organization

One Simple Tip to Get Control of Your Business (and Life!)

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Okay, you know those posts that are all over the place telling you they have One Simple Tip that will make you productive and it’s always something you have to buy from them and it’s got like 25 steps to prep and then will take 2 hours and MAYBE it will work, but probably it won’t because you don’t work exactly like them, or you aren’t in the same business as they are?

One Simple Tip :: ThePhotogsHelper.com

Yeah, this is not that type of a tip.

I’m not selling you anything and you can do this with things you have in your house. You probably have the items within reach of you right now.

Are you ready?

It’s called a Brain Dump and it’s super easy.

Step 1: Grab a writing utensil (pen, pencil, crayon – doesn’t matter. You can use your phone or computer, but the tactile process of hand writing has been shown to work better.)

Step 2: Grab something to write on (fancy planner, notebook, post-it notes….anything)

Step 3: Write. Spill out EVERYTHING that is in your mind. Work things. Home things. Random thoughts about your crush in 2nd Grade. Everything.

Step 4: Organize that list. This can be anything from highlighting in color coded pens to put things on separate lists or simple crossing off things as you get them done. It’s up to you.

Step 5: Be Productive!

Alas, the list will not get done itself. But if you’ve written down everything that is in your head, it doesn’t need to sit in your head anymore and you can actually think about what does need to get done!

I do it every morning while listening to music and burning a candle, while drinking my coffee. It is a great way to recharge after a good nights sleep. It lets me transition from the craziness of making sure everyone gets out the door on time and prepared, and into #bosslady mode.

Have you tried Brain Dumping? Does it work for you? How do you dump?

Share in the comments or on our Facebook page how you manage your list of things to get done!

November the First

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Can you believe it’s November already? How did that even happen?

Halloween is over and we are getting into the busy holiday season. Are you ready for it?

Looking into the future full of holiday sessions, mini sessions, ordering presents for family, your clients and for your clients to give to their family….it can be overwhelming.

This year, I want you to take a little break and take some time for yourself.

Do yourself and your sanity a favor and use a permanent marker to schedule some personal time. A mani/pedi. Coffee with a friend. A bubble bath with a glass of wine. Do this for one day every week.

This week? My personal time will be heading into Portland to hang out with some lovely bloggers.

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Anyone that blogs in the local area has a special something about them. The people that live here have a personality all our own. Anyone that hasn’t visited the Northwest is really missing out.

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I mean, no, it’s terrible. Horrible. No visiting needed here!

Where do you live? What part of the area that you are in is your favorite and so different from anywhere else you’ve been?  And more importantly, what are you going to schedule for yourself in this next week?

 

Share on my Facebook page or in the comments below!

Linky Love :: 7 Tips for Working from Home

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7 Tips for Working From Home

 

from Dana of Wonder Forest

First off, I am not very impressed with the way Pinterest changed the embedding option. I can see that they wanted to allow for some great changes and make it easy, however the very basic html code creator is no longer there. Ah, well. I’ll just do it the hard way!

That being said, you must check out this blog post from Dana. I’ve really begun to love the types of posts that she has been creating lately and especially this one. I’ve been structuring my days better, each hour getting set in and especially number 3.

Tip number 3 has settled in to be even more truthful and I’ve been working hard.

What is number 3?

Go and read the article and let me know which tip you felt hit home the most!

Linky Love :: Be a Productivity Ninja

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Living in the world we do it can be very difficult to get things done. Right now, I’m sitting on a couch at a dear friend’s house more than halfway across the US from home. I have multiple things going at once and because I’m not at my main home base, it can become an issue. Without my measures in place to allow me to work at my most effective are not in place. Last week I was at WPPI and it was amazing and exhausting and never as truly productive as I need it to be. This week, I’m in Alabama and going to be photographing a 30th birthday party, with family shots, an adorable 1 year old and several gorgeous ladies looking hawt and sexy. It was cheaper to fly in and out on a Monday, so I’m spending a full 7 days here (well, it would have been 7 days if my first flight (a red-eye) hadn’t ended up being 4.5 hours late…but that’s another story) and still trying to be as productive as possible.

