Do you have paperwork strewed everywhere or stacks of paperwork just waiting to be dealt with? I don’t know about you, but for me paperwork is never-ending, if I didn’t have some sort of system in place to deal with it, I wouldn’t be able to get into my office! Oh wait I can’t (but that is another story, let’s just say camping equipment is the culprit).
You might already be awesome at dealing with invoices, client documentation, junk mail etc, but if you aren’t then hopefully this will help you to get better at dealing with your filing, because let’s face it filing is not usually high priority.
Don’t let papers sit on your desk, deal with them straight away and if you can’t (because it requires more than 5 minutes to deal with) then make sure you have a tray for this paperwork, then schedule time to deal with that item.
Shred/recycle what you don’t need, and file away the rest. I like to scan important papers and store them as a back up on my computer, for example insurance certificates. Then if I have to email an important document, it is quickly to hand. If I don’t need to keep a hard copy, then it gets shredded right away once it is scanned.
Keep filed paperwork out of sight, you can get fantastic boxes/magazine files that match your decor to store these papers if you don’t have space for a filing cabinet. I do both, the filing cabinet is dedicated to client documentation, it is alphabetized which means i can find a client’s file quickly should they phone. I use the boxes for taxes, and magazine files for stationary, magazines, courses etc. You can see how I use these in my office here.
Be sure to set up a system that works for you, we all have different needs and space available, so only you know what will really work for you.
I also want to make sure that my files, especially for clients stay organised and that I know where I am at with a client’s session. So I have made it my mission for 2015 to streamline my client files. Each client file includes the following:
- workflow chart, which is printed on a full-page label and stuck to the inside of the folder, it includes all the contact information I need.
- editing workflow
- signed contract/model release and any other legal papers
I do also use an online facility to keep my database up to date and manage other things, but for me I like to have a physical file also to store signed documentation and I work better with paper, so to be able to tick off a task once it is completed makes it easier for me. I also take the file with me when traveling to the client’s house so that I have their address and contact details with me (I am just too lazy to write it all out again and it is quicker to grab the file).
Here is a list of some items that you might find handy to help get your filing organized:
- file folders & 2 piece filing clips
- sharpies(because I have an addiction to sharpies)
- stamps (date, copy, complete, paid etc)
- boxes/magazine files (to store your files if you don’t have space for a filing cabinet)
- filing cabinet (this doesn’t have to be big, mine only has 1 drawer for files)
- letter trays (stackable)
If you hadn’t guessed by now I am a bit obsessed with stationary!
We would love you to have a fully editable copy of the label I print off for my client files, you can completely tailor it to your workflow. Just click on the link below to download it.
I hope these tips and ideas help you get a bit more organised for 2015 !
Sales in Plain English Instructor for The Photographers Element
Photographer at Erin Freeman Photography
Originally from Canada, she upped sticks and moved to England 13 years ago, where she started a new adventure with her British husband. Her love of photography was ignited over 20 years ago when she travelled to Moscow, Russia aged 14, she hasn’t looked back since.
She started her business nearly 3 years ago, she soon realized that to offer her clients the best possible service, it needed to be personal, so she started looking into more ways to create this service, when the opportunity came to meet with Elizabeth Halford to take the Sales in Plain English class, she jumped at it.
When Erin isn’t working, she enjoys hanging out with her son at the British seaside and camping (or glamping as her son calls it). She also loves a bit of crocheting and sewing in the winter months.