Episode 145 – What You Can Learn From My Response to an Instagram Meanie

Episode 145 – What You Can Learn From My Response to an Instagram Meanie


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Whatever their reason is, there are people who decide it’s their place to tear other people down on social media.

It recently happened to me, so I’m going to share the comment that was posted on my Instagram and how I handled it. 

I hope if this ever happens to you or someone you know, you can use these tips!

When I look back on high school, one thing always bothered me.

There seemed to always be that person or small group of people who were just mean, for no reason.

And as I’ve raised children in this day and age, I saw the same thing with people in their high school.

But now it’s public, on social media.

Social media is such an easy platform for people to share their unfiltered thoughts, right as they pop into their heads, without pausing to even think first.

I’ve learned a ton of lessons in my life about rejection and how to keep going.

But when I started Joy of Marketing and social media became a thing, I was so nervous.

I didn’t post much, if at all.

Then I realized, to help people make a change in their lives and to get their attention, I had to be a little polarizing.

I had to take a stand for something.

Because if you’re vanilla as a leader, it doesn’t serve anyone.

No one listens.

For me, what that looks like is a great dislike of digital files.

You hear me say it all the time: ditch the digitals!! I had to be okay with letting the world know where I stand, as a creative and as a photographer.

Which also goes hand in hand with making money.

Teaching people how to run a business is my job.

And by definition, a business is trying to make money, so we talk about money here.

In my personal life, I don’t go to parties and talk about how much money I made today.

But here on social media, where we’re doing business and I’m coaching photographers on how to build a life doing what they love, that makes me super excited.

I know that what I’m doing is helping people, which gets me up every day and motivates me.

I’m going to give you a couple of parts of the negative message that was sent to me, in a public place.

Here’s a direct quote from it: “You should be ashamed of teaching ignorant, new photographers how to take advantage of people. Money with no skills.”

I guess that’s what she’s putting through her filter, and that’s what she’s thinking about what we’re doing here as we’re changing lives. 

I heard a quote recently that was credited to Tony Robbins and it really resonated with me.

It said, “All communication is either a loving response or a cry for help.”

Whenever things like this are said to me or directed toward me, I try to use that filter.

I can tell this person is probably hurting and so I can take away the mean parts of the comment and ask myself, is there anything of value here?

After I read this comment, my first reaction was: Why would someone feel this way about someone in the industry teaching new photographers how to make money in their business?

If your child is behind in school and they’re not doing well, what do you do?

You hire a tutor.

You get them the help they need and encourage them, because you never know what they’re truly capable of.

And for me, there are people out there who desperately want to make money with their cameras.

It might be the thing that saves their lives, gets them out of bad situations, gets them out of debt, lets them dream bigger, and takes the stress off their body.

Why are they not deserving of having a coach who can help them learn to make money the right way?

When we invest in coaching, we can get further faster, but what I’ve learned by being both the mentee and the mentor is that being in the right room matters.

In our room, we have super strong core values.

We don’t allow negativity or passive-aggressive bullying.

One of our core values is: we lift as we climb.

We help each other because none of us have it figured out.

I don’t even have it figured out after 20 years in business.

We take personal responsibility and we teach people how to not shame and blame others.

She also went on to say,  “There’s something about you that I found OFF… maybe it’s your money obsession using photography that bugs me.”

I’m not sure if she’s emphasizing that I have a money obsession or that I’m using photography to make money, but evidently, they both bug her.

So I want to share a bit about why I love talking about money and I hope it inspires you.

Society teaches us to suppress any talk about money.

And I see all these people in the world who have terrible credit scores and are living in debt.

It makes me crazy because you don’t have to live your life this way!! 

Luckily, my dad was an entrepreneur and he taught me about money.

We talked openly about it, but only at home. 

Then I came across this woman, Brooke Castillo.

She teaches life coaches how to make money.

Life coaches are in that vein of therapists in the world.

They’re not trained therapists, but they’re helping people get through their head trash and keep moving forward.

She’s always getting lambasted by people telling her, “You shouldn’t be teaching these people to make money as life coaches. They’re meant to be servants. They’re supposed to serve others.”

And I love listening to her feel these questions.

And she says, “I’ll never apologize about this because women need to know that they can make money and that they don’t have to rely on a man or another person to take care of them.”

But this is what really impacted me and changed everything for me: I was listening to her podcast several years ago, and she talked about how that year she had made $17 million, working three days a week.

I couldn’t believe it.

Making any salary working three days a week sounds pretty good, but in my mind, that just wasn’t even possible.

I had three kids and I was loving what I was doing, but I was working really hard, which is fine.

My parents taught me, “Good things come to those who work hard.”

Hard work is a core value that I grew up with and as a society, we value hard work.

But that one podcast changed everything about how I look at my life.

And it’s funny because after I heard that, my company started having major growth.

I have an abundance mindset now and it has changed everything for me.

I hope you look at your business a little bit differently, too.

It’s all about perspective.

I want to continue to be here, to challenge you, and to show you possibilities that you are not seeing for yourself.

Because I see the results every day from people I’m helping, both in my photography business and at Joy of Marketing, where I’m empowering other photographers to do what I’m doing and make their lives better.

Let’s keep going through this comment.

This person said, “Be honest. You make your money from your courses, not from booking photo shoots with real clients.”

It fascinates me that anybody would be upset when someone who’s mastered something is giving back to the community that they came from, by teaching it.

I don’t apologize for making money at Joy of Marketing coaching photographers, because I’m saving them years of having to learn hard lessons the hard way.

I’ve made over $3 million in the last 25 years in just my photography business alone.

I am still a working photographer.

I got through 9/11, 2008, and now a pandemic.

