Off Season Checklist | Business Tip Tuesday

Columbus Wedding Photographers, Andrew and Chrissy Photography, Off Season Checklist

This time of year makes me geek out. I wish I held this kind of motivation year-round, but at least it comes now so that I can be best prepared for when busy season hits. I love to look through every aspect of our business and evaluate. Workflow, organization, strategy; these are all things every year that I feel are significant to keep yourself humble in and be willing to make changes where needed. During the technical off-season I have developed a list of things to do and it has grown over the years. I wanted to share it with you because I have added eight more things to it than last year!

  1. Evaluate pricing and strategy – Every year Andrew and I take a look at our pricing and see what worked last year and what didn’t. Are people only booking your cheapest package? Are you booking your ideal client? Are you feeling valued? Are you getting paid enough to leave your home, family, and sacrifice other areas? Are your prints and albums selling? What area of your business is least booked? Is it because of pricing?
  2. Update wedding guide and pricing guide – Once we make our pricing changes we go in and update our wedding and pricing guide. At that time we also update the photos in the book and make sure all of the content is up to date. Word of advice: send it to three people to spell-check and read through for you!
  3. Order biz cards and marketing supplies – Look through all of your promo material and see what needs to be updated and reordered.
  4. Get gear cleaned – Nikon and Canon both are great at cleaning equipment. I never pay more than $100 for equipment to be cleaned and I always get it back in a week or so.
  5. Make updated list of equipment still needed – Every year Andrew and I reevaluate what we have been shooting with and what we need. This year we just need to get another 50mm 1.4.
  6. Have a social media strategy – During busy season we don’t need a strict strategy because we have so much content to share. During off season we have to be really intentional about making sure we have content each week to share. Sitting down and coming up with a social media strategy helps. How often are we going to post, what are the things we want to share about each week, etc.
  7. Have a blog strategy – Same as above. Blogging is easy during busy season but sitting down during the off season and making a list of blog ideas and topics helps us pull content when we have no fresh content to share.
  8. Vision and mission – Look over your vision and mission statement and make sure everything still lines up.
  9. Goals – Financial and business goals, personal goals, client experience and more.
  10. Organize files/back up – Go through hard drives and make sure everything is backed up to the right place and then get rid of the following years back up files. Organize folders if need be.
  11. Clean up the blog – Go through files on the blog and make sure there are not photos not being used and delete them if so. Being a photographer our blog fills up fast so it is important to gain any wasted space back. The Smush It plugin on WordPress is a lifesaver and helps compact our file sizes. Also, make sure everything is in the right category and keyworded correctly.
  12. Organize office space – Self explanatory!
  13. Tax preparation – Quickbooks, organize files, mileage and more.
  14. Evaluate website and brand (re-brand if necessary) – Get some opinions on your website. Rotate portfolio images. Update graphics. If need be rebrand.
  15. What worked what didn’t list – Make a list of what you feel worked last year and what didn’t! Keep this somewhere close so you can look at it and remember what to focus on and what not to do.
  16. Touch backs with clients – Send emails, cards, and texts to stay top of mind with your clients. Personal touches are the best!
  17. Touch backs with venues and vendors – Send out an email or make a stop in to see if they need anything. Headshots, marketing material etc. Dropping coffee or lunch is a big way to serve and keep your name top of mind.
  18. Three marketing focuses – Decide what your three marketing focuses are for the year and focus on those during off season. Ours is Facebook, Blog, and Wedding Venues. Yours could be referrals, Instagram, Pinterest, snapchat, SEO, wedding wire, the knot, etc.
  19. Get educated  Find someone to mentor you, sign up for webinars, read books. Go all in! This is the best time to pack in the education and prepare for a great year!

Sharing, serving, and celebrating,

Andrew + Chrissy