Lessons From My Photo Booth Business
Ep. 175
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On this week’s episode, I’m sharing the lessons I learned from my photo booth business. While I knew this business wasn’t what I was passionate about, I’m so grateful to my past self for starting it because I learned so much and it eventually led me to exactly what lights me up.

Show Transcript
I was so grateful for that lesson because it really helped me solidify going forward and even with this podcast and this coaching business to constantly come back to my own north star, to constantly ask myself why am I doing this? Is this what I really want? Or is it I'm seeing every other coaching business do this?

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, quitters. Welcome back to another episode. I'm so excited you are here. How did you like that intro? Should I start, are we all like a quitter club now? I mean, I literally use that URL so should I start addressing you as as the quitters? I love that. Okay, sorry. Completely off point. How is everyone? I am fantastic. Doors are open to the next round of my group program. I have changed the name, very exciting things. It's now called Pave Your Path. If you've been around, it used to be called Stuck to Strategy and I have restructured some things. I've changed part of the program for the next round and the more I was looking at it, the point of it really isn't to, I think it may be misleading to talk about strategy all the time because part of it is, for each of us, we're at different parts of the journey. And so anyways, I figured that Pave Your Path actually lends itself more to what we're doing. Everybody's creating their own path. We're all staying in our own lane and we are figuring out what that path is. That's really the work that we're doing. So for so many of you who know that this job is just not it for you, this career, but there's so much holding you back from figuring out what the next one is. And a lot of that is just the drama in your brain about what it means to walk away and your identity and what people are going to say and think and uh what if you regret it and all the millions of thoughts that make you freaked out and overwhelmed and frustrated and then just make you stay put, I want to change that. You have to take the first step in order to change anything in your life. And so I'm inviting you to take that step with me. Let's hit the ground running in 2022 and make sure that it's not the same as every other year. I know it's hard to invest in yourself. I know it feels weird when you haven't done coaching before. It is an investment of time, of money but I promise you that it will have so many profound effects and impact on all areas of your life. That you're going to look back and think like I can't believe I even questioned investing in myself. So I would love to invite you to join me. You can go to lessonsfromaquitter.com/paveyourpath and find all the information there and come along. It'll, it's going to be an amazing time. I can't wait to do this program in a new way. Okay, so that's that. I'm super excited about today's episode. I actually had someone message me on Instagram and ask like do you have a podcast episode where you talk about your photo booth business? And it got me thinking and I was like well, I've mentioned it. I talk about it here and there. I talk about it in the first episode about, you know, some of the things that like why I built it and how I built it. And then I move on, you know, into how I started this. And I never really got fully into that business and all of the things I learned and the more time passes, the more I realized how pivotal that business was for me. And so I was just thinking like what a great idea for a podcast episode because I have so much to share with you. And so that's why, um, this episode is the lessons from my photo booth business. So let's get started. Okay. If you have listened to the podcast for a while, you probably know the story, but I'm just going to recap how it came to be, because I think that's important. And then we're just going to go through kind of the evolution of what happened with that business. And I'm going to tell you everything that I've learned from it and the things I keep learning from it. Okay so I quit in 2014, my legal career, my job as a lawyer, after I had my son and I took a year off off. I took a year to be with my newborn child. I assure you that I was not taking time off and to figure out what I wanted to do. And I had really no idea. And I've talked about this a number of times, one of the reasons I was so scared of leaving the law was because I truly felt as though I had no other passions and or skills. And I was convinced that there was nothing else I can do. Now, another thing I should say is that I had a very deep-seated belief that business was evil, that I had no interest in making money and/or being in business that I, I literally didn't ever entertain even conversations about other people in their businesses. Like I can't tell you how little I cared. I was like mmm I don't want to learn anything. I remember one time in law school, one of my friends wanted to take a law school class together. We were like looking at the classes for the next semester. And he was like let's take this business law class. I was like nope, nope don't want to learn it. He's like why just learn about it. I was like nope, don't need to know anything about that. So that's just where my mindset was. And so I say this to say like how funny it is that now I I've run two businesses. And I love entrepreneurship and I love business but that's where I was starting. And in that year that I took off, I started going to a ton of meetups, back before the pandemic when we all met in person. Um I had no idea what I wanted to do. And that is my first lesson. I'm really like proud of myself for doing that because contrary to belief that like extroverts love just going out and meeting people, I don't think anybody likes networking like in the traditional sense. Nobody likes being put in a room with a bunch of people they don't know. It's awkward, even for me, who, you know, I guess is considered an extrovert and I can ca-, you know, go up to people and not feel super shy or embarrassed to talk to them. I still dreaded it. And when you're in this place of, I wasn't sleeping a lot, I had a newborn, getting dressed was hard. Going to a random meetup with people that not only I didn't know, but like an industry I didn't know. So I had no idea what to talk about. Was, there was a lot of mind drama around it and yet, I constantly was pushing myself. The thought was I need to figure this out. And I'm not going to figure it out sitting on my couch in the house. Right. I gotta get out there and figure out like what is it that I want to do? And at this time I really thought it was like what other job am I going to get? Right. What other industry can I find that I like? Let me go meet some people. And so, I just started finding meet-ups. Every couple of weeks, I would find one in Orange County and I would just go. And I would talk to people and some of them would be the most painful, awkward experience. I mentioned this, one time I walked into a meet-up, I thought, you don't know what the size of the meetups