Unless you’re in my super close circle you won’t know this,. At the beginning of 2020, I considered selling my small business, Boudoir by Tracy Lynn. Even though I’d cut down my shooting days to 2 each month, one of those days was a Sunday. I was burned out on working weekends, missing the only guaranteed time I had with my family, and just dreaded going to work in my studio.
Because 2020 was the year that it was, I realized I definitely couldn’t even consider selling this year, so I suffered through just to keep my small business going. I hired a new makeup artist, and honestly I credit her a lot with making it fun again. Sometimes you just need to change some things up. And my business not only stayed open, it flourished in the crazy year that was 2020.
It was time for a change.
But in November 2020, I decided that although I no longer have any intentions of selling my photography business, it was time to make some changes. Even though everything was going well in the studio, I still hated working Sundays. Like I said, it’s the only guaranteed time I have with my family, and I HATE missing that time.
So I gave my Sundays up. I changed my schedule to one Tuesday and Wednesday per month. I was sure that it would slow my schedule down. It didn’t though. In fact, in January 2020, I have SEVENTEEN sessions. My goal each month is 6.
As for the moral of the story, make your business work for you.
You set the rules in your small business.
For 7 years, I dreaded weekends because I knew I had to work while everyone else played. This was a lie I was telling myself. I didn’t have to suffer just because it was what my clients wanted. If they want what I offer bad enough, and I know they do, then they will make their schedule fit mine.
Let’s go through some steps that will guarantee your small business works for you.
Set your rates based on your CODB and dream lifestyle.
A lot of small business owners set rates based on their local competition, but their Cost of Doing Business(CODB) may be completely different than yours. They may not have an office space or they get something at a different price than you can. Maybe their spouse has a salary that covers both of their expenses and they are just working for “fun.”
You don’t know their circumstances, but you do know your own. Your rates have nothing to do with your “competition” and everything to do with your business, CODB, and the lifestyle you want to live. All you need to do is back your rates up with an experience that your clients will appreciate. That’s the first step in living your dream life AND having a marketable business that books clients on autopilot.
Put your family and lifestyle first when planning your work schedule.
Don’t spend seven years of your life dreading the weekends because you know you have to work while everyone else plays. Instead decide when you want to work based on your family’s schedule, and not when it’s convenient for your clients.
If you create an experience for your clients and an overall marketing plan that makes them WANT that experience, they will make their schedule work with yours. And you’ll be able to demand the rates you’ve set.
Automate your small business early on.
There are so many softwares and systems out there that help make business so quick and easy. Don’t wait to implement these things until you are busy to slow down and actually do it. Implement them ASAP. This will not only help you save time in the long run, it will also free up time NOW so that you can work more on bringing clients in rather than the day to day busy work.
You started your small business because you had a dream to be your own boss and make money for yourself instead of someone else. What you didn’t realize was how many decisions rest on your shoulders ever single day. From what should you charge, to when you should work, what softwares and systems to use, and so much more.
While that can be overwhelming, it’s also freeing once you realize you CAN create the life you’ve been dreaming of. You just need a little backbone.
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