Can we as business owners really do it ALL? I’m often asked this question by my students and the reality is that no, we can’t do it all. It’s hard, if not nearly impossible to do it all, all the time. The truth is sometimes I’m really good at juggling all the things like marketing, blogging, editing, client management, social media, shoots, etc. and sometimes I’m bad at it! It’s hard to do everything by yourself, which is why I’ve learned to outsource. It’s taken me a long time to make this change in my business… but honestly? Once I started to outsource some tasks, everything changed. That’s why today, I wanted to interview my Virtual Assistant and Content Writer, Kristina Dowler of Dot the I’s Outsourcing. She’s giving us the inside scoop about outsourcing for senior portrait photographers so take a listen and read through some of the highlights of our conversation below!
Honestly, the answer is different business owner but I want to start by saying there’s a misconception that you have to be at a certain place financially to outsource. You can outsource whenever you’re ready. But, I think that there’s a few signs you might want to consider it. The first is if there’s too many things on your list and not enough hours in the day. What can you take off your plate and free up your time? Make a list of all the things you do in your business. Determine what has to be done by you, the face of the business, and what you could let someone else do. That’s where you’d want to start outsourcing. Another reason to outsource is if you find you’re starting to plateau in terms of making money because you simply don’t have any more time. And the other reason you might want to consider outsourcing is if you find a LOT of your time is spent doing things you dislike or aren’t good at. Let someone else who IS good at that task do it for you!
I do want to also say: while outsourcing so that you can do more of what you do best is important, it’s equally important to understand that you don’t have to replace all the work you outsource with more work. If you outsource simply so you can enjoy your family more, there is NOTHING wrong with that. Everyone outsources for different reasons, so don’t think this is a one size fits all type thing!
There’s so many things you can outsource as a photographer. Some easy things are bookkeeping, editing, blog writing, and client management. Really, it comes down to what you dislike doing and what you’re not good at – or you feel is a waste of time. Find an expert and let them help you! You’d be amazed how much time you’ll get back when you let go of those tasks that you drag your feet over.
I always recommend finding a referral from someone you know! I think it’s the best way to make connections for this kind of work. When you know someone who has a VA or writer (or whatever you’re outsourcing!), you immediately get their perspective on working with that VA. Make sure you get on the phone and interview whoever you’re looking at hiring – whether you find them through a referral or not. Finding a good fit is such an important part of this relationship. If you don’t know anyone else with a VA, ask around in your education groups on Facebook, Rising Tide Society, or even sometimes on social media. Check out different hashtags and you might just find your business BFF!
When you get ready to outsource, one of the most important things you can do is prepare. Prepare your business for a new hire. Think about recording videos of how you do the tasks you’re giving to someone else – or write a list of each step. By creating a document that your new hire can refer to, you’re going to make the transition even smoother! Another thing to do is interview anyone you’re considering. I mentioned this already but it’s super important that you know that you connect with that person. Your VA should love your business like their own! Make sure you connect with them and feel you can communicate easily with them. It’s a huge part of your working relationship.
As far as things not to do, micromanaging is definitely the first thing to avoid! I always say if clients are micromanaging me, they don’t really need me. Trust that the person you hired is going to do the job. I’m not saying ignore them and never check on their work! But, trust and verify! It makes a huge difference in your ability to focus on what YOU have to do and letting them do their job.
Kristina and I got into some great conversations about hiring and expanding you team, so make sure you take a listen! If you want to read more of her tips and find her information, head to her website here!
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Need help with your senior photography business? I’ve put together lots of FREE resources to help you in your business! You can have access to these awesome free resources HERE!
For more help with what to post on Instagram, be sure to download my 75 Social Media Prompts for Senior Photographers! This free guide will help you with what to post so you always have engaging content for your followers and can post consistently because you don’t have to think of content to post – I’m giving you an entire list!!
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