Tips on Balancing Life as a Mom and Professional Photographer
Have you ever wanted to pull your hair out from the stress of juggling a career, kids, family life, and more?
Here are a few tips for keeping it all together:
- Set aside work hours: Grethel suggests trying to keep “normal” business hours. Keep track of how many hours you are working a day. Make a point to have lunch breaks, etc. as you would if you weren’t working from home. Don’t accept phone calls after hours and set aside time specifically for returning emails. Try to get out of the habit of being always available. Put down the iphone.
- Schedule your downtime/family time: Ashley admits to the fact if she doesn’t put it on the calendar, it usually doesn’t happen. This includes time for herself and time with friends or family. Being a mother of two active school age kids is a job in itself. Everything is put on the calendar, including days off. Keep some empty spaces on your calendar for family time! Schedule a regular lunch date with your child or date night with hubby.
- Still be professional: Just because you mainly work from home, does not need to decrease your professionalism. Grethel states, that everything from your emails, phone conversations to packaging should be just as professional as a large multi-employee studio. Keep strict deadlines and maintain a consistent schedule for delivering proofs, products, etc.
- Know what you can handle: This is something that Ashley has admitted to learning the hard way. In the early stages of her business, things grew rather quickly. At first you take any job that comes your way. Pretty soon you have an overbooked calendar and jobs that aren’t your ideal. Know how many sessions you can successfully handle and still have a life! If you become over scheduled, you tend to make more mistakes, quality can decrease and things can fall through the cracks. Abide to these rules in order to keep your sanity. Don’t take jobs that aren’t your forte. If someone asks you about product photography, (which you know nothing about) pass it along to the talented commercial photographer in your area. You will all be happy with the results!
- Keep a separate work area: This can be challenging when working from home. You will be happier and more productive if you have a space where you can close yourself off from the world and work. Teach your children to respect that area. Ashley has recently moved her shooting area out of her basement and into a shared space studio with a few other photographers. This has greatly reduced the stress level for her and her family. No more picking up legos before a shoot! Grethel is exclusively on location, which helps keep that separation as well.
- Stay organized: Grethel swears by her “to-do” lists! Daily and long term lists are very helpful for keeping track of things. With today’s smart phones, you can quickly make a note or list and have it with you at all times. Utilizing things like Apple’s Mobile Me or other “cloud” technology programs, can make your business run on-the-go. You can sync calendars, contacts, emails, etc all from your phone and have them show up within minutes on your calendar on your home computer or vice versa.
Hopefully these tips will help you to run a smooth business and still keep a happy home!
Ashley Warren and Grethel Van Epps are portrait photographers in the Birmingham, AL area. They are also both moms in addition to running their own home based businesses. This year they teamed up to host a workshop (Share… The Workshop) for those new to the photography business. One of the things they stress in the workshop is balancing family with the work load. For more information on Share…The Workshop, email Grethel at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashley at email@example.com.