Once upon a time I started a photography business and tried to do everything myself. I was around two years into my business and I was barely surviving. My life could be summed up by extremely long work hours, not enough sleep, no exercise and poor eating habits, zero control of my schedule, not feeling present in my kids lives and activities, and very little money to show for the insane schedule I was keeping. I remember the night where it all fell apart and I knew I couldn’t go on another day like this. I had to either quit my photography business or make some massive changes. I loved photography and couldn’t imagine quitting, so I immediately implanted three life changing things that LITERALLY saved my sanity, my personal life, and my business:
Schedule – I created a weekly schedule that worked with my personal life and stuck to it no matter what. For me, that looked like this:
No Monday evenings – Family night
No Friday evenings – Date night with my husband
No Sundays – Church and family day
Sessions scheduled only on weekdays
Limited my Saturdays by choosing the exact amount of weddings I would accept in a year and stuck to that number
Pricing – I knew I wasn’t charging what I was worth or what I desired to make, but I was absolutely blown away when I spent the time to log my hours and expenses and realized that I was making PENNIES PER HOUR. I highly encourage you to track all of the hours you spend on emailing, phone calls, driving, shooting, culling, editing, blogging, making galleries, designing albums, ordering, shipping, etc and then make a list of every expense you have for your business. My guess is that you’ll be shocked at the dollar-per-hour you are currently making. Decide on your yearly monetary goal (or monthly if it’s easier) and set your pricing according to that number.
Outsourcing – This is the golden nugget. As soon as I accepted there were several things I didn’t enjoy doing or wasn’t good at AND I couldn’t fill every role/responsibility that is required to run a successful small business, I had to find ways to offload the things that were dragging me down. Enter outsourcing. You can read more about my journey and outsourcing list over HERE, but I will always stand by the fact that outsourcing is an essential part of giving entrepreneurs a happy and healthy work-life balance.
I have worked with many companies over the years but these tried-and-true companies have become an absolute and essential part of my happiness and success as a photography business owner (and no, they aren’t paying me to say that, I just love them so much and want to shout them from the rooftops):
Align Album Design – Albums are by far my favorite product I offer and I want them to be perfect for my clients. But I quickly realized I do not have the time or talent to create beautiful album designs, so I started working with Align Album design around 10 years ago and will never look back. Easy process, beautiful designs, and the best customer service in the world.
Shootproof – The first time my clients see their photos is a huge moment (for them and for me) so I needed an online gallery that was super aesthetic and convenient. And I love, love, love Shootproof for giving me both!
Showit – I had been drooling over Showit websites for a few years while at the same time never being truly happy with my current website situation. Showit cost a little more than what I was currently paying but I decided to switch to Showit and OHMYGOODNESS, it was 110% worth it. Showit offers the most creative, unique, and gorgeous sites out there and and they are completely customizable. And don’t even get me started on their customer service…supreme!
Dubsado – Every. Single. Photographer. needs a client management system. For years I thought I could do it on my own and had a million different spreadsheets and websites trying to do what Dubsado does all-in-one. Dubsado is the brains…the hub…for everything I do with my clients (emails, contracts, invoices, workflow automations, etc).
Flodesk – I can’t get over how pretty Flodesk emails are. I finally found a super easy (and incredible aesthetic) way to send my email newsletters and love that I can organize and automate them.
Adobe – Simply put…I couldn’t live without Adobe products and I use Lightroom, Photoshop, and InDesign on a daily basis for my editing and design.
Millers Lab and WHCC – I’ve been working with these two printing labs through the entirety of my career and will be forever obsessed with the quality of their products, ease of ordering, and customer service.