page title icon The Morning Upgrade Podcast Featuring Jeffrey Shaw

Personal Development in Your Inbox

Enter your email to get our weekly newsletter where we share our latest content full of personal development strategies & advice. We'll also give you our top 20 personal development tips for free!

Welcome to episode #58 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. This week I spoke with Jeffrey Shaw. He used to be a portrait photographer for affluent families and recently transitioned into a business coach and author.

Top Talking Points

  • As time passes, the things that bring you meaning will change.
  • How to overcome extreme shyness.
  • The meaning of life is to take your soul on an incredible journey.

Resources & Links

Share Link for this episode

Connect With Jeffrey at jeffreyshaw.com and also learn more about his Self-Employed Business Institute

Subscribe to The Morning Upgrade Podcast Today

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Morning Upgrade Podcast with Jeffrey. If you enjoyed this episode, please be sure to leave a review. And don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss another episode!

Episode Transcript

Ryan  

Hey guys, it’s Ryan real quick. So my mission with the Morning Upgrade blog and podcast is to raise the awareness of morning routines and personal development. And I now have two products that are also helped me with this mission. The first product helps you start a 20 minute morning routine. And the second product is a book that outlines how to use personal development to upgrade your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morning upgrade.com. Thanks for letting me share. And now on to the show.

Announcer  

Welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan  

Hey, Jeffrey, welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast. How are you?

Jeffrey  

I’m great. Ryan, glad to be here with you.

Ryan  

Yeah, absolutely. I’m excited to speak with you. Let’s kick off by you telling my audience a little bit about yourself who you are what you do for a living some of your hobbies.

Jeffrey  

So I’m a 37-year portrait photographer for very affluent families that was kind of my mainstay for 25 years. And over the past 12 years, I’ve started been transitioning out of doing as much photography, so I do far less photography today. So that I could make space for becoming a coach receiving coach training coaching other small business owners. And that led me to write books and speak on stage to talk about the content of the book. So today, I do very little photography. And most of my day is spent coaching small business owners, particularly my narrow niche, if you will, as self-employed business owners, that’s who I love to speak with. And yeah, so that’s that’s what I’m doing today.

Ryan 

I know it was different, different seasons of your life. But what was more fulfilling for you the photography business or what you’re doing now?

Jeffrey  

Yes, it’s such a great question. Because if you had asked me 13 years ago, why I was on this planet, I would have said to be a portrait photographer, because I gave it my all. But if you asked me today, I think I’m on this, you know, I really feel I’m on this earth to support to be an advocate really for self-employed business owners. That’s why I love to coach them, I could speak to the business owner, I don’t care if they even if they’re a one-person business, I can speak to that business owner all day long. Like it’s who I love to speak to. So in some ways, I feel as though my 25 years of intense photography experience before I even started coaching was kind of a learning lab, because I built a very unique photography business serving a very affluent clientele, whereas I came from a lower-middle-class. So I learned things about marketing and business structure and business model that are so unique and applicable to all different businesses. So in a lot of ways, I think my years, my decades as a photographer, were really a learning lab so that I could give back to the world and help other people the common denominator with all the people that I coach and support the common denominators, they tend to be people that are really good at something, they’re really good at what they do. But they’re in an industry or field that doesn’t have business education. And that is exactly who I aim to serve. And I’m out to change the world because we roll you know, we self-employed, we rule the world, we just aren’t given the easy breaks, we’re not giving the and we’re not given an education, we don’t have the huge staff and support. So that’s what I that’s the gap I’m trying to fill.

Ryan 

Was the pressure intense with your photography business, given who you were working with?

