How would it feel to use Instagram to travel the world? What about using it to leave your 9-5 job? Or become a notable artist (a notoriously difficult industry) from Instagram? Or building a six-figure business?!
Today’s guest has done all of the above, and then some. Anna McNaught is Instagram genius and artist visionary behind @AnnaMcNaughty. She’s the creator of the best Instagram course out there, #NoFilter, and is a leader in the male-dominated field of photoshop. Above all, Anna is passionate about helping people build a business, brand, and life they love through the application of image, innovation, knowledge, and imagination.
Tune into this episode to hear:
- Anna’s journey from a graphic designer at a dental office to her own boss and a six-figure business.
- How to stay true to yourself when building a business, even with all the “expert advice” out there.
- The most influential factors in Anna’s rapid business growth and success.
Transcript of Episode
Leah Gervais: Hey visionaries, welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision Show. I’m your host, Leah, and today we are so lucky to have Anna McNaught here with us today. Hi Anna.
Anna McNaught: Hi!
Leah Gervais: Thanks for being here. Anna, I didn’t even know were introducing you. You have like 15 different titles in my own life. So Anna’s an entrepreneur, she’s an artist, an incredibly talented artists. She is an Instagram influencer. She has her own websites. She has a course, she’s in my mastermind, she’s one of my very best friends in the world. Anna, you are the biggest visionary.
Anna McNaught: Ah, I’m going to start blushing now. That’s sweet. Well, and everybody knows I love Leah dearly, not only for her business help and mentoring, but also just because she’s an amazing friend. So I’m so happy to be here.
Leah Gervais: Aw, thanks. Again, for those of you that listen to this on the podcast you won’t see, but those of you that see the video, we’re having a beer virtually as we do this, as is our tradition when we do videos. So we just thought we’d kind of record this time around. But no, Anna really does have an amazing story that I know you guys are going to benefit from. So, thanks again for being here and you guys can find her at AnnaMcNaught.com, it will give you more information on what she has to offer here throughout. But first I want you to take us back a little bit. So you live in Los Angeles, you work for yourself, you have a six figure business, you have over 100,000 followers on Instagram. When you were in high school, what did you think your life was going to look like in your late twenties or right around now?
Anna McNaught: Oh man, that’s a good question. I guess in high school it was like I had all of these weird ideas of, well, I really wanted to be famous but I wanted to be a famous actress or something, you know? Now that fame thing has kind of come in like a different way and also now I don’t want it the same way I wanted it in high school, but I definitely didn’t imagine myself living in LA. I was like, maybe I’ll be somewhere warm like Florida or something or you know, and with all the weird boyfriends I had in high school, I was like, for all I know I could have been pregnant, living in Montrose. Thankfully I’m not.
Leah Gervais: It’s a happier ending.
Anna McNaught: Shout out to everyone watching.
Leah Gervais: Awesome. Awesome. Okay. So you kind of had the idea that you wanted to be famous in some way and now you kind of are, you’re kind of like the modern day famous where you have this big following. But you did end up going to the land of the famous, Los Angeles. What was that like? Why’d you go there?
Anna McNaught: So, I actually interned in L.A. in between my junior and senior year of college. And when I moved out here, it was like the Glitz and Glam of L.A., you know, I was totally in love with it. We were going out every night to these clubs and like getting free drinks and this and that. The other thing, going to rooftop pools and pools in the hills. It was crazy. So it was like this L.A. life that I fell in love with. I was also working on set as a PA on these like big fashion shoots and everything. So, I initially decided from there, I want to be a fashion photographer, hands down. I want to work with all the big magazines. I want to be in these glamorous L.A. sets. So when I went back to college, I’m like, okay, that’s what I’m going to work towards. When I moved out here and started kind of working in that industry and trying to get to that point, I was just like, oh my God, this is so not me. You know, there’s so many rules and like you can’t look at someone on set a certain way or you can’t even look at them, period. You know, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. Like you show up one minute late or one minute early in your, in the wrong. So, yeah, it totally pivoted for me. And that was kind of at the point that I was like, I’m done with L.A., I’m gonna move back to the East Coast, maybe Try New York. Then I guess about a month after I was thinking that way, I met my husband.
