How outsourcing can benefit your photography business

 

If you’re like a lot of photographers I know, your 2014 goals probably look something like this:

1. Increase sales
2. Increase bookings
3. Convert from digital sales to in-person sales
4. Spend more time with friends and family and stop working 3,000 hours/week

These are awesome goals.

But have you thought about exactly how you’re going to achieve them? Because let me tell you, they all cost that one thing that we never have enough of: Time.

It takes time to do in-person sales, to work at increasing your average sales numbers, to do more marketing so you can increase your bookings, and then guess what.

Yup.

The last goal on the list goes completely out the window, and your friends and family are still on the back-burner.

Or you do still make time for friends and family, but you cut it so close to your deadlines that you add a giant scoop of stress on top of everything with a small side of panic attack.

But guess what? There’s something you can do that will help you reclaim some of your life, your sanity, and some of your time.

It’s called: Outsourcing.

There are lots of reasons why people choose to outsource. Sometimes it’s as simple as the fact that they’re getting so close to their deadlines they have no choice but to let someone else help them out, for fear of breaching a contract with a client.

And of course, there are reasons why people don’t outsource, like, “No one can edit/design an album/blog/etc. like I can!” or ‘It costs more money!’

Yes. These things are both true. But let’s talk about why these things are stopping you from actually achieving some of the things on your list of goals for 2014.

First, let’s discuss the idea that “No one can do it like you can!”

Yup. You are fundamentally right. There’s only one you, and no one else will follow the exact same thought process that you do to complete a task. But! You can find people out there who care enough about their work and about your business to do things as close as humanly possible to how you do them.

I promise. They exist. You just have to give up a little bit of control and let someone else take care of some grunt work for you – editing, album design, web design, blogging, etc.

And all of a sudden, you have 2-10 hours back in your week (or more, depending on how much you choose to outsource).

This brings me to your next hesitation. “It costs money!” Yes. Yes it does. But if it’s a complete financial drain for you, you’re doing it wrong.

Think about it this way.

Let’s say you outsource 4 hours of work per week at a total of $150 (using an average figure here). That’s 4 hours of time back in your schedule.

What if you decide to use that time to start doing in-person sales (Goal #3) and you do two in-person sales sessions? Even if your sales for both sessions only total a small amount (like $500 more than your average digital sales for two sessions), you’ve already made back the money you spend outsourcing AND came out ahead. By $350!

If you do this regularly, your annual gross return is over $15,000. So indirectly, you’ve also hit Goal #1.

Not doing in-person sales this year or already do in-person sales? That’s cool. Let’s use the same scenario of outsourcing 4 hours a week at a total of $150.

Now let’s say you use that time to do more marketing so you can complete Goal #2: Increase Bookings. The return on investment (ROI) isn’t as direct as the in-person sales example, but it’s basically the same: do more marketing, bring in more clients, make more sales and make your money back (and then some!) on the time you spent outsourcing.

With all of these examples, you put 4 hours of time back into your week. Yes, you used those 4 hours to work on something else. But that’s the beauty of it! If you hadn’t outsourced, you’d be adding another 4 hours on average to your workweek to complete Goals #1-3. Which would be the opposite of Goal #4. Plus, you’re not pushing yourself up to the edge of your deadlines and adding a giant scoop of stress with a small side of panic attack.

Even if you don’t have Goals #1-3 on your list for 2014, time with your friends and family is invaluable, and if you’re like a lot of photographers I know you’re missing out on a lot of it.

Is it really worth it?

Make 2014 the year you take control of your business again, and stop letting it control you.