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29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?

Lesson 51 from: 30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lori Nordstrom

29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?

Lesson 51 from: 30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lori Nordstrom

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Lesson Info

51. 29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?


Class Trailer

Day 1


Day 1: So You Want to Be a Pro Photographer?


Day 2: Setting Up "Shop"


Day 2 Bonus: "Setting Up Shop"


Day 3: Getting Organized for Success


Day 3 Bonus: "Planning"


Day 4: Studio Image


Day 4 Bonus: "Studio Image"


Day 5: Defining Your Niche


Day 5 Bonus: "Your Niche"


Day 6: Defining Your Target Client


Day 6 Bonus: "Your Target Client"


Day 7: Marketing Part 1


Day 7 Bonus: "Marketing - Part 1"


Day 8: Marketing Part 2 Ideas For implementation


Day 8 Bonus: "Marketing Part 2"


Day 9: Networking


Day 9 Bonus: "Networking"


Day 10: Pricing For Profit Part 1


Day 10 Bonus: "Pricing Part 1"


Day 11: Pricing For Profit Part 2


Day 11 Bonus:"Pricing part 2"


Day 12: Projections for 2014


Day 12 Bonus: "Projections"


Day 13: Scheduling and Planning


Day 13 Bonus: "Scheduling & Planning"


Day 14: The Inquiry: Handling Emails & the First Phone Call


Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"


Day 15: Client Education & Customer Service


Day 16: Defining Your Product Line


Day 16 Bonus: "Product Line"


Day 17: Packaging Your Product


Day 17 Bonus: "Packaging"


Day 18: The Portrait Consultation: Designing & Planning Session


Day 18 Bonus: "Consultation"


Day 19: Photographing at the Client's Home: Shooting for the Wall


Day 19 Bonus: "Wall Concept Shoot"


Day 20: Shooting On Location: Client's Home with Older Kids


Day 20 Bonus: "Mandi Shoot"


Day 21: Shooting On Location: Client's Home


Day 21 Bonus: "Dryden Shoot"


Day 22: Adding Video to Your Portrait Sessions


Day 22 Bonus: "Adding Video"


Day 23: Shooting with Studio Light


Day 23 Bonus: "Studio Lighting"


Day 24: Portrait Workflow


Day 25: Sales


Day 26: Handling Objections: Finding Your "Yes" Answers


Day 27: Special Events & Mini Sessions


Day 28: Charitable Events: Give & Get Day


Day 28 Bonus: "Charitable Marketing"


29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?


Day 29 Bonus: Skype call with Lori & Carly


Day 30: Goal Setting & Motivation


Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

Lesson Info

29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?

Let's move on day twenty nine when should I hire help and when should I go retail this is a baby huh? I know we all want a biggest things for me in the beginning there's a few things that I wish I wouldn't have done and one of the first things wass hire employees with no job descriptions and that was something for me back in two thousand when I opened up my first retail location I got super super busy and super fast and I was really really overwhelmed and so I just started hiring people and I was hiring people without really knowing what they were going to be doing I just needed help and so it was you know yes come work for me I need help and I don't know what you're supposed to be doing and we ended up with this big group of people who were all great friends and loved to have a great time together but I was still love doing those the work because I didn't know how to tell them to help me and I know how to you know give them a job description and you know you get into that right a lot ...

