Imagine a world where you could focus on the things you love and ignore the rest. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist. Many professional photographers – especially the freelancers among us – find themselves frazzled and overwhelmed by, well, the business side of their business.
Hands up if you’re constantly working longer hours, forgetting important things, and always feeling like you don’t have enough time to do everything.
Thankfully, there are some simple things you can do to streamline your business and free up time – so you can spend less time doing the grunt work, and more time growing your business.
1. Create routines that work for you.
Everyone’s different, so we can’t tell you whether waking up at 5am will be more help or hindrance in creating a daily routine that suits you. Either way, paying attention to the situations you work well in, and which ones you don’t, lets you establish routines that work for you.
Same goes for getting ready for a shoot or client meeting. Working out a routine that works gets you in the habit of getting ready – so it’s less likely that you’ll forget to bring something important.
2. Automate as much as possible.
The less time you spend chasing up invoices, quoting customers and trying to get to ‘inbox zero’, the more time you can spend on marketing your business and creating exceptional photos. Studio Ninja automates customer service for you. That means all your invoices, quotes, reminders and even emails can be sent without you having to lift a finger.
Automating processes means that you have fewer plates to juggle and frees up brain capacity for the rest of your business.
3. Find a time management system that works for you.
Time is money, and just like there are a million of ways to manage your finances, there are a million to manage your time. While you’ll ultimately have to figure out a system that works for you, we’d recommend blocking your time into manageable chunks. If you can dedicate half an hour solely to admin and half an hour to retouching, you’re likely to get a lot more done than if you had tried to multitask.
If you struggle to stick to the one task for a period of time, try the Pomodoro method. Pomodoro’s claim to make you work more efficiently by breaking your time into 25-minute periods of work, followed by a short break.
4. Streamline your workflow.
Mapping out your workflow keeps you on task and gives you a tangible to-do list. Figuring out your workflow can be as simple as designing an Excel spreadsheet. If keeping track of a spreadsheet seems like a lot of work, services like Studio Ninja go above and beyond to streamline and automate your workflow for you. Studio Ninja will set reminders for you, automatically keep in touch with your clients and let you know what’s due, when.
Whether you want to keep track of your workflow yourself, or let a software service help do the work for you, establishing a great workflow ensures an exceptional customer experience and prevents jobs from falling through the cracks.
5. Make your invoices plain and simple.
When it comes to invoicing, the simpler the better. You want to get paid, and the best way to do that is to make the process as painless as possible for your clients. Try not to overcomplicate things. Either ask for a deposit first and final payment later, or make it a neat 50/50 split between when they hire you, and when you shoot on the day.
Same goes for getting them to transfer the money. Don’t give too many options – credit card is always available and generally the simplest way!
With these tricks under your belt, you’re sure to free up a little extra time throughout the working week for other activities and duties!
Special thanks to Chris Garbacz for this article – Dad, entrepreneur, trouble maker! Chris is the co-founder of Studio Ninja, the world’s most user-friendly studio management software specifically designed for photographers as well as the owner and photographer of Epic Photography, a Melbourne based photography studio with 11 years of experience and over 600 weddings under his belt!