Today’s Episode is Brought to You By:
Casey McMinn Howard, with Casey McMinn Photography, is Atlanta’s most sought after maternity and newborn photographer, providing a high-end, luxury experience for busy moms and dads who value their time.
We are a maternity, newborn and milestone photography studio in the Atlanta area, specializing in a luxury portrait experience from start to finish, complete with professional hair and makeup, access to our inventory of studio gowns and wardrobe for family, and professionally designed artwork, hand delivered to your home.
Connect with Casey on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Jared Rhodenizer, Founder and President at Horse.TV and CarsonJames.com, is a digital marketer, copywriter, Facebook ad specialist, video editor, interior designer, and former cowboy.
Connect with Jared on LinkedIn and Facebook.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s time for Cherokee Business Radio. Now here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:24] Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Cherokee Business Radio. Stone Payton here with you this morning. And today’s episode is brought to you in part by the business RadioX Main Street Warriors Program Defending Capitalism, promoting Small Business and Supporting Our local Community. For more information, head on over to Main Street Warriors dot org. And speaking of the Main Street Warriors program, I am delighted to announce that Diesel David Inc has stepped up to be our 2023 title sponsor for the Cherokee chapter of Main Street Warriors. Thank you Diesel David Inc. Go check them out at Diesel. David Dotcom. You guys are in for such a real treat this morning. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast. First up on Cherokee Business Radio this morning with CarsonJames.com and Horse TV, Mr. Jared Rhodenizer. How are you, man?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:01:23] I’m doing great, man. How are.
Stone Payton: [00:01:25] You? I am doing well. I have so been looking forward to having you in the studio. We see each other early on Thursday mornings. You do such a marvelous job running the young professionals of Woodstock.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:01:36] Well, thank you.
Stone Payton: [00:01:36] And just really looking forward to this conversation. I think a great place to start might be mission purpose. What are you and your team out there trying to do with these two entities? How are you trying to serve folks?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:01:49] Well, there are two kind of different entities, but essentially what we’re doing is we’re creating horse training online where people can access thousands of hours, literally of online horse training videos to fix problems, create better horses, and just create like a better world for the horses. Because if the horses are happy, the people are happy and the people are happy, the horses are happy. So it goes back and forth. So that’s really our main purpose is just helping people fix problems and get along with their horses. And then horse TV is like I describe it as the Netflix for horse people. So it also has the entertainment aspects. We have movies, documentaries, TV shows. It’s everything horses related.
Stone Payton: [00:02:30] Take me back to the beginning, man. What is the origin story? How did all this get started?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:02:34] Okay, so. So my brother Carson is my business partner. He’s always been, like, phenomenal with horses. But one of those people that, like, no one, really knew who he was. He had like, 40 bucks to his name, Nothing. And I worked for this guy for two years. I still refer to him as like, the God of marketing. He took me under his wing and like, taught me everything about marketing. We were doing real estate or tools for real estate agents. So after I learned all this stuff, I was like, Man, Carson is so talented. I wonder if we could like, take the same principles of what I learned here and apply it to, like the horse niche. So it was just an idea. So I went up to Carson. I said, Hey, can I film some videos of you? He was like, For what? I said, We’re going to we’re going to see if people like them. We’re going to see if people want to buy them. He was like, All right. So I spent a day out there and I filmed some videos, throw them on a DVD and ran that DVD on Facebook for free, plus 4.95 shipping. So the DVD is free. You just pay $5 shipping. And this was like an hour and a half long DVD. I mean, it was pretty freaking good deal. Wow. And the first year we did over $1,000,000 that completely blew up. And after they bought the DVD, we had an upsell page where people could click a one time offer where they could join our subscription for $20 a month. And in the subscription they get all the videos on the DVD, plus all the courses we had at the time. We now have 12 courses. I think we started out with two or three when we first started.
Stone Payton: [00:04:02] How did you get the traction so fast.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:04:06] Learning Facebook ads? Man Everybody’s on Facebook. Well, at least our customers are on Facebook. Yeah, just Facebook is incredible when you know how to use it. You can also waste a lot of money.
Stone Payton: [00:04:18] On.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:04:18] Facebook if you don’t know what you’re doing. I’ve been there, done that, too.
Stone Payton: [00:04:22] So what’s your favorite part at this point in your work? What are you enjoying the most?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:04:27] I love every aspect of marketing. So it’s not just the ads, it’s the copywriting, it’s the designing, the sales pages, it’s split testing. It’s finding out, okay, what’s going to convert. Oh man, that converted better than this. And one interesting test that we keep running and it keeps winning is we’ll do like a very pretty like really clean like an Apple type sales page, you know, where all the graphics are pristine and the wording is pristine and then we’ll split test it. And I always do it because it always wins and I don’t understand why, but we’ll split test it against a page that’s like ugly. It’s just a white page with a bunch of black text on it and the graphics aren’t, you know, it just it looks less, a lot less professional. And I’m telling you what, man, every single time that sales page, that ugly sales page wins over the nice one. And so, like, that’s the one thing I always tell people, like when they’re designing a new product page, you’re coming out with a new product. I’m like, Be careful not to make it too shiny. Because if it’s too shiny, a lot of times it’ll turn people away.
