Hi you guys! Thanks so much for tuning into The Business Journey Podcast! I am Rebecca Rice and I’m so excited to have you here! Today we’re talking about time management and balancing work life and mom life. This thing is never ending and it’s hard, if we’re honest. I wanted to give you a little bit of perspective of how I manage to balance everything. I am currently full time with my business but there was a season that I wasn’t. I was running my photography business on the side and having to balance all of the things and so I wanted to share some helpful tips and perspective to help make things a little bit easier.
If you’re not familiar with who I am, my name is Rebecca Rice. I am a wife, I’m a mom of 2 toddlers and I actually had a full time job outside of my photography business up until July 2020. I was a full time youth pastor. I had been a youth pastor for about 5 years. I worked at the same church for 9 years. It was quite the journey but I ended up going full time in my photography business in July 2020 and my husband joined me full time in our business in September of the same year. I know 2020 was a crazy year but we were both able to go full time in our business because things were going awesome! We now have a team of 10 of us, including my husband and myself, who all make it happen. Not everyone is full time, we have some contract help, but when we first started it was just me. I did it all. Bookkeeping, photographing, editing. Anything that goes into running a business, I was doing so I GET IT. Balancing work life and home life is hard. I feel you. You are trying to hustle and do it all when the team is only you. I get it. I was there.
If you're the kind of mom that feels guilty for working instead of being with your kids, trust me, I feel that too. Somebody commented on my Instagram the other day and said that they felt guilty when their kids came and closed their laptop while they were working. That hit me to the core because that happens to me all the time. My kids will come to me all the time and my son says “Done, done” and will try to close my laptop. My daughter will say “Well how about you bring your computer and work in my playroom?” They really just want to spend time with us which is the sweetest thing. That’s just mom life!
Sometimes balancing that can be hard and one of the biggest lessons that I learned that impacted my business greatly was from Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes. She preaches to work from a place of rest and not hustle. Hear that. Work from a place from rest and not hustle. She says that hustle isn’t a badge of honor. Which, it’s not. You work super hard all hours of the night, sometimes that’s what you have to do to get it done but hustle isn't a badge of honor. I always ask the question, “How can I take control of my work instead of letting my work control me?” I’m going to share a few tips that I use so that I can work from a place of rest so I don’t feel overwhelmed with mom life and work life hustle. I can balance it all and serve my clients well and be present for my kids and for my family. So just wanted to give you a few really practical things that you can do. If you’re listening, take notes and see if you can apply them!
1. SET OFFICE HOURS
I set office hours and I try to keep them. For some of you, office hours might be after the kids go to bed and that’s okay. I encourage you to set time aside that you are planning to spend just on business stuff. Stick to those times and try not to go outside of them.
So right now I am full time in my photography business. I’m a family photographer. I set work hours from 8am-12pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I try to just keep my work to those 3 days. During that time my kids go to a drop in daycare. There’s one not too far from us in Nashville, TN. The kids get to go and play for a little while and my husband and I get really focused time in those 4 hours.
In that time, I really try to batch my work. If you’ve never heard of batch working, that’s completing light tasks together. I try to only check my inbox once or twice a day. That may overwhelm you because if you’re the kind of person that’s always in your inbox, I would just encourage you to try and limit that to one or two times a day and respond to all the emails at once instead of popping in consistently and trying to hit emails throughout the day. You’re a lot more productive if you try and batch your work.
Another thing that I’ll do is that I’ll try and edit all my photo sessions or go through edits all at 1 time. Instead of sprinkling them through the week, I will batch them together to get all of that done.
Another thing that I do is I turn all my notifications off. I turn “Do Not Disturb” on and turn off all notifications of anything that makes noise or pops up. My family knows when I'm in work hours, I’m not going to answer their FaceTime. I’m not gonna be answering phone calls or text messages. I turn it off completely. If there’s an emergency, someone can get a hold of us, but I really try to not have distractions. Let’s say you post on Instagram, your phone lights up every time someone comments or likes your photo. Every time you stop working it takes your brain about 20 minutes to get back to where you were. That’s a long time for every single distraction. The time that you have to work is precious. It’s very limited most likely.
I choose to shoot only one day on the weekend to protect my family time. Weekend time is family time. Of course as a photographer, we still have to do photo sessions. I try to keep it to one day. Saturday works better for our family. I try to stick to that. If clients want to book, awesome! If they’re unavailable, they can find somebody else because sticking to that is really important for my family time.