Leah Gervais: Life has a funny way of making that happen.
Anna McNaught: So I think honestly, if it wasn’t for him, I probably would’ve left L.A. because at this point I still love it for the weather and the beach and all the fun stuff that L.A. has to offer. But as a whole, I don’t feel connected to it in terms of my work or anything. So that’s the next step in our futures leaving L.A.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, New York is pretty great! So, it sounds like at two different points from what you just shared, one you’re kind of in the midst of, but, this show is all about your vision and chasing your vision even when it’s hard, it seems impossible, etc. and I know that you’re so resilient and we can talk about your business in just a second. But what do you do in your life when you chase after a vision or you go after a goal and it’s not what you thought it would be, how do you pivot? So fashion photography was your vision and it ended up being terrible. L.A. is no longer really within division you have, does it take a lot of courage to honestly say to yourself, I don’t want to do this? Do you sometimes need to wait it out longer? Like what do you do in those moments of thinking this is something I chase but it’s not quite right?
Anna McNaught: Right. Well, yeah, I would say definitely it takes a lot of courage and a lot of like digging within yourself. Something I’ve gotten gotten into a lot more actually because of you is really paying attention to journaling and writing down like goals and things that I want to do with my life, you know? So that was an important part of the pivot for me, one from deciding away from fashion photography. Two, from finally deciding to leave L.A. within this next year. And three, from quitting my nine to five job. You know, it was like those three major things of how do I do this? And I think it was a mixture of writing things down for myself, like pros and cons, you know, the obvious. Talking to friends and family really just bouncing ideas and then eventually getting to the point where you just know in your heart and in your gut that you’re just like not in this anymore or doesn’t feel a hundred percent right and you just go, okay, I’m doing it and you make that switch.
Leah Gervais: So I want to pull that out. That was such good advice. So three steps really looking at the honest, both ends. What happens if I stay, what happens if I go of any situation? Getting advice from people you trust and that you look up to probably I would imagine. And then really bringing you back to, to your gut and thinking is my heart in this? So those are really good points. Something that I feel like has come up for me when I’ve been in situations like that is thinking that, well, what if I have grass is always greener syndrome? What if I’m just not happy because I’m just not being grateful enough? Or what if it’s like not really that bad. Have you ever dealt with that?
Anna McNaught: Oh, definitely. I’ve struggled with that my whole life, you know, this starting with shiny object syndrome, turning into the grass is always greener on the other side. I see something and I want it because it’s shiny and it’s that beautiful grass. It’s like glistening in the mist and then you get over there and you realize it’s fertilized with bullshit. So, yeah, I’ve dealt with that a lot and I think it finally comes down to just really honing in on those areas that I just talked about, the pros and the cons and figuring out what’s right. Just kind of making that decision and not looking back I guess, you know, because the grass always will be greener on the other side because you’ll think about what you had or what you could have had and you just have to like make the decision and stick with it and go with it and continue. If you end up going back eventually later on and pivoting in the future, I think that’s fine.
Leah Gervais: I love this advice, I don’t know if you know this actually Anna and I don’t know why I’m sharing it on my podcast, but even though my company is called Urban 20 Something, my LLC is Decide and Thrive.
Anna McNaught: Really? I didn’t know that.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, and it’s because decide is like my favorite word ever and I really think that you hit the nail on the head that you just have to just decide and then own it no matter what it is. You’ve got to just keep going and going and I think something that you said, which was so smart is that, spoiler alert, it will always be greener somewhere else because you can make up a mirage of something else that’s totally fictitious if you let yourself. So really good advice about just owning where you’re at. I think something that people don’t realize enough is when they’re… I’ve talked to you about this so much and I think you’ve like really, really gotten to be such a quicker decision maker is they get so afraid of making a wrong decision, but if you make a stupid decision, you can make a decision to get you out of that decision. It’s like nothing is permanent people.
Anna McNaught: Exactly. That’s something that the mastermind has helped me a lot with, just that type of thinking and it’s something I say to James all the time too. You know, I’m like, whatever decision we make and whatever we do moving forward, we’re never going to be stuck regardless of what that is, regardless of if we go down like into this dark hole that feels like we can’t get out of it. There’s always a way to change and move forward.
