Hey, friends. Welcome back to another episode of the Business Journey podcast, I'm your host, Rebecca. And today we're talking about how I'm prepping for Q1 of 2022. First of all, I can't believe it's almost 2022. That's blowing my mind. So I'm excited to be able to dive in to talk about what I'm doing to get ready for the new year and for Q1. Before we jump too far, I wanted to let you know about a step by step blueprint I have available for you guys that I created this to help you hit your first $3000 in a single date of many sessions. So if you've either never run mini sessions or you have done many sessions before and you have never made $3000 or more from a single date of them, then this blueprint is for you. I like to call it a blueprint because it's like a house. Whenever you have a house blueprint in your building from it, it's repeatable, right? You can follow the steps and get this beautiful house. And so I wanted to design something for you guys that is repeatable, that you can take this checklist. Follow it step by step and see those amazing results. So I created that for y'all. No strings attached. Totally free. You can download it today. We'll link it in the show notes for you. But in case you like URLs, it's Rebeccaricephoto.com/3K-minis. That's the number three, the letter K Dash Minis and so you can grab that download and get started on prepping for your spring minis. So today we're going to talk about Q1 specifically and how I am preparing my business for Q1. So Q1 is January, February and March of next year, which is upon us. It is wild. There are a few like really strategic things that I do in this season because this is a slow season. It's leading into spring, but January and February and most of March, family photographers just typically aren't shooting much. So in this season, we do some really strategic things to prepare for the busy season because I know we just got out of a busy season. You're probably like finally taking your breath after the holidays and things like that. And there's this little lull before spring busy season hits in Q2. So I want to walk you through three things that I do every single year at the beginning of the year to really prepare for the upcoming months. So the very first thing that I do is I do an overview of the year. I have this 2022 printed calendar that's huge on my wall and I got it from Kat Schmoyer, who she is my integrator. We just did an episode a few weeks ago interviewing her, but we can link her calendars for you here in the show notes, so that you can check it out. They're really inexpensive and it's a great download. You can either print it, get it printed out, like at staples like I do and frame it and put it on your wall. Or you can have it on your iPad or whatever you know right in it there, or just print it off on a piece of paper and write it there. She has a yearly calendar and a quarterly calendar, so I use both. But in the first step, I am looking just at the whole year and what I do is I'm doing like a quick overview. This is not like a yearly planning. I'm not going to dig in and set dates for all this stuff, but I do want to know like what's coming up for the year. So some things that I put in there is, first of all, I put in family things. So, you know, birthdays or trips that we're already taking vacations. Whatever that may look like, family stuff goes in first. From there, we add in conferences that I have already committed to speaking at or travel that we already committed to for the business, you know, photo sessions, things like that. Typically, they already have dates, so we're putting them on the calendar knowing what's coming. And then from there, I like to pencil in mini session dates for the spring. So I'm looking usually like March and April. I don't plan out the fall like dates for the fall yet, just because things can change leading up to the fall. So I do that planning in the summer. But for now, I'm just looking at the spring, so I don't set concrete dates typically, but I am kind of penciling in saying, Ooh, I think I could do blue bonnet minis on this date, or I think I can do wildflower minis somewhere around here. And so like for me, since I travel for some of my spring minis, I'm going to put those in there and say, OK, when are we going to Texas to shoot blue bonnet minis? And then I can say, OK, what minis do I want to do in Tennessee and what dates, you know, work with our travel schedule and things like that? So that's step one as I do this big overview just to see what the year looks like and to see like what's already set in stone and what things are kind of fluid. So the set in stone things, I know it's not going to change. These are dates that have been set for a while. If you're a wedding photographer, then you know, adding in the weddings you already have booked and things like that and then kind of penciling in from there. So the second thing that I do that is super beneficial for me, especially in this slower season. And as I take a look at what I call my parking lot, which a parking lot is basically a place where I just shove ideas of things that need to be done, but not necessarily right now. There are those ongoing projects you're like, Oh, one day I need to update my portfolio on my website or oh. One day I need to create a client experience guide with Rebecca's template or whatever. So I take a look at my parking lot where I've just had this ongoing list from the year of things to do in slow season, and I kind of pick out some things that I want to get done. So, for example, some of the stuff that we're doing for our slow season this year is we're going to do some website updates and portfolio updates. I'm actually getting a custom website for the first time, which I'm super excited about. So we're in the process of talking with designers and trying to figure out what we want our website to look like. You know, we update our portfolio because we've shot so many beautiful images that are not on my website, so we go through there. I also look at what sessions need to be blogged because I have a tendency to kind of get behind on my blogging. And so even though, you know, we blog a decent amount, I'll take a look and say what are like stellar sessions that didn't get blogged yet, and we'll create a list there. Another thing we do is we look at updating our workflows and our automations, so we look at what workflows we had in place this year. For example, in dusado, we'll see what worked and what didn't work. What do we want to tweak? What are some steps maybe we want to add? Or if there's any