When you edit for 15 photographers, you have to find creative ways to make sure you’re keeping everything organized and getting each wedding delivered within your promised turnaround time. Some of the photographers I work with shoot 10, 20…I even have one that shoots 50 weddings a year! With so many weddings constantly coming in, it can get really overwhelming and very hard to keep track of when each wedding is due.
When you don’t have a good system in place, it is also very hard to predict how busy each month (and your year overall) will be. When you don’t know when the weddings will be coming in, you’ll find yourself:
- Losing money in the weeks you don’t get any catalogs, and
- Getting really overwhelmed when you end up getting 13 weddings in a single week (yes — that’s actually happened to me)
If you don’t know how busy each month is, you won’t know if you can take on more clients throughout the year. Not booking to your full capacity means you are missing out on building a profitable business! We definitely don’t want that, so today, I’m telling you my secrets for scheduling my work days, and keeping all of my weddings organized and delivered on time.
Friend…without further delay, let me introduce you to May Books
I — no joke — have four of these right now, and they are amazing! May Designs specializes in customized notebooks, stationary, and some other fun products. Their notebooks come in three different sizes, and they have tons of patterns you can choose from! They even have other business owners design a few of the covers every now and then. Right now you can get some of Emily Ley‘s patterns on their notebooks (though the inside designs you can choose from these are limited), and they are adorable!
After you’ve chosen your design, you can customize the front to say whatever you want! I love having my monogram on mine, but I also have one that says, “To Do” and another that says “Notes”. You also have the option of leaving it blank if you want. Once your notebook cover is customized, you can choose from a variety of designs for your inside pages. From regular lines, to a monthly calendar…you can even make it a budget notebook! The possibilities are endless!
One of my favorite products they offer is the hand-crafted leather folio. Sure, it’s a little expensive, but I promise it’s worth it! It holds up to four books and makes it really easy to keep track of everything (not to mention, they are SUPER CUTE!). Just think about it this way: the notebooks last a little while, but the leather folio will last for years and years. It’s well worth the expense! I’m obsessed with mine, and wish I could buy alllllll the colors.
Now that you know what May Books are, let me tell you the strategy I use to keep everything in my business organized. I started using a similar technique about a year ago in my 17Hats calendar, but I really wanted to find a way to have easier access to my calendar when I wasn’t on a computer, which hasn’t been possible. While I still use this technique in my 17Hats program, I adopted this method using my May Books so I could carry my schedule with me wherever I go!
The May Books I currently have include the 2017 Black and White Agenda: Months + Weeks (Jan-Dec), a Daily Planner, and two lined notebooks that I use to take notes for my business (webinars, classes, ideas for my business, etc.). The two I recommend that you definitely get for this system to work are the agenda and the daily planner. I also have these in the classic size so they can fit in my purse and the folio.
So let me address the elephant in the room: you see that mason jar filled with a plethora of pens on my desk (I mean…how could you miss that?!)? I swear I’m not a crazy pen lady! Each one of those colors is assigned to a client. Although I try to keep each person the same color each month, I still write down their names in their assigned color on the side. Whenever that photographer is shooting a wedding, I put a dot on the date of that wedding.
Once the wedding is delivered to me, I schedule a day of the week to work on it in my calendar. I also flip over to my “To Do” book and write down the photographer’s initials and the name of the wedding. These are put in order based on when I received them. I will also make a note of what day the wedding is due. Once I’m finished working on the catalog and I send it back to the client, I check it off the calendar using my black pen (just so the check mark stands out a little better than if it was the same color), and I cross it off my “To Do” list in bright pink.
I know it seems really simple when it’s all laid out and explained in detail (and it IS very simple), but believe it or not, this system took a while for me to come up with! When I had fewer clients, I didn’t have to worry about keeping weddings organized this way because it was easy to keep track of a small amount of weddings in my head. As my business grew and I started taking on more clients, relying on my memory just wasn’t going to work, so implementing this system was crucial! Even if you are at a point in your business where you are able to rely on your memory to get catalogs turned around on time, I would recommend giving this a try. It is really good to get in the habit of using a schedule like this now so you won’t have to figure out how to do it later!
*Also — little disclaimer here — I honestly feel a little bad showing you this month as an example, because I ran out of colors and I just got more today, so not all of the weddings are marked yet. However, I still feel that you can get the gist of my process even if my month isn’t totally mapped out right now on this calendar. Rest assured, all of the weddings ARE marked on my 17Hats calendar 🙂
If you’re wondering why I made a special Thursday blog post about using May Books for your business, it’s because they’re having a HUGE sale right now on all May Books! Every book is 50% off and their folios are 10% off! You can stock up and get all of the notebooks you need to start implementing this system within the next week! I don’t get anything from telling you about this, I just want to make sure you are able to take advantage of this awesome sale and start growing your business! If you aren’t able to purchase anything right now, don’t worry! They have sales throughout the year that you can take advantage of — I scored all 4 of my notebooks for just $10 each (with monograms) during a sale earlier this year, so there will be more sales happening in the future! It ends tonight, so make sure you head over there and grab your notebooks! Just click the image below!