are. And it was literally a conference room of all men. And it was like this engineering, robotics, I didn't know what it was that, I thought it was going to be some kind of like soft- engineering group. And I wanted to like know kind of what they did, I was interested in the type of product they were working on. And when I tell you the entire room turned around and stared at me and it was very clear that I was in the wrong place and that I shouldn't have been there. And yet I just sat in that meeting and it was super informative and they were extremely pleasant and nice. And I'm glad I went but I left, you know, chuckling, like I'm never going to go back there again. And there was a lot of those. And then there was meetups where I went and I felt incredibly lit up. I was like what are these people doing because it seems like the most fun thing in the world. And I started finding that I would get more drawn to meetups with creatives. So that could be graphic designers or, you know, people that were like Etsy shop owners. And then I started going to tech, like OSI tech meetups, where were kind of like the bigger meetups in the area. And that, you know, at the time it was like these kind of pitch contests, like Shark Tank style. And it was the funnest meetup I'd ever been to. And I was like I don't even know what's happening here but I just want to be a part of it. Like the energy was so fun that I was like yep, sign me up, I'll come back next week. I'm here, right. It was like monthly. And so I started going every month just because it was so strange to me that there was people that loved what they were doing so much. They were so excited to talk about what they were doing. I'd never witnessed this. And I started going back and obviously like meeting more people and started like to get a little more plugged into that community. And as I was there, I started realizing like maybe I could do something, right. Like it was just like a small seed that was planted because I would hear all these peoples’ ideas about businesses and they all sounded really cool. And the thing was, and I'm not trying to say this in a very, in any way to disparage other people, I think it was just a very interesting mindset realization for me is that I had spent so much of my life doubting myself or thinking I don't belong or thinking I'm not good enough, as a lot of high-achievers do, even though I had a track record of achieving my whole life. And when I was in these rooms and there was a lot of people that were pitching businesses and I would talk to them, I started realizing like this person knows nothing more than I do. Right. Like I am as smart, if not much smarter, than a lot of these people. Right. And I'm not saying it to put them down. I just, it was a lot of like 22 year-old guys who had no business having that much confidence. And they'd be up there pitching this business to like investors, without knowing anything. And I would like ask them questions about their business. And they had no like business plan. They had no idea about their numbers. And I was a little dumbfounded and it was really the, just the beginning. It was more for me like a reflection of like why am I over here doubting myself when all these other people are just out here chasing their dreams. And I have everything that they have like I had put in my brain that like all the only people that start businesses are people that know how to, I don't know, I guess you're born knowing how to start a business. Or they like they went to school for it. And I started realizing that's not true. It's just somebody with an idea. Somebody was like hey, I see this problem and I think maybe I can solve it this way. Right. And they were willing to fail. They're willing to get up there and have people poke holes in it and go back to the drawing board and fix it and understand where their blind spots were. And I was so fascinated by this. And I started really like thinking maybe I could start a business and it really checked off a lot of the boxes. And I'll talk about like the north star later but I really wanted a lot more autonomy. I wanted control of my own schedule. While I didn't want to be a stay-at-home mom full time, the reason I left the law was because I wanted more flexibility with what I was doing. I wanted to be able to control when I worked and when I didn't and entrepreneurship really provided that. I had just told myself that that's not a possibility up until that point. So I was looking for jobs and it became really clear, like of course it's a possibility if I believe it is, right. And so I have to start figuring out like how could this be a possibility? How could I start a business? And so I started going down that road and I started coming up with a lot of different ideas. It's amazing when you put your brain to work like what it will come up with. And I had loads of ideas for businesses and as they started coming more and more, I was just paying more attention in my life to things that were problems. Things that I wanted solved like as a young mother, as a mother to a young child is what I mean. I started finding like a lot of things that mothers deal with. And I was trying to figure out like how are ways that you can fix it? And I started going down a couple paths. I experimented with a couple of other business ideas that didn't work out, right? Like I spent a solid six months looking into a um baby food delivery service. This was before there was all these services. This was back in like 2014. And so I wanted to do that but and I went and I started touring commercial kitchens, and I started, I, you know, got into act like research mode and it quickly became clear that like that was a little bit too big for me to start. I didn't know much about business. I didn't want a business where I was going to need a ton of investment and capital and a team and a lot of moving parts. So I decided to shelve that. And I ended up on the photo booth idea because by this time my son was turning one and we were going to have a big party and I love photo booths. And I was thinking about things to add to the party that would make it fun. And I wanted to, you know, my husband and I had a photo booth at our wedding and we loved it. And I was thinking about having that but I didn't want to spend a thousand dollars on a photo booth at a one-year-old’s birthday party. And so I was talking to my husband about like the fact that there has to be a way to set up our own photo booth. Like with just an iPad. I don't need professional photos. I don't need a DSLR. I just want people to be able to have the experience like everyone just lets loose when they're in front of a photo booth. And so there had to be something. And at the time there wasn't. I was Googling it. I was looking on the Apple products, apps and I couldn't come up with anything. And my husband who was on the episode, he had, he was on this uh podcast. We talked about his business. He has a business where they design uh single board computers. And he was telling me that he had created a photo booth for a client to use at a trade show. And so that was like the spark I needed. And I was like let's make one for my son's birthday. Let's do that. I started down this path. I wasn't thinking it was going to be a business at the time, I just