All posts in Advice

You Need to Run Away from Your Business

You need to run away from your business

Did you realize you need to run away from your business? That it could be one of the best things you ever did for it?

My blog post today for Inspire Photo Retreats is all about the things I learned when I did this myself last year.

Last year, I left home for what ended up being a 4 month, 19,000+ mile road trip. It wasn’t planned to be that long when I left, but as work found me along the way, I kept going. We left home originally so I could attend the World Domination Summit in Portland, visit family there, and then head to Seattle to see Mike’s brother and his family. After that, Mike was going to fly home, I’d drive back to Denver, park my car to fly to speak at BlogHer in Chicago, fly back to Denver to coach at the Team-X Fight Club, and then drive home.

When Fight Club ended was when it all began. I needed … something. I needed to get away. To unplug. To quiet the noise.

It is incredibly hard to admit that I completely neglected my business for those two weeks. As I reflect back on it, I realize it was one of the smartest moves I’ve made recently.

Go read the post there to learn more about the lessons I learned.

The biggest thing that came out of getting back to work? I went on to Calgary and met up with Stephanie and we created our Life + Business Coaching Program, Vivid & Brave.

It may be hard to admit, but I have no regrets.

When was the last time you took a vacation from your business? Have you ever completely cut yourself off and allowed yourself to recharge?

Self-Employed? You Can Be Fired for What You Say Publicly



Self-Employed? You can still be fired for what you say onlineMy first thought was, “I’m so glad I work for myself so I can say what I want.” I came home from holiday shopping and while my husband unwound with some X-Box time, I went to check in on Facebook and saw the first trickle of the response to the article GQ magazine.

That was my initial reaction as I read the Duck Dynasty story as it first broke late on Wednesday night. Thinking that just because you’re self-employed means you can’t be fired brings about a false sense of security.

You can still be fired – by your clients.

By the next morning, news was out that Phil was put on indefinite hiatus by A&E, and half the internet seemed to be in a uproar about his rights under Freedom of Speech, and the other half was either ambivalent or felt that A&E made the right move.

Personally? I’ve never seen the show, so I couldn’t speak on the issue. I could speak about the Freedom of Speech issue though — because Freedom of Speech does NOT mean freedom from consequence. It simply means that the government or the police can not come after you for what you said. If your employer or your client isn’t happy with it, they can choose not to work with you.

Then it happened again.

Just over 24 hours later, Justine Sacco made a rather crass post to Twitter, and then boarded a plane to Africa. The same continent she just slammed in her tweet. Probably smart to get out of London, after saying things about them too. By the time she landed after her wi-fi free flight 13 hours later, she too had been fired from her job. She was a trending hashtag on Twitter. People were sending her death threats.

I didn’t see anyone defending her right to Freedom of Speech though. Probably because what she said was pretty horrific.

It was fascinating to watch these two events go down in such a short span of time. The lesson I was reminded of is that the internet never forgets. You can delete a tweet, but you can’t control who has seen it or copied it already. What you say can and will live on. While many of us are self-employed, we are still employed – BY OUR CLIENTS.

“Type up a Facebook status update — and it can be radioactive forever. Don’t be fooled by your keyboard: the Internet doesn’t have a delete button. Screenshots can make your words have a half life of eternity. Social media is exactly that — social. It impacts you socially for as long as you are a member of society.

One tweet can be the last tick in the bomb that detonates your life.” — from Dear Kids: What You Need to Know About Duck Dynasty, Justine Sacco, and Christmas, the post that inspired me to write this post.

We might not make a late night joke on Twitter or Facebook and then find ourselves fired the next day. What you say might be seen by a potential client on social media, or a friend of a potential client. Or a friend of a friend. Doesn’t matter. It is seen by others, and it can hurt you. It can keep you from getting more clients.

Private is not private when it comes to the Internet.

Do not fall in to the trap of thinking that your Twitter stream or Facebook wall is set to private and only your closest friends see it. Or that you’re posting it in a private Facebook group, so your clients will never know. People can easily capture an image of the screen or copy/paste the text. You do not know who is in that group, who may be watching.

I see it constantly. People complaining about clients in the groups that I’m in. STOP. Your peers are judging you for it, and one of them could choose to leak it. I’ve had people who live in other cities ask me for recommendations of people to work with. If you’re constantly complaining in a private group about how much you hate your clients, how crazy they are, how they frustrate you, do you think I will recommend you? The answer to that is a loud & resounding NO.

You never know who sees what you are saying online.

Back when I was in high school, I passed notes in class with my friends. I wrote something in a note once about a friend who I was angry with at the time, and another friend showed it to her, causing quite a shitstorm for me. My mom said that if I didn’t want something to get back to someone, never write it down.