Stone Payton: [00:05:26] That is interesting and surprising to me. Yeah.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:05:30] Wow. Pretty wild.
Stone Payton: [00:05:33] So what is your advice, if any, to someone getting their their business off the ground and trying to to do it with the benefit of these digital platforms? Are there some major dos and don’ts?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:05:46] Yes, there are major don’ts, but I would rather talk about the major dos. And these are things some people are doing them, but very few people are doing them. And the horse neck is no different than any niche. If you have a product that you can teach people something or you just have like an e commerce product or something like that, even photography, this will work. So you want to be willing to go in the hole a tad. You try to break even, but be willing to go in the hole just a tad on the front end of your sales page on Facebook. So we like, for example, we’re running ads right now for a problem solving course where they get 42 videos and it’s only $4. And then we have an order bump where they can add it to their cart if they want to. For the digital version of our book, which is $10. 50% of people take that order bump. So we have an average order value of $9. Now, when I run ads on Facebook to that sales page, we break even. It costs about between seven and $9 to get a customer. But we have a customer and we didn’t pay for it. It was a free customer. And then immediately after they buy that, there’s an immediate upsell that says, Hey, do you want to join our membership and get all of these other courses, including kind of the same thing we started with? You know, we haven’t really changed the model that much and we get a 30% upsell rate on that. So not only are we getting free leads, building our email list for free because we’re breaking even, we’re also gaining members by doing that $20 a month subscribers, and that is recurring revenue that comes in every single month.
Stone Payton: [00:07:21] So it’s one thing to get a member it clearly another, I would think, in keeping them. So is your day to day more invested in making sure that you keep that $20 a month member?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:07:33] Well, somewhat. I oversee it. My brother Carson is the face of the company. The company is called Carson James. That’s his name. So he’s more focused on that. I mean, I oversee it and help, but my main I guess what I do would be sales and marketing and stuff like that, making sure everything works and nothing breaks.
Stone Payton: [00:07:53] And at the same time, as I understand it, you are a real cowboy. You have been a real cowboy in.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:08:01] The past and some of it’s still there probably, I reckon. But yeah, my parents grew up on a ranch or I grew up on a ranch. My parents were actual like real cowboys, like you see on Yellowstone. Like they went on the cattle drives, they lived in the tents and had the chuck wagons and everything. And so I lived in Montana till I was about, I don’t know, five or seven years old. And yeah, we lived on a ranch, I mean, just in the bunkhouse, just like you see on on TV. It was it was pretty wild.
Stone Payton: [00:08:29] Well, I wanted to ask you how authentic, because I love Yellowstone. Of course. How authentic is Yellowstone? Is that pretty? Pretty reflective?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:08:36] Some of it is. Some of it’s extremely accurate and some of it’s drama. Yeah, but Carson, you know, he went on he went beyond what you know, we grew up on the ranch, but then Carson actually got a job working for a ranch out west. He’s worked for several ranches. He worked on a million acre ranch in Oregon. And he was an actual cowboy, too, like working every day, riding horses and just like on Yellowstone. So sometimes I’ll sit and I’ll watch it with him and I’ll be like, All right, tell me, tell me how much of this is real? And he’ll be like, Oh, that’s not real. Or Oh, that’s that’s pretty. That’s pretty accurate right there. So yeah, there’s some things that are that are pretty close for sure.
Stone Payton: [00:09:13] So at the top of the show, I mentioned that you and I get to hang out on Thursday mornings at Young Professionals of Woodstock. What compelled you to not only be a part of that group, but you’re you’re like our leader now.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:09:25] Well, so the horse KKTV and Carson James is like a global company. It’s not, you know, a local business. So I don’t really get a whole lot of business benefit from coming to those networking groups. But I like the friendships and I like the relationships. And I said the other morning I was like, All my friends are here, you know, like all of my friends and the people that I’m closest to are in that group. So that’s that’s why I come and that’s why I do it.
Stone Payton: [00:09:51] Well, it’s certainly been my experience and I didn’t really know what I would find when I decided to move here to Woodstock from East Cobb and when I decided to open a studio because because our business is a little more I don’t know if it’s I guess it’s global, but it’s certainly national. The Business RadioX network. And I told Holly, we’re going to open up a studio, we’re going to do the community thing and the business community here in this Cherokee County area. It’s phenomenal. Such a supportive group, isn’t it?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:10:17] It’s wild, man. The some of the best entrepreneurs and the most creative people I’ve ever. Live right here in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s wild. I got a head shot done yesterday by a guy named Jerry King. And I’m telling you what, one of the best headshots I’ve ever had in my life. It was great. And like, we’re sitting here with this photographer. I looked at her pictures before I came on. I was blown away. I was like, Holy cow, man. We just surrounded by talent right here. It’s unbelievable.
Stone Payton: [00:10:42] It is. So Casey would horses make good subject matter, too?