Leah Gervais: Beautifully. I’m so happy to hear this. Okay. So let’s rewind a little bit. This was such good advice and it’s amazing to hear the amazing things you’ve done for yourself and your life and what went on behind them. But tell us a bit about the pivot from nine to five to entrepreneur. So I know it started with Instagram. Why don’t we start there?
Anna McNaught: Okay. So, let’s see. Let’s go all the way back. So when I first started doing Instagram, I was doing what everyone does, like posting selfies and I was trying to model at the time and like posting those images and I was just like, what am I doing? Then at that point I actually had a separate photography page and I was posting some of my fashion photography and lifestyle stuff, which honestly was like garbage looking back. That was when I was working at my nine to five and I remember, you know, being kind of just like, okay, where is my creative outlet here I was working as a graphic designer, but it was a very corporate work. I was working in a dental office so you can imagine like doing the same stuff over and over. I was like, where am I going to put my creative energy into because I’m really sick of like this trying to do this like headshot, lifestyle, fashion stuff with people, just not working out. So, I actually said to James, I remember the day, it was like in March a few years ago and I was just like, you know what? I’m going to start taking Instagram seriously. This is dumb. Why am I posting cell phone pictures? Why am I like not being legit about this? Let’s do this. So he was like, okay. With him being a photographer as well, we were like, let’s start just going out and shooting every weekend and trying different things. At that point, we started meeting up with some other photographers, getting to know people and making it a point, a couple times a week after work, I’m going to downtown L.A. to shoot or to the beach and then on the weekends. From there I started kind of thinking more about like these crazy ideas and that’s how I started to get into kind of my surrealism type stuff. For a while it was actually super dark. I was doing these weird things, I was like coming out of frames. Maybe you guys know that picture where I’m like falling out of the frame. I had one where I had this red paint all over my hands look like blood, just weird stuff.
Leah Gervais: But you’re so you’re so talented.
Anna McNaught: Thanks. I felt like I needed to do that, to push the boundaries so much that I could then pull it back in to figure out kind of where my area of expertise was. So when I was working and there would be downtime or during lunch or something, I kind of started just taking stock images and seeing what I could create. I was like, well, I’m a graphic designer. That’s what I did as a living and I’ve painted in the past and so I’m like, why can’t I combine these in Photoshop with photography? So it kind of was like merging as if it was like a collage. Then started doing that to create my composites that I’m now known for and then from there it became this like very dreamy, like pinks and teals and purples and blues and stuff and that like blew up. That really started gained the traction. So then because of all of this, I was getting a lot of DM’s and people just being like, how’d you do this? Can you teach me how you grew your Instagram? You know, everyday someone being like, how did you grow your page so fast? Oh my God, I saw you like a couple months ago and you had like 5,000 followers, what happened? And I’m like, well, I actually started a blog teaching this and because I realized I kinda had cracked the code, you know? There’s a method to getting followers and then turning them into clients or sales, you know? So from there that’s when I started the Like Photo and then started teaching people how to do this. Then, recently just pivoted again, everything to be under my name because now it’s like Anna McNaught’s full on enterprize.
Leah Gervais: The Empire of Anna McNaught, I love it. I love it. Okay. So there’s one thing I want to pull out there that I think is such a smart entrepreneur tip, especially for Instagram, but really for anything and to those of you listening, Anna told me this years ago, and it’s one of the still the best pieces of advice I’ve heard, which is that when you’re starting out, you have to be so specific about what it is that you’re doing. You have to be niche. It can feel really sort of suffocating. I remember I did it like I’ll just tell my story of this background. I remember when she looked at my Instagram when we first met. For those of you that don’t know, we’ve been friends for years and we met because she was helping me with my Instagram in the early days and I remember at the time I would like look at other influencers that were really big in New York, kind of lifestyle type stuff Instagrammers and their photos had no rhyme or reason, but people just like falling along with them. So I kind of did that same thing. And you were the one that was like not at the beginning. At the beginning, people need to know why they’re following you. Are you here for fashion? Are you just going to post pictures of New York? Are you going to do your business? It’s like you really need to be specific so people know what they’re following. Then once you get big enough and people know the name behind the brand, that’s when you have more flexibility. And it’s still one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten about Instagram and it applies to everything that I see my clients too, when they’re starting businesses too. You can branch out but not at the beginning.
