Solo Entrepreneur Tips & Resources
It’s been 2 and a half years now since I’ve become a solo entrepreneur and started Lauren Grigg Photography, LLC. Over that period of time, I have learned a lot of things and have come across many resources that have helped me grow and run my business as smoothly as possible. Many of these things, I wish I knew about from the start. It would have been SO helpful to know! If you are a solo entrepreneur I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned along my journey. Hopefully, these tips and resources will be a help to you with your own business venture!
1 – Taking a Day of Rest
When I first started Lauren Grigg Photography, I was SO excited to have any and all business that came my way! So much so that I said YES to everything. If booking one more session meant saying goodbye to any of the spare time I had on my calendar, I would do it. Can you guess where that landed me? Overwhelm, that’s where! This is one of the very first lessons I learned in running my own business. There is a limit to what you can do and in order to be kind to yourself and give your clients your very best, you NEED to give yourself a day of rest. I didn’t realize the importance of this until I did Priscilla Shirer’s study called Breathe: Making Room for the Sabbath. This study was so eye-opening for me. It made me realize that God has a reason for telling us to take a day of rest. He finds a day of rest so important for us that he doesn’t only suggest it, He commands us to do so! I was being disobedient to this command because I was afraid of missing out on opportunities or disappointing people, but that was far from the truth. If we overindulge on things God intends to be a blessing in our lives it can soon become a burden. Creating space on my calendar to make time for rest has been the BEST decision I have made. And I have learned that God honors obedience. Unlike I originally thought, taking a day of rest has not been a detriment to my business in the least. In fact, I feel that it has been a blessing. I am now more energized on the days that I do go to work and I know I’m giving my client’s a better experience because of it.
2 – Creating Office Hours
How many businesses do you know of where they will respond to your e-mails at midnight or respond to a text on weekend? Not many, right?!? As a solo entrepreneur, you shouldn’t either! Yes, it is important to correspond with your clients in a timely manner but not at ANY time! When you reply to a text, e-mail or phone call on the spot, no matter what time it is you are giving your clients the message that you are available ALL THE TIME! Do you want to be at work all the time? I don’t! I work to live, not live to work. I want to make time for my family and friends when my work is done for the day! So as a solo entrepreneur you need to make that known to your clients. Set up office hours and ONLY reply to texts, calls & e-mails during that set time. There are a few exceptions to the rule of course, but if you don’t set those boundaries for yourself, you will regret it! I can guarantee you your clients will understand and respect those boundaries, and if they don’t that’s not a client you want anyways!
3 – Powersheets
Wow! This resource is a game changer! I first found out about Powersheets through a wedding planner friend of mine who uses them. Powersheets help you figure out what your top goals are (in relation to your business, your life, etc.) and then help you create a game plan to go after them. They have helped me stick to my goals throughout the entire year, not just the month of January! Actually, I’ve been using my Powersheets for 7 months now and I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished thanks to this amazing tool! Each month I fill out my “tending list” and it helps me make little by little progress towards my goals. Unfortunately, Powersheets are currently out of stock but believe me when I tell you, you are going to want to get a set when they come back out on October 24th of this year!
4 – Online Tools
There are so many online tools to keep you organized but I have two that I particularly love. The first is Evernote. Once I found out about Evernote, I deleted the notes app that is pre-downloaded onto the iPhone. It is just so much better in my opinion. It allows you to create “notebooks” making it much easier to stay organized and find things quickly. I also love that Evernote can be easily accessed through an app on my phone or on any device with an internet browser. If I want, I can type a note on my computer through the Evernote website and it will immediately be on the app on my phone! How handy is that?! It’s perfect for storing Instagram hashtags that you use frequently.
My second most used online tool is Agree (I’ve heard HoneyBook is great too). Agree is an online contract service. When I first started photography I would e-mail my clients a contract in the form of a PDF file to print out and sign. I found out rather quickly that it was hard to get those contracts back from my clients after sending them out. Not to mention, they were hard to keep track of. Agree has completely turned that around for me. This company allows you to send online digital contracts that can be sent out in minutes and be signed online! I haven’t had any trouble with contracts getting back to me since utilizing this tool!
5 – Education
This is by far the best advice I can give to a solo entrepreneur. Educate yourself! Over the past couple years I’ve spent a couple thousand dollars on quality education from some of the top photographers in the industry and it has helped me grow leaps and bounds! Worth. Every. Penny! No matter what industry you’re in as a solo entrepreneur, growing in your education is by far the best thing you can do for yourself. Keep learning and keep growing. Your investment will not go without return! I’ve have enrolled in both hands-on workshops and online courses and I can say hands down, I’ve gotten the most out of the online courses. I prefer them because you can go at your own pace and not have to feel like your drinking out of a fire hose trying to take in all the information. I also like that online course allow you to go back and re-watch lessons if you need a refresher!
I have taken quite a few courses in many different areas of photography and business. If you happen to be a photographer and need some recommendations on a course to take in regards to a certain area of your business feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction. 🙂
I hope this information has been helpful to you! Hopefully, you can look into some of these suggestions and resources to help you grow as a solo entrepreneur!