over to the calendar view to see what my month looks like. If any day looks too heavy (more than 3 - 5 tasks) I try to reallocate as necessary.

Sometimes the tasks are little (like "Email caterer" or "Send proposal") which are okay. However, I find that if I'm staring at a day with 9+ tasks, even if they're little, it feels extremely overwhelming.

Step 4 | Open Google Calendar and check in with Asana as necessary

I keep two tabs open at all times: my Asana project management and my Google Calendar.

I check in with each of these things hourly to make sure I'm on track each day.

If I don't get something done, I move it to the next day or I stay up a little later at night and work on whatever I missed.

Your turn! How do you keep yourself on track every day?

How to Choose an Accountability Partner

I know it. You know it. It's the biiiiiig entrepreneurial secret.

We have 5,000 projects going at the same time...and yet somehow, none of them get done.

Or we say "I'm going to create really great content, launch a new product or service, and FINALLY let go of the time-for-money cycle."

And then? Gilmore Girls and Netflix and client hunting and...not doing any of those things that you said you were going to do.

(Guilty.)

Here's the thing: we're terrible at being accountable to ourselves.

I can't even tell you the amount of times I've said "I'm totally going to send out an email about my new service!" and the weeks tick by and my bank account stays empty. And I get to hide behind the fact that nobody else knew this goal and so I don't need to actually complete it if I don't feel motivated to do so (or more likely, I'm too scared to do so).

Which is why we need good accountability partners. We need people who ask the right questions, people who help drive us in the directions of our dreams, and people who similarly want to get shit done too, and need someone to call them out when they're not producing.

The other major piece to this? We need to BE good accountability partners. We need to know how to ask the right questions, we need to have a good structure set up, and we need to not flake out on our partner when life gets busy.

Which means we need to actually care about what the other person says and does instead of just worrying about ourselves.


So what are the attributes to look for when you're choosing an accountability partner?

1. Be in similar places in your business

I've had accountability partners who are WAY ahead of me in business and it almost became a mentor/mentee relationship, which meant I wasn't putting in as much as I was getting and the relationship felt unbalanced.

Make sure you and your partner are in the same year of business, especially if you're newbies. Year One and Year Two of business can be DRASTICALLY different on the learning curve, so before you commit to someone, make sure you get to know them a little bit.

2. Make sure you conduct your business in similar ways

There are TONS of people in the online world that are looking for accountability partners. Which is why I recommend you choose a partner that "gets" your way of doing business. If you create physical products, getting a partner that also makes and sells products is only going to help you learn. Same if you're a service provider or you sell online courses.

If you and your partner have wildly different businesses (like physical retail vs. online service providers), you're going to have different goals and different wants and needs.

You don't necessarily have to be in the same industry (like two photographers or two wedding planners), but having similar methods of doing business and HOW you're serving customers is the best way to go when creating a relationship like this one.

3. Make sure you have similar goals.

I cannot tell you how often accountability partnerships flame out because the goals aren't fleshed out in advance. Some people need accountability not for work that needs to get done, but for emotional support. Some people want an accountability partner that's going to email back and forth with them throughout the day asking questions about different projects. Some people want a check-in once a month for updates about business, and no contact in between.

Make sure you're on the same page about what your goals are. And if you're looking for an accountability partner but haven't done a deep dive into your goals? Do that first BEFORE you put the word out that you're on the hunt.

Some goals can be:

a. I want someone who will check in with me once a week and I'll check in with them via email. I don't need hand holding, but I want someone who is creating awesome things and who will inspire me to do the same.

b. I want to grow the digital offerings that I have and need someone who has experience/wants to do the same.

c. I want someone that I can call and text randomly to vent about business since no one in my friend circle understands.

d. I want someone who has a coaching background and can ask the right questions (which I can ask back to them).

4. Make sure you know them a little bit.

Whenever I see someone who does a blanket call for accountability on Facebook, I always cringe a little. There are SO many business owners online and in your community that it makes the most sense for you to create an accountability relationship with someone you already know and trust.

DON'T pick the first person who responds to you and then start your relationship. Have a few intake calls, try to get to know them a little bit, and share your goals with each other BEFORE you enter into anything serious (just like dating!).

