I want to talk about something that changed my life and the way I do business. I’ve talked about it before, but it’s the reason I choose my life and how I want to live it OVER my business and how you can change the way you’re doing business all while you maintain a consistent photography schedule.
If you’re struggling with figuring out how to create that balance in your life, please don’t feel bad about it because for one thing you aren’t alone. Many of us struggle, and I literally I made this mistake at one of the worst times I possibly could have.
That’s exactly why I’m talking about this right now, though. I truly don’t want the same thing to happen to you. So don’t feel bad. I just want to help you see what you’re doing so you can avoid my mistakes.
My Grandpa was my best friend.
My grandpa was my best friend growing up. I saw him every single day of my life. We hung out on the farm, he drove me to rodeos and every morning we drank coffee together at the kitchen table. If I didn’t see him, I talked to him for anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours on the phone. Even when I moved out of state, I talked to him every single day. I never missed a call with him.
In 2016, he was in and out of the hospital quite a bit. After a weeklong hospital stay in 2017, he was put on hospice, given 3-6 months, and sent home. In my heart I thought he would always be there… but he made it 11 days. I saw him for two of those days because I was too busy working on my business, and one of those two days he wasn’t even conscious.
I completely regret my decision to spend more time on my business instead of with my grandpa. That’s when I really learned how important time with your family and loved ones truly is. It’s time you will NEVER get back. If you aren’t spending time with your people, you will regret it.
Here’s the biggest takeaway I want you to remember from my story.
Money is a renewable resource. You can make more of it. Time isn’t, and it goes by way faster than you realize or want to admit.
How many hours does a photographer work?
Well it depends on the photographer. Some photographers work 40 hours a week( and up to 60-80+ hours a week during busy season), while some full time photographers are only working 30 hours a month(me).
How many hours you work all depends on how important that work life balance is to you and your long term goals for your photography business.
Maintain a consistent photography schedule.
You can be profitable in your photography business without working crazy hours. You can also easily hit 6 figures. I’m proof because I do it every year. Actually last year, my photography business hit the million dollar mark, and I never worked more than 30 hours within my business each month.
If you want to do the same, you have to understand what your priorities are in your life and not just within your business. Then, we can set goals and our photography schedule around those priorities.
My Full Time Formula
I created what I call my Full Time Formula for my coaching clients. This formula automatically calculates your sales average, how much revenue you need to bring in and how many clients you need with just four easy numbers based on your ideal lifestyle choices and priorities.
Here are the 4 numbers you need to know in order to create a business that doesn’t take up all of your time.
- How much you want to pay yourself(your salary)
- The number of hours you want to work each week
- How many weeks of vacation you want to take
- And, on average, how long it takes per client
Like I said, those 4 numbers are all you need to know to figure how much revenue you need to bring in and how many clients you actually need.
Please take a few minutes to check out my free trial of Dream Biz Academy. In phase 2, you actually get the complete how to video plus my signature Full Time Formula spreadsheet so you can do the math yourself.
Sometimes the math can be overwhelming.
I want you to realize these numbers are all just math. Whatever the calculations, whatever your sales averages need to be, it’s all just math. With the right strategy, we can create a marketing plan that attracts the right clients that will pay those prices that you need for your ideal lifestyle.
Maintaining work life balance is what’s going to help your photography schedule and your business be the most successful in the long term. Burnout is a real thing. I’ve experienced it and it’s a sure way for a business to fail. I’ve seen it sooo many times.
3 tips to maintaining work life balance and your photography schedule
Let’s talk about my 3 best tips for actually maintaining work life balance in your profitable photography schedule.
- Create a workflow for EVERYTHING you do. I use Asana and I love it because you can open up the calendar and mark things off your list as you go. If you create a workflow for everything you need to do within your business, then when you mark off everything you need to do that day, you’re done for the day.
- Batch out your days. Here’s an example of what I mean by this. One day you work on marketing only. The next is client work. The next is consults only. Or whatever works specifically for your business. This not only helps you get things done efficiently, but if you aren’t jumping around from thing to thing, then you can concentrate on that one thing and do a much better job.
- Take your weekends off. Or at least give yourself 1-2 days where you can relax and hang out with family.
I made a mistake a few weeks ago with my photography schedule. I overbooked myself and work was crazy busy for me between my two businesses. Then, we went out Saturday night. Sunday I was EXHAUSTED.
I slept 15 hours straight. But you know what? Sometimes you just have to take the time off. I woke up refreshed Monday. This week, I don’t have to work anywhere near as much. In fact, I’m working like 5 hours a day all week and we’re going on a deep sea fishing trip Sunday.
Remember, time off is so important for your mental health and the health of your business.
A few FAQ’s I get often.
In my Instagram story, I do 3-4 mini trainings a week. And these are two questions, I get in my DM’s pretty regularly that I wanted to touch on.
What if I don’t exactly know those numbers you mentioned in the Full Time Formula?
First of all, this is totally normal. I know I didn’t have a clue about these numbers when I first started figuring it all out. We all start somewhere.
It’s a lot of trial and error as you’re starting honestly, but eventually as you build a plan and budget, you will have solid numbers. Let me specifically answer this question, though. As far as the income goal number, there are a few factors to consider.
- What number would replace your 9-5? That’s a good number to start with.
- Is there a number would help you lead the lifestyle you want to live?
- What are your living and lifestyle expenses?
- And then, make the number a little scarier just to give yourself a big goal to achieve.
I want you to remember things can change. Your goal now may not be your goal as your family grows or your lifestyle changes. I know mine has changed several times as my business has changed and as I’ve changed as a person. You can always switch up your goals.
Any tips to make the math a little less overwhelming?
Math makes almost everyone uncomfortable, I promise it’s not just you. I was the exact same way when I first started my business. I hated looking at my books, so I handed a big mess to my accountant and said good luck at the end of the year. But then I sat down and realized if I want to be a successful business owner, I needed to tackle this and make it one of my favorite parts of my business. And that’s what I did.
Once you organize your business, your budget, and your pricing, it won’t be near as scary. Actually, you’ll be excited to see your profit margins and your sales averages… and you’ll be excited to pay yourself. As a business owner, sometimes we just have to put on our big girl pants and do it. To take your business to the next level, sometimes you just have to teach yourself to like it.
If you need help, I’m here.
I’ve been at this business thing for a while now. Growing new photography businesses is my absolute passion. I love my boudoir photography business, but the business side… that’s my thing. I’ve also tried it all. From DIY, courses to 1:1 coaching, and what I’ve found is when I want those massive results that I’m sure you want also, hiring an expert is the only thing that has truly taken me to the next level.
So, if you’re tired of DIYing your business or starting courses but never finishing them, photography coaching might be just what you need. If you have any questions at all, be sure to contact me. I am not sales-y and will tell you if we’re a good fit immediately. 🙂
Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.