Episode 96 - Branding yourself then starting over years later with Jason Groupp
The WordPress Photography Podcast
The WordPress Photography Podcast
Episode 96 - Branding yourself then starting over years later with Jason Groupp


Jason Group

If you've ever met Jason Groupp, it was most likely a life-changing experience. You won’t forget his GQ ready outfit, with the perfectly balanced bow tie. Hailing from NYC, he shot lots of weddings around the globe and is the founding member of IHNY. Jason ran the halls of WPPI for a few years, then moved to St. Louis to study the fine art of brisket bbq rub. After a 6 year hiatus as an entrepreneur, he's decided working for others isn't for him. With the camera back in hand and a new venture to help photographers he’s back in his happy place helping to keep the industry he loves so much stronger than ever.

Joke of the day:

Why did the photographer get into an argument with the curator at the art gallery? He wasn't in the right frame of mind.

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What we discuss:

  • The importance of building your brand
  • The continued “maintenance” of the messages you put out there
  • Starting over at age 50
  • 1 on 1 education at The Groupp

Where to find Jason


Transcription was done by Rev.com, using their AI (artificial intellegence) generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar, and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video or listening to the episode.

Scott: Why do the photographer get into an argument with the curator at the art gallery? He wasn't in the right frame of mind. Welcome to episode 96. My name is Scott Wyden Kivowitz and I am joined by my guest Jason Groupp. I've known Jason for many years. We met originally, I don't know if you remember this. We met originally when I was working for Mack world by warranty and in the retail store they have in New Jersey. And you came in to have some of your Canon camera's repaired. So that's how we met originally when I worked at Mack Camera and video service in Springfield. Oh my God. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that's how we first met. That was a long time ago. If you've ever met Jason Groupp, it was most likely a life changing experience. You won't forget his GQ ready outfit. And if you're watching this, you will see what I'm talking about with the perfectly balanced bow tie hailing from New York city.

Scott: He shot lots of weddings around the globe and is the founder of IHNY and why, which you'll learn about. Yeah, a little bit. Jason ran the halls of WPPI for a few years, then moved to st Louis to study the fine art of brisket, barbecue rub, which sounds delicious. After a six year hiatus as an entrepreneur, he decided working for others isn't for him with the camera back in his hand and a new venture to help photographers. He's back in his happy place, helping to keep the industry he loves so much, grow stronger than ever. So welcome to the show, Jason. I'm happy to to chat with you today. This is going to be a really fun discussion.

Jason: Well that's a lot of pressure, but okay. Thanks for having me on and it's good to see your face. It's been a long time and yeah, Jersey strong.

Scott: Yeah, for sure. So, so what's called, I mean, I've mentioned a few things that you've got some things in the works and, and, and whatnot. First can you, can you share what IHN Y is for anybody who doesn't know and then tell us what's going on with you otherwise.

Jason: Sure. So you know, a quick history on that bio that you just, you, you would just introduce me to. So I ran a studio called IHA and my I heart New York, I heart New York photography. And it was a, a lots of weddings and the IHN Y kind of came out of, we were doing lots of engagement sessions and you know, featuring New York city is the backdrop. New York city is such a, is is, is my town and, and you know, the place that I grew up in and from when I was a little kid. And you know being there, you know, I really got to Oh, the ins and out in New York. And I started, you know, really creating these engagement sessions that, you know, featured this heart and soul of, of the my clients. We kind of expanded into like tourism and families and we found ourselves shooting people from all over the world.

Jason: I'm doing these mini engagement sessions and it kind of blossomed from there. The, the guys who run it now have kind of taken that to a new level and I still bounce in and out as, as the founder, they call me and you know, advise them and it's amazing to see what they've done. They do hundreds of sessions a year featuring New York city stats. That's what I IHN wise, sorry, I have, I've got a cup and a half of coffee on me, so I want to talk like new Yorker now. So from there I was really, really super duper fortunate to get offered a position at WPI. I also worked on photo plots in New York. And it was a really, really amazing experience to work with so many photographers across 55 countries doing it in Las Vegas and in New York city.

