Studio Management | Honeybook | Eisley Education

How Honeybook Gave Us Our Lives Back: A Review

For those of you following at home, you may know that there are 36 weddings on our calendar this year. In the photography world, that’s quite the workload! We would have been underwater trapped in the weeds if it wasn’t for the system we have in place to keep everything organized and efficient with clear communication at every turn.

It’s a little embarrassing to say, but we’re all about transparency and community over competition. What I am about to share with you will hopefully plant deep into the heart of your business. Our goal? To have you learn from our mistakes! We have so many mistakes to choose from, but our previous lack of workflow and studio management was the most detrimental to our success for YEARS.


Grab something to sip on and a snack! We got some learnin’ to do, friends!

Why do you need a CRM/studio management system?

To put it plainly: to keep this boat afloat! There are hundreds of minor and major tasks you must manage daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly in your business. Our brains can only hold so many mental checklists and a notebook can only keep so many checklists organized for you. A CRM (client relationship management) system will keep you in check and on track in your client experience, back end of your business, and your workflows. We can’t book and serve our clients if we aren’t prepared to do so!

Take a moment to think about this: how are your time management skills? What else are you juggling in your life? For me, I am a full time business owner, a wife, a mom, a Rising Tide co-leader, etc, etc, etc. Before I started using a studio management system I was s t r e t c h e d t h i n. I could’t possibly show up for every person in my life (and for myself) when there are seemingly not enough hours in the day.

Then a CRM/studio management system walked into my life... Everything changed. It gave me the tools and confidence to turn our business into a full time income and gave me more time to do what we love - being a family, serving our clients, and creating!


The program we use is called HoneyBook!

Geared towards business owners in creative fields, HoneyBook is a one-stop shop for everything you could ever hope to put into your client’s experience with you! It has been instrumental in the success of our business.

There are countless features that we love, but I wanted to highlight some of their “we can’t live without these” features for you!

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  1. HoneyBook is available on your desktop and they have an incredible app for your mobile device!

Over the winter our daughter closed my laptop without knowing I had a pen on my keyboard. The screen shattered. (I am STILL cringing thinking about it.) We had to send it out to Apple for over a week to get it replaced. A whole week without being able to reply to emails? Send timelines? Talk to new inquiring couples? That would be detrimental to our business. But, I wasn’t even stressed for a second.

Thanks to the HoneyBook app we booked our highest wedding package yet, coordinated upcoming timelines, fielded questions, and never missed a beat in our business workflows. Our clients had no idea we were without a computer. We were able to continue our excellent client experience and generate income… FROM A FREE APP.

 
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2. Customizable Contact Form Easily Embedded On Our Website

From the first moment a potential client reaches out to us, we are setting our client experience expectations + giving them a peek into who we are as people. It’s silly, but I mean…. it’s the Office. Our mantra for our ideal client is “for couples who laugh loudly, and love deeply. ” This inquiry form sets the tone and pace of their experience. HoneyBook allows you to curate exactly how you’d like to speak to your prospective clients. We have a different inquiry form curated specifically for our wedding clients. You can see it here. A perk of using the HoneyBook contact form is the streamlined process that begins once someone inquires. The moment the inquiry comes through to your dashboard you will be able to see if you are available thanks to your calendar being synced to your dashboard.

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3. Client Communication System

This is my ultimate favorite feature…. all your communication with every single client is in one place. Gone are the days of forgetting details, trying to search your email inbox for an obscure message your couple sent you about what thoughts they had on what their first dance song is, or how many hours they booked you for. With ease, I can simply click on the couples “project” and get myself up to speed on their details before I strike up a conversation or reply to an email.

I can also send them brochures, their contract/proposal, invoices, questionnaires, links to their gallery, etc. There’s also a little notepad on the side to jot down the things we talk about in person, photo locations, or an idea I may have that I want to follow up with.

