Balancing Business and FamilyIt will always be a challenge but I promise you can make it work.
Working smarter, not obnoxiously longer hours:
If you are just in the planning stages of starting your business now is the time to decide when and how long you will work your business. If you are already up to your elbows in your studio it is never too late to take control. Here are a few tips for taking back your time:
1. Choose hours that work around your family's needs.
If you are a newborn and baby photographer you may choose to only work in the mornings when your children are in school. If you photograph families it may be best to schedule sessions right after dinner. If you tell your clients that you are available anytime they are you will find yourself shooting any and ALL the time. Make your clients aware of your available days and times and stick to them. No one expects to show up to a department store when they are not open and have it opened just for them. Treat your business like a business and others will too. This applies whether you work from home or have a retail studio location.
2. Don't make promises you can't, or don't want to keep.
Set a reasonable amount of time per session to edit, organize, and prepare your photos for presentation to the client. Remember that it is always better to deliver early then late. If you tell the client their portraits will be ready in two weeks and you deliver in one, you look great. If you promise one week and deliver in two, NOT GOOD. Make sure you schedule the time you need to edit. If you have little ones maybe nap time will work for you. If you work well late at night after the kids go to bed, that's great. Just make sure you set a time limit and QUIT when time is up. If you have a retail studio, set your hours and work during those hours. When the studio is closed, go home. Like any other job, your family will appreciate you leaving work at work.
3. Pay yourself well.
I can't say this enough and it seems to fit into every category we've discussed thus far! Do not under price yourself. Your talent and time are worth more than you think. When pricing your sessions, prints, or digital images you MUST take your time into account. It is more valuable than any other aspect of your business. When you work for an employer they pay you for the hours you work (your time). It is never negotiable. It is an agreement you make when you start working. How many hours does it take you to prepare for a session? What about actual time with the client? Editing? Price yourself appropriately so that you can plan ahead and make the income you need to make in the time you have.
4. Involve your family in your business.
Sounds scary right? Maybe not. If you have older children they can be helpful in managing the schedule, keeping books, and assisting on shoots. After all it IS a family business. Let the family in on the business. It's a great way to spend time together, and for the kids to make a few bucks and learn some responsibility. My daughter's (ages 21, 19, 16, 11, & 9) have all participated in different aspects of our business.
My kids are awesome! They went through a lot with me in the beginning (and the middle...). They will be the first to tell you that I was gone way too much. That I worked too hard and was stressed out. They will also be the first to tell you that they are proud of me. They know that I made a choice to start my own business so that I could be in control of my time and spend more with them. We are all looking forward to the day that becomes a reality! I kid. It takes some time. It will be harder in the beginning but if you stick to your guns and stay focused you will get there.
Remember, it is YOUR time and you are the boss of it. Make it work for you, not the other way around.
1000 Words Photography