A photographer uses a second shooter checklist to make sure they help the primary photographer on a wedding day.

Invest In Yourself – Investi In Te Stesso

Our Biggest Asset

What’s our biggest asset that we have? What’s always going to be there for us when times are good and when times are tough? The answer is….ourselves 🙂

We have such a unique ability to adapt and learn. All of our experiences that we go through transform us in one way or another. So why don’t we take charge and transform ourselves in a way that we want? It’s because sometimes we don’t see ourselves as a worthwhile investment or we don’t realize that we can improve ourselves.

I really like to keep myself as an example of investing in yourself. Check out my first podcast episode if you didn’t get a chance to listen to it. It’s where I started to tell the story of myself, living surrounded by an open minded mentality and how I was able to change myself too.

Today, I am here to tell you how hard it is to convince your mind to invest money especially in something that isn’t tangible and requires a lot of work: ourselves

I know what you are going to say…“Sure, everybody says that” or “Yeah, easy for you to because you have money…”

Our relationship with Money

What’s your idea of “a lot of money” or something “that costs too much”?

What does your definition of a “rich” life mean to you?

Most people think about happiness and buying things like handbags, clothes, vacations, etc. But being rich isn’t always about the money. Having a “rich” life can mean whatever you want it to mean. For me, “rich” means having the freedom and time to spend with people I love and do whatever I want.

But being “rich” seems like a dream that only other people can have. I think that’s a lie we tell ourselves when we fail and are too scared to move forward. Instead of learning from our mistakes, we give up. That’s when failure happens, when we stop trying. Failure also happens when we haven’t planned and prepared and learned the necessary skills to move forward. We often try to imitate or copy something else we’ve seen without realizing how it actually works or understanding the reasons behind it.

It’s a reality that some people are born more privileged than others and their journeys to success are shorter or easier to get to than ours. We don’t get to determine our starting positions in life, there really isn’t anything that we can do about that. And it’s certainly not your fault where you are starting out at. The point isn’t to focus on what someone else may have and get stuck in the comparison game. But it’s our choice to whether we remain where we are or choose to move forward with our life and goals. That decision is entirely up to us. Yes, we will have our difficulties and struggles, that is always guaranteed in life. It may take lots of study, work, hustle, and being more tough than we ever thought. But our human spirit, our grit and determination can overcome a lot more than we think.

You have to ask yourself, what are you trying to do? What do you want in your life? And then set up your big goals.

It’s hard to get outside of your comfort zone, your safe area of stability to follow a dream where not only is it insecure but you also have to invest money for something that is only up to you to get.

You can do and be anything you want in this life. It’s never easy and no one realizes what struggles we will face along the way. But having the right mindset and determination is going to keep us moving forward. I know it seems like an unreachable goal because it’s hard, but believe me, I would never think I was able to become a photographer for work and live a good life with the money I’ve made.

I wasn’t born with a camera in my hands. And as far as I know, no one else was either.

I wasn’t born knowing exactly what I wanted in this life. Everything I have is because I had to go through my experiences to arrive at where I am. I failed and made a lot of mistakes along the way. But from each misstep I took, I learned something that allowed me to grow and get better. I freaking owned my failures and didn’t let them stop me. As soon as I stopped moving forward is when I would have failed and ended my journey.

I worked hard and I worked smart by listening. I didn’t pretend to know everything and I still learn something new all the time. I took the advice and knowledge from successful people that had gone on a similar path before me. I invested in learning from them so that I could avoid making their same mistakes or get their advice about which direction to take.

How a DVD Changed the Way I Thought of Investing In Myself

My real photography education started when my husband, Vic, bought me a DVD class about “how to become a wedding photographer”. This was back in 2013 when I was re-defining my entire life. I didn’t speak very good English and of course the entire course was in English

I was devoted to changing my life and taking a chance on myself, it became my wedding photography bible. Vic knew that I don’t like reading but I realized that I could learn by watching

I watched the full 8 hour video series at least 50 times. I watched, studied, and learned so much from that dvd series. I was at my first wedding and I was already really confident thanks to that $100 investment that I made in myself. 

