100th Episode Special with Sue Bryce

November 1, 2021 Artist Spotlight

Episode 100: Sue Bryce

In this very special 100th episode of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser welcomes Sue Bryce for a conversation that celebrates this milestone for Nikki and the podcast and also explores what it means to Sue and for the SBE community. It makes Sue so proud every week to hear on the podcast the many portrait photographers who have taken her business model and have applied it in order to create the businesses and lives of their dreams. Nikki reflects how everyone she has interviewed is so different, coming from different life circumstances — different countries and life experiences — and yet through mastering their craft, mastering their relationship to money, and mastering self-value, they have all found success.

Be sure to listen to the whole podcast to hear Sue answer questions chosen by members of the Sue Bryce Education Members-Only Facebook Group. You won’t want to miss hearing the simple way Sue organizes her mornings to set herself up for achievement for the whole day. As well, you’ll want to hear Sue get really personal talking about her path of growth, her marriage, and what’s coming up next for Sue Bryce.

In this blog, you’ll find some gorgeous portraits by Sue and some highlights from the podcast conversation.

Check out our other Sue Bryce Blog Features: Self-Value and Putting Yourself Out There and Believe and Receive.

Walk the Path to Success

“I really want other people to understand that your life is not happening to you. It is a manifestation of everything that you think, say, do, everything that you’re being and saying. So, if you can shift your mindset, and observe for a little bit, and just see yourself as more, then you just keep becoming more.

I watched you. I watched all these people just come through this SBE, and start building successful businesses, and really make money, and really build futures, and lives, and buy houses, and get health insurance, be self-employed, and retire their spouses to work in their businesses, and open other businesses that run in parallel to these businesses.

And they’re that evidence — who you interview. That is the basis of this podcast. It’s the people that actually walk their own path. And, then they did it. And for me, is that evidence? Yes. Is it social proof that this works? Yes. That it works.”

“I feel like people give me a lot of credit for changing their lives. But as I always say, you did it. You’ve got to change it. “

“I don’t think people know what their lane is. I think people are just discovering what lights them up, and what they’re most drawn to, and what they just want to consistently do. The biggest thing for me was not being able to work out what my lane was but actually working out what my flow was. Because at first, when you start to think about what you want, you don’t see the bridge to how to get there. So you spend all this time going, but how? but how? …instead of just following it and just walking towards it — that thing that gives you goose bumps, you know, when you’re talking about it with a friend, and it just feels right. You’ve got to follow it, and then start doing it, and then you’ll see the destination.

“You really have to ask yourself . . . do I have the desire to get up every day and follow this? Because that joy has to actually bring you to consistency and congruency. Because without those two things, you’re never going to create anything. It’s just going to be a flash in the pan.”

“In hindsight, I would go back, and I would sit Sue down, and I would say this: You are about to get the greatest masterclass in self-value, building this business, that you will ever experience in your life. I can’t give you those lessons before you start. So, I’m going to give you a couple of other tools. Master your craft, find your joy in that craft — whatever that genre is and find that — follow it every day and start to learn how to sell. Those three things are tangible steps to contributing to your future in the most incredible way. Those are the three things. Self-value and confidence are going to come through every one of those steps.

Master that craft. Find the joyful part in that craft. For me, it was glamour photography. It was a transformational experience of women finding confidence in their selves, and their beauty, and their soul. And to me, it was unfolding people that desperately wanted to be seen, and heard, and feel valued. That’s what portraiture was for me. That’s where I found that joy.

And then the third one is creating a sales system. A sales system is just a system. It’s such a system, you’re going to get a lot of resistance from your value, you know, because you’re creating something that you’re like, I built this. I’ve made this with my hands, and now I’m going to charge $1800 for it. [You’ll think] you’re not worth that. How do you sleep at night? That’s where the resistance comes from, but you’re going to learn all the self-value lessons on your path. But those three steps are ultimately the core and the bottom line for anybody wanting to create a better life and a more successful life.

Or, if you’re a solopreneur, or you want to be an entrepreneur and start a business, start with those three things and master your craft. Create a product of value. Once you have a product of value, you are selling that, and you are earning money for it. You’re getting confidence. Then, all of a sudden you create an experience of value. Then, you start getting all this evidence that you’re valuable, and then you kind of realize, well, maybe I am valuable, and you just keep pushing into that value. That’s where the value is going to grow you so much because as you walk towards that confidence, you’re just going to get stronger and stronger and realize that the evidence is now not, how do you sleep at night? The evidence is you’re incredible. Look what you’ve built. Look what you make. And then you start to see the value that people see in you. That’s the bottom line to everything. I would go back to her, and I would just focus on those three things.”

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PSP Ep 62

Sue Bryce of Sue Bryce Education

With 30 years experience, Sue Bryce is one of the most recognizable photographers in the imaging industry. New Zealand born and raised, Bryce now lives and works in Phoenix, AZ.

Her contemporary glamour portrait style transcends past stereotypes and has changed the face of portrait photography. In 2015, Bryce was greatly honored to be chosen to represent Canon USA in the Explorers of Light program.

Follow Sue: InstagramFacebook Website 

Sue Bryce Education is an online education platform & community for contemporary portrait, connecting to photographers globally through live broadcasts, videos, in-person workshops, and The Portrait Masters annual boutique conference that hosts the Awards + Accreditation program.



Click Here to Read the Podcast Transcript

FULL TRANSCRIPT: Please note this transcript was generated by AI and may contain errors.

00:00:00:09 – 00:00:02:17

You’re listening to the Portrait System podcast.

00:00:02:22 – 00:00:17:01

It was incredible. I never wanted to be married in my life, I always thought like whatever, I’d rather have a business than a husband like it seems more effective and and now I just have I feel like I have both. And it’s incredible. I love being married.

This is the Portrait System Podcast, a show that helps portrait photographers and people hoping to become one. Navigate the world of photography, business, money and so much more. We totally keep it real. We share stories about the incredible ups and the very difficult downs when running a photography business. I’m your host, Nikki Closser, and the point of this podcast is for you to learn actionable steps that you can take to grow your own business and also to feel inspired and empowered by the stories you hear.

Hey, everyone this week Sue Bryce is back on the Portrait System for our one hundredth episode.

00:00:50:15 – 00:01:18:27

Hosting this podcast brings me so much joy, and I love doing it so much. And of course, Sue was the perfect guest for number 100. This time, Sue got personal and shared quite a bit about her life. We talked about what her journey with entrepreneurship has been like personally, and as always, she does some incredible teaching about how to make your own dream life a reality. Sue is always the absolute best to chat with, and I hope you enjoy listening. Hi, Sue Bryce, how are you today?

00:01:18:29 – 00:01:21:17

I’m very good. Thank you. How you doing, Nikki Closser?

00:01:22:08 – 00:01:25:29

I am wonderful. I’m wonderful. This is our one hundredth episode.

00:01:26:01 – 00:01:37:20

I like the one hundredth that you said our it’s your one hundredth episode. What does that feel like? I mean, I’m proud, right, that you did 100. 100 amazing interviews.

00:01:39:11 – 00:01:58:12

You know, it’s funny because I was thinking about it. It doesn’t even feel like 100 episodes, you know, how sometimes you feel like, oh my gosh, it’s taken forever to get here, it doesn’t even feel like it. But when I scroll through and I look at all the names of the incredible photographers and just people I’ve interviewed, it just blows my mind. It’s just so cool.

00:01:58:14 – 00:02:00:29

What did you tell me last week at the conference? You said

00:02:02:17 – 00:02:32:26

you were talking about being in your flow or staying in the right lane, right? And I mean, I’ve always I always say it’s one of the hardest things to do when you’re building a business is to find out what your superpowers and then stay in your lane. But you know, I know we talked about it a few interviews back where we were saying it was going. It was never a question for me that you were going to do our podcast because you were already podcasting, right? You were doing busy as a mother and you’re already finding your voice.

00:02:32:28 – 00:02:50:19

So it’s like you don’t even I don’t even give people opportunities unless they’re already walking the walk or talking the talk. And to that point, you were already doing that and then you’ve just taken it and run with it. And what top 10 in marketing in the US and 48 million podcasts? That’s pretty amazing.

00:02:51:23 – 00:03:21:18

It’s definitely something I feel very proud of. I’ve said this before. It’s like I’ve I’ve always been OK at a lot of things. I’m an OK photographer, I’m an OK roller skater. I mean, you know, not to like not give myself credit because there are things I’m definitely good at, but this, I feel like is something I’m really good at. Like, I love doing it so much, and it just comes naturally. I mean, I feel like mediocre.

00:03:21:28 – 00:03:24:11

Yeah. Teaching majorly came naturally to me.

00:03:26:04 – 00:03:27:00

Yeah. Yeah.

00:03:28:05 – 00:03:41:22

Yeah. And like you said, was staying in your own lane if you could figure out what your lane is. I mean, I know you’re going to say everyone knows what their lane is, but to really just work it out and just walk that path is everything.

