I have been looking forward to pressing publish on this post all week long, y'all! Last week, we chatted all about three tools that I am currently in LOVE with! Not one but TWO planners (that track different things!) and a brand new client management system are currently keeping my life together, and if you haven't heard about these tools yet, please take a moment to tune in to last week's post. Read more about the tools I love here! Now... let's dive in!
* Just a quick reminder that this post isn't sponsored by any of these products! I simply love them so much that I wanted to share them with you! *
Today, I wanted to dive into just a few of my broad visions for this year while chatting about how I am using my current favorite tools to keep myself on track. Now... I wouldn't call all of these goals, but more the driving themes for goals that I am setting and working towards each day.
I’ve got crazy big dreams for this year, and some crazy huge goals to match. I have a tendency to want to do all the things all at once, and I am so happy that I have been introduced to a few great products that encourage me to take small bites of progress each day. Read on to hear just a snippet of what I am dreaming up while learning how I am using my Day Designer, PowerSheets & Honeybook to manage it all!
Cultivate meaningful connection through all aspects of Cait Kramer Photography
There's no denying that the small business world can get pretty lonely, fast! You're working day in and day out from your laptop at your desk (or on your living room couch....guilty), often at funky hours because that's just life! More often than not, this environment leaves you working away from others...and I think that can be a pretty huge bummer! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love every aspect of my business and am so excited to watch growth happen this year... but, I have noticed that the crushing feeling of loneliness often puts a damper on my spirit and thus puts a damper on my work. SO, I've made it a priority to seek out and cultivate meaningful community around my brand! It is so important to me that one of the pillars of my business and brand is true COMMUNITY. I love the energy that others give me, and this year, I hope to truly cultivate meaningful connection through ALL aspects of this little business of mine--from the way I interact with potential and current clients, to the education I am investing in, to my relationship with my second shooters, industry peers and every person that comes across my web presence.
My PowerSheets actually helped me discover that this was a theme I really wanted to explore this year. I loved the process of reflection that PowerSheets focus in on before you even get to goal setting, and a really common theme throughout each of my reflection pages was that I was absolutely craving genuine connection. So... I made this one of my big themes for the year and broke it off into small actionable steps that I can take each month, week and day throughout the year. I have a few fun projects that will be coming to life over the next month or so...and y'all...I just can't wait to get started!
Those small actionable steps I mentioned just a moment ago? I literally write them in my Day Designer! I love checking things off of my to-do list more than anything, and my Day Designer runs my to-do list. From email responses to baby steps on larger projects that I am working on to daily reminders to respond to text messages or notes from a conversation, it all goes in my planner!
Even before the moment someone interacts directly with me, I have the opportunity to make a meaningful connection! (Which is SO cool...but holy moly that is a lot of pressure!) Honeybook has allowed me to manage the conversations I am having with clients when they do choose to reach out to me directly in a super easy and streamline way! It is my biggest hope that all of my clients feel loved, encouraged and excited by their experience with me, and I have so loved introducing this system to stay on top of my daily communication.
Foster creativity and gratitude for my city by exploring one new place every month
I'm sure all of my DC/NYC/big city friends get where I am coming from on this! It is SO easy to forget just how incredible your city really is. I once had a friend come into town with their family, and they were telling me about all of the wonderful museums they visited and sights they saw... and I was sitting there like WOW I had NO idea that was right in my backyard! I so often forget just how amazing DC is, and I sure do know that I am not taking advantage of it nearly as much as I should be! When I went to Charleston, I walked around with camera in hand and left feeling SO new. When I thought about it... I realized that I could do this in DC too! There are so many neighborhoods I have yet to visit and so many things that I want to see! I have wanted to prioritize exploring this city for SO long, and this year, it's finally happening. CHEERS to spending some time enjoying new neighborhoods, new restaurants and new museums with my camera in hand!
I've added exploring a new place as a monthly tending item on my PowerSheets! There's nothing quite like having a little progress bar to color in to keep me motivated to actually make this vision a reality. I am hoping to also curate a little bit of content throughout the year to build out a mini blog series for y'all to enjoy which will be definitely be tasked and tracked through my PowerSheets!
Planning ahead is SO important for me in this season of life. I went through and I actually picked out dates to hold for city exploring! I know it sounds pretty crazy to schedule a date with yourself a full 6 months in advance, but y'all, I have found that this is the only way to keep myself accountable for prioritizing personal time. I have also gone through tourist site after travel blog after Pinterest page, researching all of the must-do items in DC! I made a list, and it sits in the back of my Day Designer. I started it close to a year and a half ago, and it still sits with just a few boxes checked. I'm hoping to change that this year. (Maybe someday I will share my DC bucket list with y'all--if you're interested, let me know!)
I don't use Honeybook to manage this vision currently, but if you see a way I could incorporate it, hit a sista up with a comment or email!
Create systems within CKP that make it easy to give each client a cohesive and outstanding experience
The more I work within my business and the more clients that are welcomed into my family, the more I am realizing that cohesive, productive, professional and time saving workflows are necessary. Phew... that's a mouthful! Hang with me here! There is SO much that I want to do when it comes to my client experience, and it is so easy to want to do it all at once. I quickly realized that it is impossible to do that, and so I'm taking it slow! I am SO excited to be introducing some new things this year, to be revamping some of my favorite processes, and to use these new systems and experiences to cultivate a deeper connection with each of my clients!
I'm using my PowerSheets to map out my monthly and weekly tasks related to this goal! I have high hopes of revamping my email communication, creating an online community, producing a bridal guide, streamlining my wedding workflow, and SO many other things. Like I mentioned above, I tend to want to do all the things all at once, and my PowerSheets have really helped me lay out this broad vision into small and actionable steps that I can pace over the course of the year. One month, I have myself taking notes on my email templates, and the next, I will be using these notes to update my email drafts for regular use. The next? I might be selecting the images that I plan to use in my bridal guide! Tiny steps over the course of two or three months seem a lot less daunting than that HUGE goal listed above!
You may have guessed where my trusty Day Designer comes in! Yes, I write each and every to-do out on my daily lists! But, I also block off time that I will spend doing things and try my hardest to stick to it! As you may have been able to tell, I am a planner! I thrive when I have items on my calendar and am so encouraged when I am able to tackle something on my to-do list. I put all of my tasks related to this specific goal in my planner ahead of time, and it has so helped me visualize how exactly I want to tackle this overhaul.
Honeybook is actually a huge reason for this goal! If you are a creative and haven't had time to explore this system yet... what are you waiting for?! Get yourself over on their website and try it for yourself! (Better yet?! Click here for 50% off your first year with Honeybook!!) This powerful system has so much potential to save you so much time...if it is set up correctly! From creating beautifully branded price proposals to a matching contract tied to an invoice, it literally does it all! I can take care of on boarding a client in just about 20 minutes and can then manage our entire relationship and all of the items that come with it. It is WONDERFUL! Taking the time to set up your templates and workflows is definitely a time investment worth making, and I am so excited to take even more time this year to think through and revamp my processes for each style of work that I do!
Now y'all, I don't think I can end this post without a moment of transparency. These aren't all of my goals. I have quite a few personal and professional goals that I am choosing to keep private for the time being. Sticking to big goals is HARD, and January almost felt like a trial month when it came to getting everything done. I wasn't perfect, and I felt like I could be doing a lot more. I'm choosing GRACE and am starting February on a new foot... cheers to getting things done!