I pretty much book packages exclusively now. It’s become a part of my business model. I’m constantly getting asked how I keep it straight, how I remember to book the remaining sessions…and do I forget upcoming sessions and overbook sometimes?
It wouldn’t be kidding to say I have an elaborate system of graphs and flowcharts to keep me on track. (In an addition to constant iCal pop-up reminders.) The photo above is an example of the first half of my monthly schedule print outs for 2009-2010, and also one my package booking sheets by client for 2009-2010.
The sheet on the bottom is one of my monthly schedule lists. If you look really closely you can see the names checked off for each session completed in the early part of 2009. The sheet on the top is one of my package bookings lists.
Each client has every session in their package broken down by “completed”, “scheduled”, or “schedule”. Dates already on the calendar are in Tiffany blue. Each of the package types I offer is jewel-coded, and a client doesn’t get a jewel by their name until their contracts and model releases have been sent back.
Both systems remind me, by month, that it’s time to schedule upcoming sessions. As does iCal. The monthly breakdown also allows me to see when any given month is full and lets me know to close it off for future bookings.
If you’ll look to the left of my monitor in this old office photo from 2008, you’ll see one of these multi-schedules poking out. I keep copies posted to the wall in my office right behind my desk, and also in the kitchen near the phone. That way all I have to do is cross-check a given month (right now through November 2010 as I already have holiday sessions on the schedule for next year) when a potential client inquires about my availability.
I always remember to pad a weekend off in the schedule every few weeks, not only because time with my children and husband comes first and foremost to me (and my boys are not getting any younger – one starts kindergarten this month). But also because when dealing with births, babies never fail to surprise you and all arrive at once, be it early or late. I had six newborns in May 2008 because two from April went late, two from May were born on time, and two from June went early. It was like the perfect storm. Without that extra padding, I would have been doomed. It also allows me to catch up on my processing / orders and guarantee some much-needed “downtime”.
I took most of July 2009 off as a mini-summer vacation with my boys. Of course, it took me until the last week of the month to finish proofing sessions and fulfill print, product, and canvas orders. But now it’s August and I’m mentally ready (especially now that I’m “caught up”) to dive head first into the holiday season, which for me begins in September on my shooting calendar.
If you’d like to see more of my office, I have a group of photos tagged on Flickr. And don’t miss this photo by Pinkletoes—she single-handedly defines office organization.
I should have another guest-post up on the site this week so stay tuned! It’s in the final tweaking stages!
As mentioned previously…I’m working with a handful of photographers to add more guest posts to this site so it’s not filled with my ideas and photos/demos only. If you’re interested in having your packaging, marketing ideas, or products featured please contact me (my e-mail is in the sidebar and is robyn @ this domain – or you can leave a comment). It’s always fun to share and “pay it forward“! Not to mention improve your SEO in the process… Win / win!
tag you're it: business • materials • office • organization • packages • photographer • photography • scheduling • tutorials