wanted to make this thing. And the more I looked into it, the more I realized nobody had this, I kept thinking like people would want this. Right. I don't know what it would look like yet. But if we could offer a cheaper photo booth option, there's tons of parties outside of weddings where people may have the budget to spend $1,500 or something on a photo booth. People want this for bridal showers and baby showers and anniversaries and birthdays and Quinceñearas and all those amazing things. And so it just like was this idea that I started like ruminating on like could I make this into a business? And this is where I get to lesson number two. And that I'm so proud of myself for doing this too, is that at some point in this process of you figuring out what you want to do, you just have to pick something and go with it. Okay. You have to quiet down the part of your brain that is telling you but this isn't what we're passionate about. And this isn't the thing. And what if this isn't the right thing. Right. And I feel like I knew I wasn't passionate about photo booths, right? There was no like deluding myself into like this is the one thing I want to do for the rest of my life. I also knew I can't just sit around waiting for that like spark of inspiration because it hasn't hit me at that point in like 34 years. Right. I don't have this one great passion that's all of a sudden going to fall out of the sky and I'm going to know what it is. So let's just get started. And I knew at the time, if I'm really serious about entrepreneurship, either this will turn into something that I'm, that's going to be great. And it's going to take off or I'm going to learn a hell of a lot about entrepreneurship by doing this. And I will say, even at the time I had been looking at MBA programs because of course, when you're scared and you have no idea what you want to do, we've all been programmed to believe that you need another degree or you need some kind of like experience, or you need that stamp of approval that tells you that you're ready to do this. And so I had been thinking like maybe I just need to go back and get an MBA. Right. And I didn't want to do that because one, I didn't want to go to school and I didn't want to spend that much money. And so when I was really thinking about this and I was really scared about like the investment that it would take to start a business and the time and whether this was the thing I kept thinking like okay, if I'm willing to spend 50 to a hundred thousand dollars to get another piece of paper that just gives me some more qualifications, I guess, right? Like the air of qualifications. Cause I knew, I knew with law school when I came out, I wasn't ready to be a lawyer. And I knew the same thing was going to happen with an MBA. I was going to get that paper and I still wasn't gonna feel ready to start a business. So I figured like this'll be my on the ground MBA. I'll give myself two years to do this business and learn a lot and spend the money I need to spend and invest in that. And either I'll get the business I want out of this or I'll learn how to run a business. Right. Like at least I'll know, maybe I'll learn I don't want to do a business. This is my training ground. Right. And I, again, like I think that's the most crucial part of this story for me is because I'm not usually a decisive person and I'm not usually the person that's like yeah, let's just do it. Right. Like I'm the person that goes back and forth and vacillates and asks everybody else's opinion and goes the pros and cons list for a million years and does all these other things. And I think with this situation, you know, looking back now, I can say like maybe it was a blessing that I had all these insecurities about how people were judging me or what people would think about me leaving the law because it sort of lit the fire under my behind to do something. And so I was like you know what, this is all I got at this point. I don't have any other ideas right now. So let's just go with this and see what we can do. Right. And that got me just down the road of like let me research, let me figure out how would I put this together? Um, how much would it cost? And so I just picked it knowing it's not my passion, knowing it wouldn't be forever, knowing that it might not even work out. And it was like let's learn, let's figure out how to run a business. Okay. And so I started that way. I just took one step after another. I'm going to make that lesson number three. I had no idea how I was going to do this. Right. I had no idea how to build the hardware, how to build the software, how to market, how to sell. And if I tried to figure out everything in that beginning, there's no way I would have done it. I would've just buried my head in the sand because I would have been like this is way too much. And I've heard this before from other people where they say like you know, naivete is really a blessing when you're doing something new, because if you knew how much work it would be, you probably wouldn't do it. Now that's whether you're going to start a business, maybe have a kid, you know, people want to start nonprofits. They want to write a book, whatever it is. It's really a benefit to be a beginner because once you go throw it once, you're like I don't know if I would have done that if it was that much work and to be honest, maybe starting a business that required both hardware and software and a product and all of that wasn't the best decision for my first business. But I'm so glad that I just did it because again, it got me going. And so the only way I did that was to really just take small steps. Like I really just started with, okay, if I want to do this, how would I build the actual booth? Right. It started with software. And even before, I mean, with hardware and even before the hardware I just started with I've got to find someone that would help me design this. And I went back to those tech meetups and I started meeting people in design schools. And I start going to design meetups and talking to them, being like hey, do you want to try designing a photo booth? There was a lot of students and I got a really good deal and they helped me design it and it looked amazing. And I was like yes, let's do this. Right. And then I went into like asking people at those design schools do you guys know anyone that manufactures? Are there any local manufacturers? I just called up manufacturers all over Orange County, all over LA and was like will you just talk to me? Will you walk me through this? How much would this be? How many do I have to produce? Right. I went from there to like thinking about the software. I started talking to software app developers. How much would it cost? Right. Like I obviously like talked to my husband about the, not the actual booth, but the hardware of like the boards. Right. But we ended up going with an iPad. And so he couldn't help me anyways but we went back and forth on whether we could use his Android product. And we tried using that for awhile. So anyways, my point is to say lesson number three I just took these baby steps. One thing after another. And it took me years. This is lesson number four. It took me three years really to get the business up and running until a point where it was like making good money. But I