Every year during off season we evaluate our business in every area! I am actually one who is addicted to change so changing the way we do things isn’t hard for me. I know though for most it can be quite a stretch to just start over or do things differently. I wanted to share with you what we have changed recently and challenge you to find what needs to change in your business too!
- Quickbooks Online
This changed my life! I am not being dramatic either. Before we had Quickbooks for Mac and it was all good. So I thought. But Quickbooks Online has an amazing app. Everyday I log in to the app and just categorize all my transactions from the day before. When I used the Mac version I was always behind and only sat down to do it 1-2 times a month. I always hesitated to pay for it but I got a great deal, be sure to look for promo codes if you want to purchase it. If you use a desktop version or don’t use quickbooks yet this will change your life. It is so easy and your accountant will love you!
- 17 Hats
This topic is one that can be GREAT or photographers are super annoyed that I want to talk about studio systems. For me, I COULD run my business with out a studio system and do fine but I would be spending a lot more time on things I otherwise wouldn’t need to. 17 Hats has really allowed me to narrow down my daily and weekly tasks and what used to take up 3-4 hours a week takes up 15 minutes. Love it! I was telling a friend the other day that life has been so demanding that the business side of things has been more neglected but because of 17 HATs and having so many systems I am working one day a week and my client experience hasn’t been affected at all! So what do I love about 17 Hats?
- Lead Forms- I started using their lead forms which is just a contact form basically. I embed that into our site and when a client contacts us it goes directly into the system. For me this was huge. I hated typing all my clients info in after a consult. I was lazy about it. Now I never have to! AND I am tracking my closing rate as well and can make charts and monitor when inquires come in from year to year.
- Workflow -If you are like me you have your workflow down and don’t really need told when to do something. BUT I like to know I have an extra system in place just in case. I also love that I can set up all my emails and have it alert me when it is time to send the email and I can go through and customize it but most of the work is done already! I also have gone above and beyond now with this because I send out fun emails automatically closer to their wedding with tips and inspiration. It really helps me serve my clients above their expectation and it is virtually no more work for us.
- Invoicing- This has never been so easy. All my clients pay on time, I don’t have to chase them down. Actually most pay early! I love all the payment plan options too!
- Selling and Buying
Well! We changed our gear up and actually REALLY needed to upgrade but because of all of our financial turns this year we didn’t have the money too. So we swallowed it all and just sold everything! Every flash, both cameras, lenses and more all through an online Facebook group! We paid cash for a d750, 4 Yongnuo flashes, and new memory cards and batteries. Great! Problem? Yeah.. we only had enough to buy ONE camera. That is ok though! We decided to pay cash for what we could and instead of going into debt we decided to rent a camera for a while. This is not ideal but as I was telling another photographer friend. It is OK! We will get there! We don’t need all this “extra” stuff that we try to justify. The truth is a simpler set up vs. a really amazing 3 light OCF set up makes a difference to us but wither way our clients are still going to think they are great! Point in all of this? Maybe you are holding on to gear you love, or don’t have the money to shoot on a camera you probably should… Get creative! Rent, sell, do what you have to do to get your gear in line for your busier season but be realistic and try not to go into debt!
I have always had Latergramme but never used it in my workflow. I finally started scheduling latergrammes from my computer and I do a week at a time! I suck at posting on instagram because I hate sending images and such to my phone. Scheduling it from the computer has made it so much easier for me to add it into my workflow! Instagram no longer overwhelms me. If you feel like you are failing on Instagram, just get Latergramme and study those hashtags!!
These are the biggest changes we have made the last few months but I will be sharing more as time goes on! I challenge you to evaluate every area of your business- the way your desk is organized, your editing workflow, your storage, your client workflow and more!
Sharing, serving, and celebrating,
Andrew + Chrissy