The Secret to a Stress-Free Business: Workflows
Photographers: If you’ve ever had any of these thoughts, you’ve come to the right place:
- I’m so overwhelmed with how much work I have to do.
- I just don’t know where to start some days.
- I’m worried I won’t get my clients photos delivered in time.
- I’m worried about my client’s experience being negative due to things falling through the crack.
- I’m struggling with staying organized.
First, give yourself some grace. Running a business is HARD. Creative people tend to lean in towards creating their art, and away from the nitty gritty. I get it! It doesn’t always come natural.
That’s why we need something to stay organized for us. We need something to keep us accountable, on track, like the polished business person we know we can be. We need to be able to create our art, and know that there is a tool in place to help run our business on the backend.
That’s why we need workflows.
What’s a workflow? A workflow is a repeatable set of tasks that get your client through your entire client experience- from inquiry to asking for reviews. Think of it like a master checklist. A way to ensure every client receives the same systematic experience from start to finish without you having to monitor it.
Sound like something you need? Let me help you get it started! Let’s create that workflow that is going to save you time, energy, and mental stress so you can get back to what you do best- photographing your clients!
Step 1: Observe
Look at your most recent client experience from start to finish. What transpired?
Step 2: Document
Imagine you are going on vacation and have to turn your entire business over to a friend. How would you instruct them to serve a new client from start to finish? Right down the order and items. Think about things like:
- sending contracts
- processing payments & expenses
- sending booking confirmation
- sending reminders
- preparing for the session
- culling & editing
- social media posts
If it’s helpful, break this step into sections so it’s easier to document it all. Those sections could look like: Inquiry, Booking The Client, Pre-Wedding/Session, and Post-Wedding/Session
Step 3. Development
Now let’s determine the best way to execute this workflow for every single client beginning with your next inquiry. Personally, I use my CRM system, Dubsado, that lets me automate a lot of this process (like automatically sending out payment & session reminders). But if you want to start by creating a checklist that you pull out every time, that’s fine too!
Workflow Hack: Creating Deadlines
If you really want to make your workflow powerful- assign timelines and deadlines to your tasks.
For example, my Dubsado workflow knows to send a Thank You email to my consultations 2hrs after their consult has ended (timeline)
After I shoot a wedding, Dubsado will email me a daily reminder about which sections I need to edit that day (timeline & deadline)
Make sure your deadlines are realistic to you! Spend time reflecting here- how long does it actually take you to edit that session/wedding or design that album? Give yourself a little wiggle room in your deadlines- you never know when life might get in the way!
Workflow Hack: Temptation Bundling
“Bundle an action you want to do with an action you need to do” – James Clear, Atomic Habits
Are there still tasks in your workflow you dread doing? Identify which of your tasks you enjoy doing and which you don’t. Pair them up on your workflow.
For example, I dread editing reception photos. It’s my least favorite part of the wedding day and I always push editing that part to the very end. My favorite photos of the wedding day are the golden hour photos. Thus, in my workflow, I’ve paired these two together. I’ve listed out and told myself that if I can get through reception editing, my next workflow step is to reward myself with golden hour editing.
Step 4: Grow
Remember that your workflows will change and develop as your business grows. Give yourself grace if you find something isn’t working and be open to change. Don’t be afraid to look into various ways to automate or outsource steps as well.
Want to see more photographer tips & tricks? Click here to explore!
Need some 1:1 help with setting up or refining your workflow? Reach out here and let’s chat!