5 Ways To Find The Perfect Photography Help … And You Don’t Have To Hire Them

Once your business really starts moving forward, you’ll end up with more work than you can handle in a normal work day. At that point, you have one of two choices. Work more hours or find some help.

Most solo business owners start out by choosing the first way. After all, what’s an extra hour? But as 8 turn into 10, and 10 turns into 12, you’ll quickly start questioning if there is more to life than work.

A much as we try to conquer the world on our own, its easy to start wishing for something more. Wouldn’t it be nice to have help that was easy to train, would accomplish anything you wished for easily and without a lot of hand holding, and allow us to have the time to do what we do best?

Employees can be difficult. Which is why so many of us avoid them until it’s a true necessity. Yet the work is still there and needs to be done. Luckily, we have options today. Instead of hiring an employee, invest in a virtual assistant.

If you have never worked with a virtual assistant (VA) before, consider hiring one to help you do more with your time – and allow you the time you need to enjoy your personal life as well. Here are some tips to start you on your way.

Start by assessing your needs

Its hard taking that first step. What do you need help with? Where should you ask for help? Before you start looking at VA’s, assess your needs first. Develop a to-do list of what needs you have, what you are willing to release or delegate to your VA, and where they can most help you.

A VA can assist with anything that is easy to teach someone else to do. Research tasks, data entry, developing systems, creating newsletters, contacting clients and helping with customer service tasks, and helping you with travel and scheduling needs are just a few of the things they can help you accomplish.

Once you create your list, estimate how much time they will need each month. VA’s can help you with one time tasks, or can be hired on a regular basis throughout the month. When you figure out what needs to be done, you can begin your search.

Find a VA

Finding a VA is fairly easy. It is a growing industry, and there are many different resources, both in your local community and in the online world.

Start by networking at local clubs and organizations. Ask around; you’re sure to find referrals for people right in your own community. You can post free ads on sites like Craigslist, search freelance sites like Elance, use VA search sites like AssistU, or check out organizations like Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce.

Qualify The VA

Before you decide on a VA, make sure they are qualified to do the job you want them to do. VA’s come with a lot of different skills. And while it is possible to hire multiple VA’s for separate duties, hiring one to cover all of your original goals will be easier the first time around. [Read more…]

How To Add Your First Employee

This post is Day 25 of 30 Ways In 30 Days To Redesign Your Life With Photography. This series seeks to provide you with practical steps to get you from wherever you are today, to exactly where you want to be – this year! If your goal has always been to take your photography to a whole new level, hang on and start enjoying a new lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

One of the most magical points of running a business is when you realize you can’t do it all yourself; the only way to move forward is to take on an employee.

“My challenge is how to grow from a one-woman show to the next step. Do I just hire an office/production manager? I have found that networking and shooting and selling are my favorite things and could let the rest go. Am just having trouble with making it happen.”
Laura

Document Your Month

As a solo business owner, the first step is realizing you need help and are willing to let some things go. The second step is determining what is practical to let go.

Instead of guessing at things, the best way to make this determination is to track what you do in a typical month.

Grab a binder, and enough paper to last you for 30 days. Keep the binder open and on your desk or work station, and record everything you do for a month. Include everything. If you spend 10 minutes talking to a client on the phone, record it. If you spend 30 minutes with customer support over phone charges, record it. If you spend 45 minutes doing data entry for your accounting, record it.

After a one month period, you can gain a pretty good idea of where your time is going every month. With your 30 day binder in hand, list out different tasks, and then add up the number of minutes or hours you put in. Don’t lump things together – be detailed at this point. [Read more…]

Does Every Photography Business Have To Fail?

One of my favorite books of all times is Dr Suess’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go. It’s a great read for everyone from 1 to 100, and can take an entirely different meaning depending on what is happening in your life. retired and broke dr

As I was reading through it this weekend, I realized that for the majority of photographers right now, they’ve come to The Waiting Place.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

The Waiting Place is a place photographers go when they are scared to move forward away from the norm. They sell packages a certain way because everyone else does. They charge a certain price because everyone else does.

Nobody would ever pay $10,000 for a photographer just to show up at a wedding, right?

Nobody would every pay $5,000 for a wall portrait, right?

Nobody could ever make a million as a photographer, right?

And yet it’s being done every day, as I write these words.

These are the people that don’t look at what the media is saying about business being down; they’re out there connecting with people who know business is up.

These are people that don’t say, “nobody will pay this price”. Instead they charge what they want and find people willing to pay it.

So my question to you is:

What type of photographer are you?

And in the words of Dr Seuss:

Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

3 Deadly Creatures That May Have Surfaced In Your Photography Business

Have you ever started out the week with a fresh outlook on your photography business:

  • You have a goal list you’re excited about.
  • You have several clients and prospects you are meeting with.
  • You are ready to finish several things in production.

Then Friday comes along. As you look back at your goals and to-do list, you’re suddenly disappointed. The list is still half filled with things you never got to. And you now have things with higher priority, which means some of the things you were excited about just a week before now may never be completed.

photography business 

Chances are you’ve had a deadly creature enter your business.

1. The Beacon
2. The Sucker
3. The Whiner

The Beacon starts out as a friend. Someone sends you an email, you read a book, or you visit a website that speaks directly to you. It’s filled with great information, and you can see yourself following in the footsteps of what the author is talking about. You jump in with both feet, ready to follow.

The problem with the Beacon is it may seem like a guiding light, but the guiding light transforms and changes places all the time. It may show you one direction today, and a completely new direction tomorrow. It can be a significant time waster if you don’t learn how to stop looking for the next beacon, and use one thoroughly to find your way to success first.

[Read more…]

5 Things To Make You Quit Your Photography Business

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The headlines everywhere read doom and gloom. It’s the toughest time of all to make profits with a business, not to mention the possibility of starting one up. Should you take all of this to heart? If you’ve always dreamt of starting and growing a photography business, and turning it into your career, is now the time?

Yes!

I’ve started up 3 separate businesses over the past 20 years, and I’ve seen [Read more…]