Podcast

147 From Chef to Influencer with Lauren Bath

Deemed “Australia’s first professional Instagrammer” by national media, Lauren Bath pioneered the Australian influencer industry. She has an impressive client list, having worked with global destination marketing bodies including Tourism Australia,
Switzerland Tourism, Tourism South Africa, Tourism New Zealand, Canadian Tourism Commission, Visit Finland and Visit Dubai, as well as many major brands such as The Plaza New York, Travel Insurance Direct, VAIL Resorts, Olympus Australia, Intrepid Travel, Visa Australia, Australia Post and Moët & Chandon.

Additionally, Lauren is a co-founder of “The Travel Bootcamp”, an inspirational event designed to teach people how to get paid to travel, and the creator of “Get Camera Confident”, an online photography course for beginners. Her charitable pursuits include running photography tours to Zimbabwe, supporting anti-poaching efforts and conservation, and raising awareness of the misuse of animals in tourism.

With a dedicated audience of close to half a million followers (440,000 at last count), she is not only one of Australia’s most powerful travel Instagrammers but also a savvy social media consultant,
who provides ongoing campaign management, consultancy and education to several major industry bodies. In 2015 she was a Finalist in the Gold Coast Women in Business Awards in the “Women for Change” category. She has been featured in Travel + Leisure, Daily News, News.com.au, 60 Minutes and Mashable, among many others.

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3 Key Points:

  • When they’re really passionate about what they do. They just need to find people to talk to and ideally their perfect audience, but just practicing, just getting the word out. Because you never know who you talked to who knows other people that might need your services. By staying in that beautiful energy, by being excited, by knowing you deliver value, things change, and you can build upon your first successes.
  • I did all the scary things. I waited for the universe to reward me. And the universe did that at the very last minute before I was about to become very worried. Definitely, my advice to anyone, my advice is to jump in. Keep jumping in.
  • Part of the sales success mindset that you need to thrive and to deliver more value to serve more people.

Show Notes:

[07:20] I have realized through that process that I’m actually a natural salesperson because everything that I sell has such great intention behind it, and such great passion. So for me, it’s easy to sell because I’m talking about something that I genuinely love and believe in and that really translates even if you don’t have a good technique.

[10:21] Once I had a few jobs under my belt, and once I was starting to understand how tourism marketing worked, I was using that in my pitches.

[10:52] With the sales, it was the intention was there. You know, I had great intention. I had a great passion. I believed in what I was doing. I believed I was charging fair rates and delivering great value. And I guess that’s pretty contagious to a prospective client or brand.

[11:10] Part of the sales success mindset that you need to thrive and to deliver more value to serve more people.

[11:51] When they’re really passionate about what they do. They just need to find people to talk to and ideally their perfect audience, but just practicing, just getting the word out. Because you never know who you talked to who knows other people that might need your services. By staying in that beautiful energy, by being excited, by knowing you deliver value, things change, and you can build upon your first successes.

[13:32] I realized that I have to change because even though I was successful, and financially doing really well, and I loved my work, it just wasn’t sustainable anymore.

[17:01] I did all the scary things. I waited for the universe to reward me. And the universe did that at the very last minute before I was about to become very worried. Definitely, my advice to anyone, my advice is to jump in. Keep jumping in.

[19:45] I really realized that I’m one of these people that gets too caught up in being busy. I’m just busy, busy, busy. It’s a competition who’s the busiest and I always win. And that is not how you succeed in business.

Transcript:

For FULL Transcript click here:

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Christine Schlonski [0:02]
Hi Gorgeous. This is episode number 147 with Australia’s first professional Instagrammer Laurin Bath.

Lauren Bath [0:10]
Hi, This is Lauren Bath and you are listening to Heart Sells! Podcast with Christine Schlonski. Enjoy.