mean, two years to even, well, I don't know, maybe 18 months to get the product up and running because I wasn't working full-time and I was taking it slowly. And that was okay. Right? So like my lesson number four is take your time. It doesn't have to all happen right now. It doesn't have to happen in the next six months. And if you can silence that voice in your head that's telling you it's taking too long. It's not going anywhere. This isn't worth it. You can build amazing things. You just have to know, like you have to put the blinders on and run your own race and just do one step after another, knowing that it will lead to that, knowing that it will compound. So like I said, when I did all this stuff, it's not as though I found a designer at the first meetup I went to and we had the booth designed within a week. And then I found a manufacturer. I mean, that took over six months of me going back to different meetups, going back and forth with different designers. Finally, like having a million calls, finding a manufacturer. All of that stuff takes time. And it's okay because that time is going to pass. Nobody is an overnight success, I promise you. And the more you do this, like expand that timeline. The more likely you are to stick with it and actually have something that comes, you know, out the way you want. I can't tell you how much patience is the name of this game. I see this now, even, you know, with this podcast and my coaching business, it's taken me, I'm in year four now. Right? I started in 2018 with just the podcast. And it was the same thing I did with the photo booth business. And in that time, like eight years has passed now, seven years, I've built two businesses at this point. Right? And I've seen so many people go so hard out the gate, right? Run that sprint, like try to go hard and then burn out after six months and give up, whether it's starting the podcast or the coaching business or the other business, whatever it is. And I'm telling you, the only reason they burned out is because they tried to do everything right then. They wanted to get to that destination so quickly that if they just slowed themselves down, all of it can happen. All of it. And your whole life can be different in five years, 10 years, but you just have to like take your time and do it slowly. And so I did, I built that photo booth business over a year and a half it took me to like really get to market. Now, another thing I did is I bought a competitor's booth so that I could start doing events while I was building my booth. So I wasn't just like waiting around for the booth to get built. I bought another person's booth um who had a similar one to mine. By that point, there was a couple that had come out on the market and it was way more expensive than mine. And I shelled out the money cause I was like listen, while this slow process of building this booth is underway, I need to figure out how to rent this thing, how to market it. I need to figure out what people like, what they don't, how much they're willing to pay for it. Okay. And so that's what I did. And I started marketing myself. I like, you know, built and had picked the name and created an LLC and um built an Instagram and was like starting to reach out to friends and family that wanted it, whatever, and started doing different events. I had just gotten a software that was made by another company. And I started doing that while I was building the product. Okay. So then after about 18 months when I had my product, then it was ready to like launch it as my own, but had already kind of done the groundwork. Right. And I will say that lesson number five, for me, is that I did it my own way. In this way that I did it. When I rented this, one of the things that I was doing was deciding how I wanted my rental business to be. Okay, so lesson five is just do it your own way. You don't have to do it the way everyone else is doing it. One of the things I wanted was to not be involved, right. This is where my laziness, and if you've listened to this podcast, you know that I have like this overarching story about how lazy. Honestly it has saved me so many times in my life. It has saved me so much heartache and it has really paved the way. And so less is more is always my motto. And when I was doing this I was like I'm not going to be at events for the whole time. Right? Like I'm not schlepping this booth and spending my Fridays and Saturday nights at like people's weddings, it's just not going to happen. And so I kept thinking like what is it that I want? Right. What is it, what would like a rental business look like for me that I would be okay with? And part of the reason I had done this is obviously I wanted to make it more affordable. And so I was like great, okay. Like you don't need to have someone sit there because if I have to have hire someone to come sit there, I have to pay them. And so it makes the cost more expensive. And so I decided that like the way I was going to rent it out is I was going to create like a solution where people can just pick up this case, set up the booth themselves. I'm going to have a video and a PDF instruction. They can set everything up. They can run the booth themselves for as many hours as it is their party. And then they'll bring the booth back to me. And it's perfect because I don't have to do anything. Right. And that's what I did. And that's the rentals I created. And there was nobody else renting it like that. Right. Because people didn't want to give up, they didn't want like the products to get damaged. They wanted to charge more, which I understand. There was a lot of reasons, people wanted to do like printing. They thought people wanted that. Like they want prints. And if you have a printer, you have to have someone there cause it jams all the time. They wanted to give like that high-touch experience. That's great. But I want it to attack another part of the market where I was like everyone doesn't want prints. Like they want to put it on Instagram and people want it cheaper. Right. And so when I did that was when I found my own way, I found my own little share of the market and that's why my business started doing well. And that's why I started creating a passive income because it allowed me to not have to work on it that much. Like I would do the email back and forth, like get people signed up. They would pick it up and then they would drop it off the next day. And it was perfect. And I will say this as a caveat too, like starting messy, being okay with being embarrassed. My entire entirety of this business, people would pick it up from me from my house. I didn't have some kind of fancy schmancy office. I kept thinking like I'd get so embarrassed. I was like oh my god, I'm doing this out of my garage. Right. People would drive up to my house and I'd give them the booth and they would take it and they'd bring it back. And it was amazing. And I had to calm my mind down. Cause I, my mind was like this is embarrassing. People don't want to come to your house to pick up a booth, right? Like this is such a makeshift business. And it was, and it was great because I didn't need the overhead of, you know, having an office building so that I could look professional and decorating and doing all these things that people do that you don't need.
