Running a small business is no easy task. It's messy and thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. But no matter what, it's definitely a journey worth taking. As a mom of two littles, I know the daily struggles, and I'm here to walk this journey with you. If you're ready to feel empowered, encouraged and on fire for the things you truly love, then you're in the right place. I'm Rebecca Rice, a pizza loving hot chocolate drinking family photographer and educator. And this is the business Journey podcast. Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of the business Journey podcast. I'm your host, Rebecca rice. And today we are talking all about how to prep your business for a busy fall season. Now before we get into that, because I have a lot to say on it. But before we get too far, I wanted to let you know that if you haven't already checked out my free class on mini sessions, now is the time to do it. So I've got a free class that is the three steps to fully booked mini sessions. And you can enroll right now. We'll link it below or you can like type it in Rebecca rice photo.com/minis-class. So if you are wanting to have an awesome fall mini sessions season, then this class is for you. It's going to walk you through the steps that you need to market well and all the things to fully booked those minis. So you can go enroll right now it is completely free. Students believe all the time saying that they get so much they leave with pages of notes from that free class and so no catches, no gimmicks. Go check it out right now because I know it'll be helpful for you for your fall season. Okay, busy season is upon us. In case you're not feeling it already, you know, we're kind of just finishing that like back to school season and busy season for family and portrait photographers is about to hit. I knew that I wanted to do an episode talking really to how to prep for that season
because and this is like a two part little mini series here we're going to do this week's is how to prep your business for a busy season. And then next week, I'm going to talk about how to prep your family for a busy fall season. Because I think that both sides of that coin are so important. Because busy season can honestly make or break you. I know that I've done busy season well, and I've done busy season not well. And I can tell you, I would prefer to do it well. And I've learned over the years, what I need to do to make sure that I don't feel dead at the end of a busy season. So there's a few practical things that I'm gonna walk you through that really make a huge difference at the end of the day. And I'm talking, you know, when you're sitting with your family at the end of November, maybe first week of December, and busy season has passed you by how do you want to feel because I know you know, my first couple of years doing this, I felt awful, like physically sick, I was exhausted, I had zero time for anybody close to me, my friends, my family, I was just so beat and burnt out. And it was an awful feeling. And so I don't want that for you. Over the years, I've really learned how to take these practical steps to not feel that way. And I'll never forget after a busy season when I was very intentional, protect my time and to protect my energy and stuff like that. It felt amazing that I was like giddy thinking, oh my gosh, I don't feel burnt out. This is amazing. Like I didn't know that there's any other way. So I want to help you have that kind of feeling at the end of this fall busy season. So the first thing that I would do right now, if you haven't already, is to set up your CRM workflows and automations like now, so CRM is your client relations management, your basically your dubsado your HoneyBook whatever it is that you're using to keep track of your clients. Most CRMs nowadays include workflows and automations and you guys know if you've been around a while that I love automations I'm telling you that if something can be automated in my business, it probably is because I feel like it's so worth taking the time because it is a time investment to set up workflows and automations but to be able to just press go and then it runs is amazing. I know for me that was a game changer things that could be automated. If you're like I don't even know what to automate Rebecca, you can automate things like sending your contracts and invoices where like for us the way that we have it set up is we've got a form in dubsado that we fill out not our clients because it just gives our clients one more thing to do and forget about, we fill out a form and it triggers a workflow to start that will automatically send our clients contract and voice. Couple weeks later, it'll automatically send a questionnaire, it'll send their client experience guide, it'll send a final info email a week before their session, all those emails are automated, and I don't have to be the one to press send. I remember back in the day, when I didn't have stuff automated, I was having to go to every single client, and maybe type up the email or you know, hit send or all the things and it's just so unnecessary when you know those emails are gonna go out at a certain time. Just automate them. And now is just a huge time saver you like I said, you set it up one time. And then you don't have to think about it, whether it's mini sessions, full sessions, whatever kind of sessions that you're doing, I encourage you to sit down and like write out the steps. And here in a few more weeks, I'm going to be talking through my photography client workflow, so that you can see like, what are the steps that we do in our business to you know, serve our clients well, and what steps are automated and all the things but right now you can write down on a piece of paper, all the steps that your clients go through in their experience with you, and then highlight what things could be automated with your CRM, and then set it up. Now that way, when you get to the thick of busy season, it's done and you don't have to think about it. Now the second thing that I would do to prep your business for a busy season, kind of piggybacks off of that, and that is to refresh your client experience. So since you're already going to be writing down your client experience, so you can see what you can automate, I want you to look at it and look at all the steps put yourself in your clients shoes, and see what you want to add what you want to take away. Just really taking the time to refresh your client experience makes a huge difference. That way you don't get into busy season and get frustrated with a step of your client experience that you may have wanted to change, but then you didn't. And now you have to sit with it for another three months or whatever. Once we get through busy season. Instead of sitting through the frustration, just fix it. Now maybe a piece of your client experience that you're wanting to add is a client experience Guide, which