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As family photographers, we have a natural busy season and a natural slow season. For me, I’ve found summer and winter to be slower. Everyone loves having photos done in the spring and fall, so making the most of my slower seasons has always been important to me. For anyone offering mini sessions, now is the time to be planning for those fall and Christmas sessions, which we talked about on a recent episode (listen HERE). And, don’t forget, if you’re working on minis for the fall and winter, I have a great FREE resource to help you decide which themes to go with! Beyond prepping for mini sessions, there’s other ways to maximize your slow season, so today let’s jump into 5 things you can be doing before work picks up again! These tasks will help you optimize your business so everything is running efficiently, even on your busiest days.
When I’m not shooting a lot, the first thing I do is review my client experience. Take the time to look over the entire process from start to finish. What is it like when they inquire with me? Am I sending emails – and what’s included? How can I serve my clients better? I’ve talked a ton about client experience on the blog before now, so you can look through some posts about that. But really, it’s just about being in my clients’ shoes and making sure they’re having the best possible experience with me. I want it to be easy and to reduce any questions or concerns on their end. And it doesn’t end there. Think about how you can serve them well after your session (or during it!), like a cooler with water for sessions or a thank you gift of an ornament after a Christmas mini. Little things like that can go a long way!
Alright, so I know this is a pretty boring task, but trust me: it will make a difference in your busy seasons. Workflow will mean something different to everyone… it could be an actual workflow in Honeybook or Dubsado, or just a Trello checklist. Whatever it is, make sure you have a single system that works for every single client so you never lose track of what’s going on with them or their photos. And, if you don’t have a workflow already, now’s the time to start one. Take a piece of paper and write EVERY single part of your experience with a client. This is a process you should review regularly. But, definitely take the time each slow season to ensure your workflows are as optimized as possible. Seriously, if you don’t need something anymore, REMOVE it. And if you want to add something new in (like asking for reviews!), build out the steps to make that happen.
During your slow season, you should be looking at what you can automate and delegate when it comes to your business. Are there emails you can setup to go automatically? What about questionnaires or guides? You don’t need to be the one pushing “Send.” Put that CRM to use! Also take the time to look at what you can outsource. As you grow and get busier, getting help is going to be key! Trust me, it’s way more affordable than you think. If someone else can do it at least 80% as well las you (or better), that task can be outsourced. Outsourcing will allow you to focus your energy where it’s needed most. You can read more about my thoughts on outsourcing here!
A great way to help maximize your off season is to plan ahead for your next season. Right now, that would look like planning for the fall! So, take out your calendar (digital or paper) and decide what dates you’re going to be shooting. This is especially helpful when you’re planning fall and Christmas mini sessions. But, regardless of what you’re shooting, determine when you can do it. Also add in days to edit and prep galleries and of course, days off. Busy season can drain even the best professional so build in time to take a break!
The last thing you can do to maximize your slow season is to back up your photos. I know it sounds silly, but it’s something that’s overlooked ALL the time by photographers. And I have so many horror stories to convince you about WHY this is important. But trust me, it is. So take the time and back up those photos. For me, that looks like the online gallery on Shootproof and two backup drives that are identical copies of each other. Even when a session is way over, I keep the galleries in my Shootproof archive so I always have them. There’s so many places you can back up photos: Blaze, Dropbox, Google Drive, whatever it is, BACK THEM UP!
I hope these five tasks will allow you to maximize your slow season! It’s so easy to let things run the way they have forever… but that’s not how you grow. Take the time to invest and work on your business. Your future self will thank you!
+ 20% off Dusbado
Look over your Client Experience (4:28)
Update your workflows (7:33)
Automate whatever you can (9:41)
Plan ahead for the next season (12:58)
Back up your photos!!! (14:30)
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