I was like I'm still testing this out. I'm still seeing, is this going to grow enough to become sustainable? Then I'll get office space. Right. And I didn't end up needing it. And people were fine coming to my garage and it worked out well and it started growing and it started growing and became like a viable rental business. And I was also manufacturing the booths at this time. And I was selling the booths to other people who wanted to do this type of rental business or just wanted to this type of booth for their own photo booth businesses. And so I had the sale, the selling side. I also had the renting side. I started finding, uh, corporations that wanted photo booths for long periods of time where you couldn't really do that. Right. When you have a traditional photo booth business, because it's an attendant, it just requires so much. So I started doing a lot of conferences where I would take the booth to them and I would drop it off and I would set it up for them like let's say in the conference. And it would be like four days that it would just be there and their conference people could come and use the booth and share their stuff on Instagram and it would be marketing for them. And I would get paid like a thousand, $2,000 to literally just drop off a booth, it’d take me like 30 minutes or an hour. I’d drop it off or I'd have someone drop it off and set it up and then I'd go pick it back up. And it was amazing. And I started doing a lot more of those. I started doing companies that wanted to do, like a lot of companies have like used to have employee appreciation weeks, things like that, um, international women's weeks. And so they would set it up in their uma lobbies or whatever. We did start doing a lot of corporate like events and it started really becoming a viable business. And what was great was that it started becoming really passive because I had my systems in place. So like people would inquire on the website. I had a system of like going, you know, sending them kind of forms of what they wanted, having all the contracts and the invoices in place that they pay. Then they would work on their graphic and then it would just be like the pick-up and drop-off times. And sometimes I would deliver it and I would charge more for that. But all in all, it would like take like an hour of my week really to do whatever the emails were and the graphics and stuff. And then it was just the pick-up drop-off times. And that's it. And I was starting to make like a thousand, 2000, $3,000 a month on the side, like an hour a week just doing this. And it was really amazing. And I was like look at this, it's an actual viable business. I had recouped all of the costs that I'd put in to like manufacture and to get the business going. It was starting to grow. And the thing is, is that in that though, you can always really get sidelined. I think a lot of times people think like once you realize what you want, it's just like clear cut and then you have no doubts and you're just um running smoothly and that's just never the way it goes. Right. You're constantly questioning, you’re constantly like should I be doing more? What else should I be doing with this? And so I remember in like 2017, uh was when I was pregnant.
And at the time, like I said, I'd been in the tech startup scene and people were really obviously in the tech scene because a lot of things that they do need investment. Everybody was all about getting investors and scaling. And it's real easy to get caught up in the hype because it sounds so glorious, so much glitz and glamor with getting money, right? Like someone's just going to give me a million dollars or 2 million or whatever it is I need. And then I don't have to do this alone. Like at that point I'd been doing it alone for about three years. I was like tired of doing it alone. Um I was really like caught up in maybe I can get a team. And once I started seeing it work in Orange County and I was selling it to other people and other people were kind of starting their own photo booth businesses I was thinking, well, this could be something bigger. Right. I could do, replicate this in other cities. I could maybe have like drop-off locations, like lockers, where you just kind of get the booth or whatnot. We could do franchises. We could scale this thing nationally because I was also getting a ton of people inquiring on my website that weren't in Orange County. I'd get it from like all over the nation. I'd be like yeah, I don't, I don't deliver to New York, you know? And so I was starting to see that. And so I got caught up in that and I started going after investors. Like I started setting up investor meetings and I had a couple meetings and there were investors that were really liking it. Right. Because I had proven out the model. Because I had something, like it's so funny now that I look back and I see so many people went to investors with just an idea. It's like how do you know that that's going to work? But I had like built a product. I had tested it out. I had sales. I had the the financials to prove that like it works. And it was more of like okay, now can we just pour gasoline on this and grow it? And at the time I was four months pregnant and you couldn't tell. So like nobody knew that I was pregnant but I had a lot of investors reaching out. And so I had set up these meetings and I had one investor that was really interested in working together. I will never forget that in that meeting, we took a break and there was another female investor as part of that team. And we were, I went to the bathroom and she came in the bathroom and she was just talking to me if she was just chit-chatting. And then she just like turned to me and she said listen, what do you want with this business? And I was kind of confused. And she was like I just want you to be very clear about what kind of business you want because you have a really great lifestyle business. You could grow this thing and make a hundred thousand dollars a year and work part-time and be with your kids and uh have some contractors working for you and really enjoy that lifestyle. Right. Or you can get investors and you have the potential of making a lot more money and that's fine too but it's going to be a lot more work, right? Like obviously investors aren't giving you money because they like you. Like that's not what she said, I was just like the reality is just like they want a return. And so you're going to have to bust your butt to get them a return. And that means growing quickly, it means a lot of headaches. That means a lot of work. Right. And you'll have a team and that's fine but just think about what is it you want. And I'm so, so grateful to her for that reality check. And that's my lesson number six is the importance of knowing and following your own north star. Right? Cause I had gotten lost for a little bit because it sounded so exciting cause I wanted my problems to go away. And I thought if I had money and other people to help me with this, then it would be faster and I would be more legitimate and I'd have a better business and everybody would be so impressed or whatever all the other BS was going on. And in that moment, I took a step back because I was worried about the fact that like I'm pregnant now. I'm going to have another baby. I don't want to be working 60 hours a week. I don't want to have to leave that baby and go back and build this team. And there's nothing wrong if you do. I'm not saying that women can't do that or shouldn't. I just didn't want it. One of the reasons I left law was because I wanted to balance work with my life. I wanted to work less than 40 hours a week. I wanted something that was going to be manageable. And in that moment she really reminded me of like what is my north star here? What is the end game? My end game is not to have some kind of big business in order to prove to people that I'm capable or whatever. That was never why I wanted to do this. And I got caught up and it was exciting. And it instantly, I realized like I don't want this. I would feel terrible if I have to go back to constantly grinding and having to get bigger and having to hire more and learn that whole skill and manage a team. Like that's not what I want. And so the biggest lesson I learned really there for myself was like