00:03:42:00 – 00:04:20:22

I don’t think people know what their lane is. I think people are just discovering what lights them up and what they’re most drawn to and what they just want to consistently do. The biggest thing for me was not being able to work out what my lane was, but actually working out what my flow was. Because at first, when you start to think about what you want, you don’t see the bridge to how to get there. So you spent all this time, but how, going, but how but how instead of just following it and just walking towards it, that thing that gives you goose bumps, you know, when you’re talking about it with a friend and it just feels right, you’ve got to follow it and then start doing it and then you’ll see the destination.

00:04:20:24 – 00:04:45:09

You’re like, I’m a far, far cry from there. But, you know, I mean, I felt for years like I was standing at the edge of a big crevasse like a Grand Canyon. I could see where I wanted to go, just couldn’t build that bridge to get over there, and it just felt insurmountable to me instead of being joyful in my flow. That’s so hard to do. You are clearly joyful in your flow when you’re interviewing and podcasting.

00:04:46:12 – 00:05:16:14

Well, it’s interesting because when I think about the way that the way in which we interact with people, so, you know, I have a lot of girlfriends I know, you know, that, you know, I can have conversations with people. No problem. That’s my lane. Where are you when we’re having conversations you teach and you and not in like a preachy. I’m always teaching way, but there’s something about when you have conversations with people that you are always helping people to learn and to become their best selves. Oh, it’s kind of annoying though.

00:05:16:26 – 00:05:19:28

So naturally, it’s kind of one what?

00:05:20:00 – 00:05:20:22

It’s kind of annoying though.

00:05:21:26 – 00:05:24:22

No, no. It’s not, though

00:05:25:06 – 00:05:41:05

people never say to me, I just wanted to vent, like, could you just let me vent? And I was like, Well, if you’re venting, then you may be stuck around a communication that I might be able to help you get to a resolution with.

00:05:41:10 – 00:05:41:25


00:05:41:27 – 00:06:13:27

And I think for the first mini, it’s definitely who I am as a human being. But I think what the mistake I made was I was always trying to get people to a solution instead of a resolution, you know, as like, you don’t always want a solution finder in your life because I’m I’m a problem solver and a solution finder first in business and in life, and that can be really annoying when you are stuck on something. And all you’re hearing from me is get to a solution.

00:06:13:29 – 00:06:33:04

Here’s a solution get to a solution. And then I realized it’s more of a resolution. You need to understand how you feel about it, how it’s resistance and you and what you’re doing about it. And so I tried to definitely be better at that. So I wasn’t that kind of friend, but it is who am at the core of. So that is annoying for some people.

00:06:34:16 – 00:06:45:01

Well, now I think it’s almost like a good therapist. You guide people you know you, you ask the right questions in order to guide them to figuring out their own solution.

00:06:45:03 – 00:07:27:24

You realize this is my path every day with myself. Like, I don’t just do this because I want other people to hear my voice or that I have all the answers. I am that person to myself. I am. I’m always trying to understand everything that I’ve created in my life and how I can create more of share more of have deeper meaning with, have more intense connection to humans, students, my business, my relationship. It’s I am so driven on a daily basis to develop in myself that I really want other people to understand that you life is not happening to you.

00:07:27:26 – 00:07:53:18

It is a manifestation of everything that you think say do, everything that you’re being and saying. So if you can shift your mindset and observe for a little bit and just see yourself as more, then you just keep becoming more. And I was the more I change, the more I grew, the more I wanted to share that with people. So I think I’ve gotten better at resolution finding and but I am that person for me first.

00:07:53:20 – 00:08:10:23

Yeah, yeah. And and you have you have I’ve even noticed just in again, not that there was anything wrong with the way you helped coach and just whether your teacher, you had your teacher had on our friendship had on with me. I have noticed a little bit of a shift and it’s do you know what an amazing.

00:08:10:26 – 00:08:43:17

I’ll tell you what it is, and you can tell me if you identify this the first, I’m going to say, from two thousand and 12 until 2000 and maybe 15 16. You have 16 right through 16, 12 to 16 first five years of of really educating. I spent the whole time defending what I created to prove that it worked to people like people were just naysayers like I’d put education out there and say, this is not going to work.

00:08:43:20 – 00:09:20:21

Nobody even wants us. You can’t make money doing this. You can’t do this in my town. You can’t do this in my country. You can’t do this. And I would sit there and I’d say, but I did. And they go, Yeah, but you’re Sue Bryce.  And I’m like, What does that even mean? They didn’t even know me when I was building a business. Your only meeting the person 10 years later that built a successful business model. I spent so much time just defending myself and what I created that I almost got to a point where I was like, You know what? You guys just go and do you like clearly you don’t believe me.

00:09:21:02 – 00:09:52:15

So I did it, and I’ll just take the people that want to try. And then I watched you. I watched all these people just come through this SBE and start building successful businesses and really make money and really build like futures and lives and buy houses and get health insurance. I’m self-employed and retire their spouses to work in their businesses and open other businesses that run in parallel to these businesses.

00:09:52:17 – 00:10:23:28

And they’re that evidence that you interview that that is the basis of this podcast is the people that actually walk their own path. And then they did it. And for me, is that evidence? Yes. Is it social proof that this works? Yes. That it works. I don’t know what people are saying, like, does this work or this doesn’t work? It’s only what you want to create in your life. That’s all I did was created a business model that was really successful for me and really joyful.

00:10:24:09 – 00:10:54:19

So the first five years was just me constantly defending myself and I. I am a hot tempered, feisty woman. When I am challenged, I’m going to come out swinging. So there were so many times on live broadcast where I just, you know, I was challenged and I challenged people straight on back. I was challenged. Being a woman in business, I was challenged being a woman educator.

00:10:54:27 – 00:11:06:21

My first broadcast, my biggest broadcast in the US that got me to here on Creative Live in 2012. One of the biggest questions were Where are all the men in the world killing it at this? And I was like.

00:11:08:06 – 00:11:47:12

I don’t know. But if you meet any. Send them my way. And it made me angry. I was like, what? I can’t be a successful woman. And so I felt like I was fighting the first five years of just fighting to be on the stage. And then people say, you know, you have no education. Your grammar is appalling. You, you know, they would say the most random things to me. You’re, you know, physically criticizing me or whatever. And it was tough. And I remember thinking, why do people want to do this? If you get up here and all people do is tell you it’s not going to work? And that she’s ridiculous and that, you know, she’s lying.

00:11:47:24 – 00:12:19:13

I heard it all in the first few months, and then it just kept finding people that wanted to try. And then now I have all this evidence. So to me, the fact that you have this audience now that you can just call on and say, Hey, tell me about how you broke through. Tell me about what your business looks like. Tell me where it is and how you did it and tell me what the path was for you and what were your challenges? It’s mind blowing to me. Six years later, after launching his B.A.,

00:12:19:15 – 00:12:31:20

we now have. All these people that we can talk to that are not me, and it’s wow. I mean, what do you listen to these stories every week? What blows you away the most?

00:12:33:12 – 00:12:50:28

OK, everyone is so different. Everyone has a different experience, a different, you know, where they came from, where they grew up, how they approached. The business, but there are those common commonalities that are always there.

00:12:51:05 – 00:12:55:22

Mastering my craft, mastering my money, mastering myself value.

00:12:56:11 – 00:13:23:09

Exactly. That’s exactly what it is. So it doesn’t matter if I’m interviewing Farouk, who went through war in Iran or, you know, Bethany in small town, North Dakota. It’s amazing how underneath it all, yes, it’s a different story, and they had a different way that they got there, but it is all the same underneath. It’s it’s an it’s incredible,

00:13:24:03 – 00:13:25:07

it’s really incredible.

00:13:26:09 – 00:13:51:25

And a lot so I made a post in the group just saying, OK, we’re doing our 100th episode, it’s you and I. What do you want? What do you want to hear? And so many people had personal questions they want to know. You know, the behind the scenes of OK, so you moved from Australia to Seattle then to L.A. like in the meantime, you started this whole education business. What was all of that like? Was it a whirlwind? Was it easy?

00:13:53:11 – 00:13:54:13

Take us through that.

00:13:54:26 – 00:14:27:09

After I built my first business in New Zealand, I hit rock bottom when I moved to Australia because I made the fatal mistake of knowing that I had run my course with my portrait studio. I wanted to start educating an international space. It’s what I wanted. It was what I was being called to do, profoundly called to do it. I went to Melbourne. I met Jerry John as he was really blown up and educating in the US and became a friend.

00:14:27:11 – 00:15:01:29

And I met Sally Sargood and made some lifelong friends there. And I was really enjoying being in the Australian professional photography industry because it was much bigger than New Zealand and, you know, New Zealand during the time I grew my business. New Zealand photographers didn’t do workshops. New Zealand photographers did not like Meet Up or we had the AIPP at the internship, which is an incredible body. But you know, we were essentially not a team. We were more like competitors and we would meet for competition, which I was winning at.

