Many people dream of working for themselves, being their own boss, and having the freedom to only take on clients and projects they love.
What they don’t realize, though, is that there is a huge difference between building a business and being self-employed.
Business owners scale their income. Self-employed people trade dollars for hours.
Business owners leverage the skills and talents of others. Self-employed people rely only on their own skills.
Discouraged yet? Don’t be. Every business owner started out self-employed. Just don’t stay there. These tips will help you build a sustainable photography business instead of just another job.
Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself
Building a sustainable photography business requires that you leverage the talents and time of others. While it might seem cost-effective to simply do everything yourself—especially in the start-up phase when you likely have more time than money—it’s a path to burnout and stress.
Instead, separate your tasks into those that you love and are especially suited for (such as working with your clients and marketing) and those you dislike and aren’t good at (such as editing or bookkeeping). Then make a solid plan to get those that you aren’t good at off your list of things to do. If you feel like you can’t afford to outsource it all right now, start with what you tend to procrastinate the most on, even if it’s just a few hours each month.
Don’t Allow Yourself to Work All the Time
The trouble with working at home is that you live at work. And that means that there’s no clear line in the sand between your work day and your home life.
Since there’s always work to do, it’s easy to find yourself working every available moment—often to the detriment of your family relationships.
You can help avoid this by:
- Setting—and maintaining—clear work hours
- Having an office with a door you can close when you’re done
- Scheduling time for family and other activities
- Taking time for yourself
Vacations and Downtime Are Important
Don’t create a business that requires you to be “in the office” every day. At the start, you may need to be available more, but you should definitely be planning for the day when you can be “off the grid” for extended periods of time.
- Have trusted help who can handle things when you’re not available
- Leverage automation tools such as autoresponder systems
- Create repeatable systems so you’re not always re-inventing the wheel
One of the systems we utilize is 17hats. This system allows us to create workflows, email templates, and to do lists to assign to our prospects and clients. We can check where we are in the process with each individual by opening the client portal and looking at the progress of their workflow. We also have the ability to automate emails to keep the communication consistent and timely.
By having a repeatable system in place, you not only will reduce stress of trying to remember everything you need to do with each client, but will give everyone you interact with the same experience. This consistency will set you apart in your market as a professional and contribute to the overall excellent client experience.
While you might not be able to hit the road with no internet access for weeks at a time, at the very least you should be able to reduce your workload.
Sound impossible? It’s not. With some forethought and planning, you can create a team—and the systems they need—to successfully run your business without becoming overwhelmed and overworked.