Whether you have been running your business alongside other things for years, or you are considering starting one, I hope these tips are helpful for you!
First let me say that yes, running a business is HARD to do alongside school, and especially alongside a demanding major like Computer Information Systems.
BUT that doest mean its not possible, and actually, in my opinion college is the BEST time to start and pursue your business (but thats another topic for another day!)
SO here are some tips for building and running your biz!!!!
1. Automate, automate, automate, and then when you’re done, automate some more.
When i first started I didnt have a “process”. People would contact me, sometimes I would call them, sometimes we would communicate by email, it was all dependent on so many things. If you want to be efficient, you have to automate. Establish a set process of how you will handle your clients from start to finish, and then make each part of that process move as fast as possible. Mine basically looks like:
FUNNEL YOUR INQUIRIES: Make all your inquires go to ONE PLACE. (Mine is email) If someone instagram messages me, Facebook messages me, I say “hi thank you please email me” in a nice way. I will not keep track of anything other than my email.
TALKING TO CLIENT For mine, first thing I do is schedule a phone call via email. (You can cut this time in half btw by saying “I’m available ___ and ____, which one works for you?” Don’t make them think of when they’re free, just do the work for them instead, and also don’t say “call me then” because they will most likely forget, and then you are waiting for a call when it might not be a good time by the time they call you back and then you look bad. Get their number and then YOU call them, this makes you look on top of your game, and keeps it on your tight schedule.
SENDING PROPOSALS, ACCEPTING PAYMENTS, ETC.
For ALL OF THIS I use Honeybook! Honeybook is an expert system that allows you to accept payments via direct deposits, and also automate all of your proposals and also your “packages” in pretty brochures. I can send 10 things to 10 clients in 10 minutes, because everything takes 2 or 3 clicks, and you do not actually have to produce any files again and again once you have them set up. It is $400 for the year BUT SO WORTH IT! And I have a coupon code if you need a discount email me! Info@samiasphotography.com
CULLING, EDITING, SENDING PHOTOS, and BLOGGING
Again, same every time. I use different softwares that make this process faster.
To cull, I use Photo Mechanic (cuts culling time into like ummm basically nothing! There is no lag from photo to photo as you click and pick out which ones to send the client)
To edit, Lightroom, and use the batch sync edit when you can!
To send photos, I use Pixieset, its $10 a month, but worth it because you can make unlimited galleries. I’ve never had a client that didn’t absolutely love it!
and to blog, I use BlogStomp. You can basically blog from an app on your computer instead of having to go anywhere on an Internet browser.
OKAY THAT WAS A LOT LOL but it had to be said. Okay next thing Im gonna say is really like an “oh yeah duh” type of thing but its ACTUALLY THE HARDEST THING OKAY.
2. Make office hours.
Treat your office hours the way you treat your classes.
No, you can’t sleep in this week instead, and no you can’t make plans during those hours because if you have a 17 credit semester like me, you have homework in your other time and so those hours don’t just fit it anywhere else!
My office hours are (and I do these relaxed, in my PJs, from my bedroom at my desk):
Tuesdays 8 am to 3
Fridays 8 am to 12:30 (class at 1:30)
Fridays 2 to 7
Sunday nights whenever I get home usually 5 till bedtime
So they aren’t perfect, but I am not allowing myself to do other things during those times so it works!
3. Take charge of your social life.
This one is important. Having a social life is a big part of college and a big part of life. Most weekends I work a wedding and so I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel like I missed out on part of the college experience, BUT I love my job and so I always chose it anyway. SO the way I cope with this is,
on the weekends that I know am here at school, I make LOTS of plans with friends during the week for the weekend. I make breakfast plans, lunch plans, evening plans. If I don’t make plans and end up doing nothing I am not taking advantage of the time that I am here, so I literally text people on like Monday saying “hey lets do something Saturday!”
I am a junior now, and have always had this issue, but so far thats worked well enough given that I am pursuing something that I understand will take away from my social life!
Its a compromise, and you just need to be okay with it for you and for what you need to make you happy.
Other small tips:
-GPA is a hard thing for everyone, I try to remember that my attention is basically cut in half. You will not perform at your best potential simply because you don’t have the time if you are doing all these other things. So do not take your GPA as a representation of your best potential. Its how you did given the time you had.
-Stay humble. Students are generally impressed with the fact that you have a business. You will meet lots of people on campus, don’t brag about jobs or bookings to people you don’t know that well, celebrate successes with closer friends.
-When it comes down to picking one or the other, for the time being, I always choose school. You are paying for a degree, don’t forget that.
-Other students who have businesses even in the same industry are not to be seen as competition, there is nothing greater than people who relate to your situation, and there are too many clients in the world for you to see everyone as competition. Be their friend!!!
-I always say this. You own your business, it does not own you. Don’t let it become a huge part of your identity. It is something you love to do, but it is not all that you love to do. I join dance clubs, and read unrelated books, and attend random seminars. You are in college, and its time for you to figure out alllll things that you love.
If you wanna talk about this, especially if you go to JMU,
I’d LOVE to meet you!