Jeffrey 

It was in that they had a very high standard. But honestly, I have such high standards for what I produce that no one else was ever really going to match my own high standard. It was full of more pleasant surprises than you could ever imagine. Because I grew up as I said, lower middle class, I heard all the stereotypes about rich people, you know that they have all the money in the world but not really happy the kids are raised by nannies I heard all this nonsense, none of which turned out to be true. What I found serving this clientele this very high-end clientele what I found is that they were they got most of them got to where they were because of who they became. It was a personal journey path. Sure some of them you know some I want to say, Silver Spoon. Some came from families where this was to be expected. But many of them were self-made. And they were so into personal development. I found them to be you know, I’m talking about CEOs of major companies and you know, men and women that would break into tears watching me photograph their children. And what I found is really genuine people. I also recognize that as a family photographer, people hired me that had a value for their just to be family-centric. Right. They were the families that might have they might be a family of four that had eight people working in the house for them, but they had all the staff so that they could go to their children’s soccer games. It wasn’t so that they could brush their kids off on somebody else. They built a business around them that took care of them. lives so that they can make their children the center of their attention. And that, of course, benefited me as a photographer. That’s exactly who would hire a family photographer like me.

Ryan 

And it sounds like you have so many neat experiences. It can be hard to keep this to 15 minutes. But let’s talk about your morning routine. I know you said you’d have a pretty detailed one. So I’d love to learn more about that.

Jeffrey  

I’m a huge proponent of a morning routine. I’m a huge proponent of discipline and routine overall, my whole day is pretty regimented. But gosh, the mornings are just fantastic. So I get up somewhere around 6-6:30 In the morning, not terribly early, but I’m not because I’m a night, definitely a night person by nature, so I get up six 6:30 and the first thing I do is make myself masala chai tea. Now masala chai tea is boiled milk, although these days I’m using soy milk because I’m trying to be dairy-free for just health reasons. And so I use I boil soy milk, I’ve got loose teas that make black tea and cardamon and all these wonderful spices that I have put together for me. And so I have a Phantasm in itself as a so there’s a complete morning ritual. And I’ve been doing this for about 30 years making this morning ritual of this chai tea, I’d swear I tell my kids if I live to be 100 which is the plan when I lived to be 100 It’s going to be because that chai tea like there’s a spiritual and medicinal nature to this chai tea that is fantastic. So make my chai tea, I read every morning for an hour, in part because I love it but also because of my own podcast, I read I do two podcasts interviews a week, most of them are authors. I, therefore, read two business books a week. I’m an avid reader. So I read for an hour, at least an hour every morning, as I drink my chai tea out on the terrorists because I believe in getting sunlight and vitamin D and awakening that way. I then take my dog for about a 30-minute walk, which is also my time to recite my affirmations. So it looks like I’m walking my dog. But to me, it’s a walking meditation. I come back for that walk, I sit down on the mat, I do a 10-minute meditation, and I journal for about seven minutes. And on the days that I’m supposed to work out, that’s the difference between when I whether I get up at six or 630 is three days a week I work out for 30 minutes. So on those days, I get up at 6 am. So if that’s the day I do that workout, shower, eat because supposedly it’s better to eat after your shower, if there’s something at the metabolism and warm water that you’re better off eating after you shower. So as you can tell it’s really buttoned-down and it might sound really rigid to some. But to me, it is a way to start my every day of knowing that that day is going to be more successful than the day before.

Ryan 

Yeah, and that’s a great point. Sometimes I’m afraid that the really intense and regimented routines scare off some of my audience but with the thing, the thing is, when you get a routine down that you like and start your day off on the right foot, it’s fun. You look forward to it. So it’s not working. It’s actually something you wake up looking forward to.

Jeffrey  

Yeah. 100% So I’m you know, we don’t talk in the world much about evening routines. And I don’t have a dramatic evening retune, but I will offer one thing that that plays into the morning routine is that to me, your day, tomorrow begins tonight. Right? Your next day begins the night before. So before I lay my head down on the pillow, I like to take a moment at the edge of the bed where I think about what I have going on the next day where I just let it sink in. I’ll glance I’ll lightly I refer to as lightly glancing at my calendar. It’s not as though I’ve got to stress about it. It doesn’t keep me awake. I’m not looking at it with intensity. I’m just glancing like what do I have on the calendar tomorrow. So I can kind of just let it sink in. I know what’s in front of me. There is science has proven that there is something to be said for sleeping on it like when you sleep you are processing. So if I implant the idea of what I need to accomplish the next morning as I lay my head down on the pillow, I wake up the next morning ready to go. I feel like there’s less of a break-even though I may have slept I sleep exactly six hours a day. And that’s not my alarm. That’s just my body literally wakes up at six hours no matter when I go to sleep. And I wear a Fitbit to monitor my sleeping and I’m up you know, but I’m ready to go a large I believe it’s because of the thoughts that were implanted in my mind the night before. I think that that to me is what really upgrades your morning.