Jason: And it was, it was a real dream job to work for, for them create, helping to create their conference and help with some of the direction of that. From there I took a job out here in st Louis, moved my family out here. We were looking for something you know, to raise my kids in a different atmosphere. And I was looking to kind of slow things down a little bit. Wanted the, you know, the dream of buying like a nice big house and, you know, out in the suburbs and I was looking for a change. We love st Louis. It's a, it's a great city. I've met some amazing photographers. It's been great from knowing all these people in the East coast and now getting to know people in the middle has been, has been really, really neat. So that's, that's what I'm doing now. And then, you know, we can kind of get into, you know, what I'm doing now.

Scott: You and I both feel it's important to build your brand, of course, and, but not only as a photography business, but, but, but as a personal brand, right. You're, you're known in the photo industry outside of just being a photographer an educator an entrepreneur, a leader. So can you share some of your thoughts on, on building a brand? What, what are your thoughts on that? The importance of it?

Jason: I mean, you know, I think, you know, when you, when you're building a brand, it needs to be, the easiest thing to do is, is, is one of the things about your personality that shines. What are, what are the things that is unique to yourself that you know, is, you know, calls to you. And usually they're right in front of you. So, you know, I'm, I started wearing a bow tie to weddings many, many years ago. And you know, it was kind of out of a joke to start, but you know, everyone loved the graying. I'm really gray now, but the grain guy with the bow tie at the wedding and you know, things that I discovered about, you know, you put the bow tie on and you're automatically, people think you're smart. It's, it's not true. It's just the Botox. If you can tie a bow tie it's really not that hard.

Jason: It's just like tying a shoelace, but backwards and in a mirror. It's a so I think, you know, when you find those things to learn how to embrace them and not be embarrassed by them and a lot of times it's just embracing a flaw that you might have. Right? So I think it's important to identify things that make you unique, especially as a creative person. We are, we are looked to for for our uniqueness and really like, you know, embracing those things. So that, that's, that's, and then, you know, as I get older now, I just discovered like, these are things that about me that I'm not gonna change. And just just owning those things.

Scott: Yeah. You know, it's funny regarding the bow tie and branding. There's two people in the photo industry. I mean, of course there's gonna be a ton more who wear bow ties. But when I think of, of notable people that, that I've I'm friends with, I've interacted with that, that, you know, there's a lot of people with bow ties, but there's two that have always stood out. And it could be because both are photo educators as well. But you and Levi sin, right? Two people who, when you hear it, when you think photographer and bow tie, Levi's even gone to the, to the length of incorporating the bow tie into his logo now. So he, he, he embraced it like 100%. It's, it's so anyway, yeah, I mean, the little things really do make an impact. You know, it's

Jason: More than you would expect. And, you know, and I think people recognize you for those things. It's, it's, it's kinda cool when that happens.

Scott: Yeah. so impact messaging, right? So there's, there's something, there's the, the physical part of branding. There's then this sort of audible and, and text, part of branding where you always want to speak a certain way. You always want to talk about yourself, about your clients in a certain way. You want to present yourself a certain way. And these messages that we put out there in the world, whether they're to lead to clients, to just anybody that you're talking to, we add a party, right? You're talking to, you know, you could, you're, if you're a family photographer, everybody is your potential client. Right? So these, these messages you put out there are very important. They need to be clear. They need to stick to our brand. They need to portray us in the way that we want to be portrayed. Do you have any thoughts on maintaining a consistent message? Yeah, actually.

Jason: You know, writing as a photographer, writing was never really, you know, buy my thing. You know, and I did a lot with I heart New York. We would, we would do a lot of blog posts and I go back and look at the grammar on some of those things down and like, my gosh. And I think that would, as far as, you know, other friends of mine that that would hold them back. I do find that millennials do it a little bit easier than the gentle gen X guys do. But I think that's just because they kind of grow up, you know, spending a lot more time, even if it's on texts, it just flows a little bit easier. But when I went to WPPI, you know, I was kind of, I wasn't supposed to be in, in a marketing role.

Jason: And I spent a lot of time kind of finessing the messaging that we would send out for, you know, email blasts and, and blog posts. And I was really fortunate to sit next to Jackie Tobin. I'm the editor of editor in chief of rangefinder. And she used to have to edit a lot of my stuff and, you know, she really helped me, you know finessed those messaging. I would write a column every month for them. And it was really hard. It was 1500 words a month. And you know, she used to be like, you've got to send me more than 1500 words cause I'm going to edit out 800 of them. I'd be like, okay. But in, in that process of a year, two, three, four years down the road I really learned a lot from how to, like, you had to have that voice, but you know, how to, how to, how to be some, a little more succinct with that voice. So it was, it was, it was really interesting, but more often than not, I found that finding that voice really just requires you doing it a lot. And if you're not doing it a lot, you can't find it. And don't be afraid to put something out there that is imperfect.

