The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast

How Mikayla Made $124K Inside TWC With a Rebrand

February 20, 2024 Alora Rachelle Episode 148
How Mikayla Made $124K Inside TWC With a Rebrand
The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast
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The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast
How Mikayla Made $124K Inside TWC With a Rebrand
Feb 20, 2024 Episode 148
Alora Rachelle

In this episode, Alora revisits Mikayla who shares her journey of growth and success.

She discusses her past struggles as an underpriced and overworked photographer who missed out on life's events, but after joining The Wedding CEO program, she rose to the top by raising prices over 3k, launching a successful rebrand, and booking high-end destination weddings.

Mikayla also talks about the importance of having a self-confidence and positive mindset, and how it's essential for attracting clients. Her annual booked weddings have transformed into profitable 'dream weddings' because of the program's help with understanding profit pricing and client experience strategies.

Mikayla's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chebellaphoto
Mikayla's Website: https://www.chebellaphoto.com

---

We help Female Wedding Photographers Make $100k with 1/2 of their weekends free.

📣 Join the Waitlist for The Wedding CEO
☁️ Want to work with me 1:1? - Apply for my Private Coaching
📸
Free Class: 3 Secrets to Documenting Editorial Weddings
🌟 Rate and Review the podcast. Thanks, ILYSM 🫶🏽 - Apple - Spotify

---

✨ My Favorite Things ✨

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Alora revisits Mikayla who shares her journey of growth and success.

She discusses her past struggles as an underpriced and overworked photographer who missed out on life's events, but after joining The Wedding CEO program, she rose to the top by raising prices over 3k, launching a successful rebrand, and booking high-end destination weddings.

Mikayla also talks about the importance of having a self-confidence and positive mindset, and how it's essential for attracting clients. Her annual booked weddings have transformed into profitable 'dream weddings' because of the program's help with understanding profit pricing and client experience strategies.

Mikayla's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chebellaphoto
Mikayla's Website: https://www.chebellaphoto.com

---

We help Female Wedding Photographers Make $100k with 1/2 of their weekends free.

📣 Join the Waitlist for The Wedding CEO
☁️ Want to work with me 1:1? - Apply for my Private Coaching
📸
Free Class: 3 Secrets to Documenting Editorial Weddings
🌟 Rate and Review the podcast. Thanks, ILYSM 🫶🏽 - Apple - Spotify

---

✨ My Favorite Things ✨

Welcome to The Wedding CEO Podcast, where we discuss all things marketing, sales, and scaling, so you can become the CEO of your life and business. I'm Alora Rachelle, and I've been a wedding photographer for over a decade, and now I'm sharing all of my secrets so you can stop sacrificing your time and make more money like a CEO.

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Alora:

I am so excited. We have Mikayla of Chebella Photography back on and she's going to give us a little bit of an update. Because the last time that she was on here, we were talking about her rebrand, how she can't wait to step into the destination mid luxury market, and she still hadn't launched her rebrand yet. So I want her to come on here and give us a follow up of what life has looked like since then since you have launched your rebrand and then raised your prices past 3k.


Mikayla:

Hi, everybody. First of all, I can easily say, I am no longer that girl in the best possible way. It's wild. Even like Alora and I talking before we started, it's like that seems like so long ago, because since then, like since before, when we last talked, I have raised my pricing to where I've been comfortable. Now at this point, I'm like, okay, I'm ready to raise it again. I launched my rebrand, re-did my website, and actually just made more updates to my website, which I feel like really encapsulated my rebrand in full. As well as I had two destination weddings last year, which was a huge deal. I have another one coming up for next year, which is probably the biggest one to date because that is in Europe. So it's pretty wild how far I've come in this amount of time.


Alora:

Wait, Europe? Are you kidding me?


Mikayla:

Yeah, I realized I didn't tell you that, so I figured this would be the perfect surprise. 


Alora:

It feels like a surprise. Because when we were looking at the tweaks you were making because you had launched a rebrand, but the whole kit and caboodle, but there was still like a piece and you thought was missing because you said, I love spring. I love color. Why do I feel like I need to have a black and white website? Then don't. 


Mikayla:

Yeah.  


Alora:

When I looked at your new mood board, it reminded me of Paris in the spring. For you to have a destination wedding in Europe, like make it, it makes sense. 


Mikayla:

Yep. It's in Paris too or like a little suburb right outside of Paris, I should say. But it's going to be so good. I'm so excited. It's one of my couples from last year who the groom is from France and they're having the Parisian wedding next June. So they wanted to bring me along for both.


