30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lesson 24 of 53

Day 13: Scheduling and Planning

 

30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lesson 24 of 53

Day 13: Scheduling and Planning

 

Lesson Info

Day 13: Scheduling and Planning

So we're going to talk now about scheduling and planning parkinson's law says a task will swell to the time you allow it. That is so true, isn't it? You know, I know for me when I start getting ready for vacation or even like to come here or, you know, whatever it is, you know, you get so much done when you have this extreme deadline and, you know, if we can think about things like that, where we're putting away everything else because we're really focused on the task in front of us, we get so much more done, you know, multitasking isn't really the great thing we all think it is in our heads, and so I want to go through and really think about time value, and we've talked about this about everybody, you know, everybody's got the struggle of where do I find that balance? Where do I fit in the kids where I plan my marketing, how do I go in network? You know? And so I want to just take you through a schedule of really thinking through the amount of time that you actually do, schedule and p...

lan with your client the amount of time that you invest in them, so we're going to start with the first thing is going to be just whatever it takes actually get a client in the door and this is a this is a very low number for me on there in your workbook you've got this entire, uh, list and also a list of time guy use I'm gonna have you go through the time estimate right now and then later as you actually do some of these right in the time actual and that's going to really help you, you know, really think through your workflow and put that time value on it. So for me, I've got, you know, maybe fifteen minutes and getting a new client in the door and that's gonna be time invested in social media, marketing or networking or whatever it is and then the first phone call when that happens, I'm gonna walk you through our first phone call in another segment when you'll see why it takes me fifteen to twenty minutes to get through the first phone call. There is a lot of education happening, a lot of planning and preparing with the client during that call, but I've got about fifteen to twenty minutes there next I'm going to just track all that information that just happened on the first phone call, and I'm gonna write that thank you note it was so great to talk to you can't wait, tio see you at your session time. This is the date and I'm looking forward to, you know, getting those wall snapshots from, you know, whatever we've communicated about, I want to put in that little card next I'm going, teo get those snapshots from them of their walls, and I'm going to prepare designs for them in preview. So however many walls they send to me, I'm going to make that many designs for them. I don't make two designs for one wall I don't make three designs for one well, I only make one designed for wall and what I have found over time when I first got preview and was able to do all these these things, I would show clients you know, three ideas or four ideas for one wall, and I realized that if I do that, then that's when they start switching things around well, can you do this? And can you do that? Because you've given them options? So if I just tell them this is what I suggest for this wall, then it's a very easy yes or no, you know, and usually it's a yes, I love it because I told them this is what's going to be perfect here, and so I'm designing a wall grouping for each one of the walls that they sent to me that takes me about thirty minutes and preview and then I'm going teo correspond with the client after that they're texting me those images I'm texting them back hey, I've got some beautiful things designed for you and I'll be giving you call what's a good time this afternoon and then we're communicating that way so I've got about fifteen minutes in there uh corresponding back and forth another fifteen minutes in that consultation call this call actually doesn't even take me as long as the first phone call because I have done a lot of education already up to this point and we'll walk through that consultation calling what that looks like next we've got preparing for the session and this is going to vary depending on your situation, whether on location and you're packing up to go where you're getting your home studio set up maybe moving things out of the living room or whatever your situation is for me, we've got pretty much everything ready to go for a session, but I might be pulling a specific background or cleaning something up from the last session, so I've got about fifteen minutes there. The session itself for me is typically an hour if it's a high school senior or two hours if it's a newborn I do schedule two hours, everything else is an hour and it really doesn't matter what age the kids are after about an hour they're pretty much done with you, so I really like to keep things compact and the great thing about planning and design the session the way that we do in the way, the way that will talk about together is that we know exactly what we're shooting for, and so I'm not having to shoot a million and fifty two things you guys are gonna get to see a session that I photographed with five kids, family of seven, and I'm only showing them forty images from the entire session, and we're designing for two walls so it's very streamlined once we have that product and mine that we know that we're shooting for, so you can do it in that amount of time, even if you got grouchy kids or crazy kids. The next thing is just leaving some time for saying good bye to the client and getting him out the door for me. I'm giving the kids little gifts and prizes and then cleaning up and then downloading my card and writing another thank you note and that's a process that just is, you know, I do it at the same time, stick my card in the computer, download my images right out of thank you next is editing the images, and of course, everybody knows that this one hour. Estimate is very, very low. I know some of you are probably spending two hours in three hours and four hours