66: What Worked & What Didn’t

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With the bulk of the busy season behind you, now is the perfect time to reflect and plan for 2024. In today’s episode, I’m giving you one final assignment to help you assess what worked and what didn’t over the last year. My hope is that this guided reflection will help you to put in place the changes you need to make next year the best it can be.

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 Round Table, a community built for female photographers who want to continue growing their business while forging industry friendships along the way! Every month, you get access to three new pieces of content covering a vast variety of topics from myself and guest speakers. Come join us and get access to the content and private Facebook community!

Review the Show Notes:

One last assignment for the year (1:32)

Personal reflection (2:02)

Client-facing reflection (3:41)

Internal reflection (5:04)

Financial reflection (6:19)

The Aligned Photographer (9:41)

Thank you (10:42)

Episode Links:

The Round Table

The Aligned Photographer Course

Lifestyle Lessons Email List

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Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gephardt. 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.

Welcome back to the shoot it straight podcast my friends. If you’re listening to this in real time, it’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the United States. That means for many of you listening, who are family photographers, things are hopefully starting to wind down for you, the bulk of your busy season is behind you. Maybe you’re even done with your sessions for the year. Either way, you probably have your eyes on the prize at this point, the holidays are upon us. And that means you’re going to get some time off some time with your family time to unwind and recharge at the end of the year. And while I’m in the same boat as you really excited about the quiet of the holidays, and family visiting and not having carpool and school sports, I do want to give you an assignment. One last thing to do before you slam your laptop shut, close your office door and walk away from work for a few weeks now is the perfect time of year to reflect back on your busy season. And I really, really want you to do this.

Now, while things are fresh, so that you can make some notes and put some plans in place to make changes next year. This reflection time is not just like a major journaling session, I do have a few specific things that I want to encourage you to consider during this reflection. And that is where we are going to dive into today for our chat. So the first type of reflection that I want you to do is a personal reflection. How are you feeling? Are you burned out and exhausted? Are you inspired and glowing? Did you have time for self care this fall? Did you see your family and your friends? Or did you miss out on a ton of things? What was great and what could have gone better. All of these things are important to spend some time reflecting on because they are all indicators of changes that might need to happen next year. If you didn’t see enough of your people, then put systems in place to make sure that that doesn’t happen again next fall. If you didn’t have any days for whitespace, or self care again, make sure that doesn’t happen again next year. You see, we are creatures of habit, we like to do things over and over again. And if you wrap up your busy season without spending some time on reflection without thinking through what worked and what didn’t work.

And without intentionally thinking through how you want to change things next year, then you know what will happen, you will roll through the holidays and you’re going to be festive, and you’re going to get some rest and you’re going to enjoy your people. And then you’re going to kick off the new year with goals and excitement for your business. And then that’s when you will kind of fall back into autopilot, you will continue to sell your offers at the same prices, you will continue to schedule your clients in the same ways you will continue to structure your boundaries the same and before you know it you will be in next fall, finding yourself doing the same things and potentially ending next year with the same regrets. This is why we have to do the reflection process now while things are fresh in our minds. Okay, so the second type of reflection that you need to do is all things client facing. Were there any reoccurring issues this fall? Were clients prepared for sessions or were they a hot mess? How smooth was your booking process? How did your marketing for Fall sessions go? Was it easy to fill your calendar, think about all of the client facing parts of your business. And when you think through them, I want you to make sure to think about both the good things and the bad things. This is where you will definitely want to recreate the good and hopefully find ways to avoid the bad if you constantly had clients show up late to your mini sessions.

This is something that you can work on in your communication and your client prep guides for next year. If you constantly had clients wanting to reschedule mini sessions, this is something that you can work on in your contracts and in your communication process. If you constantly had clients quick to sign booking contracts, but then slow to pay their deposits. Then there’s a workflow adjustment that you can make. If you struggled to book sessions for the fall and felt like your marketing fell flat, then creating a more intentional marketing plan and calendar should be something that you address next year. So you see how these recurring issues and struggles can guide changes for next year. They can be you Use as lessons learned to make next year so much easier for you. So the third type of reflection that’s important at the end of busy season is kind of the internal side of your business. How organized were you? What kind of support did you have? Were things automated and simplified? Or did you feel like you were constantly dropping the ball? So if you constantly struggled with calendar management, then that’s something that you can work on next year, what can you change? What changes can you put in place, if you are constantly drowning, and edits and losing sleep, trying to stay up all night just to stay on top of galleries, then next year should look at getting editing support. If your schedule was so jam packed, that you couldn’t handle reschedules or personal things that came up? The next year, you should prioritize building a more sustainable schedule. If you felt like you were constantly overwhelmed, to the point of dropping balls left and right, what needs to change? So that doesn’t happen? Can you add a full open day just to catch up every week? Can you have a better support system or maybe get some extra childcare hours, think about all the things on the internal side of your business that felt like a struggle that felt disorganized, that felt chaotic, and how you could potentially avoid the same thing next year. So the last reflection that I think is so important to do at the end of busy season is a financial reflection.