Alora:

Oh my gosh, I'm obsessed. That's amazing. Take me on a journey of self discovery because I feel like when you came, you knew where you wanted to be. I remember you saying, I had no idea how to get there. But how were you able to infuse our tools and strategies with realizing, Oh, this is who I am and this is who I've been all along. How was that transformation? Because I'm really interested. Because I remember how you came. You were posed next to a tree and your website, I think you were just like, this is me.  


Mikayla:

Absolutely. It's pretty wild when I think about it too. The confidence I gained just being in the course is wild. There's still times where of course, like you're always going to look at yourself, I could be doing better, I could be doing this, I could be doing that, or like just down on yourself. 

But imagine where you were before you started the course. Imagine where you were in 2022. That was because I think that's when I joined and you were like not confident. You did not necessarily believe that you were worth charging what you were even charging then. You weren't getting what you wanted. You were just like booking to book because that's like what I felt I needed to do. Now it's like I have the luxury of saying no. If I feel like I am doing too much or if it doesn't necessarily align with me, it's not just taking weddings just to take them now. It's like, this is my brand and it's very clearly conveyed now. It's a world of difference. Like the courses that I feel like really helped me the most to was profit pricing because that was wild to me. I remember sitting there watching for the first time and I was like, Oh my gosh, I don't think anybody would ever pay me. That was just what my mind was telling me, is that nobody would pay me to do this job at a higher rate. Then also just like the mindset, I will tell anybody over and over and over again, that the mindset of course, shifted everything for me. I just became more aware of who I actually was and what I could do for people. That just helped me a lot. That's where I've gained so much confidence to the point where I'm just like, yeah, I'm okay if I say no to something because I know that something else will come as well and that I'm confident in my abilities. I'm confident in my pricing now. Like if somebody says that they can't afford me, I totally understand. But I'm not going to compromise, which before I'd be like, Oh, please, like I can change something or let's make this work. Now I'm just like, that's okay. I understand that everybody's pricing is different and everybody has a different budget, but that's just not me anymore. Which is wild.


Alora:

You are a completely different person. That's crazy.  I don't even know where to begin. The luxury of saying no, I love that. I love that either you're going to pay these prices and value me or we're just not a good fit. I mean, we talk about how you can add urgency and do these other things, but you're like, nah, I want somebody who wants me. 


Mikayla:

Of course, everybody that I speak to and stuff, I want to make sure that they know I value them, would be a great fit for them, and wanting to make sure we'd be a great fit too. That's a huge thing that I thought about. I learned from the course too, is not just accepting stuff. But also know, are we a good match? Will our personalities work out well? Are you going to have a good time around me? Are you going to be annoyed by me? Are you actually here for my work? There's still a lot of people that I think don't value photography as much on their wedding day. That's okay. That's just how some people are. But the people that book me know, I know that they value me and what I'm doing. They also know that I value them. That just creates a different kind of bond and client experience that I don't even think I realized when I first went full time. 


Alora:

Do you feel like that is, I mean, it could be a combination of things. But do you feel like it's because you were able to be confident in your brand? Or was it all just mindset? Nobody wants to talk about mindset because mindset is like one of those words like, yeah, okay, if you believe you achieve, but can you break down how it's not just toxic positivity?


Mikayla:

It's good for you. You have to know that you're good. It really isn't toxic positivity. I feel like there's some people out there that they're super duper positive all the time. I think some people get very frustrated by that because they're like, that's just not realistic. But you have to like, trust yourself on who you are and have the confidence or else you can't convey that in branding. No matter how hard you try, if you don't believe in yourself, that's always going to show through everything. You can have all the copy in the world that's going to reflect a beautiful business, luxury, this and that, but the minute that person, a client, like your dream client talks to you, and they see maybe you're a little bit more insecure, you're unsure of yourself. They're not going to want that. That doesn't attract people. What attracts people is confidence. That's probably the biggest thing I think I've learned from you. Because you were like one of the most confident women and I love it so much and I'm like, dang, I just want to be like Alora.

Right? You shouldn't. There's a lot of photographers now and you have to be built to stand out and stand on your own. If you don't have the confidence in yourself, you can't stand on your own. 


