Five Ways I’m Working Smarter this Year

I get a lot of ads on the internet directed towards photographers (cookies are smart and creepy, right?), and a lot of them say something like this:

Want to book more weddings? I’ll show you how!

Here’s my answer to that: No. I do not want to book more weddings. I do not want to book more shoots. I do not want to work more. Because – and listen to me when I say this, guys – more is not the same as better.

This year, one of my biggest goals is not to work one minute more than I did last year. In fact…I’d be really happy to work even less.

Because I’m not just trying to build a business over here, guys. I’m trying to build a life. And I’m learning that working smarter > working harder.

We can work smarter, and work less.

We can work smarter, and do more.

We can work smarter, and make more money.

Here are just a few of the ways I’m working harder this year.

1. I’m outsourcing.

When I say the word “outsourcing”, I want to shed a little tear of joy and/or sing the Hallelujah chorus.

When we’re building a brand ourselves, the temptation is to hold onto every little piece of it so tightly out of a desperate need for control. We think no one can do any of it as well as we can. But lately I’ve realised there are some parts of my business that I’m not awesome at (ahem, cough, admin), so I’m taking a risk and finding people and companies I can trust with those things. Which means I can spend that time on the things I am awesome at it, the things I love, and the things that make money.

Hallelujah.

2. I’m saying “no.”

Historically, I’m a people-pleaser. Maybe it’s a middle-child thing, or a southern girl thing, or just a Faith thing. But I just really want everyone to be happy and not mad at me. Except here’s the thing: when I spend all my time making sure everyone is happy and not mad at me, I sometimes wake up and find that I’m miserable. And that the people who are really close to me aren’t happy, because I CAN’T MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY.

I’m 35 years old, and I feel like I’ve finally gotten to the point in my life where I can say “no” and feel pretty good about it. Here are some things I’m saying no to:

  • clients who don’t trust me and don’t value my work
  • jobs that aren’t in my wheelhouse
  • jobs that take me away from my family too much
  • more than one wedding a month (I’ve been doing this for a while, but it’s always worth repeating)

3. I’m spending money on myself.

I’m not talking about clothes and jewels and hairdos (although I could really use a trip to the salon right now). I’m talking about education. I’ve spent more money on furthering my own education and personal development this year than I have in the previous three years combined. And so far, it’s been hugely inspiring and rewarding.

I really believe that investing in your own growth always pays off.

4. I’m charging more.

Yep, you heard me. Pricing is such a confidence thing, and for years I wasn’t confident enough to charge what – deep down – I really knew I was worth.

After undervaluing myself for too long, I can now confidently tell clients what I charge, knowing full well that I’m worth it.

5. I’m setting goals.

I met with a coach for creative women back in January, and oh. my. goodness.

It completely shifted my way of thinking and injected some life back into my business. I started dreaming again, after a period of feeling a little directionless and weary.

With the help of my coach, I came up with a mission statement and vision statement – not just for my business, but for my life – and set some short-term and long-term goals.

I haven’t felt so fired up in ages. I’ve got my mojo back. And on the days when I just feel down and un-motivated, having those concrete goals to focus on reminds me where I’m headed and keeps me from losing momentum.

 

So, now I want to know…how can you work smarter this year?

 

 

Author: Faith

Faith Dwight is a photographer and a writer. She is a Southern American girl living just north of London with her British husband, Simon and their two halfling sons.

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