Episode 113: How a Homeschooling Mom of 3 Rescued Her Floundering Photography Business 

How a Homeschooling Mom of 3 Rescued Her Floundering Photography Business


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Ashlie’s a homeschool mom of three kids, who recently got her “Julie,” a client who invested at least $1,000 in portraits.

You have to see how her story unfolded.

Ashlie Steinau:

I’m Ashlie from Wallingford, Connecticut.

I have three kids, teenage twins and a toddler.

I homeschool, and it has been a very long last couple years.

I’m a pre-COVID homeschooler, so I’ve been doing it for a long time, but I really got into my photography a lot more since COVID.

I’ve been a photographer since 2013 and started as shoot and burn.

I was a 19 year old, single parent when I got pregnant with my twins.

I worked multiple jobs all the time, so that I could put myself through college.

I have more money spent in education and photography than I did for forensics, and I have a six year forensic degree, and I have six college degrees.

I made a career of going to school, for some weird reason.

But I’ve always been a hard worker, because that was how I needed to survive.

When I had my youngest, I didn’t want to go back to work.

I decided after she was born, I’m going full-time with my photography.

I still work multiple jobs to this day but it’s not because I don’t make the money in photography, I just like what I do. 

Sarah Petty:

When you joined our Boutique Breakthrough workshop, you kind of didn’t tell your hubby right away. How come? 

Ashlie Steinau:

When I went back with my photography, I was shoot and burn for a really long time.

It was always about trying to get all the money in.

When COVID hit, I tanked from there, because I didn’t have a studio and I didn’t want people in my house.

I didn’t really know what to do with myself, but I started investing a lot of money in photography education.

I was making money, so it wasn’t a big deal, but then I had lost my job in the midst of COVID, and I didn’t know what I was going to do.

I didn’t want to tell him that I was spending more money on another thing, because nothing was working.

Well, your ads popped up and they kept screaming at me.

So I did one of your challenges and fell in love instantly because I had already started to see that this would work.

I invested in Boutique Breakthrough, and I didn’t tell him, because I was afraid he was going to get mad that I spent more money that I was already in the hole for.

That was my fear in my head, and I didn’t tell him until the end of Boutique Breakthrough, because I got three “Julies”, and two almost “Julies” during the course.

It wasn’t until my Square started depositing thousands of dollars into my bank account that he asked where the money was coming from and I told him.

Sarah Petty:

You know what I’m proud of you for?

It’s that a lot of people, they do some random class that they think will solve all their problems, and it doesn’t work, so they think they can’t do this.

I’m proud of you for finding the model that works for you and makes you profitable.

Most people don’t even know that they’re looking for a business model. 

Ashlie Steinau:

I’m a very big believer in fate and everything happens for a reason.

I lost my job at the right time, because now I can invest in this.

I feel like I took a piece of learning from everything even when some of the courses didn’t work.

You can always learn from something, even if it doesn’t give you all the answers you need.

But my biggest piece that I learned in Boutique Breakthrough was to believe in myself and that I’m worth it.

The support is everything and it’s what I needed.

And by continuously telling me that I’m worth it, I stopped caring what other people thought, for the most part.

I still have a small part of me that still cares, but if you don’t book with me because I’m too much money, it doesn’t hurt my feelings anymore like it used to. 

Sarah Petty:

I look at that community and support kind of like bumper lanes in a bowling alley.

You’re just balls going down a lane, and if you don’t have those bumpers, you could be four lanes over and not even know it.

So, with your “Julies,” do you have any fun stories you can share about how you got them, or what happened when you were geeking out over what they were investing with you?

Ashlie Steinau:

So my first “Julie” wasn’t anything that I had planned for.

I had already had her booked.

It was supposed to be a $90 dance competition headshot.

She paid me $249 for her session, then $90 for an 8×10 image for a dance competition.

Every year, I get these kids, and this just happened to be a new one that one of my other dance girls brought in with her.

She asked me to take a picture of her too and I did.

I had just started going through Boutique Breakthrough and learning things and told her that I specialize in portrait series now.

So I asked her if I could grab a couple extra photos and they said yes.

I did it really poorly and if I had done it the right way, I would’ve made a lot more money.

I showed her a video of all her images and showed her these little series.

After the initial money she invested, it was like another $1,200 that she spent with me. 

My other funny story was the one that I had after her.

I did her older daughter’s baby photos back when I charged $50.

It was like a mini-session, and I gave her all the digitals.

She came to me for newborn photos of her new child, and I was terrified because I was so cheap last time.

But I went through the whole process with her and she invested $1,500! 

Sarah Petty:

That is amazing!

So, one would’ve been a $90 order, and she would’ve left, and imperfectly, you did it and you ended up with a “Julie.”

Second one, would’ve just sold the $50 digital files like you did with her first child, and not served her.

Ashlie, I am so proud of you.

Thank you so much for being here and sharing your story.

Episode 221 – What #FamilyFirst Really Means

Family first is our credo, our motto, one of the three pieces of our framework at the Photography Business Institute, and the reason I have taken so many risks in my career when I could have had a nice well-paying, safe job that came with golden handcuffs to my desk....