Casey Howard: [00:10:46] Yes.
Casey Howard: [00:10:48] There is a newborn photographer who I first started kind of following, and she was like my guiding light. And she now photographs horses. Julia Kelleher, look her up.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:10:59] That name sounds familiar.
Casey Howard: [00:11:01] I’m sure you’ve seen her. Her horse pictures. Okay. They’re beautiful. Yeah. That’s crazy.
Stone Payton: [00:11:06] Yeah. So what’s next for you, man? You’re just going to continue to expand the Empire. You’ve got business number three lined up.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:11:12] I have some ideas. I’m not certain on anything yet. As far as another business, I do have some ideas because this. This formula that I follow with the ads and I call them tripwires, you know, getting people in on breaking even on the on the on the front end of your funnel.
Stone Payton: [00:11:27] What a cool name for that.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:11:28] Yeah. The trip wires lead magnets or when you get leads trip wires or when you make low end sales to break even to create bigger sales. But the point is the niche. It’s a very niche thing and you can take these same principles and apply them to any niche. So like if you want to teach someone to learn how to take pictures, it would work. I’ve got a guy right now that wants to do a homesteading thing where like it’s a subscription where he teaches you tips and tricks on how to homestead, how to grow your food, how to collect water and things like that. So it’s it’s kind of unlimited what you can do with this Internet marketing stuff.
Stone Payton: [00:12:03] Well, it’s interesting that you bring that up. Casey and I were talking a little bit I was talking about the Main Street Warriors program because we designed sort of this way to serve the smaller businesses where, you know, our fee structure is a little out of reach and doesn’t necessarily make sense for the most of the solopreneur, the startups, but they still want to participate in some way. I wonder if you could help us with the Main Street Warriors program to figure out how to not only just get the word out, but give these small business people a place in a way and make it low risk, high gain. I’ll bet you with the with what you’ve learned, I bet we could apply some of that methodology to something like the mainstream.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:12:38] Oh, absolutely. Local advertising locally on Facebook is so much easier and cheaper than advertising, like nationwide or even globally because you’re only trying to reach, you know, a certain group of people within a certain distance. So it’s you reach a lot more people for a lot less money.
Stone Payton: [00:12:55] Well, I hope you get this third thing going, man. I think you just picked up a new client.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:13:00] Yeah, maybe so.
Stone Payton: [00:13:01] If we can afford you. But we’d love to get your help on that, because everything I know about any of this, from SKO to the trip wires, I mean, you could stick in your eye and still see out. It would take all the help we could get on that. Absolutely.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:13:15] Sure, man.
Stone Payton: [00:13:16] All right. Going forward, what plans do you have for young professionals of Woodstock? And on the community side of things.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:13:24] Young professionals of Woodstock is exactly how I want it to be. Everyone loves it. I don’t want to change it because I people people love it. And I don’t want to. You shouldn’t change something that people love so much. So the plans are to just keep going. I mean, every now and then I’ll try like something new. I’ll kind of test it out and if people like it will stick with it. But like if it doesn’t get a whole, like a huge response, then usually I just go back to how we’ve always done it.
Stone Payton: [00:13:49] So tell the folks about the format. I could do it, but I think you’ll do a much better job. And I just it is so different from any other network kind of thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I feel like I’ve gotten to know everyone in that room far better, far faster than anything else. Saved maybe having people come on a radio show and visit with them. But I mean, tell them about the format, how.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:14:11] You do it. It’s it’s more about creating personal relationships than it is creating business connections. So what happens is everyone gets there. It starts at 730 and I have the question of the week and it’s usually like a semi personal question, like what are you afraid of the most? Or what’s the funnest thing you’ve ever done? Or I don’t have the list in front of me, but well.
Stone Payton: [00:14:32] I got to tell you, last week was one of my favorite. I’m going to start. I’m thinking I’m gonna steal a page out of your book. What do you have a tendency to nerd out about? Yes, that would a great question.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:14:41] That was probably the best question I’ve ever asked as far as the response rate. And I like, you know, I’m all geeky about the split testing and stuff, so I’m always interested to see like test my response rates on the questions. That was probably the best one for sure. Everyone loved it.
Stone Payton: [00:14:55] But yeah, in doing that, Casey, you ought to come visit sometime. It’s I mean, it’s just a.
Casey Howard: [00:14:59] Blast so crazy that you’re here right now because I’ve been thinking about going to the I’ve seen this I’ve been thinking about going to these meetings for a long time, but I’m like, Oh, I don’t know anyone. I don’t know. I just haven’t made that leap so.
Stone Payton: [00:15:13] I can make it happen for you for free plus $5 shipping. Okay. But that’s the.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:15:19] Big difference about Whipple is it’s not. Everyone trying to hand out business cards. It’s not everyone trying to, you know, get their next connection. It’s really about like making friends and creating relationships. And yes, business does come out of that. I’ve done business with I don’t know how many people in that room, but that’s not the point. The point is let’s create a relationship. Let’s get to know each other. Let’s be friends. And then if business comes from it, great. I mean, most of the people in there are business owners, and if they’re not their executives or higher ups, and then we got people who I mean, anybody’s welcome if you’re just interested in business or you just want to make friends, you know, come on, everybody is welcome.