Alora:

Yeah, I think that's important. I actually was watching some video, I don't know if it was Reels or TikTok, and this lady was arguing and crying about trying to be on Shark Tank. She was like, I deserve this. I'm supposed to be here. They're like, Hey, as a woman, you cannot be emotional about this. You cannot run a business on emotion. It's not going to succeed. I was always wondering, how are you able to be confident as a photographer and as an entrepreneur? It's taking out the emotion, which is counterintuitive because we seek emotion for the photos. But you have to leave that at the wedding. I think the biggest thing that I have been able to pour into this program is sales confidence. You know what I mean? Like confidence in your pricing, confidence in your brand. You've seen it, you've seen the press, you've seen the photos. Do you want it? Yes or no? 


Mikayla:

Yeah, very unbothered, unapologetic for sure. 


Alora:

Let's dive into your pricing and talk about where it was before. Because I think I'm going to double check, but I'm pretty sure you made 124k inside The Wedding CEO since 2022, which is crazy. 


Mikayla:

It's literally, even when I found that out after submitting all my wins, I was like, shoot, I did not think I was there. It was very wild to find that out. When I got the notification, I was like, wait, what? I did? Like, we're totally unaware. 


Alora:

She gets the sweatshirt. Wait, did you get your sweatshirt by the way? 


Mikayla:

I did. I love it so much. I wear it all the time. I should have put it on.


Alora:

I think it's crazy because I remember when you joined, you were really busy because I think you were so underpriced. You would come on the calls late or you'd be, Oh, it's good. I don't know what's going on. Like, I'm just so busy. I have so much editing to do. The person standing in front of me, you're not like scrappy anymore. You're just like, the transformation. 


Mikayla:

Yeah, very much so calmer than I definitely was at that point.


Alora:

But I feel like you have to hustle to get enough money to be able to invest and be like, Oh, we're going to just rebuild this thing from the ground. 


Mikayla:

I don't regret that time because I learned a lot in that period. I learned a lot about myself. But I look at her now and I'm like, bless you. You paved the way for where I am now is what I have to remind myself. But I'm just glad that I don't have to continuously be in that state of hectic chaos because it was way too much. 


Alora:

Yeah, you'll be on your way to engage a session, and then you have a wedding the next day, and then you have a portrait session, and I've been there triple headers. I did a quadruple header once. I'm unalived.  


Mikayla:

I might have a triple header this year, but that's only because I love every single couple in every single venue. 


Alora:

It's fine. It's the only one. 


Mikayla:

But that's like my choice. Not feeling like I have to. It's because I want to.


Alora:

That is true. How does that feel? Actually? How does that feel to know that now the power's in your hands versus you feeling like you're at the mercy of your clients all the time? 


Mikayla:

It's weird. I still sometimes have moments where I'm like, I feel like it's not my hands, but it is. I thought about it every single wedding I have this year. I'm super pumped for. There's not one that I'm dreading them. Why am I doing this? I'm excited for every single one.  


Alora:

You mean you have all dream weddings this year? All of them? 


Mikayla:

Pretty much, yeah. A lot more intimate, which I'm super excited about. Very intentional couples that I've built really good connections with already. I could tell immediately they wanted to build that relationship with me. Just already sending me stuff on Instagram back and forth. We're just chatting every once in a while now. It's just very different than how it used to be.


Alora:

Before we got on, we were talking about your pricing and what it looked like before you came into the program. So your lowest package is 2,800. Your middle package was 3,000 and your highest package was 3,500. How many weddings did you book in this pricing structure that had you so busy? Do you remember? 


Mikayla:

I think it was at least 20 plus. I was doing a lot and also at that point I was also planning my own wedding and getting married. We came back from our honeymoon and I had a wedding that following weekend. That was my thought process. 


Alora:

Were you also second shooting for Friends too? 


Mikayla:

Yeah, I think in total I maybe did 30. 


Alora:

Yep, that's the breaking point. 30 was my breaking point. 


Mikayla:

Yeah, it's a lot. When people say they want to do like 30, 40 weddings a year, I'm like, you're joking, right? Like, how does your body handle that? Couldn't even do it if I wanted to. 


Alora:

I had a friend who used to do 50 and she would tell people proudly and I'm like, why? No, friend, please.


Mikayla:

You teach us longevity in the business, which I appreciate. Cause you cannot sustain that for that long. You get so burnt out. I was so burnt out afterwards. I was like, this doesn't feel fun. I don't know why this doesn't feel fun because I love it. 


