Excelling With Excel

One thing is for sure, three years ago when I decided to pursue photography instead of nursing, I had NO idea that photography would involve so much math. There is math for chemical dilutions, math for expenses/income, math for metering, math for data usage…. math. math. math. Helllloooo Microsoft Excel! I have drawn up expense and income reports, price lists, and workflow spreadsheets recently to keep track of everything as business picks up. One thing I have learned through my hours of reading up on photography and business in relation to photography is the importance of doing things right the first time. With finances tight (stinky medical bills!), I am personally in charge of all of my finances, workflow, and paperwork. No outsourcing here! I have got to be very organized from the get-go.

8 Organizational Habits [I have started]:

* Printing of all business related receipts and keeping them in a folder. Also labeling the top right corner with what the receipt is for (enables quick access/reference). This is for taxes/any chance that the IRS shows up to check out whether I am telling the truth on my forms.

* Keeping an Excel document for money flow in and out of the business. Documenting who, when, why, and how much. (This is where the auto sum formula comes in handy and saves the day!)

* Storing all the little things like product samples and extra business cards in a clear plastic box. This prevents them from getting lost in the chaos. Right now my bedroom is also my office and it is crazy.

* Documenting my process and notes in my photo journal (started in March). Helps me refer back to what was going on each day. Thoughts, client notes, ideas, etc.

* Making sure to back up all client files to private/locked SmugMug galleries just in case my hard drives fail.

* Syncing my Moleskine agenda with my phone/gmail calendar. I really prefer things on paper than online, but I also realize the need to have back ups of everything.

* Excel spreadsheet for my workflow – documenting the process of working with clients. Everything from the photo session to editing to client galleries to client review and beyond. It is basically an in-depth to do list.

* Keeping a written to do list in my Moleskine agenda for each week. It helps me work things into my schedule as needed.

One thing that I need to keep in mind as I go through this grand adventure is that there needs to be a healthy balance between photo business and private life. It just does not seem like a good idea to spend every day all day focusing on business. It is SO overwhelming. I think I am going to have to implement a day a week where I do not work on anything relating to photo business.

Whew! What a dreadfully boring post (unless maybe it somehow inspired a new organizational habit for your life). Right now, I treat my blog as a journal and as a way to keep people up-to-date on what is going on with my cameras. One day, I hope to look back and be able to think, wow! I am SO glad I documented this journey. I know I can look back to my entries from last summer and feel so much relief that they are there to remind me of the great memories and friends that I made.

I am off to dinner, very impressed if you bothered to read this rambling post, and I hope you will stay tuned for a photo post coming up soon featuring more from the horse farm.

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