Try to set your hours and stick to them, but I get it. Sometimes it’s hard and life happens. Yesterday my son puked out of nowhere in the morning. It was supposed to be a work day but I ended up working most the day on the couch with both my kids sitting next to me because they couldn't go to the play place because he puked! You have to be flexible. Sometimes I'll get random bursts of energy late at night. Which, I’m not a night person, so when that does happen, I get really inspired and feel the need to work on something. When that happens, I’ll knock out about an hour of work but I really do try to limit it for the sake of my family.
When I did have a full-time job outside of photography, my work hours looked different and that’s okay. Whatever season of life you’re in, be flexible and be okay with that season. When I did have a full time job as a youth pastor, I worked on my business after my kids went to bed. One of the things that I tried really hard to do was to try and get them to bed at 7:30. We trained them to go to bed at 7:30. 7:30 is a little early for my daughter now. She’s 3 ½ so we institute quiet time. At 7:30 she goes up to bed and she can play quietly then she puts herself to bed when she gets tired. Usually she’s out by 8:30 at the latest. During that time, that was my business time. 7:30, we’ve already eaten dinner, I’d sit down and I was able to knock out a few hours of stuff whenever I could. I know a couple of my friends wake up at 5 am because their kids wake up at 6:30 and they want to get work hours done before their kids get up so if that may work for you, then try that if you’re a morning person and you don’t mind waking up early. I’ve done that a few times and it’s really peaceful because the kids aren’t going crazy. I'm actually able to get some good focused work done at 5 am. If that doesn’t work for you, that's okay. Find time that works for you but really try to make that time intentional. Schedule it so that the whole family knows what you're doing.
I can’t tell you how much it helped when I instituted work hours and communicated it to my husband “These are my work hours. I’m not available to help the kids go get them gummies or whatever.” If they’re home, he is the one that’s tending to their needs because I am in work hours and I'm unavailable. He has his work hours that are non negotiable and we communicate as a family when that time is. That way we can have the focused time and my husband or myself will pick up the slack during those times. Another thing I did whenever I was working full time was I was forced to maximize my time. One of the things that really helped me maximize my time was shooting mini sessions. I’m sure at some point i will do a whole podcast on why mini-sessions are so much better than full sessions. They’re the biggest bang for your buck. They’re the best way to manage your time. We talked about batching your work. Shooting mini sessions is essentially batching your photo sessions. I like to stack them 8 at a time, 15 min sessions back to back. In that season I was forced to maximize my time. Nobody taught me that, I had no choice because I didn’t have enough time in the day. Having limited time really does force you to learn how to be smarter and wiser with your time.
2. AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN
If a machine can do it, LET IT. There are lots of things that you can automate. There are lots of systems that allow you to automate things that are fairly inexpensive. You can automate things like emails. Even creating email templates. If there's an email that you could potentially send to another client, make it an email template that way you don't have to re-do it later. There are things I sent to our clients through our client experience just as part of the photo session process. We have a series of emails that they receive. Those are automated. I use Dubsado for my booking system. I can set up when I want specific emails to go out and it will send it automatically. I don’t have to think twice about it. I have a set of email templates in my shop if anyone wants to check that out. Any email I send to my clients throughout the booking process is in that template and you can just copy and paste it and use it for your own clients. That’s super helpful and a major time saver. Another thing that I automate is my workflow. I mentioned that I use Dubsado. I’ve used HoneyBook in the past. They have workflows in there that help automate a lot of things. Sending files, communication back and forth with clients. That stuff can be automated in a workflow. I do have my workflow available in my shop too. It’s a Dubsado workflow that works with HoneyBook too. Automating is a huge step in your business and it was such a game changer for me when I realized so many things can be automated. A couple more things you can automated are your social media posts or gallery up-selling. For example, in my mini sessions, I up-sell my galleries. I don’t have time for in person sales. I told you guys, I was used to operating on such little time that in person sales was not even a possibility in my business. I figured out a system to up-sell automatically through emails. I do teach that in my mini session course if you want to go check that out. That was a huge game changer for me. I created a freebie for you guys if you want to check it out. I put together a list of 5 must-have apps that run my business. You can find that at www.rebeccaricephoto.com/5apps. I’ll link it so you can grab that if you want to. Basically it’s 5 apps that i use to automate so many areas of my business. I’m telling you they will be GAME CHANGERS for you.