5. Make sure they're willing to share the work.

Often, accountability relationships can be one-sided if one person is more motivated than the other. This can lead to one person investing more into the relationship than the other (just like dating!).

At the outset, decide how you're going to share responsibility. Maybe one person starts each week with their goals and the other person asks probing questions, and then you switch off. Maybe one person is tasked with calling and emailing and the other person takes notes or manages a spreadsheet of accountability goals.

Just like any relationships, sharing the responsibility to maintain the relationship is important.

#MontanaBoss Friday: Cassidy Wendell, The Wellness Rookie

Happy Friday, boss! A day of lazily closing out the week, chatting with your co-workers (aka your pets) about your weekend plans, and hopefully closing up shop juuuust a little early. Each Friday, we'll be doing a feature on an amazing creative business owner in the Big Sky State, so that we can all learn a little bit more about the struggle and the awesomeness of being a business owner. Click here to read other interviews with amazing women from around the state!

Hey girl hey! Introduce yourself and tell us about your biz!

I'm Cassidy Wendell, the Wellness Rookie. I am a holistic health coach, personal trainer and blogger living in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. I help everyday women make sense of the BS surrounding health and fitness by giving out the rookie advice you need from the wellness expert you can relate to.

How did you start your boss lady journey?

I didn't always have the right answers.....I was just as stressed, bloated, anxious, and out of shape as the rest of them. I used to think exercise was punishment for what I ate and drank the night before, food was intimidating as hell, and the word "balance" meant the right proportion of vodka to my soda. Uhm can you say major fail??
 

Have you gone full-time with your business?

Not quite. Ever since my dad passed away, I've helped my mom operate the family business; a steakhouse in Cardwell, Montana. She currently has it on the market so the second that place sells I plan on devoting every single waking minute to growing my business.
 

Okay, let's talk about the DNA behind The Wellness Rookie. Were you one of those women with entrepreneurship basically in your blood that we always hear about?

Ever since I could walk, I hated being told what to do. I knew I was destined to be a Boss Lady from the young age of 3. It also stemmed from the fact that every person in my immediate family owns their own business or has in the past. It's definitely in my blood.

What do you LOOOOVE about being your own boss?

I love being my own boss because I'm addicted to the hustle. I'm always after the "what's next?" for my business and secretly love the hard work that goes into it. But the best part? Having the option to take a "me" day or a day off whenever I want. When the hustle and the down time mix together, it's a truly balancing experience.

How do you build an income and a life through The Wellness Rookie?

My income is a definite mix of various avenues. About 40% comes from our family business, 25% from personal training, 25% from health coaching, and the remaining 10% from blogging, online programs, & affiliate marketing.

What was your most expensive mistake?

Not checking into trademarks and copyright laws. Make sure you are the only "you" out there before diving in headfirst.

here would you like to be in the next year? The next five years?

I hope to be out of our family business and doing my health & wellness business full-time. In the next five years, I wish to be working mostly online (blogging, coaching, speaking) where I can become geographically independent.


How would you define a Boss Lady?

In the words of Ronda Rousey, "not a do-nothing B***h" (Editor's note: Yeeeeeaaaaaa!)


What one piece of advice would you give yourself in your first year as a biz owner?

Good things take time. Even though you may have a million things you want to accomplish, it's better to be a pro at one thing than an amateur at several.

Want to get in touch with Cass? Check her out on her website or over on Instagram. Give her a big wave and tell her how you found out about her (*cough* The #MontanaBoss feature *cough*)

(P.S. Want to share your story with other Montana business owners? Click here.)

What is a "Boss Lady"?

Forgive me if you've seen this already on Instagram, but in a moment of sheer genius (aka after about 3 dozen Christmas cookies and a flight of Maker's Mark), I decided that it was time to actually DEFINE this #bosslady business.

(And Maker's + Christmas cookies always helps when you're trying to get deep into the soul of your business, amiright?)

Because the truth is...

...being a BOSS sounds good in theory, but it's actually quite difficult.