Anna McNaught: I love it. Yeah, yeah. That’s so awesome that really stuck with you. That’s actually something that I talk about in my free five day course and in my full course is just how much consistency is so important in the beginning and like you said, I have so many clients and people like students of mine that are like, well, why? I see people posting like whatever they please. But even when you do see that, like think of some of the big influencers that we see, like New York influencers, I think of Lyss. She is posting all sorts of different stuff. But overall, I mean, one, she’s obviously grown her Instagram to a million followers so she can kind of do whatever she wants at this point. But, two she has this consistent look overall, you know, colors flow nicely, everything’s really high quality. It’s usually her in the image somewhere in New York or traveling all over the world. It has like a couple main themes and I think people just kind of like let that go out the window in the beginning and it’s so, so, so important.
Leah Gervais: It is. It totally is. It’s the same way if you’re starting a blog, it’s the same way if you’re starting a website, it’s the same way for starting your coaching business. You have to be really specific at the beginning. So I love that that is what works for you. And I think it’s so amazing that you even, it sounds to me, and just because I know you so well that you just knew in your gut you were going to push the boundaries in the beginning to stand out and then you were going to really see where it fit. That’s so brave and just so creative that you knew that that’s what you had to do.
Anna McNaught: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and it’s, it’s funny because I didn’t know I was doing it at the time, but I think it’s really what helped me definitely stand out in the beginning. Especially because I think I also got in at a good time because now there’s like so many digital artists, you know, I see people popping up on Instagram every day now with like edited stock photos that they’ve done some weird thing too. I feel like, yeah, that’s great. It’s awesome. I love that people are trying it and being creative, but it’s also like, you know, you have to have somewhat of a background and knowledge of like lighting and how things, how colors work together and stuff. So my point with that though is I got in at a good time before this was kind of blowing up. I think it helps set me apart from other photographers that were just strictly doing photography. So that’s not to say that people can’t grow anymore, you know, it just, you have to find something that’s unique to you and that stands out above the crowd.
Leah Gervais: Right, right. You just have to find your own niche now. So, you started it in March of 2016.
Anna McNaught: Yes.
Leah Gervais: How long did it take you to get to 10,000 followers?
Anna McNaught: That happened probably within the first six months or so. I know that within the first year I hit 20,000 because I was super excited about that. Then from there it’s kind of, you know, as Instagram does, it’s up, down, up, down, up, down, and I’ll be like oh my God, okay, great, this week I got, a thousand followers or something and then the following week I’ll lose like 500. I think a lot of things have changed with Instagram in the past few years. One, obviously the algorithm to the number of people on and then now just like the use of insane amounts of bots.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. Right, right. So, okay. But that’s amazing that you did 20,000 in a year. When did you quit your job?
Anna McNaught: I quit my job a year ago, so February of 2018.
Leah Gervais: Okay, so almost two years after you started your Instagram. When you quit, was it through Instagram, whether Instagram directly or you teaching about how to grow your Instagram, that was your main business model at the time, that was mostly how you were supporting yourself?
Anna McNaught: Yeah, so it was a mixture of both. It was a mixture of income that I was making directly from Instagram in terms of brand collaborations, influencer type stuff. People asking me to edit their photos, that was bringing a lot of money. Then doing the teaching Instagram as well and then I had like a few graphic design clients too. But yeah, it had been maybe about a year after I started my Instagram, probably around that 20,000 mark that I started to make money from it and started to make money for my business, but then I just wasn’t ready to make the leap out of the comfortable income, consistent income.
Leah Gervais: So walk us through that. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? When were you ready? Or were you ever really ready?
