Ep 7. 3 Reasons Your Business is Stagnant

I'm Ashley!

My mission at The Purpose Gathering is to help driven momtogs like you level up, so you can build a sustainable business AND a fulfilling family life. I do that through authentic brand photography for mompreneurs and my signature program for mom photographers: Side Hustler to CEO.

hey there

Free Productivity + Timeblocking Masterclass

sign me up

Motherhood mindset shifts, parenting hacks, marriage
tips + more

TOp categories

Learn where to start with self-care + how to make time for what matters most to you


Take a look behind the scenes in my photography business 

Tips + strategies for growing a profitable and sustainable photography business

coming soon

There are so many different reasons , or excuses, I guess I should say, that we come up with of why our business is not growing. I know for me, I have had some limiting beliefs in the past and I have learned a few things that have really held me back in my business and I want to share them with you today. There are three main reasons why your business is stagnant and why having kids is not the problem.

I think that you’re going to find a lot of clarity and help for you to navigate what it looks like in your business and maybe some areas where you can shift your perspective and maybe take action in a different way.

In Episode Two, Navigating Mom Guilt. I talked about this idea about how we sometimes have limiting beliefs about possibly why our business is not growing. And I know for me, one of the biggest limiting beliefs that I had was the fact that I had kids and I just assumed, Oh, well my business is growing slower because of my kids.

While it’s partly true, it’s not. A good enough reason for us to continue going about life the way we’ve always gone about it because we have kids, right?

So, I want to debunk that myth right now and let you know the three reasons why I think that your business is stagnant. And I have experienced every single one of these, which is why I know that once you start to make changes in these three areas, you will see an amazing transformation in your business.

Defining Success
And I want to begin by setting the stage a little bit. Success looks different for everyone. I personally used to think that success was a dollar amount, like when I make six figures, then I will have arrived. Now I have shaped my definition of success to be in the form of how lives are being transformed and how people are being impacted by me. That is how I want to define success. I don’t want to be chasing after a dollar amount when that’s not my driving force. I want my measure of success to be determined by how many mamas I am impacting. And you know what? If it’s just one, if it’s just you, then you’re worth it. And I want you to know that everything I’m about to say is out of love and it’s out of experience and me wanting you to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. Because I know that these three reasons held me back for so long, and I want to give you hope and I want to save you the heartache and the trial and error, girl I’ve got you!

So, if you resonate with any of these, and you understand what I’m saying and you are living in that lie right now, know that I’m here with a hug. I say this with the best intentions, and I really just want to help you. It’s not to make you feel bad about yourself or to make you feel guilty. It truly is out of a place to serve you and help you find more understanding and clarity about growing your business to be exactly what you want it to be.
Mindset and Follow Through

So, let’s jump right into reason number one, why your business is stagnant, because your mindset and follow through are lacking. So, let me break it down like this. There are three different types of mindsets, and I think I can guess what yours is.

Reason #1- Your Mindset + Follow Through Are Lacking
But there is a fixed mindset, this is a mindset where you are who you are and you’re never going to change. So, for me, one of those fixed mindsets that I used to have was, I’m not a morning person, so I’m just not going to wake up early to do all the things that these super successful business owners have told me.

I heard over and over and over again. You’ve got to wake up early. You’ve got to wake up early, wake up before your kids, you can do it. And I just had this fixed mindset for so many years, I’m not a morning person. So, I have to let you know if that is you, you’re always going to be stuck. If you live your life with that fixed mindset.

Growth Mindset
Mindset number two, a growth mindset. This is a mindset where it’s like, you know what? I’m not a morning person, but I am going to try. Okay I want to be a morning person. I really want the benefits and the success that these people have been having, so, so I really am going to try. Okay, that’s a growth mindset and I can guarantee that that’s where you are. You have that growth mindset, you want to be better, you want to apply all these strategies. You have really good intentions, you want it. Okay, but there’s a difference between wanting something and trying and then actually doing it okay?

