We have a photography “slow” season and I say that lightly because even though it’s slower, there are many things we should improve upon every year. In the 13th podcast episode on All Angles Photography Podcast, we will chat through goal setting, evaluating the back end of your business so it’s set up for success by the time the busy season comes back around, content creation, finances, marketing, your workspace, and so much more. If you’ve wondered how to make the most of your photography slow season, this is the episode for you. You can listen in below, or keep reading for more.
This time of year, we’re all beginning to reflect and I believe in creating goals over resolutions. I used to think I wasn’t good at reaching my goals because I thought it was one and the same with resolutions. It’s definitely not, so let’s chat about the difference.
RESOLUTION: A decision to do or not to do something – more of an open-ended promise to yourself.
GOAL: Your target and the desired outcome that you hope to attain. Goals have a definite and precise endpoint.
If you’ve never actually written out your goals, I want to challenge you to start now for this next year. This is how you determine where you need help in reaching these goals AND you can 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 measure your success.
In addition to figuring out what’s working and what’s not, your marketing strategies are so important to revisit. Your marketing is how you continue growing your business and getting more and more inquiries and bookings. So I’d recommend looking at your top lead generators. See what marketing channels are giving you the most return and if you’re spending hours on something that’s giving you nothing, then you may be able to determine that it’s not worth your effort. It takes time to grow on any marketing channel and you do have to be consistent with it, so if you’re feeling good about the top 2 or 3 marketing channels you’ve been focusing on, then move on to mastering another to bring in more inquiries and bookings.
Improve your website in literally any way that you can! When we’re in the middle of the busy season, it’s hard to find the time to even update in the slightest. Use this time when you’re shooting a bit less to update your photos and copy to make sure it’s really targeting your dream couples. You don’t have to invest in a full website rebrand or designer if you don’t have the time or funds for that, but definitely make sure that your photos and copy are really displaying the ideal client you’re trying to attract. I say ideal client lightly, right, because it goes so much further than the surface-level ideal client avatar, but really target the couples you’ve loved working with and help them navigate your site easily so they end up contacting you.
I’d really ensure that your website communicates who you are, what you do, and who you serve. You want to stand out from the crowd because every couple likely has 10 tabs open looking for their dream photographer, so ask yourself – what makes you different? Why should they pick you over another photographer? In answering these questions and writing the copy on your site, just make sure it’s mostly, if not always, talking about them rather than you. That’s how you really make your dream couple feel seen and like they can’t help but want to reach out.
I’m always trying to improve my workflows within Dubsado, my CRM (you can use the code clairehuntphoto to get 20% off your first month or year if you’re in need of a CRM). Having workflows was one of the first steps I took in creating a streamlined client experience. Instead of having to keep the next steps for each couple in your head, your CRM will either be automated to send out the next step or notify you of the next step for each project. I use my slow season to evaluate what I felt was working well in my workflows, what needs to change, and maybe any steps I need to add. There’s so much that goes into client experience, and if you don’t have workflows set up, this is one of the first things I recommend doing to improve your client experience. If you want to learn more about improving your client experience and figure out why it’s even important in the first place, listen to episode 2 of All Angles – 3 Tips to Improve Your Photography Client Experience.
Just like if you don’t have workflows set up, then you probably don’t have email templates set up. If you’ve ever had a question asked more than once or you’ve had to send the same sort of email more than once, you need an email template for it. This will save you so much time when you’re in the thick of the busy season so that you’re not spending hours upon hours trying to figure out the right things to say. If you’ve struggled with knowing what to say or even the types of emails you should be sending and when, then check out the email templates on my website shop. There are over 25 emails that I use for my entire workflow that I’m stoked to be sharing them with you.
Any kind of content planning is so helpful. If you can take advantage of your slow season to map out your content pillars and exactly what you’re wanting to share. Once you’ve determined your goals and the marketing channels that are working for you or that you just want to put more effort into, you have more of a strategy. With this strategy, you can be really intentional about all of the content you’re sharing either on Instagram, Pinterest, your blogs, your email marketing newsletters, and more.
For your marketing, it’s so important to not just throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks. Your dream couples will come across your marketing in some way and you want to be sure that everything you share compliments each other. I personally love using Notion to help me organize all of my thoughts and content planning. But using some kind of physical or digital planning template is my top tip to not feeling overwhelmed with this.
Once you do map out your goals for the next year, evaluate the goals you didn’t meet, what’s working and what’s not, and use this time in your slower season to invest in your business where you need the help. Maybe that could look like templates that you struggle to create yourself, a course teaching you something you’re not the best at, a coach to really guide you through the next steps you need to take in order to grow, or even a coaching program if you’re looking to really master a topic in a really in-depth way.
Every single time I’ve invested in my education, it’s been a little scary, only because you don’t really know what you’re getting until you click that purchase button. I have invested over $60,000 in my education, no joke. I do this because I’m always learning, growing, and scaling.
When it comes to finding the right education for you, know your goals and choose someone who’s done exactly what you’re wanting to do. This ensures that you can see those same results. I’ve never regretted investing in my business and it’s so rewarding to see your return on investment quicker than you would if you do it all on your own. I encourage you to take a leap of faith and invest in your business in this way.
It’s important to do monthly bookkeeping so that when it comes to the end of the year, you’re ready for tax time. It’s also important to have statistics on how well your business is performing and how balanced your expenses are your income. One thing most creative entrepreneurs fail to do is really understand their finances, work toward financial stability, and grow. If you’ve never read the book Profit First, I highly recommend it. It’s not the most fun read if you don’t enjoy finances and money talk, but it gives you so much advice on how to manage your income, invest, pay yourself, plan for retirement, and so much more.
In addition to knowing what your finances look like and your CODB, I encourage you to raise your prices. If you haven’t raised your prices in a while, do so now! Every year you’re growing, learning, investing, gaining more experience, up-leveling your client experience, and outsourcing. It’s important that your pricing reflects and accounts for all of that growth. If you’re scared to raise your prices, then consider just raising each package a couple of hundred dollars to start. And then from there once you have maybe 5-7 bookings at that price, go ahead and raise again.
If you struggle with having a workspace you’re excited to work in or edit in, then head over to my Amazon Storefront to see all of my favorite office essentials. Additionally, you can move your desk, get a new plant or photos printed that inspire you, grab a new candle, diffuse essential oils, purchase new furniture, and so much more.
Lastly, organizing your workspace so that it’s decluttered and functional is so important for productivity. I know when I clean up my desk, I feel much more inspired to work there vs. on the couch.
I couldn’t end this without also saying that as creative entrepreneurs, we’re always trying to grow or do the next thing. But we fail to rest and I mean really rest. Through the busy season, we’re going HARD all the time. Whether that’s with shooting most weekends or evenings, traveling all over the place, and then editing everything you’ve just photographed, I strongly urge you to take time to rest in your slow season.
You will not grow or scale in any way if you’re burnt out and not giving your clients your best. This cannot be skippep. Schedule your days off, use time blocking, and plan out your week so that you can have time for rest, knowing everything that’s nonnegotiable will get done. If you’re looking for more tips on productivity and just managing your schedule, check out episode 6 of All Angles – Inbox Overwhelm? 4 Ways to Improve Your Productivity.
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