Even when we do our absolute best, we can’t all be superheroes.
While there are areas of our businesses that thrive, there are always areas that could see some improvements. For us, one of the big areas we were lacking in was back-end paperwork (contracts, invoices) and numbers (bookkeeping). Fortunately, we discovered this awesome program pretty early in our birth photography businesses!
Before we dig into the nitty gritty of today’s content, we want you to know something: We are not being paid to share this with you and this is NOT an endorsed blog post! We have received all of zero dollars in exchange for writing this.
We simply LOVE this program and because it helps us so much, it’s only natural we would tell you about it!
17 Reasons We Love 17 Hats
- The user interface is easy enough for a middle-schooler.
- They have an automation option for, basically, everything.
- It makes us look like we have our s**t together. :) (Well, thanks to 17hats, we kind of do!)
- You easily use 17hats even if you offer more than one type of business/service. This is particularly great for those of us who shoot birth photography on top of other session types: weddings, portraits, etc.
- On that note - we love their templates! 17hats allows you to create numerous templates of any kind! Quotes, contracts, emails, the list goes on. (This is also another pro when you are offering different services which need different contracts and workflows.)
- You can set up automatic invoicing and automatic email reminders about upcoming payment due dates.
- You can email your clients from inside the app so no need to have a million tabs open on your browser!
- You can sync your calendar so nothing is missed. But, even better, 17hats will alert you if you are already booked on the same day!!
- Each client receives a profile which is automatically saved, so when they book you in the future their contact information is already there, ready to go!
- You can also make private notes about clients in their profile that only you can see!
- You can have multiple projects assigned for each client. (Think: maternity, birth, and newborn!)
- Once you set up your custom workflow, you can turn it “on” and “off” with a click of a button.
- Accurate bookkeeping can be done right inside the app! (Finally! A language we understand!)
- On that note, you can export your bookkeeping data directly to Quickbooks for easy delivery to an accountant!
- The convenient and helpful dashboard holds all the pertinent information, including any unpaid invoices and unsigned contract alerts.
- You can accept credit card payments through 17hats by synching with your Stripe OR Square account. Talk about convenient for your clients!
- It is basically a one stop shop for your business: invoicing, contracts, email, calendar, to-do lists and bookkeeping! But you can also opt-out of any one of these services if you have something else that is already working for you. Only use 17hats in the ways YOU need!
Who doesn’t love something that helps keep their business professional and their brand cohesive?!
That’s exactly why we LOVE 17Hats!
Are you currently using a client management system and found that it's totally your jam? Whether its 17hats or not, we would love to hear what is working for you!
Comment below and tell us about what's working for you!
We're cheering you on!
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First, set aside time to dig into the material.
No, really! Open your calendar and schedule in time to review notes from a workshop or sit down and watch (or re-watch!) a webinar. This is crucial in actually reaping the benefits of the content. Before you invest in the workshop (online or in-person), watch the webinar, or read through the guide, make sure you can meet the time requirements by blocking off space on your calendar. And then respect that space! Do not schedule other meetings, sessions or tasks during that time so you can focus on learning.
Determine your top three take aways.
Learning new content can be overwhelming and sometimes leave you feeling like you don’t know where to start. Once you have finished going through all of the content, determine your most valuable take aways, and then rank them in order of importance to your and your business (remembering to consider the season it is in). This allows you to dive into these tasks one at a time. This will improve your workflow, client experience, and overall business success.
Give yourself a due date.
It may sound silly, but it helps to know “I need to get these things done by this time”. Whether it is making changes to the back end of your website, updating your head shots, or taking the time to tweak the new template you purchased, setting a due date for the tasks means you are more likely to accomplish them. This will get your business moving in the direction you want!
BONUS: Send feedback!
Did you like the content? Was it helpful for you? Was there something the creator or hosts could do to improve the educational experience? Are there more educational guides, or experiences that you see a need for in the industry? Let the leaders know! You never know, they may send along any updated and improved products to you as a thank you for your feedback.
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We have been up and down with colds, and sick kiddos, and sinuses... the WORKS! So hey! What better time than now to talk to you about the challenges of running a birth photography business during flu season?!
