Everything is online these days. Want to order a Pizza? Go online. Want to schedule an appointment? Pay a bill? Check your account balance? Heck...book your wedding photographer? Go online! So much is done online today- I can't even remember what thumbing through a phonebook was like! It's so easy to 'google it' or 'look it up on your phone!' I have moved to an online system this year, and I am loving it. My clients are loving it- skies are blue, we're all dancing in fields- life is amazing! :-) I want to share a little secret with you. I am absolutely, positively crazy when it comes to my schedule. I wasn't always this way believe me. People used to ask me, "Hey! What are you doing next week? Let's go for coffee!" I would happily reply, "Yes! Let's!" All without looking at my phone, a calendar, or schedule of any sort.
In recent years, TOTALLY different story. Want to go for coffee? I'm going to have to check my schedule and get back to you. No! Seriously! I am as organized as I can possibly be. Not only do I have my calendar that has everything scheduled on it, but I have a cloud based calendar as well in case something happens, THEN I have a regular calendar book with all my shoots written in pencil and highlighted, THEN I have my contracts within arms reach, (dates highlighted) so that I can absolutely verify with 100% accuracy whether a certain date is available for a client. Can you imagine the horror of double-booking a wedding??? Holy Crap!! I couldn't even begin to imagine having to call a bride to let her know I accidentally booked another wedding on her date!! I would seriously want to crawl into a hole.
Have I ever screwed up? Yes. I had a guy call me last summer out of the blue who wanted to book an engagement session with me. I had it written down on a Post It because he wasn't sure where he wanted to shoot, or what time, so we were still in the planning stages. I was supposed to meet with him to put together a game plan. Well... I was standing in the kitchen cooking dinner for the girls when my phone rang. It was him, wanting to know where I was at. My heart froze- I realized that I didn't insert our meeting into my calendar, so I completely forgot all about it. I was mortified, embarrassed, and every other bad feeling you could imagine. We ended up not meeting, he canceled with me- and you know what? I don't blame him one bit. If I can't even remember a meeting, how could I possibly remember the shoot itself? It made me look incompetent. All I could do was shake my head, I was so disappointed in myself.
From that evening forward, I knew in my mind that something like that would NEVER happen again. I have a strong workflow that prevents things like this from happening.
So, before any lead books I'm checking the date they want to shoot first with my online calendar, secondly with my calendar book. It's crazy I know- but it's a safe guard. I know everything is online, and I know it's meant to make my life easier, and it has- believe me! BUT- I still need paper. I still need something written, highlighted, and underlined. Meetings are entered in, retainers collected, shoots are scheduled, contracts signed, printed, and highlighted, entered automatically into my online calendar, which syncs with my cloud calendar, then handwritten again into my planner.
It would be interesting to see what your workflows are, whether you are a photographer, a florist, or a DJ. How do you keep your businesses organized?
Have an awesome week everyone!
See you on the next shoot!