And just like that, another BUSY year in business has nearly come to and end. If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely also a photographer, and likely feeling alot of the same feelings I am currently soaking in.
Feelings of gratitude and so much fullfillment from such an incredible year, creating memories for even more incredible people. Feeling blessed to have a career that allows me to be creative, to make art, to help people see their beauty, to capture priceless memories and the most special of occasions. Thankful to support our families doing something that we truly love.
Typically though, at least in my experience – we love our careers SO much, that we can very easily lose track of having any semblance of routine, boundaries, balance, breaks, and lack all self care. We love our art and our clients so much, that we give them our all. Because truly our art means the world to us, and the fact that other people see our value and our vision and want us to freeze their moments in time… that’s something so special.
Year after year after year… the winter rolls around and I catch myself, and my fellow photographers, sharing online about our burnouts. Sharing how grateful we are, but also how run down, fatigued, drained, and stressed we are. I see photographers saying “Next year… Next year I will NOT overbook myself!!!”. Yet… without a doubt we always do. We always overbook ourselves… and we’ve got to be the ones to create our own balance and only take on what we can! But it’s easier said than done.
Now… overbooking isn’t a crime. If you’re at this stage in your journey – be proud!! For the most part we find ourselves in this situation because we LOVE our jobs. Like absolutely love. The thought of saying no to client is hard, crushing most of the time. SO instead of honouring our “day off”, we fit in another clients because we simply don’t want to turn them away. We love our jobs and our people. But what we are sacrificing by people pleasing… is our own personal time with our own family & friends, our down time to rest and recharge, our supper with family, our weekends doing the things we love. Sacrificing moments in our own lives that we won’t get back.
Aside from the dread of saying no to an inquiry, we are also constantly bombarded with hustle culture. Which is a tricky subject on it’s own. I love to hustle, I will admit that, but that feeling and drive for me comes in spurts and seasons – when I have the capactity and the creativity to bring all my ideas to life. But on social media, we are being indoctrinated to always be running at full speed, 10/10 energy, and taught that rest = laziness. We become consumed with hustle culture telling us that if we aren’t working 24/7 we are doing something wrong.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Trying to sprint through your creative process at full speed only leads to exhaustion and burn out. Simple as that. When you take on 30 clients in a month, with no days off, you will burn out and crash. There is no time to keep up with what it really takes to run a business and keep it functioning – ie: keeping up with the client communication, emails, invoices, bookings, your ever growing editing list and deadlines, posting on social media/marketing, website updates, etc etc. Not to mention, overbooking simply does us and our clients zero favours – we lack the literal ability to put in the proper amount of focus, love and attention that each session needs and deserves.
Business aside – running this way allows no time for self care, rest, and no time to be reinspired creatively. Which is so important. When we’re overworked, exhaustion takes over, our mental health takes a dive, and so does our confidence. We CANNOT pour from an empty cup. Just can’t.
SO hear me out – I am guilty of all of this. And it is time that we put some boundaries in place to set us up from an incredible 2023 season – easing our stress and workload, while living our own damn lives too! This will allow us to be stronger and better business owners, while giving ourselves the proper amount of downtime that we require. Even if you’re brand new to the industry – these are tips I believe you should be implementing from the start – healthy habits to growing your business to last! Let’s try some of these tangible steps together. It’s time to be strategic and intentional with our bookings and our free time!
Planning ahead is always a good idea. Prepping your months and schedules in advance allows you to know when your shoot days will be ahead of time, to block off your days off, and prepare for how many sessions you need to take on in a month to hit your goals. This will look different for everyone based on the financial number you need to bring in, your season of life, parenthood, school, other work commitments, travel etc.
Like I said before, it’s much easier said than done to stick to your boundaries with how many sessions you take on. I am still working on this every year myself. But sometimes we have financial goals or numbers we need to hit. Sometimes this looks like we need to take on more work, and sometimes thats just the reality of it. But there are ways to hit our goals while maintaining organizations and sanity.
One of my favourite ways to use the slower winter months, is to do all the updates to my business that are necessary to keep the busy season flowing. Things that usually get pushed to the back burner during the busy months, or just feel impossible to keep up with. The slower months are the perfect time to goal set, get creative with new marketings, brainstorm your ideas, and set intentions for the new year.
Some extremely useful ways to set your business up for sucess before the spring/summer/fall rush sets in:
Lastly – take time for YOU! Remember that those days off in your schedule are important and crutial. Important for your rest and personal life, and important for you as a creative. We need that time to recharge, to let our dreams flourish, and to be able to put out our best work and create from the soul. Your mental health is so important. Take care of yourself amongst doing it all for others.
Cheering for you always. If you read anything here that resonated with you and you’ll be implementing into your business, let me know below in the comments!
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