Now What? The Slow Season

October, November and December were a blur of clients, orders, parties, Christmas cards, holiday programs, late night edits, wrapping paper, holiday baking, hand cramps from hand written sentiments, tissue paper, last minute post office runs… The list goes on and on. For months, many of us have felt something resembling chaotic pandemonium rather than order and efficiency. You saw clients coming in, orders flying out and as you spun circles around spools of silk curry-colored ribbon and chocolate brown boxes (oh. umm. I mean you know, whatever your colors are – after all this is about you not me *wink*) you knew that this was all about keeping up. But let’s step back a minute… to before you sat in the middle of your office, hair thrown in a bun with sticky notes on each order so you didn’t accidentally give the Smith’s canvas to the Jones family. In all the busy chaos that took place, I’m going to assume that you were able to identify some aspect of your business that could use fine tuning. As a small business, we can always find areas that can be more proficient.  However, when you were in the middle of it all there was one thing that was painfully clear… It was not the time for working on the business, you were in the business – the thick of business and you couldn’t think past that night’s to do list let alone strategizing new P&P’s.

But the busy season is now over and you find yourself with time. Like it or not, time is yours – now you have to decide what to do with it. You have some choices… You can get caught up with all your favorite blogs, forums and what not and enjoy the inspirational overload of all your favorite photographers or you can work at the nitty gritty and get working ON your business… Your future business. When spring comes, which plan will you be patting yourself on the back for?

May I put in a little side note? For those of you thinking, ‘but I really need business now!’ – I have ideas for you and that will come in a later post but for now I believe the greatest benefit I can offer is with this series. This is the advice that if I were able to sit on a big velvety comfy couch while sipping salted gourmet hot chocolate with you in some swank trendy downtown shop… The ideas and thoughts that I’d be sharing…. They would all be about helping you create  order. Now I mean ‘order’ in a very broad spectrum. Synonyms to my version of ‘order’ might be efficiency, fine tuning, revamping, branding, education, consulting with someone (ummm me!), marketing… I would advise you to take the slow season as a wonderful opportunity and blessing and invest your energy into your future business. And I would also caution you not to imagine this to be a fast and easy exercise. This, like anything worthwhile, is a process. It can be slow to take form and must be an ever evolving part of your business, however (and I can promise you) that this is the key to your business’s long term viability.

…. So that’s what I’d like to talk about and it’s going to take several posts to do it but first I’m hoping your agreeing with me. That you’re excited and amped up about the future of a photography career (yes! career) and you’re ready and eager to put in the effort to make your business work FOR you. Because a business that works for the owner is truly a rare and majestic thing but it is possible… Very, very possible.

Now the homework… Here is the first thing that I want you to do.

Think of your best session from 2010. And write down every single aspect of the experience both for you and the client. I mean all of it. From the first point of contact and how they found you, and move forward step by step to your most recent encounter – write down and dissect each part of it. At the end write down why it was so good, what made you feel so good about this session/client — really try to pinpoint what it was that made this your best session and what you’re most proud of that you did during that session.

Next think of the worst (for whatever reason it may be) session from 2010. Again I want you to write down every single experience – both for you and the client. Where did the client generate from, how long from the initial POC (point of contact) to when you got back with them, scheduled, all of it. And at the end write down why it felt so lousy – again really try to pin point it.

Time to cross compare. If you’re feeling really brave you can send your best and worst to me to take a look at. I may just choose yours to review and share on Go{4}Pro (no names will be included in the post) with my thoughts and ideas on where to build out from. If you would like to send it to me you can email me (go4prophotos{at}gmail.com), just copy and paste the following for the subject line: My Best/Worst Review 2010


  1. Luv this~ I’ve actually been ‘craving’ this time to get organized after my fall season was officially the creation of my career. I didn’t have time to blink! I’m so excited to get my pricing in order and all my financial systems set up so I can work smoother in 2011. I’m looking forward to all the tips you have for this important time in photography business. Thanks!

  2. Yana K says:

    Awesome post Leah. I have only been dreaming about slow January to finally work on my business. But as busy as the fall season was and as awesome as this slow season is, I think I am completely procrastinating because I can’t comprehend actually having time to work ON my business and not IN my business. Really looking forward to following your tips!

  3. Vanessa says:

    I’m really looking forward to your posts in the new year Leah. I will be implimenting everything into my new business. Thanks so much for being such an inspiration in 2010!

  4. Debbie says:

    Ooooh I can’t wait to hear more!! This is exactly what I’m working on these first few months, starting with marketing. Looking forward to the advice!!

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