INTERVIEW: Lizzie Schlafer

Ally and I first met Lizzie at a Local Girl Gang event in the summer. I was immediately drawn to her and how real she was. Everyone at those events is there to meet new people and network but Lizzie sat right down with us and started chatting like we’d known her forever.

We’ve been following along with her on Instagram since that day and, if you are one of her followers also, you know that you get the same genuine feeling from watching her stories on social media. She is just a true, down-to-earth, easy to talk to gal. Which is why we are so excited for her new venture into the world of Podcasting. I can’t imagine someone better equipped for this endeavor. She makes you feel so comfortable when speaking to her, like you have been friends forever, and asks the most thoughtful and engaging questions.

Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for everything Lizzie is working on and follow her on social media (links below)!

Now onto the interview!

Your new podcast is called ‘Trying My Best’. Tell us a little bit about how that name came about and what it means to you.

‘Trying My Best’ is a phrase that seems to make its way into most conversations I have these days. I think we are at a point in our 20s or 30s where we feel like we need to have all our ducks in a row. But the truth is, everyone is in a different season of trial and error. We are all just trying our best. And the sentiment holds a place in my heart because I believe that most people truly are just doing the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt. 

My hope is that this podcast can provide an environment for people to tell their story beyond the surface level introduction and foster a dialogue to make someone else feel less alone in their journey. This past year I’ve had some one-on-one conversations with people that shed some light on who they really are. No one person is just ONE thing. You may be an an entrepreneur or parent or wife: but I know that there are so many other facets to a persons life than one title.

What has been the biggest challenge so far in beginning your podcast journey?

Oh, boy. Where to begin! Starting a podcast requires a lot of technical work and self education. I’ve spent hours learning the ropes of recording, editing, what gear to purchase and how to get published. It is definitely not a process that happens overnight. I’ve reached out to experts and leaned on my brother-in-law to help me understand the basics of recording. Much like my podcast name, I truly am trying my best to start this off on the right foot. That means a lot of YouTube videos, e-mails and failing until I figure it out!

What are your top 3 podcast recommendations?

#1 - Armchair Expert hosted by Dax Shephard

#2 - This American Life 

#3 - Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

Who is your dream guest to have on? (local and outrageous icon/celeb)

Honestly, I want to talk to everyday people as often as possible. I find they have the most fascinating stories and I love the connection we get to make. BUT if I had to pick an outrageous person to chat with it would probably be John Mayer. If you don’t already follow him on Instagram or watch his show Current Mood, you’re missing out. He is wildly talented and his sense of humor is flippin’ hilarious. 10/10 would recommend. I would pass out or forget to speak if I ever met him. 

You mentioned that you’re a fan of the ‘trail off’ - tell us a little more about that and why that resonates with you.

YASS! The ‘trail off’ is when a podcast starts out with a particular question but the dialogue transforms into an organic conversation versus a standard interview. My personal preference is to make sure my guests are comfortable with me. I don’t want them to feel pressured to provide completely perfect, articulated answers to questions. Instead, I want people to chat with me! When I listen to these types of podcasts I feel like I know the guest. I feel like they are a friend and a real human being not some curated version of who they are.

Your day to day job is running your own, successful photography business. How did you begin in photography?

First of all, I am flattered that you called it a ‘successful’ photography business! Photography pulled me in like some weird high school romance. I always wanted to photograph people in love but from a distance I was too nervous to take a chance at it. So I called my friend, Marissa Decker, and asked if I could shadow her for a day to see what it was really like. From the moment I shot that first wedding with her I knew it was the job for me. I am wildly passionate about marriage and relationships so you can imagine how invested I am in documenting the start of it all on wedding days. 

I had to learn through a lot of failures. Anything from finances to camera gear to book keeping…it took a lot of time. I leaned on people who are experts in their field and invested in education. I think that if you are invested in building a sustainable business, you make it a reality.

When did you know it was time to take the leap into owning your own business and working for yourself?

My initial plan after grad school was to work in higher education. I did that for about a year while working on photography in the evenings and weekends. Every single person evaluates their venture into entrepreneurship differently. For me, I had a handful of conversations with my husband about what we needed to do as a family to survive financially. I found a part-time job that allowed me to be flexible during my wedding seasons and eventually phased my way into full-time. 

It was a labor of love for about two years but I am so incredibly happy this is how it worked out.

Who is the most influential photographer you aspire to be like?

I do my best to not compare myself to other photographers. But a few of my favorite photographers that fuel my fire are:

Marissa Decker - my mentor, travel buddy and dear friend. She has a heart of gold and an eye for capturing real moments like no one else I know. She has the patience of a saint and spends all her free time teaching kids in an after school program. Anyone who sees her work can recognize her heart for the people she captures.

Laurken Kendall - this momma of 3 is someone I do not know personally (just from the internet!) but I love following her journey. She lives on a wheat farm and just has a raw and hilarious take on life. I find her to be a breath of fresh air in this industry filled with seemingly perfect lifestyles. I think she is badass and fierce and incredibly talented.

Wyn Wiley - this guy is not only hilarious and talented but he has a heart of gold. It is a dream of mine to embark on educating other photographers but also to do non-profit work. He does it all. And he does it all unapologetically himself. Also, if you haven’t checked out Pattie Gonia on Instagram you definitely should. He is trying to bring more inclusivity into the outdoors world and wears heals the whole. darn. time.

Who is a woman (in art or life) that inspires you?

Good gravy. This is hard to answer because there are SO MANY incredible women in my life. At the moment I am finding that I get creative energy from the new friends I make via Instagram. Which I am totally aware sounds LAME or quite possibly like the opposite of what you parents told you not to do (meet strangers on the inter webs). But here I am, loving all of the incredible ladies that slide into my DMs. Meeting other like minded individuals has made me feel less alone, a little more confident in my abilities and much more grounded in my beliefs. It is amazing how many selfless, talented, strong women are in our little city.

What advice would you give to another woman who would like to take the leap into making their creative endeavors a full time business?

Be strategic. Know your personal situation will vary from those around you. Do what you need to do to financially take care of yourself. There will be times where it is okay to not do it ALL. This is when I tell people to call on the experts who can guide you in the right direction or advise you on best practices.

If you have a vision for a creative business know that it is equal parts creative and business oriented. So although you have a creative heart you will need a business mindset. No one will hold your hand and you will most definitely screw up a time or time.

But it is the resilient women who stand up, try again and do it better the next time, they are the ones who build an empire.

Also, sometimes you may need to cry and eat your feelings. Entrepreneurship is a real pain in the butt and will most definitely try to crush your spirit.

Where can people find you, your work and your podcast?

You can find my photography work and personal ramblings on:

Instagram: @lscreativeco

Facebook: Lizzie Schlafer Photography & Creative

Instagram: @tryingmybestpod

Trying My Best (iTunes and Spotify)

Make sure you check out Lizzie, her photography and her podcast Trying My Best! You will not be disappointed!

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