after a session getting their image is ready to show your client and that is editing is one of those things that really eats our lives away and so, you know, I would encourage you, teo, you know, not only plan this in your calendar and that will do, but to really think about how you khun streamline this process, one of the things for me that has really changed the way I think about editing is when I started showing images immediately after sessions and we started doing that and just offering that is an option to our clients where they could have their session and then see their images immediately following. And I realize that when I do that, my sales aren't any less and I, you know, I could waste three hours editing every single image before they can see where they before they see them or I can show them their images like they are they all know what we can do, you guys, they know that you can take out their wrinkles, make him skinnier, you know, whatever, whatever they know that we could do this, and so one of the things that I do when I sit down with my clients is I let them know you're going to see everything un retouched, and I do that so you can tell me how far to go, and that takes the pressure off of me from having to actually do that I can. All I'm doing in the editing process is just editing down the other thing that I will do is if it's a family and I need to switch ahead, I switch ahead before they see it because they're not going to ask me in the order appointment room to switch heads, and so I will do that, and I'll give them the best possible image of that family grouping and not show them for if I've taken well, can you take this person from that in this person? And I know you can do that, and so I'm just showing them one from each post, so I'm editing put your estimate down and in track yourself and really see what it's really taking you, but try try, try to get that narrow down as much as possible, and outsourcing is another great thing. If you can get rid of the editing that's fabulous, you could make a whole lot more money out their marketing or with your camera in your hands, all right? The next thing is going to be the sales appointment preparation, so we're going to get those images ready too. Problem into preview to show their their slideshow if we've done a video session than it's going into an emoto teo, show them their slideshow we're picking a song freedom song you know, getting them already teo view we do want to present a slideshow first because that's fun and that's you know, just have fun introduction to their images and they get to see it all to music and, you know, that's usually a good feel anything and then uh and you know, whatever else we need to do to get ready for that sells appointment, then the sales appointment itself this is another thing for me that I do not want my order appointments to go over an hour that for me is just it's kind of that breaking point with clients where if they're with me for an hour and a half there kind of over it all and it's the fun that is gone, you know, and what happens is and what you'll find is the mohr you're planning and preparing your client before they get to that order appointment, the more fun it is and the more easy it is for them to make those decisions when they get there so I am planning as much as I can with them as possible before hand having them choose what walls were going to be designing for having them choose their groupings with just blank images in them, they're not seeing their final images. They're just saying blank frames or blank canvases, whatever I put on their walls in preview and they're making those selections before they ever get to the order of planet and that makes the order appointment very easy. They're sitting down, they already know what they're buying for their living room and how it's just the fun of plopping the favorite images in and so we can get through those ordered appointments really quickly. Those hard decisions are made the big money days decisions are made, so we're choosing favorite images, which is fun, and they were choosing at hans, which is fine, so it makes it super easy and we can get it done and a good amount of time all right, and after the sales appointment again, just leaving time on the calendar for saying good bye and, you know, just about relationship building time with the client, and we're going to log all that info into the computer and write another thankyou card, right? Another little note that tells him we loved everything you chose even though I really chose it in the beginning, you know, I want to tell them I loved everything you guys chose this is gonna look amazing, I can't wait to get it done I'm as excited as you are and then we've got thirty minutes for placing the order to the lab, getting the image is ready for the lab and placing that order and of course, this does not include anita design time if I'm doing an album or a car or anything like that, so you've got to consider that if you're, you know, doing any of those things, and then we've got when those images come back from the lab, we've gotta open him up, go through our order and workflow envelope, make sure everything's there get everything packaged frame if we're gonna frame, and I've got thirty minutes into that, and if we total that all up, that is over seven hours that I now have invested in my client, and so I highly encourage you to go through this worksheet and really, really think through those time values right now, just in estimate, but even just seeing that estimate on paper really makes a huge difference in how you perceive that one hundred fifty dollars, that you just charged your client and gave them everything, you know, it makes a big, big difference, and I've done this exercise with lots and lots of people, and seeing in black and white really changes the perception that you have of, you know, well, I just did one hundred fifty dollars, session I made a lot of money now you really didn't buy the time all that time is invested in this is a low estimate, you know, I've got pretty low numbers on all of this, and so what I want to do is open up your workbooks to your weekly planner, and actually this is a download I don't think this is actually on this page, the