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It probably sounds cool to be an “entrepreneur” or a “business owner”. People think you can work when and how you want…… and you can…. but it’s really freakin’ hard to balance life, work, and self-care!

You work long ass hours. Not just the hours your business is “open” during the day, but before & after work hours you’re networking, sending emails, creating content, tending to social media, updating your website, marketing your business, figuring out ways to automate + improve processes to free up time…..

Time for Living Life and Actually Practicing Self-Care!

Sugar Plum Creative Columbus Ohio Lifestyle Portrait Business Personal Brand Photography Films Videos

For me, what makes it hard to strike a good balance is that I work from home with a toddler. I can’t drink enough coffee to keep up with her energy! She’s a smart little busybody, very funny + mischievous, who wants to be like me which usually results in her getting in trouble.

She takes liberties with my makeup and nail polish when I’m in the shower; she loves to get into my art supplies; she desperately tries to get on my computer and laptop to “work like mommy” OMG! I love her little voice when she says that!!

But now, her latest obsession is taking pictures + videos. And I’m one proud momma!! And this is another reason I have work-life balance issues because I totally entertain her interests! I let her use my old Nikon D3100 with the kit lens, and have it on an auto setting. She also takes my cell phone to take pictures. I mean, for a 2.5 year old, she’s not entirely horrible y’all! 🙌 She’s taken a few decent ones of me (I used a couple in my IG stories) but mainly she does a lot of abstract + macro work. But….. this is what kills me!!….. I’ve actually seen her compose her shots & set them up! I LOVE IT!!!! Momma’s lil mini for sure!

But to find some sort of balance, I co-work at Haven Collective so I can actually have distraction-free time to focus and get stuff. I usually do all the business things except edit sessions when I’m there… sometimes I do, but I also really like to watch TV and snack while I edit… 🤩

It’s also great to have access to an adult community, so I don’t have to talk about Daniel Tiger being allergic to peaches, and how my toddler now claims to be allergic to peaches, but she’s eaten peaches before that episode with no problem. So…. yeah…. Haven Collective really is my haven!!

Here are some of the tools / apps I use to help organize and automate my life as best I can, but I’m constantly improving, so this list will be evolving!

Favorite Social Media Sites: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest

Instagram provides so much more engagement on my posts and in stories over Facebook (on business profiles). Like, hands down! But I’ve been shifting my focus to be more consistent + engaging in my FB Group, so I’m actually less active on m FB page. I’m also building my Pinterest boards to help inspire people for their session with all sorts of resources and ideas! The platform I struggle with is LinkedIn because it feels more “dry” of an environment; I have no attraction to Twitter; I’m not sure if TikTok is useful for me but it’s fun! lol

Social Media Scheduler: Creator Studio

I use Facebook’s Creator Studio to schedule FB + IG profile posts (videos under 60sec + photos), IGTV videos (videos over 60sec), and FB stories. I love being able to schedule my posts from my computer instead of my phone – it’s sooo much easier for me to type on a full keyboard AND have access to alllll my photos! 🙂 …As a side note, I schedule my FB group posts from the group since it’s not available through the Creator Studio.

Former Social Media Scheduler: Later

I had too many issues with posts failing, plus I had a paid membership so when Creator’s Studio launched on Facebook for free AND allowed up to 10 images per post on FB & IG, I dropped Later.

CRM (Customer Relation Management): Dubsado

This was a tough call – it was basically a toss with with Honeybook, but it came down to personal preference… after watching a ton of YouTube videos comparing the two. I’ve created several ‘lead pages’ and embedded the HTML into my web pages to create the actual web page display. I love how easy it is to create packages, invoices, contracts, and more! SAVE 20% off on your month or year with CODE: sugarplum

Meet the Artist behind Sugar Plum Creative!

Web Hosting: Site Ground

I’ve been using Site Ground for web hosting for 4 years – it’s been awesome! It’s priced nicely for hosting single + multiple websites with their own email addresses. Sign up and SAVE with Site Ground!

