Protect Your Schedule Protect Your Life {Photography Education and Resources}

By Kacey Luvi

When I first started a photography business 10 years ago, I was a poor, single grad

school student with very few bills, very little responsibility and a TON of time on my

hands. When an inquiry would come in for photos, I would nearly let the client

completely dictate when their session would be. I would give a few suggestions like

time of day, but otherwise it was in their hands. After all, I no other commitments

outside of school and all the reasons in the world to make some money, sharpen my

skills and build by portfolio. Once I got married, I had to think about my husbands

schedule, our dog, the lighting AND the clients requests, but I was still willing to be

flexible to make any session happen. Then kids happen and the world is on your

shoulders. I not only had the responsibility of wifing and dinner on the table, but wiping

butts, cleaning the house, feeding mouths all day long and trying to balance emails,

orders, editing and scheduling the next photoshoots.

There are 1,840,734 ways to run a photography business, so I always advise to grab

ideas from a variety of business owners that you respect and begin to mold a plan and

schedule that works best for you and the needs of your family.

First question. What is your goal? Define it and be specific. Are you looking to get

out of your current corporate job and take on photography full time? Or are you a mom

looking for a fun hobby to get you out of the house and do something creative. Do you

want to make a little extra spending money, provide a healthy second income to the

family, or be the sole bread winner? These are the first questions you need to ask

yourself when it comes to your goals because they will determine how much TIME you

put into the business.

Now, rather than trying to speak to every variety of photographer, I will just highlight the

WHY behind my business, what my goals are and how I schedule out my year all in the

name of being a wife and a mom FIRST. My personal goal is to be at home with my

kids, present and as undistracted as possible. My conflicting “goal” is to be

recognized, to be “busy” and to look successful. So many of us moms are DYING to

find something OUTSIDE the home to provide us with value. I believe being a stay-at home

mom is a high calling and a tough battle. Hear me, it is EASIER TO WORK

OUTSIDE THE HOME THAN INSIDE THE HOME. Of course women want a fun,

creative job outside the house.. it’s EASIER than kids! But hear me louder here… there

is nothing like being a mom. It is a job that NO ONE can do as well as you. Your kids

will always benefit more having YOU as their primary caretaker. They will be blessed,

peaceful and filled with love for you. Let’s not be too quick to waste this precious time

on building an empire outside our homes when our biggest and most significant

ministry is WITHIN our homes. This is my why behind scheduling the way that I do. You

don’t have to be a mom to do it this way… shoot, you don’t have to do it this way at

all. But this is what has brought my family peace and my marriage connectedness, all

while spending a limited amount of time away from the home doing something I am

SUPER passionate about. Therein, my personal goals have been met.

Next question. What does SUCCESS mean to you?

Is it recognition and accolades? Is it being in high demand? Is it reaching 100k

followers on Instagram? Is it making a 6-figure income? You must ask yourself this

question so you can reach true CONTENTMENT while you are on your business

journey. We can be so easily robbed of joy (and creativity) if we are constantly

discontent with where were are. While a little fire under your butt drives us well, there is

something to be said about a peace in your heart knowing that your priorities are truly

in order. For me, if it means I book less and only commit to 1-2 speaking engagements

per year, I have upheld my first commitment to put my family first. The minute I get

swept up in becoming too busy, my family suffers and we all feel it. So I took a leap of

faith at the beginning of 2015 and decided to be staunchly exclusive with my

availability, for the protection of my schedule, all the while bringing in the same income.

Maybe new seasons of life will be different, but for now while my babes are young, this

is what it looks like.

I book 1-2 SATURDAYS a month and 10 day trip to the midwest in the summer.

Perhaps 1 Saturday is a wedding (I only talk about 5 weddings per year) OR a full day

of mini family sessions and the other Saturday is filled with 3 sessions of high school

seniors. I choose the Saturdays ahead of time and post on my social media sites what

days I am available for the upcoming months. This is where the discipline comes in for

me. As my own boss, and the holder of the key to my schedule, I used to bend over

backwards to accommodate people’s schedules. I would be out shooting 7 days a

week if someone asked me to and were willing to show me the money. It became this

weird issue of finding value in how “in demand” I was and how much money I could

make. I was getting worldly success mixed up with spiritual success. Is it possible to

have both? Sure! You just have keep priorities in their proper place.

When I received an inquiry, I respond with the investment PDF and the dates and times

I have available. If they are not available when I am that month, we look to the next

month or the month after. I’ve had very dedicated clients wait for 6 months to get in

and those that are not as interested in me (or on a deadline) get referrals to

photographers I trust. We take a non-refundable deposit up front to secure their

booking and the remaining balance is due at the time of their session. This helps

tremendously with avoiding last minute cancellations when you have already arranged

for childcare and/or turned away several other inquiries that would have liked that spot.

When we travel to the midwest, we book about 10 days of consecutive sessions at 3

per day. It’s just flat out nuts, but it works. This is, by far, our most profitable season as

all of our work is consolidated into those 10 days. I bring my kids, my mom to watch

my kids while I shoot, but still make time to play between shoots, eat dinner with them,

bathe them and tuck them into bed. This is my 10th annual summer “tour” I like to call

it and my daughter’s 5th, so it’s become quite a little family tradition. I love that my kids

can watch me work and see that I LOVE what I do and set an example for them in

ethics.

Another way I protect my schedule is in regards to outside services. Whether I am in

Scottsdale or the midwest, I outsource my editing, admin, album design and order

processing. These are things that I am NOT great at AND total time eaters. The last

thing I want to do is be a stay-at-home mom that is a slave to my computer. It kind of

defeats the purpose. If you are in ANY way feeling overwhelmed with your business as

a mom, please do yourself (and your kids) a HUGE favor by looking into outsourcing

the things that can be done by others. You don’t have to be making a 6-figure income

to afford outsourcing, you just have to figure out what you can give to make it worth it

for you and find someone willing. Enough of my long-windedness.. my prayer for

moms across the nation trying to juggle so many different jobs remember that FIRST

and foremost, your role as a mother is the most important and being a successful

photographer comes second. Protect your family, protect your marriage. Be excellent

in all that you do, just do it in order.

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