As an entrepreneur, we have so many business ideas. All of our ideas can be overwhelming and many of us struggle with organizing and implementing all of these new projects.
In this training, we will explore some methods to organize all of your ideas as well as give you some tools to take action and actually bring your brilliant business ideas to life!
Transcript of Video Training
Melissa: Hey Everyone.
Paul: Hey Everyone. It's Paul.
Melissa: It's Melissa.
Paul: We're photographer entrepreneurs.
Paul: We're so excited.
Paul: To be here.
Melissa: Welcome to our monthly training. So, I feel like it's been a while. The month was like crazy and oh my gosh, it's already time for this.
Paul: I know. We had an incredible busy summer. I'm not sure how you guys are doing. When you're checking in, either live or on the replay, please definitely still chime in because even after when we do the replay, we'll come back in and answer questions via text and everything as well.
Paul: If you get a chance, say hello. Say who...well we'll know who you are because it'll be there. But definitely let us know and let us know where you're from.
Paul: And that would be awesome.
Melissa: Yeah. Any questions along the way, that we can answer, we'd be happy to do that.
Paul: I'll tell you what. So, when you...you're about to begin. I'm just going to jump on and make sure I re-share this into our Facebook.
Melissa: Yes, absolutely.
Paul: Is that okay?
Melissa: Absolutely. So, for those of you not knowing what this is all about, this is our monthly training that we do. And we want to give a big shout out to 17hats that allow us to do this training. So, every month we do a different topic relating to photographer entrepreneurship. And today we have some really exciting stuff to talk about because we're actually coming up onto the fourth quarter. So this is the perfect time in some things to talk about having to do with our topic, to get some stuff in place, because fourth quarter; no matter how busy or not busy you were this year, this is a really relevant time. Because what you do now is going to set the tone and the pace for next year.
So, we joke around that a lot of people sleep during this time and start to hibernate and slow down. But now is not the time to sleep. Got to stay awake. You got to stay on your game. Because now is the time really that you're building momentum for the next year. Because, when January rolls around, you're not going to automatically have a bunch of businesses just show up. That happens by design. That happens by the systems that you have in place. That happens by the action that you take. That happens by the marketing efforts that you do. So, it's all about what you do now in this fourth quarter that we're coming up on that's so important to really speed you and momentum you along the way so that you can really start off 2018 with a bang.
I cannot believe that we're already talking about 2018.
Paul: I know, isn't crazy?
Melissa: It's crazy. So Eddie's in here from Tampa. Hey Eddie.
Paul: Hey Eddie.
Melissa: Yes. Yay 17hats, yeah we love them. So, there a great crew over there. So, do you want to go ahead and just shared it.
Paul: You do this way quicker than I do.
Melissa: I do so much better at that.
Paul: I feel like I'm in a tent. Anybody will just see my head down. I'm just sharing it into the photographer entrepreneur Facebook.
Paul: There's over 14,000 fellow photographers around the world that are in there. And I just want to make sure...because we're broadcasting from our page and also web...our webinar format as well. So, we just have it in multiple places at the same time.
Melissa: We want to get the information out to everyone.
Paul: I just want to make sure that was there. And just like what Melissa was saying, it's amazing how many people this time of the year. Especially if you're a natural light shooter. You're out there. You're photographing a ton of sessions. You're probably going to be doing, lining up...you should have been already working on your Fall session promotions and everything, to get people transitioned, already thinking about it because kids are going back to school right now. Labor Day weekend is happening. Like, all this stuff is happening right? All the busyness. The money is really going to last minute haircuts and school shopping and supplies and clothes and like that.
And then when the dust settles, then it's going to be like oh yeah, all those parents are like taking all those cell phone images of their kids first day of school, right? So, it's like a life moment.
Paul: Here's another year that's passing. So, it's a great time to do Fall sessions again. But then I tell you what. It kind of dives a little bit because we get out of the whole, this time of the year with the weather that's decent in a lot of places. Then it's like, okay, those that don't have studios, they kind of get quiet this time of year. And it's a little dangerous because you had this momentum that's happening and then all of a sudden you stop.
Paul: Doing the promoting and promotions and everything and a lot of us go into hibernation and you know, holiday hibernation and I tell you what, it's that point definitely this last quarter as Melissa was saying, that if you are not ramping up during this period of time, you are basically sabotaging you 2018. Like you're going to...because again, a lot of us are guilty of it.
