When I started my photography business it was all about learning. Organizing and systems was the last thing I thought about. Heck I had to get comfortable with my camera, learn composition, practice and more practice and try different genres to see what I really wanted to photograph and build my business around.
I remember taking a class on Creative Live one of my favorite websites to learn new things, and the instructor said that you should start early on creating a system for your business. System? Heck I was so overwhelmed with learning and growing as a photographer I just did not see the need for a system.
Well the day has come when I need a system. My business is growing and getting more complex and things are starting to feel a bit out of control. So I decided this week to stop and look at everything and get a grip on what is going on.
The first thing I did was download an audible book that I had heard about from several different people is called Getting Things Done by David Allen I started listening to it right away and I can see this is going to really help. I highly recommend this book wether you have a business or not. We all are so overwhelmed with tasks and things to get done and have so much to manage in this busy world today that anyone can benefit from this book. Technology is great if you use it to help you not distract you.
I went out on a limb for this app called OmniFocus2 (you can get it in Apple's App store) It is a bit costly, $39.00 but worth every penny. I have tried writing things on paper and then not being able to find them, I used calendars but they can only hold so much. I have tried cheaper apps that promised to get you organized only to get frustrated because I could not figure out how to use them. This OmniFocus2 is great. It takes a bit to of learning at first but there is help on their website and on YouTube and it really is easy. You dump your brain and then organize it. They say to use your brain for creativity not organization and to do that you have to get the to do's out of your head and into a system you can trust. That is what OmniFocus2 does. I love how I can set times of when I need to do something and it will remind me. Now I find I am accomplishing much more in my day by staying focused and choosing what is important and not going from one thing to the other and accomplishing nothing. I really needed help with focus and this app is doing the trick.
Another great App that I use and love is Evernote. This is where I keep notes and resources I come across on the internet. If there is an article I want to read it goes to Evernote. If there is a website I want to look at but don't have time in the moment, it goes to Evernote. It is so much more powerful than I have even tapped but I put "learn more about Evernote" as a project in my OminFocus2 app so it keeps this in front of me so when I have some time I can fill that with getting more knowledge about Evernote.
For my photography projects and work the software of choice for me is Lightroom. I have the subscription version through Adobe because I like always having the updates and not have to worry about buying another version when it comes out and having to take time to figure out how the new parts work. When I get just one update as they come out I can look at it and see if it is useful and try it out. This saves me a lot of learning time and from being overwhelmed. Adobe CC for photographers is $12.09 and included full versions of Lightroom and Photoshop. I feel it is worth the investment because I use both these applications so much. Lightroom for organizing and general edits, Photoshop for more complex edits.
The last and one of the best things I did was get Freshbooks. I was sick of waiting until the last minute to gather information at tax season and spending hours trying to get it all organized. I purchased Freshbook last April right after I knew I need to get a grip on my finances after tax time. Freshbooks keeps me organized and informed. I also love how I can bill clients and forget it. When they pay it goes right into my bank account. Since I am in Belgium part of the year and my bank is in the US this is invaluable to me. I know feel good that I have a grip on my business finances and can now make informed decisions on purchases and marketing to increase my profits. If Freshbooks is a bit more than you need another great app for this is called Kashoo.com It also is great for keeping you on track in your business or personal finances.
We all need help in today's busy world and the apps I have mentioned here have really changed the way I work. It feels good that I can spend my days with friends and family knowing my business is in control.
My desk now looks clean and organized so I can create rather than stress about what I need to do. Let the computer do that kind of work they were designed to do.
Hope this was helpful. In next week blog I will share with you what is in my camera bag. What my go to camera and lenses are and every thing else I use to create my photos. Some items will surprise you for sure.
Thanks for reading and I will see you in your inbox next week.