Anna McNaught: Yeah, I mean, I was mentally ready way sooner than I actually left the job. But I guess it kind of got to the point. I was almost equaling some months were more what I was making at my nine to five job. And at that point I was like, okay, I can do this. I had talked to James about everything, I was like, if everything fails and this business doesn’t work out, are you willing to support me until I get back on my feet? He was like, of course. So I was like, okay, that’s helpful. Then I was like, I have some money saved and I talked to my financial adviser and I was just like, if I do this, do you think it’s okay? What do you, what are your thoughts? She’s like, well, as long as you have a couple months to fall back on, then you’re good to go. I was like, okay, so financially stable enough to do this. Then I was like, do I feel like I’m mentally ready? At that point, we had made the decision to move downtown to downtown L.A.. We were living in Culver city and that added another 45 minutes to my already hour, hour and a half commute. So I was like, okay, moving and quitting. I literally quit my job on a Tuesday and moved that Friday, it was the most hectic week.
Leah Gervais: I’m sure. So something that I see from you. So as you know, and most people do, my job is to basically work with side hustlers and then also entrepreneurs that have already quit their nine five jobs. So I have a lot of people that have done things similar to Anna in my community. People that want to do the same thing as her. But one of the things that stands out about you, that I don’t see all that often is you never entertain the idea of going back to a nine to five job. I never, no matter how stressed you are, scared you are, you know, you’re completely pivoting your business. Whatever comes on your plate, I’ve never heard you say, I need this to work out because I don’t want to go back to my nine to five job. I think that that’s so powerful because to me, I don’t know if you even see it this way, but what it says to me and to everyone else is that that’s not what your business is about. You are an entrepreneur to your core and you know, that’s that. You can be scared and nervous and whatever, and that’s part of entrepreneurship and like that’s just out the window. So is that something that you consciously had to work on or do you think that that was something that just automatically clicked for you and how can people that are still letting that haunt them get rid of it?
Anna McNaught: Yeah. I feel like it’s something that I haven’t really had to work on that hard. I would say because I’ve always kind of had that entrepreneurial mindset. I mean, even from when I was a little kid, I actually saw these… when I was home this past time, I had these little business cards that I made in word and had to have been like maybe, I don’t know, 10, 12 years old or something. It was my own car washing business that said, Anna McNaught’s car washing business or whatever and it was like, get your car wash for $5, interior is for $2. I hand colored the business cards and handed them out to everyone in my family, you know. So from there I then tried to start like a babysitting business when I was like in my teen years, I was like always selling stuff, a lemonade stand, of course, every entrepreneur starts with that.
But yeah, it’s always kind of been a dream of mine to have my own business and just like my mindset. Also the stuff I read as well. So my advice for people who aren’t really wired that way would be one, like I did, to read all this stuff about how to be wired that way, you know, about the entrepreneurial mindset or millionaire mindset or whatever. There’s so many books like that. Then also, going into your core of who you are and thinking about what do I really want to do with my life? Do I want to own my own business or am I just doing it because it’s a cool thing to do right now? You know, maybe some people are like, well I see all my friends doing it, I see my colleagues doing it, I want to do that too and then take a step back. Well maybe I don’t really want to, cause I’m still hanging on to this idea of a nine to five job and so you have to be like, do I want this? And if the answer is yes, I 100% do, then nine to five is not an option anymore no matter what.
Leah Gervais: Right. You’ve made that decision.
Anna McNaught: Yeah, exactly. Back to the decision again, it’s just gone. I think that people use the idea of going back to a job as a crutch in a way to just be like, okay, well if everything fails, I’ll go back to that. Yeah, that’s of course true. But it’s almost also kind of like an excuse to not maybe work as hard and I don’t want that to come off in a negative way to anyone listening or watching because I do not mean that in a bad way. I just mean, it shouldn’t even be in your mind at all. If you want it, you want it.
Leah Gervais: Right, right. No, I agree. I think every entrepreneur has their biggest fear or like their doomsday scenario. We all have fears, but if that is your fear, then that is worth really examining. What about the decision you haven’t made yet? You know, is it something you can reverse? Is it maybe because you don’t really want it? Is it because your family is telling you it’s a backup plan. It’s worth looking into because it’s not helping you to entertain it at all. So I think that that’s great advice and it’s amazing that you think that way.
So, okay. You’ve had your business for a little over three years. You have hit the six figure mark, you have these followers on Instagram, you’ve been self employed for two years, right?
Anna McNaught: One and a half years.