Scott: Yeah, that's a great advice. Great advice. It's kind of a [inaudible] what you would say as well to basically anything, whether it's, whether it's branding, whether it's learning photography, you know, whether it's creating blog posts, whatever, or even, you know, so five Facebook posts, right. Whatever it is. The only way to get better at it is to keep doing it. Yeah. Right. So that's a message. Right. But yeah, it really is the truth.

Jason: Say the more you get it out there, the more you practice doing it. I used to joke with some friends of mine that I would write, I would write lots of you know my, my, my daughter's about to be a teenager, so I'm warning her a lot about social media and stuff like that. I say that like, you can't ever put something out there that, you know, you don't mean, but I often with my friends, we'll write something and then delete it. And that's also a good practice. So something you really want to say sometimes, but then, you know, but all of that is good practice. So just spending some time doing some writing every day can never hurt you

Scott: Even a yeah. And open up the notes app on your phone and start typing to yourself. Right. whether you shared or not, you know, you gotta make that decision. But yeah, if you should share, right. If there's ever a question, I shouldn't just don't do it. When my father in law likes to say when there's doubt, there's no doubt. So that's good advice. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You have moved in the past couple of years, right? You stopped making photos for awhile and during your time working at WPPI and then on to other job after that, but you're back to client work again, back to some other projects that we'll talk about a little bit. You'll be able to share that. And you're now 50, correct? 51 on one, yes. And Sunday. And so can you talk about basically starting over rebranding yourself, starting over with what you love back in the beginning of your career and that you did for so many years before your changes, starting over, not only starting over as a photographer shooting again, but in a brand new location. Can we talk about that for a bit?

Jason: Well, first of all I don't recommend my career path for others at this point. Well, I take it back, taking a leap of faith, even at my age, it has been a wonderful thing. Okay. So I left OPPI to go work for another company. And we moved our family out here. It was a leap of faith and it didn't work out. It didn't, it was bad from the very beginning. And you know, I didn't expect that to happen. And you know, it was a, it was, it was not an active, you know, leaving one job to go to another was, it wasn't, it was on paper. It seemed like a great idea. It seemed like a good, a good plan. And from the moment I got there, it was, it was not good. So I made the best of it that, that I could for as long as I could, and then I completely blindsided, found myself out of a job.

Jason: And so it's been a rough couple of years. I'm moving out here, was a great decision. And like I said, we love it here and we, you know as a family, I think, you know, we needed a change. We needed to do something different and seemed, seemed like a good idea. So I, I, you know, I'm you making career changes, you know, where I am. I've never worked for anybody else, so I, you know, I, I've, I've had, you know, when I was younger, maybe in my twenties, I worked for other people either shooting or really I started shooting weddings and I was 17 for a local wedding photographer in New York. And I did it with him for a long time. And then I went to college and then I started shooting on my own and I kind of worked for this guy on the weekends.

Jason: I pursued my commercial career, you know, 15 years down the line. I found myself in a studio in New York city. I did that for a long time, so I never really worked for anybody else. So then going to dev PPI, you know, in my mid forties you know, again, it was a big leap of faith, you know, it was, it was really difficult working in a corporate environment. And then I worked, came out here and it didn't, you know, I thought for a, working for a smaller company was gonna work out as well. That just was other problems. So I found myself at 50, like, Oh, Whoa, okay, what am I, I mean, literally blindsided. I had no, I was going to be out of a job. So you know, I spent a couple months feeling sorry for myself, which I think anybody would do.

Jason: And then I just said, you know, sat down with my wife and I said, what, what, what am I supposed to do now? And you know, I don't have a master's degree in, you know, anything or even a bachelor's degree for that matter. I prefer an associate degree from, from an art school. So I'm completely unqualified outside of this industry. So I'm, I'm, I like to think of myself as a decent photographer. You know, Liz said to me, please please don't go back to shooting weddings again. I don't want to do wedding widow. And I was happy that she said that because I really didn't want to go back to shooting weddings again, but it's not, it's not, not like I, I, I'm not capable arm above that. It's just, it's really hard when you get to my age to, you know, relate to a bride or groom or certainly build a business from off the ground.