00:15:02:01 – 00:15:32:05

So I was effectively coming up through the ranks and the competitive state. There was no like, Come and talk about your successful business or, you know, New Zealand was was a small place then that we didn’t share like that there was no online education for portrait. My business model was incredibly unique at the time. I knew it was because there was nothing else like it anywhere I went. And then when I came to Australia, I got straight into the AIPP which was a huge body of professional photographers.

00:15:32:14 – 00:16:07:19

They did do workshops they were educating. You know, I started to get into that world and instantly got asked to speak in it. And then I spoke. And the year I did my first talk in Australia for canon, I just to twenty five people. I then booked a 300 talk at our national conference in Australia. And then from that talk, I booked seventeen international talks in 12 months. And so I could teach and shoot anywhere in the world that I wanted because I was capable of doing both.

00:16:08:00 – 00:16:44:07

And so I travelled for a couple of years and just taught and photographed. And you really have to ask yourself two questions. When you start, anything is do I have the desire to get up every day and follow this because that joy has to actually bring you to consistency and congruency. Because without those two things, you never going to create anything. It’s just going to be a flash in the pan. And I have a lot of brilliant ideas that don’t work for me. I’m not going to say they’re not brilliant because they might work for somebody else, but I’m always trying to grow that, so I always have to try something and follow it.

00:16:44:16 – 00:17:14:26

I realised I didn’t like doing in-person workshops. I’m much better educating through an online media or on stage for big talks. That’s what light me up the most did my most powerful talks. I can move the most amount of information and connect with the most amount of people, and it really lights me up. You know, you said there was a lot of things I tried that I didn’t enjoy that I had to let go of or outsource. I mean, I was never going to be a podcaster, you know, because I talk too much. Clearly,

00:17:16:12 – 00:17:54:27

it’s just not who I am and you’re so good at it. So like, I know my strengths and I stay in my lane and I learned to just be really joyful in my lane. When I got here, I started to go to the big conferences. I went to WPPI in 2010 and nobody talked about portrait business. Nobody showed posing. Nobody talked about money. Nobody talked about self-value or confidence or networking. And I said, I do all of those things. So I started to understand that the speakers that I thought were going to be the best speakers in the world were speakers, they actually talked on stage and I call it teach talk because, you know, yeah, I do it.

00:17:54:29 – 00:18:25:20

I do a stage keynote for 90 minutes, and the narrative is really around my experience. But the bullet points that I’m heading throughout that narrative are all for you. And if they’re not, then you don’t have their audience. You know, an audience is going to listen to you, but they’re not really going to be engaged if they’re not getting anything from it. So I just started to teach while I was on stage and I made sure that my keynote, which is packed with visuals of before and afters and and then I was just getting the highest rated speaker at.

00:18:26:08 – 00:19:02:15

WPII in this many years, and then I got highest rated speaker at PPA, and then they keep giving me this feedback. And I was like, Well, this is the way forward for educators and instructors and content creators is you want to engage people, but you’ve got to teach them something. And it really got to a point that after five years of doing that, I still couldn’t stop the amount of content that I was creating for the people following me. So I started SBE based on the simple fact that most people probably saw my creative live and I did three big creative lives.

00:19:02:17 – 00:19:33:01

I did glamour photography, three day intro I did inside the glamour studio, which was five days of business make up here and everything inside the glamour Studio. And then I did 28 days. Most people would look at that body of work and say she’s got nothing else to teach. I launched SBE, right? Two years later, I by the time I got to 2015, I realized I couldn’t just keep doing more creative live classes. I just had this content flowing out of me.

00:19:33:10 – 00:20:03:24

That’s when Aaron Anderson, my business partner now, who is my producer from Creative Live, left and came to L.A. and started working with me and we filmed 76 videos in six months. And at that point, I knew that I had so many more. I just I couldn’t stop creating. This content. It was flowing out of me. Quite naturally, people were resonating with it. We launched with 76, and, you know, six years later, we have over 100 over 1000 videos on SBE. That’s a lot of content.

00:20:04:25 – 00:20:35:15

Yeah, yeah. Wow. So it’s kind of like it. Just keep coming and it keep building and I keep following my joy. I got stuck many times in the process. I got stuck when I moved to Australia thinking I could become an educator, but then not actually stepping up or doing the work. I talked about it. I said I was going to do it. But when it came time to putting myself out there as a speaker or an educator or doing a workshop, I wasn’t doing it until I hit rock bottom financially again. And then I was like, How did I get here? I broke through money.

00:20:35:17 – 00:21:08:20

I broke through selling. All of a sudden, I’m back to square one. I’m back to the person that I’d been all these years of not being able to ask for money. Not stepping up into any opportunity. It wasn’t until I got to there that I was like, I know what I’m not doing. I’m not doing it. I’m saying I want it, but I’m not doing it. And for all of you out there starting your portrait business, you’re not doing it yet. You know, you’re not doing it because if it’s not working, you’re not doing it. You’re just thinking about it, resisting it, talking about it. And there’s a point where you actually just have to start doing it when you’re like, Now I’m now, I’m walking towards it.

00:21:09:03 – 00:21:43:03

So education, same thing, you know, up the mountain. Different. Same view. Different altitude building. SBE, I had so much more confidence. It’s so much more physical confidence. I had so much more self power. I found my voice, my flow. I was in my lane. Still, it was still hard. It was still terrifying. It was still uncomfortable. It was still an area that I had not experienced or known, and I was putting myself out there real big time.

00:21:43:05 – 00:22:01:17

I was getting big follow in the tens of thousands and you know, you get trolled, you get smacked down and they hurt. And it’s you just learning and learning. And it was it was as huge as growing my portrait business, but it was just and, you know, it was more

00:22:01:19 – 00:22:34:04

of, OK, so obviously your lane is creating, educating. What about everything else that comes along with running and creating this, this huge, massive education business, like I think about the team that you had around you and just the things that you knew were not your superpower that you should be doing. You know, how did you manage all of that and how did you? Find your team and just everything that comes along with it,

00:22:34:16 – 00:23:05:10

Yeah, it comes down to the community of people around you, and that’s where I had to focus. All of my attention was like, nobody gets to be in my space unless they are helping their energy. I mean, I’m just not a traditional employer. I’m not going to be a boss. I don’t want to be a boss. I actually I should never manage people. I barely manage myself. I needed people I identified really early on that I need people around me that manage me, not the other way around.

00:23:06:11 – 00:23:39:01

I also learned really early on that I want people around me that come into the room with an equivalent energy. I don’t need subservient people. I don’t need people around me that are walking on eggshells. Like I need all my players to be strong players in their own space because I want to be a colleague and I don’t want to be a boss. You know, like I called Gerson my assistant for the longest time. And it was weird calling him my assistant because he really was my partner every day.

00:23:39:03 – 00:24:09:28

He was my body double. He was my, you know, work partner. He was my travel partner, and even calling him my assistant was like wrong because it just put him somewhere there. And it’s like, you know, I’ve always said, You’re my number one because you are my number one person, you’re my number one choice. You are my number one, always my number one. So I had to get people around me that were going to actually support me. But this is what I learned about people. They don’t stay with you.

00:24:10:13 – 00:24:55:10

So whenever I employ or contract or work with any human being, I always give them the speech. I give them the talk about self-value, equal exchange and money exchange. I tell them that I have an open dialogue with money that if you can’t talk to me about your income because I’m the one that pays you, then we have a problem and I make sure that money is on the table as an open conversation. The second thing I do is I say, What are you most drawn to with working for me? Why with me? Why? Why do you want to work with me? And I have to get that answer in its authenticity, because when it is true, people really give you this incredible reason why they want to be on your team.

00:24:56:00 – 00:25:35:03

Then I say, Where are you going to go in the next three years? Because if you don’t have a skill set that is developing, you’re probably not going to hold my interest. I need people that are multi skilled at different things, but it’s not the skill that I want you to have. It’s the desire to learn it because everybody that comes to me is about to step up to another level, as am I? And when I go up a step, you’ll have to come on up the step as well because I’m going up and I’ll take you with me if you want to come up, but you need to develop something.

00:25:35:13 – 00:26:23:12

So, you know, I watched you buy a house, I watched you have babies, I watched you go through that, but then I watched you master your business and then say, Now I need to go up a level and you chose podcasting and cheering and creating, you know, workshops and that was your step up. Well, I’m always taking a step up. I’m going to continue taking a step up. I have no desire in my life to stay static in any way, shape or form. I will keep stepping up until the day I die. And if I’m lucky enough that I get the opportunity to keep doing that, then I’m now more excited about what I can create in my future instead of like, how is it possible? So every single one of my team players has leveled up to just exponentially.