Ryan  

I definitely believe that too. I also find that when I meditate, not always but if I’m dealing with something or what have you. The moment I’m meditating, I guess my mind’s not stimulated. I’m just kind of there. I think of things like answers come to me. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s happened enough where it feels like it’s a thing now. Yeah, yeah, most definitely. Have you always been into personal growth or did this sort of evolve for you?

Jeffrey  

Always. I was such a geek. I mean, I used to save up my allowance as a kid and my personal help, you know personal growth and self-help books by Wayne Dwyer and all the greats When I was a kid, and I would save up my allowance, that I’d go buy these things, and I’d hide them in the house because my family would think I was weird. I didn’t grow up in a family that was interested in personal growth. So I had two older brothers and a father. And it was a very, I grew up in a very normal if you will, a masculine world that I just didn’t seem to fit into, you know, I had very different interests. I was the art kid, much softer side of me. So I hid who I was, I hid that desire for personal growth, I just really believed, honestly, I believe that personal growth is going to be my way to get out of the hellhole, you know, of what I felt like was a very limited life and a life of people that didn’t think like me, and didn’t seem to have didn’t aspire to be anything better than they were. And for me, personal growth and self-employment were going to be my way out of that. And I knew that from a very young age. So I started going I even I was so shy Ryan as a kid, I actually one time read a book on how to self Hypnotize yourself out of shyness. That’s how much I was into personal growth. So I always had them.

Ryan  

How did you get past it though, cuz you seem like a really outgoing passionate guy. Now had you had to get.

Jeffrey  

You know life pulled a lot of tricks on me because I mean, I say suffered from shyness, I’m talking about well into my early 20s. Like paralyzing shyness, the world was a scary place to me even while just 20s. In fact, I chose to become a photographer, because to me was the ultimate profession to be shy because back in the day you had a darkroom, so a lot of your work was done in a darkroom. But you didn’t have to make eye contact with anybody. And when I was out in the world with my camera, there was this box between me and the world. So even though I could see through the lens, I felt like I couldn’t be seen. So I chose photography because I happen to have the talent. And it was an outlet in a way that I felt like completely hiding in the world. The irony was, I was good at it. And in high school, I started getting national awards. And then I went off to photography school, and I got handed all these scholarships. And then I was, I wound up getting the award for the best portfolio in the entire photography school. And then I was nominated by the student body to be the student’s speaker at graduation. So the very thing that I chose to retreat from the world I wound up being good at and it put me center stage. So I just didn’t have a choice, right. And I think what really made me step out of it was that what I wanted to gain for myself the personal growth I desired, and the way I wanted to impact the world was greater than the fear. The fear has never gone away. I’m still nervous before I walk on a stage. The difference is how I want to change the world is bigger than the fear. So you do it.

Ryan  

What do you think the, I’m interested to hear your answer on this? Because you just seem very full life? In your opinion, what is the meaning of life?

Jeffrey 

Gosh, um, like a, it’s a profound question. I’m not someone that follows a structured religion. I’m a pretty spiritual person, but I’m not overly religious. But I can admit to this, at some point, at a very young age, I want to guess around three years old, I knew my existence. And the family, which I was born into was very different than how I felt. I knew that was very young. And I swear this, I heard, I don’t want to say a voice. But there was a message, I don’t know where it came from. And I said I’m not a spiritual person or a religious person. And it wasn’t a definable voice. But I just I know I had, I was given this idea that it was my job to take this soul on a hell of a journey. That, to me is the meaning of life. For me, the meaning of life is to take the soul that you’re given on a hell of a journey, because it may be the one time it may be the one-shot, who knows. So every step I have made in my life, every just decision I’ve made in my business has been based on how I want to live. Because underneath it all happiness to me, is taking your soul the time in which you’re given with that and charged with the responsibility of that soul, taking it on a hell of a journey and having a good time with it.