it's okay to want what you want. And to remember that even when other people think that something else sounds more exciting because I was getting so much pressure from the community I'd built in that tech scene about like why aren't you getting investment? You know, like you have the financials, you have the company, you have the idea, you've proven it out. You could easily get people to give you money. And it's really easy to get caught in that. And I was so grateful for that lesson because it really helped me solidify going forward. And even with this podcast and this coaching business to constantly come back to my own north star, to constantly ask myself why am I doing this? Is this what I really want? Or is it I'm seeing every other coaching business do this, right. Is this what I want? Or is it because I think I need to prove that I have, you know, quote unquote a legitimate business. So that was lesson number six. And so I continued to build my own business. And I will say that in that, like this sounds all very rosey. I made a lot of mistakes in this process, right. And lesson number seven is to just make mistakes. I look back and I think like at the time I took it really hard. I de- I spent almost maybe $30,000 on software, building out a software and it, my own app for the booth that never worked out. Now, I was making the money back from rentals so I had the money to invest in that but it was a really hard lesson for me to like it was a hard pill for me to swallow because I wasn't making that much money. And $30,000 is a lot of money and I felt really stupid and I felt ashamed and I felt embarrassed. And I realized it was only because I was making it mean something about me. I was making it mean like see, I don't know what I'm doing. See, I'm not good at business. See, like clearly I can't like I don't know what the next right move is. And when I started realizing how absurd that was because like how could I know? Right. There's never an instance in life or in business or anything where you hear somebody is like you know what, I started that business and I never had any problems. Everything worked out. Every investment I made was good. Everything I did was just perfect. Through the roof. No obstacles, no frustrations. Right. My clients have always loved it. It's like obviously that sounds insane. And yet we hold ourselves to that standard. And I think back like even when I was thinking about those investors, right. And I think about people that invest like their goal is to be right, right 10% of the time, right. If they get one in 10, they're making ridiculous amounts of money. That means they're wrong 90% of the time. Right. And they're not sitting around beating themselves up, telling themselves that they don't know business. It's like listen, cause you can't know. How can you know which horse is actually going to be the winner. Right. Which one to bet on. And so you hedge your bets by doing a lot of things. And I realized one of the biggest lessons I've learned in business now is that you have to just get better at making decisions. And in order to get better at making decisions, you have to be okay with mistakes. Right. You have to know I'm willing to juggle 80 balls in the air so that knowing that 10 of them are going to fall and I'll still have 70 in the air as opposed to juggling three so that I don't let any of them drop. Right. And then I only have three balls in the air. And so when you start realizing that that like oh and learning from it, right? Like where, where was I led astray here? What was I thinking that was wrong? Where was I rushing this too much? Whatever, like taking those lessons and making decisions better and better and faster and faster is the only way to one, build a business. But I really think like in life, you know, I had last week's episode was about regret. And this is one of the ways that I really learned this lesson is like I could spend my whole time sitting and thinking about all the mistakes I made in the photo booth business or I could start figuring out like how to make it better, how to grow it. Like alright, I made that mistake, like take the teaching, take the lesson and let's keep moving. And in that I started learning to like have a lot more self-compassion and a lot more like understanding that I'm of course I'm learning and I'm going to make these mistakes. And it doesn't mean anything about me. And it doesn't mean anything about my ability. It means I'm learning. That's literally all it means. And when I could start making that connection, it started being easier. Right. I still don't like making mistakes. Nobody likes losing money. Right. I just don't have to make it mean anything about myself. Where the story goes is I continued to rent the booth. I had continued to make it as passive as possible. I started selling more booths and it was doing really well. In 2018 I started this podcast on the side, really because I wanted to just have this conversation about like quitting and like look, I've done something that I never imagined in my life I could do. I've built a business that if you told me a couple of years ago, it would have sounded insane. Right. And I really wanted to just have these, these conversations without knowing where this was going to go. And I continued to build the pa- the rental booth business and the selling of the business through 2019. And as I was doing that, the more I was paying attention to like what I loved and what I didn't like. And the more I was realizing how much my passion was fueled by the podcast and helping people in this capacity and not from the photo booth business. I just didn't care about it that much. Like I didn't care if people got the booth for their event, you know, or like I mean, I wanted my clients to be happy. I just wasn't like it wasn't exciting me and I also, wasn't caring so much about marketing it. Like I wasn't excited about like what are new ways that I could do this? I didn't care about like the aesthetics of it. You know, like a lot of people might care about how to make it look cool on Instagram. And I was finding myself just working on it less and less because I was obsessed with the podcast. And it's just like a really cool thing to start paying attention to. Right. Like I had started honing in on what lights me up, what gives me energy, what drains my energy, what are the things that I don't like. And I was noticing more and more, I was feeling more drained by the photo booth business. Even though it wasn't taking that much time, just the thought of it. Like I just didn't want to do it. And I was doing it still but it was just like there and it was fine.
And it was like making it, you know, it was sort of self-sustaining but at the end of the day, I still had to put in the time and I, if I wanted to keep growing it, I would have to put in more time. And I started spending more and more time doing the coaching business. And what's interesting is that right before 2020. So in like December I think, November, December, I had this conversation with my husband because my husband and we talked about this on the coaching call, he was all about the photo booth business because it's something he understands. He didn't understand the podcasts. He didn't understand coaching but he understood the photo both business. And I think he saw the potential in it more than I did. And so he was really like gung ho about pushing me to grow it. And he was constantly like more involved in it and wanted to know more about it and asking me about it. And it's funny because I felt so much pressure from there. And I felt like I was letting him down. And I knew that he had this like desire for me to do that more. And so around 2019,and I kept having conversations about like I kept trying to like talk about the coaching business and talk to him about like the possibilities. And he's like yeah, okay. And we talk about this in the podcast where I didn't realize at the time I was like seeking permission. Like I wanted him to let me know that it was okay for me to start letting go of this photo booth business. And he wasn't going to be there. He wasn't going to get there cause he didn't understand why I would want to do that. Right. Like it's making good money. I could grow it. I'm not putting that much time.