Jason: So I didn't want to do that. But what I did is I said, you know, I do need to start shooting again and I do miss shooting. And you know, I, I think I'm a pretty good photographer. I survived many, many years feeding my family that way. So I opened a, a family portrait business and I kind of took the same idea with New York city and just picking iconic New York city iconic st Louis locations and kind of branded them in the backdrop of that. And, you know you know, being a family guy had access to lots of families. So I built a portfolio and built a website and starting that all over again and has been a friend of mine said to me, it's not as hard the second time.

Jason: And I was like, Oh, okay, that is really, I said, well, what do you mean? He's like, well, you did all that other stuff before. You know what to do, you're not starting over again in that sense. You just need to, you know, you're in a different city, so you need to brand all that again. But she's, he's like, you've got, you've got a URL, it's, you know, it's your Jason Groupp.com you're going to use that same URL again. You've got 20 years of backlinks on that thing. And you know, you've got all that good juice on on that and you work your SEO, build your portfolio, do your networking. And he said, you know, you're kind of starting from maybe a two or three years in point. And he was right. He was right in that sense. You know, it was easy for me to kind of jump back into that again, but it was hard, you know, the first five or six families. Justin's, I was like, what's wrong with this camera?

Scott: Yeah, that's pretty funny. I think, I think the fact that you are now in your 50s and the fact that you are a family man was obviously part of the reasons why you did not go back into weddings but also part of the reasons why it's easier for you to get into family portraits now because you know, like you said, you are surrounded by families and to get surrounded by additional families is, is even easier getting surrounded by you know, younger couples that are just about to get engaged and then married is going to be much more difficult. I don't have access to those people. Yeah. So I have to agree with, with what your friend said. I mean, yeah, of course it's not easy, but you definitely probably had, you know, like you said the, the website aspect made things a little bit easier. Your, your just your family life in general makes things easier. I'm sure there's other things that have made it easier, but I'm sure there's still some difficulties. What, what has been hard during this, during this transition? Well, I mean, I mean hard during the transition, besides the camera not doing what you wanted to. Yeah. You're

Jason: Getting the shaking the rust out of my camera. And, you know, people used to ask me a lot WPI, you still shoot. And I would say, you know, every time I pick up a kava recently, it's like I'm the, you know, and forgive me for this analogy, but like I'm the pro ball player who like broke his ankle and then all of a sudden is expected to get up and bat, you know, you know, sort of, you know, 300 again. Right. So and I, and it doesn't, it takes, it takes a while to kind of figure those things out again. So that was a big struggle for me. And I think that it's been, it's been a joy getting back into it again. But I think the thing for me, you know, when you work for, you know, a company and you get that steady paycheck, you kinda settle into, you know, that, you know, a little bit of an ease.

Jason: Like, I'm going to get a paycheck every week. But when you run your own business, it's a hustle every day. So it's, it's a different mindset. It's a different like you know, the way you run your business is different than you're going to a nine to five business with. When you run your own business, you are working all the time, but you need to find how to compartmentalize that business. So like, you know, my wife works full time and you know, the dynamic changes when I'm self employed. So you know, I'm responsible for picking up the kids after school, taking them to practices. Liz concentrates on her full time job, which is, you know, nine to five. I work outside of those lines. So like I take the kids to school, I come back and do some chores, I work on the business a little bit.

Jason: The kids come home from school, I take them to practice, they get them dinner and then I work from eight to 11 right. So the hours are different. Times are different. That then and again, getting back to it's easier the second time. Like I was easily, easily able to go from here to here easily again. I'm now, you know, at night working, you know, doing things. But the advantages, I'm here for my family. It's a blessing. It's awesome. You know, like I'm, you know, I joke that I'm my kids, equipment managers and you know when they can play and I said, you can fire me at any point.

