Being a business owner can be an absolutely amazing experience. But, we all know that it is hard work and sometimes we can be consumed by the constant hustle. I get that bouts of intense and long work days can sometimes be necessary, but it should not be the norm. I've listed some ways to help create balance in your life and to carve out the time to enjoy the benefits of being your own boss.
PLAN FOR AND SCHEDULE DAYS OFF. BURNOUT IS REAL AND YOU NEED TIME TO REGROUP.
Decide which days you will hold sessions AND which days you will not. Stick to it! It may be tempting to squeeze clients in, but be mindful not to overbook yourself.
SCHEDULE TIME FOR ADMIN DUTIES. Actually, schedule everything!... Scheduling a specific day or time to handle admin work lets you focus on the task at hand. I find that I am more efficient when I block time for specific tasks. For example: Mondays are my admin days. I do not have sessions or any type of client appointments on Mondays. It's a day for me to handle my back-end processes and calendar scheduling, etc.
Schedule days and times for consultations, sessions, editing, IPS, blogging- all of it.
IT'S NOT MANDATORY THAT YOU WORK WEEKENDS. For family photography, weekends are often an automatic first choice, but they don't have to be. If weekends are when your spouse is off from work, or the kids have more free time, it is perfectly normal to want to be available for your family. You could choose to only work M-F during regular business hours, charge a premium for weekend dates, or only work one weekend a month. The goal is to create a schedule that allows for balance in your life.
SET OFFICE HOURS AND RELAY THEM TO YOUR CLIENT. Manage client expectations by listing your office hours on your website, in your email signature, and in your session guide. In your first email communication with your client make sure to inform them of your office hours, the best way to communicate with you, and when they should expect a response from you. Set those boundaries early on. Don't answer calls, emails or texts during your off-time. Set up voicemails or automatic responses if necessary. Responding to clients during your off hours is a slippery slope.
SCHEDULE YOUR PRIORITIES FIRST
I recommend scheduling your family and personal life priorities first. In business, it is easy to get stuck in the hustle mentality and let work take over your life. Remember, you are in business for yourself to ENJOY your life. Your business should work for you and not the other way around. I totally understand that there will be times when you've gotta buckle down and get the work done to reach your goals and deadlines; but this should not be the norm. You need balance. Time for work, and time for play and relaxation. All work and no rest is a surefire way to burnout.
You could outsource aspects of your business or personal life to help take the load off and gain valuable time back. Use the time to spend with family, work on personal projects or to just take a break! There is nothing wrong with doing nothing. You have got to take time for yourself!
For your personal life, you could hire someone to help with housework, laundry, meals, etc. There are a ton of service providers that you could take advantage of to help ease the load.
Within your photography business, you could outsource your editing, client communication, IPS sales appointment, consultations, and more. Focus on the tasks that make you money and evaluate what you could hand over to someone else. Outsourcing may not be feasible if you are new to business or still figuring out your workflows. However, once you get to a certain level, you may find that you you really need help running your business. It is important to charge profitable rates to be able to afford building a team or outsourcing as needed. I think outsourcing your editing is a good way to test the waters.
Need more help with figuring out how to create a healthy work/life balance? Let's talk about your workflow and incorporating systems to help reclaim your time during a 1:1 mentoring session. Learn about coaching options here!