Action Mindset
So that’s the third type of mindset is going to be an action mindset. So, you not only want it, you’re going to do it and you’re going to do whatever it takes to actually do it. So, when I changed my thoughts and I decided that I was going to be a morning person, that is when it happened. That’s when the shift and the mindset change happened. I decided that my thoughts, were going to control my feelings, not the other way around. So, when my alarm goes off in the morning, I’m not thinking, I don’t feel like waking up. I’m thinking it’s time to wake up, put your feet on the floor. I’m walking my feelings through the thought process of I am a morning person, so it’s going to happen. Do you guys see the difference? Do you see that shift? You are in control of your thoughts. You tell your mind what to think okay. Feelings are just temporary.

So again, you might be thinking, well, I try to have the action mindset. I sometimes do, right? Or I forgot, or I really want it, so if that’s you and you and you want the action mindset, here’s some strategies of what you can do to actually implement the action.

So, I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and she was mentioning to me, Ashley, your podcast episodes are so jam packed with strategies and tips, and I don’t know where to start. Like how do I even implement them? So, I gave her these couple tips that I want to give you.
Write it down

So, number one is when you hear something that you think you want to do, write it down. If you keep a journal every day, that’s where I want you to write it. But most of us, we get our good ideas on the run, or we’re busy multitasking. And so, what I do is I keep my idea bank or my to do bank or my future, I want to do this bank in my phone. And I keep it under a note, and it says something like podcast tips or strategies I want to implement, and I will write it down.

Putting a Reminder in your Phone
And if it’s something that I know is going to impact me and help me right away, like drinking more water then I will move on to step number two, which is actually putting a reminder in my phone. And you guys, this sounds super silly, but it’s not. It takes 21 days of repetition to form a habit, and a habit is not formed by good intentions. A habit is formed by actual action. So, setting a reminder in your phone to go off every 30 minutes, drink water, drink water, drink water. Or for me, my wake-up routine, it was, I would set a timer every 15 minutes that would say like, get up. Seriously, get up, get up right now, you’re going to regret this later. Get up. You know what I mean? Set a series of timers and alarms, whatever you have to do to get you to actually move and take action. You’re going to have to do those reminders.

Scheduling it In
And my third tip for implementing and taking action is scheduling it in. This is a huge one for me. If I do not schedule something in, it will not happen. Right now, I’m struggling with fitness and nutrition because I tend to be someone who is used to be really awesome about fitness. But now that my kids are home and after being sick for over a month, I fell out of the habit and now I’m just like, Oh, I don’t want to. I’m letting those feelings take over like, Oh, I just have so much other things I’d rather be doing. But if I let those feelings control me, then yes sure I’m going to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Because our feelings are trying to keep us comfortable. Our feelings are trying to keep us safe and protected, but our feelings are not taken in the best interest. They’re not looking at the whole picture, they’re not understanding that physical self-care is imperative to everything. And so right now I’m living this lie where, oh my goodness, like I just don’t want to do it. Well, yes, no one really wants to add more things to their plate.
No one really wants to do hard things, but we all want the benefits, right? We all want to look great in our body. We all want to be thinner and more fit and strong, but we don’t want to do the work. So, this is where it comes down to, how bad do you really want it? If you want something bad enough, you will do it right? It’s like with our kids, we tell our kids all the time like, Oh, don’t do this. Don’t do that. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. But do we take those same boundaries and apply them to our own lives? No, because we’re adults and we can do whatever we want, but if we just continue to do whatever we want, we’re going to live in a life of chaos. If we want something different than we’ve never had before, we’re going to have to start doing things we’ve never done before.