Scott: That's funny. So for anybody listening who's in st Louis or watching and you're in st Louis I feel like we as photographers should do, we can to help other photographers out, right? Yes, there is. There is competition in wherever you go. There's competition, but we're also a community of people who are hopefully all kind people that want everybody to do well and there's more than enough business to go around. That is for sure. Yeah. So what I would like for anybody in st Louis area that is listening or watching and is a, a newborn photographer, a wedding photographer who does those full time and does not do family portraits, refer them to Jason. Jason know he's getting back into it. Right. I'm trying to help you out here, you know, but and I'm also serious, you know, like me as a, as a photographer who doesn't do, I have clients but I'm not a full time photographer.

Scott: Yeah. So, so I'm constantly referring people to other photographers when other I, my schedule can't handle it or when it's, you know, I don't, I don't do new newborn photography. I don't do what a fucker cause I'm constantly referring those to other people. I would hope that other people would pay it forward the same way that I do. So that's my, that's my my plea to the listeners or Watchers. But I also want to hear from you, Jason, what, what, what do you need help with as, so I'm asking this not just because I want to help you, but also because other people in the same situation as you might need help with something they don't realize they need help with. Right?

Jason: Yeah. So you know so yeah, I launched the, the, the family portrait business and thanks for the plug and st Louis Jason Groupp.com. St Louis is a great, is a great city and the community here is very strong. There's a st Louis Facebook page and people are willing to help each other out. It's a, it's a, it's a, it's very different than New York city.

Scott: Okay.

Jason: I had my friends in New York, but people do tend to network here a little bit more. They do help each other out. It's it's, it's, it's, it's a different dynamic than New York city was. But it's a, it's a great community here and these guys are doing great job. I belong to the amount the board for the Missouri PPA and you know, plan, helping them plan their events and it's a smaller event, but it's a great group of people who, you know, just looking to keep the community together. They're celebrating their 80 80th year this year, which is unbelievable. So things like that. I, I, you know, have dove in and, and you know if, if, if you're looking to, so here's some advice as an older person you know, looking to get involved in community, you need to seek out the community that's out there and see what you can do.

Jason: Be useful. So a lot of people are like, Oh, I don't need, you know, I just wish somebody would help me and I'm like, you should go help them. Right? Well, how can you be helpful? So that's, those are things that I've looked for. Like, when I moved here to st Louis, I reached out to the Missouri PPA, Hey cow, can I help? You know, what can I do? And, you know, obviously, you know, being in the industry, they were, they were, you know, very receptive. You know, for me to, to work with them, but you know, it, you know, along those lines, you know, like when I found myself without a job here in st Louis trying to figure things out you know, it was, it was difficult thinking like, all right, do I want to look for another job? Do I want to start something over again?

Jason: And that's, and that's you know, what kind of was born out of the other project that I'm working on as well is, you know, at, at, you know, if you're in your late thirties going into your forties and, you know, in hindsight, you know, looking at, you know, what, what your options are, you really need to think about, you know, what your plans are. You know, you're, you're planning for your retirement and, you know, setting money aside, it, it creeps on you pretty quickly. And, you know, my forties went by, it was like, Oh, Whoa, I'm 50 and then, and then starting over, you know, from the ground up you know, without any runway whatsoever was a pretty jarring experience. But I can talk, you know about, you know, what led me to my next project as well.

Scott: Yeah. the Groupp, right. That's what it's called, the Groupp, the Groupp. So before we get into that I I, I have to ask just because it's kind of I mean it's in my head, it's funny that you were such an important role in WPPI for many years and now you're helping out with a PPA chapter. Right. Which is, I know. So I have to ask, I have to ask.

Jason: Yeah, there's a lot, ironically, Doug PPI and, and, and, and PPA have really tried to work hard to have a, have a good relationship. I mean, obviously there is a competition there between the two shows, but you know,

Scott: WPPI doesn't really have any local chapter,

Jason: Right? No, no. And it's been interesting getting to know how those local chapters work. And I think there's a lot of things that, you know, and listen PPA has been around for a long time. A lot of people have not been happy about what, you know, that they haven't really kept up with the times and they're a little old school and, but you know, looking in from the outside of where our industry is at right now and, and how like some of these trade shows and conferences are struggling. You know, is interesting. And I just got back from imaging USA PPA show very strong showing. They've had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but they've stayed the course. So they've said, this is our brand, this is what we do. We're not going to change things a little bit. We're going to shake things up a little bit here and there.

