As a wedding photographer (this goes for ANY wedding vendor or solopreneur!), we’re used to the unexpected – but I never thought I’d be putting together a to do list for social distancing! Not even a phrase I was familiar with a week ago, it’s now what most of us are urged if not required to do. I’ve had a groomsmen go missing (more than once), I’ve had flowers delivered in the completely wrong color scheme, I’ve had a venue lose power moments before the ceremony – once, I even photographed a wedding we moved up an entire 24 hours to avoid a hurricane!
However, none of that can compare to weeks of canceled sessions (and missing income) and hundreds of uninterrupted home hours. Here’s how I plan to use this time as effectively and productively as possible for my business!
1. Connect with (and reassure) your clients
Check in on your clients, let them know how you’re preparing for their event (or if it must be canceled or postponed, the policies you have in place), move all meetings to virtual, and work on rescheduling if needed!
2. Do your taxes
If you haven’t wrapped up your 2019 taxes, this should absolutely be second on your to do list. I always feel a huge sense of relief when I get this done, even after ten years of owning a business!
3. Create a budget for the next year
If you don’t have a business budget (and even if you do), it’s time to take a realistic look at the financial hit we will all be taking this year and how you can account for it. Can you cut excess expenses? Can you do some work online as an earning spree?
4. Read that business book you’ve never gotten around to
When you’re “off the clock” it can be hard to dive deep into a business book, but now that you’ve got loads of solo time, block off at least an hour a day to read. I love The War of Art, 168 Hours, The Creative Habit, and Profit First.
5. Go through your subscriptions
When I did this a few years ago I was shocked at how much was leaving my business bank account every month for subscriptions I barely used! If you don’t want to get rid of a subscription totally, see if there’s a lower level you can “downgrade” to.
6. Update your contracts
This is a great time to go over your contracts and update whatever is needed (and maybe add a clause for times like this, if you don’t already have one!). I am absolutely not a lawyer, but Autumn Witt Boyd and The Contract Shop are fantastic resources.
7. Take a course
I recently took Sarah Ellefson’s blogging course and it was so good! I also bought last year’s Bundle Co course bundle (a steal at less than $100!) and I have so many courses there I haven’t touched yet. This is the perfect time for some continuing education!
8. Connect virtually with your friendors
Now’s the time to arrange a FaceTime with that person you connected to at last year’s conference, put together a Zoom meeting for your fellow local small business owners and discuss how you’re handling all these changes, and reach out to people you haven’t seen in a while to check on them.
9. Get inspired out of your field
Read that fiction book you’ve had on your nightstand for months, watch a movie (and leave your phone in another room, no distractions!), visit an art museum virtually!
10. Get ahead on content posts
I recently got my booty kicked into gear by Sydney Blanchard and boy, do I have homework! Going through all my images and setting up Instagram and Pinterest content has always seemed daunting to me because it requires so much focused time I rarely have. Well, I’ve got it now! Hoping to knock out the next few months of content in the next few weeks.
11. Do a website audit
You know all those little things on your website you really should change? Does your inquiry page still say “booking for 2019”? Did you never update your headshot photo because you just couldn’t choose? Get a notepad, a pen, and visit EVERY single one of your website pages to make small changes that have big impact. (While you’re at it, set up Google Analytics if you aren’t already using it to track your website traffic!)
12. Create guides for your clients
This is a great time to create or freshen up guides that would benefit your clients. Whether it’s what to wear to an engagement session or a full prep worksheet for a branding shoot (that’s the one I need to work on!), spend this spring working on things that will give your future clients an even better experience.
13. Tighten your workflows
Have you been wanting to start an email funnel? Need to tweak (or just set up!) automated emails in your client management software? Now is seriously the time! (I’ll probably be doing all the above!)
14. Clean and edit your equipment
While not every small business owner has camera equipment, we all have some tools of the trade! Get out your: camera lenses, calligraphy pens, fancy computer monitors, cookware, etc. and give it all a nice scrub down. I also will go through everything in my two (very large) equipment bags and see if there’s anything I can pass on to someone else or sell.
15. Support another small business
Make a purchase online, buy a certificate or gift to give to a client that can be used in the future, write a google review (or 10!), share your favorite small businesses on Instagram and encourage your followers to do the same!
If you’re a fellow wedding photographer (or vendor!), what’s on YOUR social distancing to do list? Comment below, wash your hands, stay home, and we’ll get through this together.