Where did January go?! It’s been 2017 for almost a month and what a whirlwind it’s been for me, friends! I’m went upstate to spend my off-season on a winter adventure to be near with my love, and work from up here! And somehow January is almost over. I know it’s super trendy to post your goals for the new year on January 1st, but to be honest, I’ve never loved January 1st. As my friend Carrie Grace says, there’s nothing magic about January 1st and starting new.
The magic is in our hearts – when we take the time to reflect, take the time to change – and start taking the baby steps toward those goals. And with time, it becomes clear which goals are the ones God’s placed in our heart. I spent a lot of time at a coffee shop last week, and as always I wrote out my list of what worked in my business this year, what didn’t work, and my goals for 2017! And I’m excited to share them with you! I love the honesty of this post – I saw one of my mentors (and my wedding photographer!) Katelyn James write this post and it inspired me to share authentically this insight into my business and life – because hopefully, it will inspire you too.
We all have things we’re working on and running a business isn’t easy. There are so many components that are happening at once! I’m learning that getting our systems down, as well as acting with consistency, is key to giving our clients’ the experience they deserve.
First, What Worked:
* I had a new photographer assistant / third photographer at many of my weddings, my fiance Derek! He was such a joy to have with me and supported me in ways I didn’t know I needed. So so grateful for him! And he is getting to be GREAT with the camera
* My editor Andrea Barnett (she’s my cousin and she’s awesome) is literally a lifesaver during wedding season!! She really “gets” my style and helps so much with the load – since editing thousands of images at a clip is something I don’t have the time for. I am so grateful for her!
* My album design company Align Album Design – they help so much during wedding season too! When I don’t have the time to design the layouts, they work with me to create exactly what I want to present to my clients – they’re clean and modern and exactly my style. Also grateful for my designer there, also named Andrea! Basically if your name is Andrea there’s a good chance I need you. Haha!
* Spreadsheets! This is something that, before my fiance started helping me with my business, I didn’t have a ton of. Now I have these beautiful spreadsheets to track my income per month and also my receivables – so I’m sure to send all of my invoices on time. What a lifesaver!
* Inquiry collections packet – I just love the new packet I designed and send via Issuu, that I give to each of my clients who inquire about my services – so they really know the heart behind my work as well as what I offer!
* Blogging each and every shoot that I did and putting albums on my Facebook page – this has been KEY to my business for years now, and I’ve seen not only how it works to promote what I do but how satisfied my clients are with seeing previews and sharing with their friends! It’s a TON of work and where I spend most of my time – but it gives back so much into my business!
* Instagram! This year is the first year I booked clients who found me on Instagram @kerrilynnephotography and that number is only rising with time! It’s been great pouring my energy into posting my work, pieces of my personal life, and engaging with friends/followers on Instagram. I’m still learning a TON though and this is one of my main goals for this coming year.
* REBRANDING! Oh my – I can’t even tell you what this did for my business this year. Julie Story was the most perfect web designer for me and she helped me translate not only my work but my HEART onto the screen of my new website and blog. That inspired me so much to engage even more on my platform – because I myself felt at home. What a gift! I’ve gotten so many compliments on the look of my new site and the professionalism of its appearance…thank you Jules!
* Teaching Intro to Photography – this is a new endeavor I started because I LOVE teaching and really miss it – and see a huge need amongst my clients who are trying to learn to use cameras to travel, capture the life of their new babies, etc. And it gives me so much joy to do this. I launched the course for private instruction and group – and this year want to pour a lot more energy into this too!
* New Camera Strap! I purchased a Barbershop strap after shopping at B&H photo with my fiance, because my back was hurting me so much from the weight of my camera and Kelly Moore camera bag. I realized that if I carry my camera not around my neck but sideways from my shoulder to hip, and criss cross my camera bag the other way, it distributes the weight so much better and hurts less! I am still thinking about Holdfast MoneyMaker for the future – but don’t usually carry 2 camera bodies at once, so not sure that I need it yet!
What Didn’t Work:
* Blogging personal and educational content! I spend SO much time blogging weddings and engagements that I tend to gloss over my personal posts because they’re not as important, and I get burned out putting so much energy into the other posts. But knowing me is so important to my business, and I need to remember to prioritize them. I mean I went on epic backpacking trips, started planning a wedding, and went to Europe – why are these not on my blog?! I’m working on catching up on it this winter!
