Shortly after starting my business last October, things BLEW UP for me. I was so excited to have interested people that I said yes…to EVERYTHING. That meant me doing 21 sessions in a little over a month. Several sessions each weekend, with no free days left for family time. Night spent in front of my computer instead of with my family. Editing during every spare minute: when Evie napped, when Evie watched Disney movies, when Evie played in her room. I spent my 31st birthday in front of my computer after I sent Evie to spend the day with my Mom. My whole birthday. I swear, Evie saw more of the back of my head that month than she saw of my face. I am ashamed to admit that but it’s the truth. See…while I was busy making all of these families happy, I was making my own family unhappy.
At my core, I am a people pleaser. I phrase things diplomatically and strive to be positive. I like happy clients. I LIVE for happy clients. But there must be balance. I understand that October is peak family season. I understand that we almost force families to wait by refusing to do sessions during hot, gross summer months or especially green (yuck color casts) spring months. But….we must balance. And, quite honestly, there are lots of photographers and we do not need to say yes to everyone. Work to schedule your loyal clients first and then offer limited sessions for new families. Think about mini sessions as a way to accommodate lots of families in one day while working around the inevitable short child (and sometimes parent) attention span. Get creative in an effort to maintain your sanity!
I challenge you to pick a set number of family sessions for your fall and STICK TO IT. Schedule family time for yourself and DON’T negotiate that time. It’s kind of pathetic that I penciled in the Weber’s Apple Festival and the Clark Farm Teddy Bear Picnic on my October schedule but it ensures that I have time for my family. At the end of the day the time I spend with Evie trumps any session, trumps any pay check. And she keeps me grounded and sane. It’s impossible not to find joy in watching her partake in all that fall has to offer.
Remember…enough is enough. If you aren’t serving your family first, you aren’t truly serving your clients to the best of your potential. Here’s to a fruitful, fun, SANE fall season!