When it comes to your wedding photography business, there are several different areas that you can focus on to help grow it and increase your profits. At first, you may find yourself working on your own, in charge of every aspect of your business. If you are just starting out, like many weddings photographers, this can be an exciting time, because you are the boss and in control of every decision that is made. As you book more weddings and fill your calendar, though, what once was your dream job is now becoming stressful and unmanageable, because you have become too busy and overwhelmed with work.
You may attempt to hire an assistant and soon realize that it is time-consuming to try to teach and train someone all of the knowledge you have about your business, and your stress is still at a high. So how do you find a way to make your business scalable where you can work ON your business rather than IN it?
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn how to delegate.” – John. C Maxwell
In order to run a successful and thriving wedding photography business, it is essential to have a plan. Without one, you may find yourself working on your own in your business until you’re tired and overwhelmed. Being scalable and creating a plan allows you to implement proper systems that allow you to have more time taking pictures and less time working on other tasks. This results in you saving time, energy, and greatly reducing stress. Here are some tips on how to become scalable for your business and create and effective plan.
Image Compliments of Elmer Escobar Photography
Determine the Tasks Only You Can Do
To start, take some time and write out everything that you do, and make this list as detailed as possible. Planning for growth involves creating the systems ahead of time to sustain the growth. Document every step that is involved in each process so you have a thorough list of everything that goes into your daily, weekly, and monthly routine. By being as detailed as possible, it gives you the opportunity to determine what steps are actually necessary to complete certain tasks, and which steps can be eliminated. Try to make each task as streamlined as possible – remember, wedding photographers who spend less time working on tasks can dedicate that time to shooting!
“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.” – Richie Norton
Once you have refined and simplified your process, it is essential to determine which tasks require you to complete, and which can be delegated to others. If every step requires you, your wedding photography business cannot easily grow. As you work through this process, try to make the list of things that only you can do in your business as minimal as possible. These are the items that take your priority.
In our 5 Keys to Absolutely Succeeding Guide, we discuss a method famed investor, Warren Buffett, used with a former employee to help him narrow down what he should work on for success. He told the employee that,
“Dreams become reality as a result of three components,
- Knowing what you want.
- Learning the tools to get you there.
- Having the insane focus to combine the two.”
Warren then shared a few steps for his employee to take to find out what the most important items are and how they should be prioritized. For your wedding photography business, your steps would be to:
- List the 25 most important things for you to do for your business to succeed.
- Review each item and circle the top 5 that are most important to achieve your goal.
- Avoid everything else that is not on your 5 most important list.
The overall point from Warren’s example is that there is always something you can do for your business, but if it is not the most important, it does not need your attention. His final piece of advice was that once you master the 5 items on your list, you can then go back and choose 5 more. This is advice that works perfectly for wedding photographers, as well.
Bring in Help
To prevent feeling over-worked and stressed, you must have a plan for your wedding photography business, especially when it comes to hiring people. As your plan is developed and you have identified the tasks that only you can do, you also have a list of items that can be done by others.
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs
While it can be hard to let go of tasks and trust someone else to do them, this is a crucial part of your business plan in order to grow! Whether it be an in-house assistant or an external partner, you must delegate tasks that are not worth your time doing. The key to this step is bringing in the RIGHT help.
As you grow, and the demands for your time also increase, a specialist will help you deliver the best results to your clients while helping you stay creative. You specialize in wedding photography – you have a niche, vision, and brand built around your passions. Remember that, just like wedding photographers, companies and people that have chosen a specialty have that same level of passion and expertise in their chosen field.
They have spent time training in these specialties, and chances are, they are better at it than you are. More importantly, they can partner with you to make your company faster and more efficient which leads to growth. For example, by using ShootDotEdit for your wedding photography post production, you will optimize the speed of your post-shoot workflow. It can be hard to let go, but give yourself permission to trust others with your business.
“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” – David Ogilvy
Decide Which Tasks to Delegate
Bringing outside specialists into your wedding photography business to help you execute your growing list of tasks can save you time, headaches, and even improve the areas where your output isn’t the best you know it could be. So now your question becomes, “What do I outsource?” The answer for many wedding photographers is:
- Outsource the things you can’t do yourself
- Outsource the things you don’t enjoy to do
- Outsource the things that others can do for less than it costs you to do
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” – Jessica Jackley
Things you cannot do yourself could be tasks such as accounting or bookkeeping. Certain tasks that you do not enjoy could be editing, album design, blogging, or print sales. As a wedding photographer, some of those items are just not your favorite – and that’s okay! Not all wedding photographers have to enjoy those tasks. Additionally, those are also items on your plate that others can do for less than it costs you to do. In the end, you have to think about how much it costs you in money and in time. Your time is valuable and needs to be split properly to ensure you achieve the goals you set.
When you eliminate the tasks on your plate that take too much of your time, make you unhappy, or cost you, you can then focus on the tasks you are good at and you LOVE. These are tasks like taking pictures, meeting with clients, building your brand, or networking with vendors. With a focus on the most important tasks, you will have less on your plate. With fewer tasks to distract you, you can focus on what you get paid to do – be a photographer – without other obligations getting in the way!
The other tasks on your plate, such as the ones mentioned above, can be assigned to an employee or outsourced to an expert. You can work with them to establish a healthy rapport as they work effectively toward your business’s progression. Keep in mind, when you plan for growth, you plan for your wedding photography business’s sustainability. Have direction and strategically plan the steps to reach your business goals.
It really is no secret that success takes a lot of hard work. When you master your systems and take the steps to work on your business instead of in it, you will find that your business can grow faster than you ever imagined. To learn more about creating an effective wedding photography business plan that helps you maintain your longevity, check out our free guide, How To Grow Your Wedding Photography Business. Throughout the guide, we share over 50 pages of tips, tricks, and advice pulled from over 20 successful professional photographers. With over 60 helpful articles that specifically address an area of business opportunity, you can continue to build on your plan and grow your business. Download your copy today!