Entrepreneur Spotlight: Bri Luginbill

Meet Bri Luginbill, coFounder of People Picture Co and Better Body Image Conference.  In order for her businesses to grow, she had to scale.  Here is what she learned.  Catch her tomorrow in the Fempreneur Forum for this month’s workshop on Scaling!

What got you interested in becoming an Entrepreneur?

I think I’ve always had an entrepreneur spirit. When I was in 5th grade, I started “The Animal Club.” We met bi-weekly and we had $1 dues each meeting. During these meetings we talked about our love for animals and what types of activities we’d like to do to help animals. We volunteered at animal shelters together and then we saved up our dues and donate $100 to one of the shelters. I guess you could call that my first business.

From there I always had part-time jobs in different areas from a clerk at a local consignment shop to serving at a restaurant. In college I then worked with special needs children and adults and then became interested in documentary photography and writing. I loved the connection with people and learning their story.

What do you love about what you do?

I’m all about the people. I love connecting with new people and staying connected with old friends and colleagues. I think what I love most about People Picture Co and now Better Body Image Conference is the mentoring. I really love seeing what people like to do and helping them grow in their skills. Whether it be my clients or my co-workers and contractors. The one things that’s hard for me is I can care so much that it’s hard for me to see people go through hard situations whether through their business or personal growth. I want people to succeed so much and I really care about them a lot.

Tell me a story from your work. 

Hipster Santa – one of my best PR moves. This year since I was more freed up to do business development and public relations, I worked with Abbey from the Paper Studio and others on my team to create Sessions with Hipster Santa. A Santa that you didn’t just have your kids visit, but adults, pets, etc. We wanted to show that there was a more inclusive Santa out there than the mall Santas – so we went to different communities and had him be photographed with people at the PRIDE center, the Hispanic Center and many more!

What has Scaling meant for your career? 

Scaling has meant that I can focus more on Public Relations and Sales as well as mentoring and training our contractors.

What do you suggest for any Fempreneur who is starting to scale their business?

I suggest finding business partners, employees, or contractors that have different strengths than yourself. A company needs an assortment of personalities and skills to survive.

You’re Not A Snowflake (but you’re close)

A while ago I read a blog that blatantly stated ‘you are not a snowflake‘.  Essentially, many Millennials have been taught that they are special and different, and the author was calling them to face reality before they grow up disappointed and frustrated.  She’s right — but hear me out.

How You’re Not A Snowflake

It’s important to understand that “Snowflake Syndrome” is the idea that no one has ever before graced this earth like you have.  The idea is played out in a lot of ways today.  Soccer games with no winner declared so there are no losers, mothers who refuse to hear any criticism by an authority of their son or daughter, etc.  I’m assuming that, if you’re here, you already know that this mentality is over the top.

In fact, this thinking is rather detrimental.  It effectively stunts growth by blocking the person from hearing even the most constructive of criticism, advice, or seeing how they relate to others.  “Snowflake” people tend to surround themselves only with people who enable them, furthering their world-view and never challenging them.

I think a lot of us go through a similar phase in life when we think our ideas are brilliant and everyone else is wrong.  Typically this is called being a teenager, but sometimes it lasts.  For those who do not grow out of this mindset in a timely fashion, they are due for a rude awakening.  Sometimes that moment comes with a harsh boss, others it’s a bad breakup or financial distress.  When the bubble is burst, it hurts, and the bigger it is the harsher the reality.

You Are Actually Unique

Here’s the thing:  you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur if there wasn’t something unique and driving within you.  You have a passion and are able to do something with it that no one else can.  Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail because they are unable to market what sets them apart from others — that is, their value proposition.  In this culture of ‘everyone is awesome’, we have a hard time seeing our own awesome.  But it’s our differences that makes us great business owners.

So how do you determine your unique value proposition?  Consider all the ways both you and your business are different.  Seriously.  While it may seem counter to what I’ve said above, believing yourself and your work to be no different from your competitors will truly hurt you.  Start with why you started your business, what passion drives you, and follow that thought process to what you’d like your business to look like in the next five years.

An example from my own work.

This is what I’ve discovered about myself since founding my first venture in 2010.  I am a fast learner, and my degree in Anthropology taught me to research anything I need to know.  Combined, I am able to find and absorb information like a sponge.  Every venture I have ever started has been on self-taught information.  That includes a 40-page 501(c)3 nonprofit application to the IRS, designing websites for startups, and organizing major events.

But it took several years for me to realize this is a gift that not everyone possesses, such that I was confused the first time a client was taken aback by Google’s ability to provide answers to a question.  It took my own business coach highlighting how unique the skill is for me to realize it as useful to others.  Today I use my skill to learn about other industries in order to better coach my clients and teach Webinars or in-person classes.

If you’re unsure how to get started, try asking others what makes you unique.  Be clear with them, however, that you’re not fishing for compliments.  You’re looking for details that will help you grow and guide your business.  If you’re lucky, they’ll tell you where you need to improve, too.

Another great way to get started is by using the Value Proposition Canvas.  This allows you to jot your ideas and notes on a page that guides you.  It will help you see the needs of your business to make the value proposition a reality, and get you out of your head.  The button below will take you there.