Episode 71: Work, Life, and Family Balance

balance

Let’s start with an easy statement: Finding balance as a business owner is HARD. Seriously, SERIOUSLY hard. Whether you’re single & trying to find balance between work & time with friends, or you’re married with a bunch of kids & trying to find balance among that, balance is a struggle for most business owners. I know as a new mom, I often find it tough to feel good at the end of the day. Either I spent too much time on work stuff & missed spending time with my kiddo, or I played around with my kiddo all day and neglected some work stuff. It’s really hard to have a perfect day where you feel accomplished in all areas of your life. However, it’s very important that we figure out ways to do this, and to help us with this, we have Cathy Olson on the show this week! Cathy went through a pretty life-changing experience as a new mom and business owner a few years back, and it helped put everything in perspective for her. She’s nailed this work, life, family balance thing & in this episode she gives some tips to help you do the same!

balance

Key Takeaways

  1. Get your priorities straight. To start, pick three important things you have to accomplish today. Don’t try to do everything at once. It’s easy (especially as women!) to feel pressure to do it all. However, picking just three things will help you feel accomplished at the end of the day, which will help you feel good about your day! That way, if you get more done, you feel even BETTER, but if you don’t it’s not a big deal. Kate has a strategy where she picks one business thing, one family thing, and one personal thing each day that she has to accomplish. This helps her feel like no area of her life is being neglected.
  2. Streamline your processes. We know we have covered this before but this is KEY to work, life, family balance as a business owner! There are many ways to streamline. Firstly, you can hire someone to take on some of your tasks. Whether this is an in-person office assistant, a virtual assistant to help with emails, or a retouching company, letting go of small tasks can add up to tons of extra time to spend with family or friends. Secondly, you can also make the most of organization apps and studio management software like Ashley & Julie do (whattup ShootQ!). By being efficient in your workflow, you free up time to spend in other areas of your life!
  3. Unplugging works both ways! Not only is it important to unplug from work stuff when you’re with your family or friends, but it’s also crucial to unplug from family & friend stuff when you’re working! Unplugging in either direction will help you be present and in the moment with whatever you’re doing at the moment, therefore helping you make the most of the time you have! Cathy mentions when she’s on a  business trip, she is pretty much unplugged from her family. Not only does this make her a more effective networker, it keeps her in the right mindset because she isn’t worrying about problems going on at home. On the other hand, unplugging from work stuff when spending time with your family is equally as important. Your kids, husband, boyfriend, best friend, etc should have your undivided attention as much as possible when you’re getting quality personal time in.

balance

We hope you guys download this episode to hear more tips from Cathy about work, life, and family balance. This is such an important conversation to have, because so many of us feel like we are failing in these areas! The key to happiness as a business owner is figuring this stuff out, so let’s do it together! Do you have some tips to share about balance? Share them on our Facebook page!

Relevant Links:

Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Bonus Videos:

Cathy is an AWESOME web developer & also has some rad videos on her YouTube channel! Here are two bonus videos from Cathy that you guys should watch. They’re great!

Episode 70: Client Gifts with Gaspara Flora

client gifts

Photo Cred: Turtle Julian

Hi everyone! Here at PhotoSpark headquarters, we often discuss ways ourselves and our listeners can go above & beyond in customer service for our clients. We want to have guests on the show that can help us (and you!) learn ways to stand out from the competition. These days, with SO many photographers around, this is a very important part of being successful in business. Nothing helps you stand out better than a perfectly curated client gift! To help us with this topic, we invited the beautiful & charming Ryann Gaspara of Gaspara Flora to join us in studio!!! She chats with us about client gifts and the reasons why you should be giving them out!

client gifts

Key Takeaways:

  1. Echo your brand with your client gifts. This doesn’t mean you have to have your branding all over your gift, but you definitely want to give them something that makes them think of you. So if your brand is soft & feminine, your gifts should echo that so your clients are reminded on their experience with you when they’re using it.
  2. Give a gift that will last. Julie mentions she’s gifted movie gift certificates before as date night type gifts for her clients, but she’s worried by the fact that the minute that gift card is used, her clients won’t really have anything to remember her by. Ryann suggested instead of giving a gift certificate for a movie, consider giving a warm snuggly blanket for a movie night date night at home! Include a card & let your clients know the blanket is for cuddling on the couch and watching a movie together. The blanket will last for a long time, and ideally your clients will think of you every time they use it!
  3. Outsourcing can be your friend! As your business grows, you typically start outsourcing more & more things to professionals. I know when I first started, I attempted my own website, logo, business cards, etc. Now that I’m an established business, I’ve invested money to hire professionals to create all those things for me, because they are far better than it than I ever will be! Client gifts are no different! You can start small by hiring someone to do hand-written thank you notes for you & you can work your way up to a company like Ryann’s (Gaspara Flora) and have them handcraft the perfect gifts for your clients. You can even have them drop shipped straight to your client’s front door without having to do much work at all.

