Is it even possible to run a full time photography business when you have a full time job??? I think all of my photography friends will agree that building a photography business is not a small task. I know I am not alone in running a full time business alongside a full time job, part time job, or even all the mothers out there that are running a business from home while taking care of their kids.
I have a day job in health care that consumes a lot of my time and energy. I work a job in health care that has 10 hour days, 7 days in a row- then get a wonderful 7 days off. After a full seven days of working, I am tired. It is hard
to muster up the energy to come home and start editing, write a blog post, answer emails, or do all the things that running a small business requires.
To make a successful photography business grow, you need a few key elements to help balance your time between work, home life and photography. I think each of us have months where we feel on top of our game and months where we are just keeping our head above water. Workloads will change through the seasons, so I have realized to set appropriate goals for the time of year and schedule.
For Breanna McKendrick Photography, it has become necessary to have my six rules to success when running a business while working a full time job! When I am doing good with these rules, my work/life balance is better, I am happier around my husband and less intimidated by the never ending to-do list.
On the weeks that I work, I have to be real with my expectations of myself. I know that after a 10 hour day, I am tired. When I come home, I want to spend time with my husband, eat dinner and regenerate. I have to plan with the clear understanding that I am not super woman and it is ok to take the time I need to re-coup! Realistic expectations set yourself up for success.
Just as important as setting real expectations of myself, I have to be completely open and honest with my brides. I can’t promise to turn around sessions within 2 days as much as I would love to have that kind of turn around. It would be a huge disservice to my brides and to my business to get them excited for something I know I can’t deliver on with a full time job. I need to let my brides know an accurate time frame of when to expect their images and when to expect email responses from me. A bride who knows what to expect is a happy bride.
It is crazy how schizophrenic I feel sometimes working two jobs. One week I have my photographer hat on. The other week I have my medical technologist hat on. After a week of work at my day job, I can forget where I left off in my photography world. I have relied on creating systems to help me keep track where I am with each client, with editing, contracts, invoices, etc. For me, it as simple as having a google spreadsheet with each client name and workflow that I can check off as they are accomplish. I have to be diligent with keeping it up to date, but it is worth the work and time to prevent re-doing tasks already done, or worse, forgetting to do something all together.
I need to keep my gmail account organized into folders to help keep my brain on track (and not overwhelmed). I need to file my receipts weekly so my purse doesn’t turn into my filing cabinet. These are personal things that I have learned that I just need to do to keep clutter out of my business and keep my precious time focused on clients. Go through your business workflow and see where you and improve your organization to make things run more efficiently and productively!
Once you understand that you can do so much in one day, make a to do list that is only that long! I am sure I will blog about this one day, but I have a running list of all the things I want to get done in my business. It is a LONG list. From inspiration from a few other photographers out there, I call it “The BIG list”. Each photography work day, I take out a post-it note and write things I want to get done that day from the “Big List”. If it doesn’t fit on the post it note, an item gets scheduled for another day. This has helped me to prioritize and think about what really needs to be done first and not try and tackle a months worth of work in one day! A good side effect is I feel like a ROCKSTAR when I get to check off everything on my post-it. I feel finished and accomplished!
It is insanely easy to beat yourself up as a business owner. It is easy to get into a mindset that if you are not doing 100% all the time, you are a bad business owner. There have been times with my husband that we will be out to dinner and I will be feeling guilty that I am not at home working!! It is easy to let your business run your personal life and limit your family time together. Give yourself time to spend with those that matter most, without feeling guilty and without the weight of your workload.
I have my moleskin notebook of “ideas” that I carry around with me in my purse or sits on my desk in my office. It is for all the little things that are running through my head that I need to write down before I forget. At the last photography workshop I attended, we got these stickers and I think this is the perfect place for me to see it to encourage me to try and keep life a little more balanced between both of my jobs and living my life. Yes, it is always hard and I am certainly not a pro at this. Little by little I am improving and finding life is a little easier to run a business when you are being honest and realistic with your goals and expectations.
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AUSTIN & HOUSTON TEXAS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER