I have special guest Sabrina Gebhardt today to talk all about building a sustainable schedule! It can be a lot to manage: building a business, being a parent, a spouse all while keeping your sanity. Sabrina is a lifestyle photography out of Fort Worth, TX who also educates! You may have seen her on Instagram Live answering ALL the questions. Now, let’s jump into the conversation on her photography business tips!
Creatives tend to have all kinds of ideas. Usually they don’t lack for vision, but because of the amount of new ideas and projects they don’t always finish the ones they start. And here’s the thing, some of those ideas are to help organize and build a sustainable schedule, but the follow through isn’t there. Maybe you’ve thought, “I’ll batch schedule” or “I’ll have a routine.” But then, while juggling your current things your creative brain starts adding more! Are any of you relating? Sadly, without boundaries, saying no, or having follow through you will meet burn out face to face.
The beauty of humanity is just how diverse we all are. There is not one person that’s been copied and pasted in the world. So why do we look at others and still battle the comparison trap? Imposter syndrome is a real thing! As photographers we need the internet. Social media is often how we gain new clients. So, we can’t just close our eyes to the world around us. That’s not solving comparison, it’s hiding from it.
You each have to determine what matters to you and what you can handle. The amount of sessions one can handle in a month, versus the amount of sessions you can handle in a month is totally different. This is one of the most important photography business tips! Because some have kids that are different ages, and we all have different support systems. Just because you CAN do all the things doesn’t mean you can do them well. Therefore building a sustainable schedule will look different to everyone. It speaks to what success looks like to you, which is different for everyone!
Take a blank calendar (print one off the internet) and put in your dream work. Start with your personal commitments! This is often where entrepreneurs get it wrong. They think the client comes first! No, think through what a standard week looks like. Include carpools, sports, if you have regular therapy or doctor’s appointments, if you’ve got a full time job, if you want to prioritize date night! I mean literally all of your personal things, going to the gym, Bible study, etc.
Now you can effectively plan a life you’re participating in. If you have an extra hour on Friday that doesn’t necessarily mean you can shoot another session! It’s not just the shoot you’re planning. It’s the driving, emailing, culling, editing, etc! So if you’ve only got 7 hours available per week, for work time, you’re probably only taking one client! Stick to your boundaries, and give your best version of yourself to those around you.
Setting appropriate boundaries are healthy. This starts with knowing yourself. When are your best work hours? Are you a morning person or night owl? It’s ok to set work hours and when those hours are up literally shut off that part of your brain. For some, you need to start utilizing auto responders for client emails. Maybe you need to put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” at a certain time in the evening. Understanding that in order for others to effectively be served by you means you have to be taken care of. Photographers, you have contracts in place to help you operate in boundaries! Because we are the CEO, we created this business, we decide the rules. As long as we have clearly defined boundaries and laid out those expectations up front we protect ourselves and those inquiring of us.
To summarize Sabrina’s photography business tips: Number 1, know your capacity! Figure out how much time you’re spending with your client and effectively plan. Next, put pen to paper and schedule out your personal time first. Number 3, create whitespace. That literally means allowing for blank space. Don’t plan your “rest” time until it comes and you can decide what you need in that moment. Number 4, creating batch schedules! Lastly number 5, knowing how to put rest in your schedule after you’ve hustled! You have to plan rest. Especially after busy seasons you need to let yourself recover.
The goal is building a sustainable schedule that will ultimately sustain us through the years!
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