Original Post By: Katelyn James
Awhile back we took a week long trip to Bermuda. We drove through the night after Ryan and Alina’s Charlottesville wedding to head to NYC where our ship was departing the next day. Call us crazy…. but we did it! And we even got 4 hours of sleep AND the whole wedding culled! It’s hard work to walk away from the normal duties of “life” for a week… and even harder to leave a business behind! So is it possible to run a business with little to no internet 500 miles out into the great abyss of the Atlantic ocean… while living on a BOAT?! Yes, yes it is! And I’m about to tell you how!
You actually don’t need internet at ALL…. because you shouldn’t be online.. it’s your VACATION! There are several tips that I have collected that can help with this subject. We travel A LOT… and yet I’ve committed to being a consistent weekday blogger. 5 times a week…. every week. This seems crazy to some people but this is how I market and grow my business. It’s a lot of hard work but our blog stats (most days) are signs that it’s a GREAT business plan!! A lot of people would say “Hey, just take a whole week off from blogging! It’s not the end of the world”…. and they’re right! It wouldn’t be the end of the world… however, if there was a way to prepare a head of time and still have a high functioning blog while we were on vacation, I’m going to take advantage of it!! So here are some tips for being able to grow your business while you’re away!! :1. Prepare ahead of time. You can’t decide to pre-blog for a week of vacation the MORNING you’re supposed to leave. This needs to be scheduled in advance. We use a blogging calendar and so I can easily see what I’m blogging well in advance!
2. Schedule your blog posts. I know everyone already knows how to do this but just in case there is a newbie out there, I’m sharing it! You can blog and then schedule your posts to go live ANY time you want! I would schedule them to go live around 8am. Be sure to check what time zone your blog is set to!!
3. Schedule FACEBOOK posts! This is what a lot of bloggers don’t realize. You can schedule AS MANY posts as you want! You can also schedule times for actual images to be shared as well! Now they can’t be added to albums (not that I know of) with the “schedule” feature but you CAN schedule to share images on your timeline which is awesome!
4. Schedule 2-3 Facebook posts a day. One in the AM, one during the lunch hour and one before prime time shows come on! Since the FB algorithms have changed dramatically, you don’t have to worry about feeling like you’re spamming people because only a small percentage of your fans will see these posts. I know, it stinks…. that’s a whole other blog post in the making.
5. Schedule other social media! You can use other programs to schedule out tweets such as HOOTSUITE!Be sure to include your blog post’s PERMALINK so that the tweet will still be relevant the next day when something new is on the blog!!
6. Email auto-responders! Set them up a few days BEFORE you leave so that the few emails that come in while you’re running around and packing get a notification that you’re out of town and don’t expect an immediate reply.
7. Email your clients that may need you during this time away. I emailed Courtney before we left because her wedding was the next one we were going to be shooting and I didn’t want her to wonder why she wasn’t hearing from us! That can cause bridal PANIC!! I also emailed any brides who were in the midst of inquiring about 2015 dates and let them know that we wouldn’t be corresponding for a few days.
8. If you outsource, get your images to your editor BEFORE YOU LEAVE! We have an incredible editor (She’s not taking more work right now or else I would totally link her because she’s a life saver!) that turns our weddings around FAST! But if I waited 7 days to send the raw files to her, our system would be ALL messed up. So I culled in the car after the wedding, transferred the files to a 1TB harddrive and we stopped by a FedEx on the way to NYC! We normally Dropbox the files overnight to her but this was our best option since we weren’t going to be sleeping more than 4 hours and Hampton Inn’s internet isn’t anything to brag about!
9. Last but not least…. let it go. Your blog stats and Facebook reach ARE NOT going to be the BEST they have ever been. Our “Reach” for our time away wasn’t great… but it was something! Our blog stats weren’t stellar… but they were better than they would have been if we hadn’t of pre-blogged! Once you have done all that you can do, go enjoy your vacation!! Your automated system is going to run your business for you so that you can enjoy vacation!!!
I realize that a lot of these tips are no-brainers… but there are so many people who just don’t think it’s worth it to blog when they are gone. So their blogs will sit for a couple of weeks when they could be sharing content and great work with their fans!! It was so funny to me because when we were on our cruise, we had a few minutes on internet and so I logged on an people were commenting “You need to be enjoying your cruise, not WORKING!!”. They didn’t realize that ALL of those posts were prescheduled! I wasn’t working at ALL! Everyone thought that I was posting on Facebook three times a day and that couldn’t have been further from the truth! So for those planning some summer getaways, I hope this will come in handy!! 🙂 Happy MONDAY!
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Katelyn James is the amazing instructor of the Branding for Wedding Photographers course! Check it out HERE.