* Blogging workflow – I realized something that slowed me down is getting so anxious to put the blog post up that I would choose images for the blog before even culling (sifting through and choosing/trashing) the images from each shoot. So I ended up doing double the work! During real crunch time I got smarter and started culling first and using that anxiety to blog to help me cull faster – that is totally where I back up my workflow!
* Traveling – I chose to take a trip to Europe in October, but that also happened to be a time when all my clients wanted to shoot their fall engagements – so I worked as FAST as I could and even in the car driving from France to Italy, and in hotel rooms – but the trip still put me a little behind my deadlines. Not sure if I could have done anything differently during this time but just something to think about when I plan my time in the future!
* Booking summer weekends – It’s something I’ve done without even THINKING for years – but being in a relationship, I’ve seen how it’s hard to just book, book, book – I need to think of myself and Derek and our schedule now – which is a perspective shift for sure! Summer is a great time to take a few weekends off just to travel and spend time together – and sometimes wedding season can be hard to balance everything.
* Client gifting – I need a smoother workflow in this area so I remember to order client gifts early! This is where I end up paying for my lack of planing ahead.
* Pre-blogging or planning Instagram content – On social media I was so focused on blogging the weddings / engagements that there really was no “plan ahead” for the content. Weekly I was always making decisions of what to post on Monday, and if certain content didn’t get posted on Friday, then next Monday it was. There’s a balance to this- because I don’t want to be hard on myself but at the same time I do need to think and plan with a little more time!
GOALS for 2017!!
* GET MARRIED! Seriously, when my friends ask me my goals for the year that is what I say. My goal is to get married to Derek (our wedding date is October 29th – not sure if I’ve actually shared that yet!) and transition my life into the role of a wife, not only a business person. There are going to be so many transitions this year and I want to give myself space and grace to walk into this season – as well as enjoy this time with my sweetheart and not let it pass us by. But Derek and I also LOVE doing business together and goal setting and I’m blessed to share this part of my life with him!
* Personal time with God – I can get so distracted and ready to start work at 9 am every morning that I don’t spend the time with God always as He deserves. And when I do spend that time, thinking and writing and reading – it inspires me so much in my life and pours into my business, relationships and clients. I want to be better about the time I spend in the actual Word of God and not just devotionals!
* Instagram – I really want to work on the consistency in posting EVERY DAY, and content that my followers and clients are interested in, as well as what helps them. I want each image I post to be consistent with my brand. I want to share more of my heart. And I want to make more connections / community through this tool because it really is so powerful!
* Start shooting in Central New York & make connections in the area! I’m spending quite some time upstate and want to use that time wisely, in connecting with other vendors and starting to do work up here. There really is so much beauty that I’m excited to capture!
* Teaching – I want to create a plan to market my Intro course as well as a brand NEW course that I’m designing! So exciting but so much to learn in the eCommerce world! I’m excited to dive more into this
* Update client resources – it’s time to make consistency go across every resource I hand my clients – some packets still have my old logo! (Yikes!) I want to design their experience more intentionally so that it’s super streamlined and beautiful!
* Gifting system – I want to re-think my client gifts and how to plan ahead for this part of their experience!
* Newsletter – One day soon I have got to start an e-newsletter! This may take a little time but hey it’s a goal!
* Styled Shoots – this is one thing I want to dive into more as a great way to network with vendors but also dream up fun ideas! I’m super inspired by landscape and already have a few ideas!
* Landscape photography – Derek and I LOVE doing landscape photography together and we’re dreaming of doing it together more in the future – so I want to invest in some good workshops, and share the images we take more on social media!
* Weekly to do lists – I want to plan ahead my content, strategy, etc more intentionally this year. I think every Monday I need to sit down with myself and not get overwhelmed about emails or whatever else is calling my name – but take the time to think and strategize. As a business owner it’s my responsibility to be proactive in DRIVING the business not just running it. And that will take more work – but I’m ready to do it!
Hope this post inspired you, friends – there’s always so much to learn and grow – and GRACE is so important to give ourselves in the process. But dreaming and being intentional is important – because there are so many great things up ahead. I love this promise Isaiah 43:19:
“Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.”
Here’s to those beautiful new things in 2017!! And living into them one day at a time.