Most of our lives are filled with too much pressure.
Financial pressure, expectations, emails, messages and… time pressure. When you have your own business, time pressure and the constant feeling of being about to drown because you simply don’t have time to it all can easily bring you to the point of breakdown.
Shooting, organising studio and props, editing, ordering, answering emails and messages from clients, and on top of all this… MARKETING.
Blogs, welcome guides, reels, ads, websites.
No wonder time, or the lack of it, is something we need to address so often during our coaching call on the Marketing Mastermind for Newborn Photographers.
But since all of these activities are essential to our business… is there even a solution to the problem?
After all, being too busy – literally to the point of burnout – is not only seen as normal but often celebrated.
WHY “TOO BUSY” IS NOT OK
Truth is, being “too busy” does not only make us sick in the long term, it can also have catastrophic consequences for our business. Being too busy, and too tired, often means things don’t happen fast enough because you are always trying to catch up with what needs to be done.
This also means your energy, creativity and brainpower are not being used much for “high level” decisions and planning.
We are so busy working on the daily maintenance of our “car” that we lose sight of what matters the most: our destination, and how to get there.
STEP 1: WHERE TO START
Ever noticed how, when you feel overwhelmed, even the tiniest request or annoyance can push you over the edge?
That I just can’t do this feeling.
So here is the first recommendation: write a list of all the activities you are responsible for in your business.
Important: I am NOT asking you for a to-do list.
Your list should resemble something like:
- Handling enquiries and bookings
- Buying props
- Cleaning the studio
- Social Media (list platforms)
- Blog posts
- Google My Business
- Updating the website
Write down as much as you can.
Then keep this list with you and keep adding to it.
STEP TWO: DO I NEED THIS?
Look at the activities you have marked and answer the following questions:
- How is this going to affect my business?
- Is it really necessary?
- Is it urgent?
Something necessary and urgent should, indeed, be addressed first.
Urgent but not necessary… should only be done when you have extra time, or outsourced when you have extra money.
Eliminate everything that is not necessary and write it on a separate list.
“I REALLY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!”
In the early days of my career, I remember spending Saturday evenings trying to learn how to do things I didn’t know how to do, fully aware that it wasn’t “my job” and that it was taking me much longer than it should have.
At the beginning that sometimes wasn’t even a choice, I just didn’t have the money to pay someone to do it.
But then, as time passed and the business kept growing, that habit did not leave me.
I got busier and busier, but I was still doing everything.
One part of me still felt like I needed to save money for “more important things”, another part of me didn’t think others would do as good as a job.
After all, I was a perfectionist.
Until, one day, the reality of what I was doing started to sink in.
1 – The more time I was spending time doing things that “weren’t my job” (for example, building a website) the less time I had for those activities that could help me get more clients.
And you know what? That’s how you make money.
Money that you can in part invest to free more of your time, get more clients and live a more sustainable life.
2 – In most situations, I didn’t need my “suppliers” to do a perfect job.
If they were good enough to take the job from 0% to 90%, I could take it to 100%, get a great final product in 1/10 of the time.
Starting to outsource also gave me a chance to test suppliers, build a relationship with them and give them a chance to learn more about my business. Some of them have now been working with me for years and my “final touches” take minutes, not hours.
3 – Time and freedom have simply no price.
Our time is limited, for real.
So how much is an hour of your time worth it? And should you really spend it doing something you should not be doing in the first place?
For me, the answer is not and let me tell you one thing: the sense of relief I felt the first time I paid someone $80 that gave me a free evening to do what I wanted was inebriating.
Back to your list, chances are sometimes you feel the way I described at the beginning of this section.
That “I could use this money for something else” and “I know I would not be happy, I am a perfectionist”.
I want you to mark all activities that make you feel like that.
A few that I think might be on your list: website (especially building it), blog posts, admin, accounting.
STEP FOUR: EVALUATE OPTIONS
Now you should have a list of activities that are necessary to your business and that you should not be doing.
Some of them will be urgent, some won’t.
Start from the urgent ones and evaluate options for outsourcing.
Ask in your favourite Facebook groups, ask other local businesses, and have a look at platforms like Fiverr.
When it comes to platforms like Fiverr please be extra careful with gigs that are way too cheap. There is always a reason.
Also, contact the seller before placing an order. Ask if they have worked with anyone in your industry before and, if that is the case, ask if you can see a sample of their work.
If not, ask for other samples.
And then just do it.
Outsourcing most of your activities won’t be a huge investment, so don’t waste weeks making a decision!
Part of your job as a business owner is to evaluate risks and make small decisions quickly, so your business can keep moving forward and your time and energy can be spent on what really matters.
Hi, I am Giulia (weird, uh? It sounds like Julia – but it’s written with a “Gi”) and I am the founder of Grow Your Photography Studio.
I am known for my no-BS, hands-on approach to helping newborn photographers get more clients and grow a business they actually enjoy running. I believe marketing should not be a “necessary evil” and that taking action is the first and most fundamental step toward success.
Feeling on the brink of burnout? Read our guide “Photographers on the brink of burnout“
Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first