In this episode of Capture The Chaos: Grow Your Newborn & Family Photography Business I’m sharing how to save time in your photography business by automating, batching, and outsourcing. We will chat about the benefits of each, how to implement them yourself and how to be more productive in your business.
Thank you for being here, mama.
Today we’re going to talk about finding more time in your photography business to be productive through automation, task batching, and outsourcing. So as photographers our goal is to book our calendars with sessions, but once we start filling up those calendars, we start getting really busy with all the other tasks that go into photography. Let’s talk about how to automate batch and outsource some of those things, so we can get our time back and we’re not just sucked into the black hole of working nonstop. I don’t know about you but I didn’t start my own business so I could work 24/7. I know you’ve probably seen that meme that says “I quit my 9-5 job so I could have more flexibility and now I work 24/7.” Sometimes that’s true, but we are going to try not to work 24/7.
So what is automation and why is it important? Automation is applying technology or programs to achieve outcomes with minimal human input. That sounds really cold, but I promise it will benefit you to automate repeated tasks in your business. You’ll also find time to be more productive in other areas.
You want to automate what you can now before you’re too busy. Don’t wait until you get busy to start automating, because it’s really difficult to do. This will allow for more sessions and a quicker turnaround for your images – aka, happier clients.
Automating also helps ensure we don’t drop as many balls for client communication. So last year, in the month of November, I had 80 mini sessions. And first of all, I’ve said this before, but I really don’t suggest taking that many sessions. It was way too much. I was really stressed out, but fortunately, I had automated my client workflow through Iris Works, which is my CRM. So it was actually possible to juggle that many sessions and no emails or information were missed, and that’s pretty incredible! That was done all through automation.
So to give you some insight, I have my booking calendar available to the public and I send a thank you for booking email once they book. Then I send a client questionnaire and a prep guide. Then I send an email with a style guide and some tips. And finally, I send a session reminder with an invoice. That’s five emails per booking multiplied by 80 which is 400 emails.
Wow. If it wasn’t for automated systems, I would not have been able to manage all that and keep my sanity at all. I would have been so worried about sending emails and would lost time to be productive in other areas. I do suggest using a booking calendar even if you don’t have it live on your website, but at least have something that you can send to a client when they inquire so that you can eliminate the back and forth of trying to figure out what dates you’re both available. You’re going to save so much time with that booking calendar; I promise.
Let’s move on to task batching and why it’s important to be productive. This definition is from Asana, which is a project and task-organizing website program that I use. On their website, they wrote:
“Task batching is a productivity strategy that involves grouping similar tasks together to complete all at once. This technique can help you avoid multitasking and increase the amount of time you have to focus on tasks. With task batching you aren’t jumping around to different tasks and you’re focusing on the same type of task for a certain duration of time.”
Have you ever sat down to your computer to edit a session and saw you had a new email? So you clicked on it and then it reminded you to update something on your website, which reminded you to share a recent post on Instagram. Then you ended up scrolling Instagram for 45 minutes. Where did your productivity go?
Okay. I’m definitely guilty of this. This is called context switching and it takes a toll on our productivity. Did you know that it can take up to 23 minutes to refocus after switching tasks? So when we multitask, we aren’t actually being productive. As moms, and women in general, we are natural multitaskers. So we really have to be intentional with our time when we sit down to work. As I was doing research for this podcast I was interrupted by my kids roughly 27 times. It literally took all day to get this podcast episode scripted. All day. So I get that it’s not always possible to stay focused on one task without interruptions. Here is a fun fact that I found, people who try to juggle messages in work see an IQ decline of 10 points. That’s equivalent to missing a night of sleep!
By task batching, you’re actually saving yourself time and mental energy in the long run. An example of task batching would be batching all of your Instagram posts or your blog posts for the month. And then you schedule the post to be automated and schedule at certain times. Hey, look, those two are tied together.
What is outsourcing and why is it important? Outsourcing is hiring a third party to perform tasks, handle an operation, or service for the business. If there’s a task in your business or your life that you just dread doing and you aren’t good at doing and you can afford it, then you can hire someone else to do it for you. Woohoo!
There are two major benefits to outsourcing:
So how do you decide what to automate, what to batch and what to outsource? Start by making a list of everything you do for your business and even take it one step further and write what you do in your personal life too. When I did this, it took me a few days. I started a list on my phone and every time I did a task, I wrote it down in my phone. After a few days, I was satisfied that I had everything I normally do on the list. I was able to sit down and break the list into three sections:
A few things that I batch are Instagram posting, Facebook posts, and email marketing. Things that I automate are a majority of my emails and client workflows, including my booking calendars. For outsourcing, I have a VA that SEO proofs my blogs and schedules my pins, which by the way, she does via batching. She also schedules my Google business posts because if you add photos to it every week Google really likes that. But could I do that myself? Yes. Was I doing it? No. So, I outsourced it. I also have an assistant that transcribes my podcasts and turns them into blogs and she creates my pins for Pinterest.
If you’re interested in how I use Asana to organize my life and my business, I have a video in my Facebook community group. Go check it out. Let me know if you have any questions on how I did something or why I decided to organize it a certain way.
There is no right way to use Asana and that’s what’s really cool about it! I can actually see my lists all in one place. I’d also love to help you get your business automated, to save you time. Trust me. When I say this, it is a lifesaver and it will transform your life. You can sign up for a one-on-one strategy session to create a client workflow and get everything automated. So you can spend more time doing the things you love and less time repeating the same task over and over again.
You don’t have to do this alone friend. If you’re a photographer who is tired of spinning your wheels in business and is ready to stop feeling like an imposter, it’s time to formulate an actionable strategies to help you grow with impact and empower you to define your own version of success – one client, one edit, one photo at a time.
Book a 1:1 coaching call: www.brittnierenee.com/photographers
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