PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE renowned for their creativity and entrepreneurial outlook, but all too often they would be the first to admit that admin has them defeated. The need to continually be on top of the business and to be invoicing and chasing bills efficiently, making and managing bookings and keeping a watchful eye on the cashflow is paramount and yet all too often these tasks are on the back burner because they’re not enjoyable and there are pictures to take and a living to be earned.
As a photographer himself Tom Catchesides was only too aware of the admin pressures facing small businesses and he decided to design a software package that would automate so many of the everyday but essential basic chores and effectively give him a virtual assistant at a cost that would be way below that of the human equivalent.
ABOVE: If you specialise in an area like newborn photography a well run diary is essential.
That was eleven years ago now, and Light Blue has turned into a formidable package that’s been refined and developed through listening to users and giving them exactly what they require. It’s software that can help your business grow and it will then grow with you as you get into your stride.
The package comes with powerful reporting tools that take all of the guesswork out of running a business, so you can see where your work is coming from, which types of work are most profitable and how the business is doing overall. It’s a great way to keep a constant eye on where you are at any given time and you’ll get advance notice should you ever need to work on your marketing to get extra jobs through the door.
For Tom one of the key advantages of Light Blue is the fact that it’s a very straightforward package for people to learn but there’s always willingness to give one-to-one help should it ever be required and, for many professionals, this is the reassurance they need.
“I first started using Light Blue eight years ago,” says newborn and maternity photographer Elli Cassidy. “I’m not the most organised of people and my desk is chaotic and I just needed a system that could help me to run my business more efficiently. When I first started working with Light Blue I wasn’t using it to its full potential, but over time I’ve come to rely on it more and more and more.
“For a start I run all my sales through the software so all of my invoicing is already on the system. It’s so easy to pull everything together and I’m so well ahead that I usually send in my return the week after the tax year has ended. Light Blue also keeps a tally of my sales and outgoings for each month so that I have a handle on my cashflow and don’t get caught out by spending money that I haven’t got on props and backgrounds.”
“Light Blue has also simplified my booking system and sends out automatic reminder emails to my clients so that they don’t forget their appointment. For someone in my business this is crucial since people might be booking me three to four months ahead around the time their baby is due and with so much going on in their lives it would be easy for them to overlook an appointment. I can also integrate Light Blue into other pieces of software I use, such as online booking system Acuity.
ABOVE: Elli Cassidy wanted a way to run her business more efficiently.
Because my clients are experiencing interrupted sleep a really high proportion of my bookings are coming in between the hours of 10pm and 4am and my system allows people to select a day and time and to make a booking without any input from me at all, and it’s great to be able to offer that service.”
“Finally, one of the major reasons why I’m such a fan of Light Blue is the personal service that Tom and his team offer. The software is very straightforward to work with in any case, but if I ever do hit a snag I know that there’s help available via email or a screen sharing call to get me back on track. And they will also listen to feedback and integrate new tools into the system if people ask for them.
“In a funny kind of way, because users are being listened to and are helping to refine the software we very much feel a part of it and a degree of ownership and it’s great to have a business relationship like that.”
Sign up for a free 30-day trial now to see what Light Blue can do for you and pop onto stand A68 at TPS to meet Tom and the team. More information:
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