In our last episode, we talked to Brandi Mowles and if you haven’t listened to it, go do that. She talked about how she scaled her business in over a million dollars in 2 years. What stood out to me was how she mentioned she grew her business so fast because she focused on the revenue-generating activities. What will bring in revenue or income—money, right? The episode before that, we talked about what to focus on to grow quickly, so if you haven’t listened to those episodes yet, hit pause on this and go listen to my interview with Brandy and the episode called “6-Figure Studio and Part-Time Hours.” Those two are pre-requisites before this episode. I want to take this concept a step further and explain in detail one very specific way I started to see my business grow. Of course, yes, it was absolutely the marketing system we teach inside Marketing School for Birth Photographers, but I wouldn’t have had time to implement that system if I didn’t do this one thing!
That one thing, you probably guessed it based on the title of this episode, is OUTSOURCING. Don’t groan, don’t click away, just hear me out! Today we’re going to talk about 3 Things I Outsourced to Hit $10k Months.
Before we get into the episode, in case you didn’t know, podcasters do episodes as a way to serve their audience, and if you’ve gotten value from any episode of the show, the best way you can say thank you is by leaving a review on iTunes. This helps the show reach more people! If you need help doing that, you can go to www.thebeautyinbirth.net/podcast
If you have a question or topic you want answered on the podcast, I’d love to help! Just head over to www.taviaredburn.com/ask to ask your question or share a topic you’d love more information on!
The last URL that I’m gonna throw at you, and all of these are in the show notes, is the freebie I created to go along specifically with this episode. It’s a little bit of a workbook that has lots of good information, detailed notes of what we are going to talk about, as well as ways to walkthrough outsourcing. If you want that resource, go to www.taviaredburn.com/outsource.
Alright my friend, I want you to grow a massively successful business that allows you to only do only the things you LOVE in your business, the things that light you up. What we are talking about today is outsourcing to get more done and keep growing your business without spending every free moment working. Sounds great, right?
When I started out, of course, it was just me doing everything in my business. Today, I’ve surrounded myself with very talented and hard working people to help move forward our mission of showing moms the Beauty in Birth Photography and helping photographers create businesses that bring in a full-time income. So, I’m going to pull back the curtain a little bit and show you a little behind the scenes of my business today:
- Of course I have Stephanie on my team who photographs births for Tavia Redburn. She also photographs other lifestyle sessions and our Coming Home Sessions. She is also in charge with a lot of client management and the client services when it comes to serving our studio clients. Stephanie is in charge of our ordering appointments, she handles everything, she places client orders. She is fully in charge of my inbox at the studios. She is our client success manager. She does so, so much!
- I also have Carmela who is a huge help with the podcast. She creates podcast graphics, she creates the show notes, she gets the blog post up where you can go and read the transcript of the entire video. She is the newest addition to our team and she does so, so much when it comes to the podcast.
- I also have John who is editing this right now. John edits all the podcast episodes as well as videos that do for social media, for Youtube, birth videos. He is my video editor.
- I also have Michelle who takes the ideas that I have for creating content for Tavie Redburn Photography and she writes amazing content for our blog for the studio.
- I also have Brianna who is my Facebook Ads manager.
- And my friend, Keshia, who helps me at Newborn Sessions. She edits all my photos and so much more. Keshia is amazing.
As you can see, today, I have quite a robust team of people helping me.
Now, is it that I can’t do these things myself? Am I incapable of editing my own podcast, videos, and photos? Am I incapable of running my own Facebook Ads or answering e-mails from my clients? No. I used to do all these tasks in my business myself! But I realized many years ago that I can go much further & serve more clients and students if I have a team of people helping me!
How much more would I be doing if my reach is so much more limited if I were to continue doing all those things? And when I think about who’s on my team, I think about employees, and I primarily think of Stephanie. But when I was going to make a list of all the contractors who also support our business, WOW! I used to do every single one of those tasks. And imagining doing that now seems almost impossible to me. I did not even mention my CPA and bookkeeper who also help me tremendously.
Truck Stuck in the Mud
So the thing to note here is I did not start there. I did not start with anyone. It was just me. And there is a time for everything. I definitely didn’t hire help in the beginning of my business. It was once the demand for my time increased so much that I coudn’t keep up by myself that I slowly started outsourcing.
If you keep trying to do everything yourself, you’ll be spinning your wheels like a truck stuck in the mud. Going faster and faster but not getting anywhere.
Do you know what that leads to my friend? Burnout. Eventually your truck will run out of gas and you’ll just be sitting there in a bit hole, exhausted, with not much to show for your effort. I don’t want that for you and I know you don’t want that for yourself!