Paul: I remember. I have a friend of mine that works at the local YMCA, and she would tell me the thousands of people that would show up the first two weeks of January.
Melissa: Oh gosh, yeah.
Paul: It's like she said, it's not even worth going in there because you'll have to fight for a machine, you cannot do anything. Because everybody woke up December 31st, they're like oh my goodness, I have to make New Years' resolutions because I didn't do all these things last year. I have to do them for the new year. And then what happens though is if you didn't already do all the promotions...it amazes me how many people, even for Valentine's Day, people think, two weeks before Valentine's Day, oh my goodness, I need to do a promotion. Like it snuck up on them, right? It's like you need to have that runway. You need to be going in, boom, promoting yourself.
So, I know Melissa has some great points...
Melissa: Yeah, yeah.
Paul: And is going to go over these pieces with you.
Melissa: It ties right into today's topics. So, today's topic is bringing your business brilliance to life. And really how to implement and organize all your awesome ideas. Because this is the time now when you're thinking about what we can do this fourth quarter and then you're already thinking about next year. And so, as entrepreneurs, we're all guilty of this. We have all these brilliant ideas, and it's like what do we do with all that information?
Paul: It's overwhelming a lot of times.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah.
Paul: So, what is our first point that we have for today?
Melissa: Well, the first thing I just want to get...tell you to try to keep in mind is that...and this was an interesting statistic that I read. So, something to really keep. Psychologists say that we can hold five to nine different thoughts in our immediate memory. So, if you think about that, when you have all those thoughts and you can only hold five to nine, what happens to all the rest? They kind of go by the wayside. They might end up...you might forget about them. If we leave it to our mind alone to really have those ideas in place, then we're going to forget things, we're gonna drop the ball. So one of the first things that we talk about is a capture list. And the idea of a capture list. And how you can use capture lists to really implement those really brilliant business ideas so that you can move forward with them and actually it's not just an idea, but you can actually take steps to implement it.
Paul: I'll tell you what, I'm guilty. I know before Melissa came in and started implementing this within our business...like I would...and I'm sure you guys...if you guys are guilty of this like raise your hand, give a thumbs up or something. That it's really easy to get overwhelmed in this business. You feel like a thousand, two thousand things are just like overwhelming. And I'll tell you what happens with me, I'll be very frank, is that when I feel overwhelmed, I shut down. Like I start self-sabotaging. I'll sabotage my business. I'll almost go into a hermit-mode.
Paul: It's almost like some variation of a depression moment. Even though I'm busy, it's kind of like everything starts crumbling apart and starts breaking down for me and I get really, really overwhelmed. Very stressed out and sometimes what I realize though is that, when we start doing the capture list, it's like, oh, there's was like the three big items that we had to get done, and then there was like, maybe all these, but really it was like six or seven little items. But when all of them are recycling in my head, it just gets so overwhelming. And I know, personally when I self-sabotage myself a lot. I got a lot more organized with her in my life.
Melissa: And that's also the self-sabotage. It can look a lot of different ways. It can look like shutting down like Paul says or it can be your focusing your time on things that don't make sense like Facebook scrolling and doing all that other unnecessary stuff, the mindless stuff. For me, sometimes too, watching way too much reality TV.
Paul: Bachelor in Paradise. Bachelor in Paradise. She's stuck into.
Melissa: And you're allowed to do that. You're allowed to have that time but if you're finding yourself constantly just distracting yourself with all these things because you just cannot get everything together, that's where you're in need of a capture list.
So, basically, a capture list is getting all those ideas, those thoughts, out of your head and onto paper. There's something psychological about getting it out of your head onto paper or onto some other device, which I'm going to talk to you as well because some people work really well with pen and paper, and some people work really well with digital. Which no right or wrong, it's about finding a system that's right for you.
But the concept of a capture list is really whenever you have an idea or to-do task or whatever the case might be, is just to get it out of your head and onto paper. And psychologically when you do that, you're taking that from your brain and onto paper, and you know it's there. You know it's there for you to do eventually. Maybe it's as an immediate task or maybe it's down the road or maybe it's like a five year idea down the road. But, at least it's out of your head now and your brain is kind of be like, oh, okay it's safe. That idea is safe. It's in that little idea bank. It's just waiting there for you to cash out on it.
