2018 - A Year In Review for Betty Boyce Photography
What a Year!
I am sitting here at my beautiful desk, freshly showered with my favorite candle burning in the office. On the radio .. Ed Sheeran and the rain is lightly watering everything out my window. I feel an intense amount of gratitude, excitement, pressure and ease all at the same time.
Gratitude - for my clients, friends/family and strangers who have trusted me with their memories and who have supported me on this journey either by purchasing a session, sending me encouraging messages, showing patience, or sharing posts on social media.
Excitement - because I see what is possible and I am so ready to take my business to another level.
Pressure - yeah, I am swimming in a saturated market with insanely talented peers. I want to stand out and lift those who aren’t feeling their worth because I know there is room for all of us.
Ease - I know it’s all going to work out!
After Renlee was born and I had a few months to really soak in this last baby we would have, I felt so motivated to have an amazing year and I did! I invested heavily in my business and personal growth this year and I feel so empowered to take this next year and better my services, to really take the experience I want to provide and “WOW” my clients.
Before I felt like I was still operating a “side hustle” … I didn’t really take in to account how much better I could be serving my clients besides beautiful portraits but I get it now. I have always loved my clients and have always felt like I had new friends after their session but felt weird trying to express that … I do have a little introvert in me but I will be letting my extrovert side out more this coming year and feel great about it!
But ok … here is a list of what I did right and what needs improvement (and yes, I have a plan to fix).
What went right:
Education: This year I invested in a couple of fabulous workshops and mentorships and I took things away from those that I am so grateful for! As an artist or “creative” it is so easy to compare your work to others but I know my clients love my work so attending the workshop and seeing first hand how others operate was so eye opening and you know what … I wasn’t too far off, I just felt like I was.
Seniors: I have been trying to increase my senior portrait work because I am so in love with these sessions and the uniqueness of each senior and this year I increased my senior portrait sessions from 7 booked in 2017 to 19 booked in 2018 and my goal for 2019 …. 30!
Client Management System: I invested in a client management system which has helped immensely in keeping track of upcoming sessions, incoming inquiries, invoices and more. I have not perfected this system yet but hoping to block out more time very soon to get it all put together.
Virtual Assistant: Mid Summer I was straight losing my mind trying to take care of baby Renlee, get the big kids to and from school, do the housework, cooking etc annnnnnd operate a business. It was straight “wackadoodle” from time to time trying to keep my head straight and I couldn’t stand that feeling. I knew there were several things I needed to do for my business but I just could not add one more thing to my list … I found my virtual assistant on Instagram and wow! she has taken a few items that I am more than capable of doing but putting them together and making sure I stay on schedule with things like this blog, my newsletter and Pinterest (yeah … who knew Pinterest could be the leading thing driving traffic to my website!?!). By having her do and help with these three items, my mental load started to feel lighter and it was enough to get me back on track. I have more plans for 2019 in this venture as well!
I got an OFFICE! a real office, in my home and I love it! huge kuddos to my husband for putting in some serious hours to make this happen ( I spoiled him with a trip to Disneyland for just the two of us).
What needs improvement:
Systems: I have been working on creating systems for everything in my business to help me operate no matter what is going on in my personal life ( yes, I have one ).
Turn-around times for galleries: Though I edit and deliver in a very respectable amount of time, I was not impressed with myself allowing life to get in the way and affect my timelines. You guys, I have such big plans for this going in to the new year. I am so grateful for patient clients but I know how excited you are for your photos so I want to impress the heck out of you by delivering your galleries in 1 week! 1 week for every single session and 2 weeks for weddings. This is huge! With the systems in place and workflows to guide me, I will be delivering your galleries while we are all still so excited about that session!
Gallery delivery: Yes your galleries are beautiful but I was dropping the ball somewhere because over 60% of my clients had to be reminded to download their galleries and I still have some who are sending me emails to reload their expired galleries to download them. For my business this means I was not clear, I didn’t send reminders etc. I have a plan!
Me Time: I need to schedule days off and TAKE DAYS OFF!!! Last Summer my kids saw how much I work and let’s just say it didn’t go over well … I was constantly battling their needs with my business needs and it tore me in so many pieces it had me wondering “is it worth it!?!”
Rounding out the year and sending off final galleries I see what changes I have already made and it’s just down right exciting. A few key changes already in affect:
I raised my prices: I have to operate my business the way it makes sense and be able to make a living as well as a retirement for MYSELF … I left a Federal career with AMAZING benefits to pursue this passion and I am determined to make it work for me and help support my family. I know everyone can’t afford my services but I will always give a military discount (20%) and I will always offer specials during the holidays and this next year I will have the opportunity for work-trade agreements as well!
Your digital files are no longer included in your session fee but 4x6 PRINTS will be!!! I want you to have physical images in your hand to flip though and not worry about you losing those images before they ever make it to print. Yes, you can still purchase digital files but PRINTS are so important!
Photographer Products … yes, I have added a few things to the website for other photographers. I learned first-hand just how important it is to invest in myself and I want to be available for those who my work inspires … I want to create and foster community over competition and I want to be an open book for what I have learned ahead of some others.
I just want to thank EVERYONE … all my clients, all my new friends in this business venture, my virtual assistant Hannah Murphy ( firstname.lastname@example.org or @withhannahmurphy on instagram), Nicole Briann Photography for the amazing senior workshop and mentorship, my family for the support and all of you who are just following my journey!!!!
I hope 2018 treated you well and I hope you are able to crush 2019 and any goals you set for yourself!