Skip to main content

How to Start a Photography Business

Lesson 17 of 87

Effectively Managing Your Time

Pye Jirsa

How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

17. Effectively Managing Your Time
Business owners that work from home often fall into the trap of neglecting to set a schedule. Learn how to effectively manage your time as a business owner when you don't have a time clock to punch, from setting hours and goals to tools to help you track your time.


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:13:12
3 The Road Ahead Duration:13:03
4 Find Your Passion Duration:06:06
5 The Lin & Jirsa Journey Duration:13:54
7 Stop Wasting Time & Money Duration:06:07
8 Your 12 Week Roadmap Duration:04:33
9 Great Plans Still Fail Duration:06:01
10 Strategy Vs. Planning Duration:04:16
11 Mind Mapping Duration:07:25
12 Select a Focus Duration:14:16
13 Competitor Research Duration:09:34
14 S.W.O.T. Analysis Duration:13:54
15 Strategy & Long Term Goals Duration:03:50
16 Values, Vision & Mission Duration:27:49
17 Effectively Managing Your Time Duration:15:05
18 Artistic Development Duration:07:30
19 Create Your Plan Duration:13:12
20 What's Your Product Duration:10:51
22 Quick Break for Econ 101 Duration:16:31
24 What's in a Name Duration:09:20
25 Your Client 'Why' Duration:05:43
26 Crafting the Why Experience Duration:24:17
27 Document the Client Experience Duration:08:29
28 Business Administration Basics Duration:27:03
29 Book Keeping Management Duration:06:51
30 Create the Logo & Branding Duration:07:04
31 Portfolio Design Duration:15:11
33 Pricing Fears & Myths Duration:08:46
34 Three Pricing Methods Duration:25:39
36 Psychology of Numbers Duration:07:29
37 Pricing Q&A Duration:23:51
38 Grass Roots Marketing Duration:09:36
39 The Empty Party Duration:07:03
40 Friends & Family Test Shoots Duration:16:28
41 Join Groups Duration:04:32
42 Second Shooting Etiquette Duration:07:44
44 Make Instagram Simple Duration:13:55
45 Your Automated Pinterest Plan Duration:08:01
46 Facebook Because You Must Duration:07:37
47 Giveaway & Styled Shoots Duration:12:17
48 Content Marketing & SEO Duration:08:12
49 The Monster: SEO Duration:07:26
50 Selecting Your Keywords Duration:05:45
51 Testing Your Keywords Duration:07:53
52 Grouping Main & Niche Goals Duration:12:39
53 Your Content Road Map Duration:11:47
54 Content Marketing Q&A Duration:10:45
55 Inspiration to Keep Working Duration:07:45
56 How to Craft Your Content Duration:15:03
57 Internal Linking Basics Duration:05:30
58 Back Link Building Basics Duration:04:55
59 Link Value Factos Duration:14:38
60 Measuring Link Value Duration:04:24
61 Link Building Strategy & Plan Duration:06:10
65 What is Sales? Show Me! Duration:12:58
66 Your First Massive Failure Duration:05:17
67 The Sales Process Duration:07:31
68 Your Second Massive Failure Duration:05:23
69 Understand Buyer Psychology Duration:10:00
71 Step 1: Identify Need or Want Duration:15:39
72 Cognitive Dissonance Duration:12:01
74 Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask Duration:04:32
76 Family Photography Hot Seat Duration:12:06
77 Business Example Hot Seat Duration:15:52
78 Boudoir Photography Hot Seat Duration:16:09
79 The Best Sales Person Duration:07:45
83 Chumming the Price Waters Duration:03:57
84 Creating Want or Scarcity Duration:09:54
86 Selling Over The Phone Duration:10:59
87 Forbidden Words in Sales Duration:11:40

Lesson Info

Effectively Managing Your Time

Now that you're actually there where we're startin' to dump in time, I want to give you guys some ideas here. So your values are set, your visions are set, your mission is set, your plan and goals, they are done. We're good. And by the way for long term, I expect you to have long term and short term goals. Long term goals, think to one to five years. Short term, anything within that, okay? That's where the 12 week plan is essentially a listing, of short term goals over the next 12 weeks. Make sense? Okay. Long term goals that I want you to set, year one revenue. Year two revenue. Year five revenue. Set a goal and a picture of where you want to be in five years. Okay? Those are the aims that we have for that point. And then, break it up into months, where you have short term goals to help you achieve those. And that, you have the example on the road map. Okay, so it's time to put in the time. I'm gonna have you guys do this. This seems like kind of ridiculous but I am actually gonna tel...