Paul: Yeah. I tell you what, when I write things down...I'm definitely...I love lists...
Paul: In general. That I've had for me. Even when...because 17hats sponsors but we've been using them for several years. It's just part of our business. Before they came around and asks us to help out with education, and the thing with it though was like, when it was locked in inside, I would still print out a sheet that I could walk around with. Then they came out with a mobile app which is really cool.
Melissa: That's what I was just gonna talk about. Yeah.
Paul: I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Melissa: No it's good. So, this is all the idea with capture list. So, capture list could be a traditional journal. I have my journal here that I keep everything.
Paul: She keeps everything.
Melissa: And you should have some sort of journal that you have. I'm actually kind of a notebook hoarder. I don't know if I'd recommend that. But maybe different notebooks for different...
Paul: I have to say that's where it fails. This is honesty time now. This is where it fails. Because, when it's electronic at least it's organized.
Melissa: It's organized.
Paul: So, Melissa does have this fetish of notebooks.
Melissa: I do, I love them.
Paul: So she will write down her capture list in notebooks, right.
Paul: Which, is at least a good system. Getting it out of your head. We definitely become less stressful when we do that.
Melissa: Oh my gosh.
Paul: Because we even have days, even now. We're very thankful, very busy but when we start to get overwhelmed, I immediately say...because we just said it last week...I'm like let's write down a capture list...
Melissa: Let's do a capture list.
Paul: So, she starts writing it down and the funny thing though is that she does write a lot of things down in notebooks, but what happens is like, a week will go by, and I'll say, "hey Melissa, where's that email that we were gonna send out, that we worked on?" And she's like, "oh, was it in this notebook, in this notebook?"
Melissa: Yes, yes, yeah.
Paul: So, that's kind of the downfall of the old school way, even though I do like a printed thing.
Paul: I think, it's really for me, it's like tangible, I can feel it. Even though, it's organized...
Paul: If you keep it organized...
Paul: And inside leave it in a cell phone.
Melissa: So, that's where if the journal is like a little bit messy for you, digital is really well to be your capture list. So, 17hats, like Paul was saying, has a mobile app where you can actually, on your to do list, just type it right into your phone. And you're always gonna have your phone with you. And what's great is that, it will sync with the 17hats software. So whatever you type in it, it will sync with it. So, it kind of goes along with it too.
Paul: I think, what I like, is how it syncs with Google Calendar...
Paul: Because, Melissa is actually in the software more than I am. I'm actually very naive to the software. That's as you grow your business, you find out what your wheelhouse is. I do really well with photography and client meetings and everything and Melissa does all the follow-up for our business. And I have to say that if I was to dive-in to the software today, I would get lost. Because like, it's not a function of my daily process, but it is for Melissa. But, I like the side of it that it...with the Google Calendar.
Melissa: Yes, Google Calendar.
Paul: Because she does all the appointments too.
Melissa: I do.
Paul: I'm not allowed to touch the calendar.
Melissa: No he's not.
Paul: Even all the personal appointments. I'll mess her up if I touch the calendar.
Melissa: Another idea too for a capture list. Just to give you ideas because it doesn't...again, it doesn't matter, what's best for you. If you're better at pen and paper, that's good. If you're digital, whether it's the 17hats App or if you just have like the notepad in your phone. But, if you're like driving, you can also do the audio recording. So, if you record yourself...
Paul: Non hand-held though.
Melissa: Not hand-held. Or if you're taking a walk or out and about, where you just talk and talk about things you need to do and just talk it out. That's a great way too to capture your ideas when you're in the moment. Usually the best ideas come in the most inopportune times. That's what we find. So, it's usually going to be when you're out and about running errands or you might be in the shower or doing something, so, you should always have like some sort of way to capture your ideas so you can get it out of your head and onto that paper. And that is gonna reduce so much stress for you.
Paul: Even just on capture list in general, like you said with the ideas...
Paul: We had to do...very frankly...we had to do what we call, spring cleaning...
Melissa: Yes, this leads into the second point actually...
Paul: Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
Melissa: You're just jumping ahead.
Paul: You're on it, you're on it.
Melissa: I know, I know.
Paul: She's the organizer, and I just free flow.
Melissa: I am, I am. So, I want to say hi to Angela from New Zealand.
