Have you ever wondered why in the world you thought it was a good idea to start a photography business in the first place? Or found yourself just completely wanting to call it quits because you just can’t handle it anymore. My own personal favorite is wanting to curl up in a ball in bed and never come out again…ignoring any and all emails, my entire editing queue, any other responsibilities, and all clients. 😵💫
Who’s been there? 🙋♀️ I know I’m not alone.
Normally all of these feelings happen during busy season. Am I right? And normally they happen because you’re just too incredibly overwhelmed with everything going on that you’re struggling to keep up with anything. Especially anything that’s not related to just taking pictures. Except that sometimes you find yourself so overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything else that it sucks the creative juice right out of you. And that’s just not cool.
My guess is the reason you’re feeling this way is because you don’t have solid (or any) systems in place in your business to support you. Am I right? It’s okay to be honest with yourself - there’s no shame-game going on here or need to be embarrassed.
Here’s the thing. I know that if you’re feeling this way it’s because you don’t have solid systems in place because that’s how I felt when I didn’t have systems in place in my business. Honestly, girlfriend, the only way to get rid of that big, overwhelming, can’t do it feeling? Is to put solid, effective systems in place so that your business can support YOU.
“But Melissa. I don’t need systems. I can keep track of it all in my head or using a notebook.”
Babe. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out and your current “system” is in your head? That system clearly isn’t working for you and it’s time to create some legit systems that will help you get some time AND sanity back into your life. You can give me whatever reason you think you need to about why you don’t need systems; I’ve heard them all.
And my answer will always be “that’s exactly why you DO need systems in your life.”
Think you don’t need systems? Think again.
Here’s the thing about utilizing systems in your business. Not only do they help make keeping track of all of your clients easier. And save you up to 3 hours every single day. They also help you deliver a consistent experience to your clients, which gives you more happy clients. They help you keep your eye on the ball so you can take on fun, new opportunities because you know your systems are running things in the background.
But my favorite thing that systems do in your business? They cut out all of the tiny little decisions and tasks that you have to make on a daily basis to take care of your clients.
And when you cut out all of those tiny little decisions? It saves your creative juices and energy for bigger, more important things because all of those little things are happening on autopilot and you don’t have to think of them. Which means you have energy to be suuuuuper creative on your next wedding day or engagement session. It means that you have all kinds of creative energy to market your business and get new clients (that will be on-boarded by a beautiful, personal system).
You see where I’m going here? You’re not so overwhelmed that you can’t think straight because you’ve got systems to take care of all of the little things for you.
“But Melissa…how do I even know where to get started building systems?” 😳
Don’t worry, friend. Your girl is going to break it down for you. 🙂
- Ask yourself: Where are you spending most of your time and energy? This is the very first thing you need to systemize in your business.
- How can you make this easier or less stressful? What system (checklist/workflow/automation) can you put in place so this will take up less of your time and energy?
- Break that big scary thing down into smaller pieces/phases. Then take 1 of those phases, and map out of the steps that you take in it. Identify what pieces of collateral (email template, scheduler, etc.) that you need, and create it.
- Then build that system in your CRM, or create your master to-do list template.
Still not sure how to put this into practice? Let’s work through an example.
Let’s say you’re spending 3 hours a day responding to and writing emails. You’re answering client questions, responding to vendors, trying to get invoices sent out…see where I’m going here? Now that we know this is where you’re spending most of your energy, here’s what to do about it.
- Create an email template bank. Take any email that you’ve sent more than TWICE, copy it, and drop it into a Google Doc. Add a title to it so you can easily find it. Then, next time you have a client asking you if there are any ways they should prep for their engagement session? You can just copy your template, tweak it a little bit, and send it. Saving yourself anywhere from 10-30 minutes (especially if you’re sending emails manually.
- If you keep getting this same email from clients? Maybe it’s time to set up an automated email to get sent out to your clients proactively a week or two before their engagement session so you DON’T have to answer the email, but instead are giving your clients the information they need before they realize they need it. Don’t have a CRM to do this? You can schedule emails in Google too. 😉
BONUS: If you’re the worst at getting invoices sent and are tired of chasing down clients to get paid, get my FREE Pay-Day Automation right here. This will walk you through all of the steps you need to take to automate your invoicing and payments.
And here’s the thing. If even the thought of going through this process on your own gives you the heebie-jeebies? I’ve got your back. To help you get rid of this overwhelm is exactly why I started Virtually Done Systems and I’m here for you to help make your life easier. Here are all of the ways that we can work together. Ready to just dive in and get your systems in place, stat? Let's do it! Reach out here to get the process started.
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