Successful Role Model │ Tanya Goodall Smith │ WorkStory Photography
If you're an adult you know how life can get very busy, very fast and time is lost. If you're not an adult, enjoy this moment and one day you will understand. (Sips wine) Moving along! We did not come here to talk about the realities of life. We are here to talk about those who are handling the realities of life and succeeding at what they love and are passionate about doing.
Tanya Goodall Smith, the owner of, WorkStory Brand Photography. Based out of Spokane, Washington. She is a writer, brand expert, mentor and a photographer. A few years ago I was researching brand photography, striving to become more informed on brands, businesses, how the two work together. I was also wondering how I could capture and create a visual story for a brand. I came across a blog post SLR Lounge, Elements Of Your Photography Brand… , it was so helpful, so much so I still refer to it today for my brand. From that post I followed up with the author, Tanya, who I contacted upon learning she was also a business mentor. I love social media and the internet...sometimes. I signed up for mentoring and the rest is history. (so cliche, I know)
That’s our backstory, she is a bit more interesting than that though. Let's dig in to how and why Tanya has been so successful.
For those who may not know exactly who you are and what it is that you do. Please introduce yourself and explain what it is that you do?
I'm a brand strategist and photographer. I help experts massively increase their visibility, be the FACE of their brand in a crowded marketplace and become consistently sought after by the very best clients.
How did you get started? Tell us your story.
My background and training is in visual communications and graphic design. I have been working with brands and businesses for 20 years. During my experience as a designer, I became frustrated with small (and even large) businesses who were selling themselves short by using genetic stock images or really bad snap shots in their branding and marketing materials. Even when I convinced some locals businesses to hire a photographer the outcome was usually mediocre, since they’d end up using a nephew or their wedding photographer, not someone trained to create images for branding and marketing. That’s when I decided to start learning more about commercial photography and WorkStory was born. I’ve been doing brand photography, for businesses and personal brands, for the last 7 years and I get so much satisfaction out of seeing my clients drastically improve their public image through professional photography that is deliberately created to communicate to and attract their target audience. It works!
Do you have a Daily Routine, a specific way that you start your day every day? If so what it is?
I have three elementary school age children so my morning consists of getting kids and myself ready and out the door. After that, every day is different. Some days I'm meeting with clients first thing, other days are administrative days. On Friday mornings my husband and I spend a couple hours together. I've been experimenting with time blocking, basically blocking out specific time every week for specific tasks and it's really helped with time management. I wish I could say I have some kind of morning journaling or meditation ritual but I don't.
What habits do you feel attributed to your success?
Setting goals, breaking them down into actionable steps and having someone to be accountable to has been instrumental. My business coach is expensive but indispensable and instrumental to my success. She's in my corner, keeps me on track and gives me a pep talk and advice when I need it. As a "solopreneur" it's so important to have someone like that on your team, especially when your spouse isn't particularly involved in your business.
Are there any habits that you had to overcome in order to become successful? What are they? How did you overcome them?
Overcoming negative thoughts and beliefs has caused so many breakthroughs in my business. We don't realize how much our thoughts affect our actions. Once I learned to break the habit of wallowing in negative thoughts a lot changed for me. I lost 60 pounds (again, with the help of a coach), started doing live videos and public speaking, quadrupled my pricing, rented an office space outside my home, and many other things I previously thought I couldn't do.
How do you push through your worst times?
I focus on my goals and my vision. Why am I doing this in the first place? Remembering the reasons why I chose to be a business owner keeps me going. I have a vision board, a written vision for my life and specific measurable goals I can look back on to see how far I've actually come to keep me going.
What is your super power?
I have this way of connecting with people that seems to be inherent. I don't know how to teach someone else how to put my clients at ease in front of the camera. It just happens. Clients say things like, "These are the best photos I've ever seen of myself. You really captured the essence of who I am. You caught a natural expression. I felt so comfortable. We actually had fun!"
How important is Time to you and why? How do you schedule or maximize your time wisely?
Time is our most valuable asset. How we use it is critical. As mentioned above, I've been using time blocking to affectively use my time. My time is typically divided between my kids, husband, business and my own self care. There's not much room for friends in there, although I feel I get my social bucket filled through my business. I have been learning how to delegate, which is amazing. I have a babysitter who comes one evening per week so my husband and I can go out on a date. She does some light cleaning and laundry, which has been a lifesaver. The next thing I outsource will be deep cleaning, followed by administrative and digital marketing. I'm close to being able to afford that so I can open up the time I currently spend on that for more client work or family time.
What is an important lesson that impacted your work ethic?
I'm a chronic list maker. I found myself making lists on multiple notebooks, my phone, my email, etc. and was constantly searching for the list I'd made somewhere. It was a nightmare. Yikes! I've finally started keeping all my lists and project notes in 17Hats online so they are all in one place and accessible on the cloud.
What is your motivation? Do you have a quote, video, saying that you would like to share?
When I get discouraged or wonder if I'm using my time and talents wisely, I often turn to this quote. It also fuels what I do for my clients. We are not serving anyone by remaining small or invisible. We have to put ourselves out there in order to serve the world. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? … Your playing small does not serve the world … As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson
What do you do to unwind, to separate personal and business?
My husband works a few nights a week so during those evenings I indulge in little bit of television. I'm a classic film junkie and if having a career as a film historian was viable I'd quit everything and do that today. This is Us, Greys Anatomy, Project Runway or sitcoms from the '90's (Friends, Frasier, Seinfeld) are my faves. I also love designing rooms in the Design Home app on my phone.
What is one piece of advice you would pass on to someone striving to find their way as an entrepreneur, small business owner, etc.?
I always give the same piece of advice to creatives wanting to have their own business. You have to learn about BUSINESS. I've learned so much through trial and error but looking back I wish I had taken business classes in school and then worked as an apprentice for an independent designer or photographer. Learning through a mentor may have accelerated my success, but overall I wouldn't change much about how I've done things. I learned valuable lessons from my failures and being my own boss since 2016 has allowed me the ultimate freedom to put my family first and work when it works for me. Those are my greatest values and have dictated the trajectory of my career.
What is one piece of advice or a lesson learned that you would like to share with those striving to balance personal life (family, friendships, etc) and your business?
Setting a schedule and clear boundaries is crtical, for example, in general I work while my kids are at school. No weekends, no evenings. I also enlist the help of my spouse and a trusted babysitter to help me make it all work. Once you give up the notion that you have to do it all, suddenly a whole world opens up to you.
You can connect with Tanya by clicking the links
I hope you were motivated, inspired, maybe have answers to questions or gained insight on ways to help your work & life balance. If you have a question, comment or idea please share in the comments.