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Katy Clatterbaugh

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How to Increase Your Productivity | Katheryn Jeanne Photography

Photography Education

October 21, 2020

How to Increase Your Productivity | Katheryn Jeanne Photography

This weeks topic is dedicated to how to increase productivity. Today I’m talking to the mama’s out there. The entrepreneurs. The hustlers who are working full time and do what they love as a side job. The dreamers who aren’t afraid to dream big. The self doubters who are telling themselves they can’t do it. The excuse makers…I’m here to cheer you on today and tell you, you are good enough and smart enough to do whatever you put your mind to. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s the truth.

Let me tell you a little background about me…when I started my business, I knew ZERO about photography, about business, about marketing…ZERO. I had just been laid off my job and was 8 months pregnant. My husband suggested I get my real estate license, and well since I had nothing but a growing belly and time – I appeased him, all the while knowing real estate was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. I LOVED my job as a pharmaceutical rep. I thrived off it. When I lost my job, I was nothing short of devastated (and sitting on the side of the highway BAWLING)…and then I met Camden. And everything in my world shifted in a matter of milliseconds. There was absolutely no way I could go back to being on the road and traveling the way I did. I know there are millions of moms who do it and they are absolute rockstars. I wasn’t one of them, however.

I had toyed with the idea of making my passion a business, but I had zero confidence I would be able to do it. I tried my damnedest to get an at home job that paid well and somehow I could be successful at while Camden napped…nothing. So I started small. I joined Stella and Dot in order to build up a little extra income that I could invest in what was a hobby in hopes that one day I could convince myself to open up my photography business. Then the day I had dreaded came…on the way to Old Edwards Inn, Chad broke the bad news – I had to do something. We could afford for me to stay home for the first year, but after that I needed to start working again. Dagger. To. The. Heart. (Yes, I realize I am beyond fortunate to have had my first year at home with him, and I am beyond blessed to be able to “complain” about this – but stick with me, I promise I’m not complaining and I do have a point..)

That day my business was born. I actually verbalized what I wanted to do. And I was supported. I had 6 months to figure out how to do it, but I had my husbands blessing and when there is a will, there is a way…and that way had to be “my” way, but more on that later. I put a feeler out on Facebook and to my surprise, I had a few families sign up for free photos. From there, the rest is history. But like I said 4 paragraphs ago, this isn’t about my story, this is about how to make your dreams happen, and  some of the things I’ve learned along the way…

Suggestion Number One For Increasing Productivity: ASK FOR HELP

Katheryn Jeanne Photography | Increasing Productivity

Wow, this is a loaded one. On so many levels. For starters, both literally and figuratively…ask for help. Ask the people who have come before you how they made it, how they failed, what they wish they knew sooner. Have a genuine conversation with these people. If they are willing to share their secret sauce, LISTEN! I was dead set on doing it MY way in the beginning. Within 14 months I was doing a rebrand. If I had listened to what others suggested and thought about the bigger picture, I could have avoided a lot of pain, money loss and headaches.

For those that are established…DELEGATE!!! You are not required to wear 17 different hats, in fact that is why there is a company out there called 17 hats. You did not start your business to live behind a computer. No one dreams of opening their doors to literally never do what they intended to do. While no one may do it as fabulous as you, if you absolutely do not love doing it – delegate it. This obviously comes at a cost, and when you first are starting out, you don’t necessarily have the cashflow to do that. I get it, and quite honestly, I think its a good thing to learn every aspect of your business. However, the moment you have the ability to outsource, do it. For me, as much as I loved editing my photos, it literally sucked my life away. Insert Megan Kelsey into my life. She is an angel. I run my business in 12 hour weeks…no lie. I am in office 12 hours a week given my son goes to preschool all 3 days that week. Come April when my wedding season starts – that means 10/12 weekends are dedicated to weddings. On average, I shoot roughly 2500-3000 images a wedding. That is 30K images I have to cull, edit, blog, and deliver, working 12 hours a week. Every waking second would go to editing. And it use to. It was miserable. I had no time to do anything else I needed to do in order to sustain my business. When I finally decided enough was enough, I decided it was worth the .40 an image to pay someone else to edit. Now I edit the images that go on the blog (which act as anchor images) and send off the rest. Within 5 days I receive my perfectly edited gallery and send them off to my very happy clients. Its a win win situation. *Now – a word of advice. It took me AWHILE and some trial and error to find Megan. I tried private editors and big company editors alike and about gave up. My best advice to you is find an editor who shoots in your style, and have them do test edits.

Maybe a photo editor is not what you need,  so I want you to think outside the box. Take a log of your daily activities for a solid week. Take inventory of your time. For example, do you see you are spending 3 hours each week keeping your house clean? As a fellow neat freak, I understand wanting to have a spotless house. Perhaps delegating this task to a cleaning crew can free up 3 HOURS of your work time. While the $150 a week or biweekly clean may seem like its outside the budget, think of it this way – IF YOU HAD 3 SPARE HOURS A WEEK, COULD YOU MAKE THOSE 3 HOURS PROFITABLE?  Are those 3 hours more profitable than the $150 maid to keep your house clean?

