I’m a twenty-something wedding photographer in Texas who photographs couples who are ready to celebrate their marriage. Building my business has been one hell of a ride, so grab a cup of coffee (or some wine - no judgement here) and join me for my life behind the lens.
We see our fair share of natural disasters in Texas – tornadoes, fires, hurricanes, flash floods and more. This time last year, I watched so many friends and fellow photographers lose everything in Hurricane Harvey. It was absolutely heart breaking. As hurricane season approaches, make sure you take some time to prepare your business for a natural disaster. In a disaster situation, you have enough to worry about – don’t let your photography business be one of them!
The most common question I get in mentoring sessions is how to create a solid back up system. This is important regardless if you’re trying to prepare for a natural disaster, but in this conversation it’s more important than ever!
When creating your back up workflow, you want to include a cloud based backup. Having this “off-site” option will be instrumental in protecting your client’s most precious memories during a disaster. Yes, it’s really great that you have a backup hard drive on your desk, but that drive would be useless if you lost your home! Look into an online back up service like BackBlaze or CrashPlan to handle this for you. They are extremely cheap (~$5 a month!) and is the best way to protect your files!
This one can seem a little over the top, but it does add a little piece of mind. Consider buying a fireproof and waterproof safe to store important documents and full hard drives in. I have this Honeywell Safe that let’s me do exactly that, and it enables me to quickly grab all of those drives and documents in case of an evacuation situation! Also, It’s a great extra line of defense in case of a flood or fire.
Utilizing a client management system is a critical step in not only scaling your business, but also in protecting your business! I have used Tave for over three years now and it is truly the heartbeat of my business. It manages my contracts, invoices, payment reminders, email templates, accounting, and reporting. Tave’s complexity can be overwhelming for some – so make sure you look into other client management systems like Honeybook too to find the perfect fit for your business! Remember, you want to find a tool that is easy for you to use so you actually use it. Having all of this information stored online in a place that both you and your clients can access will be a great relief in an emergency situation!
Force majeure refers to a clause that is included in contracts to remove liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events and restrict participants from fulfilling obligations (source: here). Having this clause in your contract can be extremely helpful in protecting your business (and your clients!) in disaster situations.
Disclaimer – this is not intended to replace professional legal advice – please consult with a legal professional to review your business contracts!
In a disaster scenario, it will be likely that you will need to reschedule sessions and meetings that are in your immediate future. One thing that has drastically impacted the efficiency of my business is to utilize Calendly to schedule all of my meetings and sessions. Calendly will connect to your Google Calendar to determine when you are available based on some parameters and buffers you set. It’s made scheduling and rescheduling a breeze!
Connecting with other photographers and creatives during your entrepreneurial journey has countless benefits. In the case of a disaster, this community can be a major lifeline as you get your life and business back together. Creating trusting relationships through organizations like the Rising Tide Society, ILEA, and other local groups is critical in our isolating world! I am so thankful for the community of photographers I have here in San Antonio, and I know that I could lean on them to help cover weddings and love on my clients in a disaster scenario!
Is your business prepared for a natural disaster? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: while all opinions are my own and I personally use all linked items above, some links are affiliate links.
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