EP 240: Elope Your Life | Why Most Entrepreneurs Overthink Purpose & Under Think Authenticity w/ Sam Starns

People will come to you for what you can bring to the table, and there’s nothing better to bring than yourself. 

– Sam Starns

Elope Your Life | Why Most Entrepreneurs Overthink Purpose & Under Think Authenticity w/ Sam Starns

San Starns isn’t an agent nor is she a real estate investor. She is an elopement photographer who is creating her own niche to help people not just create the perfect wedding day but also to find the courage to go after what they want – even when society says no.

Using the lessons she’s learned both in life and business, she’s developed the confidence to become the person she was meant to be, and now she’s helping other people to do the same. No matter what industry you’re in, Sam’s tips can help you define your purpose, create your niche, and live the life you were meant to live. 

Read the Full Show Notes Below…


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Once a month, all of the business owners in our building get together to share, wins, struggles, goals, and anything else impacting our businesses. A goal of Carrot and of mine personally is to help people find freedom in their business, leaving jobs that make them feel trapped.

Sam Starns is a perfect example of this and her message to Elope Your Life takes things one step further. 

Living YOUR Best Life 

How often do you find yourself doing things that don’t bring you joy simply because society says you have to? This could be anything from picking a career others find prestigious, covering up that grey hair, or throwing a huge wedding even when your heart wasn’t in it… as was the case with Sam.

Before becoming an adventure elopement photographer, Sam thought she was going to be an attorney. However, once she realized that wasn’t her true calling, she was able to take the pain she felt on her wedding day, channel it, and use it to find her purpose. 

Sam set out to not only help people elope but to help them find the things that were meaningful to them. Just because society says you need to do something a certain way, doesn’t make it true. Keeping this in mind for yourself personally and for your business, will help you stop setting goals based on what others want, and finally start living for yourself. 

Niching Down, then Niching Down Again

When Sam started her business, she was concerned she would have trouble finding clients, especially in our small town of Roseburg. Finding people who were not only getting married but who also wanted to elope seemed a bit daunting until she realized there were other people all over the world who shared her pain.

Instead of making her niche simply wedding photography, as many photographers often do, she took it one step further to work with those who would rather elope. 

If you are an agent, you might say your target client is anyone buying a house in your particular city. However, if you can niche down even further, you can become the big fish in a small pond, instead of the other way around. For example, you can help first-time buyers, young families, people who love the outdoors, or focus on particular neighborhoods. 

Serving Others Like Yourself

When it comes to finding your purpose, you’ll often find you are drawn to serving others who have a similar background to your own. One Sam realized there were others like her who didn’t want the big fancy wedding, she knew she wanted to help others have the wedding they wanted, catapulting them into a life they designed themselves. 

By utilizing Evergreen Content, Sam is bringing in leads and attracting her ideal clients. Of course, she could do some hamster wheel stuff, but her fresh content (which she is able to pull apart and use on different platforms,) is what is helping her get her name out there, bringing people to her website even when she’s on vacation. That is something hamster wheel marketing can’t do. If it stops, your business stops too. 

Asking Yourself the Right Questions

When Sam was working with her business coach, they really dug in to help her find her why. When it came down to it, she did not want others to feel the same way she did on her wedding day.

She realized that elopement wasn’t about the incredible photos she could take, it was about helping people appreciate their uniqueness, see how amazing they are, and live a life that is as authentic as possible. Sam’s coach asked her several great questions which really hit home. He asked things like… 

  • What would stop people from going to a party if they knew you were there?
  • On the flip side, what would make them invite you?
  • How would people describe you after you left?
  • How do you make them feel?

Answering these kinds of questions and really drilling down to why you’re doing what you’re doing will help you craft your mission statement and find your purpose. 

Nobody Can Compare to You

When running a business it can be so easy to compare yourself to what others are doing. But the most important thing you can bring to the table is you. Your extremely unique background is what will make people gravitate to you.

If you’re an agent, helping people see that it isn’t just about the house itself, but rather the experience, the freedom, and the memories that will be created in your new home. 

We’re crazy excited to see where the journey takes Sam next. Even if you aren’t getting married any time soon, her book is relatable to so many people in so many ways. Check out her website and be sure to see Sam speak at TedX Roseburg this coming April.

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