I was 27 weeks pregnant with my second child in this shot and I remember being terrified of having two kids and what it would mean for my business. I felt we were at capacity and wasn’t sure how we would make it work. I knew in my head I had to work smarter not harder but the big challenge was figuring out what that looked like.
Just before Corban was born in I wrote down every single task I did in a week and then I went through and circled the things that only I could do, and there were THREE things — three out of a list of about 54 things that only I could do. These were. Be the visionary of my business, be the photographer, and present and teach
That’s it. And so as I prepared to have another baby, I started getting more help in all those other places. I hired someone for admin, I outsourced my editing, and I delegated as many other tasks as I could in other areas of my life (such as getting a cleaner) or just removed things altogether.
I know a lot of people have hesitations around hiring an editor and It's not always easy. I definitely had my fair share of trial and error. So here's how I made it work. After each job, I edit a representative sample of the images, if I needed to edit 500 I'd send her around 50 edited images, then with the rest I'd have her synchronize and tweak based on what I had done. Basically I get to do the fun part and she does the rest!
Training Alison was initially an investment, and it probably took about four weddings until I was really happy. Because Alison was also a neighbour she was able to work alongside me for the first few jobs which was great for her to ask questions, but this could also be done over a zoom call as well! Before long, she was working in a way I was really happy with. We catch up every three months for a chat about how it's going and go over a job that she's just completed for me.
The added bonus has been I'm invested training her to edit the quickest way possible and therefore have had to clean up my own habits and practices! There's' nothing like having to explain to someone what you do to make you improve your systems and processes. The other benefit is the mental load that is reduced when you know someone is doing something for you. Not having to slot editing into my day is one less thing to think about it and I'm all about creating mind space when I can.
Now you're probably wondering how I afford it, so let's demystify that too. From a financial perspective, it makes so much sense. I can take on one extra family shoot a month and this pays for about 30 hours worth of editing.
The hardest part of this process has been giving up control. But Alison does a great job, if not a better job than me. And if I think about the freedom it's given me now I couldn't go back. I often think of it in summer when I'm out with my kids on a sunny day, and I know that if I wasn't outsourcing I'd be stuck in my dark office clicking buttons and feeling resentful!
I know this won't be for everyone. If editing is the thing you love the most then keep doing it! Saying no to doing all the things and saying yes to outsourcing has meant I can work part-time but not get half of the results. And I feel like when it comes to defining moments in my business what I've said no to, is equally as important as what I've said yes too.
I hope this helps inspire you to evaluate your own processes and create a life and business that you love!