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I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family and branding photographer & a business systems educator for small biz owners who want to be more streamlined. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about business systems!
As you build up your family photography business, your client base is (hopefully) going to expand past friends & family, and it will be built out to where you will be found on Google (Search Engine Optimization) and on referrals as well. I share this point because as you begin to work with a new client base, you are going to need to establish firm boundaries and expectations of what working with you looks like and this includes having contracts, sub-contracts, questionnaires, and various forms in place.
So instead of emailing a prospective client back and forth and having essential communication get lost in a sea of emails (or worst yet, in a sea of text messages of Facebook messages) why not keep your process streamlined through a client relationship management tool like Dubsado which can house literally all the essential paperwork your client needs to fill out in order to work with you.
The best part online method of organization is this= each client you work with will be put into the category of a “project” in Dubsado (think of it as a filing system) and within that “project” is where their specific contract, sub-contracts, questionnaires, etc. will be housed and stored! Thus, you do not have to be so scattered in keeping a specific filing system for each of your clients!
This especially is helpful for you, the family photographer, because you may have different processes and workflows for maternity photography, newborn photography, and regular family photography milestone sessions. So it’s good to know all of your workflows and ideal processes ahead of time and then you can organize it according to each project (each client’s) specific type of session! Your brain will thank you tremendously 😊
As I was growing my family photography business in the early days (and early years of Instagram circa 2012-2014) I would announce my mini session days every Fall, and like clockwork, I would have a steady stream of clients message me, text me, email me, or simply tell me in person that they wanted to book me for a mini session. At one point in time (in my early 20s) I thought I could mentally keep up with all of the messages and requests because I had a great memory (bless young naive Dolly)
but as time went on, I felt so chaotic looking back on all of my messages and looking through chains and threads I needed to answer in order to book mini-sessions with the right clients.
To make matters even more confusing, if I announced specific timeslots, I hated having clients email me and go back and forth with the time slots THEY wanted because more than once I had several clients who wanted the same time slots, but they communicated to me at various times of the day and at one point I even thought I had a great “system” of writing everything down, but sometimes I would either lose that sheet of paper and/or I would lose my train of thought.
It was a disaster.
So after several (yes you read that right, SEVERAL) years of doing this, I decided enough was enough and I decided to truly streamline my mini-sessions to be more organized from start to finish. Of course, I had to actually sit down and decide how I wanted my own client’s journey to look like from start to finish, but I did it and I am SO glad that I was able to integrate Dubsado into this process!
If you want to see the landing page of my mini session website here it is: https://dollydelongphotography.com/nashville-mini-sessions
For me, I want the client journey to be as easy as possible! I know that my clients are either going to be booking with me on my website, on Instagram, on Facebook, on Pinterest, and on Google, and sometimes by referrals as well. So I created ONE main landing page for everyone to go through, and I connected my Dubsado’s mini-session scheduler to that page so that they can click on the specific DATE + TIME they want for their mini session! When a person clicks on the date + time, they are also prompted to fill out a Lead Capture form and pay their invoice AHEAD of time (because I have decided that all of my mini-sessions require payment upfront since this is a MINI session) (😱and yes, I have learned this the HARD way because in the past I had clients “book” me and then not show up to their actual session and GHOST me when I reached out to find out where they were…a HUGE time suck and a hard lesson learned in the beginning years of my business)
And this whole process was set up in Dubsado within an hour (the scheduler ➡️ the lead capture form ➡️ the invoice ➡️ the confirmation emails) (that whole set up takes me about 1 hour to complete and so every time I now have a NEW mini session I want to advertise I simply plug it into Dubsado with the templates I have already created AHEAD of time and I am good to go)
I love how easy Dubsado has made this process for me, and I no longer go back and forth unnecessarily with clients anymore~ it’s been great!
So when I was first getting to know Dubsado I was simply putting everything together on my own and sending out very bare-looking contracts, sub-contracts, questionnaires, etc. It was doing the job, but there were elements of my brand’s personality that were missing, and for me (not only being a family photographer BUT a branding photographer) I wanted clients to be “excited” about getting to work with me (and the process can be infused in how I was showing up in Dubsado).
I know I am going to get a few eye-rolls here, but as a creative, I want the majority of my workflows, processes, and daily to-dos to be beautiful and visually appealing. I know I know I know…sometimes in life you just have to do things even if it’s not visually appealing or fun, but if you can create a more branded & visually fun aesthetic in your customer relationship management tool, do it!!!
I was able to achieve this by purchasing a monthly membership through The Creative Template Shop (you can click here to check them out and NO, I do NOT get any sort of affiliate from them…I just love talking about them so much because I consider them my marketing helpers in aiding me to present myself professionally and branded online!) With a Creative Template Shop membership, they provide templates FOR DUBSADO users to use in their forms and workflows and I have customized SO many different workflows for my clients and projects!
Let me just share a side by side of a before and after for you to see a visual example:
BEFORE (literally you start with nothing because of the drag and drop elements)
AFTER (I used a template from The Creative Template Shop and created a BRANDED and GORGEOUS proposal to send off to clients) (keep in mind this is a screenshot because I could not fit the entire proposal in a photo) I just wanted to show an example!
Another great thing about branding your forms and questionnaires on your CRM tool (like Dubsado) over time it creates brand recognition for your business, and you can have elements of not only your business colors, your logos, and even feature some of your work BUT you can include video elements as well (which is HUGE)!
I know I am just skimming the surface on how you can be using Dubsado for your family photography business and it may seem a bit overwhelming and intimidating about how to begin the process of onboarding your business to a great CRM tool like Dubsado. But I’ve got you!
😊But before you start cringing thinking about all that work you are needing to do, don’t forget you don’t have to do this alone! If you’re ready to spend less time chasing down documents and remembering to email your clients, let’s get your Family Photography Dubsado VIP Day on the schedule! I truly believe that running your business with the help of a CRM you understand and love can change your life! Want to see more details? Read them HERE!
AND if you are wanting to learn more about Dubsado for your family photography business, but need a more go-at-your-own-pace type of program I have a great resource called “The Dubsado toolkit for family photographers” and you can read about it here:
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & branding photographer and a creative business owner who educates on all things Pinterest & Dubsado (and how to use these platforms as systems in your business)! 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 Pinterest, Dubsado, Email Marketing, and Business Systems with new creative business owners & family photographers in an encouraging and supportive way because she believes that even muggles can become automating wizards. 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!