00:26:23:22 – 00:26:55:08

You know you did. Gerson did. Did Cullen did Alice did. Every single team player that has been an SBE has created something more. My goal was to facilitate that. So with Gerson and Caitlin, it was to make money from the original music. I pushed it, forced it, got it on TPM. Their work is incredible. Their flow is incredible. That’s their lane. I watched Kellen go from an audio tech specialist to running our entire production, you know, and TV.

00:26:55:11 – 00:27:32:18

I watched you build this podcast, business and podcast. I I watched Alice build a business in New York from being from a foreign country into one of the biggest, most built up cities in the US and make it work. And like all those people around me, every single one of them was growing and my job was to facilitate your growth because if I could give you that, you would stay with me forever because you’re growing too. And people say all the time, How do you get such amazing staff? How do you get them to stay? Why it? All your staff and team like family.

00:27:32:28 – 00:28:05:23

And I was like, because it’s an equal exchange, I make it very clear that I’m not a boss. I make it very clear that I am, you know, a goal setter and a go getter and that I love working with people that are powerful, but I want you to be constantly thriving and working on your next step up, right? So that’s how I keep my team. I’m going to be really honest and say the six years of growing SBE were very similar to the six years of growing my portrait business.

00:28:06:03 – 00:28:37:03

I was not nice. I was not a nice boss. I have been through anxiety that I have never experienced in my life, trying to learn to hold. All of this up, how big this got and how fast it got. I’ve had meltdowns. I have had temper tantrums. I have been somebody that you don’t want to be in the room with. I have sat down with those people, these people, and begged for forgiveness.

00:28:37:05 – 00:29:10:19

I have worked through it. And they stayed and they stayed in it. When I think about that now, What the tough times and the teething and the growth pains. And I am so incredibly grateful for those players because if that equal exchange kept them there, then even when I was being my worst and my most stressed, I was still giving because I must have been because they wouldn’t have stayed.

00:29:11:04 – 00:29:53:23

And when I did speak with all of you about it, of who I was becoming and and hating who I was becoming and and when I think about it and I’ve talked to you all about it, you all like disagreed with me and I say it and I know don’t let me off the hook because I know where I was and what I was. But help me to understand that what was good about it so that I can understand why you stayed and and know now that now that I’m through it and I have grown so much, I have fiercely committed to every one of these people because they are.

00:29:53:25 – 00:30:26:08

I don’t joke when I say they walk through hell fire with me and I. I will spend the rest of my days, you know, doing the same for them. So that was personally the biggest challenge of building SBE in six years and the team around me and the community and then the mentors and supporters, the people that rose to the top. They willingly started to mentor people in the group without being asked, you know, we made them a team of people because they had really done the work.

00:30:26:10 – 00:30:48:06

And then they are now the ones coming up. And it’s a whole new world. The first five years was teething. Now I’m seeing people that have truly crossed over to success and now are giving back to our community and growing as mentors and the next line has coming up. And holy cow, this is insane.

00:30:50:17 – 00:30:53:19

That makes me really emotional listening, listening to you say that and.

00:30:55:09 – 00:31:29:06

And yeah, I think when people disagree, it’s because everyone understands that that’s just one little part of you and you are someone who is always on a trajectory of self-improvement and self-empowerment and growth. And I remember you telling me like, I know I’m. I know I need to work on certain things, and then you did, and you do. And that’s something that you encourage all of us, whether it’s someone who’s just on your education platform, not just on, but someone on your education platform or someone in your life personally.

00:31:31:11 – 00:31:47:24

Everything that you just said, the way that you describe just elevating people consistently is so, so so true. And I think that’s what makes you. Just a better educator than most. I mean, truly, it’s it’s

00:31:48:21 – 00:32:22:00

I’ve had to go through all the stuff that I teach and weirdly, weirdly, even when you are identified as content. So when people ask you. And they ask you all the time, like when you start speaking, people are like, Do you teach workshops? Do you have a book like, do you have an education site? People are asking you, Do you mentor? They’re asking you what they want. So you know it’s you don’t have to sit there and go, I’m going to be an educator. I started speaking. I said I was going to be a speaker because I had a great business model to talk about. And then I realized when I got out there that people were like, I want you to mentor me.

00:32:22:02 – 00:32:53:08

I want you to teach me. I want to, you know, I want you to have an education site. You do videos. Have you written a book? And so it’s like, I’ll get to it. And as I started to write out all those lessons, I would be confronted with maybe teaching a class on creating my sales system. First, I had to spend weeks in meditation and thought over how I actually created it with nothing, how I broke through it, how I got used to money, how I got valuable, how I mastered that once I actually went through it in my own brain and started to write it out.

00:32:53:19 – 00:33:24:28

Can I teach this? Yeah, I can teach this. All right. But first I had to. Actually, I didn’t know what I knew until I started teaching it. Then I started to teach it, and it was so exciting to me because I remembered thinking I will retire from photography one day. And if I don’t pass this torch on, people will not build this business. And this confidence and the self-growth that I managed to get, that was my motivation. And then the rest after that was just follow joy in creating it.

00:33:25:15 – 00:33:59:11

My biggest stress was, you know, delivering it, growing big day to day. And that’s where you have to get really comfortable outsourcing. You know what? You have to constantly remind yourself of this one thing. Andy Whitten came up to me at the conference last week, and she said four years ago, when I met you at the first conference, you said to me, you will break through. One day you will break through and then you will stand in front of me and you will say, I broke through, Sue. And fast forward, she stood in front of me and she said, I broke through.

00:33:59:13 – 00:34:31:08

I broke through and you told me I would break through four years ago and I broke through. And I looked at her and I said, And I bet you, you don’t even remember what you were like four years ago. And she just went, Oh, and I said, because you weren’t the same person that you are now. And so I’m always teaching from a place of my history and my experience, but I’m not the person I was 20 years ago. I couldn’t do what at what I do now. 20 years ago, I couldn’t speak to a roomful of people.

00:34:31:10 – 00:35:02:27

20 years ago. I couldn’t do it. Not 15 years ago, you know, not 11 years ago it was. I could not do it. I had to master that. So I feel like people give me a lot of credit for changing their lives. But as I always say, you did it, you’ve got to change it. But when I would think of something to learn so I could really communicate it to you. The biggest thing that used to blow my mind was I would experience those lessons almost instantaneously.

00:35:03:20 – 00:35:39:05

Like, let’s say I am talking about setting boundaries and and come confrontation, and people are like, So can you teach us how to set boundaries in our work life, how to set boundaries in our personal life? I would go, Yep, I would go into content writing mode. And then I would be slammed with all these very confronting lessons on boundaries and confrontation. Like, I’m asking the universe and I’m like, You know, oh, right, I’m going to teach confrontation and boundaries. Next minute, I’m getting confronted and I’m having to set really hard boundaries and have difficult conversations as I’m leading up to this class.

00:35:39:07 – 00:36:14:00

It’s like my life is suddenly mirroring everything that’s going on, and I’m getting these profound like Bang Bang. And these lessons will put me down like, I’ll be crying, I’ll be down for a night. I’ll be in a dark place for a few days and then I’m like, I am learning this because whatever is coming through me right now, it’s it’s like, experience it. Remember what it feels like? You’re bringing it back to your energy. And all of a sudden my focus goes back to what it felt like to set boundaries when it was hard. And I will struggle to set boundaries until I get that lesson because the world is responding to your emotions.

00:36:14:15 – 00:36:54:08

So writing this content for me instigate that massive response of emotion in the sense that I’m often going back through real big lessons and they are getting brought to my table and then I can really experience them in a way that I now have the now so. And then I just, you know, put it out. There is at as many levels as I can, so wherever you are, you might grab on to it. But still. People have heard me talk for years, and they’re like the penny did not drop until this time that I heard this talk and I’ve heard it four times and now that you’ve got to be ready to hear it? Yeah, yeah.

00:36:54:10 – 00:36:54:25


00:36:55:08 – 00:37:14:03

Someone asked in the group. If you could go back, is there anything that you would? Want yourself to have known back then, and, you know, and not so much. Obviously, we have to live the lessons and go through it. But is there anything that you would say to yourself and yeah, and what things would you ignore, I guess?

00:37:14:19 – 00:37:46:15

OK, self-value. Yeah, self-value, self-value, self-value and value. But here’s the thing I couldn’t have worked on my self-value and then built my two businesses. I had to find myself value building those businesses because mastery gave me confidence and consistency gave me confidence congruencey gave me power because I stuck with the next step, not 10 steps ahead. I was constantly, What’s the next step? Break it down.

00:37:46:17 – 00:37:57:24

What’s the next step? Break it down. What’s the next step? Break it down. Just break it down. So if the next step is to had, you haven’t broken it down enough. Break it down, break it down, break it down, and then I wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

00:37:59:09 – 00:38:29:27

I had. I had too much of myself involved in building this. Wow. Well, people think of me. Will people pay me? It was me, me, me. When I think about how me, me, me I was, I was like, How did anybody ever get the sense that I was creating a service or a product for you? I mean, I called my photography studio, you know, it’s all about you, right? It’s all about you. Was my message. But the truth is, is my energy was all about me. I’m not good enough. Nobody will spend this money.