Stone Payton: [00:15:58] And we get together early on Thursday morning. I get there about 720 people are already there. So I don’t know what the official.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:16:03] You can get there as early as seven. We start at 730 at the circuit in Woodstock.
Stone Payton: [00:16:08] And I always load up on some circle of friends coffee and it’s it’s fun, especially when you have someone you don’t recognize if they’re behind you in line. But I’m a cup of coffee. It’s it’s a blast. But you’re doing a fantastic. Thank you.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:16:20] I appreciate it.
Stone Payton: [00:16:21] Well, I have so much admiration for what you do and how you do it, both on on the business side and on the community impact side. And I got to say, man, you got so many irons in the fire at some point and you’re such an up and enthusiastic guy, you’re always looking for ways to help people. And I got to believe sometimes you must begin to run out of gas and get a little you must have to recharge. Where do you go? And I don’t necessarily mean a physical place, but where do you go to kind of recharge, get inspired and geared back up to get back out there and serve? How do you do it?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:16:53] Video games.
Stone Payton: [00:16:54] Video games, Yes. Okay.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:16:55] I have a second screen. You know, I have two screens on my computer. And when I’m not playing video games, the second screen is the second monitor to my computer. But I’m telling you what, man, my day to day, I’ll sit down and I’ll work for a few hours and I’ll be like, Oh, I’m tired of working, or I got to take a break and I’ll turn the monitor on to the Xbox and I’ll play Xbox for an hour and then I’ll get tired of that and I’ll go back to work. And so, yeah, it’s that’s, that’s what I like to do. I really enjoy gaming. It’s probably one of my biggest hobbies. I’ve tried to get into other things. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked to play golf and I like the people, but I don’t. I just cannot hit that golf ball. So it’s not something I ever want to try again. I decided last time I was like, I’m never doing this again.
Stone Payton: [00:17:36] So I like being around the golf tournaments, like the fundraisers, and I’ve done like the where you get a hit at once and then I think out of 18 holes they used my shot one time or something. Yeah, and I enjoy that. And we’ve done like the remote broadcast at the golf tournament. So I like the the ambiance hanging out with the people. But the golf for me, not, not my thing either, man.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:17:56] Yeah, Yeah, not for me.
Stone Payton: [00:17:59] Oh, I know what I wanted to ask you because I am reading a book now, that is, I’m really fired up about and I hope I don’t screw up the title. What does it costing you not to listen? Okay. And so I’m really enjoying that and think I’m thinking about sharing it with our studio partners and our new clients and that kind of thing. But I’m curious, what’s on your nightstand, man? What are you reading these days?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:18:18] Okay, so there are a few key authors if anyone’s interested in like learning about trip wires and lead magnets and this type of marketing. Dan Kennedy Any book by Dan Kennedy, Frank Kern, Ryan Dice or Russell Brunson, any books by those guys will steer you down the right path. And those are the gods in this niche.
Stone Payton: [00:18:38] I’m so glad I asked, man. I got I got a list for the next three months. That’s fantastic.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:18:43] Any book.
Stone Payton: [00:18:44] So when you go about reading a book like that for your business, do you have a a methodology? Do you just dive in? Do you do you paint it and highlight? What do you.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:18:53] Do? I just kind of dive in. I skim most of it. I’m not a I have severe ADHD, so I don’t sit down and like read a full book, but like, I’ll skim through and like if I’ve already feel like I understand something, I might skip a few pages and then I just skim through and but everything I read like I always pick up and even if it’s something that I’ve already learned or something I’ve already kind of looked into, it reignites it, and it’s like, Oh yeah, I should be doing that. And it just reminds me, Oh yeah, I’m not doing that right now. I need to be doing that. So that’s, that’s probably the most helpful thing is just being reminded of all the things that because with this marketing thing, there’s so many, there’s so many roads can go down, there’s so many paths that cross. It’s it’s, it’s impossible to do it all. But you want to find like the top five and stick with it for sure.
Stone Payton: [00:19:42] So on the other side of the coin, is there a book in you? You ever thought about writing a book?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:19:46] I thought about it, but I’m not convinced yet. We’ll see. No, I might wait a little bit longer and see what happens. It might get more interesting.
Stone Payton: [00:19:55] What’s how I got in this business. I self-published a book a long, long time ago when I had black hair. Yeah, I met my business partner, Lee Kantor, and he showed me what we were doing and we were off and running. I’ll tell you a reason to think about seriously. Consider doing it, particularly if you do decide to go down that path of your third business. I found in writing the book and it did have some success, but even if all the copies would have stayed in Mom’s garage, one of the benefits that came out of that was it. Really helped me solidify, crystallize my own thinking and be able to articulate that much more effectively what I thought I had learned about the topics that I was trying to consult.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:20:32] Yeah, that’s a great point.