4. Templates

This ties into time management and trying to reach my goal of putting more time back into my family and being able to serve our clients. How many times do you feel like you’re writing the same email over and over again, but maybe you are leaving out crucial information? Pre-HoneyBook Christy used to function this way. My emails were sporadic, either leaving out detail or adding in too much and it generally wasn’t working. With HoneyBook you can save templates for anything. We have templates for emails in any situation (live gallery, new booking inquiry, live blog post, etc), brochures, contracts/proposals, and our questionnaires. Now when an inquiry comes in or someone asks “what’s a first look?” I have our templates ready to go! I reply with a few clicks and just like that I have served my client without adding on 30 minutes of work to my day.

They even have a template for your email signature! Try it out here: free email signature

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5. Payment Plans

HoneyBook’s payment features was the tipping point in my decision to sign up. Before I had clients sending me checks, or stressing about being paid in full before their wedding, not remembering how much they’ve paid me and all sorts of issues that would have been easily remedied had I just been properly set up with a system. It’s no secret that the average photographer experiences some light cash flow times in the off season due to when retainers and payments are required. Most photographers require a 50% retainer, and only 2-3 payments to take care of the remaining balance. This means money is transferred to your bank account only 5 or so times a YEAR per wedding. Personally, we don’t like that. It doesn’t work for us, but more importantly it’s lousy for the couple. The average couple is making large installments to over 5+ vendors. We want to be the vendor that acknowledges weddings shouldn’t put people out, we respect their investment and we want to make this as easy as possible for them because we value and appreciate them. This is one of the first ways we make sure our clients are taken care of by us. With the help of this HoneyBook feature, we set each client up with a payment plan. We simply require a 25% retainer, then we divide the payments equally from the remaining balance until the week before their wedding. Clients may set up a reoccurring payment through their debit or credit card. It’s that easy. There is even an option to tip!

Our 2018 goal was to have me leave my full time job and to have George step down from his management position at his job. We were fearful about going through this winter without weekly paychecks. But now? Fear be gone. HoneyBook allows you to strategically set up each payment plan to be paid on a set day throughout the month. I have set ours up to have 1 client payment to come in on the first Thursday a month, then 1 more for the second, and 1 more for the 3rd. When we receive a new booking I assign them to one of the Thursdays and just like that we are able to budget our family, taxes, and live happily without money related stress.

 

6. Booking Success Rate

HoneyBook’s reporting feature keeps track of all your business statistics. One of our favorite stats is the “booking success rate".” In one year of using HoneyBook we have booked 75% of the inquiries that have “walked” through our “front door".

Now for a real crummy statistic: our booking success rate from 2008-2018…. wait! That number doesn’t even exist. I had no system in place to keep track of the inquiries that were coming in. Did I follow up with them? Was I serving them before they were even our clients? I think we know the answers to those questions. No. Who knows how many potential dream wedding clients are out there that I missed my chance with. Never again will I let that happen.

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7. Elevate Your Client Experience

It’s amazing what changes you can make within your business when you have time to step away from the back end of things and actually be in your business. This last year we’ve been able to transform our client experience to a place it’s never been before! Gone are the days of showing up to weddings without a real plan, or good communication in the months leading up to the wedding day. With HoneyBook we have the chance to educate our couples, hear about their wedding dreams, and plan timelines with them to make those dreams come true. We were able to raise our prices, give more of ourselves and create a one-of-a-kind tailored experience for every Eisley Couple. HoneyBook has been the missing key that was holding us back from true entrepreneurial success for years.

8. Workflow & Tasks

Once you’ve created your templates and set yourself up for success, it’s time to act on it! Honeybook’s workflow process keeps this train chuggin’ along. What good is all this prep you’ve done if you can’t act on it?

A workflow is the ordered process from start to finish in which you have to accomplish your set goal. Now, think about how many things you have a workflow for. We’ll share ours with you… we have a workflow for: Inquiries, Client On-boarding, Engagement Session, Wedding Planning Stage, Post-Production, Albums, and Client Care. That’s a lot to keep track of! It would be so easy to have something slip through the cracks which could result in a future problem that could hurt our client’s experience and ultimately our profit in our business. Our client management system keeps all of this functioning and our brains in one place.

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9. Contracts - Signed and we’re yours!