Web Builder: WordPress

I use WordPress to build my website, synced through Site Ground. I use templates so the process isn’t too hard, just time consuming… I recently started getting annoyed with the aesthetic of my buttons, so I’m going to create graphics to replace them 🙂

Calendar: Google

I get alerts on my phone for appointments or task reminders. I have all my Google calendars synced. I have my CRM synced to it too so new appointments + projects update automatically!

Email Organizer: Gmail

I have email addresses for my websites routed through Gmail via Google Workspace. It was such a pain in the butt to check my work email on my phone because the website doesn’t display well, so I could only check it when I was at home, but through Gmail, I have everything I need and it’s super easy to use!

Former Email Organizer: Outlook

I used Outlook for a while because I was used to it from my corporate working years, but I found that Google Workspace was a much better fit, especially with the Google Drive storage space bonus!

Learn More about Sessions!

Email Marketing: Flodesk

I really like the simple designs, and have created graphics as buttons for aesthetics. I also really love the automated workflows to create a series of emails, like a welcome or educational series. Click here to SAVE 50% off a Flodesk subscription!

Former Email Marketing: MailChimp

My (free) account is still active, I just haven’t used it in a while. I will say that they have more options for forms + functionality than Flodesk, so I just link custom forms from my CRM.

Online Image Delivery: PicTime

I started using PicTime in the beginning of 2021, and really love the client-facing gallery display and the ability to view images on products to remove guesswork of what the final product will look like! Get a month FREE when you sign up using CODE: CGLLTM

Online Video Delivery: WeTransfer

I love WeTransfer! This has been a huge time saver for me and clients! I used to use Google Drive, but there’s no notification when someone downloads the content so I knew it was safe to remove, which caused some awkward situations! We can send up to 2GB of files for free – larger transfers or team-use requires a Pro plan.

I originally used the invoice, gallery and online store, but now I use Dubsado + PicTime for regular client work. So now I use ShootProof for stock image galleries and a location inspiration gallery. This is a great option for beginner / low volume photographers before moving to a more complex CRM to manage their business – learn more here!

Online Storage / Transfer: Dropbox + Google Drive

Mainly I use these both to store documents or files so I can access them anywhere. I also use them to store a bank of photos to post on social from my phone – mostly for IG stories & reels since you can’t schedule them through Facebook’s Creator’s Studio. Google Drive is great for adding notes to the files, like social links, websites + comments, when collaborating with others.

Payment Options: PayPal, Square + Stripe

All of these options are great depending on what you’re preference is or payment requirement for a certain platform. If you want to take payments in person, they all offer credit card / chip readers which are super easy to use with their respective apps!

Virtual Organization: Trello

I love Trello!! I mostly use it to organize photoshoots with my brand clients, but I use a couple boards for myself (in business + in life). I can access the boards from my computer to plan sessions, and from my phone so we have the game plan at our finger tips! But it’s also great to organize different tasks in business, like marketing strategies, promotional events, website updates, social media topics + posts, and so much more!

Virtual Organization: Google Docs

I use Google Docs to create + access files from my computer and my phone, which is so great! And there are also a lot of templates for forms, slide presentations, and spreadsheets you can create for free! (with a Google account, of course! 🙂 )

But when I’m going strong in mom-boss mode at home, I love that I (we) can capture these on-the-fly moments! It forces me to take a break from work, focus on her and be in her little world, until she loses interest in me. That’s real-life mom boss life!

I’m still trying to figure out the whole self-care piece though. Like, what does self-care mean to me? How do I recharge my battery/creativity? What new things do I want to experience? All the things!! But that’s a whole other post 🙂 so for now……..

Check out Sweet Baby Rae’s work below!

She had a weird obsession one day to take photos of my foot up in the air – but I went with it because it was her vision, her art!! I totally love that she loves to take photos of me… almost as much as I love taking photos of her! lol

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