I LOVE talking about this stuff! I was recently chatting to another family photographer friend of mine, and I was so surprised that some of these wondrously helpful biz items weren’t even on her radar. Whaaat?
I’ve called them ‘Essentials’, because holy guac, they’ve made a *huge* difference to my workflow (and sanity!) over the years. And hey, maybe there’s someone else out there in internet land who’d love to know (or be reminded) about this wizardry too. Let’s dive in!
Oh, and first up, let’s note that some items on this list are free (or have free versions/plans), and some aren’t free. My advice? Decide on what you need, and when & where you can invest.
Hot tip: scrimping on everything and never investing in your biz (or yourself) will *not* actually grow your biz. Yep, there I said it. #truthsaidwithlove
1. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System
I went from relying on half-assed spreadsheets, to using Studio Ninja about 18mths ago – and I LOVE it. It covers my workflow, automated email templates, invoicing, contracts, links up to some online gallery services, and more. It’s literally the organizational brains of my biz…which leaves me more time to take pretty pictures, yeh?
2. An Online Gallery Service Provider
So that your clients can enjoy an easy (and beautiful) gallery viewing/delivery experience. I used Shootproof for ages, but recently switched to Pic Time. The main reason? I really love the personalized online print shop that is connected to each gallery, so that your clients can see what *their* actual photos will look like as prints/in frames/as a calendar etc. And for any other aussies out there, both of these providers use Atkins Pro Lab right here in Australia – their products are sublime quality, and will last for years and years to come.
3. An Email Service Provider
For building and serving your beautiful email community! I used Mailchimp for ages, and have recently switched to Flodesk. Both are easy to use, and Mailchimp has a free plan, but I did kinda fall in love with Flodesk’s design features. But if neither of those float your boat, there’s plenty of providers to choose from. Hot tip: just get it (your email list) started! It is such a valuable tool for reaching your community.
For DIY graphic design. No its’ not the same as hiring a top o’ the line graphic designer, but it suits my needs for things like: a Welcome Guide, What to Wear Guide, Flyers, Magazine Ad, Insta & FB posts/ads etc. I had the paid version, but I simply wasn’t really using the ‘extras’, so have since switched back to the free version.
5. A Business Mentor/Business Group
I’ve done tonnes of free workshops, downloaded so many workbooks, attended webinars, and listened to approximately a gazillion podcasts (still do, LOVE this stuff) – BUT whenever I’ve been able to invest in either 1:1 or group mentoring (either general business based or photography/business based), even if the investment is on a small scale – it has always moved the needle in my business further. ‘Follow’ people you resonate with, do your research, consider your priorities at different stages of your business growth, and go from there. What got you ‘here’, won’t get you ‘there’.
6. Bonus Essential Item! A Photography Session Workflow
A relaxed and easy session, where you can create work that both you and your clients love is a game changer. Seriously! Haha, and you know where I’m going with this right? Watch this space, because I can help you with that smooth sailing, soul fulfilling workflow real soon…#cueanticipation
And my final Hot Tip?
SO much of this whole biz thing relates to your confidence and your mindset. And the awesome thing about that is….that YOU are in charge of the direction that energy flows and grows, m’lovely. Exciting huh?
Any Q’s? Drop them below or send me an email – I seriously LOVE helping to make the pieces of this puzzle fit a little bit (or a lot) easier!