So, a few of you might know this, but I went to the Rachel Hollis Business Conference in South Carolina this past November. So, November 2019 and it was literally life changing. But one of the presentations that stuck out to me the most was from Dave Hollis, and it was all about mindset and our biggest hurdle and the thing that holds us back the most. Can you guess what it is? It’s you. You are the only thing standing in your way to the success that you deserve and the success that you want. You are the only factor holding you back. And can I just tell you guys this blew my mind because I had no idea how much I was holding myself back. I have limiting beliefs about what I could do and what I could accomplish. They had us write down big numbers and big goals, and I couldn’t even fathom some of these things.
I was already talking myself out of stuff, saying things like, Oh, that’ll never be me or yes to be a millionaire one day that must be nice. You know what I mean? Like I have already put my success in a box thinking that I can never have big things because they just seem too big. So, Dave says, growth mindset is a requirement. Action mindset is a requirement. The cost of your future business is your current one and let that sit with you for a minute. The cost of your future business is your current one. What got us to where we are today is not going to get us to where we want to be. We have to leave our business as we know it right now and strive for something bigger and we cannot get somewhere bigger if we take the person we are today and try to lead us to a more successful business. So, we have to change something about us to get us to where we want to go. I hope this is making sense, I hope you’re tracking with me. We cannot be doing things the way we’ve always done them. We have to make changes. We have to, we have to grow our knowledge base and our understanding. That’s why self-improvement and self-development is something that is so important. Don’t let anybody make you feel bad about trying to be a better person.

Dave shared with us that sometimes a voice of authority, like a spouse, a sibling, a parent, or someone trusted like a really close friend. They might discourage us from doing what we’re doing. They might not understand what owning a business and that passion that we have looks like. I know Dave mentioned that he was one of those people that was trying to hold Rachel back. He didn’t believe in her dreams. He didn’t believe that she could do it. And he admits that, and he says, you know what? I saw her becoming a better person and I saw these big dreams and I didn’t want her to have them because I was afraid that she was going to leave me behind. And oh my gosh, that clicked with me, like so often we go to our family and our friends and our spouse for support, and they just don’t get it. If they don’t own a business, they don’t understand the hustle, they don’t understand the dream. They think we’re crazy at times. Right? And can you blame them? I mean, from an outsider perspective, it seems insane. Like why would we hustle? Why would we work so late? Why would we do all these things for little return?

It’s because we have a passion, we see a bigger impact. We want more for our lives, but no one is going to care about our business as much as we do. That’s why we cannot look to these people to let us know if we’re doing a good job or not because they don’t see the long-term benefits that we see. So, we have to be strong enough to want the dream. Rachel Hollis mentioned, nobody is going to care about your business, nobody. So, if you don’t care about it enough, then it’s never going to succeed. It’s never going to be that business that you’ve see it being because you’re letting other people define your success for you. This is why so many small businesses fail. Because they don’t take the time to develop themselves as a leader. They don’t take the time to invest in themselves as a business owner. They look to other people for a measure of success, and they compare, and when they don’t measure up to another person’s level of success, they feel like they’re a failure and it’s not true.

So, if that’s you, I just want to come alongside you with a hug and say, you are the only person that can get your business to where you want it to be. But the person that you are today is not going to get you there. You’re going to have to make some changes, you’re going to have to develop in ways you never expected. You’re going to have to gain a new skill set; yes, gain a new skill set, learn something new that’s going to propel your business forward. You cannot take your business to where you want it to be with the person you are today.

Whew! Oh man. I feel like I was just preaching. I hope that this is resonating with you. I hope that you are understanding that you are the key to success in your business. It’s you.

Reason #2- You’re Not Willing to Invest in Coaching + Education
Okay, so moving on to reason number two, why your business is stagnant. It’s because you’re not willing to invest in coaching or education. And I have to be so honest with you guys right now. It took me a while before I began to invest in education, I was believing a lie that I had to make money first. I was believing a lie that education was too expensive. I don’t know why it held me back for so long, I just don’t know why, I didn’t understand the importance of it. But once I started investing in it, that is when I saw my business exponentially grow.

So, I want to speak to you right now. If you’re that person, if you’re believing that lie that education is too expensive, I want to paint you this picture. Think about how much money it costs to go to college. If I sit down and do the math of how much money I spent on my education degree that I don’t even use, it’s astronomical! Think about if I would have taken that money and invested it into my business in the same way, I literally, I can’t even fathom what my business would look like if I had spent the thousands and thousands of dollars that my education costs. In my current business.
So, I just want to paint you that picture right now, think about how much further your business could be if you invested education, invested in education upfront. Some of you might be new business owners, some of you might be 5, 10 years in. I don’t know where you are in your business journey, but I can tell you right now that as soon as I started investing, that is when I saw change happen and this is a tricky one because there is so much education out there that is not good. So, you definitely want to make sure that you’re doing your homework as far as what you’re investing in. But I’m going to give you just one tip. Invest in you as a leader and as a business owner, because I feel like that for me, when I invested in that, that’s what changed everything. The mindset is huge, if you invest in that mindset, that’s where you’re going to see the change first. Second, I would invest in your trade, so whatever it is that you do for me as a photographer. I invested in a photography workshop. So, get very niche specific as to what industry you’re in and get somebody who understands that industry.

