I’m going to be honest here – I don’t know what an off season is in my business. Yes, I have downtime but I’m generally pretty consistent with my shooting that I don’t have months off. Sometimes I wish I did but I’m one that likes to be busy.
I always schedule off the last two weeks of each year so that I can really enjoy the holidays – my favorite time of year! And, I typically have some downtime in January for a few weeks. I have a lot of momentum in my business and when I’m not working, I get worried I’ll lose that momentum. So, I try to schedule things during a typical downtime that I know are going to keep me moving towards my goals.
Here’s what I like to do during downtime:
-Goals & Motto: Review my goals for the year, write them down and hang them on my wall. This prepares my mind for the year ahead and I’m reflecting on my goals every day. I also take some time to think about my motto. Each year, I develop a motto and put it on a post-it on my computer. Last year, the motto was KILL IT! This year, it’s BE PHENOMENAL!
-Organize: That drawer I’ve been shoving everything into – yup, it gets cleaned out. The prop room – it gets organized. My distribution center – it gets set up in an assembly line fashion.
-Donate: Of all the things that I see around the house/studio, I decide what I haven’t been using and find somewhere to donate them – Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, local after school programs, etc. I also take a chance to donate old books, which is kind of selfish as I make room for more! And clothes, spring cleaning comes a little early for me.
-Expenses & Taxes: I take my downtime to really get my financial papers in order so that I’m prepared for my accountant. This isn’t the most fun part of being a photographer so I use my non-busy time to make sure everything has been accounted for in my expenses and start to pull all the papers together.
-Get Ahead: I’ll prepare client gift bags, assemble mailing boxes, prepare cards, cut ribbon, etc. All these things make it easier then when I’m putting together client packages and getting ready to do shipments. It saves tons of time when I’m extremely busy.
-Education: I take this time to evaluate if there is anything I want to learn in my business, workshops I’d like to attend, or changes I want to make to the way I shoot and edit my images. If I identify something that I want to do, I start to make it happen – as Heather would say. I also take the time to develop my reading schedule – I’m a HUGE book reader and I try to read at least 20 books a year!
-Archive: I spend some time looking at my external hard drives and moving items over to the permanent backup drive.
-Blog: I get caught up on blogging. I’ll start working on posts from shoots that I never put on the blog, and I’ll also schedule out tons of blog posts for the coming months so that I’m not constantly writing things each day. Right now, I’m 2 months ahead of schedule.