Like why would I ever walk away from this? And to be honest, I didn't even know why I would walk away from it. And that was lesson number eight is that it's usually never black and white. I think a lot of times people think like I'm either going to be a success or I’m going to be a failure. And I don't know what that means. Right? Like what is that? Like I'm gonna get to the point where I'm losing so much money that I'd go bankrupt, right? Like yeah, maybe there are certain situations but that's usually not the case. It's usually like this just middle ground of like it's humming along. It's doing well, maybe it's not doing as well as you want. Do you want to walk away or do you not? Right. There's these forks in the road. And if the choice was clear, then we wouldn't have a hard time making decisions. Right. If it was like this is completely draining all of our bank account and like causing me stress, then walking away wouldn't be the as hard, but it was working. It just wasn't working as well as I wanted it to. It wasn't growing as fast as I wanted it to. And that problem was because I wasn't focusing on it. I wasn't growing it. And it should have maybe been a indication to me that I was trying to make it as passive as possible. Like I didn't want to work on it and sometimes that's okay. But I think for me it was because like I, it wasn't because I just wanted a passive income stream. It was because I didn't want to work on it. And I remember at the time having such a hard time walking away because they didn't want to disappoint my husband. I felt like it was silly because like it was making money. So why would I walk away from this? But at the end of the day, it was still draining my energy cause I was thinking about it a lot. Cause I kept thinking like should I be growing it? Should I be doing more with this? I was still getting inquiries. I was still having to do like people that wanted to sell that wanted to buy the booth. There was just like some back-end stuff that I didn't want to do. And I started becoming more and more obsessed with the podcast and with coaching. And I seen the possibility with that and really loving doing that. And so what happened was like I had to really come to grips with like this decision that and stand firm in that. And I will never forget the conversation I had with my husband because we'd had a conversation before.
I can't even remember what it was. And it was, I was talking about my frustration with it and how whatever. And we came back to have this conversation and we were both set, what's so funny is we came to very different conclusions. After that conversation, I became resolute in the fact that I didn't want to continue on with the photo booth. And I was going to have that conversation with him. I was going to tell him, you know what, I just need you to trust me on this. I want to do the podcast and the coaching full-time. I don't want to do this anymore. And I want to start like winding it down. And he had in that conversation come away with it in a very different way. And I remember when we came together to talk and he was like wanted to talk first, he told me that he wanted to invest more of our personal money into the photo booth. And it was such a sweet gesture. What he was trying to do was like tell me how much he believed in me. And he wanted to put in more money to help, like get me like help and have someone else run it and do all this other stuff. And like he was ready to like invest this money that was ours. It was very sweet but it was so funny cause I was like I, you know, it's like I just came here to tell you I don't want to do this anymore. And so it made it that much harder but it was such an amazing conversation because at the end I was like listen, I truly appreciate that and understand that you may not get this but I don't want to do this photo booth business anymore. It's run its course for me, I've learned a lot.
It's been amazing. And I know it's still successful and I still don't want to do it. Right. I don't want to hold onto it because of fear. I don't wanna hold onto it just because it's making money. I want to know like where is my growth? Where am I going to have a bigger impact and create a better business and do the thing I want to do. And it's not with the photo booth business. And so we had this very real discussion and that was like right at the tail end of 2019. And I was like I don't know how I'm going to do this but I'm going to slowly wind it down. I'm not, I'm going to sell out the rest of my boots that I have manufactured. And then I'm going to slowly wind down the rental business and then 2020 happened. And so there was a pandemic and all events stopped. And so the decision was made for me. And I'm so glad that I made the decision myself first before that happened, because I became so clear on what I actually wanted and I was going to do it. And, you know, the universe just conspired and was like nope, we're going to stop this rental business all at once. And that happened in 2020. And it freed me up to just focus on my podcast. And that was incredible for me. And it proved to me that I was making the right decision because I truly like saw that growth in 2020 and 2021 in this business. And I've never been more lit up. And I knew that this is where I needed to be. But yeah, I mean, I'm glad that I realized in that, that it's with most things, it's not going to be a black and white. And so where I'm at with the photo booth business now is that it's basically wound down at this point. I sold off my the last of my booths. I still get inquiries for the rental. I haven't taken down the website and I just forward them on to other people in my city that are doing it that I'm friends with and I'm sort of figuring out how to wind that down but I don't really run the business anymore. I could still do the rentals. I just don't want to. And so the last two lessons I will leave you with for this photo booth business. Lesson nine is learn the lessons and build off of them. I think what happens so often when we take risks or anything that we do, we spend so much of the time just beating ourselves up for why it didn't work the way that we wanted it to or why it didn't turn out the way everybody else wanted it to, that we waste all of the lessons that are in that, like all of the gems that could come from that experience. And we spend that energy instead just pounding ourselves into the ground, which does nobody any good. Right. And I realized for me, part of the reason that the podcast and my coaching business has taken off faster than maybe other people's is because I had this business first, like this isn't my first rodeo. And not to say that it wasn't a similar business but I had learned the fundamentals of like marketing and being on Instagram and talking to people about my business. And I had dealt with the mindset drama of going from being a lawyer to running a photo booth business. Right? So like once I wanted to become a life coach, it wasn't as hard to make that transition. I started building off of those lessons. I learned all of these things that I told you, all of these lessons that I learned, like to experiment and to just pick something and to take it step by step and to take my time and to do it my way and to follow my north star and to make mistakes and to never look at things as black and white. I, all of those things I have used to