steps that were unnecessary that we can take away? We look at all of those things. I like to look at our email templates and see if any of them need to be refreshed or how our client communication went. Another thing we do is we look at how we need to improve our client experience because I always want to get better with serving our clients as well. So we'll take a look at, OK, what did we do for our client experience this year? What are some things that we can either add or take away for next year? We'll look at like pain points. If we had any difficult sessions, why were they difficult? What happened was that on our end, was there a breakdown in communication? Was it stuff those out of our control? Those are all the things the questions were asking, the things we're looking at to be able to, you know, kind of take with us in slow season to adjust. Another thing that I look at is, is there anything that I'm not doing that I need to start doing? For example, maybe you're that person that's been wanting to dig into Pinterest for so long, but you just have. It's been on the back burner and you haven't started your Pinterest yet. If that's you, maybe Pinterest is one of those things that in slow season you're going to start doing, which if you're in my behind the lens membership, we have an awesome master class all about Pinterest and how to automate it so that you can load it up basically once a month and it just runs itself. We had incredible results from our students who use that. So you can find that in behind the lens where you get access to all of our previous months content, the behind the scenes videos and the master classes. So we have master classes like Pinterest and client experience and flash and just all kinds of stuff in there. Anyways, think through things that you're not doing that you want to start doing, then think through what are you doing right now that you could stop doing? Is there anything you can eliminate or delegate? Maybe you need to outsource some things. Now is a really great time during slow season to evaluate how you're spending your time and kind of take a look at what you could be doing better, what you could be doing more efficiently. So that's what I, you know, I do with my parking lot and I say, what kind of things could I implement in Q1? Now there are some things that are going to stay on the parking lot for another six months, and that's OK because you can't do everything. But maybe there are some things that you can pull off the parking lot and add to your to do list for Q1. The third and final piece that I do when prepping for Q1 is I plan out my Q1 goals, so I use a combination of power sheets, which is by Lara Casey. Cultivate what matters. It's a goal setting system, basically, or like kind of like a goal setting planner. It's not a planner, but it's like it's a system. So I do my prep work to plan for next year and planning out my yearly goals, also my quarterly goals. And then I go in and I say, you know, what are the revenue goals I want to hit for just Q1, for January, February and March? What are some practical things that I want to get done and I write all of those out? I had mentioned briefly that Kat has a quarterly calendar next to my annual calendar. I have the 2022 calendar on my wall, but I also have a quarterly calendar where it just has three months and I'm able to put in a monthly focus. What is that? One thing that I'm focusing on that month? Each of the three months and then I have a note section I can put in, you know, am I launching something? Do I need to get promo shots for mini sessions? Like, what is it that I need to do each month leading up to, you know, as we get into busy season? So that's one of the things that I'm doing there is I'm planning out those Q1 goals. So for me, one of those Q1 goals is going to be nailing down our spring, minis dates, and so not just for me, but if you listen to our podcast, a couple episodes go where in part one of the case study of my business. You guys heard me talk about in depth for the first time my associate team. So I am going to not only be planning many sessions in the spring for me, but we're also planning spring minis for my associate team. We're going to have Minis in Dallas, in Nashville, in Savannah, Georgia, in Virginia. Like, we're expanding a lot. And so those are all places that we're going to need to be planning for. And so some of our Q1 goals are going to be getting promo shots because there's a lot of those locations that we've never shot at before. So we need promo shots for those. And we're, you know, following the mini sessions playbook, which if you don't have my mini sessions playbook, it's like a step by step guide that tells you what to do each week leading up to your mini sessions. It's awesome for planning minis, so if you're looking at that, you can go find it in my shop and we'll link it here below so that you can check it out. All that to say those are all things that we as a team and me specifically I'm doing leading into Q1. So hopefully this is getting your like wheels, turning of things that you can be doing to prepare for the next three months because slow season, this is one of my favorite seasons just because of how strategic you can be and of course, prioritizing rest because I don't know about you, but we had a crazy fall. And so we're really prioritizing rest in this season before a crazy spring kicks off. But also getting to do some of those things that we just don't have time to do in busy season. So that's what I'm looking forward to is getting to really dig in to some of those things, you know, for us, getting our custom website built, which will be so fun. We're adding on a couple of team members and so getting to kind of look at what that's going to look like, it's just going to be a really great quarter overall. So I hope this episode overall was helpful for you kind of short and sweet. But the purpose is just to kind of get those wheels turning so that you can start preparing to use your slow season. Well, because if you don't, you're going to blink and it'll be March and it'll be time to book out your Minis. So don't wait. Take advantage of your slow season, and I know it's going to be great for you. I won't get to talk to you guys before the new year, so I hope you guys have a Happy New Year. If you're listening to this, live with us and I'm so excited for just all that next year holds. So I can't wait to see how your businesses continue to grow. We will go ahead and sign off and we'll see this time next week. Bye, guys.

48. How I'm Prepping for Q1 of 2022