Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of the Business Journey podcast, I'm your host, Rebecca, and today we're talking about tips for tackling busy season. This is one of those topics that I'm really passionate about because I did this wrong in my whole first year of business and it really cost me. I was exhausted and totally burnt out. And it was just not a great experience. I learned really quickly that I didn't want my business to continue in that trajectory because it was leading really fast to burnout. And so today we're going to be talking about some tips that are really practical to help you avoid burnout and tackle that busy season so that you can leave feeling refreshed and feeling, you know, excited to continue working and not completely beat and ready to quit.
Now, before we go too far, I did want to let you guys know about a free class that I have running right now. A Mini Sessions class. If you are, you know, we're obviously in the middle of mini sessions season right now. If you're looking for a way to elevate that client experience and really improve your marketing strategies than this, mini sessions class is perfect for you. You can sign up today for free. Rebeccaricephotography.com/minis-class and we'll link it in the description so that you can grab that link really easily and just jump in and, you know, learn all you can about mini sessions so that you can maximize this season that we are in right now. So I'm really, really excited for those few that are going to take advantage of that. So tackling busy season, I am just such a huge believer that you don't have to work from a place of hustle that it is possible to work from a place of rest. This is something that I learned from Ashlynn Carter of Ashlynn writes. She is actually a copywriter. She's not a photographer, but I just really love the way that she looks at business and saying that you don't have to work from this place of hustle. You know, there's this hustle culture. It seems like people are always pushing, Oh, you need to hustle. If you're not hustling, you're not going to get there. But the truth is, you can work from a place of rest and maybe not get there quite as fast, but it'll be a whole lot more fulfilling in the end. And so in my first year of business, things grew really quickly for me, and by the fall, I shot over 100 families in many sessions my very first year. These are families I had never worked with before, and I was so excited that I just kept saying yes to everybody and I was booking and booking and booking, and I left zero space for margin and for rest in my life. And I remember by the end of that season, I think my last session was booked for the first week in November or I'm sorry in December. I remember like taking this really huge breath and realizing how exhausted I was, and I was just so beat. I wanted to sleep for a whole week and I couldn't because I worked full time at a church. And so I didn't really get any break time because, you know, we had Christmas services coming up and all the things. And so I remember just that feeling of pure exhaustion and having nothing left in my tank. And I decided at that moment that I did not want to do that again. I said, OK, we're going to change some things for next year. So I don't leave this season feeling so totally drained. And so I took some very practical steps that year to change that feeling. And so we're going to walk through some of those things that I implemented that really helped protect myself from burnout from, you know, being completely exhausted. And I can tell you that by implementing these things the following year, it made all the difference. I had never been so proud of myself that at the end of that season that next fall, I didn't feel exhausted. And I remember telling some of my friends, like, this is the best feeling ever that I survived this season, but didn't just survive it. I thrived in it, knowing that I was doing the best that I could, and I was serving my clients well while still being part time, you know, I as full time youth pastor, so I remember loving the fact that I could serve my clients well. Everybody was taking care of the money was in the bank and I was still working from a place of rest. I didn't feel completely drained. I felt like I still had more to give and I was really able to give that into my family in the holidays and everything like that. So that's a feeling that you're wanting to have at the end of this fall season. You don't want to be burnt out, you want to be working from that place of rest and just knowing that you still have, you know, some some juice left in the tank, then these tips are for you. So let's dive in to the first tip that I have for avoiding burnout, and that is to write out your processes ahead of time. So anything that you do in your your booking process, your editing process, your, you know, post-processing, everything like that right out your process. And you may say, Rebecca, I know my process like it's in my head. I do it so many times for every single family like I know how it goes. You're right, you do know your process. But what happens in a busy season? Especially if you're shooting high volume like we do. Is that those processes are what you lean on when chaos hits. So for example, usually I'm booking over 100 minis this year. My associate team alone is doing over 200 mini sessions for fall and Christmas, which is insane. Now there are several of them on the team, so it's not one person shooting that many minis, but still, that's a lot going on. And so I know for us that when things get chaotic because they do, you can't avoid chaos during busy season, it just happens. But when things get chaotic, we have our processes to be able to lean on. And you know, when we are, like, really overwhelmed, what do I need to do now? We can look at our processes and just start checking things off the list. This helps ensure that every client gets served the way