November 17, 2015
So have you ever wondered how I stay organized? Being a photographer that shoots weddings means there is a lot of information that you have to keep track of. When I first started my photography business back in 2010, I didn’t know much about what all was involved in running and managing a successful photography business. I honestly may have been a little naïve in what all it really took to run a business. I just knew that I loved shooting photography and I loved creating beautiful images for amazing couples! Did I know that I had to have a system for managing invoices in case of audit, or having contracts on file, or just a system in general for keeping track of who contacted me and for what dates? No, I just kinda winged it! Now I’m sure many of you are saying well it couldn’t have been that bad, right? Wrong!…
I knew that I had to do something, but the only thing I really knew was from my time working in an office and that was spreadsheets and folder management. Did it work for a bit? Sure! When I had 5 clients the whole year… but as my business started to grow so did my need for a more efficient system. I couldn’t spend time going through multiple folders and excel files to try to find the information I was looking for. I was making my client’s hand-fill out their contacts and mail them into me with potentially large checks. Then I would have to sit there and scan each page of their contact and check and mail it back to them so that we both had a record. It just wasn’t efficient and it wasn’t practical. Not to mention it was just not that professional.
Well, I did this for almost 3 years! 3 years of sitting and scanning and post offices and postage! Finally I decide to start asking around and seeing what people were using to keep track of everything in their businesses. I went to a workshop hosted by Katelyn James which is one of the first places I had heard of this thing called Online Studio Management. She gave us a super quick overview and I was hooked! How had I not heard of this gem earlier! When I got home I started doing my research. I signed up with 3 different Studio Management Programs and out of all of them Pixifi was my favorite! Was it similar to the rest, sure they all have similar features. So what made me choose Pixifi over the others? To be honest, TIM and his customer service team! It was un-like any of the others!
During my free 2 month trial, I quickly joined the Facebook Support Group. (psst my code for a free trial is at the bottom of this post) Even though I wasn’t a paying Pixifi member they were there to help. I could ask a question no matter how big or small and within a short time get the answer I was looking for. No matter how many times someone may have asked the same silly question they would answer it with the same humble down to earth help. Tim is constantly working on updates and always asks for input on what he should work on next to make the program the best it can be for his users. I recently had the chance to meet Tim at a conference and let me tell you he is no different in person! He is truly a genuine amazing individual, that strives to help other photographers get their life back and get organized.
Okay now to get down to the actual program of Pixifi… and the techy reasons why I love it!
This one is super easy… the ability to access it ANYWHERE! Everything is online and right at my fingertips. Say I am at a conference and I need to check my date availability really quick, I can just pull it up on my phone. I am editing on the beach (okay maybe not, but one day) and I need to set up a payment reminder email… done! No worrying about it being tethered to my computer and some folder that I only have access to if I am on that computer! Alone this feature is worth it!
Client Management and Appointments Reminders:
Each time I get a client I automatically set them up as a lead. From there I can keep track of the emails they sent me, what I’ve sent them and if I need to schedule any reminder or follow-up emails. Also I have my main screen set up to show me all my current booked events and meetings. It’s great to keep me on track of what is coming up on my calendar.
Online proposals, contracts and payment/invoicing:
My client’s have the ability to view all of my wedding packages and add-on services all online and select just like the would if they were ordering something to create a custom wedding proposal. From there I can set-up a meeting and know exactly what they are looking at as far as their wedding day. After the meeting I add a contract to their proposal and send it back to them to finalize their choices and sign the online contract. Basically all they have to do is fill out an information page and it auto-populates onto a contact that they then initial after the terms and sign the bottom with either their mouse or finger depending on which device they are using at the time of signing. The contact them immediately takes them to an invoice for their deposit via Paypal (which I have preset in the booking page). Once they make payment I auto-sign the contract and the booking is completed! It’s a seamless process. All I have to do then is set-up their client portal email to be sent out and bam it’s done!
So seriously this one is probably one of my favorite features… how many times have you been going through your day and you think OMG I forgot to send that email to so and so client about their session and it’s tomorrow! Crap! Well, with Pixifi once I setup a session on the calendar I just set a reminder email with my custom template for say 10am 3 days before and click okay. Done! Email is scheduled and come 10am 3 days before their session while I am chugging away on editing the email is sent directly from my email address with everything I already pre typed and I didn’t even have to think about it. I love it! It makes me look like I have everything organized and I know what I am doing. Seriously this is an amazing tool. I use it for reminding clients about consultation meetings, coffee dates, engagement sessions and when payments are due. I mean you know we all get crazy busy and it’s been a life-saver more than a few times. I can’t tell you how many times my client’s thank me for that little email because planning got crazy and they completely forgot it was coming up.
What is a client portal you may ask. Just this amazing little thing that I give my clients right after booking that allows them to have their own little part of super wedding organization. Basically it is a custom site that is designed just for them. They create their own login and password and on it can view all of their information about their wedding. Their address, phones and emails, their PDF of the Contract, their invoices and payment due dates and amounts, links to galleries of any sessions they have done with me, their wedding day timeline and questionnaires. There is so much at their finger tips and its all there in one place. They want to log on to pay some money down on their invoice they just click the invoice tab enter what they want to pay and bam they are done. They moved and need to update their mailing address all they do is log in change their info and click update and they are done! Address is updated and I don’t have to do a thing.
Money management, sales, and reporting:
Lastly, the ability to keep track of all your income and expenses and do reporting on it. Now I know this may sound boring for some but this part of the program is really what is a big helper in my business especially around tax time! It allows me to import all of my income and expense directly from my bank account and categorize everything so that I can keep track of where my money is going. Figure out how much of my money is being spent on marketing, product sales, and website fees. Be able to pin-point exactly where I am spending and where I can make changes. It allows me to have reports to give to my CPA that make sense. It also allows me to compare my finances year to year so that I can prep for the future. This alone is amazing!
These are just some of the most basic things that can be done with Pixifi. The possibilities are truly endless. I hope that if you are looking for a way to organize your business you check out Pixifi. It really is a game changer!
If your ready to get started and start for free, use my referral link: Sarah Renee Studios Pixifi Referral