of times of well it's just gonna take me so long to tell you how to do it I might as well just do it myself, you know and that's that's one of the benefits and beauties of having systems in places because systems are repeatable and systems are reliable and so when we get those phone scripts down and we get that sales presentation down and you know some of these things it's very easy to train somebody else but one of the first things that I want you to do and when you're thinking about hiring somebody and this is a little exercise for you in your workbook and of course you could just do this on paper as well but I want you to just make a list of every single thing that you can think of that you do in your business and this is like literally think of everything from taking out the trash to cleaning the bathrooms teo your book working paper work answering the phone you know all the fun stuff that we do in the business is easy of course where the photographer were the image editor where the sales person we answer the phone now it's starting to get to be a drag right um you know all the things that we can think of immediately but think about everything that you do and make a list of those things and then go back to your list and start categorizing and how's ugo go through you're gonna put a one by jobs that only you khun d'oh and you're gonna put it to buy jobs next jobs that you can delegate so go through that job's description worksheet ones and twos the next thing you're going to do is go back through the list one more time and you're going to put in a next to jobs that you love doing and a b next to jobs that you do not like doing and for me this has been this was a great way for me, teo um and I learned this working with a business coach, but I didn't make this up this was something that was given to me as a tool to use in my own business and it made a huge difference to look and be able to see on paper and make a list of all of the things that it didn't really take me doing that's a really hard thing for sometimes teo, you know, give up the fact that we don't have to do it all, you know that somebody else could do it. So those two b's, those things that somebody else can dio and those things I don't like to do that's going to become my first job description for my first person that's going to come on and help now that person may not be able to do every single one of those things, but you might want to start categorizing uh what? What can be done, you know, and start putting together a little job description based on those things that somebody else can do it doesn't take you to do and those things that you don't like to do and that really helps you prioritizes well, those things that on ly you khun dio and that you really truly love because those are the things that you want to make sure that you keep doing and you've got those systems in place so that your time is manageable and workable and then start outsourcing the rest of it and it doesn't have to be somebody that you bring into your business full time you can outsource, you can use cos that will edit your images, use companies that will come in and clean for you, you know, that's that's something for me that really even when I didn't have the money to have somebody coming in and cleaning for me at my studio and my house, it was something that was really important to me because I realize that by paying somebody else twenty dollars an hour to come in and clean, it freed me up to do a lot of other things that I would rather be doing hey cleaning and especially now I haven't. You know, I've had somebody cleaning for me for now for thirteen years, fourteen years, and so it really was before I could afford it, and but it was important to me to delegate that time away, if I could have somebody come once a week for two hours or four hours, even whatever that was, what could I be doing with that time? And of course, if you're goingto pay for that time, whether it's ten dollars or fifteen or twenty dollars an hour, you need to make sure that you're using it properly and maybe that doesn't mean in your business. Maybe it means that you're freeing at time to do something with your family once a week, you know, who knows what that means to you, but think about what that could mean, and, um, a lot of times we hear that, you know, we need to be making a certain amount of money to be able tio hire somebody, and in fact, the people financial survey tells us that at about one hundred thousand dollars, when you can bring on your first employee well, if that's the case that's the truth, then consider once you hit fifty thousand dollars, maybe you can hire somebody part time once you hit twenty five thousand dollars, maybe you can hire somebody one day a week. And so, you know, we don't have to think that we have to get to that main goal on a full time employee, and in fact, I love part time employees, especially now because with full time employees, we've got a lot more responsibility to them. With insurance, health care you know all these things and so I don't I don't want or need full time employees I don't want somebody working forty hours a week for me and you know not to try to take away a full time job from somebody but someone who works thirty hours a week and be very fulfilled I make good money and, you know, be excited about the ten extra weeks that they has ten hours a week that they have to go home and be with their family, you know? So you know, think about it and those kinds of ways can you hire somebody part time? Can you hire somebody once a week? Back when I had a home studio, my system was that I placed orders every thursday to the lab that was my ordering day I set aside that afternoon for orders and what that meant for me was that on tuesday I knew that everything was going to be there I was gonna have prince back campuses back, you