Investing in your business upfront makes a big difference
When Leeann Marie started her photography business, The Leeann Marie Collective, she knew making an investment upfront was imperative. For her, that meant setting up ShootQ before she had any clients. “Getting setup was pretty intuitive,” she recalls. “Plus, ShootQ provides support and setup help for people who haven’t used it yet. When I booked my first wedding, I was able to hit the ground running.”
Starting a new business is challenging—and scary. There are so many things to consider, and overhead costs are top of mind. It’s hard to spend money when you aren’t making any, but Leeann Marie offers some sage advice. “Newer photographers want to bootstrap everything, because they think they have to, but I tell them it is wise to spend the money upfront. It is a huge benefit to the business in the long run,” she said. “If you don’t invest in yourself and your business early, things tend to suffer – like time with family – and unfortunately many people learn that the hard way.”
“Competitor solutions didn’t have everything I needed. ShootQ had everything I was looking for and the price was good—I didn’t need to look any further. It has definitely saved me a lot of headaches over the years, so the investment was worth it. You will see the benefits over time for sure.”
Cloud-based services accelerate the speed of your business
Now that technology is so advanced, it’s hard to believe businesses relied on fax machines, snail mail and hard-wired phones for so long. Customers are increasingly tech savvy and mobile, and they expect instant gratification—or, at the very least, lightning-fast response times. So businesses that are stuck in the past tend to lose out on potential clients who are not willing to wait.
“When I first started doing photography work, I sent out paper contracts – the mailing back and forth took forever!” said Leeann Marie. “That is what prompted me to start looking for an electronic solution. With ShootQ, I can book clients as soon as they make a decision. People are more willing to book when they have something in front of them versus having to wait for mail.”
Cloud-based solutions offer a number of valuable benefits for professional photographers, who are often traveling or working multiple jobs. ShootQ allows them to access all of their data in one place, from anywhere via the web or their mobile phones. It gives them the flexibility to not be tied to a desk or buried under mounds of paperwork.
“Doing paperwork was not something I wanted to do after my day job,” said Leeann Marie. “I needed to ensure I wasn’t working all hours at home, and sometimes people forget about that. Cloud made sense, because I could access it anywhere and book shoots from work, home or Starbucks.”
Time savings allows for more bookings and work-life balance
Time management and efficiency are important in any business, but especially for professional photographers, who are often on the go and working at events with strict timelines.
“With ShootQ, I know I can go to one central location to find everything I need,” said Leeann Marie. “If I had to search for things in different places, I would feel too scattered. Plus, I can always get information I need on the fly, even if I am out of town. If I get an email on my iPhone, I can hop on a computer and send a contract within five minutes. Then I don’t have to worry about it.”
This flexibility also ensures that Leeann Marie doesn’t lose potential new clients if she is on a job or out of town, because she is still able to respond quickly to inquiries. If people have to wait, it gives them the opportunity to change their minds or go somewhere else.
Smooth operations lead to successful and thriving businesses
Flash-forward five years, and Leeann Marie has a thriving full-time professional photography business. She relies on ShootQ to create and send contracts to her clients; manage workflows; assign tasks to her colleagues; handle invoicing; and generate questionnaires and automated emails. Her colleagues are setup as photographer users, so they can easily collaborate – they get emails for job bookings, review questionnaires and access contacts.
“Being able to send electronic contracts perfectly branded to my business with links to credit card payment options adds more legitimacy to my business,” said Leeann Marie. “We’ve been consistent from day one.”
Spreading the word
Anyone who knows Leeann Marie knows she loves ShootQ. “I’m a huge supporter of ShootQ!” she says. “I mention it in all of my speaking presentations and tell my photographer moms group about it. ShootQ saves a ton of time, saves a ton of hassle and makes life so easy – I don’t even need to think about it.”
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Challenge: Finding a tool to manage all aspects of a new photography business
Result: Smooth operations, tons of saved time and no hassles or headaches
Former Solution: Paper contracts and manual processes
“ShootQ had everything I was looking for and the price was good—I didn’t need to look any further.”Leeann Marie