 

Suggestion Number Two For Increasing Productivity : ACCOUNTABILITY AND PLANNING  IN ADVANCED

How to Increase Your Productivity

Entrepreneurship is a lonely business. It is very easy to get side tracked and put off the things you NEED to do in order to do more fun things. Here is where I give you tough love and tell you to grow up. If someone is paying you for a service, you need to hold yourself accountable to them. This may mean missing out on your favorite workout, or missing out of that super fun coffee date with a friend. Unfortunately, staying up until the wee hours of the morning gets old very fast, and as much as you tell yourself you do your best work at 2 am, it isn’t sustainable.

Holding yourself accountable to your business will pay off in dividends. Wake up an hour early if you absolutely cannot miss your work out. Turn OFF your TV and phone during those precious work hours. It was SO hard for me to take the TV out of my office because again, it is lonely being an entrepreneur. I loved the background noise. The day I took it out was sad, but I am 1000 times more productive without it. There are no distractions.

Start each work day with a list of to dos. It is too easy to get overwhelmed or sidetracked answering emails or facebook comments, etc. Every time you think of what needs to be done that week, add it to the list. Then prioritize. Do the task you least look forward to first. This way you avoid procrastinating. As one who NEEDED to respond to every inquiry within a minute – I get you. But trust me when I tell you if they want to work with YOU, they can wait. Now I’m by no means telling you to not respond to them within a reasonable amount of time, and if you listen to this – I suggest having an automated message that lets them know you indeed got their message and will respond within 24 (or 48 hours if that is your turnaround time).

PLAN OUT YOUR MONTH. This sounds like a huge task at first, but once you get in the habit of doing it, it makes life a breeze. Every hour is accounted for on my calendar. Every week I have tasks I am required to do. As much as I would love to drive to Charlotte every Monday, Wednesday, Friday (I actually have ZERO desire to drive to Charlotte all those times but you get the picture) to attend every Tuesdays Together Meeting, Coffee with other vendors, Venue Tours, Etc, I simply can’t. The time it takes me to get to Charlotte and back sucks 2 hours of my 3.5 hour morning. Instead, I sit down with Chad and compare calendars. On the days he can pick Cam up,  I can go to Charlotte. I stack my meetings up in Charlotte to avoid the constant back and forth. I purposely keep every Monday during wedding season blocked on my calendar to edit my blog images in order to turn around a blog in 72 hours. Mondays are precious to my office time. I do not schedule doctors appointments, work outs, coffee, etc on those days. Plan out your instagram posts. Planoly is a GREAT tool for this. No one likes thinking about what to post next. Planoly allows you to visually see what your feed will look like, write the captions for it, and schedule the post. When you are planned for, you avoid haphazardly posting garbage and some quick comment no one understands.

Planoly Grid | Katheryn Jeanne Photography

Don’t have kids yet… maybe you do this full time and you feel stuck behind your computer…Do you send the same email 30 times a day? Start saving your canned responses. Tweak accordingly. Do you spend 30 minutes catching up with friends when you only intended a 5 minute conversation? Bluetooth that convo and have it in the car. Do you travel to the same 4 locations for client meetings multiple times a week? Stack that shit. Do you constantly find yourself creating contracts or spreadsheets? Find a platform that does that for you. For me, Honeybook was the answer. Every proposal, contract, invoice, email, etc is housed there. It’s amazing. I can automate payment schedules, reminders, questionnaires, etc.

Suggestion Number Three For Increasing Productivity: SET BOUNDARIES

Katheryn Jeanne Photography | Increasing Productivity

If I could have learned anything earlier in business, it would be this. Set boundaries, and set them early. As much as YOU love what you do, your spouse, children, significant other do not. If you constantly work into the wee hours of the night, you are neglecting your other life. Maybe its being tied to your phone (which I am totally guilty of). It really isn’t fair to your family, friends, etc. Have you ever been at dinner with a friend who is constantly on their phone? Is it not the most annoying thing ever?? After 6 PM belongs to my family. That very rarely changes. When it does, it is the exception, not the rule. Yes, I am still on my phone after 6 PM. I still answer the occasional email, do a client FaceTime,  but I’m not sitting down for hours on end to edit, or blog, or do whatever else I didn’t get to during the day. You deserve downtime. You deserve to relax. While your business is your baby, having your own time is just as important. Take care of yourself. Take care of your significant other. Spend time with friends. Take the business hat off.

I could go on and on about this topic. Clearly I am no expert in this area, and I can only speak to my experiences…but if I can run a successful business 12 hours a week, I think you can too. You just have to work smart.

Cheers to that loaded post friends!

XOXO – Katy

 Did you miss last week’s post on how to achieve bright and airy photos?!!? You can revisit it by clicking {here!}

business strategy

affordable fashion & Lifestyle

Personal life

Wedding Photography

Categories

Reading suggestions

The Pageant Series

Fri-YAY Freebies!

Welcome To The Joyful Life!

tell me more...

I'm katy - PHOTOGRAPHER, BRANDING BABE & HOST OF THE JOYFUL LIFE PODCAST

Follow The Fun Daily

The Pageant Series

Must Try Recipes