Ep 127. How to Actually Implement What You Learn

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Calling all serial content consumers. Are you to learn how to actually implement what you learn?

This episode is for you if you find yourself taking in a lot of knowledge, tips and strategies, but then find it really hard to implement all the things that you’re learning.

I recently spoke at the Noobie photography conference hosted by Nathan Holritz. And I heard that only 5% of people who attend conferences actually go home and implement anything they learn.

This is at a conference that someone has paid for. I can only assume that the statistics are much lower when it comes to consuming free content like this podcast episode.

So today, I want to share with you a few things that I’ve learned over the years as a student, and now as an educator that have helped me actually implement all the things that I’m learning. And at the end I share with you the incredible takeaways that I learned from all the other speakers at the newbie conference.

Before we jump in and really get into how to implement what we learn, I’d love to take a moment to say welcome. Let me take a quick sec and just introduce myself.

For those of you who don’t know who I am. My name is Ashley Freehan, and I am the founder here at The Purpose Gathering, which is an online community and education platform designed to help overwhelmed mom photographers increase profitability, work less, and enjoy motherhood.

I’m a homeschooling mom of two juggling two businesses, while only working 15 hours a week. So I have to be extremely intentional and strategic about how I spend my time. In addition to this weekly podcast, I have a six-month group coaching program called the Side Hustler to CEO. I basically wrapped up my decade of knowledge as a mom and a photographer into this program, which provides you with a simple framework for growing and maintaining a profitable and stress-free photography business. You can check out more info about this program by visiting

I know that you came here today because you are one of those serial content consumers and you need a little bit of help for how to just make this a little bit easier to digest and implement.

So, here are 6 steps to start taking to actually implement what you learn:

1. Take Notes.

Now I know this might seem super basic, and really easy, but this is a crucial step if you want to make any lasting change. So now when you go to a conference, I’m sure that you’re taking notes. But think about listening to a podcast episode. How many times do you listen to an episode while you’re multitasking thinking you’re going to come back to re-listen to the episode and actually take action?

And then you’re like, Oh, whoops, I forgot about that. Right.

So there are some simple things that you can do to take notes even while you’re multitasking.

One easy way to do this is to pause the episode and voice message yourself. Or even better yet, go into your notes, app, and use voice-to-text and draft a note that will remind you some of these action steps.

I have done this a lot of times while I’m listening to a podcast and I’m driving, or I’m doing the dishes. I’ll just take a quick second and pause it. And if I’m not driving, I can just type it but sometimes it’s easier to just voice it.

I’ve also had my kids take notes for me too. If I’m listening to a podcast episode in the car, and they’re with me, I can just ask them, Hey, will you write this down for me on a sheet of paper, I really don’t want to forget this really good idea I heard. So it’s important that you are taking notes. If you’re the kind of person who remembers everything in your head, I’m still gonna encourage you to write this down.

So maybe you’re listening to an episode on your way home. And then when you get home, you can jot down a bunch of notes of what you remembered.

The other thing that’s really cool that a lot of people don’t realize is a lot of podcast hosts actually have transcriptions of their episode on their blog.

So if you are ever listening to an episode of mine, I link to the blog post version of all of my episodes. So You can always go back, take a closer look and dive a little bit deeper so that you don’t have to re-listen to the podcast episode.

Now, not every podcast host does this, but a lot of them do. So make sure that you take advantage of that.

2. Revisit the Notes

Now, this is where I sometimes get tripped up. I’m really good at taking notes, and I’m really good at making notes on my phone. But then I need to set reminders to come back to these notes because I’m usually listening to podcasts in the car as well, or while I’m doing the dishes, and I’m doing something else.

So I don’t always have time set aside to actually take a look at these notes. Same with at a conference.

I think sometimes we get so excited at a conference or a workshop that we take all these notes. But then we don’t ever set aside the time to go through and revisit and analyze our notes.

Now when you’re going back through this step, it’s important that you start to highlight the action steps, the things in which you want to take action on.

3. Create a List of Action Steps

So you’ve gone through your notes, and you’re highlighting what you want to take action on. Now you’re going to create an actual list of action steps.

