HOW TO BUILD A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS WHEN YOU WORK FULL-TIME
This is a guest post written by Morganna from Morganna Designs.
Hello A Branch of Holly readers!
My name’s Morganna and Morganna Designs is my little online home where I’m slowly building my photography business. In my day life, I work at Lancaster University managing the social media accounts. It’s a busy job and I’m learning lots, however, my real passion is photography, so when I’m not tweeting, you’ll find me with my little camera capturing the things that make my heart sing.
Here are my productivity tips for building a photography business from scratch in the fringe hours of working a busy full-time job.
How I Get It All Done:
#1 | PLAN THE WORK & WORK THE PLAN
A rather organised Cosmetic Scientist from my days working as a PA at The London College of Fashion said to me, ‘plan the work and work the plan.’ This mantra struck me then in all its simplicity and has stayed with me ever since. I’m a self-confessed control freak that likes to plan my time and set myself goals and I’ve realised that this trait is actually pretty useful when it comes to getting stuff done.
At the end of last year, after a stressful house move, I spent the last few winter months attending the online ‘Winter Webinar Series’ with Aspire Photography Training. This really allowed me to press pause on all my ‘busyness’ and plan out how I wanted 2017 to be. I even shared my plan on my blog to hold myself accountable.
Whilst for some, planning to this extent may seem a bit much, for me, having an overall ‘theme’ for each month and a general idea of what I want to achieve in the year is really useful. I refer back to this every month to plan my monthly goals, weekly lists and daily ‘to do’s’.
#2 | BE REALISTIC & STRATEGIC WITH YOUR TIME
Prior to really planning my year and thinking about my goals, I used to think I could do it all and would spread myself far too thin, with a scatter gun approach to everything. These days, I acknowledge that I have very little time when you take away the full-time job, cooking, cleaning and just living.
So, this year, I decided to focus my efforts on quality over quantity in order to focus my efforts on a few things I do well, rather than lots of things I can barely cover. For me, this means, aiming to do one blog post a month whilst I’ve been redesigning my website and building my portfolio. I also decided to prioritise Instagram as my main social media platform and let the others be. Next year, once I’ve established this habit, I will look to double my blog posts and focus on additional social media channels.
If you work full-time, you need to use the time you have to its best. That means making the most of your mornings, commuting time, lunch breaks, evenings, weekends and even those idle moments waiting in queues. Despite a busy day job, I ensure that I take my full lunch break to do something for me, whether that’s sitting in a café and editing photos, taking my camera to work for photo-shoot lunchtimes or simply taking a book to read in the sunshine.
#3 | THEMED DAYS
I love listening to podcasts – they’re great for when you’re cooking the dinner, doing the dishes or cleaning the kitchen. I also listen to them whilst editing photos. Janet Murray’s Soulful PR Podcast is a favourite and her episode with Mike Vardy ‘How to Be More Productive’ Episode 157 gave me lots of ideas on how to manage my time more effectively, including the use of themed days which work really well for me. I structure my week as follows:
- Mondays – Life Admin
- Tuesdays – Website / Blog / Online Portfolio
- Wednesdays – Learning
- Thursdays – Marketing / PR
- Fridays – Photo Editing
- Saturdays – Home
- Sundays – Studio
This doesn’t include photo-shoots, which take priority, but for everything else, having a dedicated day for specific tasks takes away indecision and procrastination. I automatically know what I’ll be working on each day and for a creative that’s prone to flitting from task to task, it’s the support system I need.
#4 | LEARN TO SAY NO
This year, I’ve started to appreciate the small but amazingly important word ‘no’. I’ve turned down creative opportunities which at first were a boost to my ego, but on second thoughts turned out to be time drains that wouldn’t have helped me achieve my goals.
I’ve also got into the habit of blocking out ‘nothing’ days so that I have time to catch-up with myself. I used to book appointments in the next available slot in my diary and then would end up resenting the number of weekends I had where every hour was accounted for and I never really got a proper break or time to plan. Note to self: you need to recharge the batteries regularly to keep going at full pace.
#5 | FIND THE TOOLS THAT WORK FOR YOU
I’ve experimented with lots of organisational tools and tricks, but these tools are what work for me:-
- Evernote – I use Evernote on a daily basis to store notes, ideas, hashtags, photography equipment I want to buy, courses I want to take etc. etc. You can set-up different notebooks for work / personal / home etc. and share notes with others. If you’re in any doubt these 5 Tips To Get More Out of Evernote might help.
- Pinterest – I use Pinterest for inspiration, sourcing ideas and organising mood boards for client shoots. I have boards for my goals, photography tools and productivity tips.
- Moleskine Weekly Notebook – A diary that features the week at a glance on the left with a ruled page on the right which I use to write my weekly goals. I like to have a low-tech diary that is with me at all times.
- IFTTT – I’m relatively new to IFTTT but it’s been great for automating tasks and helping with my social media. I like the applets to ‘Tweet you Instagram’s as native photos on Twitter’ and ‘Add to a Pinterest board when you include a specific hashtag in your insta caption.’
So, these are some of the things that have helped me to stay organised and productive. I would love to hear your suggestions! How do you keep up with your blog or creative habits when you work full-time?
I'm Morganna, from Morganna Designs, a little online space where I’m developing my photography. I live and work in Lancaster and when I’m not tweeting for Lancaster University, I’m photographing the things that make my heart sing.