Ryan  

I love that answer. As you know, with COVID, spending more time my family and my wife had the idea of going on a road trip. And you know, we’re gonna do it again. And that was a heck of a journey too. And just like having those experiences and just making a deliberate attempt at having those experiences. I just think that’s a really great answer. Let’s wrap up with one last question, Jeffrey, this, this flew. I really enjoyed speaking with you. I’ve got one question I want to go back to business. I want to go to your coaching business. I want to talk about struggles that you see as one struggle that’s common amongst your clients. What’s one struggle that you see often and then maybe you can talk, you know, a minute on how to handle that struggle? 

Jeffrey  

Yeah, without a doubt the thing I hear from every one of my clients don’t mind as I mentioned before, the common denominator is that I work with people that are really good at what they do, but the union doesn’t have business training. Almost every one of my clients, when they reach out to me initially, they say that they feel that they’re all over the place or that they’re a hot mess, one of the two. And I’ve realized that my inner being as a photographer, is perfectly suited to solve that problem because I’m really good with pieces. That’s what being a photographer means I photographed entirely on location, by the way. So the variables were extreme weather, wind, sunlight, the various people, I’m photographing a lot of factors, it’s all pieces, I tend to see the world some pieces, even pixels. So you could say, well, my brain is always composing it as a complete frame. And as a picture. And I think it’s something it’s a way in which my brain is so wired, that when entrepreneurs and small business owners feel like they’re all over the place, and they say that to me, I’m like, don’t worry about it. I gotcha. Like, come with all your pieces. Like I don’t like a blank slide, I’ll photograph in a studio as a photographer because I don’t like blank walls. I don’t like blank people. I don’t like it when people don’t have something like, I work entirely with people who are already in business, bring me your pieces, bring me your chaos, I got you, I got your back, I can compose it, I can create the brand message that will attract your ideal customers, I can create the emotional journey that your ideal customer needs to go through, I can help you establish the healthy thriving ecosystem of your business, just bring on your pieces. So that is fundamentally one of the most common problems. And it’s understandable because as entrepreneurs, starting your own business, nothing is centralized, we have to run all over the place to get everything we need. We have to hire coaches and buy online programs and go to conferences and hire gurus. And we have to run all over the place to get what we need. Because it’s decentralized, when you’re self-employed, of course, we’re going to feel like we’re all over the place. It’s also one of the ways that I’m solving that problem because I couldn’t, you know, as a coach one to one, I can only solve that problem for so many people. So I’m just launching the self-employed business Institute, which is a five-month program, it’s going to be the first legitimate education for self-employed business owners. And I’m so excited about it. That is my this is probably my deepest passion that I couldn’t be more excited about. Because I want to solve that problem. So that self-employed and small business owners have a place to go to get the business education that they need in the real world to get real results. What’s the link for that? It’s self-employed business institute.com. And our first cohort begins September 8. So we’re like right on it like we’re in the middle of a launch, we’re this first cohort is limited to 20 people, we’re a little more than half full, just to get this first one under the belt. But then next year, it’s going to be an unlimited cohort, size, size. And I will have a fleet of coaches that I will train and my modalities because it’s a blend of group training and one-to-one coaching. So what makes it limited now is I’m doing all the one to one coaching, but once I’m able to train other coaches, I then can go scalable because the goal here is that there’s you know, millions and millions of self-employed business owners that don’t have proper education available to them and we need to change that.

Ryan  

Sounds like a great mission and I’m sure you can have a lot of impacts. Sounds pretty awesome.

Jeffrey  

That’s the goal.

Ryan  

Well, this was great, Jeffrey. Time flew by. Appreciate all the time. All the advice you gave and feedback. Any other websites you want to share?

Jeffrey  

No, by all means, check out the institute otherwise in this link. So anyway, my main website is Jeffreyshaw.com. You can find everything you need there. I write articles. I’m a contributing writer for Entrepreneur Magazine. You’ll find me there. I’ve got my podcast, The Self-Employed life on every podcast platform that’s out there, but honestly, everything can be found one way or another at JeffreyShaw.com. 

Ryan

Perfect. Thanks, Jeffrey. Appreciate it.

Jeffrey 

Thank you, Ryan.

Ryan 

Thanks for listening to the Morning Upgrade podcast. Please subscribe in review. And don’t forget to visit us at Morningupgrade.com for more content.

Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00