workbook it somewhere in the workbook, but it's also a download that's a separate principal when you purchase this course, or you'll get this little download, and, of course, you can do this on any calendar but go to your daily calendar. If somebody does find the page, let me know that this is on, um, there's also a daily power calendar on the last page of your workbook. This is a weekly calendar. I'm lying. Uh uh, but the weekly calendar is, uh, you know, just a way for you to go through and just kind of sketch out your weak. What is a great week look like to you and schedule? Not just one. I'm going to be shooting sessions, but one I'm going to be editing when I'm gonna be meeting with the client for the order appointment, schedule your marketing schedule, your networking, get everything on paper, and it does make a huge, huge difference. When you can start seeing in black and white again, you know what that week looks like, and I know a lot of studios who have certain days it they shoot in certain days if they sell certain days that they edit, you know, computer days and it really makes a let's get it on paper and then sit down with your family and you could even sit down with your family in the beginning and say, you know, let's, talk about what needs to be family time, what needs to be mommy time, daddy time and what time I'm gonna be working, and that was something that really made a difference for me years ago when I realized I have to change things, I am hurting my family, this is not working and, you know, sat down with my kids and said, this is when I'm going to be working. This is what I'm going to be in front of the computer, and this is when you can count on me and we can all see it right here on the calendar, and it does make a huge, huge difference, and it doesn't mean that there are nights when I still feel like I gotta pull an all nighter to get this done. But because I have my calendar planned out, I can then go to my kids or to my husband and say, I need a night this week what is the night that's gonna work for everybody? So I don't have to feel guilty, you know, let's, plan it together and get it on the calendar, and so, you know, just having that thought process of, you know, being able to plan and schedule every part of your workflow, we'll make a huge, huge difference, and, you know, we did our projections in the last segment, carly knows she's got to do one hundred four sessions this this year next year, and we know how many she's going to plan on doing every month, and so now she can go back to her weekly and monthly calendars and actually schedule those sessions in, you know, for her her shooting days are saturday and sunday afternoons and so she's going to go back through her calendar and actually say, you know, and it's a it's a projection that projection is a living, breathing document it's going to change it doesn't mean, you know, absolutely this is the number every single week and month, but you can go back there and you can do your planning in that way, and if I know I've gotta shoot five sessions this week I need to put him on my calendar so that I can actually see these are the times that I'm going to be shooting and then once those sessions air scheduled I need to put time on there for editing and I need to put on time on there for the order appointment and get it all planned ahead of time another thing that'll really help when you do that is you're not just excited about scheduling session is and putting them all over the place and then wondering why you're up at two o'clock in the morning editing because you've already planned for the editing that you're going to be shooting and so you know don't just schedule those sessions the other thing is you know, if you plan it in advance you're able to physically look at your calendar whether you do it on paper or you do it on your computer you can physically look when your client is calling and you can say I have availability here or here which would be better and it makes it a whole different ball game then when you're saying, well when would you like to come what's good for you and we do that when we start because we're so excited that somebody wants us to photograph them and so we open up our entire lives to them you know you want to do it on you know, sunday afternoon at four o'clock well dang in the back of our head we're thinking I was supposed to do this with my kids but yeah, I don't want to say no what if I lose them and you know that's and that happens understand we lose her family were not taking care of family and so I really think ahead and think, you know, these are the times that I want to be shooting and what that means is if I'm scheduling these five sessions, I've got scheduled this much time for editing each one of those sessions and I've got a schedule this much time for meeting with these clients to help them through their order and so that's kind of the the beauty of this schedule is to really see it all on paper and in your workbook we've got a couple of other little calendars planning for you but you can go through one is going to be the special event calendar and this you're going to get as a psd as well so that you can change it you don't have to do special events this doesn't have to be playing on here, but it could be anything as you know, even friends and family, you know wonder what am I gonna photograph friends and family if I'm going to photograph it? You know let's just call it a special event uh if I'm going to photograph a special event in april I need to be creating the marketing in february so that can get it out in march and were going to get it on paper and this has made a huge huge difference for me you know, I've always had these great ideas you know? We could do this and we could do that and you know, we get all these big plans and sometimes I would even go ahead and create the marketing but because it wasn't on paper to actually execute it it never happened and so you know, planning out something like this will really help you get those events in place and actually make them happen and in the next calendar is a social media calendar and this is something for you to fill out and really plan when you're going to be doing your block post when you're going to be updating