Another point of resistance that might be coming up for you is “I just don’t have the money to outsource, so I need to save money by doing it myself.” I thought this for many years. In fact, I took pride in the fact that I was doing it all myself. But think of someone you admire in business, whether they’re a photographer like Kelly Brown or Sue Bryce or a bigger personal brand like Jenna Kutcher or Rachel Hollis. Do you think Rachel Hollis is answering all her e-mails? Do you think she’s the one logging all her transactions in QuickBooks? If your goal is to be a 6 or even 7 -figure photographer, it’s time to act like a 6 or 7-figure photographer now before you are one.
Let’s think about it like this: What is your time per hour worth? What is YOUR hourly rate? We can determine this a few different ways and I did include this in the free workbook.
- We can look at what you’re currently earning divided by the number of hours you’re working. So if you’re working 20 hours a week and earning $500 a week, your time is worth $25/hour.
BUT chances are you don’t want to make $500/week forever. So in the spirit of behaving NOW like the 6-figure studio owner, let’s look at what a photographer’s time is worth who earns $100,000/year:
- $100,000/year / (1300 hours) 25 hours per week x52 weeks = $77/hour.
- $200,000/year / (2600 hours) – still part time technically = $154/hour
Would you pay someone $154/hour to check your e-mails? Would you pay someone $154/hour to edit your photos? That would be a definite no for me, but that is exactly what you are doing when you, yourself as a $200K-photography business owner, are taking the time to answer your own e-mails and to do your own editing. Every single thing that you do is worth $154/hour.
Other than hard costs involved, what is your energy worth? I’m very conscious of protecting my energy. Think about when you are sitting down to edit, maybe you are even fast at editing, but your hard drive is full. So you have to stop, take stuff out of your hard drive, reboot, fix things—and I am speaking from experience. That is sucking so much of my working energy on something that is such a weird, little, tiny detail. Think about the energy that it takes for you to answer e-mails. It is basically like having conversations. And for all of my introverts out there, you know you have a limited amount of energy when it comes to doing those types of of things in a day.
So what should you focus on outsourcing next (or maybe for some of you, first)?
Here are the 3 Things I Outsourced to Hit $10k Months in my photography business:
Look, I know this is controversial, or it can be, among photographers because they’re like “BUT THIS IS YOUR ART. HOW COULD YOU LET SOMEONE ELSE EDIT YOUR ART.” Or maybe you’re thinking you edit a super special and unique way that no one else can.
So, I learned many years ago to be a successful photographer, I have to be a successful business person (which is why I’m sharing all of this with you today). So I started looking at where I was spending my time AND of those things, which did I NOT enjoy doing that someone else could do?
And it smacked me in the face—EDITING. Editing was taking hours and hours of my week. Not to mention the fact that I am a recovering perfectionist, which means I would tweak and edit photos for way too long doing things that NO ONE would notice. And definitely the client wouldn’t notice.
When I let go of editing. A whole new world opened up for me. I’d been given back hours every single week.
2 Objections usually come up when I suggest CONSIDERING outsourcing your editing:
- “No one else can edit the way I do or what if they don’t do it correctly?”The truth is no one is going to edit your photo perfectly the very first time. There is training involved and there will be some tweaking needed along the way. But once they learn what you like and how to do it, you’ll be able to hand over galleries and not think about them again until they’re delivered finished and ready for the clients.
- “I can’t afford to hire someone to edit for me.”Remember what we learned earlier, what is your time worth per hour and what would you spend per hour for someone else to edit for you? Now, I’ll admit, some of these boutique-y photo editing companies are pricier (although I’m sure worth it), but if your budget is lower, you can absolutely hire and train someone yourself. For example, Do you have a teen at home who wants extra money, how about a high school or college student in your community, a stay-at-home mom who has a fast computer and wants extra income working from home, or even an overseas Virtual Assistant who is willing to learn editing. The thing about overseas VAs is that their living wage is much lower than ours, so $7-$10/hour is a great hourly rate for their cost of living.
Whenever you are thinking about outsourcing editing, you can use something like Loom or Quicktime to record your editing process to help train them. After a little back and forth, chances are they will learn quickly and you’ll have hours of your life back every week to keep focusing on high-value activities!
Should you have any question about this or thoughts, shoot me a DM on Instagram. I would love to connect with you there, as well as continue this conversation because I think this is one that is kind of faux pas in the photography community and I understand that some people enjoy editing, it is not something they want to give up, and that is a completely different conversation.
And if you enjoy editing a little bit and then get sick of it, one thing that you could consider doing is editing your favorite 5 or 10 photos yourself. Have fun with it, share them if you want to, then send the images over to your editor. And what’s cool about that is that they can see how you’ve edited those and they can use those as a guide as they’re editing the rest of your photos.
Just play around with it and make it work for you. There no one-size-fits-all approach. If you like editing, consider that.
