I'm Dolly — a Nashville based branding photographer for small business owners & a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & Dubsado. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
Burnout is real. Anyone who has built a successful business has had to deal with and overcome significant challenges. There’s no such thing as an overnight success! But you can take some steps now to make your business journey easier. I’m showing you some of the major reasons new family photographers suffer from burnout and how to avoid burnout yourself!
We’ve all been there. You find something that promises to be the solution and you excitedly implement it. Two weeks later, nothing has changed. So you give up in frustration and move on to the next strategy.
This is one of the fastest ways to burnout!
Growth is different for every business and every entrepreneur. If you can shift your mindset to appreciate the long-game and develop enough patience to really give things time… you’ll be shocked at what you can accomplish!
As tempting as it is to find a silver bullet or magic solution, they rarely pay off.
Growth requires patience and a lot of time… more than just weeks or even months!
I keep on having to remind myself that I have come a long way since 2006 (when I was first gifted my REAL camera to begin my photography journey) (yes, that was over 15 years ago and I will admit I have come a LONG way since then) but guess what? I still have so much to learn when it comes to photography! Why? Because I know I want to serve my clients in deeper and impactful ways, and for me, that means being intentional with continued education AND it also means being patient with myself as I learn and grow!
Diving straight into a business without a solid financial foundation is a recipe for disaster. If you want to avoid major burnout, you need a budget and a financial plan.
How and when you choose to take your entrepreneurial journey of running a family photography business full-time is a highly personal decision. I chose to keep my full-time 9-5 and build my photography business as a side hustle until I was completely debt-free (you can read that story here)
Paying off all my debts allowed me to approach my photography business from a place of serving my clients instead of needing them to pay my bills.
Regardless of how you manage your business finances, I highly recommend hiring a CPA or business adviser from the beginning. This is an investment that will have major payoffs!
Thinking, “I’m not a financial person,” and refusing to plan ahead is one of the quickest ways to suffer burnout as a new business owner.
If you need a guide in how to keep up with the expenses of your business, I have created a FREE expense & income report for you to get started in learning how to best track the numbers of your business!
Solopreneurs have to manage a lot. But if you are trying to manage every aspect of your business every day… you’re going to quickly run out of steam.
Instead, I suggest separating your business responsibilities and focusing on one thing at a time. This might look like writing your blogs every Monday, doing client work on Tuesdays, having a creative day on Wednesdays, doing admin work on Thursdays, and more client work on Fridays.
When you’re learning how to avoid burnout, it’s important that you recognize the need to separate your work schedule and your personal schedule. You can’t work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week forever.
One of the worst consequences of trying to do everything at all times is the loss of creativity and drive. And guess what? It’s nearly impossible to do serve your clients without motivation and creative energy.
Along with your schedule, it’s helpful to focus on one strategy at a time, too. Instead of trying to master Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram – choose one to focus on for 90 days. Spend three months really getting your Instagram strategy and process nailed down. Then when you move on to the next strategy, you’ll have a clear system in place!
As business owners, we look to outsourcing as a major way to avoid burnout. And outsourcing is great! I highly recommend it… but not before you’ve developed your own framework for your business.
When you bring on help before you have a clear system and way to communicate, you end up wasting a lot of time and money trying to show someone else how to run parts of your business.
Be patient with your need to outsource and make sure you’re set up for success internally before handing off work to someone outside your business.
I had mentioned that I have had a camera in my hand since 2006, but did you know that I started outsourcing work in 2019? Yup…it took me YEARS to hand over some tasks. Obviously don’t take that long to outsource your tasks to a VA or an assistant, but at the same time you can find the balance by developing a framework for how you work within your family photography business, and then consider handing off some tasks to “free up” some of your time!
