If you know me, you know I guard my off-season fiercely. Meaning that I hardly take on any work during this time, unless it creatively fuels me. My reason for guarding my off-season so strongly is to prepare for a successful busy season ahead and to maximize my productivity. Below are the ten things I do for my business during the slow season that you can do too!
- Update My Website – Every year my portfolio and editing style expands and evolves, so it’s important to keep my website images fresh and up to date. I try to do this a few times throughout the year, but in the off-season my website goes through a major makeover. This past year I invested in a Davey + Krista template from Show-It and I completely love it! If you’re looking for a great template, grab my $200 off code here and get started today!
- Prepare Upcoming Client Wedding Blog Posts – This may be a bit extreme but if there is information I already have from my upcoming wedding clients (like their vendor list and obviously the venue location) I go ahead and start prepping these wedding blogs ahead of time. What I mean by that is I’ll go ahead and link the entire vendor list as well as prep the blog for SEO and find a song. So after the wedding happens all I have to do is upload the images to the blog and add in a few short words! This saves me so much time during the busy season and it also saves me from having to outsource this step to someone else.
- Update My Client Guides + Resources – Similar to my website, I take time to update all my client guides with fresh images of the year prior and any new information I feel is important to add. Throughout the year I keep a list on my phone (in the notes section) of any questions my client had that I hadn’t already answered. When I’m refreshing my guides I refer to this list so that I can answer these questions and be on top of it for the next year.
- Make A List Of Blog Topics – During the busy season it can be hard to keep up with blogging helpful tips and tricks for both brides and fellow photographers. So I use the off-season to brainstorm ideas of topics I’d like to dig further into on the blog. Once I have a healthy list (about 50 topics), I’ll start to write two or three blog posts per week to be published later in the year. Writing content ahead of time allows me to put out content consistently, even during the busy season.
- Order Client Gifts + Pack Them – If you have been a past client of mine you know I’m big on gifting. During the off-season I assess my inventory of gifts, update my bridal guide, and take a week to browse the internet to see if there are any updates or changes I want to add/subtract for the upcoming year. Once I have all the items I need for the next season, I start packing my boxes, so all I have to do when a client books is put it in a USPS box and send it away! I know a lot of people outsource this part of their business, which is amazing, but if you are organized in the off-season you can potentially save yourself a lot of money!
- Assess My Processes + Workload From The Previous Year – This is an important one! Each year I take the time to assess how the previous year went for me. If there were certain times throughout the year I felt stressed or overwhelmed I take time to dissect why that happened and make a system or a hire so I can avoid it next year. If we don’t take time to look back and addresses are strengths and weaknesses, we won’t grow.
- Research Outsourcing Options – This one plays into the last point! If I’ve found that there is something in my business I need to outsource (i.e. editing, emails, etc.) I take time to do some research online and ask my fellow vendor friends about businesses that can help with what I’m looking to offload. I do not believe in outsourcing work when you are stressed, overwhelmed and in the thick of it because the chances of making a bad hire or decision is greater. Instead, I wait for the off-season so I can really dive deep into what I am looking for and make a smart and sound decision.
- Work on SEO – Every year I take a look back at my blog content to see if there is any posts that I can update or add some helpful content too! It’s also a time to ditch any content that hasn’t performed well as well as a time to improve my SEO. If you are not sure where to start when it comes to SEO I HIGHLY recommend The Inquiry Systems Course. It has been a complete GAME CHANGER for my SEO and rankings. Grab my code here for 50% off.
- Update My Email Campaign(s) – At the end of the year I assess if there is new email campaigns or offers I want to add, or if there are any current campaigns that I want to edit or improve. I use FloDesk which makes updating these offers SO EASY and SO VERY BEAUTIFUL. If you’re looking to add an email subscription to your plate for the next year, grab my 50% off your full subscription here.
- Rest and Relax – While it might not seem important, rest and relaxation during the off-season is vital for having a productive upcoming year. The most important lesson I’ve learned in my business thus far is that you cannot pour from an empty cup. I’ve found that by taking time to explore other projects and hobbies, as well as give my body, mind and soul the break it deserves – I’m ready and inspired to tackle the next season. By ignoring rest, you set yourself up for burn-out and run the risk of not prodiving your clients with a quality service.
If you enjoyed that post, check out my top five book recommendations for female photographers and every tool I use to run my photography business.