Today is Random Acts of Kindness day and I’m encouraging everyone who reads this to try as many as you can today! I’m starting with paying for the car behind me in the Starbucks drive-thru. I just love the feeling of giving anonymously. Have you ever pulled up to the window to pay and been told the car in front of you paid for your drink? It's a great feeling. :) We should all do things like this more often. Try a few today and share your ideas in the comments thread!
Is there a such thing as an average day in your life? ⏰I generally start my mornings being woken up by someone yelling from the bathroom for me to wipe them [don't be jealous]. 🚽Then I stumble out to the kitchen to sip coffee ☕️ [this is MANDATORY!] while my kiddos eat breakfast and my amazing husband makes their lunches 😻 [love him for that]. I usually scramble to look some-what human for school drop off and then proceed to have the daily conversation with my boys that they "are indeed going to school so please PUT YOUR SHOES ON". Post drop off my day is peaceful while I work in total silence at home, attempt to clean something around the house, run errands, and workout. 🏃🏼♀️I always have a to-do list although it's rare I get EVERYTHING done [but really, who does??]. I look forward to picking up my boys in the afternoon and having quality time together💚. But the reality is: I pick them up and have to suffer through 30 minutes of my 5 year old being emotional, irrational, and exhausted. 😒[Who knew TK could take that much out of you??] But we re-group, refuel, and make the most of our afternoons playing games, reading books together, and having dance parties. 🤪🤗I feed the little crazies dinner, get them to bed EARLY [Yes, I am the mom that puts them to bed before 7pm]. Then I put in a few more hours of work. 💻 9 times out of 10 I stay up WAY too late-making that early morning wake up call [to wipe someone's butt, remember?] rougher than it would be if I would just go to bed at a decent hour! 🙀But hey, I'm far from perfect and I'm ok with that. 😹My day-to-day life isn't all that exciting but I wouldn't change a thing. 😁 Is your daily routine consistent? Is there one habit you can’t miss, without feeling out of sorts?
I love my life, but sometimes I wish someone would swaddle me up, and put me in a peaceful nursery for a nap. It sounds so nice, no?😴
I'm the type of person when I find a product or service I like I want to shout it from the rooftops! I feel the need to share my favorite things with people so they can [hopefully] be as impressed and happy as I am, and if it makes their life a little easier- even better! That's why today I am sharing my top 5 business tools with you. These programs make running my business SO MUCH EASIER. Whether you're a photographer, or not. You may want to explore how these items can make your life a little easier.
Disclaimer: I'm including referral links. These links may save you money or fees, and some of them also credit me for referring people. Please do not feel you need to use my link. I am writing this post in hopes of helping people not gain referral credit. But if you want to use my link and get savings for yourself- feel free! :)
I use QuickBooks Self-Employed to track expenses and mileage, find tax deductions, and avoid IRS penalties. You can, too—click the link for half off for the first 6 months. I started using Quickbooks Self-Employed after my CPA suggested it for my business. OMG- this CHANGED MY LIFE! Never again do I need to compile a list of my expenses, save receipts [you can take a photo of them and save it in the program!] or keep track of my mileage. This app does it all for me! It tells me how much I owe for my quarterly taxes and the interface is so easy to use. I recommend it to everyone I know because it is THAT GOOD! It only costs $10 a month and with my referral link you can save 50% for 6 months. Not bad, in my opinion!
For my online sales I use Square and I've been so happy with it! I know there are a lot of choices when it comes to online sales. For the most part the fees are similar across the board- the lowest I've found is 2.9% on credit card transactions. What I like about square is that your first $1,000 in processing is free. What I really love about square is the ease of sending invoices and the clean look of the user interface. They really make this program so easy to use. I have tried switching in the past but always come back because, to me, square is just easier! And let's face it- when you're running your own business I want to maximize my time and make my life easier.
For client management I use 17hats. A few years ago I was still sending client contracts as an email attachment. It was a total headache because people may not have printers, and some aren't able to easily sign electronically on a PDF file. I'd have to get a hard copy returned to me in person, and then file it- and how long should I keep that paper file?? HEADACHE!!!!! Through 17hats I can send clients their contracts, questionnaires, invoices [although, like I said, I typically use square for that], and so much more! They recently launched the client portal feature. Now clients can log on to their personalized client portal and see any outstanding documents they need to complete. One of my favorite features on 17hats is the workflow checklist. I can set one up for each project and keep track of what I need to get done next. Ultimately this helps with client experience consistency. I'm all about making my client's experience as great as I can, and I want to be consistent across the board for each of my clients.
Pixieset is the program I use for client galleries. I started with the free version and instantly loved the clean, crisp look it provides for my images. Seriously, Pixieset was one of the first programs I became obsessed with. My clients can order prints and products through their galleries and the orders are fulfilled through a professional printing lab!! The quality is beautiful and the orders are processed and shipped SO QUICKLY! I'm amazed sometimes that they can turn these orders around so fast. But my absolute favorite part about my Pixieset experience has been the customer service I've received. It's rare that I need to reach out to them, but when I do- they respond quickly and resolve my issue in a friendly manner. Good customer service breeds loyalty from me! I've been a Pixieset customer for 3 years and I'm so happy with my experience.