l you this. Set your schedule. This is so critical, especially if any of you are working from home. How many of you are gonna work from home to start your business? Okay. How many of you have distractions in your home? Oh my goodness. The fridge itself is a distraction. (audience chuckling) Do you know how much I get up just to go look in the fridge just to see nothing and then go sit back down? (audience chuckling) Raise your hand if you're with me. You know what I'm talkin' bout. Yeah. Okay. It's time to set your schedule. I want you to set your weekly hours. Decide your daily start and end times. I want you to calendar everything. We're gonna talk about that in just a second, but you're also gonna download Toggl. So, Toggl is a time tracking utility. It's free. Put it on your phone. Put it on your desktop. We're gonna track time and it lets you attach that time to an activity. So every time you do something, you're gonna track it. Then you're gonna track what your effective time is per week and you're gonna set a goal. This is the crap about like setting 40 hour work weeks. 80 hour work weeks. I hate that because, it can be largely ineffective. You could put in 80 hours, and it's completely ineffective. So operate on a different standard what accountants, lawyers, legal, anybody would call billable hours. Okay? Now billable hours basically means that you're not tracking your time unless somebody would pay for it. Does that make sense? Like, if you're screwing around with social media, that's not billable time. So as a professional you'd be expected to eat that time. That does not count towards effective time. So instead of saying I'm gonna be at the office for 40 hours, I want you to say, I'm gonna put in 30 hours of effective time this week. That is my weekly goal. Make your goal 40 hours, make it 50 hours. I don't care but that hours is not a you sitting at your desk, it's actually you sitting at your desk doing something, to the growth of your business. Does that make sense? The reason why is this. How many of you have worked a 12 or a 14 hour work day? Raise your hands. Okay. How many of you going into a 12 or 14 hour work day, have thought oh man I've got 12 or 14 hours, I better pace myself. And it might not be a conscious thought, it's just simply, you work maybe at a different speed. And then you realize one day where you had a four hour day or a six hour day, that you were actually more productive in that day than in your 12 hour day. Has that ever happened to you? Raise your hand. Yeah. When you go into it thinking, I'm gonna be here for 12 hours, you take that mindset with you. And you kind of stretch out the time. And you wander, and you look here, and you're gonna be here another 10 hours so you might as well check Facebook. But for some reason if you go into work with this intention of I'm gonna be here for only six hours, I better get everything done, you work very differently. And that's where I want you to go with this. Okay? Effective time. We're gonna calendar everything and we're gonna use Google Calendar to do it and this is gonna come back later in sales because one of the things that I'm gonna show you and this is my calendar. So you'll notice that I have everything in here from my daily workout to when I pick up my kids, to when my office hour ends. When I drop off my kids, like, all of it is in here, and it factors into this, which is my personal calendar, which then plays into a company calendar, which then also has our sales leads. 'Cause one of the things I's gonna show you guys, is a closing method, where you simply say, let me pull up the calendar. Oh. Your date actually has nine other leads. This isn't to rush you, but we are a first come first serve studio. And in reality you're like, yeah you better book, because there's nine other people on your date. So, this plays into scarcity. Which we're gonna talk a lot about. Making yourself, valuable and holding your clients with that value as opposed to just, oh yeah, call me whenever you want. Oh yeah, do this. I want to create scarcity in your presentation. Okay? So for Toggl desktop you're gonna do things. Like anytime you are managing people, training, whatever you gotta do, finding second shooters, finding somebody else you're gonna manage that as HR or call it something. You want to get up on Instagram, cool. Toggl it. Because, at least at the end of a week, if you spent eight hours on social media between Instagram and Facebook, at least you've documented it. Then at that point you can say, was that time effective? Let's see what came from that time. Oh man I didn't realize I was spending eight hours there, I was largely just talking to friends. Maybe I should cut that back a little bit. But this is gonna be a huge piece of your reporting function. And how do you possibly know what to adjust when you don't know where your time went. How many people are using Toggl for everything that they do right now? Cool. That's kind of what I expected. Most of us don't. How many people if you hired an employee, would require them to track their time? Oh. It's interesting how you guys would do that for your employees but not for yourselves. (audience chuckling) So, time and accounting, time in post production, time in writing, time in photographing. Oh this is post production. I dunno what that is. That's just taking pretty pictures of mountains. But document that too. You like mountains. I know. You told me. Alright. So these are some of the weekly key metrics that I'm gonna ask you all to ask yourselves, when you're starting out. Did you meet your weekly hours? Where did the time go? And by meet your weekly hours that's effective hours, not just time. Where did your time go? How much of that time was on social media? Was the effective, was the time effective? Did you have a completion of a task? How is your efficiency at that particular task? And lastly, this is when you know, do I need to hire or outsource for a particular task? This is where you get to that phase of, okay. Now for the first part of my business, I'm gonna be doing all of my own post production. Because I have to. It's part of learning my craft, it's part of getting there to where I want to be, it's part of defining my style. I have to. But at a certain point when that time is around 20 to 30 hours a week, you need to start going okay. One, can I do this more effectively? Are there tools that can make this more effective? If you're dumping, this is where, people don't get consider the cost of computer equipment, until I give them this analogy. A new iMac. A new computer. Most of our computers that we buy whether it's a Apple of a PC, they're between five to $6,000. And they go holy crap