00:38:29:29 – 00:38:59:27

And it’s just constantly projecting this energy of low value and not good enough and equal exchange. No. So, yeah, had I been able to work on myself value first? Wonderful. But I wouldn’t have been able to. So in hindsight, I would go back and I would sit Sue down and I would say this You are about to get the greatest masterclass in self value building this business that you will ever experience in your life. I can’t give you those lessons before you start.

00:39:00:13 – 00:39:31:10

So I’m going to give you a couple of other tools. Master your craft, find your joy in that craft, whatever that genre is, and find that follow it every day and start to learn how to sell. Those three things are tangible steps to contributing to your future in the most incredible way. Those are the three things self-value and confidence are going to come through every one of those steps. Master that craft.

00:39:31:29 – 00:40:03:17

Find the joyful part in that craft. For me, it was glamour photography. It was a transformational experience of women finding confidence in their selves and their beauty and their and their soul. And to me, it was unfolding people that desperately wanted to be seen and heard and feel valued. That’s what portraiture was for me. That’s where I found that joy. And then the third one is creating a sales system.

00:40:03:26 – 00:40:38:00

A sales system is just a system. It’s such a system you’re going to get a lot of resistance from your value, you know, because you’re creating something that you’re like, I built this, I’ve made this with my hands and now I’m going to charge $1800 for it. You’re not worth that. How do you sleep at night? That’s where the resistance comes from, but you’re going to learn all the self value lessons on your path. But those three steps are ultimately the core and the bottom line for anybody wanting to create a better life and a more successful life.

00:40:38:10 – 00:41:13:28

Or if you’re a solopreneur or you want to be an entrepreneur and start a business, start with those three things and master your craft, you create a product of value. Once you have a product of value, you are selling that and you are earning money for it, you’re getting confidence. Then all of a sudden you create an experience of value. Then you start getting all this evidence that you’re valuable and then you kind of realize, Well, maybe I am valuable and you just keep pushing into that value. That’s where the value is going to grow you so much because as you walk towards that confidence, you just going to get stronger and stronger and realize that the evidence is now not.

00:41:14:03 – 00:42:00:03

How do you sleep at night? The evidence is you’re incredible. Look what you’ve built. Look what you make. And then you start to see the value that people see in you. That’s the bottom line to everything. I would go back to her and I would just focus on those three things. And you know what, when I think about it, I did master my craft early on before I built my business. I did find my joy, my joy in my genre. What I didn’t do fast enough was push into the sales and the money because I came from an indigenous mixed, no education, lower socioeconomic blue collared parents that were hard workers, and I just could not get the money value.

00:42:00:22 – 00:42:26:27

The money thing for me made me sick. I couldn’t earn money, I repelled money, so had I hit that sales system earlier, I would have really come to a place of self-value much sooner in my life. Yeah. So I guess I did it backwards to get to there. But a lot of people are like, when I’m valuable, I’ll start my business and it’s like, Nope, that’s not going to happen. You got to start now.

00:42:28:22 – 00:42:53:24

Mm hmm. Another thing people were asking about is, is, I guess, just like managing it all. And we’ve had a lot of conversations around this of just how to really how to do it all so that we’re not having meltdowns all the time. OK, obviously having a business, you could work 24 seven and this is something that you and I are both working on to not always be so fucking busy.

00:42:54:01 – 00:43:29:10

Yes. And you know, my friends and business, all my friends and business and all my friends are friends in business, right? So inevitably, they might not be photographers, but we’re all in business, so we’re always talking about being in business. What does that Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, you know, she said, there’s family, friends, career, work-out, sleep, choose three. I think there’s six relationship, I’d put relationship in there because even if you have kids and family, you know your relationship is still a primary in there.

00:43:29:12 – 00:44:04:05

And so sex and you get to choose three a day, right? So every day you really only two three because you can’t have six, you just can’t. You either drop the friends. I mean, I drop work out every single time you give me a choice between work out and sleep. I’m taking sleep, you know, and I’ll drop work out. I’ll drop friends. Definitely. I’ll drop family. Definitely. But I also live away from my family, so that’s an easy drop. You know, I make the time to call them my mom, but you know, I’m not hanging out with them, so that takes it off my plate.

00:44:04:15 – 00:44:19:16

You’ve just got to realize she can’t have it all. And if you choose from that top six and you say, What gets my priority in focus today, you have to choose and there is definitely room for three if you go. I’m choosing career,

00:44:19:18 – 00:44:23:14

career and career day, though. Yeah, it isn’t just like overall, no.

00:44:23:25 – 00:44:44:10

Each day you can rotate through them. If you’re choosing your top three are going to be career, career, and career and you’re going to work 24 hours, then the other five are going to suffer. You can’t do that. It’s just not possible for you to do that. Smarter, not harder. If you’re choosing career three times, you’re hiding from one of the other five,

00:44:45:27 – 00:45:17:21

you know, and why are you hiding from it? So to me, Balance really came down to being effective when I chose my top three balances. I’m not going to force myself to do anything if I don’t want to work out, I’m not going to work out. So I’m going to just really be present and say, How are you going to move your body today? And if I say, I don’t want to work out, I don’t want to go for a hike, I don’t want to go for a bike ride. I don’t want to get on that Peloton. I don’t want to do anything, then I don’t do it.

00:45:18:00 – 00:45:49:02

I’ll go and hop in the pool for an hour or meditate or stretch like I don’t want to make myself do anything. I want to be in a place of joy. So whatever I choose, it has to be effective and I have to be winning in that space. But yeah, that’s where I find balance. Also, I have a really solid morning routine. And it’s I organize my mind, so I get up. I do not open my email and I do not open my social media.

00:45:49:24 – 00:46:24:03

And that comes from Jim quick. I love reading all of his books. Jim Quick says the second that you hit social media in the morning. That’s a whole lot of people wanting things from you. You know, and for me, my business and community is on there, I would get up at 6:00 a.m. and be on there for four hours. It could take my day down because I’m I’m spending the first hours of my morning giving to hundreds of other people. That’s not how you start your day. Now I do not touch my phone. I do not touch my computer until I’ve organized my brain.

00:46:24:17 – 00:46:54:27

So I sit down and I do my to do list. I’m a problem solver. I’m a solution finder. I’m a go getter. I’m a goal setter. Those are my strong things. And every day I want to be organized. I want to organize, you know, my to do list. I prioritize it. What am I going to outsource to my team? I make time. So first organizing that brain, I create an action list every morning and my action list, if it’s big, I take it down to three to five because anything on the action list of it’s not three to five.

00:46:55:13 – 00:47:29:00

The third thing I do is at nine a.m., I activate the action list. I talk to my producers about what I need. I talk to my partners about everything. We need to create what’s happening. I talk to my team about what days will be doing shoots and what days we’re going to create it. And after I’ve done all my action list by 10 a.m., Every phone call, every booking, every outsource, every email has been done in caught up with. This is a routine that I have developed over the last six months to a year when COVID hit.

00:47:29:02 – 00:48:03:04

That is completely changing my path. I mean, I always did it to some degree, but now I’m rigid about it. I make sure that every day I have one hour to move my body. I can choose whatever I want to do. It just has to be body time. It’s not going to be work. It’s not social. What can be? But I have to be moving my body. I can dance for an hour. I can walk, hike, run, lift weights, cycle. Go and get a massage. Go and lie in the sun. It doesn’t matter what I do, as long as it replenishes my physical body and makes me feel good.

00:48:03:26 – 00:48:34:06

I try and do that in the afternoon. So then my 10 o’clock to my three o’clock, my five most effective hours during the day is curating, creating content. And that brings me the most amount of joy. But I cannot curate and create content if I haven’t organized my mind. Oh, there’s one more step before I after I do my action list. Sorry, I organize my brain. No social media, no emails. Then I organize my space. This is really big for me.

00:48:35:00 – 00:49:07:00

If my space is not clean, I have no flow. I cleared out. I make sure my house is tidy. I cannot work from home. If this dishes in my sink, I get cluttered. And so I want to quickly just whip through my house, get my house organized because when my space is organized, I feel this flow. And it’s so powerful then that I create content. I choose somebody time. And then at about four o’clock, I’m always looking to my husband at four o’clock because he’s my number one. And that’s our time.

00:49:07:02 – 00:49:39:00

From there, we spend the evening together. And how are we going to do that? And my husband comes with, like a lot of friends and they are now and they’re now my friends. So we have this huge group of friends that my husband is constantly. We are really social and I mean, I have the best social life on the planet and he books at all. So I mean, I still, yeah, I try to keep that structure because it really works for me.

00:49:39:08 – 00:49:56:28

And it’s really important that I set boundaries around my time. And that was when my business really took off, when I started to set boundaries around my time and so important. And it’s one of the hardest things to do, but you’ve got to do it.

00:49:57:21 – 00:50:02:15

Yeah. Someone else asked about friendship, you know, speaking of friends and friendship and.