Okay, bookkeeping is literally tracking what you’re earning and what you’re spending and categorizing it. Most photographers do not want to log into Quickbooks and record their transactions. It’s tedious and time consuming and… just not fun. BUT it’s very, very important! It has to be done and has to be done correctly, it’s just part of doing business.
If you do not want to fully outsource this, you can definitely purchase Quickbooks and a lot of it can be automatic, or done with minimal effort from you if your goal is to literally just log your transactions for tax purposes. Especially if you are just 1 business and that business is pretty straightforward, without hundreds of trasactions every month.
So Quickbooks is definitely a less-expensive option than hiring someone to fully take this on, but there will still be your time involved. And I will say, I don;t know if I have shared this on the podcast before, we use the Profit First Method in our business finances and that just makes bookkeeping a little bit trickier because of so many bank accounts. The option that we chose and you could consider is hiring a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper will log all of these for you, as well as, typically speaking, send you a P&L, which is a Profit and Loss, every month so that you get a snapshot of the overall financial health of your business. This will show you what you’re spending compared to what you’re earning (getting more detailed info like this can be helpful for understanding the big picture in your business).
3. My Inbox
There are 2 main reasons this made the list—TIME and ENERGY. Let’s talk about time.
So, we all want our clients to have this amazing, what I call a Chick-Fil-A experience, right? One that is consistent and worth going out of their way for, worth paying extra for. An amazing client experience is what our businesses thrive on. So, I don’t know about you, but I would sit at my computer working and check my e-mail constantly (or just have it open in the background so it would ping me when I got a new e-mail). Answering your own e-mails is such a time suck.
There are ways to automate your inbox without hiring someone. If you’re going to keep answering your own e-mails, make sure you have templates for commonly asked questions AND that you ONLY check your email twice a day, once at the beginning of the day and once at the end of the day. Otherwise you get stuck bouncing back and forth between what you’re working on and your inbox, which ultimately results in less productive because you’re jumping around from task to task instead of staying focused on one thing.
But fully handing your inbox responsibilities over to someone else really freed me up to focus even more on the 20% of activities in my business that bring in more revenue (and remember, more revenue means more impact so we can serve more clients).
So those are reasons from a TIME perspective, but let’s also look at it from an ENERGY perspective.
Consider this scenario: you’re working on posting to Instagram and you get an e-mail. You hop over to check it (immediately) and you see it’s an inquiry response. They said they love your work but you’re out of their budget.
Bummer. Right? How do you feel now? Disappointed? Kinda took the wind out of your sails? All of that is energy, my friend. And if you had not been ping-ed by your inbox, what could you have gotten done at that time when you were scheduling Instagram or doing something that is actually moving the needle forward in your business?
Or if that e-mail is from a client who ordered a canvas but it arrived damaged. So now you need to stop what you’re doing and deal with this problem. There are so many reasons you could get an e-mail and of course they’re important, but the point here is to protect your energy. When you’re working on high value tasks in your business (aka things that make you money) and you’re interrupted with an e-mail notification–you’re revenue energy/flow is interrupted.
Once someone else started handling my inbox, I realized I actually wasn’t spending as much time as I thought answering e-mails, maybe an hour a day at the absolute maximum. But it FELT like a lot of time because of the ENERGY it took from me.
Just to recap, the 3 Things that I Outsourced to Hit $10k Months in my Photography Business are:
If you’re thinking, “I literally do not have the money to pay someone to help me,” consider doing the things that we talked about before:
- Hire inexpensive help (overseas VA, local high school or college student, even your older children, stay-at-home moms, etc.)
- Even a bookkeeper could be trained in experience if you show them what you want them to do
Of course, when you hire someone who is already skilled theyre going to be more expensive but you can find someone who is willing to learn, then you train them, they could be less expensive per hour.
My friend, don’t forget that we put together a free resource for you called the Outsourcing Workbook: How to determine what to outsource next and who to hire. Inside, I’m going to walk you through how to figure out what YOUR time is worth and there is a worksheet to help you figure out what to outsource and if you can afford it. And finally I lay out the 3 ways to outsource we talked about today with some bonus content to help you figure out who to hire, where to find them, how much to pay and how to train them. Download this freebie at www.taviaredburn.com/outsource.
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My friend, if you have a passion – it’s not an accident. Not everyone loves photography, or event planning, or real estate… whatever your passion is, it’s there for a REASON. What are you going to do with that passion? Get out there and make it happen! Have a great week y’all!
Hey there! Check out the links mentioned in this episode:
You may access the FREE Outsourcing Workbook here!
Do you have a question? Submit it here: www.taviaredburn.com/ask and I might answer it on the podcast!
Leave a review on iTunes! Check out www.thebeautyinbirth.net/podcast for instructions.