1. Business
  2. Inspiration

How to Overcome the Overwhelm as a Professional Photographer

Intro by Skip Cohen

Sarah Petty’s back again with OUTSTANDING advice to help you kill the feeling of being overwhelmed as a small business owner and professional photographer.

My passion for this industry is on the business and marketing side, and I don’t make a living as a professional photographer. Well, I found a lot of useful help in her three tips below just in managing my own business.

We all wear too many hats, and the diversity in our responsibilities and the variety of support we provide to the people in our lives sooner or later is overwhelming. We fight to find balance and find the time to “smell the roses,” but things get in the way. Most of us don’t even see the pressure building, until *BAM* there it is – we’re overwhelmed and frustrated!

Take the time to read through Sarah’s three tips, because they make so much sense and this isn’t rocket science. She’s sharing ideas that will prove to be invaluable in helping you become a stronger business owner and at the same time enjoy those other hats you wear when you’re not a photographer!

By Sarah Petty

It happens to every single photographer….

The feeling of complete overwhelm when you have so much to do and not enough time to do it.

For photographers like me, it starts with taxes to file, images to back up and retouch, orders to process, calls to return. Oh and that little task that never goes away – marketing.

I’m going to share with you 3 tips to help you overcome the overwhelm in your photography business.

  1. Make a game plan.

I find that what gets me in trouble is when I jump around from task to task with no real plan for where I’m going. For example, checking my voicemail then jumping over to write an email, then jumping back into my cell phone before retouching images. Before I know it, I have 7 projects going and none have been finished.

To help me avoid the too many irons in the fire problem, I first identify 3 top priorities I want to accomplish TODAY. Then I physically block the time on my calendar to make sure they get done!

A quick tip on how to prioritize – I always make sure at least one of my tasks is something that is most likely to help me bring in revenue – from writing notes to making calls, setting up appointments, creating new products and more. Those things take priority on my to-do list most days.

  1. Organize your database.

Everyone has a database. It’s your little black book of contacts that includes everyone from your friends, family, people you do business with and paying clients.  But more than just that how to reach them, it includes valuable information about each contact that helps you create opportunities for business like:

  • ages & names of their kids
  • pet’s names
  • family hobbies (boating, swimming, skiing, basketball)
  • schools they attend or attended
  • purchase history (baby #1 got a painted canvas at 6 months so be sure to follow up at 6 months with baby #2 for the same thing)
  • home decorating style

The database I use is web-based, and I schedule time on my calendar every week (just 30 minutes) to update it with new information on my clients and prospects as well as look for other opportunities. What this does is it ensures that when business slows down at my photography studio instead of panicking about how I can get the phone to ring, I have a pile of opportunities waiting for me to jump on in my database

  1. Be proactive, not reactive.

As creatives, we get wrapped up in the excitement of the newest thing that comes our way. We are all guilty of this. But if you find yourself reacting to opportunities as they arise more often than planning for them, you need a better plan. Here’s why.

When you react to opportunities that fall in your lap, you’re behind and scrambling at the last possible second. Yikes.

The other downside to reacting is you’re not fully in control of the results of your effort and you often don’t have time to truly assess the potential of the opportunity. When you proactively plan your activities, you KNOW what your goals are and how you are going to achieve them.

I’ve found the marketing opportunities that perform best are the ones I plan for. Activities like speaking locally to a group of new moms, co-marketing with another small business and creating a marketing plan.