I'm Tori, a portrait and wedding photographer based in central New Jersey. Thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet; I'm so happy you're here. Come check out the full galleries from recent weddings and portrait sessions, behind the scenes, personal posts, helpful tips and more. Please feel free to take a look, and let me know if there is anything special you'd love to see in a future post. I hope to hear from you soon!
I know we’re all still in holiday mode, but you may be feeling that itch for new year resolutions, goal-setting, and all-around just wanting to get your life together! Anyone else feel like they say ‘I’m going to get my life together TODAY’ every day of the week? 🙂 I feel you!
Here’s a quick list of backend business maintenance tasks you can tackle in your off-season. They’ll set you up for an organized, streamlined new year! Ready to uplevel your business? Keep reading!
If you don’t have a workflow mapped out and implemented into a CRM (I recommend Honeybook, it’s the lifeline behind my business!) for each of the services you offer, now is the time to get that figured out!
At the core of it, a workflow is a step-by-step process of every single task, email, questionnaire, etc. that happens from the moment a client inquires to the time you archive their project. Sound overwhelming? Don’t stress!
Look back on a full project you’ve completed in the last year and start typing out every step you took from the moment they contacted you. I recommend starting a fresh Google Doc and brain dumping everything you see. Get as nitty-gritty as possible even if it feels like a no-brainer. You can always remove tasks later, but being able to see the whole picture allows you to give a seamless client experience to every single client!
Make note of:
All of this will come together in your CRM once you implement it, but the first step is writing it all down. Make sure to add:
If you do have a workflow in place, now is the time to sit down and ask yourself what worked and what could be better! You may need to adjust dates, update email templates with new information and links, add your office hours (because boundaries start with you!) to your signature, and so on!
Make sure you have a workflow with corresponding emails for every service you offer, so you’re not trying to tweak one workflow to work for all you do! Ex: creating a master wedding photography workflow and using that for engagement sessions, too. Nope! Make two separate ones!
Feeling unsure of how to approach this all on your own? My workflow queen friend, Laura, has an online course for photographers to systemize their entire business! Check it out here!
This one piggybacks off of the first because you can’t really do one without the other! Look back through all of the communication you had with that one full-project client. From there, pull out any emails that you regularly are sending to all clients! That’s a good sign that you don’t need to be typing the same email over and over. Make it a template! Make sure to leave room for customization and personal touches so you don’t sound like a robot! 🙂
Do you start the year by organizing documents, receipts, etc. but then things start to get thrown into a pile mentally labeled as “go through someday?” Well, now’s your someday soon! Organize any physical documents into labeled file folders to store away in a safe place. Don’t forget to refine your organization system for digital receipts and docs, as well!
Self-care and boundaries take practice. They don’t just happen. Mike Michalowicz advises business owners to take their profit off the top. We must take our self-care and personal time off the top, too. Never read Profit First?! Add it to your off-season list – it’s a must! I don’t want you to squeeze self-care time into the last bits of leftover free-time after packing your schedule full. You must set the time aside FIRST and then schedule work around it.
To do this, start with a list of activities or boundaries you see as self-care. Then, look at your year-at-a-glance calendar and mark off days and times that are strictly for personal time!
Trust me, from someone who can count on one hand how many ‘me’ days I actually took in my first year or two of business, giving yourself TIME to be more than just a business owner is essential.
The incredible LaShonda Brown says, “rest is a marketing strategy.” This one hit me hard in the gut when I heard her speak. She said, “I do not deliver quality services when I’m exhausted. I make more mistakes when I haven’t had proper rest. I may manage to complete the tasks but I will not exceed expectations. Clients who do not feel wowed by services don’t tell their friends. Silent clients = no referrals. No referrals mean all lead generation relies on me. If it’s on me, some of my valuable time will be spent talking about my business instead of doing it. If it’s on me, late nights are in my future because there are only so many hours in the day. If it’s on me, someone will suffer and more than likely it’s people I love. I owe it to myself to learn how to manage my time.” Mic freaking drop, am I right?! Please go check her out here, everyone needs LaShonda in their lives!
One of my favorite year-end business and self-reflection questions is: Where do I need help? Who can I ask?
If you know me, you know I’m a huge advocate for community over competition. There’s something that feels so safe about having people in your corner – people who want to help. Now is the time to not have too much pride or want to do it all yourself. Now is the time to seek out the mentors and coaches who can help you get from 0 to 100 waaay faster than you can on your own.
Ask yourself: what do you need help with? What resources do you need to move forward? What’s keeping you stuck where you are? And then, who can you ask for help? They’re out there, I promise!
If you found this helpful and are looking to uplevel your business and life, I’d love to hear from you! I offer multiple different mentoring session options that can help you along your business journey. From one-time strategy calls to in-person half-day intensives with a live shoot to a full 90-day intensive fully customized to your needs, I’m here to help you craft a foundationally-strong business you adore. Please drop into my inbox by filling out my contact form here to learn more and schedule a call to figure out your best path!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also love: