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My photography business has serious ups and serious downs. Since I’ve been running it for well over a decade, I understand when these ups and downs are going to hit, so I know how to budget for the periods when I don’t have a lot of income coming in. However, for someone less experienced than me, it can be really difficult to maximize your efficiency during busy seasons.
However, if you understand how to streamline your photography business, and you know how to use photography business tools like a photography business checklist, then you can take on more clients and make more money during the busy season, so you don’t have to stress during your downtime.
If you’re trying to learn how to prepare your photography business for the busy season, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to discuss some different organization tips for photographers in this article that will help you to maximize your profit in 2021.
Find Your Maximum Number of Clients
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No matter how well you prepare your photography business for the busy season, there is a maximum number of clients you can take on at one time.
You need to find this number and stick to it. This likely means that you won’t be able to take your maximum number of clients the first busy season you go through. In fact, it might take a few busy seasons for you to really understand how many clients you can take. But, it’s far better to take a little bit less than your maximum number of clients than to take more, since the quality of service those customers receive will suffer immensely.
I have made the mistake of saying “yes” far too often to my clients and I have missed deadlines and upset people because of it. Prepare your photography business for the busy season by figuring out exactly how much work you can do.
Don’t Shoot Outside of Your Niche
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We have all been in this scenario: you are absolutely slammed during your busy season, whether it be wedding season, graduation season, or the end of the fourth quarter, and a client comes to you begging you to shoot something that is completely out of your wheelhouse. Of course, if you want to keep that client, you want to tell them that you can shoot whatever they need you to. But, this isn’t how to best prepare your photography business for the busy season.
When it’s my busy season, I refuse to shoot outside of my photography niche. It helps me to fit in as many clients, in my niche, that I can. This, in turn, helps me build my reputation as the best (insert photography niche here) photographer in my city.
However, I don’t like to leave my clients hanging. So, during one of my less busy seasons, I created a list of trusted photographers in just about every photography niche I could. So, when clients come to me and ask me to shoot their house that they’re putting on the market, I can simply redirect them to someone who can help.
In order to prepare your photography business for the busy season, I recommend you do the same. Besides, you can even make some money on those recommendations.
Outsource as Much as Possible
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Another way to prepare your photography business for the busy season is to outsource as much as you can.
This is definitely one of my favorite photography business tips, even outside of my busy season, because I can bring in more money from my clients if I’m shooting more often and bookkeeping or editing less often. However, it is an absolute must in order to prepare your photography business for the busy season.
Depending upon who you ask, there are a few different ways to tackle outsourcing. I am a fan of the first method, which is to write down all of the parts of running your business that you don’t like and outsourcing these items first. Doing work that you don’t enjoy can be really draining, which means you’ll be less motivated to do the parts of your business that you love. If you’re trying to max out your client capacity, then less motivation is not ideal.
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The second method is to outsource the parts of your business that are cheapest. So, if you can hire a bookkeeper for $15/hour, while you would have to pay your editor $25/hour, then you should outsource bookkeeping before outsourcing editing. A lot of photographers advocate for this method because it keeps the most amount of money in your business.
The third and final method is to outsource the parts of your business that take up the most of your time. So, in the above scenario, if it only takes you an hour every week to do your bookkeeping, but it takes you 15 hours every week to do your editing, then it makes sense to outsource your editing because you can then take those 15 hours and shoot more clients with it. This method works best during the busy season. So, if you do opt for this method, I recommend that you hire a freelancer so you don’t have to outsource this work year round.
Automate as Much as Possible
If outsourcing is one great way to prepare your photography business for the busy season, then automating is another.
Given the sheer number of apps created for small businesses, you can pretty much automate almost every aspect of your business in order to truly prepare your photography business for the busy season.
However, I recommend that you start with automating your communications and invoicing with Podium.
Podium is a software that takes all of your messages, from your text messages to your emails to your DMs, and puts them all on one platform. So, you can stop jumping around from app to app to app all day. It has also helped me to remember who I haven’t responded to yet and to cut down on the amount of time it takes me to respond to clients, which has helped me gain more of them in the long run.
Podium doesn’t just automate your communication, though, because it also helps you automate your invoices. Podium relies on text messaging a lot. This means you can always reach your client wherever they are at. It also means you can send your invoices to your client automatically, which helps you spend less time chasing down clients for your payment.
Before you start to prepare your photography business for the busy season, check out Podium to see if it could work for you.