Six Things I Recently Did To Improve My Business
Can we have #realtalk that running a business is straight up HARD? It’s also amazing, but never easy. It’s a constant trial and error, fall down and get back up again sort of relationship. I have made so many decisions since opening my own business and some have been great, and others… not so much. Everything that’s happened up to now has brought Emma Rose Company to where it is today.
Today, I’m technically in my sixth year of business. This business of mine started as a side hustle to bring home a little extra cash which now is my full time business that I am incredibly proud of. I’ve made some huge changes that have completely transformed the way that I work, get things done, and keep my sanity.
I want to share six things I’m actively doing in my own business right now which have completely improved it and I hope it inspires you to do the same for yours!
Perfected my systems.
Before perfecting my own systems, I genuinely thought I was organized. I wasn’t. Inquiries came in, I’d book it, and fly by the seat of my pants with my “systems” changing and changing again and never really properly organized. I’d write the same emails over and over again which ultimately wasted oh so many hours. Sometimes I’d be working with five clients, and sometimes not having any work at all.
With hiring my first assistant (that’s later!), I realized it was time to get my systems in order. First things first, I honed in on my own systems and workflows. I asked myself, “What do I actually DO?” I went step by step through all avenues of my business to create lists of my own processes and if I wasn’t already doing it, what I’d want to incorporate to my systems.
If you’re a photographer, a great place to start is documenting your booking workflow. What do you do the moment an inquiry hits your inbox?
Here are some other great workflows to think about breaking down into lists:
From there, you can really start to see what it is you actually do within your business. This will allow you to find and create a system that works for you, not against. Canned emails? The best!
Before: unorganized, stressed, inconsistent.
After: streamlined, professional and productive.
Invested in a copywriter.
This was something I never considered until I started feeling overwhelmed with my business and my story. I knew that in order to get my brand voice and story where it needs to be, I’d need some help. I did my research until finding the right fit for myself and my business. I use the word “invested” intentionally, because this was a huge investment for me. I knew that in order to reach the places I want to go that it was time to get serious about the message I’m putting out there, who I’m trying to reach, and why I even do what I do in the first place.
If you haven’t given your own brand copy proper attention, I can’t recommend hiring a copywriter enough. I’ve always considered myself a strong writer, but when it came to putting ME into a nice packaged branded bubble, I struggled.
Before: messy, confusing, conflicted.
After: focused, understood, thoughtful.
Hired an assistant and started outsourcing things.
This was a game changer for my business, 100%! Hiring my assistant gave me more room to do what I need for my business and life like taking care of myself, increasing my prices, letting go of tedious tasks and freeing up more time to create new content.
I could go on and on about this, but for more on this, head right here! I can’t express enough the importance of outsourcing. It’s scary at first but incredibly important. I outsource various things like admin work, project management, putting together my graphics, scheduling blog posts, and the list goes on for what my assistant does for me. I recently started outsourcing all my weddings as well for editing which is a BIG DEAL but I did my research and found someone who totally gets my style and is absolutely amazing. I also outsource the more private pieces of my life like having a house cleaner come 2-4 times per month!
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Before: overworked, unorganized, stressed.
After: organized, balanced, focused.
Increased my prices.
When I started my own creative business way back when, I was terrified of charging too much and losing out on business. However, I found that with increasing my prices, I was better able to serve others who take the investment with me seriously. Now instead of running around like a chicken with my head cutoff, I work with less clients but the ones that I do work with 100% value and trust me, which makes these relationships grow into so much more than “client” relationships. I wrote an entire blog post on how to handle people who think you charge too much. It’s a good one, you can catch it right here!
Before: too many projects, lack of sleep, struggling financially
After: confident, ideal clients, financially stable
Narrowed my focus.
If you’re like me, you want to do all.the.things. I quickly realized that while it’s fun to have so many avenues of your business, it’s also really confusing for your audience and overwhelming for you as well. Once I worked through all my systems and workflows, I sat down with myself and really pushed myself to consider where I’m going with Emma Rose Company and who I want to serve
It became clear to me more than ever after my most recent Dream Chasers Photography Workshop that I want to serve photographers. I want to help photographers not make the same mistakes I did when starting my business. I especially knew that I wanted to teach systems and how to better organize not only your business, but your life. With this shift, I realized that photography was still a huge part of my life and business, but was not longer going to be the forefront.
In my overall brand message, photography is now less of a focus because the bottom line is that the only way I would have built Emma Rose Company into what it is today is because I am a great photographer. Which basically means that I don’t have to position myself as a photographer, I have to position myself as what I’ve become because I am a photographer. Phew, that was a mouthful but hopefully you get what I mean!
Before: confusing brand messaging, inconsistent, overwhelmed
After: streamlined, clear, happy
Ahhh boundaries. Do you have any set for you? I can tell you that when I first started, I was doing a ton of work to get by and working with clients who weren’t always the best to work with. They didn’t value me, appreciate me, or the work I was doing. I would get late night emails requesting various things, countless rounds of revisions and ultimately putting in so many hours of additional work that was not part of the package. And sure, I could give these clients the blame but the truth is that it was entirely my own fault. Why? I didn’t have boundaries.
One of the biggest boundaries for me has been my calendar. I used to have design clients email me asking if they could “call me real quick”, and I’d let them. That is no bueno… for so many reasons. Now my clients are sent a huge welcome PDF magazine that I designed to explain the entire web design process with me, how I work, when I work, and when and how they can get in touch with me. I started using Acuity to schedule all my calls and meetings which has been an ultimate game changer. Since implementing these boundaries, I have not only been much happier, but so have my clients and they simply understand how we will work together (and not work together).
Before: too many calls, working weekends, unfulfilled
After: more time off, in control of projects, working with dream clients
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: EMMA ROSE
Emma Rose is a Squarespace website designer and photographer based out of the Pacific Northwest. She helps photographers not only stand out online, but dig deep to find the why in what they do. She strives to work with like-minded entrepreneurs who want to grow an audience, start and thrive their online business and change the freakin' world. She aims to help people create not only meaningful businesses but lives. For more about Emma, click here!
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