I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog my GOALS for the coming year! This season started off busier than usual, with teaching my course so early in January! In February, I was in my sweet friend Emilee’s wedding on Valentine’s day, and Derek and I bought a new HOUSE unexpectedly, so lots has been going on!
At the beginning of every year, I analyze three things in my business and I blog them to share with all of you! The first is what DID work the previous year, the second is what DIDN’T work the previous year, and the third is GOALS for the coming year. Our Rising Tide Society meeting in January focused on goal setting, so I made my list amongst community, which is the best!
So here it is! Hope it inspires you, and helps you realize we are all just learning and growing together! I encourage you to make this list for yourself, too!
WHAT WORKED IN 2019:
* Summer Intern: Kes Stefanik joined me from Cazenovia College starting in May, and I loved having her! She had a bright spirit amidst a lot going on for her, was eager to learn and help, and always had a positive attitude about learning and growing as a photographer. Thank you for everything Kes! Interns always help me during busy season and I am grateful for them.
* Culling: When the season got super busy, I actually “hired” my husband to cull (trashing some photos and keeping the photos to edit) and that was amazing! It helped my workflow so much when I was in an editing crunch! I of course checked his work, but he is way more efficient than I am with making decisions, so it’s definitely his strength!
* Editing outsourcing: While I am still the main editor of my work, I did outsource a few weddings last year during crunch time and it was super helpful to me! I put final touches on everything but it helped me get through a few stretches of jammed deadlines.
* Second Shooters: I worked with some new second shooters this past year at the weddings Derek couldn’t help me with, and I absolutely loved the ladies I worked with! (And would love to work with them again this year!)
* Instagram Stories: I think my Stories helped me a ton with marketing and connecting with my audience, because people loved answering questions or asking questions and interacting with my content!
* New Laptop: My old MacbookPro was actually from 2013, and somehow lasted so long – but this year, it needed to be replaced! It would randomly shut down on me and that interrupted my workflow a LOT. On Black Friday I snagged an amazing deal at B&H Photo and I think that is always how I’m going to shop for electronics now! This new one runs amazingly!
* Off Season Weddings: I had 3 weddings off season which was such a treat for my schedule and time! one in Syracuse, one in Connecticut, and one in Key West, Florida! The Key West, Florida wedding was for a family member but it ran super smoothly with all of our travel, navigating the heat and executing all the lighting needed for the bride & groom to jump in the pool at the end of the night! Such fun memories!
* Honeybook: It was the first year I used Honeybook for client invoicing & questionnaires, and I really grew to love it! It is super easy to use and looks so professional! I still do not use all the automation features but keep track of important dates on a spreadsheet.
* Self care: During busy season I was really intentional about joining Barre3 (an exercise class in Dewitt I fell in love with!) and also doing yoga intermittently. So needed!
* Family visiting: This year we had 7 visitors at our house, which I was so grateful for! My parents came, my brother and sister in law over the summer, my friends Danielle & Juan, Sarah, Dana, Lauren & Michelle, my cousin Brittani, Derek’s cousin Tracie and her kids, and my cousins Tommy & Holly. Such a great year to have people come our way and see our house and area!
* Co-leading Rising Tide Society group: This year Sarah Fredenburg joined me as a leader for our Tuesdays Together Syracuse group. I was excited about it but seeing how we execute leadership together was so encouraging! We really are complimentary as artists and people and I really appreciate having her support and friendship!
* The Delight Retreat: This year in April, I had the opportunity to lead at the Delight Retreat in Leavenworth, Washington. I knew it would be a good opportunity but had no idea just how powerful and amazing it would be at that season in my life. Not only was I able to help co-lead a lighting and posing workshop with Callie Lindsay, but I was able to speak about navigating wilderness seasons with God. Such a powerful atmosphere and I will never forget all that I learned. I also made a few dear lifelong friends who I still talk to regularly!
* Lighting Workshop: Last year I was able to teach a Lighting Workshop at RedBarn20 in Cazenovia that completely sold out, and was able to teach off camera flash with models, and have my friend Kate from LoveWell plan it for me! It encouraged me that I can do bigger workshops than the Lighting & Posing and have more complex setups, and that the content will interest and help many photographers! I sold most of my seats to my Business Refresh Course last year, and was super inspired by the content and to see the photographer’s response! This year was the greatest growth I’ve seen as an educator since I began the year before.