know, everything that I needed. And so on tuesday afternoon I had a girl that came in ah high school girl that came in and did all my packaging and called on my clients, you know, it was just all she was there was two, three hours a week and she got that done for me made those phone calls but it was that one thing I still you guys saw a video of me packaging about all that stuff that is not something I enjoy I and I haven't done that in a really long time and so when I was doing that for video for you guys I was like man I'm so glad I don't have to do this is it worth it to me to pay somebody else ten, fifteen dollars an hour to come in and do that heck yes it is I would much rather be shooting or marketing you know doing some other things that I enjoy doing in my business I would rather be doing a sale on packaging and that's just me personally you know somebody else might really love packaging that might be one of your your two's it's something that it doesn't take you two do but it might be a two way for you so it's not the first thing that you're going to give away you're gonna first give away those two b's and so same thing with framing none of us probably enjoy framing maybe there's a few guys out there who really loved the framing process not me I don't like it I have done it I know how to do it I can teach somebody else how to do it but I don't want to sit there and frame in the afternoons when my prince come in and so for many many years I had a high school boy who came in and I actually called the high school years ago and just said, who do you have that's in woodworking, your shop or, you know, somebody that would enjoy coming in and framing for me? I trained him howto frame in an afternoon, and he came one day a week and did all my framing. And even when I was at a home studio, we I had a piece of carpet that we rolled out on on my kitchen table. We put all the tools and that that carpet roll rolled it up when he was done and it went under my bed, you know? And so, you know, just not making excuses for not finishing things, not framing things just because I don't like to do him because it bogs me down, I can hand it off, I can, uh, you know, hire somebody else to do it for, you know, with hae soo, if you hire high school seniors to do simple things like that, you know, I mentioned having a high school senior come in and categorize all your workflow envelopes for the year, you know, you can pay a high school senior ten, twelve dollars an hour, and they think they're making excellent money and you know, and that is that's great for them, but it's it's taking away my valuable time if I'm spending three hours alphabetize ing things you know I'd be happy if I did that I'd be sitting down in the movie her at a movie at home and doing it and that's okay too but I'd rather be ableto you know snuggle with my husband or you know, spend time with my son so I don't want to be doing that I want to outsource it and outsourcing again it may mean not even bringing someone to you but outsourcing your editing or you know, some of the other things that we can get done does behind that's a great thing to to be outsourcing because that takes so much time um what are some of the other things we could outsource so many things accounting absolutely accounting and bookkeeping so many things all year to be thinking about outsourcing your tvs and what that time means to you how that time could be of value to you in your business so that's hiring help and then we're going to talk about going retail when should I go retail? Well um again I'm gonna reference a pee pee a survey financial survey and they say up to ten percent of our gross income can go to our overhead, our overhead and our expenses so if you're looking at a thousand dollars a month and rent plus three hundred dollars a month for your overhead expenses which is low, right? Um but that's gonna give you thirteen hundred dollars by twelve months is gonna give you fifteen thousand six hundred dollars in your overhead expenses and that means if we charge times at times ten percent you know we're gonna need about one hundred fifty six thousand dollars in gross profit to be able to afford that thousand dollars a month rent and three hundred dollars for general expenses for overhead expenses not general expenses you know? So when you started thinking about that, you know you kind of go, huh? Should I really be going retail? When should I be going retailer should I not go retail? Another thing that we know is that home studios are actually at the end of the day more profitable than retail locations that's just the way it is you don't have the overhead expenses that a retail location has a lot of the other expenses that come along with having a retail space that are already taken care of in your home space and so really be thinking those things through and one of the things that I always encourage people when they've got the itch to go retail is to think about spending at least six months with a separate bank account that is, you know, for that retail space started suffer bank account and pay every single one of your expenses into that bank account for six months so that means rent utilities electric cable trash pickup, cleaning whatever needs to happen in a retail space that you're not currently paying for and, you know, it just does not mean there's, so many people think if I build it, they will come, and that is not the case. You know, we have to be able to sustain that before we move into really retail location leaving two retail location doesn't mean we can raise our prices tomorrow. You know, we have to be able to justify that and price for profit before we make that move. So six months pay in those expenses, everything that you would spend with a retail space, and if you can do that over the course of six months, you really are probably ready to make