You can do this wherever you want to. I personally use Asana, which is my task management system. I’ve talked about it in a previous a couple of previous episodes. But I think it’s important to have a place where all of these ideas live.

4. Revise

And then your next step is going to be to revise. So step number four, you’re going to actually go through this list of action steps and you’re going to prioritize the ones that you want to take action on first, then you’re going to put the rest into a shiny object list for later.

Because I think often when we get a bunch of new information, we want to implement it all right away. But in reality, that’s just not likely to happen. Because you still have a ton of other things in your business that you’re responsible for, not to mention your personal life and your families.

And so it’s really important that you take the time to prioritize, and segment these action steps. Then I want you to choose to bigger picture action steps that you want to implement.

5. Break It Down

So if there are a couple of really overarching themes that you want to work on, it’s important that you create sub-actions.

For instance, one thing that I learned at the Noobie conference that I’m really excited about getting started on is learning more about SEO, and optimizing my blog, keyword research. And all of those things kind of fall into optimizing your website.

And that is not a check-off-able task. For optimizing your website, there’s a lot that goes into that and there’s going to be a lot more that goes into learning about that, and possibly investing in education around that. And so it’s going to be a thing that is not a super easy checkbox to check.

So that’s what I mean when I’m saying to break it down into the multiple sub-actions.

And so I want you to do that with anything new that you’re learning as well, because I think sometimes we’ll just put a blanket, ‘optimize my website’ on our list. And then we wonder why we never get to it because it’s too big of a task.

6. Schedule the Task Using Your Task Management System

This is going to be absolutely crucial.

Because if there’s no due date on the item, it just becomes a great thought, right?

Like, that’d be awesome to do in in the future one day, there’s always going to be something that is a little bit more important. But when you assign a due date to it, it shows you in your brain that it’s important and that it’s something that you want to do. And it’ll be more likely to get done if you give it a due date.

Okay, so I know that this is super basic, but I just want to take a few minutes and talk through why we have such a hard time doing this. I think the biggest problem is that we love information. Information is not hard to acquire, right?

I mean, you can pop in a podcast, listen to it for 20 minutes, and you can get some great information. But I think a lot of us are doing this sort of as an escape from reality. I don’t necessarily think we are always doing it with the right intentions.

And so one thing that I have really had to focus on is how much input I am taking in, and how much output I am putting out.

If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while you’ve heard me talk about this. Input is all the podcasts, all the conferences, all the YouTube videos, the free master classes, the downloadable guides, all the things that you can get your hands on, and you just cram information down your throat.

But the problem is, we don’t have an information problem, we have an implementation problem. And we need to focus more of our time getting the right information, and doing something with it.

I always use this analogy, because I think it is so appropriate. But it’s like going onto Pinterest, and pinning all the super cute DIY projects that you want to do, or all the fun birthday party ideas that you have for your kids, and then never actually doing any of the pins. You just pin it. And then you think that it gave you some sort of instant gratification. But you didn’t actually make the thing you didn’t actually plan that birthday party.

And so I think the same is true with how we look at information, we just want more and more and more of it. And we need to stop with the overconsumption, stop with the serial content consuming, because it’s overwhelming us.

The more that we are putting into our brain, the less we are being able to be creative, because we have so much going into our brain.

The thing about this is that input can also be mindless. So if you think about scrolling on Facebook, scrolling on Instagram, you’re getting a ton of input, not necessarily it might not be educational, it might be entertainment value, but that’s still input.

And you have to allow yourself time and space to breathe, relax, and put some output into the world.

And so what I like to describe as output are things like writing your own content, journaling, having a conversation with a trusted friend. These type of things are how we process information. When you are planning and creating your task list. Those are things that are output things that you’re actually working on things that you are, in essence creating.

I think that when we think about creation, we always are thinking about oh, well, it has to be a blog post or it has to be a caption on Instagram, creating doesn’t necessarily have to be those things, it could be just formulating our thoughts, creating a space in which we can digest all the information that we’re taking in.

And so this is what I want you to take away from this blog post.

I challenge you to be very intentional about what information you are taking in, and think about the things that you want to change in your business. Think about the things that you want to change in your personal life, and focus on those things only.

Because if you are getting a whole bunch of information from all these different places, it’s going to be really hard for you to stay focused on those things.

