It happens to every single photographer….
The horrible feeling when you know you have so much to get done and have no idea where to start.
The feeling of complete and total overwhelm that makes you want to run away screaming when you glance at your to do list.
For photographers like me, it starts with taxes to file, images to back up and retouch, orders to process, calls to return. Oh and that little task that never goes away – marketing.
Everything on your to do list has to get done, but where do you start? And more importantly, how do you avoid this problem in the future?
Today I’m going to share with you 3 tips to help you overcome the overwhelm in your photography business and how to plan for the future.
Make a game plan.
I find that what gets me in trouble is when I jump around from task to task with no real plan for where I’m going. For example, checking my voicemail then jumping over to write an email, then jumping back into my cell phone before retouching images. Before I know it, I have 7 projects going and none have been finished.
To help me avoid the too many irons in the fire problem, I first identify 3 top priorities I want to accomplish TODAY. Then I physically block the time on my calendar to make sure they get done!
A quick tip on how to prioritize – I always make sure at least one of my tasks is something that is most likely to help me bring in revenue – from writing notes to making calls, setting up appointments, creating new products and more. Those things take priority on my to do list most days. I’ll be talking more about how I prioritize those marketing tasks on my free webinar next week. You can grab a set here if you’re interested.
Clean up your database.
Everyone has a database. It’s your little black book of contacts that includes everyone from your friends, family, people you do business with and paying clients. But more than just that how to reach them, it includes valuable information about each contact that helps you create opportunities for business like:
*ages & names of their kids
*family hobbies (boating, swimming, skiing, basketball)
*schools they attend or attended
*purchase history (baby #1 got a painted canvas at 6 months so be sure to follow up at 6 months with baby #2 for the same thing)
*home decorating style
The database I use is web-based, and I schedule time on my calendar every week (just 30 minutes) to update it with new information on my clients and prospects as well as look for other opportunities. What this does is it ensures that when business slows down at my photography studio instead of panicking about how I can get the phone to ring, I have a pile of opportunities waiting for me to jump on in my database. For more on how I use my database, you can check out this free training here.
Be proactive, not reactive.
As creatives we get wrapped up in the excitement of the newest thing that comes our way. We are all guilty of this. But if you find yourself reacting to opportunities as they arise more often than planning for them, you need a better plan. Here’s why.
When you react to opportunities that fall in your lap, you’re behind and scrambling at the last possible second. Yikes.
The other downside to reacting is you’re not fully in control of the results of your effort and you often don’t have time to truly assess the potential of the opportunity. When you proactively plan your activities, you KNOW what your goals are and how you are going to achieve them.
I’ve found the marketing opportunities that perform best are the ones I plan for. Activities like speaking locally to a group of new moms, co-marketing with another small business and creating a marketing plan. I’ll be talking more about how I prioritize these opportunities next week on a free webinar. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check it out here.
About Sarah Petty
Sarah Petty was named one of the most profitable photography studio owners in the United States by Professional Photographers of America. She is a New York Times best-selling marketing author of Worth Every Penny: Build a Business that Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You’re Worth, MBA and boutique marketing expert who has inspired thousands of boutique business owners to use beautiful marketing to take their business to the next level. Sarah teaches marketing at her company Joy of Marketing.