Leah Gervais: One and a half years, okay. What to this point do you think are the biggest, like if you had to pick maybe three things, what do you think are the best things you’ve done to move your business forward so quickly? Or like the biggest things that have moved the needle to where you’re at right now?
Anna McNaught: I mean definitely one is joining the mastermind for sure.
Leah Gervais: Thank you.
Anna McNaught: But honestly though, I’m not just saying that cause I’m talking to you.
Leah Gervais: This was not scripted.
Anna McNaught: For anybody running their own business, I think having a group of people that have a similar mindset to you that you can rely on for, you know, tips and tricks and advice and for accountability. I get hung up every week and then get on the call with you guys and I’m like, okay, I’m good to move on to the next thing. You know? So I think that’s such a, such a huge aspect. It’s so easy to get in your own head when you’re working for yourself and by yourself, 24/7. Then when you’re in your own head, you fully 100% get stuck and there’s no movement and so having that has been huge.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, you moved very quickly this year.
Anna McNaught: Yeah and like also having entrepreneurial friends too, you know, or even if they’re not an entrepreneur, like someone who just gets it, that you can talk to someone who is supportive, that you can be like, this is what I’m struggling with, or I’m having a bad day today. How do I get past this? Or I had a great day today. Could you celebrate with me? Obviously for me, my husband is that, you know, I can tell him any of these things I get hung up on or anything I’m celebrating and it’s like, let’s go, you know? So that’s helped. Also I think just continuing to learn is a huge thing too. I think you get to a point where you’ve kind of hit your max capacity for what your brain can handle. But I think learning, applying and then learning again and applying again and continuing to kind of grow and build little building blocks, because there’s only so much you can do with your own knowledge. So that’s it.
Leah Gervais: That’s great advice. I kind of love thinking about it as like you learn then apply, then learn more, then apply. But, the way people are drowning in information I feel like is one of the biggest reasons people stay paralyzed. Yet at the same time you do have to learn a lot. No one really knows how to be an entrepreneur, especially at the beginning. You don’t know what you’re doing. You can’t do it alone. So how do you balance like the complete flood of information with actually figuring out what you need to do to move forward. And so I think that’s a good, very good rule of thumb, like the ass learn, but then apply it before you go and learn everything else. Otherwise it’s a losing game and you’ll just learn and learn and learn and never have actually done anything.
Anna McNaught: Yeah. Yeah. I mean that’s something I’ve struggled with for the past three years is just buying courses and buying ebooks and information here and information there. Watching this webinar, reading this email and I’m like, oh my God, I can’t take in anymore information. So I have tried to put the stop to that and just be like no more until I conquer what I have. But yeah, definitely not overwhelming yourself with too much, find one solid course or ebook or something or a person you can learn from; suck in everything, apply it, then move on.
Leah Gervais: Right and I think that you have really applied, you know, you’ve seen this pattern in your own life to the course that you built, which you’ve told me before is like no one needs any other information on Instagram other than this course. Because you know what it’s like for people to be like, well, I’ll show you how to get booked at a hotel. I’ll bring you 10,000 more followers, let me show you how to edit things, here’s the camera you need, and it’s way too much. So you built this being like, this is it guys, you don’t need other stuff. That’s amazing. That’s amazing.
Anna McNaught: Yeah, totally. That was a big reasoning behind building my course the way I did because it was that exact thing, you know? I was like, people are pulling information from here, from there, getting different styles and different methods of doing the same thing, you know? It’s so overwhelming. And so I was like, how can I put together a course that’s literally your A to Z Instagram course that covers everything and it includes editing and photography within the course. You know, there’s a lightroom editing module, there’s a Photoshop editing module, there’s a photography and camera equipment if you so want it module, all these things that go into having a successful Instagram so you don’t have to look anywhere else.
Leah Gervais: Right? Right. It’s sort of like having like a mini bookshelf of things. You can go to it at different points of your Instagram journey, of your business journey, of your monetization journey, and get different things every single time. So it’s not just going to work for a certain stage or anything. Amazing. So since we’re on that topic, I just want to share, will you just share with people where people can take your free Instagram course?