that leap. And the other thing that's gonna happen is when you move into that retail location, there are going to be a lot of expenses that you never, ever expected. And so if you've got six months of a cushion there, you've got some time to get in there and work on those extra things that are costing you more than you ever expected and make those purchases that you need to make as well as have a little cushion as you build your business. And so, um just a little food for thought on that and those are both things they're based on things I wish I hadn't done I wish that you know, somebody would have told me back in two thousand here's some things you need to think about before you buy a building and go into this you know, calling yourself the real deal before you really know what you're doing when it comes to business and so those air based on, you know, just hard knocks and the stakes but uh, you know, just a couple of tips to think about and so does anybody have any questions about any of those things? What do you see as kind of the biggest benefits of going retail? What are the things that would draw someone into that, uh, such a great question and you guys maybe be able to answer that as well? I know you know, a couple of you have retail locations a couple of ur ricin but you know, I think the biggest probably benefit is that you have a place that's completely separate from home you have to go to work, you have to come home from work and unless you were like me back in the day and spend a lot of nights at work but you know, it is that separation which is a very positive thing a lot of times it also is something that's different these days there are not a lot of people who have retail locations anymore and so that's the benefit is well, but you know, there are also a lot of benefits and we've talked about that through this thirty days a lot of benefits of working on location and being in people's homes and there's a lot of benefits to having a home studio and so really being ableto think those through and not doing it like I did just because I really want a retail space, you know? And to be honest that's why I moved into the last building that I bought and now I have a gigantic more mortgage I'm stuck there photographing sessions because I do have a gigantic more mortgage when I'd rather re shooting in people's homes and yes, I do that, but I also have to support the business and the building and so you know, we're doing special events were bringing people into the studio where if I I could do whatever I wanted right now I wouldn't have that building I wouldn't be stuck there and I'd be able to go to people's homes and selling people's homes and I love doing that and I make more money there and so you know, don't get itchy for retell us and I think a lot of times part of it too is it comes from excuses, you know, that it comes from well, if only I had a retail space, I would be successful, you know? And that is just not the case. You've gotta have your ducks in a row before you make that leap. So, you know, it's it's a big, big decision, even if it's renting, I'm not buying a building like I did, you know, even if it's renting, you're making a big decision and taking on a lot more expense, which means a lot more work for yourself, we have to be more profitable if we're gonna be in a retail location. The question is, can you share the advice that you gave to me about, you know, finding shared workspace or using my husband's business where, you know, he has great space to to shoot or that shared office space? Yeah, absolutely. And that's a, you know, a great thing that there's a lot of times there's another business that we can partner up with, whether it's to actually set up for sessions there or to set up for order appointments and partner up with another business. And, you know, and tia had some options that were right there available to her that, you know, not even really thinking about and that's the same with carly. And if she was sharing a space, that was not the image that she wanted to project and but just having that space because she felt like she don't want to bring people to her house and interrupt her kid's life and interrupt husbands, you know, evenings or whatever. And she had this bliss place, and when we got to talking about it and went through it, and I just started to ask her questions, and we found this amazing space right in the family business. So look around at what's available to you a lot of times, and, um, do you want to share about the shared space that you had for a while, uh, shared workspace? Yeah, it was called I mean, there's, I think these are popping up all over, but in chicago it's called inner space and, um, basically, you just pay like a daily rate or a monthly rate just depending on how much you need it and then you can go and bring your computer set up shop, you could meet with teams, you know, you there's little conference rooms, and then they were even willing tto allow me to have some space two chutes on the weekends because they didn't use that space on the weekends, so it was a good there's, a good option for me, yeah. And there's actually a couple of places like that right in des moines even you know, and in des moines, iowa that are shared studio spaces where you can go in and have that space and it doesn't cost a ton of money and you're not bound tio a year lease or two year lease and in fact there's a studio in des moines called my studio by and it's you can rent it by the session if you want to buy the session, you could run it by the week the month the year of course we get it less expensive if you run it by the year and they have multiple studio be's a cool warehouse upstairs and you know, so you never know what what's available to you until you really put it out there and just open up your eyes to what's available and I'm not saying low hanging