Back in November, my family and I moved into a beautiful new home in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Chandler Arizona. We absolutely love our new home. But there’s one small problem. The backyard is enormous! It’s a third of an acre of pure dirt. Soon it will be a haven for our kids, complete with a pool & slide, a basketball court, a half-pipe for skateboarding, and a sport court. But, until then, its all dirt and the weeds have started their attack.
So, for the last few Saturdays, I’ve spent an hour or so spraying weed killer on the weeds and killing those boogers. But the darn things keep popping up. Last week I went down to the local home & garden store and asked for something to PREVENT the weeds. Turns out, they have some spray that will keep the weeds away for at least 3 months. Hallelujah! I was getting pretty sick of always killing those weeds. So, today I spent a few extra hours spraying the ENTIRE backyard with the weed prevention spray. It was much more time-consuming than just spraying the weeds, but it will pay off for the next 3 months.
As I was spraying and spraying, I got thinking about the many weeds that creep up in photographer’s businesses. Surely there are things in your business that you just don’t enjoy as much as shooting. Chances are, you avoid those things like the plague – they build and build and eventually you have to go get the weed killer and spray them dead. But, you’d much rather not have to deal with them at all, right? So, think about how you can PREVENT the weeds from coming in the first place. In most cases, you can either automate or outsource. By doing one of these two things, you can probably prevent just about any weed in your business. This frees you up to spend more time doing what you love – shooting. It also allows you to live a more stress-free life – Something we can all use.
Here are some examples:
- Accounting, Billing and Collections – If you’re like most people, you hate collections. You probably hate keeping your Quickbooks up-to-date as well. No doubt, there are tools out there that allow you to automate these things, and you can certainly outsource these tasks to someone else.
- Shoot Prep – I spent a couple of summers working as an assistant to my dad. I remember on occassion feeling overworked and underpaid because as the assistant, I did 95% of the prep work for the shoot. All he did was walk in and pull the trigger. But, now I realize how smart this was for him. He was up in his office, finding more work, cutting deals, marketing himself – doing stuff that made MORE money – all while I was making him money too. Bottom line: find someone that can work for you as an assistant or an apprentice. You don’t have to pay much if part of what you do is teach your trade.
- Tech Stuff - It seems that most photographers these days are fairly tech saavy. But, if you’re one of those fat-fingered souls that doesn’t jive well with the ol’ computer, the thoughts of maintaining your site, setting up your blog, creating a Flickr account, and social networking are enough to make you noxious. There are plenty of ways to outsource this stuff. If you don’t know anyone or cant find anyone to do this stuff for you, check out elance or rent-a-coder. Caution: unless it comes naturally, don’t try and learn this stuff. It will take you away from your focus – photography.
- Post-Processing - Maybe you’re not the best at Photoshop. No biggie. Focus your efforts on shooting and find someone else to do the dirty work.
At first glance, you might think to yourself, “Hiring people is expensive, and I can’t afford to outsource”. If you let those thoughts dominate your thinking, then you’re right and chances are, you won’t move beyond where you’re at right now. But, if you want to take your business to the next level, you’ll learn to leverage the people and the tools out there to automate and outsource the weeds in your business so that you PREVENT being overrun by the weeds.
Please share with me and other readers the weeds that you’ve run into in your business and how you’ve overcome them. Just comment on this post to share. Thanks.