Before I ran a photography studio I worked in the manufacturing/management/logistics departments of a high tech company starting from 1999 until 2011. During that 12 years I saw the flourish and then the crash of silicon valley and witnessed first hand as a new company brought ours back from the brink by implementing sometimes very unpopular cost savings ideals. LEAN management was one of the leading principals that my husband (we met at that job fresh out of high school) and I were brought up with so when my photography studio has transitioned from a hobby, to an income replacement for me, to an income that supports our entire family and a handful of other contract photographers as well.
When I reached the “supporting our household” point of my business, it was very much a DIY endeavor. I was doing my own editing (read about how I gave that up in this post), doing all of my own communicating, shooting events solo, and spending hours copying & emailing important documents, hand scheduling appointments and generally spending a lot of time wishing I had an admin who was cool working for free. (Because I also hadn’t written an official business plan and hadn’t yet taken a long hard look at my pricing). I began using my background in cost savings, efficiency and streamlining business process to reduce wastes to better serve my studio clients. I found one of the biggest wastes in my business was time spent chasing emails, paperwork, finding files and handwritten notes and schedules.
To address the hours I was spending on business management, I turned to 17 Hats Business Management Software to handle, literally everything. This software is engrained into my website, my proofing gallery, my social media and delivers client responses to my email. It then has the ability to autogenerate workflows based on the type of inquiry, send appropriate pricing and package information (learn why I no longer publish that on the web here). If you sign up using the link above and referral code srfbsprvxh, you will get 10% off your subscription! I actually integrated other businesses I run into 17 hats as well including my Wedding Exposition business, A Country Bridal Affair, our joint rental and construction accounts and more. I could see the integrations with calendar working great for makeup artists, stylists, coordinators, and really any type of business out there who wants to be organized and responsive.
If you are struggling to organize and feel overwhelmed with client communications and paperwork, check them out as a great solution to a common problem.