Posting regularly to social media has proven to help build engagement and bring in new clients- which is great! Taking time each day to figure out what to post is time consuming and distracts from other tasks I need to get done. It was frustrating finding a balance until I found Later.com! Later makes it possible for me to schedule my social media posts and even preview what my grid will look like ahead of time. It does not post for me, but reminds me of scheduled posts I have so I can then easily go post the photo and copy the pre-written caption to my social media accounts. I'm saving a lot of time each week by pre-planning my posts and it's helped me be more consistent with my accounts- which ultimately has helped my business. The best part- ITS FREE!!!! And as my Dad says "what's wrong with free?!" and we answer "nothing!"
I hope you find some or all of these tools I love to be helpful in your business, side hustle, or hobby. I'd love to hear if you try any of the tools I suggested. Also- please let me know if there are programs, apps, or resources you can't live without. I'd love to try some of your favorites!
This week I had the pleasure if revisiting one of my favorite groups in San Diego: Fit4Mom Stroller Strides Balboa Park! I've blogged about my love for Balboa Park Stroller Strides in the past. Click here to read more about it. With my kids now being in school full time I miss being part of such a special group of mothers. I love that my job can reunite me with them for fun and festive themed mini sessions like we did this week. Check out these adorable sisters- does it get any cuter?? No. The answer is no. :)
S N E A K 💚 P E E K of last night's maternity session on one of La Jolla's most beautiful beaches. 🤰🏻This adorable couple is excitedly anticipating the arrival of their first baby! 🎉👶🏻We don't know the gender, and we don't know when baby will make his/her debut, but we do know this child is already deeply loved. 😻
[RING RING!] 📞It's your New Year’s resolution calling! How are you faring friends? We’re a month into 2018, and if you’re anything like me, you started the year off with a list of big goals. At the top of mine was: make it to the gym 3 times a week. 💪🏻Today’s truth: I punched my gym card 3 times all month. 😬🤦🏼♀️WHOOPS! It's not to say I haven't exercised in other ways [I mean, living in San Diego i am able to get out for a walk or run outdoors in January- THANK GOD!] but I definitely need to get my rear in gear! 🏃🏼♀️Taking classes at the gym help me get in shape faster than trying to do it on my own. So in order to attempt to successfully stick to my goal I am going to start scheduling gym classes into my day. What are your best strategies for sticking to your fitness goals? I'm determined to get back on track next month. February is the new January! 🎉
How do you approach Mondays? Do you have to be dragged feet first into the week? Or do you happily say goodbye to your weekend [and your kids as they head to school🙌🏻👋🏼😘] and tackle the start of your week? Call me crazy but Monday might be my favorite day of the week! Don't get me wrong, I love weekends and love spending time with my kiddos, but there is something satisfying about tackling and projects work related and personal. I didn't always feel this way when I worked in other jobs but these days work doesn't even feel like work. I guess that means I'm in the right place. 😻 Have a great week friends!
In honor of national compliment day I wanted to throw one out to an awesome lady I met in 2017. 💚She's a talented photographer📷, supportive wife, and an amazing mama to THREE children! (Here she is with her newest little one. Isn’t he a dream??) She's easy to talk to, fun to be around, and I feel like we've been friends for years. 😻Top everything off with the fact that she is drop dead gorgeous! 🙀Thanks for being your fabulous self Brittney Vier! I feel lucky to know you. 😘🙌🏻🍻
Rebecca values photography, and schedules a session each year with her "partner in crime", John. John loves making Rebecca happy and goes along with having photos taken each year. That being said, it's not always easy being in front of the camera. I've put together a few tips for making your couples session fun, and relaxed for everyone involved.
Tip # 1: When planning your session with your photographer, pick a location that is meaningful to you. Think about where you enjoy spending time together. What do you do for fun? Incorporate some of those places and activities into your shoot. Rebecca and John have had some really fun location ideas around San Diego. I love hearing their ideas and when needed, helping select locations that compliment them and their unique personalities.
Tip #2: Dress to fit your style. I send my clients a style guide prior to their session to help answer any wardrobe questions. The most important thing is selecting an outfit you feel confident in. When you look good, you feel good and vice versa. Feeling confident will help you feel more relaxed in front of the camera.
Tip #3: Don't be afraid of a little liquid courage. Having a drink together before your shoot can help you both relax and ease into your session. I've found it gets people laughing too, and is there anything more adorable than a couple laughing together?! Rebecca and John opted to have some samplers at Ocean Beach's Belching Beaver. It was a fun start to their session and I think an adorable memory they can look back on years down the road.
Tip #4: Be yourselves. Photoshoots don't have to be stiff and posed. I will set a couple up in position I'm envisioning but I love when the couple make it their own. Snuggle in closer, kiss your partner on the cheek. Look at each other and make the other person laugh. Connect with your partner and you'll start to tune out that someone is snapping photos of you. Enjoy a quiet moment together. These two definitely rocked that aspect of their shoot. I love the way they crack each other up. It's obvious they have a lot of fun together.
Tip #5: Treat yourselves to a date afterward. Your session is over, its dinner time- so turn it into a date night opportunity. Finishing your evening with dinner out is a fun reward for everyone.
I hope these tips help you plan for future sessions with your loved one. If you've always wanted professional photography but haven't scheduled a session yet- or it's been years, I encourage you to set something up. The sooner the better! Having photos taken is like brushing your teeth; you don't always want to do it, but you don't regret doing it afterward. Cheers!