is like my version of a style guide. So maybe you've been wanting to do it, you haven't done it yet, you want to be able to serve your clients in that way before their session, then do it now. Like take the time to set it up. Either create your own and Canva or I have a Canva template that you can purchase in my shop Rebecca rice photo.com. And it's already pre written just add your own photos and download it and send it to your clients. So however you want to do it, that could be a way to refresh your claim experience. Or maybe it's changing up your email wording in your final info email. Maybe there were like some questions that your clients had that were pretty common in the spring, you can address those questions in your final info email, so that hopefully there's like less back and forth between you and your clients. So whatever that looks like, think through your client experience, maybe take some things away, maybe add some things to really freshen up that experience. The third thing that I would say to prep your business for busy season is as you are scheduling your sessions, whether it's your mini sessions, your full portrait sessions, leave intentional space for rest. This one was huge for me because my first couple years doing this I didn't leave space for rest and I was burning the candle at both ends I had a young kid young babies at home and it was just exhausting where i i realized that i way overbooked myself. Just because there's blank space on your calendar does not mean that it needs to be filled. Because that's when you go into burnout mode when you over booked yourself and you're not over booked if just because you don't have double bookings or whatever I'm talking like, if you have no whitespace and margin in your calendar, you're probably over booked. So leave intentional space for rest. I know for me, I set a boundary. When I was like thinking through not wanting to overbook myself. I set a boundary that I was only going to shoot one day each weekend. So I was going to shoot either Saturday or Sunday. I was not going to do both because early on I was doing both I was shooting Saturdays and Sundays. I couldn't shoot during the week because I had a full time job outside of photography, but on the weekends, that was time that I had with my family and I was sacrificing that for the entire weekend. And to me it was just not worth it. So I said you know what? I will shoot either Saturday, or Sunday. And that's it for that week. And so if I had minis on a Saturday, then I was fully booked for that week and I you know, I would open up spots the next week. Maybe I had portrait sessions on a Sunday evening. That means that Saturday was closed a week. Wouldn't not going to book on Saturday. And that was just to protect my mental health, protect my rest, and really honor my family in the time that they deserve with me. Because at the end of the day, they are whom who matter most. And so I was very intentional with scheduling in rest, and I'm telling you at the end of that season, that was the season that I felt like rejuvenated, I felt excited and giddy because I wasn't exhausted. And so you can have that this season right now in August, you have time to look at your calendar. And like, literally write it in, you know, Blackout date, or, you know, slash through it with your pencil. If you're using, you know, a physical planner or whatever, make it very clear that you are not going to book these X amount of days, and stick with that boundary. And I promise you, at the end of the day, you are going to be much happier by setting those boundaries. And if you're like, well, Rebecca, I'll be turning away, so many leads and all that stuff. Well, if you're turning away leads, maybe it's time to think about hiring on an associate. And if you want to know more about that, DM me on Instagram, and we can chat. But you know, your your time matters. So protect it. And then the last thing that I would say is a great way to prep your business for busy season is to outsource and train whoever it is you're outsourcing to before busy season hits. So maybe you're brand new to outsourcing you've you've never outsourced anything before. And the first thing you outsource is your editing. Okay, so if you're going to hire on a private editor, which I highly recommend, especially before busy season, do so now, that way you can get through the onboarding process, you know what to expect. And you're ready to go with that private editor when busy season hits, because, you know, maybe it'll take you a couple tries before you find somebody that you really click with. And that really, you know, knows and and capitalizes on your style. You know, it might take time, maybe you'll get it on the first try, I don't know. But either way you want it. You know, we set that up with our editor before busy season hits, because odds are that editor is going to be fully booked in the middle of busy season, because all of their other clients are sending them tons of work. And so you want to get on their roster while you can. You don't want to get stuck in busy season with a million portrait sessions to edit and like feeling super overwhelmed, and nothing to do about it. Trust me hire your editor. Now, maybe you already have an editor and you're looking at getting a virtual assistant for you know, busy season, now's the time to do that. Because virtual assistants take some training, they're going to have to learn your processes and learn. You know how you like things done, and you don't want to be training somebody during busy season, you will not have time for it. So hire that virtual assistant now so that you have them and they're ready for busy season that is going to free you up so that you're not spending hours behind your computer editing or scheduling your social media or whatever it is that you're doing. I promise you at the end of the day, you're gonna thank yourself by outsourcing and doing that now rather than waiting for that busy season. So those are just a you know a few off the top of my head ways to prep your business for busy season.
And next week, we're going to be talking about how to prep your family for busy season because like I said, those go hand in hand so you don't want to do one without the other. Both are so so vital. Now as we're getting into busy season. If you have any questions about anything that I mentioned here, I know this episode was pretty short and sweet. That's my goal because I wanted you to be able to like have something bite sized to be able to then take action on so if you have any questions. I'm always available on Instagram at Rebecca rice photography. And I'd love to chat with you there. Also you search my blog. My blog is full of tons of resources for free just to walk you through some of these things. So I hope this episode was helpful. And don't forget to tune in next week when we do part two of this mini series. We'll see you then. Bye guys.