So just to recap how easy it is to actually implement information that you learn.

1. You need to take notes.

2. You need to reread your notes, revisit them and highlight the things you want to change or the things you want to implement.

3. Transcribe all those thoughts and create an actual list of action steps

4. Then you’re going to prioritize which steps are truly important to you at that moment. Move those to one list, and then put the rest in a shiny object list and come back to those later.

5. You’re going to choose big picture things that you want to take action on and break it down further into multiple sub-actions

6. Then you’re going to schedule all of those in a task management system.

This is how you’re going to be able to actually implement what you are learning.

Okay, so now that I have shared this super simple system, I would love to take a moment and share with you a few things that I learned at the Noobie photography conference.

So this conference is for new photographers who are within the first three years of their business. And there were eight of us speaking and there was so much wealth of knowledge.

Even being a photographer for over a decade, I still have things that I was learning and things that I wanted to share with you guys.

So the first thing that I think was really eye-opening to me was talking about brand position. And Nathan Holritz is incredible at speaking on multiple topics, but especially this one.

Essentially, Nathan was speaking about how each photographer needs to stand out the second that someone comes across your website.

So when someone is searching for, let’s say, Phoenix wedding photographer, or wherever you live, fill in the blank, they are going to come across a lot of different photographers that all might have a similar skill level, they might use the same presets like, everything might look pretty similar when you get to a photography page, but the brand position is how you are different, and what uniqueness you offer to that particular client.

So he used a funny example of really being super crystal clear. So saying something like Chattanooga, Tennessee, black and white wedding photographer for skateboarders. So super silly. I don’t know if there’s a big enough market for that. But it just goes to show you how niche and specific he was.

So we knew right away when we came to that if that was for us or not. So I think that was a really incredible thing to think about.

And so while you’re thinking about your brand position, I want you to think about what sets you apart in the industry. What is a differentiating factor for you? How do you show up in a different way, and make sure that is bold front and center on the top of your website above the fold?

So basically, what that means is before someone starts to scroll, they should be able to see what it is that you do, who you serve, and where you’re located. So I know that a lot of photographers like to put their logo, but Nathan is saying, above all of that above the logo and the beautiful photos, you have to be super clear about who you serve.

So I thought that was something that was really important. Nathan has two incredible podcasts that I’ll link below. One is The Noobie Podcast, and the other is The Bokeh Podcast. And he actually recently just did an episode about brand position. Check it out here!

Okay, so the next speaker that I got so much from was Feuza, and people call her Fuse, her business name is Get Found with Fuse. And her conversation was all about how to create a website that converts.

And this is something that I really struggle with is SEO and keyword research and all of the backend stuff that you need to do in order to optimize your site to be found with Google. And so she had such an incredible presentation, I’m not gonna be able to obviously get into all of it.

But I just wanted to share a few key points, takeaways, if you will, that I got from her presentation. So one thing that she mentioned was a CRO, which is a conversion rate optimization. And she was talking about how it’s so important to check your analytics on Google and see how many people are visiting your site, versus how many people are opting into your freebie.

And that’s definitely something that I do not keep close tabs on. So I highlighted that in my notebook. And I was like, Okay, I definitely know that this is something that I want to start paying attention to. Another thing that she said that was a little bit surprising to me and not something I had heard before was that every service that you offer needs to have its own page because it can rank separately.

So if you just have one services page, but maybe someone isn’t necessarily looking for a wedding photographer, you can only rank for one of those keywords per page. And so she talked about having different pages for different services that you offer so that you can optimize each page separately.

So that’s something that I had no idea about. She also mentioned that a lot of photographers just have gallery pages that show the different types of photography they do. So maybe you have weddings, and maybe you have engagements, and she definitely says those should be on two separate pages. But she said that a gallery page is just kind of like a naked page on Google because there are no words.

And so you want to make sure that there are at least 500 words of text on your gallery pages or they’re not even going to be found in Google. So that’s another quick tip.

The other thing that she mentioned really spoke to me because I use a ShowIt site. I had no idea that you had to go in specifically into each part of your website and change the h1, h2, and h3 headings. And this might feel a little over your head if you don’t know any of this, which I know just enough. But I want to get to know more because I am realizing how important this is.