Flu season is typically considered the months of October-March, and as birth professionals working with pregnant women and infants, it is SO important that we take the health of our clients into consideration! In order to help manage being on-call during flu season, we have compiled a list of important tasks for you to do each year at the beginning of flu season. And, of course, how to handle things if you DO contract the flu virus (knock on wood!).
What To Do As Flu Season Approaches
- Contact your client's planned location of birth and determine their policy on visitors, vaccinations, etc. during flu season.
Anytime you are attending a birth in a new-to-you location, you should do this. However, it is of particular importance during flu season as the policies can temporarily change. While as the professional it is our responsibility to check these policies, you should also have your client talk to their care provider about your presence at their birth.
Secure a back-up for your back-up.Of course we always recommend you have a back-up for every birth client you book, but during flu season it is vital to secure a secondary back up in the event both of you are sick. It is common for geographical areas to be hit with viruses at once and it's possible you both may be sick. In order to ensure someone will be able to attend your client's birth, another back-up is imperative.
Educate your client about your policies.Ensuring your clients understand that you are not willing to put them or their baby’s health at risk during flu season is vital to giving them the experience they deserve. This is something you should be discussing with them at their consultation and you should include in your contract. We find that educating our clients proactively is the number one way to secure their satisfaction in working with you.
Pay closer attention to your self-care.Be sure you drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet and get plenty of rest. Take extra vitamin c and pay close attention to how often you are washing your hands, particularly after being out in public and before touching your face. We carry hand sanitizer in our bags, purses, and cars to be sure we always have something on us to help prevent contracting any new germs. Avoid being around family members or friends who are sick unless it’s absolutely necessary.
You Have the Flu, Now What?!
- Contact your back-up.
First and foremost, alert the person who is responsible for attending your client's birth if you are unable to do so. Contact your secondary back up as well, and be sure both have your client's questionnaire on hand, as well as her contact information.
- Rest, take care of yourself.
Getting better as soon as you can should be your top priority if you contract a cold or the flu. Follow your doctor's suggestions and get as much rest as possible. If you can, give your phone to your partner or a trusted family member so you may rest, and have them alert you if your client does contact you.
- If your client contacts you with early signs of labor, here is a template you can adjust and use:
“Thank you for the update! It is important to let you know that I am currently fighting the flu/cold symptoms and am not willing to risk you and your baby's health in order to be there. My back-up photographer has been alerted and will be on-call for me for the next 24 hours or until my symptoms resolve and it is safe for me to attend your birth.”
It is important to note that before this point, we have educated our clients on the possibility of this happening, so it shouldn't be a surprise that a back up photographer will attend their birth. Relax, and rest assured that your trusted back-up photographer will take care of your client and that you are doing the right thing by not jeopardizing their health.
- If you are through the thick of your illness, and have not had a fever (or been cleared by your doctor) we recommend wearing a mask if you attend your client's birth.
Finally, illness happens.
In our line of work the most important thing is the safety of our client's and their family’s health, as well as our own health and that of our family. Be confident in your business's policies, your contract, and educating your clients. This ensures having happy clients!
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We've all felt stuck at one time or another. Finding music for slideshows used to be one of our business headaches because it always seemed to take so much time. Today we are sharing a few tips that helped us save time and make this tiny, yet impactful, task MUCH easier!
Here are a few quick tips to help you find great slideshow music once and for all!
Find your favorite music websites first. Keep in mind you may opt to have a membership or to purchase songs individually.
Listen to sample music while you edit your pictures. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone and it works great to hear the music in the background while you are looking through the images.
Purchase 3-6 songs and reuse them for multiple slideshows. You will know when you feel "done" with a song, or when a particular birth story is unique enough that you may need to continue shopping for something more unique. The point is, you don’t have to use a new song for every slideshow you create!
Our Favorite Creative Commons Music Resources
Our Favorite Songs for Slideshows
Eyes Wide Open by Tony Anderson at Musicbed
description: dramatic, cinematic, intense, long
Always by Analog Heart at Musicbed
description: soft, gentle, storytelling, playful
Hold On by Tony Anderson at Musicbed
description: long, cinematic, storytelling, dramatic