Paul: New Zealand in the house.
Melissa: Hello, hello.
Paul: Hello, how's it going Angela?
Melissa: So, this is the part we're spring cleaning. So, the idea with capture list is great, but then you have to get to the point where you're sorting, you're filing, and you're deleting your idea because the capture list itself cannot just be there forever just like...to hold your ideas. You have to have some sort of way to sort it. So, spring cleaning is one way. So, you want to talk about that...
Paul: Yeah, so I tell you what, as entrepreneurs, don't we always come up, especially as photographer entrepreneurs, don't we always come up with a billion ideas. We see something on Creative Live, we see a blog, we something come across our feed, and we're like, oh my goodness, I'm gonna do that. Right, and it's like a squirrel, and you're like over here. And then, two weeks later, you're like, oh my goodness, this is a great idea and your over here. And all of a sudden, you get overwhelmed because you may only have the first stage, or the first couple of steps done and like 13 different things. And you're like, oh my goodness, I'm overwhelmed. Because none of them...it's like a rat race...none of them are getting accomplished. And every once and a while...I'd say every two to three months, we purposely...becuase we create a lot of our own projects as well, where guilty of it...that we look at it and we say, "okay, what's really honestly not moving the needle?" That maybe in the moment we got hyped up, and we're excited, and we're, "oh wow, this is cool."
Melissa: "This is gonna be awesome".
Paul: And then afterwards, it's just kind of like, "this really doesn't fit with what we're doing and just by normal habits we just didn't follow through on it, but it's still bogging us down. We're still going over, maybe it's an extra Facebook group we're in, or maybe it's an extra page we created or a promotion or something and it just didn't grab.
So, we honestly, we do go through every two to three months and we do what's called spring cleaning. What are the ideas that are like seriously bogging us down.
Paul: And definitely...I'm mot sure if you have it there, I like the psychological feeling of either checking off when I see that on the list, when you do that with the work flows in 17hats, but even for me, like crossing off...
Melissa: Crossing it...it's like, done.
Paul: I just feel like, at the end of the day, when I can see, "wow, we got these accomplished."
Paul: Psychologically, that makes me feel like I had a productive day today.
Melissa: Yeah. Absolutely, absolutely. Spring cleaning, I think is essential because you can have all these great ideas but if you don't have some sort of system in place to sort them, or delete them, or file them away for later, you're just gonna have this big list. So, the spring cleaning is definitely one point. You can take that big capture list that you have and there's a lot of different ways you can sort it. And again, there's no right or wrong. It's about with finding the system that's best for you.
So, some people like to do almost like a Rolodex type of system. Where you just kind of write these ideas on index cards and you can put them in a little file box and then just kind of go through them and pull them out and is this still relevant or not? Other people like to take their items from that capture list and on a daily basis, do almost like a to do list and pick like three items off of that capture list. I just recommend three. People are like, "just three?" Just three. So just pick three off the list that you're gonna work on that particular day. Because what happens is then, I need to do more, I need to do more, then we end up doing a lot of everything like half effort. We don't put our full effort into it.
Paul: I thought you were going to say something else there.
Melissa: Yeah. So, I censored myself. But, yeah, so it's about taking those items off that big, big list and chunking it down. And I'm gonna talk to you about chunking it down in just a minute. Again, these are all productivity hacks that you can do. Because really it's about what can you do to make your life be more ease, simpler, less stress, less overwhelmed, and the big overwhelm happens is when we see all these things that we have to do, and we're like, oh my gosh, I have so much to do. I don't even know where to start and then you don't wind up doing anything. And that's the worst. That's the worst.
Paul: Here's something I just want to throw out, which goes along the lines to this. Because this is through my experience of teaching tens of thousands of real estate agents through the years and then also into the photography world. When I had my little over two hundred agents that worked for me, the most productive agents, they were on the go, they were just getting things done. They didn't focus on rearranging and redoing the list or anything like that. They just worked on the activity. Where sometimes we complicate things in order to distract ourselves from doing the real work. Because it's more comfortable. It's a little bit of pinch. It's a little bit of going outside your comfort zone. If you know you should go out and contact X amount of people today, or go to a networking event and get out of your comfort zone, and it's easier to have this overwhelm sometimes.
So, even though, I think some people, again, coming back to self-sabotage with this...
Paul: I think some people kind of reside in that space.
