I’ve been running my photography business in addition to my day job for almost three years now, and believe me, I’ve learned a lot along the way. There are tons of posts out on the internet about how entrepreneurs made the transition from a side hustle to running their businesses full-time, but what about those of us who just aren’t ready to quit our day jobs – or don’t want to? Running a side hustle is so fun and rewarding, but it can also be difficult, overwhelming, and draining.
Client Management software
This year, I implemented Dubsado and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my business. Seriously. Having automated workflows pulled me out of my ever-growing pile of emails and let me work more on my business than in my business. You can house all of your client information in one place and set up workflows to automatically respond to inquiries, send contracts and invoices, and collect information and feedback. This automation has SAVED me, and let’s me actually take on more clients instead of spending time buried in my email. Oh, and the best part about Dubsado? They have a Scheduler feature that syncs with my calendar, so clients can schedule shoots without all the back and forth emails about availability. If I haven’t ranted enough to convince you, you can use my referral code HERE to get 20% off!
Tax & Accounting software
My biggest fear with owning a business was tax and compliance. These were foreign territories to me, and they come with such a fear of consequences! Ever since I discovered QuickBooks Self-Employed, everything has changed. QuickBooks self-employed links to my bank account to track my expenses and income. It even automatically tracks all of my driving so I can capture my mileage. I can categorize transactions and travel as business-related with a simple swipe. Then, QuickBooks tells me what to pay for estimated taxes and builds my Schedule C for me at the end of the year. It takes out all of the guess work and helps keep me organized throughout the year. Use my referral link HERE to get 50% off of QuickBooks for your own business!
Outsourcing (in your Business)
When you’re working full-time and building a business on the side, you can’t do it all. It’s a fact of life. I got to a point where I wasn’t working out, I was eating out for every meal because I didn’t have time to cook, and I never had time to see my friends. That is not the life anyone wants to live! I realized I simply couldn’t do it all, so I looked for places to outsource. The biggest struggle for me was getting behind in editing. I always want to deliver my clients’ photos quickly, and I wasn’t moving as fast as I wanted to, especially with weddings. I found an awesome editor who now edits all my weddings for me for a reasonable price. Now, I deliver my weddings in 2 weeks or less! Not only is this a huge value-add for my clients, but it saves me SO much time and energy and I still profit off the wedding! It’s a win-win all around.
Outsourcing (in your Personal Life)
Amazon Prime literally keeps me sane. Dramatic? Maybe. True? Absolutely! During the busy season (May-October), I use Amazon Prime Now for my grocery shopping. They deliver it right to my doorstep and I get all the quality Whole Foods brands I love. These little time-savers are invaluable to me for keeping my sanity during busy season (and stopping me from eating out for every meal). Yes, it may be more expensive than just going to the grocery store. But in these busy times, I’m willing to spend a few extra bucks if it means a few extra minutes with my loved ones. Make sense? You can check out Amazon Prime Now HERE.
Hire an Intern or Virtual Assistant
Speaking of outsourcing, you could always take on an intern or virtual assistant (VA) to help you with your day to day tasks. I have an intern this summer who is helping me blog and keep up with social media. These are time-consuming tasks that often get swept aside in my side hustle, so finding an intern who wants experience working on the back end of a photography is mutually beneficial for both of us! If you want to hire an intern or VA, simply post the opportunity on Facebook or Instagram or search for VAs online. There are tons of great ones out there!
Last but not least, in order to run a successful side hustle, you must learn to say no to something. You can’t work full time and run another full time biz. I learned the hard way that no one’s tank is full enough to make that work. With that in mind, you have to learn to say no to something. For me, this came in the form of finding a niche. Once I determined I wanted to specialize in seniors and weddings, I began saying no to a lot of other kinds of shoots. While this takes a lot of self-control, especially when you’re truly passionate about your craft, it’s imperative to create balance. Saying no also means blocking off time for relaxation. My clients can book shoots with me in an online scheduler that sync with my own calendar. That means, that they can potentially book up every open night! Therefore, I try to block off at least two nights a week for myself to make sure I have time for editing, relaxing, and spending time with family and friends.
Running a business is never easy, and it’s especially difficult to run your business and grow your side hustle when you are still working all day! Hopefully these tips, tricks, and tools will help you elevate your business and improve your work/life balance.
If you liked this post, also check out my blog post about free ways to support entrepreneurs. This is a great post to share with your friends to help make your dream biz a reality!