Business isn't all fun.
There, I said it.
It's not this fairytale of creating photos & bam, you're done.
Wish it was the case.
But the fact is there are admin duties tied to every business. You know what I'm talking about ... the accounting, the ordering, the social media.
OMG! I know. It's enough work for a team. But how do you plan it into your schedule to ensure you are balancing your admin duties with your creative tasks like shooting? Easy!
1. Schedule Your Office Time
Before doing anything else you need to schedule your office time. This means you block it off. Nothing interferes with this time. Don't give yourself any excuses, unless you don't want to run a successful business. You can give yourself a million and one excuses about not having time but the fact is a successful business requires time & effort. So block time when you know you won't be interrupted.
This might mean when everyone in your family is asleep or first thing in the morning. Come up with a daily responsibility plan & stick with it.
Delegate which day of the week belongs to which task.
Here's the thing, if you worked for someone else and these were your duties you would schedule time to get them done. You need this same frame of mind when owning your own company. If you don't do them, they won't get done.
If you don't schedule time for them you will always be behind. I find that I am most effective at office work IF I schedule it with myself. Each day before I do anything else I make sure that my admin work is done.
I usually spend 1-3 hours on this, Monday through Friday.
Monday: Schedule social media
Tuesday: Accounting & create 1 blog post
Wednesday: Create Ads & Order products + office supplies
Thursday: Edit Photos
Friday: Edit Photos & Back up drives
Sunday: Clean office
2. Schedule Social Media Posts
Social media is a step you certainly can't overlook. It's a valuable form of marketing & what gets you on the map. But effective time management is the key to your success here. You need to be automating much of this work.
Put in a few hours once a month to schedule out ALL of your social media posts.
On the 1st of Monday of each month I take 3 hours to schedule out ALL of the months social media posts. I block this time in my calendar. It's not an option. I write out all my engagement posts, all my ads, all my inspirational quotes etc and then bam, I'm done and don't have to worry about posts going out.
What software do I use? I have tried them all. Not kidding. I have found that Buffer is my absolutely favorite. It's so easy to use, has great analytics and you can quickly rebuffer any old post helping you with next months posts (hint: yes, you can actually reuse some posts such as a blog post, ad etc)
Here are some categories you should be posting:
- Engagement questions: these should be questions that make your audience want to answer. These questions will pertain to their interests. Why are they important? Because when people comment or like it spreads your reach.
- Inspirational quotes: you can use buffers new tool called Pablo to create many quotes in just minutes. Why are these important? Because you become uplifting to your audience and because if it is relevant to them they will comment or like, spreading your reach again.
- Ads: It's important to note that you should not be posting ads every day.
- Tips: tips are so important because you lend yourself as a resource for your audience. People who find pages as helpful to their pain points in life keep engaged with that page. This is very important. They will share these tips with their friends, helping spread your reach. Ask yourself what your audience needs tips on. Then create them in the form of a graphic, a text post, a link to an outside blog post or even make your own blog post about it.
- Old blog posts: always repurpose & reshare the blog posts you have already wrote.
- New blog posts: if you aren't blogging you need to be. You have no option here. Blogging is imperative to your Google ranking.
- Outside blog posts: because no one person is the master to all things, you should be sharing with your audience outside blog posts from authorities on the subject. For instance, Colorvale knows you need to learn about legal things so I share posts from TheLawTog on my social media sites. This isn't my competition, it's another amazing blog that helps photographers on subject matters I don't know. Why? Because your audience will love you for it. You become seen as a person who is always looking to grow your relationships with clients & networks. Because it's the right damn thing to do! This isn't all about you.
In summary: Pick a day once a month to schedule out ALL of these blog posts for that entire month!
I know that this doesn't sound like fun! I get that.
Just another office duty that a business owner must complete. But if you wait until the end of the year you will hate your life.
On your daily responsibilities page of the planner write a day that you can put in an hour to handle all accounting.
4. Create Ads & Graphics
I find that this needs it's own scheduled time because you really need to focus when doing this. There is a very simple an easy app to help you get the most professional ads & you don't even need to be a graphic designer.
It's called Canva.
And it's absolutely one of the most valuable tools you will have as a business owner. The great thing about Canva is they have the sizes for each platform already made for you along with some very beautiful templates.
Spend 1 hour or more per week creating new ads for Facebook. Twitter, and Instagram. You can even create magazines, brochures & ebooks on there.
Blogging is not an option if you want to be found on Google when a prospective client is searching.
Each blog you write lends to your SEO score in relevance to your category.
Think about this: if you were a wedding photographer & a bride you don't know was looking on Google for "Top 10 Wedding Songs" how in the world would you come up in that search? She lives in your area, she hasn't booked a photographer but she is simply looking for wedding songs.
You write a blog post about this and when she searches you come up! Bam! She finds your page, reads your blog post, you have sample images of the father bride dance, the first dance and the many songs your brides have picked to use. Now she sees you also do photography and hires you.
Can you see the value in writing these?
Take 2 hours per week to write a blog post that would interest your audience. This blog post should help their pain points. It should be something they are organically searching about on Google. Take a month to write down 10 things you think your audience is searching for right now.
No ... I'm giving you a task ... stop what you are doing right now and write them out. Then make time to blog about those topics! So that's the run down of the top 5 office tasks you should be doing to run your photography business.
The trick here is dedicating the time to accomplish them (see tip 1). But once you get into a repetitive office routine this will become easier. You just have to ensure that you are turning off all distractions during these "office hours" and getting things done. Your business success depends on it! If you need any help organizing your business & time please snag a Lights. Camera. Take Action planner because this truly is your picture-perfect assistant. It will make you accountable & organized.