...being a BOSS means doing the hard thing (blogging, devoting time to marketing, pitching a new client, creating a brand new set of events) when there's no one telling you to not do  the easy thing (watch Netflix, screw around on Facebook, paint your toenails, did I mention Netflix?).

...being a BOSS isn't just what you do all day. It's how you live your life, how you share your unique gift, and what you tell the haters (which absolutely should be one word: BYE!)

...being a BOSS (and I guess here is where I make the gender qualifier) LADY means:

1. Being serious about your business...whatever serious means to you. 

The biggest indicator of a woman deserving of the title "BOSS" is someone who wants the life of working for herself, and pursues it endlessly.

Which sometimes, can look like laying down the hammer for a year while she gets her marriage in order.

Or takes care of her young children.

Or works on herself.

Or travels...because she always promised herself she would.

Or works part-time because that's really all she wants to work.

The best thing about being your own BOSS is that YOU get to decide...not your mama, not your best friend, not your husband.

YOU, sister.

And whatever being a boss to you looks like is exactly what you should be. 

Ain't nobody got time for apologizing. There are empires to build, and states-of-the-business to run.

Be a BOSS...and be utterly dedicated to doing it. The rest will come, so long as you're loyal to your own vision (which will probably change...hourly. Just go with it).

Note: There is nothing more powerful than a Boss Lady who owns her vision. So if you find yourself taking endless meetings with people who you think are going to give you the secret of business ownership, and then immediately after complaining to your friends about how "you maybe are going to change directions" and "you're not quite sure about pottery" and "maybe next year when you have more time"...I'm going to side-eye the holy hell out of you.

Boss Ladies do ONE THING and that is COMMIT...to saying YES, to saying NO, to moving in a different direction, to moving to a different state. That's all I'm asking of you: commit to your mission and forget everybody else. 

2. Being so completely in love with what you're doing that you don't even have time to be jealous.

Which, fair enough, is easier said than done. The one thing that destroys me about a lot of networking groups is that there is this underlying tone of competition...and I'm here to tell you that women who are BOSS don't worry about competition.

Competition keeps the market healthy, and the minute you start spiraling into that "Well, but she's totally stealing my clients by being in business!" is the moment your BOSS tiara gets snatched off your head.

Her success does not mean your failure. Her success simply means you get to cheer her on while you flip your hair and continue killing it.

3. Cheering loudly and wildly...for yourself AND for others.

You cannot serve the world by playing small. So yell your achievements loudly, take huge risks and tell us about them...we'll be there cheering right alongside you.

4. Not letting the boys have all the fun.

I've gotten a lot of flack over the last year for not creating an "inclusive" group and opening my community up to a larger market (read: men).

You know what I have to say?

FUUUUUUUUCCK THAAAAAAAATTTTT. 

(Let me compose myself here for a second. And if you're not a swear-er, I promise that's the last time I'll say it in this post.)

Because there are TONS of opportunities that are co-ed and I've been to them and, quite frankly, I think they're terrible. I think they're fake and I think that when you try to play by men's rules, you're still playing by someone else's rules.

You know what's not terrible? When you get a bunch of women in a room together and you talk to them about being supportive and not taking any nonsense and lifting each other up.

THAT is what a tribe of sisters can do when we push each other up the ladder.

Inclusivity be damned.

Note: Keep going to those inclusive events, though. I'm not hating on networking events that are co-ed, just events in general that waste my time because we're all conforming to these weird, established rules when really I want to talk about how badly I'm killing it and have three women high-five me and not try to tear me down by saying "Oh that's good! For a woman!"

AND FINALLY!

I wanted to let you know what you can expect from this blog every week.

I'm going to post Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

You'll hear from some AMAZING female business all around the state of Montana and how they make it work in this great (though somewhat resource lacking) state.

There will be educational posts (do I need to file for an LLC? What's the  best website template to use?) and the latest entrepreneurial news from around the state (which I'll have to hire a liaison for because while I'm a Jedi at social media trends, legislation

And to be honest?

You should stick around because this is the ONLY place in all of Montana (and possibly all of the Mountain West) that gives sassy, location-specific advice and story-telling.

And who doesn't need more of that?