Think you can do it all? You can’t. The idea that you can manage the seemingly never-ending amount of to-do items by yourself is a myth. If you want to create a sustainable business and consistently give your clients a killer end product, chances are you’re going to need some help.
But regardless of who’s doing these tasks, the fact remains that it takes a lot to maintain a profitable photography business. And when you’re in the thick of a busy shooting season, you have to find ways to get it all done in an even more limited amount of time.
So how can you possibly stay on top of everything to ensure that things don’t start slipping through the cracks? Check out our three time management tips to save you time and enhance your profit margin.
1. Prioritize tasks that must be done by you versus those someone else can do.
Think about what makes your business unique and stand out from your competitors. Likely, it’s the unique way you interact with people, your shooting style, and the experience you give your client from start to finish. That means that tasks like meeting with leads, networking with vendors, and (of course) shooting are all tasks that you can put your unique handprint on. So they should definitely go on the list of tasks that must be done by you.
Tasks that aren’t generating profit and can be handed off to someone else probably should be. These activities include post-production, album design, accounting, and studio management. These tasks are important but they can be done by someone else.
2. Streamline the systems that you and your partners use
Whether you’re using an in-house employee to take care of client mailings or an outside partner to take care of your editing, make sure you have clear processes in place. The responsibilities belonging to you and your partners should be clearly delineated.
Having streamlined systems with clear deadlines for projects will ensure nothing falls through the cracks. If you’re using a wedding photo editing company like ShootDotEdit, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing process. You can still be responsible for culling and doing special edits on a handful of images. Or, if you prefer to be completely hands off, ShootDotEdit can take care of everything for you from start to finish. Whatever you choose, be sure to set up a system that you’ll be able to use consistently.
Also, make sure that your day-to-day business processes are set up for maximum efficiency. These daily systems such as how you backup images, your process for downloading cards, and scheduling for blogging all contribute to how efficiently you can do your job. It’s worth the extra time to outline these systems and make sure there aren’t needless redundancies or any holes in your system. Once you have streamlined systems in place, it will be easy to replicate the process for each and every shoot.
3. Set boundaries on your time
Though it may sound counterintuitive, you’re usually most productive when you have a limited amount of time. A limited time frame will force you to work most efficiently and stay focused. (No surfing the web or taking extended breaks when you’re under a tight deadline!) Setting deadlines and specific hours for particular tasks will make you more efficient with your time.
Try an experiment: For a few days in a row, set short, specific deadlines for particular tasks. You’ll most likely find that with deadlines in place, you’re able to get the same tasks done in a shorter amount of time, simply because you’re more focused when you work.
Training yourself to work in more focused periods of time like this will help you accomplish more during the day, which will (hopefully) mean less late nights in front of your computer. You’ll also be able to clearly see the areas where you’re consistently running out of time. Are you finding you never have enough time to complete all of your studio management tasks like mailing and print fulfillment? Or perhaps you’re never able to get your editing or album designs done in the set period of time you give yourself. Seeing this will enable you to find ways to get help in those areas so that you can maintain set hours for your business and enjoy some time away from your office!
Photo by Flickr User: john.schultz
For more information on what ShootDotEdit can do you for your business, download our free guide, How to Integrate ShootDotEdit into Your Workflow.