Rarely do photographers start their business without working another job. We all start from the bottom and whether you're working a full time, part time, or are a stay at home mom (we all know that's a full time job) you are probably struggling to juggle this new photography business while working at your other one. I was a Nanny while going through college. When I decided to quit school and pursue photography, I still kept my nannying position. I had it easy some days with being able to work on my business during nap time, but hard most days with emails in my inbox I couldn't answer or trying to make social media posts for the day in my car before going into work. I believed in the fake it till you make it method. I wasn't lying about anything in my business, but I was portraying myself as a full time photographer so I could eventually become one. Here are 4 things I did to run my business like it was full time while I was still working another job.
Schedule Social Media Posts: There are apps that can help you do this like Later and Plainly for instagram. You can also do it yourself in the instagram app using the drafts feature which I found to the be the cheapest and easiest way. See, instagram doesn't let third party apps post for you. So the apps will let you create everything inside their app and then alert you when it's time to post, but then you have to copy and paste everything into instagram itself. It's a lot of steps. What I did was chose each post the night before or right after work and started creating it inside of instagram with captions, checked the share to Facebook option and put the hashtags in the caption to cut and paste into a comment later. Facebook has a scheduling feature that you can use to plan ahead as well. Each morning before work I could go into instagram, do one simple cut and paste with my hashtags and viola! My post has been made with the perfect caption I didn't have to spend any time thinking about before running into work and I was done for the day!
Emails: When I would get an email inquiry it was very exciting. To get one paying job was the best thing ever! I wanted to answer that person asap but I couldn't because I was at work, so here's what I did. I made sure I had a good email app so I would be alerted right away when I got an email and I had a copy of my pricing list saved onto my camera roll. If I got a bathroom break or any small break at all where I couldn't pull out my laptop, I quickly answered the email on my phone and was able to attach my pricing list PDF from my photos. Any wedding or portrait inquiry is important to try and answer right away because it's very likely that the client or couple is also emailing other photographers, and if one of them answers first and they make the decision to book with them, you've lost out. Any other emails are normally safe to respond to during your lunch break or right after work.
Scheduling Blogs: Your website host may have a schedule option for blog posts. If so, take advantage of it! You might only have time to blog your images after work or on the weekends and that's ok, but you don't want to be posting a blog at 11pm at night or lunch time on a Saturday when no one is checking social media because they're out having fun with their friends. This is where blog scheduling helps. I post blogs at the same time I make social media posts. Usually in the morning by 7am. I would have my blog scheduled for 7am and then have my social media post about it saved in drafts to post by that time as well.
Sending Sneak Peeks: I still do this today in my business, my clients love it and I do too! By sneak peeks I don't mean one image either, I mean 30 images out of a portrait session and around 150 out of a wedding.. It is SO much faster and easier to choose the best 150 from a wedding of 1,000 images to edit and send to your client than just share one and then 4 weeks later they have the entire set. Couples and clients are so satisfied with receiving a mini gallery with their best images that they can start sharing rather than only seeing one and having to wait almost a mont or more to get the rest. When you're working another job, it can take you a lot longer to finish editing because you don't have the luxury of working from home. Try picking a number you're comfortable editing within the first week of a wedding or session and surprising your couple or clients with them!
I hope this was helpful in running your business like it's full time while working another job! If you're interested in learning more ways to take your business full time, I encourage you to fill out the mentoring session contact form here. I would love to hear from you! :)