Having run a studio for 20 years, my wife and I have noticed a pattern: As summer shifts into full gear, clients become a bit harder to connect with. Their younger children are out of school, their college students have returned home for a few months, and everyone’s outside enjoying the warm weather. But while they may be harder to reach, these clients also experience an increased desire to have family portraits made while everyone is home and the weather is nice. Ours is a lower-volume, full-service studio that specializes in producing wall art for clients, and we’ve seen that during the summer, more families tend to reach out to us.
Whether you aspire to make photography your main income, own a small studio, or run a multi-employee operation, you may have a similar experience. And it can feel like a full-time job just making sure your marketing, photography, and sales pipelines are robust enough to cultivate the type of business and income you want or need for your family. No matter the size, running a business is hard work that takes a lot of time.
When the studio is busy and I’m beginning to feel overwhelmed, there’s one thing that keeps me grateful for all the work we have: daydreaming. I dream about a time in the near future when I won’t have to work. It doesn’t make any sense, right? Well, it does to me. I dream about a lot of things:
“Psychologists have suggested that just thinking about a future vacation can evoke a similar sense of euphoria to what you experience when you’re on vacation. But you have to have a planned trip in mind—you can’t trick your brain into thinking you’re going somewhere when it knows you’re not.”Jeffrey Dachowski
This sounds counterproductive. Here I sit, busy with clients and all the work that goes with my business—marketing, scheduling, conducting sessions, selling, retouching, taking orders, doing installations—and I’m spending precious time planning to not do any of those things.
I’ve found that for me it’s important during these busy times to have a trip to look forward to. There’s an anticipatory benefit to having a vacation on the horizon. During the daily hurdles we all face as business owners, our minds naturally wander to things we’d rather be doing. Typically, the first thing that comes to my mind is a trip my wife and I have planned. It boosts our productivity to know there’s coming relief, a temporary suspension of the workload. You might spend a few seconds thinking about a swim-up bar in Mexico, hiking in the Italian Dolomites, or visiting your grandkids in San Francisco.
Psychologists have suggested that just thinking about a future vacation can evoke a similar sense of euphoria to what you experience when you’re on vacation. But you have to have a planned trip in mind—you can’t trick your brain into thinking you’re going somewhere when it knows you’re not. So, buy the plane tickets and make the plans. That way you have a concrete thing to daydream about when your head and your heart need a break.
What I’m really saying is, if you’re too busy, then it’s time to plan a light at the end of the tunnel.
Jeffrey Dachowski operates a photography studio in Bedford, New Hampshire, with his wife, Carolle.