Jason: But the main bylaws, the, the, the, the ways that they keep engaged with their audience is, is really incredible. They're, you know, they're, they're educational programs and you know, all of that stuff. It keeps people coming back every year. It gives them, it gives them a reason to think, to focus on the craftsmen degrees and the certifications and, you know, all of that stuff has, has, you know, super old school stuff, but it keeps them coming back every year. So I was happy to, you know, to work on the chapters a little weird after working with WPI after those years. But you know, for me it was really just being part of the community that, that, that I really cared about. It was really nice that they embraced me and stuff like that.

Scott: So, so when you reached out and you said, you know, you're looking, do you need any help? Can any tech and help you with or whatever, do they say? Do you have any experience working for?

Jason: No, they knew who I was. Cool. And you know, it's funny cause I have given them a, a couple of free passes every year to WPI. All the years I was there and never really thought anything. They would use it in their government giveaways. So, you know, again, there's a, there's a lot of crossover there. And, and you know, it's been really fun working with [inaudible].

Scott: Yeah. Last year I guess technically it was last year, February, February, 2019 I spoke at the 70th anniversary of Connecticut's peop local PPA, their big event. Jennifer Rosenbaum spoke. Unfortunately, I had a miss Hurst, her talk, I got there too late. But but that was, it was fun. It's the second time I've, I've spoken for the Connecticut PPA chapter and but that, there they go all out. You know, it's, it's, it's neat to see for a local chapter to do something. So so big. Like you wouldn't, you wouldn't expect it from local chapter.

Jason: Yeah. And I think that the, the local chapters are struggling right now to try and keep numbers up and keep them going. And I, I, I find the whole chapters, it really interesting. Their biggest complaint that I get from any of the chapters is we don't get enough help from, you know, PPA itself really do operate independently of the organization, but they are supposed to follow certain rules and, and PPA if you're listening out there, that's the thing that I think is the future of their organization. And really if, you know, if you know a guy who could help you build those chapters, it would be me. I think that is I, and, and, and I can kind of get into a why I'm telling you that because I think at my age when you're looking for a new career job some of the things that I read was that you need to carve your own path.

Jason: I'm trying to carve that own path as I'm talking to you, but that's something that I've identified. Like I think those chapters could huge, you know, KPIs to do these road shows every year and most people don't even know about them. At one point they were doing, I think 14 road shows a year. And when I say that to people, they're like, Oh my gosh, really? 14 cities a year they used to do besides Las Vegas. And when I got there, they were doing a six and then they cut it to four and then they cut them entirely. Because they were not making enough money. But the day they quit those roadshows was the day that they started seeing, dropping in of their numbers every single year after that. And it was very hard to make that correlation. And you know, you can't quote me on those things, but like in my opinion, that's, that's the reason why, you know, it became harder for them, but it's that 20, it's that year round engagement that they were getting and those roadshows and they, we used to give them a free pass, the WPPI, so as a pass through to get them to come.

Jason: And every person that I would meet before that would be like, Oh yeah, I got a free pass that one year. And then I've been coming for 10 years. And that's the same thing with the chapters. The chapters, they belong to the chapters. They get involved and they have to go to the Nancy USA show. Right. It's giving, giving a community a reason to be engaged. And I think that, you know, if, if, if, if PPA really wanted to bolster their numbers pumping some life into that would really make a huge difference.

Scott: I agree. I agree. Yeah. You know, we've seen that with other, other organizations that, you know, the local chapters have been striving and then you'd see less from the, you know, the big organization. Yeah. So, yeah. You know, that would be great. And I'm gonna make sure when this episode goes live that PPA sees this. So it's just an opinion.

Jason: Well, you know, an old guy who's worked in the industry for a really long time.

Scott: Yeah. Who might have some experience, a little bit of experience in this, in this John rhe yeah. I and I tell you,

Jason: Since leaving PPI I've missed working in live events and I, you know, again, I've got, I've, I've I've enjoyed shooting and doing those things. I'm going to continue doing that now. And, you know, but in my opinion that it wasn't everything that I wanted to do. Working in this community is, has been, you know, my favorite thing to do. I've enjoyed it and, you know, not working a live events like a PPI has been something that I've missed. And today I laughed. So even when I left you know, even when I was blindsided here in st Louis, I said to myself, that's really what I want to do. And I sat down with my wife, I said, is a time for me to start my own thing. Is it time for me to, you know, launch my own event? And I'd been working through those ideas. Just because, you know, I'm unfortunately not sitting on a pile of cash to just say, Hey, I'm going to build my own event.