Thriving with Purpose Workshop
So, I wanted to take a second really quick to circle back to the mindset investment. I created a workshop called Thriving with Purpose, that is all about mindset and how business and motherhood and marriage and how all of it overlaps and intersects. And right now, I’m offering this workshop for only $47 because I really want you to get a head start on this mindset.
I know how important it is to find peace and passion in your motherhood and business. I know how invaluable it has been for me to have strategies and tips and mindset based around mental and physical self-care. I have to take care of myself first and understanding identity and why that’s so important in my business and why I’m unique and why I am the only person that can do what I do in the way that I do it.

I want to share with you guys parenting strategies that’s my jam. I want to help you understand your children and their unique characteristics. I want you to be an expert on them and understand why they behave and act the way they do. And totally change your paradigm of parenting and how we’re not raising tiny robots and they will misbehave at times, but how can we parent our children and how can we speak to them in a way that makes them want to behave?

This workshop is totally comprehensive because then it goes into talking about marriage and how to connect with our spouse and different attachment styles and spaces of belonging and how we can really show up for our spouse in the best way possible. And finally leading a business with authenticity and what it looks like to show up and serve your community in your audience, and why it’s so important to have a people over profit mentality. And because I know it’s so hard as a busy mama to find the time to do this workshop, I have created a bonus for you which is an accountability checklist. This checklist breaks it down into four weeks that are super easy to follow, tells you which module to listen to and which workbook pages to complete.

That way you have a clear picture of what to do, and you can schedule it in. I even say how long each item is going to take, so that way you know when you’ll have time to work on it. So, I hope that you’ll take the time to check out more details. Visit the purposegathering.com/thrive.
Focusing on the Wrong Things

Reason #3- You’re Focusing On the Wrong Things
All right so let’s jump right back in to the third reason why your business is stagnant because you’re focusing your time and energy on the wrong things. Now, trust me, I can totally relate to this because even still as a seasoned business owner, 10 years in, I can still get very overwhelmed with all the things I think I should be doing in my business. I could be working on growing my email list. I could be working on Facebook ads, I could be working on enhancing my client experience, getting new clients, booking sponsors.

I mean, there are so many things to be working on, and so I can relate as to why you might be overwhelmed and focusing on the wrong things. Now, I’ve been working on a future episode series all about what I think that we should be focusing on in our businesses and the exact order. So, know that I’m going to go more in depth in the future, but for now I wanted to speak a little into what we can be focusing on right now and maybe where we should shift our focus.

So, Rachel Hollis at her conference gave this analogy that I love, and I think I’ve told a million people about it already. But I don’t think I’ve shared it on the podcast. If I have, forgive me, but I’m going to share it again. So, she gave this analogy of the soccer balls. So, there are six soccer balls on the field, imagine that each of those six soccer balls is a different area of your business in which you could be focusing on. So, you’re going to walk up to one ball and you’re going to kick it as far as you can, and then you’re going to watch where it lands in the distance. Then you’re going to go up to the second ball and you’re going to kick that as hard as you can, and you’re going to watch how far that goes in the distance, and then you’re going to continue to do that to each of the six balls, and then you’re going to look out onto the field and see where your balls are.

Probably generally, they’re going to be all in the same area, right? So, you’re going to run up to those balls and you’re going to do it again and kick him one at a time, one at a time. And imagine starting at that starting line with all six of those balls and just picking one thing to focus on. So, this month I’m going to focus on Pinterest ads, or this month I’m going to focus on growing my email list. Or this month I’m going to focus on really connecting with my ideal target avatar and finding out what their pain points are so that I can plan out my content for the future. So, she said, imagine choosing one of those soccer balls and kicking it down the field time after time after time. Imagine how much further along you would be in that one area if you just picked one.