Stone Payton: [00:20:33] Yeah. So, yeah, do that book, man. Okay. And if you don’t want to sit down in front of a blank page, come in here and we’ll just talk.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:20:40] It and then we’ll talk. There you go. Yeah, that’s funny. You mentioned that we do have a book. It’s called Tales of Horsemanship on Amazon that Carson is not a writer. And he he’s just and he can’t he can’t spell very well. He’s a great horseman, but Carson cannot. Grammar is not his thing. So that’s how we wrote the book. Carson transcribed all of the chapters in the book, and then we had to. We went, sent them to Rivka and had them transcribed.
Stone Payton: [00:21:05] Well, there you go.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:21:06] Yeah, But then, you know, we had to severely clean it up. But that’s how we wrote the whole book was audio transcription.
Stone Payton: [00:21:12] So does he look or at least act a little bit like RIP or one of those characters or the other stuff?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:21:17] Carson’s the most nicest, helpful guy you’ll ever meet in your life. There’s not a taste of a hole in him whatsoever.
Stone Payton: [00:21:26] And he’s out west. Yeah.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:21:27] Or he he used to go out west in the summers. He lives in Florida right now. He has a house in Florida, and that’s where he lives.
Stone Payton: [00:21:34] Very cool. Well, shout out to Carson. Thanks. Yeah.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:21:36] I’ll send it to him so he can have a listen.
Stone Payton: [00:21:39] All right, So if our listeners would like to learn more, have a conversation with you or someone on your team, learn more about either the Carson Gamescom or the horse KKTV, or maybe have a conversation with you about this other thing, What’s the best way for him to connect with you?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:21:52] Add me on facebook. It’s facebook.com. Jared jared roden iser rh modine is there. I try to add everybody on facebook. It’s like my rolodex.
Stone Payton: [00:22:03] More or less. Well, thanks for coming in and visiting with us. Man. This has been insightful, inspiring, informative. It’s it’s fun to have you in the studio, man.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:22:11] I really enjoyed it. It was a.
Stone Payton: [00:22:12] Blast. Yeah. Hey, how about hanging out with us to visit with our next guest?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:22:16] Yeah, absolutely. I want to hear all about this, actually.
Stone Payton: [00:22:18] All right, We’re ready for the headliner now. Here we go. Please join us in welcoming to the broadcast with Casey McMinn Photography, The lady herself, Ms.. Casey Howard, how are you?
Casey Howard: [00:22:30] Good morning. I’m good. How are you?
Stone Payton: [00:22:32] I’m doing well. So what’d you learn in that last segment?
Casey Howard: [00:22:35] So much? Yes. We’re going to have to keep in touch after this, because I feel like there are so many things I need to ask him about.
Stone Payton: [00:22:42] And that was an information packed 20 minutes. I’d like to hook it up to a firehose.
Casey Howard: [00:22:46] Yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:22:47] God knows his stuff. And I’m serious. He’s he’s just such a great job facilitating the Whipple and probably anything else that he does. All right, so let’s talk about this business mission purpose. What’s driving you to do this kind of work?
Casey Howard: [00:23:00] Let’s see. So this all started years ago. It was my side hustle and I was working in a corporate job and it was fine. But I always knew that that’s like not where I want it to be. But at the same time, I didn’t really know how to work for myself, so I just kind of started a side hustle. I always love photography. I had been doing it for years. I worked at a studio, like a corporate studio. I worked for somebody else, basically. And that’s where it all started, where I realized this is what I really want to do. And so fast forward a little while, maybe five years or so. I started I got I had my own camera, I started doing my own thing and I started taking pictures of whatever people would hire me for. So I was doing weddings, senior pictures, babies, families, all the things, right? So that was kind of my side hustle for years and started before I had kids. And then in 2016, my first daughter was born. And so I thought like, Man, I really don’t want to go back to work after she was born. Of course we don’t want to go back. We just want to stay with them. And so I’m like, I really just want to do this for a living. But I was not busy enough at all, so I did have to go back to work and I made it my goal. I said, The next time I’m pregnant and I have a baby, I’m not going to go back. Like that’s going to be my deadline.
Stone Payton: [00:24:21] I made that decision. That was for the second.
Casey Howard: [00:24:23] Yes, that was my deadline. And so I don’t even think I told my husband that. But like secretly, secretly, I was like, I hope I get pregnant soon because I don’t want to go to work anymore. But yeah, so I just kept on hustling. It was my side hustle, if you want to call it that. But yeah, just really trying to make it happen and get enough business going. I really had no idea what I was doing business wise. I was just finding outlets through Facebook and different groups and places. I could ask questions about all these things and I made it happen. My second child, she was born in August of 2018, and I remember, so I didn’t tell my my work where I was employed until like the very end of my maternity leave when I was supposed to be going back. I remember making that call and I was like, so nervous to tell him, I’m not going to come back. But then I was so excited, you know, hang up the phone. I’m like, Yes, that was like what I was wanting to do, and I made it happen. So finally I’m working for myself. And it was kind of a struggle at the beginning. A bunch of little kids running around to under two. So I had a 20 month old and a newborn and I’m like, thought it was a bright idea to start my business and and I did.