that they deserve to be served and that, you know, we don't. We don't miss any pieces because that's what tends to happen when you're stuck in overwhelm is you miss pieces of the client experience and then we end up not serving clients the best that we can. So write out all of your processes. Our team uses Trello, which is a free online task manager that our team uses, and I've actually talked about this in our photography client workflow masterclass. If you're a part of behind the lens, you can go watch that and see the process that we use our workflows. And then you actually also get a Trello board template to use for yourself to implement the same process in your own business. Whatever you choose to do, whatever system you choose to use, have a system and write out those processes so that when things get crazy, you have something to lean on. The second thing that I think is really important in avoiding burnout is to know your capacity and stick with it. OK? It's one thing to know your capacity to know when you know you've reached 100 percent or you're really starting to feel overwhelmed. But it's another thing to have the bravery to tell people no and to stop booking. Even when maybe there's white space in your calendar. Just because there's white space doesn't mean you need to fill it with bookings, because what happens is if you are at capacity, meaning you can't take on physically, take on any more clients without just being completely overwhelmed, whether it's actually shooting or the post-processing or whatever. If you have reached your max capacity but you still choose to take on clients, that is what leads to burnout. Because now you're operating at 120 percent when you were never meant to operate at more than 100 percent or truthfully, I think you're never meant to operate at more than like 80 percent, because that extra 20 percent is that margin that we need to stay running efficiently. Think of it like a car engine. If you're constantly going max RPM, you know, I'm not even a car person, so I'm kind of impressing myself for knowing these terms. But you know that little thing that whenever you rev your engine and the little dial goes all the way into the red, if your car is constantly, you know, at max RPM, then your engine is going to burn out. It can't sustain. You may be able to do it for a season, but it's not going to be sustainable. The same goes in your business. If you're just going super, super hard, that is not sustainable and you are going to burn out. So even if there's white space in your calendar, it does not mean that you have to book it. And so this was something that I did not do. While my first year that fall, I said yes to anybody and everybody, and if I had a free moment to spare, you better believe I was filling it with bookings because I wanted to maximize my profit. And I thought the best way to do that was to fill all of my time with photo sessions, when in reality, there are other ways that are much more healthy to maximize your profit. Things like raising your prices so that you can book less and still maintain your profit goals. Right in that first year at my prices were not high enough, I realized, because I was booking out like crazy and it was just very overwhelming. And so in that second year, I said, You know what? I'm raising my prices. And when I, you know, I decided I had a time when I book this many sessions, that's it. I'm not booking anymore. You know, for me personally, I don't like to shoot more than like three hours max of many sessions at a time. And so could I shoot for four or five hours? Yeah. Was there open space? My calendar? Sure, there was. But I know that my body does not react well because at that point, after three hours of shooting, I'm beat, and if I go any longer, I'm going to have to go home and sleep for four hours just to recover. And that wasn't fair to my family, it wasn't fair to my kids. And so I wanted to reserve my energy and only shoot for, you know, two or three hours. My favorite is to just shoot for two hours, but if I need to do three, that's fine. But I decided ahead of time I would not shoot for more than three hours at a time, even if I could, because I wanted to protect my energy. And so I knew my capacity, and by sticking with it, I know it's hard to turn people away. Even if you feel like, oh, I could just add them in at the end, if you do it for one person, you're going to want to do it for every single person. And I'm telling you friends, it's not worth it. And so it does take bravery to be able to tell people no, to be able to say, I'm sorry, I'm fully booked but embrace being fully booked. I'm so excited for my associate him at the time I'm recording this. It's actually the middle of September and my associate team has fully booked their mini sessions in Tennessee, so they've booked fall minis. They've booked all their Christmas Minis and there's no more minis that they're able to book. And that is something that's exciting that we can celebrate that could we go in and and see where our associates have, you know, a sliver more of time to be able to add people? We could, but it's not worth it. I don't want to burn my team out, either. And so we celebrate that we're fully booked and we take it at that. I know it can be easy to really get greedy and say, because I know you don't want to think like, Oh, I'm a greedy person, but that's what happens when we see that empty space and you want to fill it just to get more bookings. Don't succumb to that greed and saying, I just need more money. Rest is always more important in those cases and so know your capacity and stick with it. The third piece that really helps to avoid burnout is to automate and to outsource what you can. You guys know, I'm really passionate about both automations and outsourcing. What I highly suggest doing is looking through your client experience and seeing what pieces you can automate. Maybe you're using a CRM like dubsado, which