We know what focus means in photography, but do you know what it means in your photography business?
In 1915, Albert Einstein presented his genius theory of relativity, which became one of the most famous scientific theories of the 20th century. For the three years prior, Einstein completely devoted himself to work on this theory, which is one of the secrets as to why it turned out successfully.
He focused on one thing.
Photo © John Salzarulo
Getting back to photography business, it often makes you a wearer of too many hats. You need to be a photographer, bookkeeper, customer service expert, designer, marketer, social media guru, branding master, CEO, and God knows who else to keep your photography business running. It’s impossible to be an expert in everything, but when you put all your resources into one task, you’ll see improvement faster and can then move on to the next task (or hat).
For tasks that are at all complicated, no matter how good you have become at multitasking, you’re still going to suffer hits against your performance
So let’s streamline your business model, cut the fat, and, while we’re at it, debunk this myth about multitasking.
Define Your Genre
Photographers need to define their genre/audience. I’ve talked about it in almost every article I’ve ever written. However, all I’m trying to explain is that it’s critically important to understand what or who you like photographing the most and build your business around the proper target audience.
Starting a photography business may make you feel like a kid in a candy store: you may think you can handle photographing weddings, models, kids, food, travel, cars and even more. This is the time to experiment. Play around with different photography types and styles so you’ll learn where you fit in and who your target audience is. Try to narrow your focus on just one type of photography you enjoy taking.
And then narrow it further.
Photo © Olu Eletu
The more things you remove from your portfolio, the more chances you’ll get requests to shoot what you love.
Moreover, knowing your genre will help you define your target audience, and then find clients in a particular niche.
Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule, means that 80% of your outcome comes from 20% of your inputs. You can apply the 80/20 rule to any aspect of your personal or business life.
For example, in any company 20% of employees handle 80% of a company’s output (if you have a day job, I know you are acutely aware of this fact). If you’re a business owner, you know that only 20% of clients bring 80% of income. You probably call (or text) only 20% of people from your overall contacts. You probably spend a big chunk of money on just a few things, such as mortgage and food.
Photo © Curious Bino
In other words, get over yourself. Not every little thing you do is important.
In photography business, long term clients (which are 20% or less) provide 80% of value. So, it’s better to focus on attracting and converting clients into long term ones.The same principle works for your daily routine. Determine the time of the day your productivity is highest and put the most important tasks in the schedule. Save your less important tasks, such as social media updates, for parts of the day when productivity is lower.
These days many of us rely on to-do lists to keep things organized. We utilize notebooks, tablets and smartphones. But none of these planner tools would be effective without action. So, it’s better to determine 3 main tasks you need to do each day in the morning.
Editor’s Note: these 3 tasks should always be moving you forward toward your goal (you’ve got a goal, right?).
Photo © Green Chameleon
Focus your efforts on this short list first, and then move to your low-priority tasks. As a business owner (or builder), your to-do list is endless. You have to take immediate action on the things that move your business forward.
Editing the family Christmas album can wait.
Multitasking is a Myth
Multitasking does not make us more productive, it’s one of biggest myths today. In fact, dividing our attention into various tasks has a negative impact on productivity and concentration.
David Meyer at the University of Michigan has spent the past few decades studying multitasking. After the research, Meyer said:
“For tasks that are at all complicated, no matter how good you have become at multitasking, you’re still going to suffer hits against your performance. You will be worse compared to if you were actually concentrating from start to finish on the task.”
Multitasking is possible in only one case; when one of the actions you do is automatic. For instance, walking and talking is possible, as walking is an automatic action.
Concentrate your attention on only one thing at the time, for example, writing a new blog post or retouching pictures. While you’re doing this, turn off your social media networks and phone, so you are not distracted during the process. It’s critically important to focus on the task so you can get it done faster and better. Don’t forget about small breaks to make some tea or drink water from time to time.
Get Ready To Hate Me
The best advice I can give you is to get up early in the morning. Ask any successful person and most likely you’ll find out that they are the early risers. Waking up earlier will give you some additional time in the morning and the mental clarity to prioritize your tasks.
Deal with it.
Of course, to get up early and not feel like crap, you have to go to bed early, too. Have strict time boundaries to stay productive, especially if you’re a freelance photographer and you manage your schedule yourself.
Photo © Pawel Kadysz
Advanced tip: calculate the estimated time you need to finish each task you have. This way you’ll know exactly how much stuff you can pack into your day and where you’ve got some free time. Having a deadline is great motivation.
Over to You
Focusing on one thing at a time is a skill. Skill means you have to put in the work to master it. Working to develop this skill will make you more productive.
And productivity always equals business growth.