Casey Howard: [00:25:32] But I made it work. And it took a few years to really get things going and get busy to where I was actually making good money. And I got a mentor. She Yeah, she really helped me out. So I changed my whole business plan and the whole way I do things now. And so, yeah, here I am today, when I quit my corporate job, I was just traveling around to people’s houses to take their pictures wherever. And then I decided this. This is horrible. Like packing all this stuff in my car, you know, to go take pictures of these babies or these people’s houses. It was just too much. Then I decided, I’m going to have my studio in my house. And that was really not a smart idea with two small children, because then you have to clean up your entire house before people come over to take pictures in your home studio. And then I eventually did get my own studio space about two and a half years ago. It’s over in East Cobb Johnson’s Fair and Roseville Road, so it’s a really good spot. Been a whole whirlwind, but it’s been awesome.
Stone Payton: [00:26:30] So have you found yourself during that time? Have you gravitated to a certain type of photography, a niche, a certain constituency or two that you’re trying to serve?
Casey Howard: [00:26:39] Yes. So over the past six years, you know, I first started photographing anything under the sun, and then I started gravitating towards families and babies. And then recently, the past two and a half years since I’ve had my studio space, it’s been maternity in newborns and also also one year milestone cake smashed pictures because the newborn match, I love it. The newborns that come in, they want to.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:27:04] Was it was.
Casey Howard: [00:27:05] Fun. Yeah. So the newborns come in, but then the year later, you know, the parents want to bring them back for the first birthday. So that’s kind of been like something that’s been added in. But yes, maternity newborns in first birthday.
Stone Payton: [00:27:16] When’s the best time? When do you do the maternity pictures? Early on or like when she’s about to pop or how?
Casey Howard: [00:27:22] Well, no, I tell them not to wait that long because you don’t want to be super uncomfortable. You want to be like 30 to 36 weeks when you have a nice baby bump, Right? But you’re not super, super uncomfortable and exhausted because at the end of pregnancy, I know you guys don’t know, but it’s horrible. It’s a lot. So 30, 30, when we get.
Stone Payton: [00:27:42] Our own version of horror.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:27:43] I’m vaguely familiar with it.
Casey Howard: [00:27:45] It’s rough. So 30 to 36 weeks is a good time to get your pictures taken.
Stone Payton: [00:27:51] 30, 36 weeks. All right. So how about the the baby? When do you when is it time to take?
Casey Howard: [00:27:55] I always say that babies should come in. Well, first of all, the parents are scheduling these things like well in advance. And then when the baby arrives, then they will will schedule a time for them to come in. But it’s 5 to 20 days is the good like the sweet spot to photograph the baby. So usually like two, two and one half weeks is perfect for little newborns to come in because then, you know, you’ve had the baby, you’ve had time to go home from the hospital, have a week to adjust with having a new baby and then come to the studio and we’ll take your pictures. So, yeah, 5 to 20 days.
Stone Payton: [00:28:28] I say you mentioned a mentor earlier. I’m going to go say more about that.
Casey Howard: [00:28:33] So that was probably the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. She I found her on Facebook and through a newborn photographer’s group and she.
Stone Payton: [00:28:44] Let me just stop you there. Yeah, a newborn photographer’s group. So your crowd is kind of along Jared’s ethos, a collaborative group of people. You’re not fighting in court. No peace?
Casey Howard: [00:28:56] No. We’re helping each other out.
Stone Payton: [00:28:58] Wow. Okay, go ahead.
Casey Howard: [00:28:59] Yeah. So she she was the leader of the group who created this newborn photographer’s group, and she had a mentor program that I. I thought about it for quite some time, and I kept seeing all these other people who had joined and had success. And I finally did it. And, yeah, it changed my whole business model. What I’m doing now is creating like a more high end luxury experience. We provide everything really from start to finish. You’re not having to do anything at all. So we have gowns for mom, clothing for parents, clothing for toddlers, of course, everything that the babies would need, professional hair and makeup for mom and you name it. I mean, we have even beyond like the whole picture part of it, we have a changing table diapers, wipes, lotions, bottle, warmer snacks, coffee for the parents, snacks for the kids. There’s everything there. So yes. And then beyond all that, essentially how my whole model has changed as well. The luxury part of it like that, we’re helping. We’re giving you everything that you need so you’re not having to worry or stress about anything. But we are also providing you with some very, very nice artwork that you’re going to put up in your home for the next ten, 15, 20 years. You’re going to have some really nice wall art, you know, on your walls. We offer a bunch of different products. Now.
Stone Payton: [00:30:13] Talk more about the products, the deliverables, because because the experience just sounds marvelous, you know? Thank you. And you clearly have have discovered how. To excel at serving that that niche. Right. And then on the back side of this, there’s all kinds of good stuff.
