There’s no easy button for starting a photography business. Everyone had to start somewhere and most of us had to build from the bottom up and it wasn’t easy. At the beginning you’re probably not earning enough to live off of and that’s okay. You probably have another full time or part time job, maybe you’re even a mom too.
When I started my business I had another full time job. It was a 9-5er and every day I had to come home to another pile of work on my desk, emails to answer, marketing to attend to, social networking to keep up on. It was easy to become so absorbed that I worked all day from 9 to 5 and came home and worked into the wee hours of the morning at times, collapsed into bed and did it all over again.
And the weekend? Don’t get me started on the weekend. I had to attend to shoots, edit photos, and schedule all my meetings on weekends. I remember 3 months straight where I did not have one single day where I wasn’t working. I’m not complaining, that’s what I chose and that hard work paid off. I wouldn’t do it any other way, but I could have done a much better job managing my time. Here’s a few tips that can help those of you balancing the full time job and building a business.
1. Make a Schedule for Yourself – Yep! This is good to do for anyone who owns their own business, but especially if you are trying to balance your time with your full time job, a part time job, family, kids, and your business. You will have much more limited hours to work at your business, and in order to be the most effective it’s great to plan to set aside a certain amount of time to work on your business. When that time is up, walk away and know that the next day’s hour or two you’ll get back to what you need to do.
2. Create a Goal List – For the week, for the day, for the month! Once you give yourself that schedule to stick to, give yourself a to-do list to knock out. If you run ahead of your schedule, great, relax (you deserve it!) and if you run out of time put it on the to-do list for the next day. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the social networking and caught up in looking at other photographers blogs or images and loose your time. If you have limited time to begin with you’re going to have to work even harder to use that time wisely. A list of your goals to accomplish for the day or for the week will help you use your limited time to it’s maximum potential.
3. Realize You Won’t Be Able to Do It All – Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could be super woman (or super man – no gender discrimination here) and work 8 hours a day, cook dinner, do a bit of picking up the house, play with the kids, walk the dogs, relax and get a couple hours of your business work in too as well as sleep at night? You can’t do it all and setting out trying to accomplish it all in one short day is setting yourself up for failure. Ask for help and prioritize what’s most important. When I was working full time and building my business I could not keep on top of the cleaning of our house and I also knew I wasn’t a productive worker in a messy and dirty environment. It was a worthwhile investment to pay a college student a little bit of money a week to help me keep on top of basic cleaning. I’d have asked my husband, Nick, but he was working as much as I was!
4. The Beauty of Doing Nothing – Ah yes the Italians know what this is. You can work your butt off every day and accomplish everything you planned to in the time you set aside to, but it’s really important to ensure you are getting some time off – from all your work to just hang out with your significant other, the kids, the family, the dogs and do nothing. Schedule yourself a day regularly ( and I mean schedule!!) where you won’t make any appointments or do any work. That sanity time will do wonders for your ability to be productive the rest of the week.
5. Celebrate Your Small Successes – It’s easy to get burnt out, feel like you don’t have enough time, worry about not getting enough business and lose confidence. When you’re starting out and trying to balance it all remember to give yourself that pat on the back when you have little accomplishments. It’s important you give yourself credit for what you are worth and the hard work you’ve been doing to get there. Sometimes your support system when you’re starting on this journey isn’t the best, and sometimes people are blessed with amazing families that believe in them. Either way you have to revel in the big accomplishments and especially the small ones.
Reminder! Next Monday is our >Photographing in Manual Mode class<. The class is $15, if you are still shooting in Auto or need help truly understanding all those controls on your camera then this is the class for you. Once you have learned how to shoot in manual you will be more confident in your work! Next Wednesday we’re also doing a special >class specifically about White Balance<. If you struggle with white balance and you get a lot of yellow, cyan, or magenta tinted images this class is going to teach you everything you need to know to fix that easily!
Also we have two GREAT workshops for next month. >31 Days to a Better Photography Business< will be running next month as well as our new >Awesomesauce Business Workshop< with tons of personal mentoring and individualized learning!