I had to figure out how to get the framing done, how to get my clients in and out…

I know how to do this like the back of my hand, and I’m still doing it.

I think what makes me a great teacher isn’t my MBA, or my work as a marketing director at an advertising agency, or that I’ve taught college business and marketing courses…

It’s that I’ve failed a ton in my own photography business.

I own my failures and I am so proud of them.

When people want to pull me down because of them, I’ll say, hey, thank you.

My failures are what created the airtight system that I teach.

As you can see, I get fascinated by criticism.

I want you to think about yourself as I’m talking about this, because I find this with a lot of my students when they come in.

Likely something happened in your childhood that’s creating massive resistance towards other people selling things.

I had to dig out those experiences in my past and I had to realize, that was just a situation that happened.

Don’t judge a whole industry because of one experience that didn’t work out your way.

The thing that I think is cool is that we are able to create products and services that solve problems for people, and then we sell them.

They have something of value, which is money, and they see more value in what we have, so we trade.

They give us the paper, we give them our beautiful photography services and there is nothing bad about that.

If you’re having some type of reaction or you’re being triggered by what I’m saying, maybe hold some space for yourself to do some of the work here.

Because if you’re going to be an entrepreneur and you’re going to be in business, you’re going to sell things.

And you’re going to have to do this work sooner or later.

This person with negative comments is struggling to monetize her business because she has so much resistance and negativity toward others who are teaching people how to make money and how to sell.

She likely doesn’t see her own self-worth.

And I’m sure that someone can relate to this. 

Can you? Can you relate to having negative feelings toward others who are successful?

Because your fear and your doubt and all of those things inside of you are resisting allowing that success to come in.

You can’t have one without the other.

What gives me more self-worth is when I actually invest in myself.

I believe we’re worth investing in.

Whether we’re buying artwork of our families, selling artwork of other people’s families, or investing in education to make money.

I have some tips for you when some of these negative things are coming at you.

1. Realize this is about them, not you

I have zero shame here.

I just feel this person probably has had a lot of shame thrown at her and is reacting to something happening in her life.

I’m crystal clear on my mission and my passion, and I know I’m a good person.

I know I’m making an amazing amount of change in the world, both in my photography business and in my coaching business.

I don’t let that pull me down one little bit.

And you don’t have to either.

2. Pause before you respond

I try not to let these things trigger me because it can be easy to just blow out the first thought, like they did, and type it right in.

But you’re only going to throw kerosene on a fire because, typically, people who do this are armed and they are ready to get into battle.

It’s fight or flight.

I consider their perspective, and I ask myself, is there anything of value here?

Because sometimes, coded in the meanness, there actually is some good feedback.

When I looked at this post, it inspired me to create this content.

Because I could use this as a learning experience to help other people who might be struggling with these same issues toward other people.

I wanted to offer a different perspective.

3. Know it’s okay if people don’t like you or what you’re doing

I’m giving you permission not to accept others’ head trash.

I’ve had three clients who have lost someone who I had photographed.

And this is all they had left in their life.

I couldn’t give them their money back and take the images that I’d charged them for back.

They would pay 100 times what they paid me. 

I’m not inexpensive, and I don’t apologize for that.

But I know that at the end of the day, at the end of people’s lives, they’re not going to be looking for that sofa they bought in 1972 or whatever it was.

They’re going to want that beautiful artwork that they invested in.

My loving response was, while I appreciate your opinion, I disagree.

There’s always a place to teach people about how to be better.

Our culture, here, is about positivity and encouragement.

Let’s agree to disagree, and I’m sending you off with love. 

4. Don’t take the bait

People who post things like this are waiting for you to reply.

She posted more negativity and said a bunch of more things, and she just justified it by saying that she prefers honesty over positivity.

But she believes that her negativity is honest, and that’s more important.

I’m not taking the bait on this one either, because this isn’t honesty.

It isn’t true and it isn’t okay, so I’m not jumping in on it.

I didn’t respond.

5. Hold yourself to a higher standard

I was a high school and college athlete.

And I remember being a little annoyed when our coaches would say, what’s okay for the regular student body isn’t okay for athletes because everybody’s watching you.

You’re a role model.

As entrepreneurs, we’re leaders in our community and we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard because I want people to respect me in my community.

I always wonder this: As business owners, don’t people know that everything you say and do online leaves a digital footprint?

When you post publicly, your friends, your family, and your clients could come across this.

Even if it’s in a group, it could come back to you, because it’s forever.

I’m hoping that when you’re faced with the opportunity to just go off on somebody online, even if they deserve it, you hear my voice.

In the future, are you going to be proud of what you did?

I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, but I hope this just serves as a little reminder that things last when you type them out and hit enter.

6. The law of the mirror

The law of the mirror attracts who you are.

It attracts clients who treat you the way you treat others.

It’s good to think about that, the fact that we all attract what and who we are.

You can create anything you want in your life because there’s a mirror out there.

Become what you want to be, and that’s what’s going to come back to you! 

I hope this has helped at least someone see that you can read these comments about yourself and not blow yourself up with self-doubt or self-hate.

You might even be able to take something important from what you’ve read!

I want you to know that what we do in our businesses helps so many people.

And you don’t have to let the naysayers pull you down.

You can listen to the naysayers and know that you are a good human.

You make mistakes and you say things the wrong way, but you know what, you can forgive yourself and move on.

The world needs photography, the world needs to celebrate the people that they love, and they need to ditch the digitals.

And I’m not apologizing about any of it. 

It doesn’t matter if your goal is $17 million a year, working three days a week, there is more money for you working fewer hours!

I know you can do it, and I believe in you.

Now let’s lift each other up and go do it!

Download the Episode Transcript Here

Episode 145 – What You Can Learn From My Response to an Instagram Meanie
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