Managing time when running a business
When creating a business, you will find that the most valuable item is your time. You need time to shoot, time to edit, time to have lunch and time to spend with your family. Unfortunately, the larger your business grows, the less time you will have. Hopefully, soon you will be booked up for months in advance and there will be piles of pictures to sort out, clients to email with, and photographs to edit.
This can sound pretty scary and intimidating. But don’t worry, as all of those jobs can be done up to the highest standard and without sacrificing your sanity. All you need to do is follow the golden rule of time management:
Work smarter, not harder.
Learning how to best manage your time can help you increase your productivity and overall workflow. Imagine yourself spending less time working, yet somehow managing to achieve more than before - sounds pretty good, huh?
And all that extra time that you saved can be spent on extra projects, or utilized for your leisure and relaxation. After all, we work hard so that we can play hard.
Utilize your work time without cutting corners
Working smarter and not harder doesn’t not mean not doing your job properly.
You absolutely must not cut any corners when running your business. This could potentially lower the quality of your services, and in turn, gain your business a bad name. And that is the last thing we want.
Instead you should focus on the time that is wasted when you work. All those minutes of waiting around between meetings, or that time you spend trying to work out which task you should do next, is time not being utilized to its full potential. Calculating all those minutes at the end of the month would probably add up to hours - and that, my friend, is really bad time management.
Learning to manage your time better is a skill that is not simply learned, but instead comes with practice. Making small changes to your day-to-day routine could already help you notice results. Here’s a few easy changes you can make.
Starting a week with a bucket full of ideas on how to take your business to the next level is great. That is, if you get everything done and don’t let it overwhelm you. It is something even the most experienced people will suffer from - myself included.
Try to plan ahead, and work out days and times when you will do certain tasks. Having each day of the week dedicated to a specific task will allow you to get into the right mindset and work without interruptions.
Have loads of editing to do? Make Friday a dedicated day for photo editing. This way, at the start of next week you can start sending out finished projects that accumulated during the past week!
Planning ahead can not only allow you to do more work in less time, but also take away the stress factor from your work. It’s scientifically proven that stress-free environments are more productive, and this way you won’t get fed up with your job.
Set up some templates for responding to your emails and social media messages
Scheduling with your clients, or responding to social media comments and messages, can soon become a very time consuming part of your day. Instead of tediously spending countless hours replying to the same questions again and again, learn how to set up an appropriate well-worded template as your response!
Do you get a lot of messages with questions about your price plan? Type up your price plan response, then copy and paste it each time you get asked that same question.
With time you will learn just how many different templates you need to create. Before long, the two hours you used to spend replying to all the messages will turn into twenty minutes.
However, it is important that you don’t become cold and insincere with your replies. Make sure you read each message and answer all the questions your potential customers have. Don’t get too lazy with your responses, as this can soon become bad customer service and that will result in you losing clients.
Set up photo libraries in Lightroom
I remember how at the beginning of my photography career I used to keep every photograph that I would shoot - my hard drives were bursting with pictures! And if I needed to find a specific shot, I would end up having to dig through hundreds or thousands of images before I found the right one. Luckily, I have learned from my mistakes, and can help you do that too.
Don’t be afraid to delete shots that are not good enough. Trust your instincts and follow your intuition. Keep only the best images, and you will save yourself a lot of precious time editing or looking through all of those mediocre shots.
In Lightroom you can set up libraries and add keywords to your photographs. This way, when you need to find a specific shot on your hard drive, it will take you only a few seconds while you run the search. This is probably one of the most undervalued tools in Lightroom. Make sure to give it a try!
Utilize every minute you have
If you have a busy schedule, I am sure you spend your time between photoshoots dreaming of that extra hour in the day, where you could tackle all of the tasks that piled up throughout the week. The truth is that you have that extra hour, you simply don’t know about it yet
Five or ten minutes between photoshoots can be utilized to organize your photo libraries or edit a couple pictures. The fifteen minute bus ride or the wait for an appointment can be used to reply to the endless messages that are pouring in on your company’s social media.
When you run your own business, every minute counts. If you start utilizing those minutes, soon you will notice that you don’t need to schedule some of the tasks into your day anymore. And that extra hour a day works out to about twenty extra hours a month. And that is almost a month’s worth of work hours a year that you are possibly missing out on. Doesn’t seem so little anymore, does it?
These are only a few minor changes that can make your time more useful. Imagine how much time you’d save if you looked at every aspect of your workday! But as always, begin small and get better at it as you grow. If you persevere, soon you will become a master of time management, and will be able to play hard whilst working softly.