Back in the day we would snail mail our contracts, but sometimes we’d do something real wild… We’d take time out of our day driving up to an hour for a simple signature. That’s a mess! Having the availability for our business to match this technology driven world with instant satisfaction of contract signing puts us on top of our game! Our clients are able to e-sign and immediately receive their legally binding copy of our contract. During our time together, it stays easily accessible for them (and for us!) to refer back to. No confusion, just happy clients.

10. Expenses

With the provided expense reports, we are able to budget and plan accordingly for the year! How many weddings do we need to book? Can we outsource some editing? Can we plan a family vacation? Should we raise our prices?
To track our mileage, expenses, and taxes we use Quickbooks. HoneyBook gives you the ability to import your Quickbooks data so everything you need is in one place. You can see your whole business at a glance. However, it certainly wouldn’t be a huge deal breaker for us if we didn’t have the ability to import our Quickbooks information. Let’s call it an added bonus!

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Investment

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Ready for the best news you’ve heard all day? HoneyBook is wildly affordable - even without the 50% off! After your free trial, should you decide this is the CRM for you, it’s only $20 a month for the first year. I can guarantee you, this will be the best $20 you spend all month. Why? You’re choosing to invest in yourself, your business, and those big dreams of yours! There is always a way to find money in your budget for the things we love, the goals we want to pursue, and to make this business of yours boomin’. $20? If that’s what it takes to turn a profit, now is the time! That’s only a few Starbucks visits, right? You got this!

Below is our exclusive referral code for you to try it out FOR FREE.

Click here to get your life back, turn a profit and live your dreams

In summary…

HoneyBook makes running a business less time consuming and enjoyable. It gives us precious hours back into our family life, time spent creating, and serving our clients. It’s the answer to every difficulty I have ever had as a business owner. Our entire business is at our fingertips - contracts, invoices, calendar, reports, brochures, timelines. All of it!

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Let’s get organized, organized!

(I truly hope you sang that in your head to the tune of “Let’s get physical”.)

QuickBooks made tax season a breeze! We started using it in 2017 on January 1st. This is just another thing I am kicking myself for. Why did I wait so long?! From my phone I can track our mileage, expenses, and we can see an overview of all our bank accounts (including paypal!). Gone are the days of sorting through receipts, or keeping a notebook in the car to write down how far we traveled for business. At the end of the day I can easily swipe left or right on our transactions to sort them by business and personal. Same goes for mileage!

When tax season rolls around I can email my data to my accountant. It makes everything smoother, easier to understand and stress free. Tax season isn’t something to fear, friends. It’s something to embrace in your business.

Don’t go another day in your life without using Quickbooks. Here’s a 50% off code to get you started: CLICK HERE

Why You Should Attend Workshops + Conferences | Eisley Education

A rising tide lifts all boats
— JFK
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In a creative’s line of business, the technology and information surrounding your line of work seem to be ever changing and growing at a faster pace than ever before. The things I learned at photography school ten years ago (shout out to Hallmark Institute of Photography) were ahead of the curve with industry trends and truly set me up for business success. But, 2008 looks a lot different from 2018. Creative communities that place a high value on sharing your successes, tips, tricks and even failures to the masses have catapulted a 'community over competition' movement.

Gone are the days of quietly struggling to learn the inner workings of SEO, how to shoot manual, how to build a brand, blog with intention all while feeling like your competition is trying to best you at every turn. We’re living in an age where education is power. We all win if we can help our community to be their best selves, help all to find value in their work, and cut the loneliness of being a business owner out.

Workshops, local meet ups (like the Rising Tide Society) and educational conferences give us all the tools we need to succeed. It’s an experience to open your world up to different approaches in the way you to business, find your ‘why’, and it might even give you that fresh new outlook you’ve been looking for. The best value you’ll walk away with: inspiration, motivation and community.

Five Reasons Why You Should Be Attending Styled Workshops

1. Consistency - It’s all set up for you! Beautifully crafted and curated scenes to flow with the styled inspiration of the day are just waiting for you to start clicking away. Images from styled workshops allow for clear branding and consistency in your marketing, portfolio and on your social media feeds.