Having to change up my routine is becoming difficult but we are never going to grow if we are not open to change. So I shall do what I can to get things done, apologize profusely for things I fail at (sorry for those lovely ladies I’m doing any sort of designing for….) and keep trucking.

Tamara Lackey is talking about All In One Life on CreativeLive and has the owner of Nerd Fitness on. Their site is fantastic and that’s where I found this gem of a blogpost. I just had to share it with you!

It’s changing the way I’m doing some things today! I hope it helps you too.

Wandering Wednesday

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Sometimes, I wonder why my mind goes like it does. All over the place sometimes and other times I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. There are days that I have twenty things going on at once and I feel like I can juggle them with no problem. Other mornings, I wake up and it takes all of my concentration to get dressed.

How I wish I could manage that concentration by myself. That I could grasp the tasks in my list and do everything needed.

Alas, I’m not perfect. Every day, I have to make myself do what is needed. Helping other people with their business, getting it organized and helping it run has helped me in my own business in unspeakable ways.

I am so blessed to have this network of you all. Sometimes the industry is exhausting. The cliques and egos and resentment and anger that can build up anytime you have more than one person together.

But there are pockets of joy. Pockets of love. So thank you.

Lets spread the love to each other.

And that’s the end of this Wandering Wednesday post. I know it rambles all over the place but these are thoughts that run through my head before I fall asleep.

Linky Love :: Avoid Procrastination

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I don’t know about you, but I have a secret bad habit. Okay, so it’s not really a secret, but I wanted to put it out there to the world.

My name is Kathy and I am a procrastinator.

“Hi, Kathy”

I know this can be a difficult thing to admit, especially for someone that works for other people. My biggest problem occurs when it comes to working on my own stuff. I can get my client’s work done, no problem. Their timeline becomes mine and is easy for me to match.

My own stuff though, especially when it’s not for my photography clients? It can take me forever. I’ve had my iPhone 5 since September and it wasn’t until today that I finally ordered a new case with my branding information on it. It’s a silly thing, but something that has been on my list of things to do. Black River Imaging has a special today, which is the main thing that kicked me into gear, but still…there were other sales. My list never seems to really go down…

That being said, this list by Jasmine Star? Amazing. It’s definitely helped me wrap my mind around the stuff on my to do list. How about you? Are you a procrastinator?

So You Wanna Be A Photographer?

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So, you want to go into business as a photographer? Before you even pick up your camera to start portfolio building, you should get these five things sorted out!

First step, you need to think of this an actual business. It can be easy to think of photography as just a hobby and oh, hey, if you get paid some in cash, that’s great! However, if you will take money at all, it’s a business. As such, you should be registered as one! You do not want to be audited Take a look at the different options: sole proprietor, llc, etc and see which one makes the most sense for you. Talk to your local Chamber of Commerce or a tax person to ask questions if you need to. Either way, once you’ve figured it out, register it! Each state is different, so make sure you contact your state’s business department or look at their website to discover what needs to be done. Don’t forget the government either! You’ll need an EIN (which may end up being your Social Security Number) but you must be registered! Combined with this step is the need for your business name. Whether you choose to do simply Your Name Photography or something different, this is the one step for your branding and business you need to have decided.

Once the government (both state and federal) know you are ready to take money, you need a place to put that money. The worst thing you could do is mix your business and personal funds. Take the paperwork you’ve received into your favorite bank or credit union and set up your account! I’m partial to Advantis Credit Union, if you have it because of the interest rates, but this should be your decision completely. Make sure get both a checking and savings account, as well as a business debit card. Your savings account will be perfect for automatically transferring your tax payments to. I always move over 30% of any income because the last thing I want to do is have to dig into my personal accounts to pay Uncle Sam!

