No matter what kind of creative business owner you are, it is time to prepare for the fall busy season and the holiday rush. Getting a plan in place now will prevent the all-too-common burnout that can hit entrepreneurs by the end of the year. In today’s episode, I am sharing three steps that are crucial for not just surviving busy season, but thriving.
The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.
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This episode is brought to you by The Aligned Photographer, my brand new online course that will help you shape and expand your photography business to feel uniquely yours. Course modules include information all about pricing for profit, marketing, setting goals, creating a sustainable schedule, email, boundaries, and more. The course also includes monthly live Q&A calls, where you can get all of your business questions answered by me, Sabrina Gebhardt. Sign up today with 10% off exclusively for podcast listeners with the code: PODCAST.
Review the Show Notes:
Struggling with overwhelm (3:05)
Map out your availability and capacity (3:27)
Plan all of your time off (7:36)
Plan for your rest (9:44)
The Aligned Photographer: Sign up today with 10% off exclusively for podcast listeners with the code: podcast
Review the Transcript:
Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gebhardt. Here I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur. while balancing business motherhood and life myself along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in yet willing to talk about the hard stuff to to shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight. All right, my friends, welcome back to the shoot it straight Podcast. Today, we are at the end of summer. Summers ending back to school is almost here and many creative businesses are ramping up for their fall busy season. As you know, this audience has a lot of family photographers in it. But this episode also applies to the businesses that are affected by the holiday rush, which crosses many, many industries. Today, I want to encourage you to get some things planned and in place before you’re too deep into the fall. Now is the time to set those intentions because we know what happens if you don’t. If you just try to roll into fall with the whole winging it attitude, inevitably, you end up taking on too much not saying no having zero time for yourself losing any semblance of boundaries you once had, and basically ending the year in complete misery. I know you don’t want to feel this way. And I don’t want you to feel this way.
So today, I’m sharing a few things to consider as you map out your fall. Friend, if you have a brand new photography business for maybe you’ve been in business for a few years, but you aren’t thriving, I think I can help. Let me introduce you to my new course the aligned photographer. In this self study course, you will learn practical and tangible ways to lead with your heart so you can focus on capturing your magic. In these seven modules, you’ll learn things like pricing for profit, marketing, setting goals, creating a sustainable schedule, email marketing, building boundaries, and more. Plus, there are three incredible bonuses built in to really take things to the next level. Lessons are a mixture of video lessons, audio trainings, and printable worksheets. Plus, every module has a resources page full of free things to help you take the topic even deeper. The best part, in my opinion, are the live monthly q&a calls where you show up and get all of your business questions answered by me. So if you find yourself in a photography business that is burning you out, that isn’t making you a paycheck that is uninspiring and just not everything you had hoped for, then definitely check out this course. And as a special bonus, just for my podcast listeners use code podcast at checkout to save 10%. And now back to the episode.
So unless you’re new around here, I’m sure you’ve heard me teach about overwhelm, and how to not live in that perpetual state. I don’t want to teach on the same thing over and over again. But please know that if you are struggling with overwhelm, there is a lot of episodes from the past that cover this topic. So just do a deep dive into the podcast and you will find some things to serve you there. When I teach my students how to plan their calendar for fall. I encourage them to map out their availability and to know when they have hit their capacity.
Okay, so availability is what days of the week you can work, what time of day you can have sessions. If you are in a commission type business, you know, how long does it take for you to work with each client? How many can you have in a week or a month? Okay, so that’s your availability, your capacity is how many sessions can you handle in a month? How many commissions can you take on in a month? What what is your capacity? Okay, at what point is it too many? Right? There is always this nice little number of, okay, if it’s four or six or 10 I can handle that. I’m feeling good. I’m creative, I’m organized, I’m on top of things. I’m still participating in my life. But if I go beyond that, if I go beyond my capacity, nope. I’m not a nice human. I’m dropping the balls, I’m missing deadlines, things are falling apart. Okay. So I encourage my students to know those two things before they go into busy season, what their availability is and what their capacity is, okay? These two steps are crucial to not just surviving but thriving during a busy season. You have to know when you will be working when you want and what your capacity is. When you don’t know those things. That’s how we slip into the vicious cycle of over committing. I’m not going to teach you those exact steps today. But if you’re interested I do cover this topic in depth in my course, the aligned photographer.
Having a schedule that supports your business and aligns with your life is crucial to having success without that constant burnout and overwhelm. I’ll drop a link to the course and a discount code in the show notes if you’re interested. Okay, but today, I want to talk about three additional steps that you can do. Now, to make sure that you don’t end the year absolutely miserable. Okay, it’s step one is boundaries. Step two is time off. And step three is rest. I know that may sound like a little bit of an overlap, but just hear me out. Okay, so let’s start with boundaries. I’ve talked about boundaries so many times. So I’m not going to do a deep dive into those today. But the main thing I want to point out is not creating the boundaries. But when we’re in a busy season, that is when it’s absolutely crucial to uphold the boundaries, okay. And yet, when we’re at capacity, and we’re a little bit overwhelmed, that is when it can be the absolute hardest to uphold them. It’s quite the catch 22 We need them the most, but we have the lowest willpower to stand firm. Okay. That’s why I want you to create a plan. Now, I want you to think through years past, where you struggled with and what those boundaries were, what were the hiccups? What were the problems? What was the struggle? Where did you get into trouble?