client gifts

Photo Cred: Rochelle Cheever

This was such a fun episode to record… not only is Ryann adorable and easy to talk to, but she came armed with a bottle of Prosecco. You can’t go wrong with that! We hope you enjoyed listening to our episode about client gifts… let us know your favorite gift ideas on our Facebook page!

Relevant Links:

Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 69: Checking in with Kate, Ashley & Julie!

Helllooooo everyone! So we have to be honest, we absolutely LOVE having guests on our podcast! Not only do we think guests bring their awesome expertise to the table, it’s also kinda like having an awesome excuse to hang out with super cool people we look up to in the industry! However, we also love the dynamic the three of us have together, without guests! We have three super unique personalities, and every now & then it’s fun to just hang out in the studio without anyone else! This week, we realized it’s been awhile since we’ve “checked in” with you guys, so we’re chatting about all things US and giving you an update on some cool stuff each of your PhotoSpark hosts have been doing!

photospark hosts

Kate: In classic Kate-style, she’s choosing to use her 5 minutes in the spotlight to vent about someone (ok she probably does vent more than the other PhotoSpark hosts, but venting keeps things interesting…right?). She chats about a situation where a client seemed to be taking advantage of a special “friends only” discount she offered after said client ditched out on the shoot. It’s hard to explain via the blog, so you’ll have to listen to the episode in order to understand what I’m talking about.

photospark hosts

Ashley: If venting about clients is classic Kate-style, talking about Yelp is classic Ashley-style and she doesn’t disappoint this week! 🙂 While Kate & Ashley both use Yelp to find clients, Ashley is definitely the main Yelper of the PhotoSpark hosts. Ashley did a small business webinar for Yelp a couple weeks ago as a guest host, and she chatted about how to get more reviews. Ashley chatted about 5 star process from start to finish, and the webinar was amazing! She had 500 RSVPs and it was very well received!

photospark hosts

Julie: Aaaaand here comes Julie with her super awesome travel stories! She was lucky enough to travel to Mexico for Melissa McClure’s wedding last month, and she’s sharing about it. She’s notorious for scheduling travel around work, so she’ll schedule a TON of shoots every time she travels, but this time she only scheduled ONE and it was for a close friend. So she chats this week about separating yourself from work while you’re on a trip, and how important it is sometimes to disconnect & just enjoy yourself!

photospark hosts

We hope you guys don’t mind the millions of mess-ups and bloopers in this episode… haha we’re not unorganized, we’re endearing… and quirky… right?! Anyway, please keep listening each week & subscribe on iTunes!! If you haven’t left us a review yet, you can do that too! THANK YOU!!!

Relevent Links:

Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Shop great Cards for great Photos at Tinyprints.com! BorrowLenses Photo & Video Rentals

Episode 68: Tax Tips for Photographers

tax tips

Photo Cred: Cassie Rosch

So we’ve never had a flashback episode before, but as the three of us are sitting here doing taxes, we figured this might be a great time to relaunch our tax episode from last year! Melissa McClure joined us in-studio to chat about business taxes: the do’s, the don’ts, and what it’s like to get audited! We loved listening to this episode again and we hope you guys enjoy hearing about tax tips for photographers!

