Is having a family & photography business possible?
“Is having a family and running a business really even possible? How do you handle being able to do all of it?”
Well, good, I’m glad that you have come to me because I’m going to be able to help answer some of these questions.
As a mom of 5 and multiple businesses, I have you a couple tips that will help you understand that it is possible for you to be able to do it and be successful.
The first step to successfully balancing the family and the business is to make sure that you always put the family first.
One of the things that I strive to do, notice I said strive, not that I’m always successful at it, but one of the things I always strive to do is to put the family stuff on the calendar first, because the family comes first, no matter what else is going on. Now, yes, I still have money to make and I still have to fit in my bills and pay everything like that, but I also need to make sure that family comes number one.
Family Stuff First
So when I sit down to do my calendar for the year, I put all the family stuff in, vacations, activities, and everything that we want done ahead of time.
We partner this, the calendar, with our budget as well, to make sure that I know how much I need to make to cover so that we can pay to send the kids to camp, field trips, or whatever the activities are that they want do, but also still be able to balance the bills and meet the deadlines that I need to make for the clients and the other bills that I have going on.
Set Work Hours
The second thing is to fit within that calendar to ensure that I’m only working in the set hours and times that I want to be able to work. “What do you mean? We can work when we want to work?” Yes. You are the business owner; you can set the timeline on this. If you don’t want to necessarily work weekends, don’t work weekends.
If you don’t want to do emails after 5:00 p.m., don’t do them, but you have to consider making sure that you do get things done. You’re also adequately able to convey this information to clients and set the expectation that you won’t be doing emails at night, that you won’t be shooting on the weekend, whatever it is your specific policy is that you want to have in order to preserve family time, but also still be able to make your clients happy needs to be communicated and put out there.
I’m not saying you need to tell your clients, “Hey, I’m taking the weekend off to jet off to Disney,” that’s not what I’m saying. You don’t have to justify yourself, but you need to tell them, “I’m sorry, I’m not accepting sessions on the weekends, at this time.”
They don’t need to know why. Heck, that could lead them to think that you’re just booked out with other clients; that’s only going to help you because it adds a little scarcity and exclusivity while you’re still able to maintain the family and life balance of your schedule.
You Are a Role Model
And the last thing and I think this is really important when you have older kids, obviously, not her, but I do have a 9-year-old, he’s our first and our oldest, and I think the important thing is for them to see that you’re a business owner. Invite them to your studio. Engage them in your work. Now I’m not saying to have them around when you’re on the phone so that they’re screaming in the background when you’re talking to a client or take them to sessions, I still think you need to put a professional foot forward. I always try to schedule all my phone calls and all of my communications and interactions with clients when I’m able to dedicate one-on-one time with them only, because professionalism still is key. But I want my kids involved to see exactly what I do and why I do what I do, which is them. So always try to involve them.
Since our oldest is 9, I’m able to explain to him, “This is some marketing theories,” and it’s so funny because he’ll come back and say things to me what he sees all the time now. Whenever we go on a trip and he sees on a billboard, he’s able to call out the call to action on it and explain to me why they did something that way. It makes me proud because then I know that my business is not just for fulfilling myself as a creative, is not just for filling my bank account in order to make ends meet, it’s also being able to show and be a role model for my family that I’m able to do this, it means that they are too. They don’t have to necessarily take the traditional path that a lot of people try to force upon their children or in schools these days.
Nothing wrong with that if you want to take a traditional path, but not all of us are cut from the corporate cloth. We need to be able to have someone there that encourages and shows us that it’s okay to bust out of that and be a small business owner, and who better than someone who has the creative and fun side and someone that’s a small business owner as well. I mean, how fun is it that we get to have an actual fun activity for our career and our business, so include that with your children. Let them see what you do, and that will help also make the hard times when you are having to work late nights, it’s going to make it all worth it.
Every single day is not going to be easy. Some days you just have to accept that at the end of the day, you’re not going to get everything done.
As long as you have priority lists and efficiency measures in place, you can successfully balance a family and home and do it so that everyone prospers and sees the benefits of it.