Melissa: That sounds like me.
That sounds like me.
Melissa: Well it's all of us. It's all of us. Absolutely.
Paul: Some of my most nonproductive agents...if you went to their desk, years ago, they would have mounds and mounds of paperwork and things like, everything was so complicated. And they spent all day rearranging to get ready, to get prepared, to get ready and they just never took action. And I think the irony is once you start doing a capture list, once you start doing this, and you visually see exactly what you need to do, you don't have excuses anymore. Like it's right there. Do these items that are gonna help you reach your goals. That's one of the downfalls of being self-employed, is we have to be self-accountable.
Paul: And a lot of times we let ourselves go and self-sabotage. Same thing.
Melissa: Same thing. We're all guilty of it.
Paul: So, it's like productivity, it's amazing. I ironically...we just talked about this the other day with a friend, I just told him, you know, when Melissa and I met, I was really, really busy, like seriously busy with photography and she was very surprised coming in as a one person operation, the multi-six-figure business that I created. And I told her right out of the gate, when she made the decision to start helping out, I was like, "I want to let you know, even though this is all the business we do, I have more than that, that go right into the garbage can, because I self-sabotage all the time and I'm not getting back to people, I'm not doing the follow-up I need to do, I just keep messing up." And that's when she came in and took the reins.
And then Montavi said something about the templates earlier on.
Paul: Yeah. That's one of the things that we did to create those workflows for us. Is like, we went down step by step, like what is the perfect world. And I'm not sure if you're talking about systems.
Paul: I better shut up.
Melissa: No, no, no. Yeah, systems are so important to have in place. And a lot of people, especially as entrepreneurs, we're like, oh, I came into this business because I wanted to be my own boss. I don't really have something like kind of, tell me what to do but you have to have those systems in place because you'll end up self-sabotaging yourself. You'll end up making things harder for yourself. Anything that you do on a regular basis, on a daily basis, you need to have some sort of system for. Just like any other major company out there. McDonald's, they have the turn-key style where they talk about, you know you turn on the lights, you do this, step a, b, c. So have you thought about that for your business when you sit down. What's your turn-key method to get started for your day?
Paul: True, true.
Melissa: Yeah. Now, the other concept I want to talk a little bit about too because we kind of went into it is, when you have all these projects, and things going on and it can get overwhelming, how do you navigate through that? Because again as we're going through this process, you might have some bigger projects. And especially now that we're in the fourth quarter, and we're looking into the new year, how do we organize that?
So, there's a system called chunking down. And that's basically, when you have this large project, this looks like this big, big thing that's out of the realm to achieve, it's taking that and breaking that down into little chunks and achieving those little pieces so that you get the big project done.
Melissa: So there's lots of different methods for doing that. Whether you have a white board where you write down everything that's involved with this one project and then you slowly take those tasks down. There's also another method, which I'm not going to go into too much detail but it's called Scrum.
Paul: Yeah, I was gonna suggest Scrum.
Paul: A Scrum board.
Melissa: If you want to talk about Scrum board. That's a great method to chunk down big, big projects.
Paul: So there's a book based on other methods. So, I don't want to take away from the book itself. So definitely look into it. There's a lot of information online. But Scrum board is really where you take a board and you look at the specific stages of a project that you have. And what you do, you actually take sticky notes and what you do is each sticky note represents one physical task that you need to do. So, of course they all would start in the first stage and what you do is you would have all these sticky notes, boom, boom, boom, boom. Because these are the major things that you need to get done. And off of the top of my head, because we used to use this system but it's been a couple of years now. We should probably go back to it.
Melissa: We probably should.
Paul: Because it was very effective for big projects. And what happens is, you take one of the sticky notes, and I forget there are stages.
Melissa: Yep. How far long in the project. You just move it along.
Paul: You just move the sticky note over. That way, at a glance, you can just see exactly, just visually, where you are in the process of everything.
Melissa: Yep, yep.
Paul: And again, it takes something that's very overwhelming, where you're thinking, oh my goodness, there's a million things. There could be like 30 steps in this big project that you're doing, but you're slowly watching it. And the whole idea, is you're seeing everything slowly move into the finish category and you know you didn't miss anything.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah.
Paul: It's a really cool visual. So look that up. Scrum.
Paul: The Scrum Method. Scrum boards. It's really, really cool and we should go back to that.
