Creating systems that run almost on their own will help your wedding photography business to be as efficient as possible, ensuring that you never miss any crucial business tasks again. We invited Pittsburgh wedding photographer Leeann Marie, who also holds an Industrial Engineering degree, to share her secrets to help create automated systems for your workflow.
She listed 15 tips in this popular webinar we hosted in June, and we pulled 5 tips out that will help you to get more organized right away. Even if you only implement one tip a month, you will see an immediate difference in your business!
1. Make Invoicing Easy (So You Get Paid!)
Make invoicing as mindless as possible. It then becomes a task you don’t have to think about very often—and you still get paid! ShootQ is a great tool to use because it has invoicing built in along with all of your client information. Accounting software like Quickbooks can be another good resource for keeping track of invoicing and expenses, showing a full financial picture of your business. The final step is setting up your business with a credit card processing system. Clients are more likely to pay quickly if the process is as easy as possible for them.
2. Use the 5 Minute Rule
When unexpected items come up during the day, ask yourself: “Can I do this in 5 minutes or less?” If the answer is yes, then try to accomplish them in that moment. This helps to ensure that these unexpected tasks get done and not forgotten. This tip is great for both to-do lists and email inboxes—really any little task that can get done quickly. Alternatively, if the answer is no (it will take longer than 5 minutes), enter it in your to-do list to come back to when you have more time.
3. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule Your Social Media
Social media is becoming more and more important to a photography business, but managing it can feel like a full time job. By scheduling your social media in advance, you can take back some of that control. Set up systems to schedule your content in advance. Blogs run on WordPress can be written in advance and scheduled out in the Publish panel. Facebook posts can be scheduled directly in Facebook or by using an outside applications like Buffer. Systems like Buffer also allows you to schedule out statuses for services like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Experiment with scheduling at different days and times to see what works best for you at reaching your targeted clients.
Bonus—Link Online Tools
A site like IFTTT.com can link social media networks and can also create rules to help your business applications. You can set up a rule to have every Facebook tagged image saved to Dropbox or have every email with the word “receipt” or “invoice” in the title added to an Excel spreadsheet.
4. Outsource to Experts (and Trust Them!)
Outsource repetitive tasks to experts and allow yourself to be more useful doing specific tasks elsewhere. Whether you choose to outsource your post processing with ShootDotEdit or album design with Align, be sure to trust the experts you are hiring. When you have gone through a complete setup with an expert, do not spend time redoing the work when it comes back. It negates the point of outsourcing in the first place and can end up taking you more time.
5. Set Business Hours
The more you are clear about your working business hours, the more it allows you to step back when you say you are going to stop working for the day. Being clear in your communications, even putting your schedule on your email signature and work voicemail, helps you can have a cleaner quitting time. This clear start and end to your day helps you to be better able to serve your clients. If you know you like to sit down in the evening and answer emails, you can use tools like boomerang, to allow you to draft your responses and schedule the email to be sent during your posted hours. Then, all of your client-facing communication appears to be within your set timeframe.
These were 5 of our favorite tips from Leeann Marie on improving your business systems. For more tips on how you can improve your business this year, download our updated guide, How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business: 2015 Edition!