Remember from my September goals post when I said that I wanted to streamline my business operations?? Well, I’ve come up with some great strategies to do just that! I’m particularly excited about a new system that I’ve started and I wanted to share it with you. Over the last several months I’ve been doing some serious blog stalking of my fellow Shoot & Share photographers that I look up to (in just the last several months it has been mind blowing from everything I’ve learned to better my business!!). This has been SO very insightful because it helps me LEARN the ins and outs of the photography business. Another one of my goals was to educate other photographers just starting out — so hopefully this post will help some of you out there that are looking for some organizational inspiration.
Remember the lengthy post on my post-processing process?? Well, not too long ago I read a blog post that Katelyn James did last year about her “Production Wall” and I thought to myself… that’s genius!! There are so many tasks for each client and as the weeks go by and the season fills ups — it can give you a real headache trying to mentally keep track of what you’ve done and what you still need to do. Thankfully it works out where I can’t really move on to the next task until the one before is completed so that helps keeps things smooth. These tasks are big and small… Some are fairly simple like backing up the images from an engagement shoot or clearing my camera… and other tasks are more time consuming like culling, editing, and writing a blog post. Up until now I was keeping all those tasks in my head… which was way too much to keep up with! I was constantly thinking to myself… “Did I do that already?”… “Did I miss a step?”. During the first few months, I was able to stay on top of it… but I’m extremely grateful that my business continues to grow and keep me busy, therefore, the tasks are starting to pile up.
So, I decided to replicate Katelyn’s philosophy and I couldn’t be happier. It is so much better to “show your systems.” My Clientele Workflow wall helps keep me on track with my clients by showing me what I have yet to complete and what I have accomplished. I can do this all with a quick glance versus pulling up various documents on my Mac. I get a huge smile on my face when I can now put a big check mark next to a task.
I created one massive workflow chart that is broken out into two different categories — weddings & portraits (since the tasks differ). This workflow chart takes me from a client’s initial inquiry to the last step in the Allison Shumate Photography experience. I also have one extra simple chart where I jot down various prospects that reach out to me — but once they sign a contract and send in their deposit — they get moved over to my Clientele Workflow chart.
Of course every photographer’s workflow is different — I’m sure my workflow will change with time but right now this works for me. I created my templates in Excel, printed them out, put them into frames (from Hobby Lobby), and I use a dry erase marker to fill in the blanks. It’s that easy! I’m much more at ease having this time-saver organizational tool. And, it’s quite classy too!