Melissa: Absolutely, absolutely.
Paul: No, I'm just saying.
Melissa: As an entrepreneur you have to be your own project manager. You have to really learn to manage yourself. So, definitely having those methods in place, so, the white board, the scrum board. If you're more of a digital person, like if you're look at a system like 17hats has a project manager part within the system, so you can actually create projects and breakdown those projects with the different steps you have to do. Whether it's emails or to do lists or what not.
So, there's lots of different ways to do it. It's just figuring out what's going to be best for you. But this is what's going to best set you up for success so that you can project for the future. Because again if we're talking about now, it's fourth quarter, and we're looking into the new year, and it can get very overwhelming, breaking this down to forecasts, what the next couple of months are going to look like, so you can build that runway so that when January comes, you already got the momentum going.
Paul: And I'm totally gonna throw my two cents in.
Melissa: Oh boy.
Paul: The one thing I want you guys to think about is again the shiny objects of the business right? And what you need to be careful of is you should definitely have a long term, definitely a five year goal set in place as well as like, for instance, this year into next year, because all these shiny objects, even though they seem cool and exciting in the moment, they could totally take you off track, right? So, you could be busy and be overwhelmed and be working on these projects and going down the list, but it's stuff that's not gonna move the needle for you. It's gonna create more stress in your business, which will then come into your household. It will hit your finances and everything. Because I think, a lot of us get caught up that we're spending a lot of time doing things that are not going to make a difference. That are not seriously...and we see it all the time.
Melissa: Oh yeah.
Paul: You're most likely on...you've been told from different webinars and seminars and workshops, you need to be on Snapchat, you need to be on Instagram, you need to do these stories, you need to do this and that and you got to be on Facebook, you got to be on Twitter, you got to be on LinkedIn and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's like all of a sudden, you became a full-time social media manager, and you're not doing photography anymore.
Melissa: Exactly. Exactly.
Paul: So, you just got to be careful of that because some of this overwhelm could be with tasks that shouldn't even be on the list.
Melissa: Absolutely, absolutely.
Paul: So, that was just single insight.
Melissa: No. That's good. Because again, it's all about reducing overwhelm, being less stressed and again, we're all about the hustle and grind but at the end of the day, I want more grace and ease in business. I want to be able to just ease into it. I want to think simple and you cannot do that if you don't have systems in place. Simplicity just doesn't happen, you have to create it.
Visoky has a great point. She says understand I'm a sophomore at System Engineers and part of our process is developing large software systems. It's the same thing. Absolutely.
So, look at these big businesses, if they're doing something right, what can you take from those systems and apply it to your business as an entrepreneur.
Paul: Yeah. Because a system is exactly that. It will get you a desired result. So if we're leaving it up here all the time, true inconsistency.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
Paul: So, it's like all about being consistent. And the irony is even for Melissa and I, even where we've gone over the last couple of years with our own photography business, we're taking on less business now and making more money because we're more proficient with what we're doing. So now we don't have to attract as many clients, we're taking more vacations. We just recently went to Canada and we went to Williamsburg with David and brought Bentley our dog who is hiding out down here.
Melissa: Don't jinx it.
Paul: He's kind of like asleep right this second. But it's just something that has allowed us the freedom to do those things.
Melissa: Just the other day I said, "oh my gosh, I really feel... I know we're busy but I don't feel as stressed." I feel like we're really on top of things and I was like, "yeah, this is great. Now let's keep doing this."
Paul: And that's where we want everybody else to get. Because it's so easy to complicate things in this business and there's so many shiny objects everywhere that will just mainly overwhelm you and it will get you to buy into somebody's product or service but then it might not actually move the needle in your business.
Melissa: Yeah. Absolutely. And that actually leads to the last point I want to bring up. Whatever system you have, so whether you're a pen and paper person, whether you're a digital person, or whatever other method there is, you have to trust the system. You have to set up the system and you got to follow the system and trust along the way. What I was saying just the other day, "oh my gosh, don't feel overwhelmed." Well, that didn't just happen overnight. We've had these systems in place and somethings we had in place, they worked really well for us and other things through trial and error, isn't the best for us. I think for us, we like to use a combination of the pen and paper, the 17hats, we have a white board too that we do and we pull out on occasion when we do more of the bigger, bigger projects. When we're really doing almost a mind map of moving forward and that's when we talk a little bit more about projection for the new year. Because you always having to look ahead.
