Image by Danielle
Planning two workshops at once may be double the work but it’s also double the fun – especially when it came to picking our scholarship winners for both cities at the same time.
The three of us trawled though all the amazing entries late last night, emailing back and forth with our favourite ones. Although we were pretty unanimous that our Los Angeles winner had to be Danielle. Her entry was so cute, creative and fun. We might have just been a little swayed by the paper headmistresses (& Gareth!) in the video too – so damn cute!
Some of my eagle eyed readers might actually recognise her – I not only featured her wedding waaaaay back in 2008 (!) but we met in Las Vegas last year and Lisa did a shoot with her and husband Jose. They really are the sweetest couple ever and nobody deserves this more than Danielle.
After a long week doing two London workshops as well as heading out to the great British countryside for a talk at the Photography Farm (I’ll be writing about the farm and sharing some photos we had taken soon), it was time for Gala, Shauna & me to head out to Paris for a whirlwind trip. It was supposed to be a nice and relaxing mini-vacation to end our time together, but as usual with us it was anything but! We were only in the city for two days but we still managed to pack in two photo shoots, a shopping trip (obviously), plenty of dancing, practising our French (oh how the locals must have loved us – not) and to drink as much wine as possible.
Three three of us have only visited Paris once before (which is particularly embarrassing for me as it’s only a two hour train ride away!) – Gala & Shauna on their last trip to Europe, and me when I did my Marie Antoinette shoot in 2010.
Being bloggers and photo whores (we’re not ashamed!) we knew we’d want some photographs to document our time in the city and so called upon our go-to photographer Lisa Devlin, to come along for the ride. The ever cute and enthusiastic Shell De Mar also tagged along, although I actually I think she invited herself! (I’ll be sharing her photos soon…) as did the beautiful Elbie Van Eeden – the only girl I trust implicitly to perfectly fulfil all my hair and make up demands…
Our apartment was provided by Go with Oh, who we partnered with on this trip. They specialise in European getaways and have apartments for rent in Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, Florence, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Rome, Seville, Vienna and Venice (phew!) I always prefer to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel when I travel. You usually get more for your money and you can get a real sense of a place when you’re not hauled up in a hotel. I mean where else would you find a teeny tiny lift of doom?!
The Blogcademy has been a life changing new direction for me and my career. Making the decision to teach others was not an easy one and was something that the three of us knew would take some time to perfect. Going into something thinking you have nothing to learn yourself is a fast-track route to failure. In fact I haven’t learnt quite as much about myself, or the way to run a business successfully, in such a short space of time… er ever.
1. Build a strong team
When you go into any new venture, it’s vital to have co-workers that you can trust. Even if you’re going it alone, it’s unlikely that you will be able to do everything yourself. Be sure to hire or collaborate with people who have the same overall vision as you. You need to openly discuss your objectives early on to make sure you’re all on the same page and have the same ultimate goals.
Communication is key. Be sure to talk through any issues or concerns right away – as soon as you feel them arising. Being open and honest about these things with not only help to maintain a healthy working relationship, but will allow your team to help you work through any personal concerns along the way.
2. Not all advice will be good advice
Asking for feedback from past customers or collaborators is a necessary evil. Sometimes it’s all to easy to bury our heads in the sand and aimlessly convince ourselves that we’ve done a perfect job. But perfection takes time (in reality it will never be met!) and although you may already be aware of areas that need improving in your business, asking for feedback from people who you know will give it to you honestly us a great way to grow. But it can be tough to hear – especially if you feel you’ve worked really hard and put your all into something. It can seem like people are picking holes in everything you’ve done, but they may have noticed things you didn’t and may offer you some really valuable advice about how to improve things next time.