Anna McNaught: Yes. So if you go to my website AnnaMcNaught.com right now, it will say under construction, but the first link is my free five day course. Or you can go to https://annamcnaught.com/freecourse/. Yeah. The whole site is under construction, so links keep changing and I’m like moving stuff around right now.
Leah Gervais: Well, I can’t wait to see the beautiful new site. Before we let you go, I have a couple of Your Biggest Vision questions for you. Okay. What do you do when things feel like they’re fighting against your vision?
Anna McNaught: Oh man, cry. No. Sometimes I do do that. Yeah. Honestly I feel like when things are fighting against my biggest vision. It’s like, you know, I would want to say step up and do it, you know, who cares? What’s fighting against you? But sometimes you really do need to take time to be upset and let it affect you and allow that for yourself. Some weeks I’m just like nothing’s going right, I’m tired, I’m just not into it right now and I’ll just take a break, you know, I’ll go and do something for myself, go get a massage, go for a walk, go to the beach, whatever. Then something I struggle with is separating the guilt and you just have to like push that away as much as you can and know that when you come back to your business, all those things you are struggling with are going to be gone and you’re going to be a lot better than you were in the first place.
Leah Gervais: So that’s how you suggest getting rid of that guilt, is remembering that it’s actually in the best interest of your business to take some time off.
Anna McNaught: 1000% and that’s something I’ve slowly actually realized in these past few months is if there’s a day where I can’t get things to work and I feel like everything is fighting against me and then I’ll be like, okay, I’m going to go take a nap in the hammock or something, the second night sit down I’m like, Oh my God, you should be working, you’re such a failure. Then as soon as I’ve gotten that kind of out of my head and just been like, okay, relax, read, you need this. Then when I come back feeling fully centered again and fully like recharged, it’s like my copy comes out a lot better. My images and my art come out better. I feel like I’m putting myself and my passion into my business versus like a half assed version of myself.
Leah Gervais: This is such key advice. Thank you so much for being so vulnerable and sharing because I think that that entrepreneur guilt is really real, especially when people recently quit their nine to five jobs because you are so wired to like feel like you have to be working at a certain time or that you’re lucky that you have your own business or you should be working on it or that you could be getting more done if you were working on your business. But let’s all remember if you quit your nine to five job, it’s because don’t want to work at a nine to five job. So don’t create your own damn nine to five job.
Anna McNaught: Exactly. That is what I say to myself and something my mom always says to me, you know, she’s like, you left the nine to five job because you didn’t want to work nine to five and you know something I think about, I’m like, yes, so why am I doing that? Why am I sitting at my computer nine to five? Something you’ve actually taught me, like what do you want to do today? I want to go to the beach and be a slug. Okay, well I’m going to go do that because it feels good and tomorrow I’m going to work on my business. You know? And just finding that balance between having a day off, recharging, and then getting back into your absolute best self and best business self and your business will thank you, your body will thank you, your friends will thank you.
Leah Gervais: Absolutely. What you’ll find when you really give yourself permission to just work when you want to work and not when you don’t want to is you’re gonna have those words of inspiration on a Saturday night at midnight, sometimes at three in the morning sometimes when you’re up. So trust me, you’re not going to be working nine to five no matter what. So you may as well just do it when you’re inspired because as an entrepreneur you will work weekends, you will work nights, you will work mornings and so because you’re doing that, don’t put this nine to five pressure on yourself. Okay. Awesome advice. What if you had to choose one thing are you most proud of and your journey so far?
Anna McNaught: I would say, I mean I’m definitely extremely proud of my course in terms of something that I’ve created, that took me months to create. I feel like even since then I’ve grown so much as an educator, as a speaker and just as a person as a whole. So even looking back on that, I’m like, wow, it’s crazy, you know? But, that thing just took so much time and energy to put together. So very proud of that. Then also just really proud of the person that I’ve become since doing this because there’s been… Oh, you’re gonna make me cry too. It’s just crazy to think about how much I’ve changed and how there were so many times and Leah, you know this, I talked to you at the beginning of the year about how much self doubt I had and I was just like sitting there, Leah and I were talking and I was like crying and I was like, I can’t do this. And then you overcome it and you’re just like, you get stronger and stronger each step of the way. My confidence has grown, my ability to speak on camera, my ability to talk to people in general, my ability to create, my artwork has become better. I’m so proud of that and I wouldn’t be that way if I was still working behind a desk job.