So, whatever the system is or that you're looking into, just pick something and stick with it and implement it and follow it each and everyday. It's a habit that you're going to have to get into, but then when you do that, you're gonna start to see the results. Because like I said, with just the other day that comment, we actually don't feel as overwhelmed. That didn't happen overnight. We've had these systems kind of working and working and working for us.
Paul: Right. And what I would like you to do is you should...we're going into the last quarter of the year, right? You should be planning 2018.
Melissa: Absolutely. Right now. Right now.
Paul: Right now. That way, you're doing activities over the next several months that are not only going to help you in the next several months financially but will get you kicked into the beginning of the year. Yeah boom, right out of the gate. While everybody else is just starting up, you have that much leverage. You're that further ahead on the race ahead of everybody else. So you should be thinking about next year right now and planning for how you want to have an incredible bang out in the first quarter of the year. Because I tell you what. Everybody else is gonna be hibernating after they get through their little santa or holiday sessions, they're just all gonna be asleep and this gives you a chance to get a jumpstart on them. You should be definitely building your audience, building your influence, doing things right now that will...I'm telling you, just to kickstart it into that year.
Melissa: And if you want some ideas on that. One thing that you could really just start doing is think about next year and in a perfect year, how many promotions do you want to do? Like for example, if you're a senior photographer, do you want to have a spring promotion, a fall promotion? So, if you were to think about some of these promotions, what would be the steps to lead up to that promotion, to that sale or to that event or whatever the case might be. And that's where we talked about that concept of chunking down. So, if that's a promotion, what are all the things that need to happen? So, this is where you can map it out and you can put it on a big piece of paper or your post-it notes and kind of see all those little steps, but think about those promotions. This goes with everything.
If you're going along with holidays and you want to do holiday promotions, so Valentine's Day is a great example, you should start planning it out now if you're doing you know boudoir sessions or couple sessions or whatever the case might be. Plan it out now as to what those steps that need to happen beforehand so that when February rolls up, you're not like, "oh I'm gonna do a Valentine's Day Special". It's already too late.
Paul: Yeah right. Angela...
Melissa: "Good idea to start now. Everyone here will be on summer break". Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Paul: Perfect. I'll tell you what. It's amazing me every year, every holiday sneaks up on every photographer it seems like and it's like, hold on. They never moved it.
Melissa: It happens every year.
Paul: That's the date every year, right? So maybe that's something we'll talk about on our next web class for everybody, is how to create a promotions calendar. Maybe that's a great topic that would probably be perfect timing for next month.
Paul: Really September. September is tomorrow. But it's something that looking at that, gives you the opportunity to really forecast and be very purposeful what you're gonna do and do things that are very specifically triggering that will cause a desired result, like coming back into the system. So, we leave it up here then it's always last minute, eleventh hour, trying to create people and leads, and all of these people have already been influenced by that point and time and they're already working with somebody or already did work with somebody.
So, this is all about having a longer runway as Melissa said earlier on, so that you can be more effective along the way. Great topic.
Melissa: Just as an example too just to share with you, for us in November, we have our Santa, Santas session so, but we know...
Paul: We're like over 60% booked.
Melissa: Booked already.
Melissa: We start that process like, in March, we're kind of teasing a little bit and July we usually have some sort of summer promotion and people are like, summer to think about Santa? But, I tell you what, like it's a process. And then we know, that coming after the holiday, that's gonna be the push there because we're almost booked up completely and that's gonna be great.
Paul: We book it out ever year. But, it's something that only happens because we have a system in place.
Melissa: Yeah. Yeah.
Paul: That's why we can almost guarantee, we know exactly how much money we're gonna make every year in November because of what we plan in advance and do. We didn't wait until November and say, oh crap, we want to do something with Santa, let's put a promotion out really quick. It's too late at that point.
So, having a promotions counter, doing things very purposely that are gonna take you towards your goals. It's all about consistency. When you have consistency and you don't have the peaks and valleys, you live more stress-free. That's really where we want to help get everybody.
Melissa: Absolutely. Yeah.
Paul: So, definitely the capture list. Everything that we talked about today. Did you want to review?