Christine Schlonski [0:18]
I’m so excited about our guest today, Lauren Bath because she is deemed Australia’s first professional Instagrammer by national media and pioneered the Australian influencer industry. She would not have thought that herself because she was a former chef, so basically behind the kitchen stove, and developed herself to be one of the most powerful travel Instagrammers and savvy social media consultants with a dedicated audience of close to half a million followers. She now teaches people how to get paid to travel and she takes her clients on wonderful photography tours in Zimbabwe, where she also makes sure that she is supporting the anti-poaching efforts and conservation. And she is raising awareness of the misuse of animals and tourism. Tune in to our wonderful interview and learn what all of this has to do with sales. Well, I’m so excited to have you on the show today, Lauren, welcome.

Lauren Bath [1:27]
Thank you so much for having me.

Christine Schlonski [1:29]
Yeah, I’m so excited because you have such an interesting journey. I want to inspire people to follow their hearts, to give their gifts to the world, to build a business around their passion and their calling and to really make it happen. And your story is so amazing because that’s what you did. So, yeah, you had this big shift at some point in your life like so many people do. But the beauty is you really made it work and you have a ton of fun doing it. You enjoy the journey. And you’re a very successful entrepreneur now. So let’s take people behind the curtains. Can you give us a brief summary of that history and going into your passion project?

Lauren Bath [2:18]
Absolutely, it’s sometimes hard to know how far back to go. But the obvious place is when I was back living on the Gold Coast, which is where I’m still living now. After a long term relationship ended. I was working as a chef, I’ve been a chef for my entire career since leaving school. And I was getting to the point in my career where I really wasn’t enjoying the hospitality so much anymore. I still had a lot of passion for food and cooking. But the industry is so tough. I downloaded an app called Instagram, which I’m sure everybody’s heard of these days. That became a bit of a creative outlet for me, where I was no longer getting that creative outlet from my work in the kitchen. I was on the platform at a very opportune time when it was still very early days, this was going back more than eight years now. I managed to grow an audience base of about 200,000 followers. Back before it was even popular before many people knew about Instagram. I was starting to get a couple of little opportunities for tourism boards and brands. And I was asking my boss for some time off work. And it came to the stage where he was just saying, “You have to stop taking time off work”, we’re just a small kitchen, a small business. I really sort of mold that over for a little while. And effectively, I decided that I didn’t want to continue working at a job that I didn’t love when there was potentially some opportunity with photography, which was my new passion, but also I saw as well the potential to move into the travel space. I’d always wanted to travel. Having been into long term back to back relationships, it’s not something that had really happened for me. I thought that with my Instagram audience and my photography travel would be a really natural transition for me. So I quit my job with nothing at all on the agenda, just hoping that I could make something work and that was about close to whatever six years ago, close to seven years now. I work with tourism boards, I work with brands, I worked on stacks of different campaigns. I started my own photography tours. I have an online course, two online courses and I’ve started my own conference as well. So always lots of stuff going on.

Christine Schlonski [4:40]
Yeah, so amazing. So you transition from chef being unhappy with the place you were into Instagram and really getting those followers and by the way if you should really follow Lauren. She has a wonderful Instagram account. The handle is laurinepbath. Yeah, just follow her. Have fun enjoying her beautiful images she shares and her story. And yes, so basically you transitioned like over six years ago. And you really build that business starting from scratch, not knowing anything. When did you come to the realization that you really have to sell things to make it happen? And how did you feel around that?

Lauren Bath [5:30]
Believe it or not, for the first, at least four to five years, I was not concentrating on sales at all. I really positioned my career working with tourism boards. That’s how it all first started. I was doing not just trips where I would go and do Instagram work. I was also doing some campaign management. I was speaking at conferences and industry events, but effectively my work was very dependent on may actually being in a place doing work. So this was obviously great. I have a lot of energy. I had a lot of passion and motivation behind me. But I did reach a natural point and I guess, well, I assume that all startups do when you’re a very real risk of burnout, you realize that you only have so many hours in the day and when you’re being paid by the day or by the trip, by the job. This money, you’re really limited by how much you can earn by how many hours you can continue to work. It was at this stage that I realized I wanted to start making more of an impact in the world. I needed to free up some time. I wasn’t working a healthy amount. I still don’t really, but back then it was really bad. I wanted to try to diversify. I diversified a few years back when I started my conference, but also with the online course the first one being a photography course, the second one being around growing influence online. And of course with my photography course, which launched this year. At first, it was all very organic sales and marketing with me basically just talking about this cool thing that I’ve done on my Instagram account. But recently, I guess starting late last year, I’ve started working with coaches. I started learning a lot more about sales and getting really comfortable with sales. I have realized through that process that I’m actually a natural salesperson because everything that I sell has such great intention behind it, and such great passion. So for me, it’s easy to sell because I’m talking about something that I genuinely love and believe in and that really translates even if you don’t have a good technique, so to say. And yeah, this year, this year has been a big continuation of that where I’m still realizing how important that is to be comfortable with selling especially when you have a product that will change people’s lives as my Zimbabwe tours do. My courses is doing, my conference does. So yeah, I’m comfortable with it because I only sell what I believe in.