that's too much money to spend on a computer. And I go, have you tracked the time that you put into your post production? Because if you did, you would know that 30 hours a week in post production, if the speed of your computer could reduce that time by maybe 2 hours, in the course of a year, 52 weeks, that's 104 hours of your time. What's a 104 hours of your time worth? Is it worth investing in a new computer? Probably. Okay? This is where we're gonna back ourselves into business decisions that we need to make. When can I outsource post production? When should I upgrade a machine? Is my time in social media being effective? How can I be more effective with that time I'm putting in? Does that make sense? Sales have dropped. I have this one. Okay, so. Again, if you hold your employee accountable then why not yourself? So we're gonna use our hours in making better decisions. And this is my first point. If sales are down, where do you look? Why are sales down? The first place I'd look is if 80% of my time last month was in post production rather than in cultivating my leads, and in calling people and in getting back to people, well that's a clear indicator, that I need to spend more time in that area. Okay? Does this make sense on the reporting side like, by the way my job was an audit. So, I'm one of those guys. (audience chuckling) Me, Justin and Chris are those guys that walk into the office. You know what I'm talkin' about Kenna. (laughing) Do you guys have auditors (laughs)? Yeah? There you go (laughs). And they come in, they're like, uh I need you to check this report for me. And generate this report and then. Yeah, people hate you. So. The wise man Tony Horton once said, do you guys know Tony Horton? I'm gonna try and say it like him. "How do you know what to do, "if you don't know what you did." That's literally how he says it, (audience laughing) in the course. P90X guys come on. Who knows P90X? Yes! Like the greatest at home workout ever. I did it so many time that I like memorized every Tony Horton line. (laughing) "German potato soup." Like that's one of the lines. Anyway. (audience chuckling) It is. Okay. Here's another tool. Me and Justin have this funny little term, hey just Pomodoro it. So, a Pomodoro is actually, that's not the proper use of the word. Don't go around saying just Pomodoro it (laughs), well actually yeah do. 'Cause, I like doing stuff like that. A Pomodoro is a timer. So I want you guys to go download Just Focus. Okay? Another simple tool. A Pomodoro is an interval timer. So what you use it for is to time intervals. It could be exercising. But what's really great about it, is you can do it for work intervals. Now, based on studies, they found that for the average person, your ideal work interval, is 25 minutes. That means at 25 minutes your mind starts to go, whoa, let me check Facebook. Whoa, let me look at something else. You can actually Toggl it to be something else. So what I did was, and whenever you start a task, you just click Start Pomodoro. And then it gives you that timer. And then you work until it stops. My Pomodoro is set for 50 minutes, because I've tested myself. What are my work intervals? And so I got to 50 minutes. So if you have a high attention of focus, you can generally go longer. If you have a short attention focus, like attention span, you generally need to bring it down a little bit. It doesn't have anything to do with productivity, in terms of like, just because you have a short attention span and somebody has a longer one, it doesn't relate to your productivity. It relates to your work interval. So if you pause, go walk, take a walk, take the dogs out, I dunno. Pause for 10 minutes. And then go back to it, you'll be just as effective as the person that has a longer attention span that goes 50 minutes. The problem is that, when we go through these long work intervals, we lose attention. We lose focus. And the interesting part about this, is that I got this, 50 minutes is like my exact point, where like at 48 minutes, I'll wander. And I'll check a text on my phone or do something. I'll look away for a second, and right then, my Pomodoro will display a screen, it's rest time. And it happens every time. Right then it pops up, I'm like oh, it is my rest time. And then you take a break from the computer, 10 minutes come back to it. So Pomodoro is your work interval, Toggl is your project management and your data. That's where you're gonna get the time that you've put into the different areas. Are these nice simple little tools to kind of put to practice? I'm hoping so. Okay. And the Pomodoro has beautiful screen shots and screen savers. It looks really, pleasing. Yes? Julie. So I have a question, because I use a similar workflow, but with to do with PomoDone. Which are basically the same. Play on the words, yeah. My question is about social media, because usually what I do is I go on social media during my five minute break. Yeah. So I'm not tracking it. Yeah. Should I, instead, just have like a block in the morning to do social media and then maybe one in the evening? Yes, so here's what I would say. That's a fantastic question I love that you're asking this. Because, the point of a work interval, is to reset your brain. Okay? Now if you take your work interval and start going online to do social media, you don't ever get that reset. So, when my Pomodoro goes off, I step away form the computer. I'll go do something else. I'll go find Justin and talk to him for a couple minutes. I'll go walk the dogs. I'll go briefly outside and make a phone call. I'll do something to reset my mind. I worry about when you, shift that time somewhere else as you come back to what you're trying to do. You haven't rested your mind. And that's like where your time becomes less effective through out the day. Okay. So what I would do is what you said like, set an interval in the morning to actually do your social media. And that's what I'll do, is I have a morning and an afternoon interval to do social media at work, and I have all the browsers closed. Everything is off. Nothing's on my phone. All the apps are deleted from my phone. Nothing is there, unless I'm actually actively engaged in it. Because what happens on Facebook? You know those stupid dings? (audience laughing) And like, as soon as you have like, you post something and you have that urge. Did anybody like this yet? Has anybody said anything? And then you get a ding and you're like oh my gosh. And if you post in three different places, you got dings like up the wazoo. Like you're dingin' like crazy. (audience laughing) So, it's getting that focused time in, and that's what your Pomodoro will help you to do. So I would do that. Okay.