The same still applies these days. Only now? The internet has a permanent quality that note passing in 10th grade never had. Something can come back to haunt you, even years later. Think about what you write down online. What you say to other people. You are your brand at ALL times, and what you say matters to your clients, who are ultimately your employers. With social media what you say can spiral far out of your control. Just ask Justine Sacco about that this morning.

Justine Sacco Twitter Stream
Screen cap from my iPhone last night, before Justine Sacco’s Twitter Account was deleted.

Review: The Easy Client & Money Manager from The Modern Tog

Easy Client & Money Manager

As we are about to spend time talking about workflow and In Person Sales, the timing of the launch of the Easy Client and Money Manager by Jamie Swanson of The Modern Tog couldn’t be more perfect! This easy-to-use Excel workbook organizes your money and your client workflow all in one convenient place!

I’ve talked to many photographers over the years that guess at what their sales averages are, how much profit they are making, or any number of profit related questions. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start my photography business so I could spend time crunching numbers. That is definitely NOT my specialty!

When Jamie first talked about doing this with Excel, I was not so sure. Excel is not my thing, but Jamie is a spreadsheet guru. She has worked hard to create this system to help you keep track of the financials related to your studio. With the PDF, it is all laid out and easy to follow along and use. I’m converted! I can use Excel like this!

There are many other software solutions out there that do similar things, but this is a simple and effective option, and it is one low cost instead of monthly payments. You will receive the Excel Workbook, the User Guide (a super-detailed PDF) and several how-to videos will get you up to speed in no time! If you forget something, there are reminders throughout the workbook that help keep you on track.

It Isn’t Just About Accounting

This workbook is so much more than just a simple spreadsheet. You’ll be able to:

  • Keep track of each sale and expense in one easy place
  • Get a snapshot of your income & expenses at any time, allowing you to make smart business decisions
  • Make filing Sales & Use Tax reports a breeze, as you’ll have everything you need in one convenient place, right at the click of a button
  • Create invoices & track sales with ease all from within the workbook
  • Never forget important details about a client using the Client database
  • Track your client workflow so that everything gets done on time, giving you satisfied clients that refer you to their friends.
  • Keep track of networking efforts with vendors by adding notes & reminders so that you never forget to follow up
  • Easily track your business mileage and equipment sold throughout the year

There is also a BONUS Reminder worksheet, which will keep you from forgetting important things throughout your year, such as reminding clients when payments are due, avoiding late fees by paying expenses on time, and tracking client birthdays & anniversaries.

Normally $129, right now through April 18, 2013 you can get all this for only $89! Get your copy of the Easy Client and Money Manager today!

Purchase the Bundle with The Photographer’s Pricing Guide Workbook

The Photographer’s Pricing Guide Workbook is the perfect companion to the Easy Client & Money Manager as it will help you learn exactly how much you need to be charging to make your desired profit goals. No more guessing at what you should be doing!

Right now you can get both the Photographer’s Pricing Guide Workbook ($99 value) and Easy Client & Money Manager ($129 value) for only $139. That’s a savings of $89! After the launch period is over on April 18, 2013, the bundled price will be $189. So get them both now before the price increases!

Is the Easy Client & Money Manager Right for Me?

Do you dread dealing with the financials of your business? Have no clue where you are at financially? Then this is definitely something you should look in to using. Jamie has a number of reasons that you should consider it listed on the Easy Client and Money Manager page. Best part? It comes with a 14 Day Money-Back Guarantee! See the site for all the details.

Requirements for the Easy Client & Money Manager

This workbook does require Excel. It will not work properly with other software like Open Office. It will appear to work correctly, but the complexity of some of the formulas will be broken.

You also need to be in the United States; this version is optimized for the United States and its tax laws. They hope to release a version for other countries (such as the UK, Australia, and Canada) in the future.

Would I recommend it?

ABSOLUTELY. I wouldn’t be writing about it here if I didn’t. I will still be using ShootQ for my client management system, where I keep my contracts and client details, and ShootQ automates my invoicing. Where this fits in for me is tracking financial information; ShootQ only captures a portion of that for me. With this, I can track so much more and get a better snapshot of where my business is at financially. The Easy Client and Money Manager will be a huge asset to tracking your financials and your clients, and will make up for the cost with the huge profits you will be making in no time!

Disclosure: I was provided with a free review copy of the Easy Client & Money Manager. It is freakin’ AMAZING. This review is my personal opinion, I wasn’t told what to write. The links in this review are affiliate links and using them helps keep me pay for my gluten-free red velvet cupcake habit. YUM.