It's a new year which means it's the perfect cliched excuse to get organized, clear out old stuff, and do some planning for the upcoming year. Whether you're a full-time photographer, or just a hobbyist, here's a few things to consider doing during the month of January.
* Back up all of your data - make sure your records, photos, and any important files are saved in more place than one.
* Make new years resolutions for your craft and/or business.
* Decide what new skills to learn and get better at this year.
* Plan ahead for 2012 photo expos, conferences, workshops- book your spot and travel arrangements.
* Sit down and figure out what's working and what's not, your strengths and weaknesses... make plans and adjustments accordingly.
* Update your website, C.V./resume, tear sheets, and printed materials.
* Update your prices, policies, procedures, and contracts or official forms.
* Brainstorm new marketing ideas, assignment pitches, and personal projects.
* Update your business plan (or create one if you don't already have one).
* Plan your 2012 budget.
* If you're not organized with your tax stuff, start gathering up your 2011 receipts, invoices, etc. and start fresh with keeping your 2012 tax bits organized and tracked.
* Analyze data from 2011- collect surveys, website analytics, feedback, reviews, etc.
* Join a new networking group or professional organization.
* Make a plan to give something back to your community or a charitable organization of choice.
* Trade in your photographic gear- get rid of the items you don't use anymore and trade them in for items you need or wold like to experiment with.
* Get your gear checked and cleaned- preventative maintenance is a good thing!
* Update your computer software and camera firmware for increased security and new features (if you don't already do this on a regular basis).
* Change your computer and online passwords (if you don't already do this on a regular basis).
* Decide if part of your business needs to be outsourced to help with time management and/or quality and do the research to find a perfect fit for someone (or company) to do that for you.
* Work on your time management and get rid of distractions.
* Check in with your current clients- send a personalized New Years "hello" and/or send out an "updates" newsletter.
* Clear out- get rid of old and unnecessary papers, emails, and files (but be sure not to delete or trash anything that you may need in the future).
* Play catch-up with things you got behind on over the holidays.
* Take care of your health (this is just a given for anyone in any field)- have you been putting off going to the doctor or haven't taken any time for yourself to really relax and rejuvenate? Now is the time to do all of those things that you have been putting off or haven't had time for.