If planning months in advance isn’t the way you’ve approached the fall busy season in the past, I understand that this may be a learning curve. It will also take a significant investment of time ahead of that season. Before I walk you through my top 3 tips for planning for busy season, let me tell you why I love planning so much.
As an Enneagram 3 and a working mom with more planners and calendars (all in use, by the way!) than I should admit, I fully own my love of a plan. But as a photographer, who’s now worked my way through 11 busy fall seasons, I say with experience and some hard-learned lessons under my belt, that planning for busy season is a non-negotiable. Yes, summer may still be weeks away, but photographers, I’ve got a hard truth that you may need to hear: the best time to begin planning for fall is NOW.
1. Pull out those planners
Pull out your calendar and zero in on August, September, October and November. Take the dates that you know and block those off. Maybe that’s your last vacation of the summer, some time around a family birthday, your kids’ first day of school, back to school night, and extracurriculars. I know that the particulars of kid sports and activities aren’t always known this far out, so do your best here. These dates, and those around them, are off limits so block those out right away. And yes, keep them blocked out, even later when you get tempted to add to your availability. 😉
2. Zone in on availability
Once you’ve identified when you’re absolutely not available, your calendar shrinks, for sure, but it’s easier to see when you can schedule in fall mini session dates. My advice to you is to consider at least one reschedule date for each day you plan to make yourself available. If you’re doing mini sessions outdoors, you need a weather contingency date, and you also need a buffer for illness-related reschedules. You do not want to be scrambling for this in the heat of the fall moment, when you’re at your busiest. Just trust me on this.
3. Map out your marketing
This next part is essential: now that you have honed in on your fall availability, you have dates to work back from to start to create a marketing plan. Your marketing plan makes up all the activities you’ll do to promote your fall availability to clients and the public. Messaging about your fall availability can (and should) be included in your newsletter, your social media channels, your local FB groups that allow promotional posts, blog and more. Don’t be afraid to communicate about your fall offerings early and often. Your marketing can make or break your fall season and having a plan is a surefire way to get ahead of the fall crush and have a more successful season.
Photographer friends, I hope this was helpful. And, if you want a full roadmap on how to prepare for the fall season, you’re in luck. My Fall Success Kit, a mini-course, has helped countless photographers organize and manage their most successful fall seasons to date – without the burnout. In the Fall Success Kit, I share way more than 3 tips for planning for busy season. In fact, you will walk away with everything you need to have the most successful fall season you have ever had.
Don’t forget to grab my FREE photography business blueprint and make sure you have taken the 9 steps to a sustainable photography business.