Just like there are seasons to the flow of your family when you’re a parent, there are seasons to the flow of your business when you are a professional photographer.
For me, the biggest adjustment when I had young kids was when the kids got out of school for the summer.
Talk about throwing everyone’s schedule into chaos.
Should you completely push pause on your business for the next three months?
I’ve been coaching photographers and teaching business for years.
I love marketing, selling, and all things business.
In 25 years of running a profitable photography business and coaching photographers, I know that photographers bring in half of their business in the last four to five months of the year.
Fall is when the action happens.
So when photographers tell me in the fall that their business isn’t going well, I typically find that they’ve pulled over their “business car” for the summer.
They’ve parked it in the parking lot because the kids are at home and everything is more chaotic.
I want you to know that I get it.
If we want cash flow from our photography business in the fall and winter, then we need to keep our business going in the summer.
If we stop the momentum it will be harder in the fall.
Here are 6 things I do when summer starts to make sure my business does not get set on the back burner for three months.
1. Have A Family Meeting
In our family meeting we prepare the kiddos for what summer will look like.
It’s very team-centric.
We know that we can’t control other people, and I think, as parents, we think that we’re the boss and we should tell them what to do.
What I’ve learned is that if you consider running this like a business meeting where everybody gets to contribute, then everybody will buy in that much more.
Everybody will take ownership of having this family run more smoothly because it benefits them.
The hardest meeting is the first one.
In the first one I would explain what everybody’s role is in the family.
Mom and dad’s role in our family is to serve others and bring home money.
My husband is an architect and he works with clients to get their projects done in a really cool way.
I’m a photographer and I help families have beautiful artwork on their walls.
That is what we do, and we bring home money so that we can travel and do all the fun things that we want to.
While it’s summer and their job is to be a kid and to have fun, it’s also part of their job to participate in making the family unit run really well.
I would talk to them about what everybody likes and doesn’t like about how things are running.
What kind of meals does everybody want this summer?
Let’s pre-plan so we don’t get to the end of the day and everybody’s starving.
Make a system for chores so everyone can play a part.
2. Put Your Work Time On The Calendar
Time to not just do business but time for you to work on your business.
I would say at least three times a week, put two to three hours on the calendar to work on marketing and creating better systems for your business.
You have to schedule it on your calendar because if not you’ll get to the end of summer and not have done anything.
3. Leave Home
I love summer and waking up and putting on flip-flops in a swimsuit day after day.
But we have a saying here, “Good things happen when you leave home.”
Get a buddy and commit to going somewhere.
Find a friend who’s in the business world and create a plan to hold each other accountable.
Maybe you go to two Chamber events a month during the summer.
Commit to going somewhere so you can meet people and talk about your business.
Create a network of people who know, like, and trust you.
4. Pay Attention To Revenue Goals
Money doesn’t just happen.
I want you to make goals, create a plan, and then work the plan.
It doesn’t have to be a massive goal but you need to make one.
If not, you’ll look up at the end of summer and realize that you didn’t do anything.
Being busy is not the same as generating revenue.
Maybe the goal is simple, one session a week or $2,000/month this summer in revenue.
If you want to stay in business and you want your family to respect what you do, then make a financial goal and do what you need to reach it.
Look at your numbers and your pipeline every week.
5. Look At The Summer Family Schedule As A Whole
You’ve put your kids’ stuff and business activities on there and now I want you to look at the summer schedule as a whole.
Maybe your kids are going to grandma’s for a week.
Or are they at summer camp?
Or, if you’re divorced, they go with the other parent for a couple of days a week.
Mark those times on your calendar and double down on your business during that time.
Maximize your time when you’re not with them.
The time goes fast when they are gone because you’re busy working on your business.
When they come back, you’re super happy to be with them and have time to spend time with them.
6. Look At Summer Family Activities
Maybe the sports team has a summer party or there’s a cookout for the scouts.
Maybe the band moms are getting together to do a fundraiser.
Instead of saying you don’t want to go, say yes.
Make it a rule when you get invited to go somewhere, either by yourself, with your partner or kids, to say yes.
Say yes, because you’re getting exposure.
You’re able to talk about what you do, and if there’s a gift giving opportunity, like an end of the year coach party, give a gift certificate to your business.
That is a great way to share the word about what it is you do as a photographer and it can be so powerful.
I hope you see that your business should be able to fit into your life this summer and still give you time with your family.
It happens when you make the decision to prioritize it and take action to make it happen.
If you do these six things, it will happen.
All the business that comes in the fall comes from all the activities you do this summer and by doing what you say.
Make the decision, set your priorities, and take action.
That is how you stay aligned to your goals, and that is what makes the difference between you being happy with your income at the end of the year or super bummed out.