Scott: So is this where the Groupp has sort come from? Like,

Jason: So let's talk about that. What is the Groupp? So in my drilling down of, you know, after feeling sorry for myself for a couple of months, I said, you know, let me, let me look around to see if there's, I really enjoy marketing. So you know, is there a marketing job out there for me? Maybe I should try something out outside the industry. And you know, I looked around for some different things and you know, because I'm not super duper qualified, you know, me not finding, and I'm doing all this research, like, you know, I'm literally doing Google search, like how to, what to do when you're 50 years old, starting your career over, like, like really sad, like, you know, things and I'm drilling down, you know what, I read one really good article. It was like, what to do with this age and you know, mine was all the way at the bottom what to do at 50.

Jason: And it said, you know, you're beyond the point of, you know, continuing education, going back and getting your master's or something like that. It's probably not your best bet at this point. But you know, if you have left no choice or you're really close to doing it, you should go back and do that. But you need to work your existing contacts and figure out exactly what you want to do and then just drill down and start doing it. And especially if it became relationships. So you have met lots of people and I'm thinking to myself, Hmm, yeah, I know lots of people in this industry and I've interacted with a lot of people and I'd like to think that people are, are interested and interested in working with me. And this is part of the reason why, you know, like when I saw you, you know, you, you, you, you're doing this podcast and doing it.

Jason: This is why I'm reaching out to you now because I want to have this conversation with you. I'm letting the world know I'm open to opportunities and I'm working on new things. That's part of, you know, my plan here is that, you know, I'm, you know, if you're listening and you have an interesting project, I want to talk to you, right? I have some experience I want to talk to you. But one of the things that I came across was like, all right, well, if I still want to start my own event I need some help. So I found this website where you like, you could book a call with Mark Cuban or you could book a call with a CEO. And I'm thinking to myself, you know, I've always been good at helping other photographers. I wonder, you know, if, if, if I could do something like this.

Jason: So I started drilling down on that. I realized that that there really isn't a market place for photographers to help other photographers. There really isn't a place where you can go. And right now there's somebody sitting at their computer and can't open light room because the library's not working or their Photoshop stop working or something like that. And I'm like, I have a network of people that I would call and say, you know, Hey, I need help. But there's lots of people out there that don't have that network built in who just need help right now. And that's, that's what this idea was kind of born out of. And you know, again, I have worked with, you know, hundreds, maybe thousands of photographers in our industry over the years. So I've built something where can book a call with a photographer or an influencer or you know, a writer and you can, you can schedule that call, you pay for the call, it creates a video conference and called just like the one we're in right now.

Jason: You can even hang on to that and then you can get some education from that person. And you know, being my last name, it's the Groupp with two ps.com. And I'm looking to launch the official launch will be probably first week of March, somewhere in that, in that time we're going to have around a hundred influencers all on there with, with their offering to help. And then from there, you know, if I build an event out of that, that would be wonderful if it takes off. I love the idea of one on one consultations with somebody very personal. I think that our industry doesn't have a lot of that where you can just get, you know, one on one consultations and, and you know, one of the things that we used to do at on the road shows at WPI would do these portfolio reviews at photo plus. We used to do them as well. I think they're really important things to get and in finding a mentor in your industry or a coach I think is really important. And this is my way of trying to make that happen.

Scott: And it's been great. Yeah. If, if, if this you know, builds up to where it potentially could, you could, you could really have the Groupp for the, you know, 365 days out of the year, you know, there's always somebody available that you can book with. But then you could do the Groupp live where you've got, you know keynotes from the influencers talking to all the attendees. But then also throughout the day, people can book individual one-on-one in person, you know meetings, portfolio reviews,

Jason: More and more experiential more in depth. You know, and I think, you know, this is just another way they're, they're, you know, there are hundreds of places that you can go and get education now and you know, watch on video and between YouTube and creative live and you know, all those other, all those other places that are out there [inaudible] they're, they're wonderful, but sometimes we just need to be able to ask a question about something. And I think that this is a great way and I've gotten it, I've ridiculous response, so well received from the educators in our industry. Everyone has two things. It's a, it's a great idea. And, and you know, it just provides a place where everybody can be, you know, later on if there's a place where, you know, they want to promote a workshop or like you said, some webinars where there's specific education. But I think these conversations are going to be really neat that these people are having. And I'm really excited to see where,

Scott: Yeah, I, so I've got a question about, about the booking process. Is it only going to be book it now for let's say Thursday at 3:00 PM or is it going to be a section where it says these people are available right now? Lawyer, it's like on the fly for certain people at certain times or things like that.