00:50:04:14 – 00:50:46:16

You know, friendship is one of my highest values, for sure. But like you said, setting boundaries around time, I I don’t know if it’s just the older I get or the more I don’t know what it is, the more I just value my time. But my ability to spend time only with the people who I truly want to, I think is so crucial. And someone had asked about our friendship and just how do you maintain great friendships and that sort of thing? And I was thinking about this and the people who I kind of have not spent as much time with anymore, you know, over the years and that sort of thing like are needy, like they don’t understand the boundary of of time.

00:50:46:18 – 00:51:07:05

And sometimes I’m not going to get back to you right away, and that’s OK. And there’s just something about having people in your life who are very understanding of. Not only my boundaries, but their boundaries and just how it all it all just is so important with business, with relationships, with friendships, with with all of it.

00:51:07:07 – 00:51:38:04

Yeah, it is. I I don’t I don’t maintain friendships with people that need to go steady with me. I’m very busy person. Yes. Like, if I don’t respond to a text for two days, you would hit me up and go like, Yo, look, you’d see me an arrow. Like you wouldn’t be like, Have I done something wrong? And I’m like, Nah, dude, I’m busy yet I’m filming. I don’t, you know. And then this it’s this constant expectation that people have of you.

00:51:38:18 – 00:52:14:12

And some people just need a lot more. I want to I want to pick up where we left off. But know that there’s been maybe three months since I’ve actually seen you. Which means you’re going to have a lot to tell me because to me, I’m like, Oh, I haven’t seen Nikki for so long, even though I might talk to you every day that I get to actually catch up with you. I like to pick up with people where I left off. Just to me. It’s like, I know you might not hear from me for a week or two weeks, but I love you and I think about you all the time.

00:52:14:14 – 00:52:35:03

I’m just going to be busy doing my life, and I like it when other people are the same. So yeah, you do have to find people that flow with you. I’m going to struggle with anybody that needs something from me and that relationship space, because it’s just not the sort of friendships that I that I value. It’s not somebody that I have to maintain.

00:52:35:24 – 00:52:58:19

Yeah, it goes back to that, you know, even exchange receiving and when. How do you say that equal value, equal exchange. It’s a give and take. And same with I think about it too, not just with friendships, but even with your clients if you’re being really needy or right. You know, it doesn’t feel like there’s an equal exchange happening. It really spills over into everything.

00:52:58:21 – 00:53:32:23

I think love language takes a play in that because, you know, oh yeah, you know, you think about your love language and how you like to give love is one thing, but how you like to receive love. I was with a friend this weekend, and her love language is acts of service. And, you know, inevitably she’s in my home doing all these acts of service for me, and I’m receiving this love, too. Like, I’m really appreciating her and and she’s such a great friend, and then I’m giving her acts of service back, you know, and just helping her.

00:53:33:03 – 00:54:04:14

And it was just an incredible weekend of feeling filled up, like my heart feels filled up. I’m I’m going to struggle with people that need maybe something that I don’t give naturally. So I think finding love language in your friends and your clients like how you like to. Some people like to create all these gifts with the product that they create. I’m not a gift giver, it’s not my love language. I like to give gifts, but I don’t. I see what I made as the gift, so I didn’t really want to add all these add ons.

00:54:04:21 – 00:54:34:22

But then I realize some people have gifts as they love language, so they want to do the card thing. They want to do the words of affirmation because it’s how they express themselves lovingly. And yeah, so I think it works. I think it definitely is part of how you create your experience of value is around your love language and how you naturally engage with people and how you receive love is how you keep friends. Because obviously, if you don’t feel loved back in equal exchange, your friendships can fall apart.

00:54:35:22 – 00:54:38:17

Mm hmm. Yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah.

00:54:40:10 – 00:55:15:10

Yeah, that love languages is something that I live and die by basically with my husband, with my friends, with my family. I mean, and I’m so, so aware of who has what love languages and what they need. At least I think I am, I try to be. And I think that’s something that helps, you know, for me to be able to have such solid, deep friendships and to have such a like an amazing marriage and it’s it truly is. So and with my kids to their love languages, I mean, I’m already working out what theirs are.

00:55:15:12 – 00:55:24:05

And I’m so glad you brought that up because, you know, I don’t know if everyone even knows about the book the five love languages. It’s incredible. It’s been life-changing for me.

00:55:24:07 – 00:55:58:02

It is my husband’s love language is quality time, and you can see that in the hundreds of friends he has and how much quality and value he gets from being with them. My love language is acts of service, and I, you know, I think we manage our time together really well because I know he wants to spend time with me and I like doing things for him. And he also receives that very, very well because it also ties in to being together and time spent.

00:55:58:14 – 00:56:06:10

So I don’t know. I find that that’s super easy, and I’m really grateful that I have that give and take because it feels like all of our needs are being met.

00:56:07:19 – 00:56:28:23

Yeah. You don’t share a whole lot of personal things in general, so it’s nice to hear just a little bit. I mean, obviously, I know, but our listeners, you know, you don’t post on social media your personal business life. You share so many of your stories that are personal because it relates to teaching, but you don’t share a whole lot of personal. I’m not.

00:56:28:25 – 00:57:02:01

I’m really not that interesting, though. Like they’ve always said to me, I’m like, You know, I beg to differ! I really not that interesting. And what could I share personally? I think that the weirdest thing about being in a public profile or forward facing or having people know you is you become a verb or you become an adjective and you got Sue Bryced, or, you know, you suddenly become these things and you’re effectively talking about my name.

00:57:02:07 – 00:57:32:19

But you know, you’re maybe not. You’re looking at it more like a brand. And that is super unique because, you know, I obviously when I’m in a room of photographers, I get a lot of attention. I get recognized in the street. I get recognized around the world. I can be walking in the street in Venice, and somebody recognized me in Italy, Venice, and then I can be walking in the streets in Brisbane. And somebody recognized me publicly and my husband was with me both times, just shaking his head.

00:57:33:06 – 00:58:07:06

And but at the same time, something really significantly changed. I think when we. Well, when George built the Portrait Masters Conference the first year in 2017, because I made the three boys come out on stage with me that day and it stopped being about me being on the lead horse. Even though I’m the one whose face you look at and it’s my content, they are also my business partners that have grown this business with me. And they each have this unique skill set, which I talked about and obviously my husband says building conferences.

00:58:07:08 – 00:58:41:16

And I met George at his conference in Vegas in 2010. I was a student, so I met him at the first conference over went to which was the reason I became a speaker, was meeting him on this platform and going, This conference is insane and I want to be part of this. I want to be a speaker. I want to be an instructor, I want to be an educator. That all came from him. And so, you know, he’s grown a lot of speakers into big profiles. That’s what he does. He he’s always been the head of talent at Creative Live and then he booked speakers and he builds these conferences.

00:58:41:25 – 00:59:15:05

But when they all walked out on stage with me that day, people stopped seeing it as just being Sue Bryce. And they started to see that I have these three powerful dudes around me that each come with this massive, incredible skill, and it helped people see, You know, George as being my equal, not somebody that was like, you know, because at first, it’s kind of like, you don’t want to be this dominant person in this relationship. I wanted to marry my equal. It took me a long time to find that, you know, I didn’t find my equal until I was in my forties.

00:59:15:07 – 00:59:46:03

And and even then I started to think maybe I was going to be single for the rest of my life and that I would never find anybody to walk alongside me. And yeah, I mean, walk alongside me is not an easy thing to do. Now I walk fast and that’s true. I expect a lot. And you know, I expect a lot as an educator. So if you can imagine that, I expect a lot from the people on my team and also from the people in my life, then yeah, I do. I’m I’m a hard I’m hard to please.

00:59:46:05 – 00:59:58:28

I’m a very strong person. I’m an activator. I have a lot of command. You know, I’ve had to develop skills in order to build this business that make me, you know, I scare a lot of people.

01:00:00:22 – 01:00:02:18

I don’t think you actually mean to do it.

01:00:03:05 – 01:00:12:15

I don’t think it’s hard to please you. I just like you were saying before, if you aren’t going to continually level up, then what’s what’s the point?

01:00:12:26 – 01:00:47:28

I know it’s probably a bit concrete like that in my personal life. So yeah, to me, I’d start dating a guy and I would be like, You’re not going to, you know, yeah, this is not going to happen because you’re going to have to step up buddy faster than that. And you know, I married somebody that stepped up constantly. In fact, most of the time, he might have just been leading the way and just going like, Come on. And it it was incredible. I never wanted to be married in my life. I always thought, like, whatever, I’d rather have a business than a husband like it seems more effective and and now I just have.

01:00:48:05 – 01:01:20:19

I feel like I have both, and it’s incredible. I love being married. I love being in this relationship. Most people don’t know this about me, and I was quintessentially single from my mid 20s until I turned 40. I focused on my business and my career, and I didn’t date. I didn’t have an. Long term relationships. So meeting Georgia, I was in my first ever adult long term relationship, and I didn’t share any of that because I didn’t even know how to get through it.