Casey Howard: [00:30:28] Yeah. So when I first started taking people’s pictures long ago, when I started my business, I was just. It’s called Shoot and Burn photographer. So like taking their pictures and handing over the digitals and that’s that. And eventually over the past few years, I introduced selling products to my clients, which has enabled me to be a lot more lucrative in my business, and it’s also just so much more fulfilling. So these clients are now, you know, they’re so excited to get their artwork and they have they can see their pictures on the walls. Whereas before, when I would just sell digital images, then what do you really do with that? Like, are you going on your computer every day and looking at that now? So this has been really fulfilling to be selling this these big pieces of artwork that are going to go in their house. I mean, I sell large pieces from like 24 by 36 to a 40 by 60 canvases acrylics, which are more like a very reflective material. Acrylics are. So there’s all different pieces of wall art that you can get. And then I also have several different very nice high end albums to choose from. So it’s just really you create whatever you the collection that you want when you come in and I’ll help you obviously determine the best pieces for you. There’s a whole lot of questions that go into it. I ask my clients, What colors are you doing in your house? What is the nursery look like? What is your decorating style? So this all helps me to help them pick out the best products for them.
Stone Payton: [00:31:55] And it’s not theoretical. You’ve got examples of all of this.
Casey Howard: [00:31:57] Oh, it’s all there. Yeah. So they’re all singing person holding it, touching it, and really figuring out what they want When they come in to take their pictures. They’re looking at all this stuff and then by the time they come back for their sales appointment, they really have a good idea of what they want.
Stone Payton: [00:32:13] And you just reminded me of something I sell to dive into in our conversation with Jared. But you got some interior design chops, don’t you?
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:32:20] Yes. I also have an alternate personality, Jerod, and he is my interior designer.
Casey Howard: [00:32:28] It’s hilarious.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:32:29] And he has an accent, too. Would you like to hear it? Absolutely. So, Jerod, talk like this. Okay. Every time I get into design mode, they’re going to. Jerod It’s kind of like Urkel and or Steve and Stefon, if you ever watch Family.
Casey Howard: [00:32:42] Oh, yeah, yeah. Stephen.
Stone Payton: [00:32:43] Stefan And is it Jerod that wears the suspenders are both personalities.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:32:48] Where they both do and they can switch back and forth at any time.
Casey Howard: [00:32:52] Amazing.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:32:53] I have something. So I, I would, I would bet that when you went from selling digital to physical, your sales.
Casey Howard: [00:33:02] It’s insane. Yeah.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:33:03] Yeah. Because crazy it’s really interesting when we’re running, you know, we used to sell DVDs and now, like, no one has a DVD player anymore, but that was something physical that you put in people’s hand. Whenever you’re selling something digital, it’s always a harder sell because right now we’re selling online courses and we’re still making money, but it’s nothing like it was when we were selling physical.
Casey Howard: [00:33:25] It’s so exciting to actually have something like holding. I prefer when I go and buy a new book. I don’t want to buy the audio version on Amazon. I buy the hardback copy because I want to write all in that thing. And I, I want to keep it. And it’s like, like I read this book, you know, and I like, want to have all of them to see, you know what I’m saying? So same kind of thing.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:33:45] There’s definitely something to it.
Stone Payton: [00:33:47] Well, I’m going to take that to heart, but both from my own business, but also for this Main Street warrior statement, maybe not all digital have some even taken.
Casey Howard: [00:33:55] Even.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:33:55] Taking digital files and putting them on a USB drive and then mailing the USB drive to someone. Aha is a lot of people doing that. And that works really, really well because it’s something they get in their hand. We just.
Casey Howard: [00:34:08] Bring tangible.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:34:09] Yeah, we just released a new product where it’s an MP3 player that it tells you how to train your horse like you wear it as you’re training and it tells you step by step. And everyone said, Why didn’t you do an app? Why don’t you do an app? Why don’t you do an app? Well, for one thing, a lot of these people, when they’re training their horses, are out in the field and they don’t have cell service. Another thing is it’s not a physical product. An app has an app has a value that people are accustomed to. But if we can put something in somebody’s hand, we can charge a lot more money for it. And in my opinion, it’s a better product because you don’t have the distractions of all the things that come through your phone.
Casey Howard: [00:34:45] All right.
Stone Payton: [00:34:45] Man, I’m wearing ton here. I tell you what, if you want to learn a lot of cool stuff for free, get yourself a radio show. Yeah. Just invite smart people to get it. Talk to. All right. I’m going to switch gears on you a little bit, Casey, and ask you a question I’ve been asking my whole career or for a week at least.
Casey Howard: [00:35:05] I hope I know the answer.
Stone Payton: [00:35:06] What do you have a tendency, no doubt about?
Casey Howard: [00:35:08] Okay. I was thinking about that answer when you when we were talking about the earlier. But. Well, I really nerd out about the show, friends pivot. Yeah. I mean, it’s a classic and it’s. I go to. So yeah, I love the show friends, but I also get really excited about buying a new business book. It’s so silly because growing up and going to school as a kid, I did not like reading. I, I want to read a book. I don’t even know if I read through a whole book, to be honest with you, when I was in school. But I found out that if it’s something that I’m really interested in, which is business, like, it just I can’t ever stop thinking about it. I get really excited to get those books in the mail. I just got three new ones and I can’t stop myself. I have a stack on my nightstand of three or four that I haven’t touched yet, and I’m like, okay, I need to stop read these and then I’ll keep ordering.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:36:00] As soon as friends is over, I’m going to read it.