Evaluate Where Your Priorities Lay

At that time in my life, I was unemployed and didn’t have a job. Every euro that I spent was emptying my pockets and draining my bank account. I remember refusing to invest in that course yet I was spending the same money for an aperitivo and a pizza. I had my priorities wrong, I wasn’t putting myself and my future first.

Does this make sense? Heck no!

I thought the idea of having money to be free was something that came with some sort of luck. Instead the answer is easier than I thought. If I wanted to have my “rich” life, it was really easy. I just needed to make more money.

So now the focus became, how do I make more money?

And it was simple, making more money meant that I had to invest in something worthwhile. Something that could get my huge returns in the future. I had to invest in myself.

You can learn through the knowledge of other people, you can level up, you can be who you want to be, but there is only one thing that most people don’t know, investing in yourself.

We are lucky enough to live in a world where you can find anything and everything online. Our world has become smaller and digital and that has opened so many possibilities that never existed. Do any of you remember phonebooks? That was how you used to find businesses. And every business was local. But in 2021, I can be based in Alzate Brianza, Italy for a couple that lives in New York City, and is getting married in Mexico. The opportunity is staggering and overwhelming. And it’s going to force us to adapt our business models. We can’t use the same “tried and tested” tactics because the world is always changing and we need to change with it to really succeed.

An Investment That I was Hesitant To Take

The first year in my wedding business, I remember Vic asked me why don’t you go to this big photography conference in Arizona. It was 3 days where you listen to different keynote speakers, attend different sessions, hangout with other photographers and really dive into a completely new experience. You get to learn a lot and leave there feeling super pumped up.

The total price was at least $2000 once you include all ticket and travel arrangements. My jaw dropped and said FORGET IT because in my mind, $2000 is a lot.

You know what happened? Vic booked the tickets and he sent me. I was so angry and pissed, I thought that money was better to save and not spend. I tried to find different ways to refund it but everything was final. 

That morning he ordered an uber, I was cranky and scared to go far away, alone in a place to learn something…

I arrived in that place, I had my room, I started to cry. 

What was I doing there? 

I was totally out of my comfort zone. 

I was a Changed Person…

The version of myself on day 1 was a completely different person from the Lily that left Arizona. I wrote, took notes, made new friends, got stronger everyday and felt for the first time something inside me: that acknowledgement that I didn’t have before. 

When I saw Vic I thank him for giving me one of the biggest lessons in my life: investing in myself. 

It wasn’t $2000 that vanished and was never to be seen again. It was $2000 that was going to help us make $20000. It was money that was invested in ourselves, our ability to grow, create and learn. It was an investment for our entire life going forward.

In my mind, I wanted to buy stuff I wanted without considering the longer term. What I really wanted in my life is to follow that path that allows me to get my freedom in life. That’s what I really wanted. And the $2000 was an investment into that future. Investments are never guaranteed but I was putting that money into myself and that’s something I could believe in.

I still would love to spend that money on a fancy handbag instead but first I need to be in a position where it’s easy to do that, it’s not about instant gratification. I want to be in a position where I decide to have a new bag one day because I can, not because I had to save for months and sacrifice to get it. I would rather invest that one bag in myself now to get the possibility of having 10 later.

We can’t miss that fundamental step in our learning process and that’s learning from someone that knows more than us. When we were in school, we weren’t given a book and told to learn. We had teachers and other students to learn from. Your photography, business, entrepreneurship, whatever it is you’re trying to get better at, all needs an instructor and guide to show you how to properly go forward.

But no, not me, I wasn’t like that, my mind was set for losing. Why should I have to spend money to learn from another photographer when I can buy a new camera and I learn by myself?

If I kept this mindset, I would probably still be at the same point as 5 years ago. Feeling like a failure in business, trying to compete with tons of others and not growing forward.

In conclusion, If you want to get better and improve, you can do that by investing in yourself and your future.

You have to do the hard work

You have to stand up for yourself

You have to believe in yourself 

You have to have the courage to listen to this voice inside.