2. High End – Are you looking to attract your ideal client, but just don’t have the images to capture their attention? Maybe you want to raise your prices? Styled shoots are on trend, stylish, and are what couples are pinning to their wedding boards. The details involved are the best of the best. The tablescapes, invitation suites, bridal details, professional hair and make up, sprawling floral bouquets, and more have all been intentionally thought of.

3. Social Media – Are you running out of things to post? Is your feed looking a little dull? Wish vendors would post your photos? After a styled shoot you will receive the contact information of everyone involved. That list is pure gold. You now have 15+ vendors that could potentially use your images on their instagram, website, facebook, marketing, etc. They’re marketing for you and exposing your brand to people you might not have crossed paths with.

4. Magazine Worthy – The photos you’re creating at these events are silver platter, ready to submit to publications and blogs. Using a site like Two Bright Lights will triple your chances of that happening! Pro Tip: magazines love detail shots!

5. Return on Investment – The new bookings + vendor referrals you’ll receive from events like these pay for themselves almost immediately after only one booking.

From my experience...

Last month I attended a Wedding Boston styled workshop simply to take behind the scenes photos for their social media. I walked away with new vendor connections/friendships, new ideas, shooting knowledge, and publication ready images. As of today, I have FOUR magazines and blogs that have accepted my submissions from this workshop.

Step outside of your comfort zone, and make some magic.

Upcoming Event:
I will be speaking at Wedding Boston’s next styled workshop & conference at Bittersweet Farms!

This event will be held on May 30 at Bittersweet Farm in Westport, MA
We will be capturing 2019 color trends with a clean tropical beach feel.

Timeline of Events
9:30 am - Check In, Mingle, Behind the Scenes
10 am - Jenny from Wedding Boston Magazine will talk about the styled shoot & shot list and what to expect throughout the day.
10:15 - Danyel Stapleton from Danyel Stapleton Photography will talk about how to shoot for publications.
10:30 - 11:30 - Details shots of Cake, Invitations, Table Scape
11:30 - 1:00 - Bride, Bride & Groom, Bride & Bridesmaids Captures
1:00 - Break for Lunch
1:45 - Christine Gagnon from Eisley Images & Ryan Devoll of Ryan Devoll Photography and Leaders for Rising Tide Society in RI will speak about overcoming challenges in today’s wedding industry and how we can network.
2:10 - Drive to the beach to capture beach & ceremony shots - 
4:10 - Jenny will chat about social media: How to grow your audience, how to find potential clients on social, Instagram etiquette. 
4:20 - Wrap up will all with Q & A from all lead photographers and speakers.

Event should end around 5pm.

All the details will be created for you - all you have to do is show up with camera and lighting equipment in hand!

There will be a multiple stations set up throughout the day. Professional services such a florist, cake, stationery, hair, makeup, professional models...etc. I am opening this event up to photographers, videographers and event planners!

Please email Jenny at weddingboston@gmail.com with any questions!



Link to reserve your spot. I have a deep discount for you! Want it? info@eisleyimages.com

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VENDOR LIST:

Venue: Norwood Space Center

Designer/Coordinator: Wedding Boston

Bridal Shop: Allegria Bridal (Blush Dress)

Bridal Gown Eve of Milady for Allegria Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: Haley Paige for Allegria Bridal, Amsale for Allegria Bridal

Florals: Whitemoss & Twigs http://whitemossandtwigs.com/

Cake: Shinyball Creations http://shinyballcakes.com/

Hair & Make-up: Verde Salon http://www.verdesalon.org/our-bride/

Vintage Rentals: Simply Vintage Rentalhttp://simplyvintagerentals.com/index.html

Stationery: Narrative Design Cohttps://www.narrativedesignsco.com/

Tuxedo: Classic Tuxedo Newbury Streethttp://www.classictuxedo.com

Hair Accessories: USA Bride

MODELS

Bride: Mandy - @mandyrogersvt

Bridesmaid: Nina - @ninamasmodeling

Bridesmaid: Katie Dye - @dyenamo.kate

Groom: Brett - @brettwrobinson