Ahh the cool air is creeping in and the crazy is slowing down. You can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel of your editing and your scheduled sessions and you can’t wait to spend some time with your family and friends. This is the off-season and the perfect time to revamp your business and figure out what gets to stay for next year and what needs to change. Being a business owner is fun and fulfilling and having a solid plan makes all the difference when the busy season hits! Here are a few things to revamp and refine in your business in the off season:
Take a break!
You’ve made it through a year of running a business!! Plan a weekend trip with your spouse, an adventure with your kids, or a girl’s night with your sisters. You deserve a little treat and bonus for all the hours and hard work that goes into being a business owner! Spend some time with those you love to help you remember why its worth it to work so hard.
Booking keeping and Calendaring
Are you drowning in unsorted numbers and dreading taxes? Meet with a hired accountant to get everything in order for tax season and develop an easy system for bookkeeping next year. Download these record keeping spreadsheets
to keep everything in order. Consider using an online booking and accounting system like Tave.com
and spend the off season setting everything up! These sites can also help you schedule clients and keep client info. It’s essential to have a plan set in place for when things get busy. If you are like us and love a hard copy planner check our favorite planner for photographers.
Client experience is everything as a photographer and business owner!! It’s the reason people send their friends to you and the reason they keep coming back! List out the 3-5 best things you do for your clients and keep doing those! Brain storm new ways to have better customer care, better products and overall how you want client interactions to be! Make your desired experience based on your personality so that it will be effortless and not hard to do! If you hate talking to clients on the phone, remove your phone number from everything and make all interaction via email or in person! If you love sharing engagement stories in the blog post it forget to ask about them, make a survey for all new couples to fill out!
Reassess your workflow and turn around time
How many hours are you working each week? Do you wish you were working fewer hours but bringing in more clients?
Consider revamping your workflow and streamlining everything you do for each client. What do you need to do for every client? Having a detailed checklist
will save you time and effort by knowing when things need to be done and delivered to each client. Do you have email responses for each type of inquiry
? Brainstorm EVERY type of email you might receive and type out a general response to each email and save them as templates in your signatures of your email. Next consider your turn around time for your images or products. Are you happy with the delivery method of your images? Instead of using CDs, you can update your packages to include a USB or online gallery. Are you delivering too many images or too few? Decide what you want each package to include and commit to those standards. Making your packages more simple and less complex will require less work for you when dealing with separate clients!
Are you still editing weddings from the summer? Are you overwhelmed with social media and your house is always a mess? It might be time to outsource something! What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses as a business owner? Just because you have fallen in love with photography, doesn’t mean that you are destined to be a graphic designer, editor, blogger, accountant, maid and social media pro all at once. Consider what you love doing and outsource the rest
! See what you want to part with and work the outsourcing costs into your session prices!
Clean your cameras, camera bags and lenses. Have your camera recalibrated to your lenses and your computer screens calibrated too. Replace any gear that was broken or upgrade any gear that needs to be updated. Contact Jesse Walker if based in Logan, Utah. Download this packing list freebie here!
Brand updates or refinement
Does your business brand reflect who you are and what you desire your business to become? Is your logo old, tired, or not applicable? We love our graphic designer and think you will love her too. Visit her work here: Pace Made
. Do you know your brand words and shoot with intention? Meeting with a brand specialist
can help by asking you simple questions to refine your brand and see if what your clients see is what you want them to see!
The off-season is a great time to boost your business with extra education and info to bring your business into busy season as strong as ever! The more education you have, the more confident you will be as things grow in your business. Write down 3-5 topics you’ve been meaning to research and buy a book or a online class for each of them. BEWARE of trying to learn too many new things at once cause this is what leads to becoming overwhelmed. Keeping a list of topics in your phone of things you read online through out the year and want to know more about later will help you to remember but give you time to digest!
Mentoring or workshops
Invest in specific education. Free education is great for learning a breadth of knowledge but paying for education with a specific person or workshop or conference is the best way to learn specific skills in depth. Here are some amazing educational resources:
Consider your marketing and what worked last year and what didn’t? Do you ask your clients how they find your work? This is the number one way you can see what efforts are paying off. Make a marketing plan of two to three things to focus on that have given you success and ignore the rest. Focused intensity on your blog or Instagram or referral programs will pay off much faster than dabbling in classified pages or flyers at the grocery store. Figure out what works for your personality and brand and go for that. Remember the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
Set boundaries and goals for the next year
Busy season is a crazy hectic time of year! Be realistic with your time and with your families’ time and set boundaries for how much you want to work in the new year. Each year, your family dynamic will shift so your business should shift as well. Make some goals for number of sessions and sales and talk openly with your spouse or close friend about how you will stick to those goals. Write them down and maybe even consider blogging about them for your clientelle to keep you accountable!
These are just a few areas to grow in your business! Use this list as reference of a place to start refining your business for the next year, not as a list of new things to worry and stress over. Make yourself a schedule of what you want to tackle and WHEN you will sit down and work on those things! Doing everything at ONCE is what busy season is for. Slow season is for relaxing and prepping!
How to Revamp Your Photography Business in the Off-Season