I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family & branding photographer AND a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & SOPS to better impact the backend of their businesses. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
So here’s the thing with workflows… with so many different options out there, it might feel difficult to know where to start. And for a lot of creative business owners, automation sounds like the exact opposite of how they want to be spending their time.
It sounds techy, time-consuming, and hard to figure out. But the truth is, you do not need a Ph.D. in automation to get started. That’s why in today’s blog, I’m sharing just one baby step you can take to start automating your business, today. Let’s get started.
Here’s my challenge to you: Pick just one product or service that your business offers. Then, follow these four simple steps I’ve outlined below. By the end, you’ll have your very first automation solidified!
*Que the confetti*
Once you’ve picked the product/service you want to focus on, step 1 is simple. Write out your step-by-step workflow for how you work with clients on the product/service you choose. From the second a client stumbles upon your website to the moment they’re signing on the dotted line and the day you deliver the final product — what does that look like?
If there isn’t a system currently, this is your chance to create one. Does the client schedule a call? When do you collect payment? What does communication with the client look like? Think through as many little details as you can and write it all out with a pen and paper.
Some call this an SOP (standard operating procedure) but, don’t overcomplicate this process. Just write it out so that it can be outside of your head and on paper (or on a Google Doc)!
Great job! Now that you have the workflow written out, transcribe that workflow into a spreadsheet. Use as many lines as you need, but make sure to get it all in one place. This spreadsheet will act as your source of truth for what systems and processes you have decided to commit to and will be a great thing to reference along the way when you need reminders.
Once you see it all laid out on a spreadsheet, you may see some patterns in your workflow. For example, you may see that there are different PHASES of a client’s journey with you depending on where they are in the pre-booking, booking, or off-boarding phase (label them)!
The next step is to add the process to a project management tool. If you don’t have a favorite project management tool yet, that’s okay! Check out my list of favorites below …
Once you’ve determined your workflow, the last step is committing. Do this same process every single time. When you commit to the process, you’ll save yourself lots of headaches and frustration in the long run!
Once you have written it all out you may notice steps that can be AUTOMATED (aka like canned emails, sending invoices, sending forms, or sending a questionnaire) (This is where the power of automation with workflows comes into play!)
Plus the bonus of this is = that it’s OUT of your head AND if you ever hire a VA (virtual assistant) to help you out with certain tasks of your business, you can easily hand off your specific systems and workflows (because you’ve written them out and you know them well enough to train someone!) WIN-WIN!
If you want to start automating your work, the first step is setting up workflows. Now that you’ve done the first one, go back and repeat this process for every product/service you sell. These workflows will become the foundation of your automation and will be the saving grace when it comes to your business.
Are you ready to learn more about workflows and automation? Click here to begin your journey of automating your small business. I’ll walk you step by step through the foundations of workflows and automation processes you can start implementing within your first year of business! It is the essential guide I wished I had several years ago when I was starting out with my own business, so that’s why I created it to better help new creative business owners! You’ll be an automation extraordinaire in no time! Click here to check out how you can get started in working with me!
Otherwise, check out my podcast “The Systems And Workflow Magic Podcast” where every week I show up in your earbuds with practical advice on how to make systems, workflows, and automation more attainable (and dare I say it…magical and applicable) for your creative business! Click here or on the blog banner to subscribe!
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & branding photographer and a creative business owner who educates other family photographers on how to best streamline their family photography business by using powerful automation tools in order to find the JOY in workflows and systems. Dolly loves serving families, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography. And, she also loves educating other business owners on how to set up systems and workflows that will ultimately help them save time in their business.
She has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Dubsado, Email Marketing, and Business Systems with new creative business owners & family photographers in an encouraging and supportive way because she believes that anyone can find joy in automation! Plus BONUS: Systems is where the MAGIC happens!
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), loves eating way too many sweets, and listens to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, fill out her contact form here.
Interested in learning how to best automate a part of your business but you have no clue where to begin? Check out www.dollydelongphotography.com/automate to begin your automation journey today!
Or maybe you're not really sure how you'd use your new collection of branded images? Download my free planning guide to learn how to plan an elevated brand photography session to impact your business!