Casey Howard: [00:36:03] Yeah, I binged. I binged friends recently, maybe last year. I mean, I had seen it obviously growing up, but I’m like, I’m going to watch it from start to finish. And that was three months of it was really fun. But I’m like, Man, three months has gone by like, I need to get back to my regular programing of like focusing.
Stone Payton: [00:36:21] Does a Chandler have a book or more or one or two out?
Casey Howard: [00:36:23] Oh no, he does. A new one just came out. Yeah, I thought.
Stone Payton: [00:36:26] I saw that.
Casey Howard: [00:36:27] I don’t have.
Stone Payton: [00:36:27] To go or.
Casey Howard: [00:36:28] I to get.
Stone Payton: [00:36:28] It. Yeah. All right, So what do you have on your nightstand or what’s one that’s standing out for you right now?
Casey Howard: [00:36:33] The one that I’m reading right now. I’ve been getting up really early every morning, making it a habit, and I first thing I do is read. And so the book that I have now is I don’t I don’t want to get the title wrong, but I think it’s Seven Habits of a Millionaire. Have you heard of that one?
Stone Payton: [00:36:49] So is it part of that Seven Habits family of books that came out from Covey or I think.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:36:54] I’m familiar with? Yes, but I’m not 100%.
Casey Howard: [00:36:55] Sure that’s the one. So it’s really good.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:36:59] Seven successful habits of highly something people. Is that what you’re talking about?
Stone Payton: [00:37:04] Well, I think that’s that was a core book and I think maybe this was a derivative. I don’t know. Yeah.
Casey Howard: [00:37:09] Okay. Yeah. All right. I should look it up.
Stone Payton: [00:37:12] But if you did get the title right, I can send them an invoice.
Jared Rhodenizer: [00:37:15] So there you go.
Casey Howard: [00:37:18] Seven Habits of a Millionaire, I think is what it’s called, but I might be missing something.
Stone Payton: [00:37:22] It’s good. So what’s on the horizon? Where are you going to be investing your energy in the next nine, 18 months? Are you going to. You’re going to grow this thing, blow it out, build more studios? What are you going to do?
Casey Howard: [00:37:32] I have so many thoughts on that. And I write down my my goals every morning. A lot of them have to do with having well, having a lot bigger studio with all the bells and whistles. I’m not going to bore you with all the the vision that I see. Yeah, but a bigger, a lot bigger space and a lot more employees, a whole team. Another thing besides the studio part of it that I would like to kind of branch off of in photography, which is wonderful that you hear today because I’m going to get in touch with you, is I want to do something where I I’ve been thinking of maybe doing like a podcast subscription or I write some ebooks, I have some ideas for that, things that I can sell on my website that are just going to, you know, constantly be making me money. You write at one time and then you sell it, right?
Stone Payton: [00:38:23] I call that pillow money. I want money. Why do you.
Casey Howard: [00:38:25] Need pillow money? Because I don’t I haven’t done any of that yet. So that’s what I’m working on this year, is creating all that content, which seems like a lot right now. But at the end of this year, I’ll be really excited about it.
Stone Payton: [00:38:37] Yeah, you’re right. We got to get right guy in the room.
Casey Howard: [00:38:39] Help.
Stone Payton: [00:38:39] It’s weird going down the right path.
Casey Howard: [00:38:41] Yeah, these things work out, so.
Stone Payton: [00:38:43] All right, what’s the best way for our listeners to get in touch with? You have a conversation, book, some session, whatever, whatever you think is appropriate. Website, LinkedIn.
Casey Howard: [00:38:51] I kind of like my website. Casey McMinn photography dot com and then my Instagram everything is that Casey McMinn photography on Instagram, Facebook, you name it, I’m on LinkedIn, but I kind of forget about it sometimes, so probably don’t go there. My website.
Stone Payton: [00:39:08] Well, it has been an absolute delight having you on the show. Thanks for coming in and visiting.
Casey Howard: [00:39:13] Thanks for having.
Stone Payton: [00:39:14] Me, stranger. Yeah, come on back. It might be fun sometime to have you. And maybe the same with Jared. I know his businesses are more global at the moment, but it might be fun to have a delighted client or someone you’re teaming up with. Or maybe a favorite cause. Okay, come in here and we’ll spotlight their calls or business, but also talk about the collaboration.
Casey Howard: [00:39:32] That sounds good to me.
Stone Payton: [00:39:33] They work together. Yeah. You up for that?
Casey Howard: [00:39:35] For sure. Yeah. All right, we’ll make it happen.
Stone Payton: [00:39:37] Well, thank you. Thank you both. This has been a marvelous way to invest in this morning. I really enjoyed it. Thank you. All right, Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Jared Rodan, Iser and Casey Howard, and everyone here at the business radio x family saying we’ll see you next time on Cherokee Business radio.