* Business Refresh Workshop: I know this was technically in 2020, BUT I was so inspired by the way this entire day executed, the content that was heart driven, the models and vendors that came together, and the way the photographers connected to one another and to the content! I cannot wait to do my next workshop!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
* 16 weddings: My goal for last year was 10-12 weddings, but because I had several in off-season, I took on more during busy season. While this isn’t necessarily a bad idea, it was hard for me when I had 3 back to back weddings in June/July and all the editing deadlines came together. I realized that I will need a new plan for my workflow to make it work!
* External Harddrive: I bought a second external harddrive to hold extra photos during busy season, and for some reason it wouldn’t always load properly and would take up to 5 minutes to load, and other times just had problems loading. This made it really hard for my workflow!
* Old Laptop: Derek tried to fix the battery on my old 2013 MacBook Pro using an iFixit kit – which are reliable, but apparently the 2013 models of MacBook make it so you have to take the whole bottom out and replace, and it fights against just replacing a battery. So it ended up creating more problems than it fixed and made it super hard for me to get my work done – I had to use my 27” iMac in my office while I waited to purchase a new MacBook Pro.
* Accounting: I have realized that it is almost impossible to keep up with bookeeping during wedding season, and while I’ve always tried to work on that, now I see that my bookeeping will just remain an off season task for me before tax season begins – and I’m okay with that!
* Editing on my vacation: Because of deadlines that were so close together, I had to deliver a wedding gallery while in Colorado this summer! It was really hard to edit on windy roads, even though I had long drives where I could work, the roads I were on made me feel a little nauseous trying to look at my screen! I didn’t love having to work like that on vacation either!
* Skype: I started using FaceTime with clients because Microsoft created a new sign in to Skype and I still can’t figure out how to get in!
* Online payments: It’s hard to use a website for my education that has a 6% combined fees for the host and credit card processor. I’m not sure I know a way around that at this point, but it is a bummer!
* Our first calendar: Derek and I decided to create our first wall calendar during Christmas season! It turned out beautifully, but it was hard to sell a large quantity! I may have sold a little late, but it was also hard because the calendar was a size and weight that made shipping really expensive. Lesson learned on shipping costs!
* Launch my FULL WEDDING WORKSHOP in May!! I have been dreaming of this for so long, and it will definitely be the biggest thing I’ve done up to this point! It will include teaching an entire wedding day (with styled shoot) from start to finish!
* Update website and client educational PDFs- a goal for off season, to go into this season with an updated wedding website, education website, and to update all my client’s educational material with new photographs!
* Family birthdays & friends’ wedding: It’s a big year for many people close to me, and I hope to be able to be present with all of them at their big moments in 2020!
* Travel: It’s on Derek and I’s list to take a vacation this summer!! I know we took one last summer, but to me, traveling just to see a place and take pictures when it’s not about seeing people is a different kind of experience – and so important to me! If we book the trip soon I will let you all know where it is! We are waiting for this Coronavirus craziness to calm down!
* New House: This was a complete surprise to us, buying a new house in Cazenovia! It’s a huge goal to pack and move during off-season before wedding season starts, there isn’t much time! But I am already looking forward to having guests stay with us, host summer BBQs, and have fun at the lake which will be so close by!
* Online course: I hope to be able to work to start filming or generate content to launch an online course this year or next year!
* Insta Live: I am starting a series of live videos next week to help educate photographers and hopefully reach more of an audience and serve more people!
* Writing & Landscape photography: It’s always a goal of mine to work on the writing and photographing God calls me to do on a personal level as well as what I do for my profession. I started an account @kerricolewrites last year and I hope to continue to steward that well! As well as create space to take my own landscape photography trips with Derek and do what fuels my own soul!
Whenever I make goals, I KNOW they will not all get accomplished! But it’s good to have accountability by writing them down, and this year I will prioritize and FOCUS on what’s important, have GRACE (my word of the year) to take one thing at a time.
Hope this inspires you toward your own goals – feel free to share them with me! And, if you need to do a mentoring session with me before wedding season starts off, I would LOVE to help you achieve those goals of yours!!