Need help with learning how to develop a framework of BATCHING out content so that you have more free time? Check out this resource I have created for small business owners ⬇️
Technology is overwhelming for a lot of creative people. But just because something is hard or confusing, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Everything is truly “figureoutable” (a quote by Marie Forleo)
Often, your mindset is actually the problem. You can learn workflows + automation + systems and all sorts of tech things… you just don’t believe that you can.
Once you get over your belief that you’re “too dumb” to do something, you’ll find that there are all kinds of courses, videos, tutorials, and mentors ready to help you master even the most challenging technology.
Understanding how to use the basic processes you need in your day-to-day will make your family photography business easier and more efficient. And that’s exactly what helps you avoid burning out!
If you need help with automating your new family photography business, I have got your back because I am a workflow & systems educator (that is one of the hats of Dolly DeLong Education I proudly wear!) You can find out more information here
Everywhere you look, there are hundreds or thousands of people doing the same thing you do.
When we get too obsessed with comparing ourselves to others, we start to believe we have nothing to offer or that people don’t want what we have.
I always remind myself: I’m not for everyone, but I am for someone.
I remember watching the Olympics a few years ago. Michael Phelps was competing against another athlete who should have beat him. But that other swimmer was so focused on watching Michael Phelps as they raced, that he ended up losing.
I don’t even remember that swimmer’s name, because he didn’t win gold!
Don’t let that be your story. Don’t focus so much on what “this photographer is doing” that you quickly forget to serve YOUR audience and YOUR families!
When we talk about how to avoid burnout, a lot of the problems that cause business owners to quit or close shop stem from the comparison. It truly is the thief of joy.
Be aware of what’s going on around you, but stay in your lane and focus on how you serve your clients if you want to really make a difference!
“Selling is sleazy! It makes me think of oily used car salesmen.”
Why do we have this perception when it comes to sales?
James Wedmore gives this example that I just love. Have you ever looked at the Girl Scout on your doorstep and thought, “What a sleazy salesman!”
You want what they’ve got (who doesn’t love a Thin Mint?!) and you’re happy to shell over the money for a few boxes of delicious cookies.
The same thing applies to you. You’re not trying to scam people, you’re trying to help them. And they won’t know how you can help them unless you tell them. And telling them how you can help is called “Sales!”
Sales aren’t bad and selling isn’t sleazy. You’ll burn out quickly if you can’t accept and embrace the need to market YOUR family photography business!
Running your own family photography business can be super rewarding on so many levels. You have been gifted with the ability to help capture milestone moments for your clients FOR a reason, and you have so much to offer to the world, my friend!
Please do NOT give up on yourself!
If you are reading this and you are ready to take a deeper dive into your family photography business, I do serve as a mentor to new family photographers who are wanting to lay a better family photography foundation for their own business. In these 1:1 VIP days, we take a deep dive into the systems & processes that it takes to run a successful and profitable business. To learn more about my 1:1 VIP days for family photographers, click here.
Hello, my name is Dolly and I am thrilled you are here in my area of the interwebs! If you are a new family photographer who feels frazzled, overwhelmed, and confused with where to begin in automating & growing your new small business, well then you’re in the right place! The goal of my business is to help educate family photographers to learn the foundations of automation and to see that setting up systems are easier than one thinks! (ALSO, having a good foundation of systems will set you up for success with your family photography business-it all goes hand in hand!)
It’s time to go from scattered to streamlined in your business. If you are ready to learn the foundational steps you need to take in order to feel more calm & organized as a family photographer, you are in the right place! Because even Muggles can learn how to become automating Wizards as solopreneurs! So let’s dive into optimizing and growing your family photography business today!
In addition to educating other family photographers, I also serve as a family photographer, a personal branding photographer, and a systems + workflow educator.
My faith and love for my family motivate me to help other business owners find the joy and freedom I have found in running a successful small business.
Whenever I have a spare moment, I enjoy watching TV (i.e. Survivor), I eat way too many sweets, and I love listening to podcasts while running or walking. To work with me, Dolly DeLong Photography, please email me at email@example.com or fill out my contact form here.
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!