I am a huge fan of dubsado because of their automations. If you can automate something so that you don't have to physically do it, you're saving yourself time. And also, if you can outsource some things, you're going to save yourself a lot of time. And one of the things that photographers seem to have a really hard time letting go of is their editing. But let me tell you, when you can let go of your editing and outsource that piece of your business, you save so much more time, especially during busy season. I'm telling you, outsourcing your editing is a game changer because it allows you to use that time honestly instead of editing to rest. Because think after a busy weekend of mini sessions, the last thing you want to do is sit down at a computer and edit all of those minis. It takes a long time, and that's time that you're spending away from your family and people that matter most. And if your kids are like mine, my kids used to come in like physically close my laptop while I was trying to edit, and that was telling me something. And so I. By outsourcing my editing, that was just a huge step, that it was scary to let go of the reins and say, you know, it's something so personal to me, my editing. But in a private editor's job is to match your style so that your clients don't even know the difference. And so you can find some great editors if you need some suggestions. DME on Instagram at Rebecca Rice Photography and I would love to send you over some editors that I know and I trust. You can, you know, hopefully be able to outsource that piece so that you can free up some time and be able to rest. And then that last piece that's so important to avoiding burnout is to plan for rest. Plan for rest. Because if you don't put it physically in your calendar, it's probably not going to happen. So for me, in my mini session season, I always block off certain days or weeks. I say I am not shooting on these days. You have to block them off before you start your bookings because it can be really easy to say, Oh, you know, there's this white space. I mean, as I'll just fill it, but I'm telling you block off the time, refused to book. It's a non-negotiable and plan that you are spending that time to rest, because that was one of the things that I did that second year in my business that it made all the difference was planning to rest, putting those intentional spacers, I guess, in my calendar to say I am not booking on these days. I know for me, for my mini sessions, I wanted to only shoot one day of mini sessions per week. So for the sake of my family, I was only shooting Saturday or Sunday. I was not shooting Saturday and Sunday because I wanted to protect my family time. And so that was a non-negotiable. That was something that I talked with my husband about, and we decided together that this was what the, you know, the calendar was going to look like just for what fits our family and by planning for rest. That piece helps, you know, at the end of that season, it was amazing to be able to look back and not feel exhausted and drained because I was resting in between all of my sessions rather than working, working, working and then, you know, resting at the very end for two weeks straight. Right. That's not fine, and it makes a whole lot harder. I remember my daughter, I was having a conversation with my four year old and she wanted me to play. And I told her I wanted to take a nap because I'm definitely a napper. I don't know how many of you are listening are nappers. My husband is not lapper, but I for sure am. And I love a good nap. I take a nap every single day. I remember my daughter was asking me to play, and she had woken up early. From her nap, which is usually when I'm napping, and so I told her, well, you are welcome to watch a movie in here quietly while Carson is still sleeping and mommy is going to go take a nap. And her response was, Well, mommy, you can just sleep at nighttime. And her logic there is like, Well, you can just skip your rest because you're going to be resting anyways tonight. So just lump it all in there. But I know that I operate best with spurts of rest that I was skipping my nap. Then, you know, yes, it's true I am going to sleep tonight, but it's still not making up for the fact that I am neglecting the rest that I know my body needs in the middle of the day. And so she graciously allowed me to take my nap, which was so great of my four year old. And we got to play when I woke up and she was just as excited to play at that point, and I had more to give because I was rested. And so the same goes for our business in that if you plan for that rest, you then have more to give and you're able to serve your clients better throughout the season rather than, you know, towards the end of a crazy busy season where you didn't rest, you start to fizzle out in those clients towards the end or not receiving the same experience that your earlier clients are. So rest is so, so important when it comes to avoiding burnout. I hope that you take this and you take this seriously. The things that I'm saying because I know we're in the thick of it right now that October, November, December. Well, not really December, but October, November are super busy for family photographers. And so take that time to rest because I want you at the end of this season to feel like you still have something left in the tank and you're not operating on empty. You deserve that. You deserve it. Your family deserves it. Your clients deserve that from you. So quick and easy tips that you can follow. I hope this is helpful for you. Don't forget to sign up for that many sessions class that I told you about. It's linked in the description in case you want to check it out. And if you have any questions at all. Hit me up on Instagram at Rebecca Rice Photography. I'm super active in my dreams, so I would love to serve you there whenever I can. Hope you guys have an awesome week and we'll see this time next week.