your website and all those things it's also got a place for you to fill in um how many how many facebook fans you have currently how many twitter followers you have currently so that you can track it monthly and see how what your efforts are doing? Are you getting more followers? Are people coming in as a result of what you're doing the a social media and so that's just like that little calendar I've also got on here the topic of the month and that is something that I feel like if you are goingto blawg you know be consistent and have a purpose you know so think through the month and maybe your topic is a person so maybe you're thinking about twelve different people that are businesses that you want to interview maybe it's twelve of your past clients that you think I really want to be able to share their story and they're going to be great for me to be networked and partnered with you know, maybe it's you know, for a while on my block I actually hired one of my my clients one of our monies and she blogged every week about things to do in des moines with our kids and it was on our studio block but I wanted that attraction from the moms and the boy you know we want to come here to see what's going on and what I could do with my kids where I could take them to eat that's kid friendly what events are going on that are for kids and so I had her doing that because I don't have time to but you know, we went through a planning calendar together and said you know, what are we gonna feature each one of these months so that we can plan ahead and really make sure these things happen because if we don't plan a lot of times they don't happen we have all have the best of intentions you know and then if it's not an actual plan with action steps in place, it usually falls apart. I think we have a couple minutes. I'm gonna ask molly to share one of the things that she has scheduled in planned for each year and you know, by planning this, this is marketing. This is networking. This is customer service. This is all of it and she started planning for this and by planning for it, she knows this is going to happen at this time. I've got to get the word out at this time. I've got to create the word however it's going out ahead of time and so I won't have to share that part about the planning. But just tell us about your lady's lunches. I love this. Five years ago I created a sort of thank you brunch for my clients and its summits, ladies brunch it happens every april and I invited the best of the best and took them out for ah really nice brunch on me to really, you know, high end restaurant that I knew I could count on for delivering the kind of customer service I would expect and it's been a fabulous success. I use it too. Some years I used to thank them some years I use it to launch a new product some years I've used it to get feedback it's always a fantastic ego boost on and it's just really successful they look forward to it every year they often bring some of the artworks that their albums usually and share it with one another and brag about each other's kids and talk about their experience and encourage them to do that bring their thinks I did the first year and sometimes they bring them sometimes they don't and different clients some don't have albums some do and but it it's it's fantastic and we replaced it it used to just it used to be in april and I used to just find like the best weekend for it but then that was conflicting with their schedules too much so now it's the last sunday of april and so they know all year long it's the last sunday of april and it's never going to change because that it doesn't fall on mother's day it doesn't fall on spring break and it's always at last sunday and they will know twelve months in advance it's happening and keep their calendars open right and so that's ah I just sent out a just a base sick you know like a fancy type invitation should I remarketing around it but it's just a invitation and it's really fantastic really wonderful I love that idea and I love that you know she has planned this now every year she knows it's gonna have on her clients so it's gonna happen she could bring new people into it and molly past the idea along to amy and amy did. This is well and you want to just tell us a little bit about your results? Yeah, I network with molly and so she shared the idea. Mine is the last weekend in september. It's a thank you. I did everything I did the survey I shared product I introduce something news about the survey. Okay, it's really scary because you ask questions like what did I do really well, or what is aspen? Do really well and what is something I can improve on? You're opening yourself up for criticism. My biggest criticism was can you please be more flexible in the ordering appointment? Her husband works full time. She really wanted that seven o'clock appointment. She is a great client. Yes, I could be more flexible, absolutely, but there wasn't anything I could do better per se and my biggest fear was I really wish you would slash prices. That's what I was afraid would come out of it. Pricing was never mentioned and so right. And looking across the table with the women that were invited, it was amazing I had stay at home moms, I had professionals, I had an older crowd grandmother's I had very young twenty one, twenty two just starting a family I was so proud to be associated with all of those women I stole that idea from her and I also budgeted for that idea for and that's the important thing every september the last weekend I know I'm gonna have a five hundred dollars promotional thing going into this I'm okay with that and so that's the other piece of that yes do it budget for it so it doesn't shock you yes and that I think I'm actually a great a great piece of that a great component is when you're planning you can budget for those things and we know that new businesses can spend six to eight eight percent of their budget on marketing existing business is about five to eight percent and so if you know that if you're a new business and you want to try this for the first time and, you know, like amy said, um, you know, it's about five hundred dollars to take twenty women out to dinner, she bought wine head, you know, little gifts for