propel me in my coaching business. And so I want you to know that like a lot of times we think if I take the next step and it doesn't work out then it's a waste. Like what if I waste my time? It's never a waste of time because you either get the result that you want or you get the lesson that you needed. And if you look up enough to like see what that lesson is, you will build off of that. You will take each lesson and you will grow and you will see how it's going to impact you. And you will use it to propel you in the future. But too many of us are so busy in that self-loathing and that bullying of ourselves that we don't even see the lesson in there. Right. We just use it as another reason to like not trust ourselves or tell ourselves that we're not good enough or whatever. Stop that. The only way to learn is to make mistakes. And the only way to learn from those mistakes is if you take the time to like mine those for the gems, right. For the gold in there, like what was I missing? Why did I, you know, miss that red flag? What was I thinking there? Why did I want this so badly? Why do I not want it now? What changed? Is that okay? Like you have to start asking yourself these questions instead of ridiculous questions like who did I think I was? I'm so dumb. Why did I think this would work? You know, like stop wasting your time with that stuff. And then lesson number 10 I will say, rounding this out, is I used this as such a way to prove to myself what I am capable of and to marvel in what I created. Okay. And what I mean by that in this lesson for me, is that like I could look at this photo booth business in two very distinct ways. Okay. I could sit here and tell you everything I did wrong and how it really wasn't that big of a business and how it didn't really take off and how it was a failure. Okay. I could tell you that like I didn't break six figures and it wasn't like you know, whatever. And I was constantly struggling and figuring out what to do next and all this other stuff. But how does that serve me to do that? One of the things I really started realizing is that you have to be able to be your biggest cheerleader because that is the only way to stick on any path. And when I look back, I really marvel at what I created. I look back and I think like I learned how to manufacture a product by myself. I had no idea what that even meant. I learned how to build software, even if it didn't turn out the way that I wanted. I learned about how to do wire framing and mock-ups and all this other stuff that I'd never knew anything about. I learned how to start a business. I remember the first time I took the money from someone, I was like wait, is this allowed? I'm allowed to, how does this work? Is that like a legal transaction? Because I didn't even know like I just input this into my quickbook, they just pay a credit card here. And it goes into my bank account. Like am I doing something wrong? I was learning so much and everything I started learning, I started like viewing it in like how can I view this in like this is the coolest thing possible. So when I was making $300 off of rental, I wasn't thinking like well, it's only $300. That doesn't mean anything. Okay great, I made $300 that weekend. Yeah, $300 doesn't really move the needle forward. But when I was looking like somebody just paid me $300 to come pick up a suitcase from my house and take it like that's insane. How did this happen? How did I end up here? Right. I started being so excited about it. I started looking like when I had my first like thousand dollar month and I was like I just made a thousand dollars doing nothing. What? What's going on? And then it was like $2,000. The first time I got a conference where they paid me like $3,000 for the week, I was like what just happened? I just made $3,000 for like an hour’s worth of work. This is insane. I could have thought like okay, $3,000 a month is really not that much, Goli.
That's not going to like pay all of your bills, so why do this? Right? You can always look at it as like I'm not doing enough. The same thing with my podcast. I could have looked at it as like the first year like well great, I had a podcast but I didn't make any money. And my listenership didn't grow that much. Instead of looking at like holy moly, there are a thousand people that are downloading this podcast. What is happening? Who are these people? Where are they coming from? Right. I can easily look at how everybody else had huge podcasts and was already making tons of money and had advertisements. And I didn't have it. Same thing with the photo booth business. I could look at other people that started their business and got investment or didn't get investment and took off on Instagram and got a hundred thousand followers and blew up their, you know, DJ booth business or their picnic catering business or whatever. But I didn't. Each time I was like what, somebody just paid me money. This is insane. This is amazing. And you have to do that if you're going to stick on the path because there are a lot of downs. There's a lot of doubts. There's a lot of like is this even working? And your brain's going to go there like okay, we only made $500 this month. How's that going to do anything for us? And you have to be able to flip it around and be like mmm that's $500 I didn't have before. Pretty frickin amazing. If I could do $500, I bet I could do a thousand. If I can do a thousand, I could do $5,000. Right? Like the only way to keep yourself on that path is to do that. And so I will wrap this kind of long episode now with the fact that I am so grateful to past me for starting that business. Even if it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, even when I knew it wasn't going to be my lifelong passion because I knew it was going to be a stepping stone. And I knew that it was going to lead me closer to what I wanted. And even though I had no idea what that was and how that would work. And if I tried to think my way in the beginning, I would have never thought that a photo booth business would have led me to starting a podcast called Lessons From a Quitter where I coach people on how to leave careers they hate. And yet it did exactly that. And so I'll leave this by saying get started, just take a frickin step. Even when you're scared, even when you know it's not the thing. Even when you have no idea how it's going to turn out, learn the lessons and then take the next step. And if you want help taking those steps, I want to invite you into my program, Pave Your Path. I want to help you do this exact same thing. I want to stop all the mind drama around this isn't the thing. And we don't know what we're doing and we have no idea how to do this. And I don't have the money and it's not going fast enough. And all the other BS that's going to derail you and get you actually out there trying things. Experimenting, showing up as a full human being, letting yourself fail and not making it mean anything about you. But you have to take the first step. You have to be okay with investing in yourself. You have to start doing things differently or you're going to spend every single year doing the same exact thing and wondering why things aren't changing. So if you want to get on this path, go to lessonsfromaquitter.com/paveyourpath. I hope to see you there and I will see you all next week.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.