01:01:20:21 – 01:01:54:06

I was like, I’m going to screw this up really badly because I know I’ve never done it before. So I’ve learned more about myself in a personal space by being in a relationship with him and the last five years than I have. Yeah, yeah, really. A lot and I was a bit behind there. So for those that have done their long term relationships and now you’re just starting a business and you know, it doesn’t matter which way you do it, it’ll come to you when you’re ready. And I pushed off love. I pushed off love more than I pushed off loving my career.

01:01:54:26 – 01:02:27:24

And I realized now that I’m sad that I took so long to push off love because now I’ve found this great love. But at the same time, I kind of think, I don’t know. That getting into a relationship younger might have stopped me from becoming Sue Bryce because as a woman, building a business really relate. Yeah, and I can only talk to the women during this as I wanted to build a business and all the evidence or feedback I got was, you can’t.

01:02:27:26 – 01:02:58:05

You’re a girl. I wanted to have an international career well, you can because you’re a girl. I want to be the best educator in photo space where you can’t because you’re a woman we’re all the men doing this. I want to be financially independent. Well, why are you a woman? You know you’re attractive. Some guy’s going to marry you and look after you, I, and every one of the answers to every one of those questions where nobody’s going to do this for you, Bryce. Nobody’s going to pay for you to have this life. You need to pay for this life.

01:02:58:10 – 01:03:29:11

Nobody’s going to pay you to travel the world. You’re going to have to travel the world and you’re going to have to make this work. Nobody’s going to do this for you. It’s no free ride. And had I married a wealthy man that gave me everything that I wanted, I wouldn’t have chased or fought for what I have. So I pushed away a relationship. It wasn’t not happening to me. It was. I just didn’t want to have it and didn’t want to have a long-term relationship during that time. And I appreciate that I didn’t. Yeah, to get here.

01:03:29:13 – 01:03:59:10

So, yeah, it’s tough and you’ve got to grow. I mean, a lot of your growth in business. Nikki came married like you now with a husband that was like, Well, when I married you seven years ago, you weren’t working 12 hours a day. You weren’t becoming Nikki Closser. You certainly had different goals. You changed and grow. And my mom always said, I always leveled up, and your dad always stepped up with me.

01:04:00:03 – 01:04:31:06

That is like the definition of my husband and I. Yeah, I. He comes right along. Yep. And had I married someone else? I don’t know. I don’t. I don’t know what I would be, but I wouldn’t be this. Not that I wasn’t capable of it. But when you have someone either holding you back or supporting you along the way, it makes all the difference. Yeah, I think not that you can’t do things without a partner because obviously you did. I mean, for.

01:04:32:11 – 01:04:40:19

But having that person who is willing to level up with you is it’s it has been truly incredible for me. This is what

01:04:40:21 – 01:05:21:08

it comes down to for me. So many of us become people pleasers and so many of us get stuck in a life where we think we, we are doing what other people want for us or how other people want it. When you actually stop being a people pleaser and start putting boundaries around what it is that you want and how you want to live and what you want to learn and how you want to grow and how you want to develop and empower yourself with money or business or, you know, socially or whatever that is. That change is frightening to somebody in your life and in all those people out there that are listening to this that are starting a business that are worried that they’re going to leave their partner behind or wondering if they should leave their partner behind.

01:05:22:02 – 01:05:54:06

You don’t need to cut that off. You need to start growing and see if they are interested in coming with you. Like, to me, it’s not a matter of I need to leave my wife because she’s stopping me from being a photographer, or I’m going to leave my husband because he doesn’t believe in my dreams. Show them that you are walking that path and it’s what you truly want. There is nothing more intoxicating in this world than somebody in their flow walking towards what they truly want, doing the work, showing up for themselves every day.

01:05:54:18 – 01:06:32:02

Give your partner an opportunity to be scared by it. Give them an opportunity to be impressed by it. Give them an opportunity just to watch you work. Stop looking at them for validation. That’s what you’re doing. You’re saying. Validate me that it’s OK that I walk this path. I mean, I will walk any path I and it’s reminded of if I want to buy something. I am independent of my husband. Financially, I’ve built a business and I feel the financial independence. And even though we share our money and how we live our lives together, I also can buy what I want.

01:06:32:17 – 01:07:05:22

And the conversation jokingly is like, Oh, did you give Sue the credit card? And George will be like, No, she’s got her own credit card. And and I often would think, did you give her the credit card? And then I say, and I was like, No, and then if it is, I was like, Well, I want to buy this. And here’s like, Oh, really? Well, that’s a big ticket purchase. And I’m like, But if I buy it myself, why would you want to stop that and the language around it and just constantly making it like, I want what I want now? I would always consider my my husband.

01:07:06:05 – 01:07:47:22

In fact, my mum told me 55 years of marriage and their relationship was so beautiful and so honorable and so respectful. And she told me the secret was consideration. She was that your father considers me in every decision he makes, and I consider him and every decision I make. I will always consider my husband, but I know I do not consider him in a people pleaser way anymore. Because it takes such a different, oh, different, such a different and so it’s really about being the person I want to be and growing in that power and and so I shouldn’t have to ask my spouse if I can grow.

01:07:48:15 – 01:08:09:06

I should just start growing and giving it all this powerful positive energy and let my partner go, Look at you making money. Look at you getting confidence. Look, look at wow, look at you living your dreams and then looking at them and going light, right? What do you want to do? Build, grow,

01:08:09:18 – 01:08:11:21

and you can do anything you want to.

01:08:11:23 – 01:08:46:28

Yeah. And just watching my husband just grow like, you know, be in business and grow and just be super powerful like that, that is thrilling. And you know, also there’s this thing. It’s it’s so much growth and connection like to have a deeper connection in your relationship and to have that intimacy of trust in watching somebody grow. It’s it’s intoxicating. I look at him now. I always wondered how people stay, how they keep the love alive and a long-term relationship and the longer we’re together.

01:08:47:03 – 01:09:26:17

Yeah, I look at him when he steps up in any way, shape or form. And I just think I’m so attracted to you right now, like it’s so much more than like, it’s so intoxicating being with somebody that you know and love and trust and watching them step into something big or bigger. And it’s exhilarating and it’s like new love. But it’s not like I didn’t know how to explain that it has blown my mind continually, that I feel completely fulfilled in our love relationship, and I just want to constantly give more to it.

01:09:27:01 – 01:09:57:29

And when you stop wanting to give to your relationship and you stop getting anything from it, it feels close to death. It feels like it’s over. But if you realign yourself with what you want and let them give them a chance to open up to realign, it’s not really about the two of you. It’s really about you. And I feel like working on myself like that brought me to a relationship that I now think is incredible and beautiful and amazing.

01:09:58:12 – 01:10:31:25

And whenever we’re arguing about, you know, stupid shit, you did this, you said it like this, you know, whenever we get there, we’ve stopped connecting with what makes us happy as human beings. You just got to go back to what am I not doing right now that I’m suddenly concerned by you not asking me if I wanted a coffee or not? And why would I care or be so upset about something so simple? I get back into alignment and alignment is what I want to do, how I want to do it and what lights me up.

01:10:31:27 – 01:10:35:05

And then inevitably, I’m I’m just lit up around him.

01:10:36:24 – 01:11:08:07

Yeah. That’s what I enjoy the most about this relationship and, yeah, how blessed I am. Probably the biggest regret was that I wasn’t able to have children. That’s probably the hardest thing. When you love somebody, you want to make, you want to make a human with them and you want to see yourselves in that human being. And then watch them unfold because they’re yours. And I think that’s probably the later in life, but that I didn’t get.

01:11:08:21 – 01:11:15:05

But I will find so much joy in all of our friends, children and my nieces and nephews. Yeah.

01:11:16:10 – 01:11:39:09

Yeah. Hey, speaking of growth, people want to know what’s next for you, obviously. Sue Bryce Education isn’t going anywhere. Sue Bryce Education is the same and it is what it is. And but people are also wondering because you are always on such a level, a new level of growth all the time. What’s next?

01:11:39:13 – 01:11:56:15

You know, imagine yourself, you’ve just built this photography business and you’ve loved it and you have worked in it for six years. And now it’s time to step up and move out of that business to just give yourself a scenario where you close your eyes and you imagine that you just sold it.

01:11:58:01 – 01:12:30:22

And you just sold the business, and now it’s time to go and grow and do something else. I did that with my first business, and then I went to Australia and tried to start the business again instead of being a speaker, which I corrected myself. But then as I built SBE, it felt very much the same process as building my first studio. It was just bigger and more stress and more pain. And you become as successful as the amount of pain that you’re willing to endure.

