As a business owner and a new mama, many people have asked me about the juggle, the balance. It’s a lot. And aside from being hyper-organized, there’s also the issue of time. Never enough time.
As a photographer, I’m in a service industry. A lot of photographers provide great photos. I want to provide more than that. I want my clients to feel something. I want them to feel cared for, loved, and beautiful. It’s imperative for me to be able to stay on top of my clients’ needs and provide not just great photos, but a great experience. That goes far beyond the time we spend together in person, but in my communication over email, surprise gifts in the mail, and quick turnaround time for photos.
So how can I do all of that with a 6 month old? More importantly, if you’re a business owner (specifically, a photographer), what can you do to prepare for motherhood while also running your business?
I don’t claim to have all–or even many–of the answers, but I’m going to share what works for me in hopes that it may help some of you mamas get your life back.
Here are some of the topics I’m planning to cover, but please let me know if the comments if there’s anything else that would be helpful!
- Outsourcing (what, how, and where to)
- Post-production: culling, editing, & album design
- Email organization & client communication
- Monthly task list
- Client gifting
- Office management system
- Wedding timeline management
- Workflow & systems
- Maternity leave
Let’s get started!
There are certain aspects of your business that you have to do. As a photographer, one of those would be taking photos because, obviously. But there are other elements that you can get help with.
Think about all that you do as a business owner. You wear so many hats: human resources, marketing, customer service, bookkeeping & accounting, etcetera, etcetera. If all of that seemed too much before you had babies, it undoubtedly feels impossible now that you’re also a mama. It’s important to pinpoint tasks that can be done by someone else so that you can thrive at the ones you’re best at. You didn’t start a business to immediately burn out and continuously run on the proverbial wheel.
Take a look at what you do every day related to your business and make a list. It’s important not to leave anything out and be specific because this will help you evaluate what you have to do and what you can outsource or pass off to someone else. Here are some examples:
- Photograph engagement sessions and weddings
- Import images to computer and backup files
- Clean gear
- Meet with potential clients (consult)
- Cull photos
- Edit photos
- Album design
- Send client gifts
- Mail anniversary cards
- Email invoice due reminders
- Create proposals for potential clients
- Follow up with new bookings (welcome & gift)
- Prepare customized wedding day photography timeline
- Backup blog and website data monthly
- Blog sessions
- Update portfolio
- Send vendors thank yous
- Manage social media accounts
For most of us, that’s a very small list of what we do. Once you’re done with your list, go through it and figure out which tasks…
- must be done by you
- can be done by someone else
- that you’d like to do even though someone else could do it
For example, I could photograph a wedding and then send all the raw files off for culling, editing, and album design and literally not to any post-processing at all. When looking at that I knew that I must take the photos (#1); I could outsource the culling, but prefer to have control over it myself (#3); I could outsource the editing (#2); and I could outsource the album design, but I love that part so I’d like to do it myself (#3). By coming to that conclusion, I now cull all of my images, then send them off to Photographer’s Edit for editing (more on this in part 2 next week), then design the album when I get the images back.
When considering outsourcing any of the tasks that fall into categories 2 & 3 above, determine the following:
- Is this a strength of mine?
- Do I enjoy doing this?
- Does this directly affect my clients?
- Is it worth my time?
For example, I outsource my Lightroom editing because it doesn’t directly affect my clients and it’s not worth my time. I also outsource any extra Photoshop editing that needs to be done because it’s not a strength of mine, I don’t enjoy doing it, it doesn’t directly affect my clients, and it’s not worth my time. See? If you can say “no” to 2+ of the above questions in relation to a task, it’s probably worth thinking about outsourcing.
Next week, I’m going to dive into all of this a bit further and discuss exactly who I outsource to and what my process is for my post-production.
I’d love to hear your feedback! Let me know if this was helpful and/or if there’s more you’d like to know.