Christine Schlonski [8:01]
Yeah, cool. But it’s interesting because you said like, you didn’t really focus on sales, but you work with tourism boards. But you know, somehow you had to get yourself into the door, you had to make them understand that you will be the perfect partner to work with, which it already then comes down to two sales. How did you get your foot into that door?

Lauren Bath [8:26]
I’m sorry, you just cut out for a minute there. I only caught the last tail end getting the foot into the door. Could you repeat the question, please?

Christine Schlonski [8:33]
Yeah, let’s start over. You just mentioned and that’s interesting that you did not concentrate on sales for over the past five years. And you were just working with tourism boards. But on the other hand, you had to make them understand that you exist, that you have a service they could really use so basically, you did sell yourself into the tourism boards, which is maybe not the classical online sale, “Well, this is my program. Here you can get it.” But how did it feel for you to talk to them? How did you get your foot into the door?

Lauren Bath [9:12]
I literally started by emailing tourism boards using that generic email addresses that I found over Google and sort of trying to pitch myself as a photographer slash Instagrammer. At a time, when this was brand new. I mean, my claim to fame is that I was Australia’s first professional Instagrammer. This was a title given to me by national media. I was the first person to really just go out there and be like, “Yeah, I can convince brands and tourism boards to work with me.” To start with, it was really a matter of me saying to them, “I have 200,000 followers. I’m a photographer. I’ve been featured by Tourism Australia, which was one of my first clients as well. And I would love to come and Instagram your destination”, and that, believe it or not, actually worked, because Instagram was very buzzy back then. And I was the only person offering this. I didn’t have any competition in this space. So for a lot of regional and local and state tourism boards in Australia, I was there first, and even a handful of sort of very forward-thinking international destinations as well. Once I had a few jobs under my belt, and once I was starting to understand how tourism marketing worked, I was using that in my pitches. I would email a Tourism Board and say, “You might have heard of me, I’ve worked with X, Y, and Z. You know, this is how I approach destination marketing using Instagram as a channel.” Of course, that only helps me to get even more opportunities, get my foot in the door with even more brands and tourism boards, and that really snowballed from there. And I think, again, with the sales, it was the intention was there. You know, I had great intention. I had a great passion. I believed in what I was doing. I believed I was charging fair rates and delivering great value. And I guess that’s pretty contagious to a prospective client or brand.

Christine Schlonski [11:10]
Definitely, part of the sales success mindset that you need to thrive and to deliver more value to serve more people. I just love it because you didn’t even see it as selling. Because you were so passionate. You just approached the tourism boards, but then you said you pitched, it’s really interesting. It seems like, to be a natural process for you. What I would love the audience to get by listening now, you just took random email addresses you found on the internet, but you had the god to reach out. You did the workaround that. I just want to leave people. When they’re really passionate about what they do. They just need to find people to talk to and ideally their perfect audience, but just practicing, just getting the word out. Because you never know who you talked to who knows other people that might need your services. By staying in that beautiful energy, by being excited, by knowing you deliver value, things change, and you can build upon your first successes. That’s why testimonials are important. And you did the name dropping in your email. You showed people that you already do the work and if it was successful for them, for other people, it can be successful for them. So wonderful. Great.

