Boss babe Ashley Lazette attended and photographed our February YYC Girl Gang Hang! She’s sharing her experience and has some tips for anyone attending a hang!
My name is Ashley Lazette and I am the owner and photographer behind Ashley Lazette Photography. I have been a photographer since I was 15, but have just launched my website & social media accounts in November of 2015. The past few months have been a whirlwind of networking, Instagram re-vamping, and self-discovery.
Luckily for me, YYC Girl Gang was created! I discovered it via Little Me Paper Co and was more than excited to be in support of women getting together and connecting! I missed the first event due to the fast selling tickets, but I managed to snag two for the February Pie Cloud event!
Now I should tell you, this post is mostly about me messing up at my first official “networking event”. I was nervous, self-conscious, and sweaty as hell. I walked in, was welcomed by the sweet Aja (Drizzle Local Honey), and immediately found a seat by myself. This is classic introvert-Ashley, and is easily my biggest struggle when it comes to networking. Thankfully Mindy from Gypsy Vintage saw me running solo and said hello. Here comes the second goof of my evening: Mindy introduced herself and asked “So where are you from?” and I responded “Oh here in Calgary!” Mindy chuckled and said, “Oh no, I mean what’s your business.”
Awkward. At least Mindy was nice about it and let me carry in on an uncomfortable rambling way, attempting to redeem myself. But hey, everyone makes mistakes, right? I eventually made my way through a small portion of the crowd and ran into another oops: business cards-or should I say, a lack of business cards. I had 4 people ask me for business cards and I had zero. Truthfully I figured that my Facebook page and website would be enough! But I quickly learned that it’s hard to remember people’s usernames or real names. I made a mental note to start designing my business cards asap.
As I started to photograph the evening, my nerves settled. There were so many people who were in the same place as me! They had started a business thinking it would fly, and then were discouraged by the lack of clients that actually invested in their product.
This is where Bree (Bree Johnson Photo) comes in. With over 10,000 Instagram followers, you can bet that this girl had some wisdom to share. Everyone’s eyes were on her (or her amazing Instagram!) as she shared some ace tips about the importance of Instagram for a business. If you creep my Instagram, you’ll notice that it’s a mess. Seriously, no color scheme, weird frames, and no consistency. You’ll also notice that I’m changing it up now! Thanks to Bree I am heading in a new, hopefully better, direction. Not to mention I am slowly building confidence to create a “business only” Instagram too! Bree answered a lot of questions we had about how to market ourselves and collaborate with other business owners. I left the evening feeling so refreshed and encouraged. I went home, edited photos, and decided to try out my new insta-image with a post dedicated to #yycgirlganghang. And of course I somehow managed to goof up again by tagging the wrong business! Thank goodness Pretty Sweet was extra sweet about the mix-up and helped me credit the actual contributor The Sugar Cube. It was embarrassing, but it reminded me that these owners are people and I can’t beat myself up about fixable mistakes (although I definitely owe both ladies a coffee).
So there you have it folks! A wonderful evening filled with growth, smiles, and a million lessons. I have zero regrets about the mistakes I made, simply because they helped me grow into a better business owner. And now that I have attended my first #yycgirlganghang, I’d like to share some tips with some newbies like me:
1) Don’t hesitate to bring a friend. Networking is scary for newcomers (and some veterans too!) so there is no shame in bringing some back-up. I am so thankful that my friend & fellow photographer Jenny (@jennydorozio) was there with me to help calm my nerves and sit with me when I got anxious.
2) Don’t sit alone. Don’t do it. These people are literally the friendliest people you will ever meet! They get it, they know it, they are the owners of it. I can’t express to you how important it is to chat with other business owners, especially in a place dedicated to creating connection.
3) Enjoy yourself. Yes, this is an event dedicated to connecting business owners with each other. But it’s also a hang-out! Women are amazing and you deserve to have powerful and wonderful women in your life. Don’t forget to have some fun and grab a few numbers from people that you really connect with.
4) Collaborate. This is a tip that Bree taught us, and I just want to pass it along to you! I didn’t do this much at my first event, but I promise you that it will be worth it. You’ll get a supporter and in turn support someone else. Also, who doesn’t love spending time with cool people who make and do cool things? Just go for it!
5) Reach out to YYC Girl Gang. I got this photo gig simply by sending an e-mail and asking if I could photograph the evening. They said yes. I did it. That’s all it took! These are women/business owners/people just like you and wouldn’t have started this if they didn’t want to encourage us to grow and learn.
So thanks ladies for an excellent evening. I am so looking forward to attending many, many more. If you are attending a hang, come say hi to me! You can also dm me on Instagram (@ashleylaze) or Facebook (Ashley Lazette Photography). I would love to chat and learn about what you’re passionate about.
Ashley is a cat enthusiast, photographer, and Women’s Studies student at the U of C. She loves capturing the moments that make your heart beat faster. When she isn’t taking someones picture you can find her cuddling with her cats and practising her calligraphy.