Leah Gervais: Well my God, so in summary, you’ve just stepped into who you are.
Anna McNaught: Yes, completely. I just got goosebumps.
Leah Gervais: I love that. Thank you for sharing that. That’s amazing. Do you have a podcast or a book that you is kind of your go to, to keep you motivated?
Anna McNaught: I used to listen podcasts a lot. I really did enjoy Pat Flynn’s podcast, Smart Passive Income. That’s actually what inspired me to start my blog. But currently I don’t listen to any podcasts because I’m an information overload, except for years of course.
Leah Gervais: That’s cool. You do you.
Anna McNaught: I’ve tried to cut down on the amount of stuff I consume, but my favorite books right now are Austin Kleon’s series of artist books. He has Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work and Keep Going. I’m on his second book right now and I’ve shared a lot of those on my Instagram story and everything. His books have just like changed my mind completely. He’s shown me it threw his books that it’s okay to take a break. What I just talked about. It’s okay to get back into hands on art because I’ve been painting and stuff. All of this just pushes your business and makes it even better. I’m realizing that to be so true. I highly recommend his books for everyone. Even if you’re not an artist, he writes for artists and writers, but anyone can benefit from them.
Leah Gervais: That’s such good advice. I’m so happy you shared that because when you do really think about these days creatives, it is the Instagramers, or it is the digital artists, it is the people that can make beautiful photos or write really great blog posts and that’s great. I love that we’ve come to a time where art is much more accessible and profitable. But how often do you think like people on Instagram better photographers paint? Or tap into the art that they really do have. So that’s an amazing share.
Anna McNaught: He said this incredible thing, that he has an analog desk and a digital desk. So he said he’ll work on his digital stuff, you know, his blog and everything. And when he starts to feel burnt out, he goes those analog desk and plays with markers or rights or paints or you know, does whatever, like staple things together and then looks at it and all of a sudden all these ideas start coming forward and he goes back to his digital desk and then he’ll write about things that he saw and as a writer, you know, sparking ideas. He was like, when you’re on your computer all day, there’s a piece of glass between you and your work and you’re never touching it. You’re never like feeling the emotion behind it. I was like, wow, that spoke to me so much. I was like, Oh my God, I’m going to start cutting out and like gluing them again.
Leah Gervais: That’s amazing.
Anna McNaught: Yeah, it was super cool. So moving your hands and your body and like feeling what your work does to you is huge.
Leah Gervais: Awesome. Awesome. Okay. Well the final thing is what are you excited for next in life or business?
Anna McNaught: Oh Man. So many things. I am excited to be heading to the East Coast and to see you in a couple of weeks. I’m excited that James and I might be leaving L.A. to travel full time by July. So that is huge. And that’s something my business has allowed me to do is to travel and that’s a major passion of mine. I’m excited that my website is going to launch on Monday.
Leah Gervais: Amazing. So we have a new website. Your husband’s going to quit his job. You’re traveling full time, thanks to the Instagram account started and you’re coming to Manhattan for your mastermind live event. Life is good.
Anna McNaught: Ah, so good.
Leah Gervais: Awesome and what’s your Instagram handle just so everyone knows?
It is @AnnaMcnaughty. Don’t mind the “y”, couldn’t get Anna McNaught, some stupid girl has it.
Leah Gervais: I think you should just own that and be like straight up. I chose, Anna McNaughty.
Anna McNaught: I know it has some people that are like, really that’s not professional. Yeah, but everyone remembers me. You say Anna McNaughty to anyone and they’re like, oh okay. I have people who I haven’t seen in years and they’ll be like McNaughty.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. Okay. Awesome. Awesome. Well thank you so much for sharing this all with us. You are so insightful. So inspirational. This is going to be so helpful for so many and we’re really grateful that you were here.
Anna McNaught: Thank you so much for having me. This was amazing. Now I feel super energized and like want to go party or something.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, because we’re having a beer while we do this. Alright well thank you Anna, I’ll talk to you later Visionaries and thanks again.
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