01:12:31:17 – 01:13:18:00

And I knew that I could endure a lot of pain. So to me, it was like committing to SBE was like, I wasn’t just committing to starting a business again. I was committing to starting a business that was 10 times bigger than my first business, which felt like ten times more commitment and 10 times more stress, which it was I know that I can endure a lot of pain because I make everything that I experience a lesson. So imagine you’ve sold that and the identity of being a photographer in business that you’ve built all this time, that identity that you had to find in order to be confident and find value and networking and in your business, suddenly you’re not that thing anymore.

01:13:18:08 – 01:13:55:15

And it’s it could be an identity crisis of diabolical proportion. So selling SBE and integrating into the photo group, it was it was the most incredible experience of my life because I talk a lot about self-value. I talk a lot about breaking through money, and I talk a lot about, you know, business and how to build an app. So to me, I was valued in that moment when they bought my company. I felt like that was the ultimate exit scenario to building a business was to be valued for it and to be paid for it and to now integrate it.

01:13:55:17 – 01:14:31:19

And wow, what a trip. The biggest question people asked me was, How are you struggling with your identity? And I say, You know, I I feel like I stopped being a photographer when I left my photography business because I became a photographer educator. And even though I still shoot clients, it’s not the same as just being a photographer. You know, education, the way I post, the way I share, even the way I shoot for education is not my client work. So I’m definitely became more of an educator in 2010, then a photographer.

01:14:31:25 – 01:15:04:13

And now that education business has sold and everything that I’ve learned and created in that 11 years is on that library and the community of people there is done. I couldn’t have given it more. I give it my time. I give it more of my students coming up who are next up. I’m like, Step up. Come on. There’s a stage up here. I built it. You get to step up on it. If you do the work, like everybody gets a leg up here like, this is not about me being on, you know, I’m done.

01:15:04:15 – 01:15:46:08

I’ve taught my business model for ten years. It was incredible. It works. Look at all these people thriving in building businesses. I was done. I’ve taught everything I need to teach. I’ll keep repeating it if you need to hear it. Not a problem, but everything you need for a successful portrait business is on that website. If I did not put a bow on it, what would I be doing next? Nothing. I would just stay there, and I’ve got so much more. The biggest vertical in SBE for me was self-value, and I needed to write self-value for the world, not self-value for photographers, because I can speak very specifically to the unique challenges of building a portrait business and finding your value.

01:15:46:14 – 01:16:17:27

But now I would like to, and I’ve done that for 11 years now. I would like to speak to finding self-value just as a solopreneur, as a business owner, or maybe just an employee that wants to learn more about loving themselves and more self-development. I’m writing content and I am so joyful and I’m enjoying every minute of it. And then simultaneously, I have spent the last 11 years creating digital products for the creative community. That’s what I’ve done.

01:16:18:26 – 01:16:53:29

For the 20 years before that, I was mastering my craft and in my business. But for the last 10 years, I have mastered the creation of curating content for digital products, and I want to teach people how to curate and create digital products in the creative space. I want to teach people how to speak, how to find their voice, how to build a platform, how to curate content, create content and the hundreds of different ways that I’ve experienced and curated content for the last 11 years, and I’m currently filming this workshop.

01:16:54:01 – 01:17:24:16

It started out as started out as 10 videos and then became 24, and inevitably, I can’t be be doing it. Soon to be 1,000. Probably. And, you know, I was like, Hey, Nikki, might need a podcast like it’s just what it is, and it’s 11 years of experience, and I have created tens of millions of dollars of digital products in the creative community in the last 11 years. I’ve excelled at it. I have built a huge community.

01:17:24:28 – 01:17:57:13

Then I got key business partners that helped grow that, you know? Craig Swanson was the original founder of Creative Live George Varanakis and built WPPI to 16000 attendees. When I went in 2010, I text him and I said, I feel like I’m at the Emmys. I got everything about walking into that conference, and Vegas made me want to be in the US, live here, be a speaker, build this up because it just let me up like I’ve never seen before.

01:17:57:15 – 01:18:27:14

Aaron Anderson, the world’s greatest producer who ended up leveling up to our chief of operations and our company because a producer is truly a chief of operations, he can organize this girl like nobody and then a million other people and doesn’t break a sweat, you know? And that’s what I got. I got these incredible key players that stepped up with me, and they just made it bigger. Well, that was huge.

01:18:27:19 – 01:19:02:06

Now I want to do it again because the last 11 years that I was learning how to how to take all the content from my soul and my experience and make products with that that sell. Making money while you sleep is this idea that you can curate content. You’re a content creator and it can go out into the world and you can wake up in the morning, and there’s money there. And I probably told the story a million times, but my mum and dad, when they first we went on holiday together in Australia and we met on the Gold Coast at this really cool apartment.

01:19:02:22 – 01:19:31:24

I came out in the morning and my dad was sitting at the table having coffee and him and mom were doing the crossword. I opened my computer and I started selling my posing cards online and I was like, Oh, well, I made $3000 last night, and my dad looks at me and he goes, What? And I said, well, I’m selling my product online now, and last night I made $3000. And he said.

01:19:34:21 – 01:20:04:14

You made $3000 while you slept, I think. Yeah, so that night we go to bed, in the morning I wake up, I come out dad sitting by my computer with this coffee and he’s like, This is like pointing at my laptop. Like, Come on! And I laugh. I go. I refresh my sales page and it says, you made $300 last night. And my dad looks at me and I say, Well, I only made 300 last night, and he goes, Well, that was $300 more than what somebody paid me to sleep.

01:20:07:19 – 01:20:20:09

And that excites me like no other. So I I’m writing that I’m ready to film it. I’m enjoying the content with it. I can’t wait.

01:20:20:18 – 01:20:21:21

And so,

01:20:21:23 – 01:20:53:28

yeah, and I’m basically building the same thing I built with SBE. I deconstructed how I did that. How did I create tens of millions of dollars of of digital products for other companies and then my own company? How did I do that and what experience do I have doing it? And just like my portrait studio, I could talk for days, weeks, months, years about this because it’s truly exhilarating. And anybody who wants to create in that space, stay connected.

01:20:54:00 – 01:21:17:01

And I’m good to go like, Yeah, and obviously I’m just enjoying the SBE community that’s coming up every single month. I get to do a live broadcast with, you know, our top line of photographers and our next mentor and now featured instructors. And there are I have so many incredible friends in this industry that can keep bringing value to this platform. And it’s exhilarating to share it.

01:21:18:26 – 01:21:25:19

Oh, so excited, I’m so proud of you, and I’m so excited for everything to come, and I know everyone else is too, and

01:21:26:16 – 01:21:33:24

I’m trying to write a book, but I’m not an author. And also, I can’t punctuate which I get told all the time on social media.

01:21:34:10 – 01:21:35:21

I can do that.

01:21:35:23 – 01:22:09:16

Yeah, you can pay somebody else to punctuate. I even have this amazing app that does all the punctuation for you. So I’m trying to write a book about self-value because I want to just write it all out. I’ve never done that before. Everything I do is a spoken or taught, and you know, I write, bullet pointa, but I speak from memory, so I don’t kind of actually write it out. And I started to write it out and thought, I’m never going to be able to write a book. But, you know, I don’t know how I’m going to just I’m going to create a boundary to create time to write what I want to write.

01:22:10:08 – 01:22:40:07

And yes, and then just see what comes out in that space. Because if I don’t create the boundary, I don’t really want to do it, but I really want to get it down because I want to be able to read it. And I think it’s a challenge to write a book. I’ve never written a book. I always said I’d turn 50, star in a movie, run a marathon, write a novel. I’d say that when I was young for some dumb reason. But the truth is, as I say, you know, I’d quite like to write a book about self-value because it’s been the biggest profound change in my life is self-value.

01:22:42:18 – 01:22:53:09

Can’t wait. Thank you for opening up too getting personal, I know, I know, I know that’s not always your. The easiest thing, most comfortable thing for you to do, so I

01:22:53:15 – 01:23:02:23

actually get asked a lot of personal questions. I also always say to people like, you can ask me personal questions. I’m an open book, and I don’t get a lot of personal questions. So

01:23:04:11 – 01:23:04:26


01:23:06:01 – 01:23:07:18

Thank you. Yeah.

01:23:09:07 – 01:23:40:24

Thank you again to Sue Brice for being on the Portrait System podcast with me, your host Nikki Closser, having her on is always just so wonderful, so happy to share all of her knowledge with you guys. And I cannot wait to have her on again.

Thank you so much for listening to the Portrait System Podcast. Your five-star reviews really help us to continue what we do. So, if you like listening, would you mind giving us a review wherever you listen? I also encourage you to head over to SueBryceEducation.com, where you can find all of the education you need to be a successful photographer. There are over 1,000 on-demand educational videos on things like posing, lighting, styling, retouching, shooting, marketing, sales, business, and self-value

There’s also the 90 Day Startup Challenge, plus so many downloads showing hundreds of different poses. We have to-do checklists for your business, lighting PDFs, I mean truly everything to help make you a better photographer and to make you more money. Once again, that’s SueBryceEducation.com