We also want to send a BIG SHOUT OUT AND CONGRATULATIONS to Melissa on her very recent wedding!! She married her wonderful husband in Mexico last month… so in honor of that we’re sharing a few of their gorgeous photos on this blog post (because tax-related photos are boring and wedding photos are fun!!). So go give her some love on her Facebook page!

tax tips

Photo Cred: Cassie Rosch

Key Takeaways:

  • DO #1: Have a business checking account. One of our most important tax tips for photographers is to have separate accounts for your business and personal transactions. Melissa admits that she commingled the two for awhile (I’m not going to lie; I totally did too!) and it made things a bit of a mess when she got audited. She ended up having to claim income for deposits that weren’t actually business related, which cost her money in the end, because she couldn’t prove they were personal deposits (things like gifts for birthdays, payments from friends, etc). So definitely make sure you have two accounts and keep them separate!
  • DO #2: Have a reputable CPA you can trust! The guy who was doing Melissa’s taxes at the time she was audited, kind of left her high & dry when it came down to it! He also wasn’t giving her advice that was 100% accurate, which ended up meaning she owed money to the IRS that she didn’t even know she owed. It’s very important to know whoever is helping you with your taxes (and yes, you SHOULD definitely have someone helping you with your taxes, unless maybe you were an accountant in your former life) is trustworthy & knows their stuff!
  • DO #3: Keep a record of EVERYTHING. This is probably the number one tip in our tax tips episode, and it means keeping receipts, keeping contracts, keeping track of people who have worked for you under a 1099 form, gas logs, mileage logs, parking fees… EVERYTHING. And keep it organized as you go. Melissa learned the hard way that her auditor didn’t really care to see a shoebox full of random receipts!
  • DON’T #1: Don’t be afraid to talk to the IRS. Kate can attest to this as well as Melissa, because she had a situation a few years ago that caused her to set up an installment plan with the IRS. She was nervous to call & get scolded, but in the end, the tax guy on the other end of the line was super nice, super helpful, and set up an installment plan for her pretty easily!
  • DON’T #2: Don’t wait too long to find a tax person! Melissa’s tax person is pretty famous among San Diego photographers because she’s excellent at photography-related tax issues. She books up pretty instantly each year, so make sure you don’t procrastinate when looking for a CPA… chances are the good ones in your area will book up quickly too!

tax tips

Photo Cred: Cassie Rosch

We hope this episode on tax tips for photographer helps those of you who are still working on finishing up your taxes, and making plans to make next year’s tax time smoother & easier! I know I’m implementing a lot of these tips already, and it made 2016’s taxes a lot less intimidating! Let us know your favorite tax tips on our Facebook page. Have a great week & thanks for listening!

Relevent Links:

Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 67: Photographing Children with Chris Dowd

photographing children

Julie is out of town this week (at Melissa McClure’s wedding… lucky ducky!!) so Ashley & Kate decided to take the chance to talk about photographing children! We invited Chris Dowd of All Colors Photography to join in on our conversation. Tune in as we tackle subjects like working with tough kids, tricks to get kids to smile, and more! Below, we’ve outlined a few of our favorite tips for family and child photographers!

photographing children

Key Takeaways:

  1. Establish expectations beforehand. We all know we work better when we are comfortable and relaxed during a shoot. Same goes for our subjects! By establishing expectations prior to the shoot, you’re making sure everyone remains calm. If you’re photographing 2 year olds, you should probably inform the parents that you’ll try for posed photos, but a lot of the photos will be candid shots of the kids having fun. That way, when the kids don’t want to sit still & look at the camera, mom & dad already know that’s totally normal & you plan on getting great shots anyway! Once you tense up, the family will tense up, and you have a lesser chance of getting relaxed, fun images!
  2. Have some tricks up your sleeve. When photographing children, it helps to get on their level! Not just physically, but emotionally as well! Not being afraid to be silly and goofy is a huge help! Figure out what makes each kid smile at your shoot and don’t be afraid to do it over and over and over again. The three of us are fans of fart noises, funny jokes, high fives, and silly sounds!
  3. Limit parental involvement & discipline. This seems like a no-brainer but oftentimes parents get very nervous & upset when their kids aren’t “performing” well for the camera. They’ve spent a lot of money on this shoot & it makes sense that they want it to be perfect, so when their kids aren’t behaving they way they want them to, they can get upset. When photographing children, be sure to tell parents ahead of time NOT to discipline their children during their shoot. Especially physically. Spanking & yelling at their kids will not get them good photos. It’s better for them to just stay relaxed & let you take the reigns. Sometimes, if kids are really not giving you any good shots, ask the parents to step away for a bit. This takes the pressure off the kids & gives you a chance to get those shots you need!

We had SO much fun with Chris in the studio this week! Julie will be back next week so stay tuned for some more awesomely fun PhotoSpark episodes!

photographing children

Relevent Links:

Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

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