Image: The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers
These days, running a wedding photography business that values speed and efficiency is the rule, not the exception. And, running a successful business is a central theme of successful photographers who are passionate about their artistry. Running an efficient, streamlined business doesn’t mean sacrificing your art or producing a poor product. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!
Creating an efficient business ensures that you’ll be financially stable and have time to create high-quality, artistic work. And it’s your art that inspired you to go into business in the first place, right?
Here are 5 ways that being efficient empowers your photography:
1. It allows you to stay focused on your passion and your strengths.
What is it about your photography that you love? How you answer will likely identify your passion. But as we all know, running a photography business requires much more than simply focusing on your passions. The truth is, roughly 15% of your time is used taking awesome pictures! That leaves 85% of your remaining time devoted and dedicated to making sure the business will allow you to focus on the 15% you LOVE doing 🙂
Setting up efficient business practices will create time for you to focus your passions, on personal projects, on serving and loving your clients. And, this will allow you to stay happy.
2. It gives you freedom to be creative.
Photographers all know what “busy season” feels like. There are shoots on the calendar seemingly every day, a steady stream of emails to catch up on, phone calls to return, bookkeeping to deal with, social media, album design, new client meet-ups, current client management, vendor networking, blogging, editing all of those shoots, and the list goes on!
With so much to do in so little time, it’s easy to lose your creative spark. Yet that creativity is exactly what your clients love about you! To keep them happy and to give you the creative space to do your best work, it’s critical to set up efficient business systems. Efficiency actually allows you to have (gasp!) freedom to keep that creative head space.
3. Efficient business practices make you money.
Although it may sound counterintuitive, investing in services that streamline your business will save you money in the long term. For instance, outsourced services save you money because of the opportunity cost that goes along with the hours they free up. Instead of spending all that time editing (or doing your own taxes), you could take on more shoots, work on your marketing materials, or start doing more in-person sales meetings–all of which are activities that actually make money! Aside from opportunity cost, when you factor in the time that you spend editing, your hourly rate suddenly drops drastically–and you’re actually not making as much money as you could.
4. Faster delivery to your clients = happy clients.
As busy season is in full swing, you’ll start finding yourself getting farther and farther behind with weddings that need to be edited, uploaded for proofing, and blogged and shared. You know that dreaded email could come at any moment – that email from your client asking, “When can we see our photos?” It’s true, your clients (and their happiness with you) are directly impacted by lag time.
By setting up systems that help in the areas you need it most, you’re able to keep your clients happy and exceed their expectations with fast turnaround times. You can share their photographs when they’re still most excited, soon after the shoot. Keeping your clients happy means they’ll turn into enthusiastic referrers and evangelists that will keep you in business for the long haul.
5. Because beating burnout means taking time off.
Entrepreneurs and artists are alike in many ways. They’re creatives, they’re innovators, and they’re thinkers. That means burnout looms like a threatening chasm, unless there’s time to breathe, explore new ideas, and wander into quiet thought. That’s exactly why efficiency can cultivate creativity and empower your photography. It gives you control over the tedious tasks of being in business so you can beat burnout by letting your right brain maintain its freedom.
Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, discussed the many qualities that set Jobs apart from other innovators, including his commitment to Zen Buddhism. Although each entrepreneur and artist practices different forms of “taking time off,” actually taking time to think and explore protects you from burnout.
The bottom line is that the best thing you can do for yourself as a creative is to take yourself seriously as a business owner. When your left-brain puts in the effort to create efficient, streamlined systems for your business, your right brain with see the return! You’ll once again enjoy your business for the reason you started it–your passion for photography.
Image: The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers shared this smart graph on their blog. To read more, check out their post.