fruit to get anything else from the audience way do have one from online that I would love tto ask we have sandy b who says I have the itch really bad mostly because I'd like to hire an associate photographer but I'm not financially ready with a six month cushion any ideas? Well, I'm one of the things with a second photographer is, you know, with the second photographers and with even sales people we can hire those people on a contract basis or sales people on a commission basis where we're not responsible to them for full time or even full time, part time, you know, not full time tuesday and thursday every week. It's when we have a session, but for you, you know we'll hire you on contract or when we have a sale for you, we'll hire you on contract, and for me, a sales person has always been the easiest person to bring on and all I'm looking for someone who loves people and loves my work and that's it, I can train him to do the rest. I can walk him through the process because there is a system in place. There are phone scripts in place, you know, they're sale systems in place. I know exactly what I need them to say to people I know, you know, we're walking through the call log they're working through that they're working through the consultation planner, and the tools are right there, available to them so I can train them if they love working with people and they love my work that's it so they're easy and it's commission only if I'm not shooting, they're not selling. So no big deal, you know, and there's lots of moms out there. Who would love doing a couple of sales a week love getting out of the house one night a week or you know, maybe now her kids were all in school and she wants something to do during the day a few days a week you know? So look at what's available to you in a second shooter same thing you don't have to have a retail a space location toe I have a second shooter you khun take someone with you and train them as an assistant for a while and then start booking things for them and have that second shooter or that videographer or you know and they're in contract lee was great. All right talk about the download of the day I almost for at today's download is a marketing banner for your window and marketing banners are something that we have been using over the last uh while now and that's something that is really easy to change either seasonally or with the specials that we have going on and I want to say like a twenty inch banner from a c I in the twenty some dollars range like it's cheap and they look so nice there really pretty these nice really nice vinyl banners and so we can print them for all the different events that were doing and hang them in the window and so this is a template for one of those banners if you don't have a retail location, partner up with somebody who will hang a banner for you and that's, something great that you could do, and even doing events and other businesses. I have done that so many times over the years. Just partnering up with somebody else and having them host an event in their business. And it gets buzz. And their business is good for them to be. Ableto host an event and have people in. And so, you know, think about the people that you can work with and get those banners up and that's what the template is for today.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Day 30
Day 28 Press
Day 29
Day 8 Mommy and
Day 23 Contact Sheet.pdf
CL_LORI30 Desktop Screen Saver 1.jpg
CL_LORI30 Desktop Screen Saver 2.jpg
CL_LORI30 Desktop Screen Saver 3.jpg
CL_LORI30 Desktop Screen Saver 4.jpg
Day 3 Weekly Calendar.pdf
Day 3 Monthly Calendar 2014.pdf
Day 4 Thank You Back.jpg
Day 4 Thank You Back.psd
Day 4 Thank You Front.jpg
Day 4 Thank You Front.psd
Design Gift
Day 7 Blog
Day 7 PlayDate
Day 8 Gift
Day 8 Mini Accordian Book
Day 8 Promcard Digital and or
Day 8 Timeline
Day 9 Gift
Day 9 Vendor
Day 10 Accordian
Day 11 Event
Day 12 8X8 Econo Layout
Day 13 Grateful Worksheet.pdf
Day 14 Call Log Worksheet.pdf
Day 14 Phone Scripts.pdf
Day 15 Welcome
Day 16 Square
Day 17 Certificate of
Day 18 Consultation Phone Scripts.pdf
Day 18 Consultation Planner.pdf
Day 19 Wall Cling
Day 20 Image
Day 21
Day 22 Designer
Day 23 Holiday
Day 24 Workflow
Day 25 Record of Sales Workbook.pdf
Day 26 View and Choose Appointment
Day 27 DVD and DVD

bonus material

Course Outline.pdf
CL_LORI30 Model Release.jpg
CL_LORI30 Model Release.psd
Day 2 Workbook Sample.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


This course is amazing! Lori covers so many essential things to have a successful photography business. She goes through everything in a very methodical way. I also appreciate ALL the free stuff she gave to help make my business successful. I also love how she shared how she gives back in her community and worldwide. Thanks Lori!

a Creativelive Student

I cannot say enough GREAT things about this course!!! I've been in business for over 10 years now, but still need to check in on the business side of things periodically. This class reminds us just how much fun marketing, sales, and planning can be. It has rejuvenated my passion for the BUSINESS side of this business. In fact, I'm so inspired by what Lori has to say, I think I will recommend this class to my COMPETITORS down the street. We will all be better for it and the industry will be better too! This is perfect for those just starting out AND seasoned pros :)

a Creativelive Student

I have loved so many creativeLIVE courses but I have to say this has been THE BEST for me. Lori thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge! I am feeling more confident and excited about moving forward and making my photography a real business finally. I have been crippled by insecurity and fear and with this course I feel like I have finally been given the ok and the KNOWLEDGE to do what I need to do. Thank you!

Student Work