This is a much more black and white reflection than the other three, I want you to run these numbers and find out exactly how much money did you make this fall? I know this seems really, really silly. But most photographers don’t do this. They have a general idea of what they made. They know that they’re making more income during the fall than the rest of the year. But they don’t often know the specifics, I want you to know exactly how much money you made this fall. I also want you to know exactly how many sessions you had this fall. If you have different session types, feel free to break this one out by type, but you also don’t have to one big number is fine. The last thing I want you to look up is how much you made in print and product sales. If you have a print shop or you do custom orders for clients, anything in prints and products outside of session fees, I want to know what that number is. So after you look at those numbers, I want you to put them side by side and ask yourself, was it worth it? Do these numbers feel good? Or do they make you cringe? Are you proud of these numbers? Or are you frustrated with yourself? Do you see these numbers and think that you worked way too many hours for not nearly enough compensation? Or are you pretty dang proud of the amount of hours you worked compared to what you brought in?

This is something that only you can answer, everybody’s numbers will be different. And everybody’s reaction to those numbers will be different. There’s not a right or wrong, and I want you to go with your gut, I want you to pull the actual numbers, and then look at them and be honest, if you’re proud of yourself, if you’re thrilled. Bravo, absolutely Bravo, use the amount of sessions and the amount you charge for these sessions as a guideline for next year. However, if you look at these numbers, and you think I cannot believe I photographed that many sessions, I lost that much sleep, I missed out on that much time with my family. And that’s the amount of money I made for it. And that is a really big sign that some pretty drastic changes need to happen in your business before you let the same thing happen next fall. Okay, so to recap, before you run straight into holiday mode, and completely check out a business for the year, I want you to reflect on four different things so that next year can be even better. And I want you to hear that. I’m not assuming that this fall was hard for you. I’m not assuming that you’re ending the year burned out, you could be ending the year feeling phenomenal.

Maybe this is the first year in your business that you actually worked with clients you loved and you made a great amount of money and you are inspired and you are thrilled. Amazing. I hope that’s the case. But maybe that’s not how you feel. Maybe yet again, you are burned out and frustrated. And there’s not enough money in your bank account to show for all of your hard work. Or maybe you’re somewhere in between. You won’t know until you do this reflection of these four things. Okay, mental reflection, client facing reflection, internal reflection and a financial reflection. And at the end of this episode, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this, if you are listening to this in real time, Black Friday is in just three days, and I do have a pretty exciting promotion coming for my course the Alliance photographer, this course digs into some pretty fun foundational photography business thing ones that are awesome to tackle in the slower winter months, and a lot of the potential issues that will come up during your reflections, the things that I mentioned as examples. Those are things that we dig into in this course, if you have been on the fence about this course, maybe this Black Friday promotion is going to be enticing enough for you to finally get you inside. The other exciting thing is that I have two brand new modules for this course that are getting added before the end of the year. They’re all about workflows and support. So if you want to make sure to hear about this Black Friday promotion when it kicks off later this week, get on my email list. The link is in the show notes. One last thing before we wrap up this episode, like I mentioned a few times it is the week of Thanksgiving here in the United States and this time of year always leaves me feeling super mushy and gushy. So I just want to tell you, thank you.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for listening.

Thank you for writing reviews. Thank you for your support. I know that there are a lot of podcasts out there. There are a lot of places you can turn to for advice and inspiration and I am so dang honored that you are here. I’m wishing you a holiday filled with gratitude, connection and love truly you deserve every single bit of it. And that’s it for today, my friend. We’ll see you next week. Before you leave today, I have to tell you about the roundtable this is a community I built for female photographers who want to continue growing their business while forging industry friendships along the way. If you enjoy my teaching style on the podcast, then I know you will absolutely love the roundtable. In this group, you will learn practical ways to move your business forward while finding community and accountability with like minded photographers. Every month you will get access to three pieces of content over a broad variety of topics.

In the past, we have covered things like pricing, editing, goal setting, website reviews, social media, and even videos for me behind the scenes at real sessions. Members have also had the opportunity to learn from incredible guest speakers and industry leaders on a huge variety of topics. I pride myself in giving you just enough education every month to keep you growing and moving forward. While not overwhelming you with content. Oh and the private Facebook community is absolutely incredible. Consider it your space to ask all the things get all the support and make real life business besties. If you’re ready to join us and take this podcast relationship a bit deeper, you can head over to Sabrina gephardt.com backslash membership and enroll today.

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