Lauren Bath [12:38]
Thank you.

Christine Schlonski [12:39]
Yeah, so excited. Basically, now you transitioned into the online world where you offer online services and you really leverage your time in a different way. What has that done for you, that going through that process?

Lauren Bath [12:59]
It’s done a lot. It’s actually been a massive change for me. Although I had sort of, I dabbled. I started with the online course a while now, over a year ago now. My conference has actually been running for three years, but it’s been quite a small scale. We’ve always called it a side hustle. I have two business partners. We’d come together and say, “Oh, let’s do another event.” But late last year, I started on this massive mindset journey. I had a series of events that happened to me. I realized that I have to change because even though I was successful, and financially doing really well, and I loved my work, it just wasn’t sustainable anymore. So I reached a crossroads. And I decided that I would start saying no to tourism work, any sort of contract work that takes me out o my home for a week. That sort of work whilst I love it. It’s not the best-paid work that I do. It’s actually the least paid work when you look at it in comparison to my other revenue streams. It’s not a good use of my time if I plan to scale, if I plan to free up more time for my family and have a long term future in this space, and also if I want to have impact in the world, which is something I think anyone that’s very visible does eventually reach a point where they do. They want to make a difference. So I reached this crossroads, I started saying no to things for the first time, which was insane. And my big focus, I had a few, my big focus was to focus on three of the businesses that I do. One is my online photography course. One is my Zimbabwe tourism. One is my conference. I basically wanted to spend the next 12 months really pumping all of my time and energy into those three businesses, which of course bought up the fact that I wouldn’t be earning much money during that time and I didn’t. I haven’t been making much money for the last 12 months. I also started working with two coaches and doing heaps and heaps of work around mindset and change. My third sort of piece in that was that I decided to spend all of my money. So every dollar that I had saved in my business, that I had sort of been carefully sitting on and hoarding, coming from a career where I didn’t have a lot of money. I just decided to stop paying so small and stop paying to save. And I spent the whole lot predominantly on video. I organized a videographer to come to Zimbabwe with me to fill my first choice. I had a videographer and photographer fly to the Gold Coast to do a whole bunch of photography tutorials with me for my course. We’ve invested a lot of money into the conference to travel boot camp, working with creative people to actually generate marketing material. So it was actually really funny because I reached a point a couple of weeks ago, maybe a month ago, where I had no money left. We didn’t have the event, the event hadn’t happened yet. We didn’t know if it would be successful. I will was thinking, “Well, shit, have I gone and ruin it all?” This was a big gamble for me. And at the event, we did our first ever upsell, where we actually enrolled people into joining a new program that we’re offering, only for delegates. I’m not trying to sell it on this program. And we sold an unprecedented amount of spots from, I think it was like 30%, 30% of the audience bought into this program, which I’m told is three times the average for this style of event. All of a sudden I have money again, which is a relief because I was starting to get a little worried. I’ve had lots of time, I’ve got a really great work-life balance happening. I’m just really more sure than ever that I’m on the right path. The event, my courses and my choice where I’m going to have the most impact, reach the most people, have the most cut through and be living my best life with the most passion. I did all the scary things. I waited for the universe to reward me. And the universe did that at the very last minute before I was about to become very worried. And yeah, it’s just, it’s good that we’re talking now because it’s all starting to pay off. So, definitely my advice to anyone. My advice is to jump in.

Christine Schlonski [17:22]
Yeah, well, you jumped in now several times, right. You jumped in like quitting your job.

Lauren Bath [17:27]
Keep jumping in.

Christine Schlonski [17:29]
Investing all of your money. And I’m quite sure lots of people listening have been there at some point or on that journey right now where things are getting really tight, and they feel worried and anxious about the future maybe. I love, there were so many golden nuggets. So let’s just start with one. We probably need to finish the episode off first and then I’m happy to have a second interview with you so we can continue. Why did you and decide after all that time that now is the right time to get some support and you hire two coaches? What was the moment that made that realization?