Alora:

Did you find yourself at that time? Because I'm just like reliving my burnt out story through you. But did you feel resentful or like you were missing out on life? What is it that you value the most that you were like, I need to do less, I need to work less, but also be compensated for that? 


Mikayla:

It was missing out on life and like super important things. I've had a wedding for my best friend's birthday every year. That was always so hard for me because she always took my birthday off of work. So missing her birthday, missing family events, and just getting to like go to the beach. I'm like a big beach girl in the summer. The fact that I have no weekends to go take a day trip to the west side hurt my heart too much. I don't have any time for me. I'm doing everything during the week. I have every single weekend booked. Sometimes I know that I had to get here somehow. I get that to a point, but I was just so tired. I was exhausted after every weekend. I didn't want to do things. I missed out on like hanging out with friends, friends that were moving away, like going away parties. My biggest fear was always missing somebody's wedding. I think I actually did miss a couple weddings. I don't want to miss things that are important in my life too for somebody else's big events.  Which I had to learn the hard way in some ways. We're going to go through that for one year, but then we're not doing that again. This year, it's so spread out. I have all this time during the summer. I'm still working. I still feel good, but I have like time to do things. I have one wedding in August. Love it. Then I have time to like second shoot with somebody at the end of the month. I have my anniversary weekend off, the weekend after that off, I have a bunch of free time in July, I still have some free time in June, it's like this hasn't happened in a very long time.  


Alora:

That's the best feeling though. I know as photographers, we freak out if we don't get a certain number of inquiries or a certain number of weddings, but when you raise your prices, which is my next question, what is your starting rate now? 


Mikayla:

My starting rate, honestly saying it now, my six hour package, my bare bones, bare minimum is 4k. That's just me by myself. That's not with anybody else. That doesn't include film. That's just like me there for six hours. So I've kept it there for a little bit. I had maybe a couple people book that, but I'm at the point where I'm like, okay, this got to go up. I don't even want to offer a six hour package anymore. 


Alora:

Cut it out. Yep. We're going to talk about that.


Mikayla:

I'm reevaluating everything. 


Alora:

Hopefully after this call, you'll be like, yeah, I've done too much.


Mikayla:

Yeah, I mean, I told you it was like after booking when you were talking about the engagement gaps, that I'm like, if I book two more at the pricing I'm at now, I'm going up. At this point, I had a client call before this,I have another one for Monday, and I just got another dream inquiry last night, which I can't believe. I'm probably going to talk to her sometime next week. I'm like, okay, I've sent this one out to three brides already. I'm good. Literally coming. 

Nope. Going to change it.


Alora:

Oh my gosh. I'm so excited for you because when you did your formula or whatever, and you're like, I could never charge this, but what was your more booked package? Cause I feel like you sent out some like higher ticket custom proposals, right? I mean, that's a starting rate, but that's not where you're actually booking. What is your average range? 


Mikayla:

Right now, actually, everybody is booking my top package, which I feel that took a second for that one to really get rolling. Cause I feel like everybody really goes for the middle package a lot. Everybody loves eight hours at the sweet spot, but I've had a lot more brides come in. They're like, I want the exclusive, I want like everything in the kitchen sink. Then they're like adding stuff. So I'm like, okay, like no blinking. This is fine. 


Alora:

That wasn't even our program promise until everybody in their wins kept saying, I keep booking my highest package. I was like, yeah, this is a promise now. We're just, you're going to book your highest package. What is going on here? It's almost like, it doesn't really matter what your starting rate is because you know they're going to pay more. You're like, I'm going to convince them that they need everything.


Mikayla:

The girl I was talking to today, she's like deciding between three different dates at like three different times. One's New Year's Eve, this and this, that and that. She was asking me like my pricing if it changed for New Year's Eve. I'm like, that's actually a great question. I was not expecting her to say New Year's Eve when we talked because that was not even on the board. I was not prepared for that mentally. That's actually a great question. Let me think on that. Then I thought afterwards, I'm like, she's going to want to add on all this stuff anyways. It will be more because you're wanting a ton more to go with it. That's going to be a custom proposal. I feel like I've ended up sending out a lot of custom proposals recently just because everybody does want something different. You posted a little bit ago, custom proposals is the new luxury, I'm like, absolutely, yes, it is. Because people want to be able to pick and choose.  I'm so used to brides from before, just either wanting the bare minimum and I still see that sometimes. They want the bare minimum. They don't want a lot of stuff. They want to get rid of the engagement session. I took my engagement session out of my middle package because I had so many people saying that they didn't need it. I'm like, okay, well then I'm just not going to offer that. Now it's like, we want to add on an engagement session. Like that's even a huge thing. I'm like, okay, great. That is an extra this then. 