And how can that be avoided in the future? So for example, if you know that you are terrible is saying no, when a last minute inquiry reaches out and asks if you can squeeze them in, I want you to figure out how you’re going to deal with that now, so that you have a plan in place. So maybe your solution is to hire an assistant or a VA during the fall to handle all of your emails. And that way, they will automatically turn people away without you having to even know or be the bad guy. Or maybe as soon as you are booked to capacity for the fall, you turn on an email auto responder that tells every single person that sent send you an email that you are booked and that you were only booking for the new year. Or maybe as soon as you’re at capacity, you change the lead capture form on your website, letting people know that your year is full and no additional clients or Commission’s will be taken on. There are so many ways that you could creatively uphold your boundaries. But you need to think about them. Now, when you’re thinking clearly, before you’re overwhelmed Kexin before your resolve starts to drop, trust me future you is going to really thank you big time for having done the heavy lifting and having a plan in place. Okay, my next step for not absolutely hating yourself at the end of the year is to plan all of your time off now. And when I say time off, I don’t mean rest. We’ll get to that next. I mean all the time that you won’t be available to work because you have other commitments. Okay, time off time off from work time off from your business. Okay.
One thing that many entrepreneurs, especially photographers struggle with in the fall is that one of the worst side effects of being overcommitted with client work is that they feel the need to skip out on fun stuff to make time for more work. I get it. I’ve definitely been there in years past, but I promise you, as good as that sounds on paper, oh, I’ll just skip the soccer game so I can do some editing. In reality, it ends up making you even more overworked with a side of guilt thrown in. Okay? Even if you’re the biggest Enneagram three to your core, like I am, you can’t work all the time. You need to step away from the computer. You need to step away from clients. You need to go out in the world and do things. This is why it’s so important to plan for all of that time. Now. If you want to be there, whether for you, your kids, your friends or whoever it needs to go on your calendar ASAP be for your client availability. When are the sporting events? When is your Bible study? When is date night? What days? Do you want to volunteer at your kids school? What classes do you want to take at the gym? What nights do you want to watch Netflix with your hubby? What are the school parties and programs? When are the football games? Do the research and look up all those dates and times now and then block them off on your calendar. You’re going to spend time out in the world this fall and you will be a way better business owner and human for it. I promise done are the years when you hibernate on your laptop from September through December.
No I want you out with your family, your kids, your church. All of this feeds your soul and it’s absolutely necessary. Even in your busiest season, especially in your busiest season. Okay, the last step to beat that end of year burnout vibe is to plan for your rest. This is different than step two because this is not about going out and doing things away from work. This time is for you and you alone. Literally you alone fill in this blank space with whatever self care you respond to best, maybe it’s sleeping in or taking a nap. Maybe it’s a long walk or hike, maybe it’s a massage or an appointment with your therapist. Maybe it’s reading a book or a yoga class, maybe it’s a little bit of all the above. Just like planning for your time off. You also have to be super intentional about planning for your rest time. Because if you wait for a free morning or afternoon, newsflash, that will literally never come in the fall season. Okay, there is no free time unless you plan for it. Here’s the key to planning rests that actually helps you feel rested. When you are in a super busy season where things are at capacity, like the fall, you need to have a lot of rest time built in. And truly it should be sprinkled in daily, or at the very least every other day. The harder you work, the more rest time you need to recover. A few months ago, I switched from an Apple Watch to a Garmin.
That story is for another day. But suffice it to say I love my Garmin and I wish I switched sooner truly, anyways, one of the health measurements that my watch tracks is called the body battery. Basically, it measures your sleep, rest activity and stress levels and it gives you a score, the more stressed you are, the lower your score, the less sleep you get, the lower your score. If you have a great night’s sleep, you wake up with a high score, maybe in the 80s or 90s. And then as things happen throughout the day, your body battery starts to deplete and go down. And if it gets too low, the watch alerts you that you should stop and rest for a bit or maybe take a nap, I can tell you that after a few months of using this watch, it’s pretty dang accurate. At the end of a long or a particularly stressful day, I can feel like absolute crap, I look at my watch. And sure enough, my score is like a seven out of 100. It’s crazy low. I’m telling you this because it proves my point, the more intense the things are going around you, the more rest you need. And I want you to plan that on in now, before you’re drowning in all of the foul things with no time to actually slow down. Another thing about rest is that not only do you need to have it sprinkled in throughout your days, you also need larger chunks thrown in to really recover.
Consider allowing yourself to take a weekend vacation in the middle of fall, where you leave your laptop at home and you just unwind. And if you won’t do that, then at the very least plan to take a couple of weeks off after your busy season ends. The catch here again, is to plan for it. Pick the dates and mark them off make them non negotiable. Because here’s what happens. If a client inquiry or commission comes in for those dates and you haven’t marked them off. You’re going to find yourself working again. And there goes your rest. And trust me you do not want to roll from a busy fall season straight into more work time.
And that scenario, you don’t have time to recover. And you will carry that exhaustion and burnout with you into the new year. No thanks. So that’s it. Those are the three tips to avoid the end of your burnout party. plan for how to uphold your boundaries, plan your time off and plan for rest. It’s so simple and yet it definitely does take some intentional effort and planning to get them done. That’s it for today, my friend. We’ll see you next time. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhart photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.