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When you're self-employed as a photographer (or anything else, for that matter), it can be difficult to find the right balance between personal and professional life.
Yet, if you are unable to learn how to keep those realms of your life in good balance, you run the risk of burning out.
In this guide, I offer a few tried-and-true photography business tips that have helped me achieve my business goals while also having time to spend with my family.
Let's get started!
Rely on the Expertise of Others
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Self-employed workers are often go-getters. But if you're like me, sometimes you think you can do it all when in reality, you need help.
As a successful professional, you must surround yourself with people who can help you build and maintain a successful business.
Whether that's hiring an accountant to maintain your books and do your taxes or working with an attorney to draw up your client contracts, it’s important to surround yourself with experts.
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One area that I see photographers neglect is having the appropriate insurance.
Perhaps you may assume that your homeowner's insurance will cover your photography gear in the event of a flood or fire since you work from home.
However, unless you rely on the expertise of an insurance agent, you might not know that homeowner's insurance does not always guarantee coverage for professional photography gear.
I would take that a step further and say that as a professional photographer, you not only need an insurance agent but one who specializes in providing coverage for photographers.
This is an important point because there are many special circumstances in which you need to have the appropriate coverage.
Athos Insurance Services, for example, offers a specific program for professional photographers that protects your gear whether you're at home, across town, or across the world.
Furthermore, their comprehensive equipment policy covers specific perils that you are likely to encounter such as accidental damage caused by water or fire. Their policy covers your gear if it's damaged in a windstorm, an earthquake, acts of terrorism, and even if it's damaged during shipping. Theft of your gear is also covered.
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But what makes companies like Athos Insurance Services so great for photographers is that they make it quick and easy to get coverage.
Let's face it - you don't have a ton of extra time to read long, confusing insurance policies and deal with difficult quoting processes.
That's why Athos offers easy online quotes 24/7. You can buy coverage that's customized to your specific needs any time, day or night!
Accidents happen, and the last thing you want to do is roll the dice and try to operate without the right kind of coverage.
Instead of spending your nights and weekends worried about what might happen to your gear or trying to decipher complicated insurance lingo, do yourself a favor and connect with Athos Insurance Services.
Relying on their experience and expertise is a great way to protect your business while helping you create a better balance between work and leisure time as well.
It's a win-win!
Make a Daily Schedule...But Be Flexible
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Let me start by first saying that working as a photographer means that you'll be working morning, noon, night, weekends, and perhaps even holidays.
That’s why setting a definite schedule for each workday can be a difficult task.
However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to create one.
My schedule today includes multiple calls to existing clients, a lunch meeting with a potential client, a Skype meeting with my website team, and various other activities.
Tomorrow, my schedule could be totally different.
The point is that I've created those schedules so I know what I need to do over the course of the day to prevent tasks from falling through the cracks. Besides, it's so satisfying to mark something off the schedule when it gets done!
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Another thing to keep in mind is to remain flexible with your schedule and not get stressed out by changes that occur.
Sometimes things happen and a client will need to push their photo shoot back by 30 minutes or perhaps even to tomorrow or next week.
But that doesn't have to be a stress-inducing event for you if you have your daily tasks outlined for a few days in advance.
When that happens to me, I simply plug something else into that time. For example, if a client is going to be half an hour late, I use that time to do a little social media marketing so I can remain productive.
There's always something to do when you're self-employed, and by being organized with your schedule and flexible with it as well, you will be able to get much more accomplished during the workday and have less to worry about when it's time to unplug from work.
Let Others Help You
I don't know about you, but I'm not the kind of person that usually likes to ask for help. If there's a problem, I want to fix it.
But in business, there's just some things you can't fix on your own, so you have to rely on others with the right expertise to solve the problem.
When PhotographyTalk started about a decade ago, I had constant problems with website uptime. Our host was terribly unreliable, so the website was constantly down.
It's hard to make sales when your website shows an error message...
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So, finally, I asked for help. A good buddy of mine that knows much more about hosting than I do recommended OVH.
I took his advice, partnered up with OVH, and it has been one of the best business decisions I've made.
I don't have to stay up nights worrying about whether the site is actually up or not, nor do I have to spend hours a week on the phone with technical support and customer care trying to figure out what the problem is.
Instead, since switching to OVH, this website has had over 99.9 percent uptime.
It might seem like a trivial thing to have reliable hosting, but trust me, good hosting is something that's easily taken for granted.
If you want a better balance between work and life, surround yourself with partners that actually deliver on their promises and give you reliable products and services.
OVH certainly fits the bill, so if you've had troubles keeping your photography website up and running, head over to OVH and experience what it's like to have worry-free hosting!
Set Boundaries and Expectations
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When you're self-employed, you might feel as though you need to be available to clients at all hours of the day and night. That's especially true when you're just starting out.
The problem with that is that there's no way you can be available all the time - at least not if you want to keep your sanity and prevent getting burned out.
That means that you need to set boundaries and expectations not just for yourself but for your clients, your friends, and your family, too.
Obviously when you're shooting a wedding on a Saturday night, your Monday to Friday hours of 8-5 don't apply. But making your clients aware of your typical business hours and setting that boundary will help you separate work from personal time.
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Setting boundaries with your friends and family is important as well.
For example, my wife gets home from work at about 4:00 pm each day, so I strive to be done with my work by 4:00 pm each day as well. This way I can spend time with her and my son.
And while that boundary that we've set works on most days, I have also set the expectation with her that sometimes I have to work later than 4:00 pm.
I have clients from all over the world, so sometimes I need to be on a call with them later in the day to accommodate their schedule.
Setting boundaries and expectations is all about communication. As long as you're clear with your clients and loved ones about what you need to do and when, you should be more successful in achieving the coveted work/life balance.