When you first go into business, it’s natural to assume that your time is going to be far more flexible from now on! I know I had that belief when I first started my photography business, despite doing it as a side hustle. It’s the belief that working for yourself means you get to dictate your own hours. But things are usually far different from what we expect. Here are three helpful tips to help you fit your photography business into your life.
Figure out a routine
I joined the ambulance service because I hated working the 9-5. I’ve been a shift worker for almost as long as I’ve been of working age. So it feels a little ironic for me to talk to you now about finding a routine. I’ve bucked against routine for so long!
Since going full-time freelance, a routine of sorts has become very important to me. It’s what ensures I actually get some work done by the end of the day! Figuring out what works best for you is something only you can do. The freelance life is different for everyone and we all have different reasons for wanting to do it. Try to figure out how many hours you’ll work, which days and, most importantly, have a time you clock off at the end of the day. By figuring those things out, you can start to work out some boundaries, an important part of running your own business.
You should know that whatever routine you choose doesn’t have to be the standard 9-5. As an example, I rarely start my working day until around 10am, because I’m a hopeless morning person. I’ll then work through until the evening before stopping for dinner. I’ll then do some low energy work, like blogging while sitting on the sofa watching TV at night. I’ll often work 6 or 7 day weeks too, but then take a couple of days off in the middle of the week because I can.
The joys of being a freelancer!
Well, I’ve mentioned them so I suppose we should tackle this subject now!
When I talk about boundaries, the first thing that springs to mind is your working hours. Having a set time that you do business (and sticking to it) will matter a whole lot to you and your sanity. It will ensure that you lay down ground rules with your clients so that you won’t be answering their messages at all hours of the day and night.
Other boundaries you can set here might be when you will respond to emails or enquiries. Make it clear how long it will take you to get back to someone (hint: it doesn’t have to be immediately!). Be clear HOW you will respond as well. Can they expect a message or an email back? Will you phone them?
Figure out early on what boundaries you need to set to make your business work for you. Believe me, you’ll be thankful for them!
Consider your work space
While I’ll sometimes work on the sofa or at the kitchen table, I have a dedicated office space where the majority of my work gets done. Having a set space, with a door, separates your work from your home life. When your working day is done, closing that door creates a definition between the two spaces.
That being said, I find working at the same desk day in and day out doesn’t always promote motivation on my part, particularly when working from home. Unfortunately, the daily distractions of home life (in my case two hungry cats who will come and shout at me persistently for food when they feel like it) such as chores, or errands, can take you away from the work you need to do. And it’s easy to start using them as a form of procrastination!
When I want to focus on particular tasks, I’ll head out to a coffee shop to work for a few hours, or go to a co-working space. It helps me to stay focussed on the to do list by being away from those home distractions for a little while.
You may even find you prefer this way of working. In which case, research local co-working spaces or office spaces you can rent for regular working. After all, daily coffee shop working can get a bit pricy!
Ultimately, it’s important to remember not to let your business take over every aspect of your daily life. Although, I fully expect that, in the beginning, it will! There are more tips I can give you at this point but I don’t want to overwhelm you. So, stick with these three tips for now. They will be a good basis to build a strong and successful business in the years to come.