Jason: I ideally would like to have, so a good question. And I, I've kind of thought through that a little bit. I think it's organically going to need to work itself out a little bit, but I ideally would like to have five or six or 10 photographers, especially on the technical side. Who are like available on demand. Like right now their schedule is always open. I could book a call in an hour. Right. I think it depends on the photographer's availabilities. What I'm going to encourage them to do is be available during business hours or like, you know some photographers just in the evenings, you know, so kind of spread it out over a periods of time and then I guess it'll be up to me to market, you know, that the way that goes. But it would be great to have it where like I'm hoping it's literally on demand, like call me.

Scott: That would be cool. That would be cool. You know, I, I I hear Facebook is currently, I'm testing a Facebook page feature where you could send a text message to the page or maybe it's a Facebook group. I can't remember where you can send a text message to the owner of the group or the page or whatever and it goes to their Facebook messenger, but it's a normal phone number that anybody can send a message to and just chat with. And, and you can do the sort of like, you know, I'm available now, I'm offline, that type of thing. So I don't think it's open to everybody yet. I think it's, you know like I saw Jenna Kutcher and I've, you know, Jennica, she's currently, she's currently testing it out in one of her groups. So

Jason: Yeah, I mean those things. And I think part of this idea was born out of that these Facebook groups are wonderful places, but I think that it's time to take some of these conversations a little more, not offline, but like

Scott: Definitely one on one, not, not group to, you know, hundreds of people.

Jason: Oh yeah. I mean people are tired of their it, I don't know what's happening with Facebook, but it's not as much fun as it used to be. Yeah and you know, like I'm, I'm, I'm exploring ideas of going some like old school. Like I think I'm going to put a four of on here, like super old school stuff where I think that, you know, it's time to kind of bring the conversation somewhere else. Cause I know Facebook is so fragmented, it would be great to have one place where these conversations are happening. So like a forum or webinars or something like that where like people can really connect with just that subject and just go there because yeah, I have lots of friends that are just there and I'm like, did you see this post on Facebook? And they're like, I took Facebook. I don't even know.

Scott: Yeah. Yeah. It gets too saturated very, very easily. Yeah. So I am right there with you. Yeah, I would love to be able to just remove the Facebook app from my phone if I'd have to do it for work.

Jason: I totally like, and for photographers it's a huge distraction if you're running your business. So yeah, like that, that's kind of goes along with my point. Like if there was a place where you could just go for information, you'd just take a half an hour every day. Instead of going to Facebook, it's I 15 minutes looking at your kids baby pictures and nothing wrong with that. But instead of wasting 15 minutes before you actually get to the meat of what you're trying to do, you just go to the group and you know, you, you check in on, I don't know if you remember like the old school DWF forums and stuff like that. Like, yeah, they were great places for information and you can go there and you can search one place for, you know, a problem that you had. Now if you do that on Facebook, you've got to go to 20 Facebook groups and then search before you got to ask a question. Like that's, that's a timestamp.

Scott: Yeah. Yup. I agree. Okay, so I'm going to put all these places where everybody can find you in the show notes. I want to say thank you, Jason, for joining me today. I'm glad that we were to get you on. And I'm, I'm glad to see that you've, you've got you're, you're, you're doing well in your, in your rebrand and I hope that everybody does help you out as well because, and you know, the same way that you would help somebody else out, that opportunity came up. So I'm paying it forward so you can find the show notes from today's episode, where to find Jason and all the places at imagely.com/podcast/ 96 and don't forget to subscribe to the show. It's available on Apple podcast, Spotify, Pandora, Google play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. So thank you again, Jason. And until next time, thanks for having me on. It's good to see your face again. You as well.

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