By Kacey Luvi
When I first started a photography business 10 years ago, I was a poor, single grad school student with very few bills, very little responsibility and a TON of time on my hands. When an inquiry would come in for photos, I would nearly let the client completely dictate when their session would be. I would give a few suggestions like time of day, but otherwise it was in their hands. After all, I no other commitments outside of school and all the reasons in the world to make some money, sharpen my skills and build by portfolio.
Once I got married, I had to think about my husbands schedule, our dog, the lighting AND the clients requests, but I was still willing to be flexible to make any session happen. Then kids happen and the world is on your shoulders. I not only had the responsibility of wifing and dinner on the table, but wiping butts, cleaning the house, feeding mouths all day long and trying to balance emails, orders, editing and scheduling the next photoshoots.
out of your current corporate job and take on photography full time? Or are you a mom
looking for a fun hobby to get you out of the house and do something creative. Do you
want to make a little extra spending money, provide a healthy second income to the
family, or be the sole bread winner? These are the first questions you need to ask
yourself when it comes to your goals because they will determine how much TIME you
put into the business.
Now, rather than trying to speak to every variety of photographer, I will just highlight the
WHY behind my business, what my goals are and how I schedule out my year all in the
name of being a wife and a mom FIRST. My personal goal is to be at home with my
kids, present and as undistracted as possible. My conflicting “goal” is to be
recognized, to be “busy” and to look successful. So many of us moms are DYING to
find something OUTSIDE the home to provide us with value. I believe being a stay-at home
mom is a high calling and a tough battle. Hear me, it is EASIER TO WORK
OUTSIDE THE HOME THAN INSIDE THE HOME. Of course women want a fun,
creative job outside the house.. it’s EASIER than kids! But hear me louder here… there
is nothing like being a mom. It is a job that NO ONE can do as well as you. Your kids
will always benefit more having YOU as their primary caretaker. They will be blessed,
peaceful and filled with love for you. Let’s not be too quick to waste this precious time
on building an empire outside our homes when our biggest and most significant
ministry is WITHIN our homes. This is my why behind scheduling the way that I do. You
don’t have to be a mom to do it this way… shoot, you don’t have to do it this way at
all. But this is what has brought my family peace and my marriage connectedness, all
while spending a limited amount of time away from the home doing something I am
SUPER passionate about. Therein, my personal goals have been met.
Next question. What does SUCCESS mean to you?
Is it recognition and accolades? Is it being in high demand? Is it reaching 100k
followers on Instagram? Is it making a 6-figure income? You must ask yourself this
question so you can reach true CONTENTMENT while you are on your business
journey. We can be so easily robbed of joy (and creativity) if we are constantly
discontent with where were are. While a little fire under your butt drives us well, there is
something to be said about a peace in your heart knowing that your priorities are truly
in order. For me, if it means I book less and only commit to 1-2 speaking engagements
per year, I have upheld my first commitment to put my family first. The minute I get
swept up in becoming too busy, my family suffers and we all feel it. So I took a leap of
faith at the beginning of 2015 and decided to be staunchly exclusive with my
availability, for the protection of my schedule, all the while bringing in the same income.
Maybe new seasons of life will be different, but for now while my babes are young, this
is what it looks like.
I book 1-2 SATURDAYS a month and 10 day trip to the midwest in the summer.
Perhaps 1 Saturday is a wedding (I only talk about 5 weddings per year) OR a full day
of mini family sessions and the other Saturday is filled with 3 sessions of high school
seniors. I choose the Saturdays ahead of time and post on my social media sites what
days I am available for the upcoming months. This is where the discipline comes in for
me. As my own boss, and the holder of the key to my schedule, I used to bend over
backwards to accommodate people’s schedules. I would be out shooting 7 days a
week if someone asked me to and were willing to show me the money. It became this
weird issue of finding value in how “in demand” I was and how much money I could
make. I was getting worldly success mixed up with spiritual success. Is it possible to
have both? Sure! You just have keep priorities in their proper place.
When I received an inquiry, I respond with the investment PDF and the dates and times
I have available. If they are not available when I am that month, we look to the next
month or the month after. I’ve had very dedicated clients wait for 6 months to get in
and those that are not as interested in me (or on a deadline) get referrals to
photographers I trust. We take a non-refundable deposit up front to secure their
booking and the remaining balance is due at the time of their session. This helps
tremendously with avoiding last minute cancellations when you have already arranged
for childcare and/or turned away several other inquiries that would have liked that spot.
When we travel to the midwest, we book about 10 days of consecutive sessions at 3
per day. It’s just flat out nuts, but it works. This is, by far, our most profitable season as
all of our work is consolidated into those 10 days. I bring my kids, my mom to watch
my kids while I shoot, but still make time to play between shoots, eat dinner with them,
bathe them and tuck them into bed. This is my 10th annual summer “tour” I like to call
it and my daughter’s 5th, so it’s become quite a little family tradition. I love that my kids
can watch me work and see that I LOVE what I do and set an example for them in
Another way I protect my schedule is in regards to outside services. Whether I am in
Scottsdale or the midwest, I outsource my editing, admin, album design and order
processing. These are things that I am NOT great at AND total time eaters. The last
thing I want to do is be a stay-at-home mom that is a slave to my computer. It kind of
defeats the purpose. If you are in ANY way feeling overwhelmed with your business as
a mom, please do yourself (and your kids) a HUGE favor by looking into outsourcing
the things that can be done by others. You don’t have to be making a 6-figure income
to afford outsourcing, you just have to figure out what you can give to make it worth it
for you and find someone willing. Enough of my long-windedness.. my prayer for
moms across the nation trying to juggle so many different jobs remember that FIRST
and foremost, your role as a mother is the most important and being a successful
photographer comes second. Protect your family, protect your marriage. Be excellent
in all that you do, just do it in order.
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