Category: mentoring

3 Important Steps in Goal Setting Prep!!

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A brand new year is almost upon us! So, naturally, the Internet is abuzz with the topic of goal-setting. I wrote this post around the same time last year all about why it’s so important to set goals, along with a few tips for how to set yourself up for success! If you’ve never physically written down your goals, click over to last year’s post to read my thoughts on why I think it’s 100% necessary. It’s definitely worth setting aside the time to do it!!  This year, as I’m preparing to put pen to paper and set my goals for the upcoming year, I thought I would share what that process of preparation looks like for me. There’s no wrong answer when it comes to doing pre-goal-setting work; this just happens to be the method that resonates most with me. :)

So, let’s dive right in!!

Step 1: Re-Read all goals set at the beginning of the current year. 

The first thing I do is pull out all of my lists of goals – both business goals and personal ones – and I read through them to see what’s still on there that I didn’t accomplish. Whatever I didn’t accomplish, I’m going to re-evaluate to decide whether or not it’s still a relevant goal. If it is, I will flag it to move over to my goals for the new year. If it’s no longer relevant, I just scribble it out. For example, one of my business goals for this past year was to grow our Boothtastic Facebook page to 2000 followers and launch an ad campaign to promote our booth. I did not accomplish that because I focused my energy in other places, and have since decided that this particular goal is no longer relevant because we’ve changed the way we offer Boothtastic to our clients. A lot can change in a year as things grow and evolve!! So, this goal that I previously set for myself gets the good ‘ol scribble de doo. Make sense? :)

Step 2: Read through all journal entries for the current year.

I keep a journal for most of the year. I say *most* because I usually let go of journaling around September-ish when my shooting/editing schedule starts to really ramp up in intensity. I’m totally okay with this; it’s a natural part of the rhythm of my job and something I’ve come to accept and expect. But the knowledge and insight I gain from reading those journal entries from January – September is so incredibly helpful. It gives me a birds eye view of where my head and heart were at throughout the year. They show me what I learned, what I celebrated, and where I struggled, and all of that plays a huge role in shaping my goals for the new year.

Step 3: Make a list of what went well and what did not both professionally and personally. 

This step is super important. If you don’t take the time to reflect on what you did right and what you could have done better or differently, how will you ever grow? If you want to evolve and become the best version of yourself, you have to stare down your shortcomings and dream up better ways to do things. It’s equally important to say “Hey, I did a great job with _____!” Know your strengths, know your weaknesses, and know that they can change/shift over time. I wrote down a whole bunch of goals at the end of last year. I accomplished some of them and failed miserably at others and I find it very helpful to look at the reasons why. Did I have enough support in place to accomplish my goals? Did I give myself enough time to complete tasks? If I set out to do something, but didn’t make it happen, there’s a reason for that. Knowing what it was will help me be even more successful in the long run.

I typically take a couple of days to work my way through these three steps, but once the pre-work is done I can move on to the best part: setting intentional, actionable goals for the new year!

Last year, I wrote a “2016: What Worked and What Didn’t” blog post, and it’s so cool to look back on that and see how far I’ve come since then! I’m working on the 2017 version right now, so I’ll be sharing that early next week. :)

Have you set goals for yourself yet? If you know what you want to accomplish this year, make sure you take the extra step of writing it down. Writing down your goals is the KEY puzzle piece! If you have never set goals before or have absolutely no idea whatsoever what your goals should be, don’t fret – that’s way more common than you might think. I’ve been there myself! Following the above steps will definitely help you organize your thoughts. If you need more personalized help getting organized, just shoot me a message! —>

Happy New Year, friends!  This year is filled with so much promise and I’m so very excited to see it all unfold.

Let’s connect on Instagram!!

2017 Ayres Photography Client Gift Boxes

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Last year, after much thought, consideration and months of careful planning, we were finally ready to send out our very first round of client gift boxes. This project is something that we had been thinking about for quite a long time and it felt amazing to see it all come together! Showing our brides and grooms just how much they mean to us is of the utmost importance. After all, where would we be without them?! We were SO excited to send each 2016 couple a beautiful box jam packed with gifts from a handful of our favorite Buffalo makers. Click here to see last year’s surprises! Thankfully this labor of love turned out to be quite a success! We couldn’t wait to start planning out what we were going to send this season!