Lauren Bath [18:13]
There were a couple of catalysts for that. One was actually deciding to spend more time with one of my business partners, Georgia. The three of us live in different cities. The business has been challenging from day one, very challenging. Three strong, independent women, entrepreneurs that run their own businesses coming together to run a separate business, you can imagine. I actually, when I decided that this was a big part of my future, I invested a lot of time into Georgia and she into me, spending time with each other and talking about the vision of the business. I started to realize maybe a little late but I did realize how important that energy is. When your constant surrounded by people who think small, people who love you ultimately, but they try and hold you back to protect you. You give them your ideas, and they’re like, “Oh, come on, you know, that’s a bit ambitious.” Spending time with people like that compared to spending time with people that are like, “You can do anything. You can achieve anything. We can do this together and we can take on the world.” It’s such a different energy and it really, really changes your perspective. So I started to surround myself with a stronger circle. I went to an event in Sydney called, Nail It and Scale It, by an Australian businessman called Kerwin Rae. And that was the first I’d really heard a lot about mindset. I just didn’t think that it related to business at all. I really realized that I’m one of these people that gets too caught up in being busy. I’m just busy, busy, busy. It’s a competition who’s the busiest and I always win. And that is not how you succeed in business. Actually, if you have better planning structures in place, you’re a lot less busy, but you’re getting a lot more done. So that sort of, that started the journey where we decided to work with a coach. And our first coach is actually from Berlin, Germany. And he’s a marketing coach, sales and marketing. And then not long after that, when we decided that we needed to iron out all of the problems that we’re having with the conference with the two female business partners, most of the communication issues we really needed help with. So we started to work with a mindset coach who came into our lives out of nowhere, we have no idea where she came from. Actually, Georgia and I met her at a yoga retreat in the Blue Mountains. And we met her and we just knew. She is actually a contributor to the new upsell, the program that we’ve just released because the pace that she does on mindset fills in so many gaps for our delegates, and we just love her and it was so serendipitous that she came into our lives. So it was almost like, again, I just believe that the universe was sort of steering me and I’m a little stubborn and I’m stuck in my ways and as I said, so busy but you know it all just started to click and I just trusted it. I trusted my gut, I followed my intuition and here I am.

Christine Schlonski [21:16]
They are so so amazing so yeah I can’t wait to continue this conversation with you. Let’s send people to your Instagram because I really think people should be following you, seeing your beautiful pictures, getting inspiration from what you share. Can you share your handle again, please.

Lauren Bath [21:37]
It is, laurenepbath. People often ask what the “EP” stands for and those are my middle initials, Elizabeth Perry. When I joined Instagram, I did not know that I would be stuck with that handle for life. So a little bit confusing but laurenepbath on Instagram.

Christine Schlonski [21:56]
Yeah, it’s really easy to find. I found you so I assume everybody can find you. Thank you so much for sharing so openly with us. I really appreciate that. Because I’m sure it will give people some hope and inspiration if they are in a place that doesn’t feel good right now. And yeah, I can’t wait for the next interview to come. So thank you so much.

Lauren Bath [22:21]
Thank you so much. Talk to you again.

Christine Schlonski [22:24]
Well, what a fun interview and what an interesting path to take from chef to influencer. I just love it. So hop on over to https://christineschlonski.com/. Find the podcast tab. And there you will have all the links to Lauren with her wonderful episode, the show notes, the transcripts and make sure you connect with her on Instagram to see her beautiful pictures. And if you want to learn more about how to get paid to travel while she is the go-to girl. So make sure you hop on over to https://christineschlonski.com/ and once you’re over there, sign up for the empowerment notes, where I deliver empowerment right into your inbox once a week, and where I share amazing opportunities and things I usually don’t share on social media. So hop on over, https://christineschlonski.com/ is the place to be. And I am looking forward to talking to Lauren about the trust that she had to have so that she could actually be where she is right now. Because she trusted, she did the work and she was in a spot that did not fear comfortable to her at all. So lookout for the next episode. Number 148 Trust Into the Work with Lauren Bath. Thank you so much for tuning in. And wishing you a wonderful day wherever you are in this beautiful world and saying bye for now.

 

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