Class Description

The content and opinions expressed in this course are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Start a photography business
  • Develop the ideal business structure and business plan
  • Research competitors and the market in your area
  • Build a short-term and long-term strategy
  • Create a marketing plan and marketing materials on a budget
  • Confidently conduct an in-person or phone sales session
  • Manage small business tasks from accounting to strategy


Professional photographers aren't just people with a knack for photography and a good camera -- because launching a small business on nothing but passion is a sure-fire way to fail spectacularly. Layer business savvy, marketing know-how, professional grit and more onto your existing passion and learn how to start a photography business. Take your hobby, vision, and creativity and build a career -- whether you are looking to run a full-time business or just a side gig.

Led by a photographer that's also a certified public accountant, Pye Jirsa, the class teaches the ins and outs of launching a photography business from the ground up. Along with three full days of instruction, Pye shares a 12-week plan to get your business up and running, a business expense calculator and more inside the class workbook. Understand what gear and skills you need before you launch and how to build a portfolio by photographing family members or organizing a stylized shoot.

Stop feeling overwhelmed by the monumental task and tackle one task a day in a 12-week plan. Brainstorm names for your business and learn the different types of business licenses available. Secure a domain name and build a website that's easily searchable. Develop a marketing plan with little investment. Master in-person sales and book your first session.

Whether you want to venture out in portrait photography, commercial work or any other client-based type of photography, learn the "business" in photography business with Pye Jirsa.


  • Photographers ready to launch a business
  • New professional photographers looking to grow a young business
  • Photographers interested in working in weddings, portraits, newborns, maternity, families, seniors, engagements or commercial photography


Pye Jirsa is a wedding photographer with Lin & Jirsa photography -- but besides running a successful photography business, he also has a background in accounting, creating the perfect blend for teaching the ins and outs of running a photography business. Along with working as a photographer and educator, Pye is also one of the founders of SLR Lounge, an online resource for photographers.

Learn from a founder of a photography business that photographs more than 300 weddings a year. Pye's Los Angeles and Orange County wedding photography business has been named among the top 100 wedding photographers by Brandsmash.


Armstrong Su

This class and materials are to the point and eye-opening on the business side of photography. Pye Jirsa is an amazing and fun teacher as well! Most photographers need more business classes offered to bring us who love to create art back to reality for a more successful business that makes a living on it's own. This course will definately get you started in the right direction and so cheap too! Great investment! armstrong outdoor tv case outdoortvcase Pye Jirsa is one of the best instructors that I have the pleasure to learn from. He and his team have given me so much more than they'll ever realize. Knowledge, wisdom, training, friendship, mentoring, inspiration, joy... I cannot thank Pye enough for changing my life for the better. I owe them more than they'll ever realize. Thank you, Pye Jirsa!!!

Angela Sanchez

This class has been an eye opener for me; a point of change in my vision as photographer. Pye is and AMAZING, INSPIRING, GENEROUS instructor, with an, authentic desire to help people and to share with them the best of his knowledge. I will not have enough words to say thanks to Pye Jirsa, as a teacher and as a human being, and thanks to Creative Live who allows us to benefit from the experience of such a knowledgeable, educated, well-versed photographer and instructor. 1000% recommended!

Yenith LianTy

Been following this guy forever. Pye Jirsa may be well known in the wedding & portrait photography world and if there is something that this guy knows it is how to create a business, a sustainable one. The workbook he provided is comprehensive, and I honestly wish I had this when I first started out as a photographer! I love that he talks about his failures, keeping it real and honest for anyone starting out. He is definitely one of the best instructors around, super humble, down to earth and with a sense of humor to boot. The course is worth it! THE WORKBOOK is AMAZING! SUPER DETAILED!