So she recommends having only one h1 heading on each page. And then about two to 10 of those h2 and h3. So those are basically like your head headers. And that’s how Google can rank you based on those headers. So I thought that was really interesting as well. So that is definitely highlighted on my notebook, and something that I’m gonna have to go in and do. Which is going to take a lot of extra work that I didn’t really know that I needed to do.

But I think that’s going to be really helpful for my SEO on my website and my blog. So I could go on and on, because she had so much incredible information, but I’m going to stop right there. And I’ll be sure to link her website and her Instagram in the show notes so that you can follow her she is very active on Tik Tok as well.

And you guys will learn a lot of information from her. She is actually speaking at my upcoming Focused Mom Photographer Summit in April, so I can not wait for you to hear her. And I’m sure I’ll have her on the podcast too, because she’s just such an incredible wealth of knowledge for us photographers.

Okay, so the next presentation that really captured my attention was another presentation by Nathan. He talked on day two about how to have a shorter work week. And I’m going to be just really like quick about this one. But I just thought that it was really interesting how he talked about proactive versus reactive work.

So proactive work increases your bottom line, it enables you to reach your goals. And I like to think of them as more of those big-picture CEO tasks.

So that is meaning that you are working ahead, sort of, you’re not reactive, so then the opposite of proactive is going to be that reactive.

So these are things in your business that have to happen. So your client fulfillment, your editing of the galleries, that kind of stuff, that doesn’t really, it’s not really income generating in the sense of right away. I mean, obviously, you could argue and say, Well, you know, I’m giving a great client experience, and then that, in turn, leads to referrals, and that’s income generating.

But that’s not what he’s talking about here.

So he recommends that 75% of our work is proactive, and 25% of it is reactive.

So it was just really interesting to think about how we’re spending our time. And he had everybody list out like all the things that they’re responsible for, and put a P next to the those proactive tasks and are next to the reactive. So that’s a really cool exercise for you to do as well so that you can see how much time you’re actually spending on those proactive tasks.

Okay, and then the last speaker that I wanted to talk about is Thomas Flint. So he actually gave a presentation of what to do with your hands. And then he did an actual styled shoot and walked through how to pose people and how to help them know what to do and feel confident.

So I wanted to just touch on a few things here.

So Thomas said that anytime you go to a session and you meet a couple for the first time or a client for the first time, 20% of what you’re doing is photography, and 80% is disarming their anxiety.

So I thought that was very interesting. So he talked a lot about how we could ease our clients’ fears, by being silly with them and giving them some prompts of what to do with their hands. And actually mirroring what we want them to do.

And one thing that I thought was really interesting that he mentioned was he uses his LCD screen when he’s taking pictures instead of the viewfinder as a way to stay connected to his client. And I thought that was so interesting.

I’ve never done it for that reason before. And he said if you can eliminate the camera in between you and your client And then they’ll see your face and they’ll see your reactions. And they’ll be more likely to feel peaceful and calm and like, hey, they’re in it with me. And they can see your expression. And they know what to do next. So I thought that was a really cool tip as well.

He also mentioned that people will forget what we say, but they won’t forget how we made them feel.

And so it’s really important that we give our client an incredible experience by making the posing dynamic and incorporating movement and body language and activating different senses and really helping them just feel confident and comfortable.

And there’s just so many different things that he talked about that I was like, Oh my gosh, yes, like softening your jaw and helping them take the tension out and really paying attention to their hands and making sure that they’re not bawling their hand in a fist but giving them actual movement to do with their hands and making sure that the chin and shoulder connection is intact.

And so you’re not always shooting them straight on and you have dimension in your photos too. So I just thought he had a lot of really funny and little quirky things that he taught us. And he also talked about posing and having sitting poses and wall poses. And some just some go to poses like mastering two to three poses in each scenario so that you are feeling competent.

So I just thought it was really helpful to have some of these kinds of tools in your tool bag to pull out to make your clients feel so confident and comfortable. So I could go on and on. There were so many other incredible speakers. But these were the things that really stood out the most to me and made the biggest impact.



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My mission is to help fellow mom business owners experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for mompreneurs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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