them wasn't about twenty women sent twenty two invitations ten so she got half of the invitations to come out, which is a great great first time absolutely and so s o five hundred dollars on that and so we know if we're looking at ten percent, we're gonna expect five thousand dollars of income out of these women I guarantee that's going to happen you know, it's, a weakened budget for our marketing in that way and that's, how you're gonna budget for your special events as well, if we know we've got a project for that, if I know a special event, you know, and not even know if I'm gonna project that a special event is going to bring in five thousand dollars or ten thousand dollars, I can then take that number and ten percent of that I have, you know, six, eight percent of that I have to spend on marketing, so until we get add to that question, once they're invited one year, then do they expect to be invited the next year? Do you expect them to sent spend a certain amount the next year? And if we're not invited sheerly years? S o I did struggle with howto take howto handle that from year to year, so they do sort of get an alumni status if they attend on and they and they know that they're the best of the best, and eventually that might fall off like they might have been the best of the best of first year or two and three years later and see him that often, but they're an alumni so they are invited every year if they decline invitation for two years in a row, they're not invited any longer just because they're not coming and that's okay and it's it's just a new group of women who want to have the experience but they are invited because I don't want someone to feel like why didn't spend enough so I don't get to come well, you know, in an idea for that as well as you know, you you could if you were a group really grew and you had people, you know, more and more people that wanted to come, you narrow down that ladies lunch too new clients that you're bringing in that you want to hear from and then you do a fun party at your house or your studio are at another business and bring everybody in and say, you know, let's all get together the more the merrier and bring a friend and you're going to get a you know, a special bonus if you bring a friend and grow the database that way so there's ways to use that idea and still be, you know, fostering that new client database at the same time, yeah, oh, here we go oh, I didn't show that special encounter, and then your download for day thirteen is a grateful a grateful planner so one of the things that I found over the years if you you know if we're grateful every day it's really hard to be bummed out it's really hard to complain about things if you really stop and think about the things that you're thankful for and grateful for. So I wanted to throw this in there because it's just a fun little thing to print out and even do with your kids and one of the new products and even events that we have in the studio is are thankful event I'm going to grab this and for some reason I didn't get the cards sent in this, but what we do with our clients at thanksgiving is we recommend to them to do a thankful box and we have this we we print little cards for the inside of it that have another image of the family and then on the card it says I'm thankful for and on the other side there's an image and we encourage them tio just have this out all year let their kids right what they're thankful for a dinner or you know, after something happens and then at thanksgiving I get him out and they read all the cards and create a family tradition in that way and so you know it's one of those things that when they start any time you can do something and suggest a tradition to families it's something that really you know I mean that feels good I want to do something special that my kids remember every single year and you know your clients will too and so just suggesting something fun like this you know really it makes a difference and you are you're uplifting their family and that's a really great thing for us to be doing in our business so this grateful printable is there for you to just either get out and just go for a hundred things or duvet for one hundred days you know however you want to do it but I love little things like this well I love that box idea just new for thanksgiving what a great little surprise and delight even to send out to your best customers I love I'll give you a little teaser you're going to get this one day well all right everybody that is we do have a couple minutes for questions but I just love again the pdf when you do purchase the course you can use on your ipad in addition teo really teo downloading it and putting it out it's another way to be able to reference all the different days and exercises handy so I just love that it's in the pdf format for that this section had some amazing exercises for you to go through truly yesterday so many people said that planning and scheduling and organizing was one of their biggest challenges and again we are knocking through those and give me the tools eso russ do we have any questions online? We do of course we have one from a lala graffiti who says it seems now I should put time in my calendar for planning to which I actually like I think that's a great idea you have but their question was how can I convince clients to book sessions for weekdays they all work and kids are in school or is that something you do try to do or do you try and be more reactive and work around their schedules were going teo answer that exact question when we talked in our next segment about the first phone call and how to get them to book when you want them to book we're gonna answer that and I also want you guys to be thinking and when to be thinking about those yes answers and I said yesterday you know my rule is it needs to be a yes for a client so I need that positive yes answer but first it has to be a yes for my business in my family and so be thinking about those things exactly like that that you want to have answered we're going to spend a segment going through those and answering those questions for you if you've got objections that keep happening struggle's excuses whenever they are let's find those yes answers together