Melissa: Yeah. Review. So, for everyone again, remember, step number one is to get your capture list. Whatever the case that might be. Either in a journal, written form or if you're a more digital form, you can use on your phone or 17hats App or whatever other, Google Counter, how ever you want for the digital piece. Getting that capture list in place and definitely getting out of your head and getting on paper.
The second step is really once you get that capture list going and are consistent with capturing all your ideas, that capture list is not just storage forever, you have to do something with that list. So, it's whether you have to file away ideas, spring clean like we talked about, delete ideas completely, or figure out how to start implementing them. That's where we talked about the concept of chunking down. When you have bigger projects, to break down those big, big projects that seem so overwhelming into little steps. And again, on a side note, small action steps are best especially when you're starting to feel overwhelmed. Even if you just do one task towards a bigger project, that's going to reduce some of the overwhelm and then you can start to really celebrate more and more.
Because I think what happens a lot of times is we have these big projects and there's no end in sight and we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel and then we get super overwhelmed. But if we are able to chunk it down into little tasks and we're like, "ooh, I completed that task." There's something really fulfilling about crossing it off or be like, I did it. And you can celebrate more and then the more you celebrate those wins, it's going to motivate you to get that momentum going to finish this big, big project.
Paul: Yeah, that's awesome.
Melissa: And then the last thing again, is trusting the system. Getting some sort of system in place. There's so many resources out there so like I said, we love 17hats for the systems they have as far as with the mobility with the mobile app, with the project management within the system itself. The templates, the to do lists. There's a lot of resources out there. So whether again, the digital world or if you do good old fashion pen and paper, but whatever the case maybe just to have some sort of system in place so that you can really set yourself up for success.
Again, we're in the fourth quarter. So, this is like...
Paul: 2018 has already began.
Melissa: Exactly, 2018 has already began. So, let's finish out strong.
Paul: Yes. Excellent.
Melissa: Yeah. Yeah.
Paul: So, do you guys have any questions? We can stay on for a minute or two more. Answer any live questions.
Melissa: Yes, yes.
Paul: And then again, we can type it later on. If you're here and you've been lurking a little bit and you see a lot of people that are on but say hello.
Melissa: Say hello. If you have any last minute questions.
Paul: I know a lot of people are on mobile and they're not able to...
Melissa: It's harder to do that. Yeah.
Paul: I definitely have to say that when we did implement the system...because I used to do, when I trained my real estate agents many years ago, I learned from Earl Nightingale who was a speaker way back when and part of his program, I think it's called, Lead the Field, he explained the concept. And I used to use this every single day. In a way, it's like your capture list. It was very simple. It was one line across, all the way down, good spacing. And what you do is you write down everything that you need to get done today. Well naturally what do we do? Naturally we put all the easy stuff at the top of the list and we put the stuff we really need to do at the bottom of the list, right?
So what you're supposed to do is write out everything first and then you go back and you number them in order of importance. So, in the left hand column, I had a column and it actually said, order of importance as the title. And I had to then go back through and renumber. Because sometimes the number one thing I need to work on, I had at the bottom of the list. But then I couldn't escape it because I had to put a number one there. And then the whole idea behind this though, is that you start at number one and you keep going until it's complete, then you go to number two. Because if it is the most important thing, you shouldn't be working on the things that are less important.
What I was taught, what you're supposed to do, is before you go to bed is you take your list and you create a new list for the next day. That way, when you go to bed, you can shut down. You don't have to think about the thousand things you need to do. You have it on piece of paper or you have it in the program, and you just don't think about it.
Melissa: Like we said, from that capture list, to take items from that capture list and put it on that to do list and have that running capture list always going but then you really start to sort it out as to what's important and to do that day.
Paul: We just want to thank everybody for tuning in today. This is really exciting.
Melissa: Yes, yes.
Paul: We were trying to keep this consumable. Right around 35 minutes. We learn that as we make these longer, people cannot catch the replays as easy.
Melissa: It's a little harder.
Paul: We want to get a lot of great information.
Melissa: Jam pack as much information into this 1/2 hour or so.
Melissa: Thank you to 17hats again for sponsoring the webinar. We really appreciate it. They're wonderful, and we love that they support photographer education. So we're really happy to be part of sharing our knowledge and just starting this conversation.
Paul: Yeah. Excellent.
Paul: So, everybody until we talk again.
Melissa: Stay profitable.
Paul: Talk to you soon.