Now that you have a place to put your money, you need to discover what amounts of your money you will be depositing. Yes, I’m talking about pricing! It’s scary, but nothing can kill your business faster than not knowing what to charge! There are a bunch of options out there to help you, but the only thing you should NOT do is spy on your local photographers, get their price lists and then randomly pick numbers less than theirs! Part of this decision is deciding what kind of photography business you want to be: volume or boutique. Regardless of which you choose, you will need to price accordingly. If you are wanting to charge $25 for a session fee and your gift prints start at $10 a piece, you cannot call yourself boutique and spend $50 packaging each order. The math doesn’t add up! There is no truly right or wrong answer per-say with what you choose, but you do need to decide and fully stand by that decision!

Only once you have created your pricing structure should you buckle down on the things like your logo and branding. By now, you’ve figured out the name of your company (and registered so you are all official!) and you’ve figured out what you want to price for your products and services. Because of this, you have a better idea of who you are as a company. With those decisions made, you’ll be able to develop your branding and marketing to fit those ideas and work with who you are hoping to bring into your business as clients. When creating this overall look, you definitely want to work with a professional to develop what you want. It’s going to be something you want to invest your time, effort and any financial options you have to make sure it is worthwhile.
The last thing to think of before you put out your shingle is to figure out your workflow. When someone calls or emails you to have you take their picture, what process do they need to go through? Are you going to schedule them in a Google Calendar or a paper calendar? Will you have a paper file or a digital client management option? Unlike the first four steps, this is something that can grow and develop over time but you must have a basic idea to start with. The more planning you can put forth into this piece of your business puzzle, the easier a time presenting yourself as a professional. When visit a restaurant, you know the steps to the dance. You walk in the door, sit down at a table (whether you choose the table yourself or a hostess seats you), you look at the food to order, make your decision, the cook prepares it, you eat, you pay and you leave. There are a variety of different steps depending on the type of restaurant, who works there, etc. But at the end of the night, you know you will get food. A workflow for your business is very much like this. There are several different pre-built workflow options available, but you want to make sure whatever you choose is how you want your business to be run. This will help make sure that you are successful!

Once you have these five steps sorted out and have decided that this is truly what you want to do, go for it! Set up your referral program, drop your name to everyone and shout from the rooftops that you are open for business!

Good luck, stay strong and don’t forget why you chose to do this. Make sure to shoot for you sometime in your soon to be busy schedule too. If you forget why you wanted to become a Professional Photographer, you will lose the passion and beauty that drew you to it. This won’t benefit anyone, including your clients.

Tuesday Tip :: Darn To Do Lists

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Everyone says you should have one. But I’ll be darned if they can’t be overwhelming. Some mornings, I wake up and just the thought of trying to MAKE a to do list for the day ends up feeling like it’s too much.

On those days, I have a secret trick.

Wanna know what it is?

Of COURSE you do!

Here is a little hint:

If you said that little notepad next to the ipad, you are 100% correct!

This notebook is amazing. It allows me to concentrate on no more than 2 tasks for the day and really think about things to concentrate on. This notepad is only $9.95 on Amazon but it seriously is one of the best things to keep my head on straight for days where I can barely even get dressed.

How do you handle a day that doesn’t allow you to feel productive when you know you have things to do?

Tuesday Tip :: UnCluttered And It Feels So Good!

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Some of you may remember a post four months ago about detoxifying. I also showed you the truth of my desktop and it was scary.

I have gone through a lot of changes over the last few months. And I wanted to share them with you!

Now that I’m spending so much more time at home and at my desk, I knew it was time to make a difference.

I went through and finally put up the shelves I’ve had forever. I just received a big print on wood that was all ready for me to hang on the wall. My family and I love being able to see this picture of us every day!

My stamping and other packaging supplies are finally out in the open and ready to be used. They are easily accessed so I can use them when I want.

I have more plans for this space. I’d love to find a perfectly sized box to fit both the router and Time Machine so it’ll hide. But until then, I am happy with where I’m at now. There is always more to tweak but I’m ready to be productive!

How have you been doing? Have you redone your office recently or found anything new to share?

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