Don't tune me out right away when i say outsource because i know that can be scary but it doesn't have to be. There's this thought that outsourcing has to be super expensive and that’s not true. You can factor those things into your cost of doing business and price yourself in such a way that your outsourcing gets paid for.
I try to spend my time doing things that only I can do. If you’ve never done this before, I encourage you to make a list of different tasks that you do in your business and put a star next to things that only you can do that you can't pass off to someone else. Right now, I’m teaching you guys. Only I can do that. There are things in your business and your personal life that you can outsource that are 100% worth it. I say personal life because there’s this thought that outsourcing is only business things. If you’re bad at laundry, you can outsource your laundry. There are companies whose sole purpose is to do laundry for people. I’m horrible at laundry so i’ve definitely looked into these services before. My husband wont let us do it but maybe one day. Who knows? If house cleaning really gets you down and it takes up so much time, consider hiring a house cleaner. Even if it’s not every week. Maybe just once a month to ease your mind. You can spend that time doing revenue generating tasks. If you make that list and you have things that could be outsourced, I would also write down how much time you spend doing those things.
Let's take editing for example. If you’re spending 4, 5 even 10 hours behind your computer editing a session, imagine what you could be doing if you spend that time marketing to book more sessions. The first time that I hired an editor, it was a game changer. It freed up so much time that I was able to use for other things because I wasn't stuck behind my computer. It also helps with my kids because my kids don't like me to be on my computer. They come and shut it when I’m working on stuff. Sitting down to edit is really hard for me so by outsourcing that to someone whose job is to match my style, it really freed up a lot of time. It was a liberating feeling knowing that i didn't have to spend my hours doing that. Honestly outsourcing your editing is a lot more cost effective than you probably think. The typical editing pricing is anywhere from $0.24 per image to $0.37 an image. If you add that into your cost of business and up the price of your sessions just a little, you’ll cover your editing. It’s so worth it! One thing that I tell people is when you're trying to decide whether to outsource something, my go-to thing is if someone else could do it 80% as good as you, then it's time to hand it off. I know people who are so scared to hand off their editing because they’re control-freaks. I get it! I’m totally a control-freak but if someone else can do it 80% as good (which honestly, editors are very good at matching your style), think how you could be spending your time if you’re not spending it editing or blogging or posting to social media.
Outsourcing your social media would also be a game changer. I know a lot of people that spend so much time trying to come up with Instagram captions and make their feed all pretty. When I started outsourcing my social media, it was such a huge relief, because I tend to get stuck in scrolling mindlessly as I'm supposed to be curating my feed or writing captions. It was really hard for me. Social media is something that would be helpful! There are people whose specialty is blogging and SEO. You can outsource that to them! Some people do it better than you! I know the girl I have doing my blog right now does it way better than me! It was a GREAT investment because she is helping us actually get clients from google! People are finding us on google because she knows how to optimize our blog for SEO. You can hire people for you your weaknesses, something you don’t know how to do or something that really pins you down! For me, it’s inbox management. My inbox really stresses me out. By hiring an assistant to go through my inbox and star things that I need to see is so helpful because I don't feel overwhelmed with it! She’s able to really streamline that process. Plus I'm not spending all this extra time going through junk emails. She’s able to take care of that and I’m spending my time only on the things that I need to see.
Hopefully this is helpful for you and these things give you a few really practical steps that you can take to get your business and life balanced. You don't want to spend all your time on your business but you also need to balance that you don't need to spend all your time (and hear my heart here, because I know this sounds bad) on family time because your business is a part of who you are. By learning to balance the 2 you’re really able to take yourselves to new heights and accomplish way more than you probably thought you ever could.
So SET OFFICE HOURS, AUTOMATE AND OUTSOURCE.
If you have any questions at all, I would love to help you out. Feel free to find me on instagram @rebeccaricephotography. I love chatting with people about all these things and business and life so if I can help or encourage you in any way. Definitely reach out. Don’t forget to download my freebie - The 5 Must Have Apps that run my business. www.rebeccaricephoto.com/5apps
I hope you have a great week and we’ll talk next time!