Organization & Productivity, Entrepreneur

Establishing Effective Workflows to Balance Life and a Thriving Business with Laura Neff

Episode 161: Show Notes

On today’s show, we are absolutely delighted to welcome a great friend and massive inspiration, the one and only Laura Neff from Laura Lee Creative! Laura is a wedding and brand photographer as well as an educator in the creative community. Her particular style of creative magic has enabled her to share her expertise on workflow, systems, productivity and time management, all things every one of us can always improve upon.

On today’s show, we are absolutely delighted to welcome a great friend and massive inspiration, the one and only Laura Neff from Laura Lee Creative! Laura is a wedding and brand photographer as well as an educator in the creative community. Her particular style of creative magic has enabled her to share her expertise on workflow, systems, productivity and time management, all things every one of us can always improve upon.  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

Her values and priorities have pushed her to succeed in her own special way and now she is helping others follow their dreams and we absolutely love Laura for it! We get the lowdown on all things Laura and Laura just gives gem after gem of great inspiration. Trust us, you are not going to want to miss this episode. Tune in and let’s go!

Establishing a Photography Business

Like many others, Laura set up her own photography business while she was working a full-time job. She was previously a project manager and this enabled her to set out her workflow from the get-go. While she was getting started, this proactive approach allowed her to launch her business on the front foot. We think this is a great way to get going!

Making More Money with Referrals

From the start, getting work through referrals has been essential to Laura Lee Creative. Her efficiency coupled with her creative output meant she was able to be more present on social media and get more engagement with prospective clients on a more immediate level. During wedding season, you want to be getting as much content out there on to the appropriate platforms so people will see your work and be impressed. This is what Laura has done and we can see the results!

Getting the Work Done

Laura was able to do this by activating her incredible workflow strategy. Laura’s dedication to streamlining and optimization is truly inspiring. For Laura, this starts with the tools you use to get things done. Photo Mechanic helps Laura import and move through her shots quicker than anything which is vital in time-saving. Sorting photos into subfolders avoids the overwhelming feeling of sifting through huge amounts of files. Laura even told us she has edited entire weddings in as little as two and a half hours! That is crazy! As she has worked, she has continually delegated more and more parts of the editing process to others, so she can focus on getting more of the essentials perfect. This is one of the reasons Laura has been able to generate other revenue streams and has continued to build her brand. Go, Laura!

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I think we tell ourselves this lie, “we need to be in hustle mode to make it.
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Product Sales

Although Laura does not see product sales as her calling, she likes to try and sell a wedding album to clients because, although pricey, she believes the investment is worth it. This sincere belief in the work usually rubs off rather than a cold upsell that might not often work.

Expanding the Business

Due to her legendary workflow, Laura has been able to move into mentoring and coaching in addition to her primary business. Through this, she is able to help clients achieve a better work-life harmony where creatives do not have to make so many personal sacrifices to feel like they are achieving. She has actually turned her workflow strategy into a playbook for wedding photographers. It is an interactive PDF with live links to Youtube videos and everything!

Laura’s Workflow Manual

The manual starts with a checklist and goes on to detail Laura’s process, what to do and how to do it. It includes helpful deadlines and some of her clients have described how it has changed their turn around time from 6 months to 6 days, which is pretty amazing! For Laura, there is no other way to sustain high amounts of in-demand work.

Documenting Your Workflow

Laura took to the project of documenting this workflow into a workable PDF with a big smile. A self-proclaimed template freak and color coding fanatic, Laura swears by doing more than just post-its and to do lists. She says your process should be an ecosystem of everything you do and encompass every last element of this.

Laura’s Team

Laura has a small, strong team that allows her to keep focused and continually build. She has team members and sub-contractors. Her mother is actually on her team as of not too long ago. This fits into Laura’s ethos of “Work Smarter, Not Harder!”

General Advice from Laura

For Laura, learning to delegate is a huge step for anyone in the creative business and has led to huge progress for her own projects. This ties into creating your short- and long-term priorities so that one can live a fulfilling and intentional life, both through business and in private. We agree with Laura when she stresses, “Batch everything”. We definitely like that attitude and Laura is living proof of how helpful focusing your efforts through batching work can be.

Laura’s Reflection and Celebration Process

Laura has a lot to celebrate and she makes sure to make time to do this. With this also comes reflection and ideas for doing certain things better in the future. Whether it’s weekly, monthly or annual goals, we can all take a page out a this book and make sure to acknowledge what we have achieved regularly.

Highlights

  • Establishing a photography business and finding clients. [0:04:10.2]
  • Making more money with referrals without increasing price. [0:06:54.1]
  • How Laura actually manages to get the work done so fast. [0:09:25.3]
  • Meeting with couples after their wedding for product sales. [0:14:03.1]
  • How Laura’s workflow has allowed her to expand her business. [0:15:59.1]
  • The manual Laura created and what it looks like. [0:20:12.1]
  • Conquering the mountain of documenting your process. [0:23:37.4]
  • Laura’s team and how this helps to keep her efficient. [0:33:52.1]
  • General advice from Laura to creatives and beyond. [0:37:01.2]
  • Laura’s reflection and celebration process [0:42:21.1]

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:46:22.3]

  1. Make a workflow.
  2. Setup up a task management system.
  3. Integrate workflow and task management system.
  4. Define your boundaries and non-negotiables.
  5. Set deadlines!

Today’sGuest

Laura Neff

Laura Neff Creative

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Laura is a New Jersey and worldwide wedding and brand photographer preserving memories for adventurous, fun-loving couples and heart-driven creative brands. In addition to running a very successful photography business, she educates the creative community on all things workflow, systems, productivity and time management! She's obsessed with fire pits, sweet wine, deep conversation, elephants and showing off her horrible dance moves at any given moment. Laura is on a mission for entrepreneurs to schedule more date nights, brunch weekends and vacations as a result of finding work-life balance while running a thriving business!

KeyTopics

  • Growing a business.
  • Workflow.
  • Priorities.
  • Balance.
  • Time management.
  • Delegation.

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