Very few people are good at literally EVERYTHING they do.
I mean, those people do exist... but they're freaks. Haha.
The idea of outsourcing portions of your photography business is not a new thing. So what I'm going to say isn't necessarily new information, but it's my personal experience. I'm a pretty controlling, stubborn, individual. When I first started as a photographer I wanted to do EVERYTHING myself. Quite honestly, I still struggle with this need to do it all myself, but I'm getting better with it.
So why should you outsource parts of your business?
- You'll have more time to concentrate on the things that are important to you, rather than wasting energy on things you don't enjoy doing.
- You'll be less stressed with less tasks to do yourself.
- You don't have to spend time learning to do things that you don't know how to do. You can just hire someone else who ready knows how to do it.
- Your workflow will be better when you're not constantly getting hung up on tasks that are either too complex for you to handle, or that you simply procrastinate on because you don't enjoy doing it.
Everyone will have a different idea of what it is they would like to outsource based on their experience, and what they do and don't enjoy about their business, but here are a few personal examples of things that I feel are worthy of outsourcing.
Outsource Your Graphic Designing
Once upon a time, a young, eager photographer fancied herself a graphic designer, and designed her own business logo. She determined that it was good after posting it, along with a few other variations, to Facebook for her friends, family, and colleagues to vote on. One was chosen, and it has been her logo ever since.
Because it's terrible.
Why is it terrible? Because when I designed my logo, I thought I was going to be a music photographer primarily, so that's what I had in mind when drafting it.
I didn't want something too girly, because the band dudes wouldn't take me seriously, but I didn't want something too exclusive to one genre of music, because that wouldn't be a great branding strategy.
Never mind the fact that my logo has always been terrible, but fast forward a handful of years to what my brand is *now*... and the logo doesn't fit the esthetic of what I do even a little. I've thought half a dozen times about attempting to redesign it. I've even ACTUALLY attempted it once or twice only to give up 5 minutes later because I realized something: I. AM NOT. A GRAPHIC DESIGNER.
So what did I do? I outsourced that mess. And as of the time of this brilliant writing, it's not done yet so... that's why you still see the terrible partially sideways, Impact font logo still in the corner of my site.
Don't judge. The new one will be done soon.
Outsource Your Financials
This isn't something that I've had the pleasure of doing yet, but someday I will get to the point where I'll be able to afford to.
So... at some point I am going to find someone to handle my numbers for me. Cashflow, taxes, savings, expenses, whatever. I don't want to deal with any of it. I just want to create. Let me photograph and let me edit, and just make sure I have enough money coming in and out through the right channels to make sure my rent gets paid and my family is fed.
Outsource Your Business Tasks
I'm talking about all the boring administrative stuff that comes with owning a business. Contracts, booking crew and gear, maintaining workflow, booking clients, organizing and establishing communication with clients, etc.
This is something I don't outsource myself, but at some point I might be interested in having someone do a little administrative stuff for me (my filing system is atrocious... as in... nonexistent), but ironically enough, *I* take on this role for another photographer, and it works out pretty well.
There's this weird thing in my head that allows me to be super organized for other people... but not so much for myself. I don't know what that is. If anyone has any insight, I'm open to listening, haha.
Outsource Your Video Marketing
A photographer I really love, and her videographer, ran a whole workshop on how photographers can make their own marketing videos. And you know what? It was pretty cool, and inspiring, and I was TOTALLY GOING TO DO IT.
And then I didn’t.
Why? Because videography is a whole other skill set that I just don't have time to really learn right now. And I'm a perfectionist, so if I was going to do it, I was going to have to do it fully-commited to learning and making that thing the best I possibly could. Which meant I'd have to quit photography, because I just do not have enough time in my life to work on perfecting *both* crafts.
So now I'm now in the middle of talking to a videographer who can help with making a video happen. And the best part about it? I just tell her want I want... and it's HER job to make it happen, because that's what I hired her for.
No late nights learning about the correlation between shutter speed and frame rates, and no late nights struggling with Final Cut. I just have to book the talent, the studio, collaborate with the videographer on a concept and then one day it will magically materialize on my computer's hard drive, ready to be shared with the masses.
Outsource Your Retouching
NO. I REFUSE.
But, I mean... YOU should. If you don't like editing, you don't like retouching, or you just don't have time for those things, then outsource that ish. Seriously. More and more people are starting to realize they can outsource their editing and their retouching, and that gives them more time to just shoot and do photographer stuff. And they can spend less time investing in learning materials on how to do those things, and less time logging hours perfecting those processes.
But me? I actually enjoy that process for some reason. I'm the one people outsource this to. I like editing. I like retouching... so lately I've had a few people hire me to do this kind of thing for them, and I'm totally down with that. I know. I'm weird.
Just Outsource Stuff
I know that was a lot of random stuff I babbled on about. There are a ton of other things that I know people outsource that I didn't even touch on, and that I don't outsource myself, like album design, blogging (yeah, people outsource blogging - crazy, right?), web-design, etc., but the main thing that I was getting at is this:
Unless you're one of few crazy super-human freaks who is good at literally everything you do, and is able to perfectly balance everything you do, you need to figure out the stuff that you don't like doing, or that you just don't have time to do, and find someone who does like doing it, and does have time to do it for you.
You'll find yourself a little less stressed, and you'll find that things might get a little easier and more streamlined when you allow some of the things on your plate to be taken on by someone else more willing and capable. :)