Self employment promises a flexible work schedule and the opportunity for a better work-life balance, but being a solo business owner also means that I have a lot of things on my plate. It can easily become overwhelming and busy, and when you work from home, the lines between work and life can start to easily blur. During the pandemic, I have focused on creating better work habits that also help me spend less time working and more time with the people who are close to me. This meant two things: creating boundaries and automating my business life. Here’s a few of my favorite programs that helped me accomplish take back some more of my time!
I could do a whole post on Dubsado (maybe I should!). I know there are tons of CRMs across the board, and I did about a hundred free trials, but Dubsado stole my heart and has been my main lady for 4 years now. With over 70 clients a year, this makes my life a complete breeze.
- Dubsado offers a completely white labeled experience for your clients. White labeling means I can fully customize everything from proposals to the URL that my couples see. I can integrate emails right into my gmail account (instead of using some bulky messaging system *cough*Honeybook*cough*). Dubsado simply allows my branding to take the lead, not theirs.
- CUSTOM WORKFLOWS. This is absolutely unmatched by any other CRM, and I will die on that hill. Workflows enable you to automatically send your clients touch points, confirmations, questionnaires, guides, and more. You can even set it to send yourself reminders and alerts on to-do’s after a certain action has happened (IE after a client books, you’ll get an email reminding you to send them your welcome guide or thank you note!)
They are integrated with apps like Zapier, which further expands your automation options. New booking? Set Zapier to automatically add it to your apple and google calendar – fear of double booking, be gone!
- Your account is FREE if you have 3 jobs or less. This gives you the opportunity to try out the entire CRM with no limits before you buy it. The setup can be time consuming, so I recommend just diving in since you’ll be locked into your current pricing forever. If you’re coming from another CRM and already have existing clients, Dubsado will help you move everything over. What’s not to love?
Referral code: lauren58
Narrative Publish has been such a cool addition to my workflow. Blogging used to take me absolutely forever, and now that’s been reduced to maybe 30 minutes of my day if I’m feeling extra indecisive. My blogging workflow begins with tagging images for the blog while I’m culling, and then once I have my blogged images set I drop them into Narrative and can easily click and drag to arrange my files.
Narrative comes with two publishing options: You can pay a little extra to have them host your images which is great for convenience and gives you some pretty scrolling effects, but since my blog is through wordpress which already is solid for SEO, I export my layouts from Narrative and upload them directly into wordpress for a slightly lower fee.
I’ll be real and tell you that I’m still learning this program and I already know I could be doing so much more with it, but I love what I’ve seen so far. I use Clickup as a pipeline for my current and upcoming jobs. I can see what is upcoming and where I’m at with any jobs I have already photographed. Since I give myself deadlines for everything from sneak peeks to full galleries, this is a great way for me to see where everything is at at a glance.
Clickup’s competitors include Trello and Asana, and having used both of those, Clickup is the clear winner with unlimited customizable fields, extensive color coding, and multiple views (trello-like boards, calendars, and more). If you have associates or multiple team members, it’s extremely easy to connect them into the program and assign them to jobs.
And, it’s all coming full circle: Zapier connects Dubsado and Clickup, so when a lead turns into a job, Zapier automatically uploads the job information into Clickup in its appropriate folder. Boom.
Referral link: E24PCN
Sorry not sorry, this is the superior client gallery system. Pixieset is beautiful, but loads kinda slow. Cloudspot is beautiful, but their store system is so DIY that it’s painful. Pic-time might be less ✨ aesthetic ✨ , but it will make you more money than any other system without lifting a finger.
Pic-time offers unlimited storage at the most affordable price that I have been able to find between all gallery systems – plus their annual Black Friday deal is insane and can’t be missed (I jump on it every year). Combine unlimited storage with annual, automatic sales campaigns and congratulations! You’ve just made yourself extra cash on without even blinking.
Your Pic-Time store is already fully fleshed out with a great selection of products for your client, and it automatically loads photos from their gallery into the sample images. You can choose to have Pic-Time auto-fulfill orders and handle taxes for you (!!!), or self-fulfill and DIY. There is no shortage of labs that Pic-time works with, from Redtree to WHCC to more. They even have options available for photographers outside the US! And with your unlimited storage package there is 0 commission. Cha-ching!
Hey! Are you still culling in Lightroom? I used to be like you and found that I was spending hours culling because my catalogs were absolutely dragging. Photo Mechanic is the ultimate time-saver and it’s lightning speed load times are just the beginning. This program not only will import your files from your memory card, apply keywords and change file names ON INGEST, but it cut my culling time from 4+ hours to about one hour for a full wedding with 2 photographers.