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I am a food + product photographer & educator specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable brands. When I am not working with clients, I empower creatives to start their journey by sharing my knowledge on the business of food + product photography.
The fourth quarter of the year is one of the busiest times of the year for entrepreneurs and photographers. But it’s also the perfect time to get ahead and prepare for the new year!
Although it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the end of the year, this period of time presents such a valuable opportunity to reflect and prepare for what’s coming next.
Setting yourself up for success in your business doesn’t have to take TONS of time or effort. Small, strategic steps will help you seamlessly prepare for the new year and complete all of the tasks you need to accomplish during Q4.
For so many photographers, the fourth quarter is a busy but beautiful time of year. Although you usually have a LOT going on, you also have a chance to reflect and plan ahead.
Most of us start thinking about our goals as the end of the year approaches. But you need to take steps to prepare for the new year before you actually sit down and plan out your goals!
Get out a piece of paper, open up a new Google Doc, or create a “Reflection” list in Trello. It’s time to focus on three key reflection questions to help you prepare for the new year in terms of your mindset as a photographer.
First, let’s reflect on what you accomplished in your photography business this year. Think about both big and small accomplishments—anything that you’re really proud of.
For some inspiration, here are some ideas:
Of course, all of those achievements are tied to your photography business…but you should also reflect on your personal achievements!
Write down your biggest and smallest achievements, and list out as many as you can brainstorm! This is a key first step in adjusting your mindset to prepare for the new year.
Next, let’s think about the lessons we learned over the last year. Photographers (and all entrepreneurs) experience lots of challenges, but the biggest obstacles are really the biggest learning opportunities.
What negative experiences did you encounter this year, and what lessons can you (or did you) learn from them?
Try to write down the most important lessons you’ve learned this year. Reflecting on your negative experiences feels overwhelming, but it’s really helpful in opening your eyes to how you’ve grown this year. And just like with the achievements, you can include personal lessons and challenges here, too.
The final question you need to ask yourself as you prepare for the new year is this: what could you have achieved this year, but didn’t?
Here, we’re talking about ideas that didn’t pan out, plans that needed to change, and things you wish had gone differently. You don’t need to write these things down, but they’re worth reflecting on.
The part you will want to write down is why those things didn’t work out. Dig deep and try to figure out the reasons behind anything that went off-track!
Do you know what held you back from finding success this year? What types of things do you need to let go of in terms of your mindset as you prepare for the new year? Being honest here is hard, but it’s so worth it.
Now that you’ve done some serious reflection and mindset work, let’s talk about specific strategies to prepare for the new year during Q4. As a photographer, these steps are going to help you immensely and set you up for success next year!
Start off by setting your goals and creating a game plan for what you hope to accomplish. If this is a struggle for you, you’re not alone! Here’s a tip: start with one broader goal for the year overall, and then select a few smaller goals that align with your main goal.
Once you set your goals, you need to actually take the time to outline how you plan to achieve them. Set deadlines and timelines, and strategize what you’ll do if you get off track to correct yourself.
This will be your new action plan for the upcoming year! From there, you’ll want to revisit the goals you set and check in with your action plan a few times throughout the year. Things change, and you should adjust accordingly.
That’s why this is one of the most important foundational steps to take as you prepare for the new year.
Related: How to Implement a Goal Action Plan
Have you ever logged into your email inbox and seen a truly DAUNTING number? As emails pile up in our inboxes, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed.
Luckily, this is a fixable problem…and Q4 is the perfect time to handle it and prepare for the new year. Start the year off right with an uncluttered inbox.
So, how do you do this?
Here are some steps to take:
Once your inbox is organized, you need to implement a plan for keeping it that way. Create a folder system that works for you, or create workflows inside your project management system to help you deal with emails each day or week.
You can also create filters for your inbox to keep things clutter-free! Once the new year starts, try to make sure you clean out your inbox at least monthly to save yourself a headache later.
This is one of the best tips to help you prepare for the new year as a photographer during Q4. Do you know those small tasks that linger on your to-do list forever? It’s time to take care of those.
Try to handle and check off as many small tasks as you can from your list. File any paperwork, tie up loose ends, send follow-up emails, clean your office.
These tasks might seem small, but they make a huge difference in how you feel. As you prepare for the new year, your goal is to start off on the right foot—and handling small tasks is a great way to set yourself up for success.
Especially since Q4 is so busy, most of us leave a LOT of small tasks for ourselves to deal with in January. Set aside 15 minutes each day to handle something on your list during Q4, and then you can spend January doing what really matters.
Are you ready to hit the ground running and really prepare for the new year? These tips are going to make such a difference in how you feel heading into next year.
Your photography business will seriously grow and flourish when you take the time to handle what’s important now!