Alora:

We'll just not put it in there to be compensated for it. 


Mikayla:

Exactly. I'm like, do you want it? Okay, sure. I offered it before. Nobody wanted it. Now they want it.


Alora:

Because they want the customization. It's crazy how you'll spend more. 


Mikayla:

It is.


Alora:

Mikayla's going to teach me a masterclass on mindset at this point. It's going to come back to mindset. Oh my goodness. Mikayla, I'm just so excited to see where your business is going to go. I mean, it's already gone. The complete direction that you planned and wanted that you spoke into existence when you joined, you're like, you know what? It would be really cool to do destination and to shoot film. Now you're offering film. Now you're charging for that. To see this transformation, I'm just so happy that I get to be a part of it. 

Do you have any last words or anything you want to say to anybody that's thinking about The Wedding CEO? Or even just questions about your journey. Because I feel like your journey is pretty relatable. A lot of photographers, we copy this very warm and moody style and then we're like, yep, we're getting the bookends. It's working. 


Mikayla:

Yeah, anybody who's questioning joining the CEO, do it. It's going to feel like an investment and it will. But, it's 100% worth it. You're going to be able to make that investment back so quickly. Once you shift your mindset, charge what is actually feasible, pricing for profit is so important—nobody teaches that. It gets on my nerves that nobody teaches that. I could talk about it forever. Cause just remember, I know this is a total side thing, I remember breaking it down and I'm making less on my bigger wedding days because of how I'm pricing myself. That's not livable. I'm losing money. I'm having to pay this person out doing this, doing that. I'm like the same if not less than my lowest package where I'm only like doing the bare minimum and I'm doing so much more. I wouldn't have known that if I just stayed going solo. I would have maybe figured it out, but it would not have been this thorough. So, It's worth it. Literally for mindset and profit pricing alone, but everything else is so good. The luxury client experience—amazing. I mean, I could just talk about it forever. I just love it. So yeah, don't sleep on it. I'll tell anybody, don't sleep on it. Just do it. You won't regret it. Payment plan, whatever you gotta do, just do it.


Alora:

If you have any questions, just DM Mikayla. 


Mikayla:

Yeah, just DM me. I'll just tell you everything you need to know. Just do it. Anybody who's asked me, I'll tell them it was 100% worth it. It's not just the fake ads you see and it's really people that aren't actually helping you. All the free courses that people offer when it's just the bare minimum that they're telling you. The amount of times I did those, and I'm like hoping that maybe it would be something I didn't already know and it's just the same thing over and over again. This is the most thorough program ever.


Alora:

Not Mikayla calling out the fake coaches in the industry.  


Mikayla:

Alora is a real one.


Alora:

I agree with you. I did the same thing. That's why I created this. Cause I was like, I am so tired of paying top dollar, high ticket, for literally a Google sheet or something that I could have searched. So she said it, not me.  


Mikayla:

I paid for mentorships before and sat there at a coffee date and I got nothing. I was like, this is everything I already knew I was supposed to be doing. This isn't helping me at all. Just letting me like stay stagnant. I realized I needed something more than that. 


Alora:

That's amazing. Thank you for sharing that, Mikayla and you heard it here first. Read the receipts. 


Mikayla:

Read the receipts. I will supply all the receipts. 


Alora:

This was so amazing. Thanks for Mikayla for coming on. I can't wait to watch your transformation and journey unfold.

And guys, I will see you in the next episode. Bye. 

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Wait, don't go yet. If you loved today's episode, I would love if you took five seconds to leave a rating and a five star review. If you do send me a DM so I can give you a virtual hug and of course a shout out. Now, if you're ready to grow your photography business, I invite you to join the waitlist for The Wedding CEO.

The Wedding CEO is my signature program for wedding photographers who are ready to make 100k with half of their weekends free. You're ready to finally book higher ticket weddings. You can spend your time freely, whether it's creating more income strings, being present with family and friends or just working less like a CEO is supposed. Join the wait list for when we open the doors on February 22nd, 2024.

If you've seen my Instagram, then you'll know we have students making five figure months, launching their dream brands, doubling their prices, taking vacations, and more. Which are lifetime skills that you can take with you even if you decide to leave the industry.

Link in the show notes. I'll see you inside.