So, I’m going to encourage you right now to make a list of all the things that you think you should be doing and just pick one of them. What is the one thing that you’re going to focus on in your business for the next month? And focus on that and then come back and regroup and reset and say, okay, how did that go? Do I feel like I’m doing good in that area? Is that driving business forward? Is that helping me grow? And if it’s not, pick another area right. We need to stop trying to kick all the soccer balls and just stay focused on one specific area in which that we can further our business.
So, I want to talk about one specific area in which I feel like. I’m guilty and possibly a lot of you out there are guilty of the same thing and that’s focusing too much time and energy on Instagram. Maybe you’re on Facebook, I think a good majority of us are on Instagram. But here’s why I think it’s not being utilized in the right way. I think Instagram is a great tool, but I think a lot of us are using Instagram as our platform. We are pouring out all of our content onto Instagram and we’re hoping that people love it, but the problem is that it’s only relevant for 24 hours. The problem is there’s no way to easily search when we want to go back. The problem is there’s too many users on Instagram and we’re distracted constantly. I don’t know about you guys, but I can think of a handful of people that I love to follow, that I know their name and I go, and I search them out.
But for the most part, everything else I see on Instagram is just luck of the draw or luck of the algorithm, right? So, my content is not always being seen. So, I want to encourage you guys to start building your content on another platform, on a platform that you own, on a platform that’s more searchable. So, for me, I decided to take that platform onto a podcast and a blog so that way people can actually come and re-listen to my content. That way I am not creating content for several different platforms. I’m only creating content for my one platform and then I’m sharing it onto Instagram, right? I’m taking pieces of my content and plugging it into Facebook, and that’s really what I want you guys to understand is Instagram is a really great tool to share your content, but your content cannot live on Instagram.

If that’s where it’s living, I encourage you to choose another avenue, choose somewhere else for you to show up on a weekly basis for your followers. Maybe that would be a podcast, maybe that’s a YouTube channel. Maybe that’s just showing up on Instagram, or I’m sorry, Facebook live and saving those videos for you to potentially use for a course one day. I want you to think bigger, I want you to think long term. Instagram, I can’t even tell you how much time I have wasted creating content for Instagram. I used to spend hours writing amazing, captivating content and then feeling so defeated when it only got, you know, 30 to 40 likes and 5 comments.
Or maybe it even got one comment. I mean, it was so just defeating, and so I got over that and I decided, you know what? Obviously, we know that vanity metrics don’t pay the bills. We get that, but it still was deflating me as a person and I just had to get past that. I had to say, you know what Instagram does not define my success. I’m going to build my platform and send people to my platform, and that’s the only thing that matters at the end of the day.

Like I said before, if you are the only person that listens to my episode, that’s okay because at the end of the day, I still own this content and I can share it forever, it’s not like my content dies after 24 hours. So, I just want to encourage you that if you are feeling stuck and hung up on Instagram or other social media platforms, it’s okay to say goodbye. It’s okay to limit how much time you’re spending on it. I’m giving you permission that there is a better way and a better use of your time.

So just to recap, the three reasons why your business is stagnant, your mindset and follow through are lacking. You’re not willing to invest in coaching or education and you’re focusing your time and energy on the wrong things. I hope that you’ve found this conversation helpful. I hope it has drawn some awareness around some areas that might be holding you back.

I want the best for you, mama, and I know that these were my biggest struggles. These are the things that held me back for so long, and I want to give you the freedom to move forward in your business and not be hung up any more on these things that have held you back. You deserve more, your business deserves to grow. These people are waiting to be blessed by you. Don’t let these hold you back anymore.

As always, mama, I’m here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.


+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) 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 momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

Learn more

free productivity masterclass

Productivity with Purpose

Learn how to create a master task list, establish and protect time blocks, and eliminate distractions so you can actually stick to your schedule and maximize your productivity. 


Surround yourself
with like-minded mom photographers

Life was not meant to be lived alone. Join us inside the Purpose Gathering Mamas community where you can connect, engage and grow in both your motherhood and your business.