This year, as we started selecting some new surprises to fill the boxes with, we began to realize that we were gravitating towards items that make us feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy inside. From tasty treats to relaxing scents, this year’s boxes were filled with things that we could totally picture our couples enjoying together on a slow, cozy Sunday morning. And, so evolved our theme for this year, “A Cozy Sunday Morning.” Taking the time to relax and soak it all in with the one you love, especially during the often hectic time of wedding planning, is definitely something that we find to be super important! In most cases you only get married once, and there are so many things that need to be done during that time. All of a sudden you blink and it’s your wedding day and you wonder what the heck happened to the year?! We wanted this year’s gift to be something that would encourage our couples to make sure they take some time out of their busy schedule and really reflect on the many reasons why they’ve decided to share their lives together. And so…. *drumroll* ….here are the contents of The Ayres Photography 2017 Client Gift Boxes:

When they open the box, the first thing our clients see is a declaration of truth, “You’re the best!”, because they are! These amazing couples sought us out to document one of the most important days of their lives! They trust us to capture their wedding day in a way that truly reflects them as individuals and as a couple. They value our advice and our expertise and they are confident in our skills as professionals. They saw past our photographs straight into our hearts and they feel the passion we have for our craft. Now, if that isn’t the best then I don’t know what is!

On top of the crinkle paper there’s a simple card that says, “Thank you so much for choosing us! We’re so excited to work with you!” The back of the card (not pictured) says “These are a few of our favorite things,” and gives a list of each item enclosed along with the names of the makers and their IG handles so that our couples know right where they can go to get more of these amazing goods!

These are the gifts (and amazing makers) that we chose to include in our 2017 gift boxes:

  1. Linwood Candle Co. – We used Linwood Candle Co in our boxes last year and it was such a huge hit with our clients that we couldn’t help but include them again! Their Sweet Grapefruit Soy Candle is one of the greatest things I’ve ever smelled; I don’t know how she does it!! They’re made with soy wax, essential oils and cotton wicks, so they’re safe for the environment and they fill your home with the most incredible scent imaginable. We definitely get tons of great feedback every time we send these candles out. They are seriously the best.

  2. Butter Block – Last year we sent out Colleen’s amazing homemade Oreos and after those bites of heaven we knew we definitely wanted to include a Butter Block offering again this year. We decided to switch it up and went with her homemade Pop Tarts and let me just tell you, it was really hard not to eat them all ourselves! If you’re a sucker for light and flaky, super buttery, melt in your mouth pastries filled with decadent fillings and topped with delicious glazes then you will not be disappointed with these. In fact, they’re so popular that they often completely sell out!! Follow Butter Block on Instagram to see where their next pop up shop will be so you can grab your own! Don’t sleep on these, folks. These are the real deal. You’ll never buy Kellogg’s again.

  3. TeaLeafs – This shop was new for us this year and we’re really happy that we decided to include them! Sydney, the shop owner, is such a wonderful woman and her passion and sense of community mirror all of our own values in business. Her delicious tea bags filled our boxes with a wonderful warm and cozy scent of roasted almonds and cinnamon- perfect for cozying up on the couch!

  4. Sweet Fields – We couldn’t send out lovely teas without including it’s partner in crime – honey!! We knew we wanted someone local who could provide us with the best raw honey possible. This beekeeping family of Sweet Fields has been working with honeybees for over 30 years and their farm is right here in Erie County. They sell it at the Hamburg and Lancaster Farmer’s Markets, so go check ’em out and tell them we sent you!

  5. Zandra – We included Zandra’s incredible all natural Big Balms in our boxes last year and we knew we needed to include them again. Not only are her skin care products natural and amazing for your skin, but this girl is just that – a girl! A teenage girl with an insane talent for making wonderful skin care at an affordable price. Oh, and she’s a Buffalo native of course. We can’t figure out what is sweeter, her products or her personality. Let’s just call it a tie. :)

  6. Rust Belt Love – We’ve worked with Alyson on a number of different projects in the past, including our 2016 gift boxes. I may be slightly biased because I love her so much as a person, but I really think she’s the best of the best in our city. If you want your invitations designed by someone who has Buffalove coming out of her eyeballs, then Aly is 100% your girl. She’s a genius. This year we chose to include her beautiful note cards showcasing drawings of different Buffalo landmarks such as the Grain Silos, Hotel at the Lafayette, the Peace Bridge and a whole bunch of other incredible and historical Buffalo buildings that are near and dear to our hearts.

  7. Love By Bean – Have you ever heard of a seed bomb?? Well, you have now! Eileen’s Organic Pollinator Wildflower Seed Bombs are the perfect thing to bring beautiful flowers to any yard! Each seed bomb is made with post-consumer paper and hand-selected, high-quality, organic, non-GMO seeds. You can pretty much toss them out your car window and they’ll grow colorful and amazing flowers just about anywhere! You don’t even need to bury them! Perfect for anyone, whether you have a green thumb or not.

And that completes our 2017 Ayres Photography Client Gift Boxes! Tune in to see what we come up with for next season! We believe so strongly in things that are handmade with love in small batches, and there is no shortage of products that fit this description in our beautiful city. We already have so many great ideas!! If you have a locally made product in mind that you think we should check out, let us know in the comments!