Hey friends! As a photographer, do you take dedicated business time for your business?
When was the moment you realized your photography hobby became a business? Am I wrong in assuming it might have came late, harshly … and during the ever dreaded tax season? If so, you are definitely not alone.
Maybe you thought you’d see how many people were actually interested in your services before ‘getting serious’ and before you knew it you were booked up. Now you’re stuck on improving your client experience, overall finances, general time management and more. Photography, the thing you used to enjoy, has now turned into something overwhelming you don’t know if you can handle.
But worry not! The best trick to transitioning your photography from a hobby to a legitimate business is by implementing business time every week, or what I’m going to call “CEO Time.”
So what on earth is CEO time?
- One to two dedicated hours every week to look at your photography business from a business owner’s view.
What do you do during this dedicated “CEO time” every week?
- Reflect on what is and isn’t working for your business. What has been going well for you lately? Look back on your marketing, blog posts, client interactions … anything to give you a better idea of what you can improve upon and what needs to change.
- Track finances, clients and schedules. If you don’t have a dedicated client experience funnel from inquiry to follow up after final images, your business is suffering. Take this dedicated time to create systems that simplify your life and free up your time.
- Set short and long term goals. What are you hoping to accomplish this month? Where do you see your business a year from now? Taking time every week to check in with these goals can make them more attainable and ensures you stay focused on following through.
I have always stressed the importance of time tracking and it’s no different when it comes to penciling in your CEO time. Without this dedicated time each week, the ‘business’ parts of your business can take the back burner, which only ends up burning you in the long run. This is why I recommend staying ahead of it by taking your time every week to get yourself in order!
Why is business time for photographers so important?
- It gives you dedicated time to look at your business from a birds eye view. You have a chance to understand what’s really going on, plan and stop reacting to situations as they arise. Being in a ‘reactive’ state as a business owner can lead to burnout. You have to put yourself first. Every aspect of your business will suffer when this is out of balance.
- It helps you get into the mindset that you truly are a successful business owner and not just someone with a fun hobby. Your business deserves dedicated time to ensure your continued success and growth. You ARE a CEO! Start acting like one.
When should you pencil in CEO time?
- The way I handle my CEO time is by scheduling it at the beginning of each week and the end of each week. You don’t have to spend hours on this. (Remember that once you get over that initial hurdle of starting, it all becomes more manageable and less stressful, in turn taking less time the longer you stick with it.)
In addition to a weekly check in, you need to also schedule CEO time:
- Finance breakdown. What are your finances looking like? Have you been tracking your business write offs for tax season? When you make this a regular part of your schedule, you lessen the risk of financial blunders.
- Content (marketing) planning. What do you want to focus on for your message this month? How can you show up online in a way that feels good to you and your community?
- Overall business planning. Make sure you’re staying on top of everything by sitting down monthly to go over your business as a whole.
- Goals check. Are you hitting the goals you’ve set for yourself? Do you need to pivot? Have your goals potentially changed?
- Needs check. Are your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs being met? As the cliche, but true, saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Where can you give yourself a little grace? Where can you ask for help?
To give you an actual look of what all of this breaks down into for my own life as a systems specialist for photographers, here’s my weekly CEO time outline!
Every Monday I take one hour to:
- Answer about 15 questions for a mental check in. A few include,
- Am I burnt out?
- Am I staying consistent?
- What am I proud of for last week?
- What got in my way last week?
- Update my client tracker with any new inquiries or warm leads. This ensures I don’t accidentally ‘ghost’ anyone, hurt feelings and in turn, my professional reputation.
- Schedule my week. I start with my personal commitments and time off, then build from there, moving to client work and my to do list.
- A mini finance update. I check in on transactions and keep that system updated, so I’m never falling behind or miss inputting important financial information. (A must for when tax season rolls around!)
Then every Friday I take no more than 30 minutes to record:
- Gratitude. What am I grateful for? Who am I grateful for? Keeping yourself in a positive mindset as a business owner is such an important aspect for not only your mental health, but telling the universe that you appreciate what you have and are ready for more good things to come your way!
- Celebrations. I make sure I take the time to celebrate the small and big wins. I include things from my personal and professional life. Do you take the time to do this as well, or are you always in search of the next best thing? Take a minute to breathe and celebrate where you are.
- Frustrations. What have I been struggling with? What was hard for me? As I get myself clear on these things every week, it helps me know what I need to put down, change my approach on, or outsource so it’s not on my plate anymore.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to organize your week and need a little boost, download my 4 Day Work Week freebie! I have worked with countless photographers since the start of my business and assisted them in organizing their business and personal life, to be the most successful they can be. This is the perfect chance to get inside my mind and see how I put systems to work, so that they work for you!
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Here for you always,