This business can be isolating.
That was one of the first things I learned in my first weeks of self employment. At first, it sounded so glamorous. No time clocks, no “man” to report to, no asking for days off, no office politics to navigate, no godforsaken grey cube.
But what I missed, desperately, was the water cooler. I missed having people to bounce ideas off of, I missed that on my birthday no one brought me a birthday donut.
I started my full time business before Al Gore’s internet was a staple in most homes, and I missed people.
Enter the internet, and shortly thereafter, Facebook.
Here, at the touch of a few keystrokes were my people. People to ask questions to, joke with, to bitch to. Forums! Groups! In navigating the forums and Facebook, names became familiar. I realized with a start one day that I knew more about what was going on with Shalista in North Dakota than I did with my own sister because we interacted more on a daily basis.
And one day, one of those familiar faces was gone. A gal I never met but had known from the forums for about 5 years. In a freak, unbelievable accident she was gone, leaving behind her husband, her two small children and her busy photography business.
In the ensuing months photographers from her area rallied around her family helping her husband sort out contractual issues and piecing together what needed to be done. Like many of us, she started as a mom with a camera, went pro after a few years, had babies and was working part time while being a stay at home mom. You know someone just like this, right?
Maybe it’s you.
Her husband was supportive of her business and her biggest fan. But he knew nothing about the day-to-day running of her business.
Nothing. All he knew was her yearly income for the household, as he was the one who did the family taxes every year.
He didn’t even know the password to get into her computer.
It took nearly a year to unravel where things were, who needed what, and there were several really stressful situations where clients called not knowing the photographer had passed who were very angry that she missed their event.
Imagine dealing with that as a grieving husband and dad.
That was the moment I realized for that all my organization that if I died tomorrow, no one would really be able to navigate my file system in a quick and timely manner. As much as I think it all makes sense, it just would not for someone who didn’t live in my head and work in my industry.
Checking into studio management software programs was next on the list. There are many powerful ones out there, but I’m a one woman show with not nearly the volume to justify the price tag and they contained so many components I would not use or that were duplicated in my own system.
In the next few weeks were going to be talking about some morbid shit, ya’ll. It’s not fun to talk about death and what-if’s.
But it’s necessary.
So put on your big girl panties and your big boy underoos, because we have some organization to do to get our houses in order for the people we love.