Watercolor by Becky Kazana
Spinning Plates seems to be the perfect way to explain how so many photographers feel. Each client, project, promotion, marketing strategy… They each represent a plate. One project may end and that plate can come down but inevitably it’s replaced with another. And sometimes… Another and another and another. Being busy is what every entrepreneur dreams of and yet, that same ‘busy’ can self-morph into the complete demise of a business and it’s owner.
When we get busy and I mean really busy, it’s almost inevitable that quality is sacrificed, creating an experience becomes an ongoing missed opportunity and reputation begins to suffer as a result.
There was a time when I was wishing, pleading, willing the phone to ring. I was waiting for my business to take flight. Then before I knew it, I went from just taking off to being thrust into turbo mode without ever reading a manuel on what to do next.
I felt guilty to be frustrated with how busy I was, wasn’t this what I’d wanted? And yet, because I’d never made a proper plan I had none of the tools I needed to sustain myself and my business. At first I stayed up into the early hours of the night purely out of excitement! There was so much passion and ambition and determination inside me that I felt like I would explode if I couldn’t get it out. But eventually enthusiasm was replaced with exhaustion. My day started at 7am when the kids woke up and on most nights it ended at 5am or so when my head literally hit my keyboard. Then I would drag myself out of my office, collapse into bed and barley count out the hours of sleep I would get that night before submitting to exhaustion. I know! Ugly!! It was vicious cycle and one that I couldn’t alow to survive. It was me or it and I wasn’t going down without a serious fight. Here’s what I’ve learned and done so far…
1. Plan for success! We are what we think about so why not plan for the success that we want and start acting as if it’s already here. Decide for yourself what that would mean?! For me it meant scheduling clients further out and farther apart. After making the mistake to many time to count I finally figured out that I needed to stop planning for my business and start planning for my real life. It sounds so obvious and yet it was one of the most liberating things I’ve done to date.
2. Chaos is a sign to raise prices. I’m serious! Whenever I get overwhelmingly busy, I raise my prices. I do this because to my mind this shows that the demand has been established and so the supply levels need to be adjusted. (Read ‘How I raised my prices‘)
The great thing about raising prices is that you suddenly need and want way fewer clients!
3. Outsource. We are not and can not be everything and if we’re being really truthful then we have to admit that we aren’t even good at everything anyways. So stop thinking you have to do and be it all. I know I’m such a broken record on this one but it just kills me when I hear these women who are killing themselves to be ‘photographer of the year’, ‘mother of the year’ and ‘iron chef contestant’ and inside they are falling to pieces because they can’t do it all. I’ve cried those tears! There is a better way! (Read this post on what I feel should and shouldn’t be outsourced)
4. Say ‘No’ sometimes. We’re in the middle of summer as I write this. The kids are home, our summer schedule is happy craziness and I don’t want to miss it. So if that means I say ‘no’ or postpone a few projects, I can handle that! I’m scheduling lighter and trying to keep a realistic perspective on how much I really can take on right now. I had hit my head against the same wall over and over, wondering how can I do it all. I finally realized that I can’t. So while I didn’t want to remove anything completely, I did make the choice to back off of a few things (at least for a little while).
Want to go deeper? If you would like one on one business coaching to get your business where you dream of, I’d love to be your cheerleader, advocate and personal consultant… And together we’ll get you thriving!
Leave a comment because I’d love to hear your thoughts!
How well are your plates spinning? Starting to wabble?
Have you taken any steps to maintain a happy balance?