Class Description

The strongest portrait photography businesses have one thing in common: a dedicated, strategic plan for artistic and financial success. Join creativeLIVE instructor Lori Nordstrom as she goes through 30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business, an intensive course that will give you the step-by-step tools you need to survive and thrive as a portrait photographer.

Over 30 days, you will work with Lori to develop a plan of action for marketing, branding, and pricing that will keep your clients happy and your business growing. Lori will outline the lighting, posing, and shooting skills she uses to make sure clients come away from a session with photos they’ll love. During each daily segment, Lori will discuss the topics covered in her 72-page workbook (included with purchase).

By the end of this course, you’ll have the concrete skills you need to attract clients, build a successful, satisfying business, and deliver stunning results every time.

Lessons

  1. Day 1: So You Want to Be a Pro Photographer?
  2. Day 2: Setting Up "Shop"
  3. Day 2 Bonus: "Setting Up Shop"
  4. Day 3: Getting Organized for Success
  5. Day 3 Bonus: "Planning"
  6. Day 4: Studio Image
  7. Day 4 Bonus: "Studio Image"
  8. Day 5: Defining Your Niche
  9. Day 5 Bonus: "Your Niche"
  10. Day 6: Defining Your Target Client
  11. Day 6 Bonus: "Your Target Client"
  12. Day 7: Marketing Part 1
  13. Day 7 Bonus: "Marketing - Part 1"
  14. Day 8: Marketing Part 2 Ideas For implementation
  15. Day 8 Bonus: "Marketing Part 2"
  16. Day 9: Networking
  17. Day 9 Bonus: "Networking"
  18. Day 10: Pricing For Profit Part 1
  19. Day 10 Bonus: "Pricing Part 1"
  20. Day 11: Pricing For Profit Part 2
  21. Day 11 Bonus:"Pricing part 2"
  22. Day 12: Projections for 2014
  23. Day 12 Bonus: "Projections"
  24. Day 13: Scheduling and Planning
  25. Day 13 Bonus: "Scheduling & Planning"
  26. Day 14: The Inquiry: Handling Emails & the First Phone Call
  27. Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"
  28. Day 15: Client Education & Customer Service
  29. Day 16: Defining Your Product Line
  30. Day 16 Bonus: "Product Line"
  31. Day 17: Packaging Your Product
  32. Day 17 Bonus: "Packaging"
  33. Day 18: The Portrait Consultation: Designing & Planning Session
  34. Day 18 Bonus: "Consultation"
  35. Day 19: Photographing at the Client's Home: Shooting for the Wall
  36. Day 19 Bonus: "Wall Concept Shoot"
  37. Day 20: Shooting On Location: Client's Home with Older Kids
  38. Day 20 Bonus: "Mandi Shoot"
  39. Day 21: Shooting On Location: Client's Home
  40. Day 21 Bonus: "Dryden Shoot"
  41. Day 22: Adding Video to Your Portrait Sessions
  42. Day 22 Bonus: "Adding Video"
  43. Day 23: Shooting with Studio Light
  44. Day 23 Bonus: "Studio Lighting"
  45. Day 24: Portrait Workflow
  46. Day 25: Sales
  47. Day 26: Handling Objections: Finding Your "Yes" Answers
  48. Day 27: Special Events & Mini Sessions
  49. Day 28: Charitable Events: Give & Get Day
  50. Day 28 Bonus: "Charitable Marketing"
  51. 29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?
  52. Day 29 Bonus: Skype call with Lori & Carly
  53. Day 30: Goal Setting & Motivation

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