How My Business Grew When I Let it Go | Business Tips
Ok, so I didn't literally let my business go. Not completely at least. I always have full control of my business, as you should. What I did "let go" were the things I wasn't good at or the things that could be easily managed by others. This is one of the important business tips I will share with you as I continue to build my educational blogs.
I want to be very honest with you, especially because if you are going through this I want you to know I can relate. My husband and I didn't see eye to eye about this when I consulted him (at first). It was hard for him to wrap his head around the idea of me not doing everything for my business. Especially the financial part. After many nights of discussion it had finally become clear to him that I just simply can not wear every single hat there is for my business and especially if I want to grow my business.
As you probably know we hold many titles as a small business owner! We are the President, Vice President, CEO, CFO, Administrative Assistant, Marketer, Personal Rep, Accountant, Editor, Janitor, and the list goes on. For a while you can easily be all of those things. You really can. Then there comes a point when you need to start letting things go. For me, it came quick because I still wanted to have flexibility as a mom. It was also important to let things go because I wanted to maintain excellent customer service.
When you decide what you are going to let go, I highly suggest starting with what you don't love or what you are not good at! I'm going to list specifically what I let go, but just know that it might be different for you. Perhaps you can draw advice from my list or it might help you focus in on what you want to let go.
Business Practice, Law, and Finances
Unless you know the laws inside out and numbers are your thing, this is something you should leave to the professionals! As I said above, I do not do numbers and numbers are VERY IMPORTANT! I also haven't spent a day in law school or have read the "book of laws." (is there one?)
First and foremost I hired a lawyer. You should make sure all of your contracts align with the law in your state. Period. This is not just protecting your business but it is protecting the interests of your client. I purchased basic contracts through Design Aglow (highly recommend) and had them altered to fit my business and to align with NC State Law. I can rest assure that I am practicing good business.
Secondly I have worked with a combination of professionals to make sure I am practicing good business in the eyes' of the State and Government. Let me warn you, this is serious business. I have read and heard enough horror stories. I don't want to be in a bad place. I made sure to get informed about government and state regulations in regards to taxes and business licenses. I work closely with a CPA so that I am on top of requirements monthly and yearly. I also stay informed as a member of PPA, Professional Photographers of America.
If this is scary for you, I am right there with you! It's super intimidating for someone like me, but I am so happy to say that it doesn't have to be scary! I honestly can't wait for this portion of the GPS workshop I am co-teaching with Brittany Lauren! She is going to break everything down so well that you are going to wonder why you have waited so long to get your business on the right track!
Design and Branding
I'll never forget the laugh I got from a friend when I told her I hired a product photographer. I asked, "Why is that funny?" She replied, "You're a photographer, why would you hire someone that can do exactly what you do?" Ok, good point, and honestly if I really wanted to photograph my products I definitely could have. However, it would have taken a lot of work. I really am NOT a product photographer, there is an art behind it. I would've had to research, prep, practice, and stock up on items to accessorize with my products. When I had begun to analyze this project I realized quickly that it was in my best interest to hire a professional. This would then free up my time to work on other parts of my business that I am good at! My point is just that! Maybe you're like me where you think you can do it all and will try to do it all! That's awesome, it's a great personality trait! Sometimes, though, it's best to spend your money hiring someone that's better than you so you can focus what you are best at!
Two years ago I was beginning to get overwhelmed with the day to day tasks. The biggest reason was that I wanted to be a stay at home mom working around my son's schedule. My business was growing and it was starting to effect this! Now, I am going to have to brag here, because I lucked out in the office manager department. I was able to hire a past senior model, now college student, to work for me in office over the summer and virtually when she is in college. Having her as a part of my team has been life (business) changing!
You can hire someone to help with the office tasks in any way you see fit. I have Meg handle email communications, client management task, specific projects, making connections (crazy important), and the most important job of all - office cheerleader and motivator!
Sometimes these awesome connections don't fall in our lap like mine did with Megan. Trust me, I know, I have had to work hard for some of the connections I have made in my business. My best suggestion, if you are looking for a Megan, is put together a little ad that you can post on social media and share with friends. Word of mouth is an excellent way to try and find someone!
What do you think?? Are there parts of your business that you can let go so that you can see more success?
I'm passionate about helping photographers, like you, grow a genuinely successful business. On July 20, registration will finally open for an amazing workshop I've dreamed up with Melissa Lynn Hunt (will link to your blog). Come stay with us October 7 & 8 in a gorgeous house overlooking Lake Norman, NC for a 2 day workshop to give your photography business the direction it so deserves. We will be sharing the heart of our businesses to help guide you to success in yours. No topic is off limits. Won't you join us?! Stay tuned for all the details coming July 20 right here on the blog!