Today we have Jen Swedhin, who is boudoir photographer and the founder of Jen Gets Shit Done on the show to talk to us about how she came to specialize in male boudoir photography and the benefits of choosing a hyper-niche. She’s also got some great business and productivity tips for us, including why she has ditched her “To Do” list and took email off of her phone.
(Here are the highlights, but you can listen to the full conversation below or listen to the episode on the Momentum podcast).
Like many photographers, when Jen started her photography business, she photographed a little bit of everything.
Pretty quickly, she realized that she hated a lot of what she was doing and admits that she would often hope it would rain when she had a family session scheduled. This caused her to ask herself, “What am I doing? I own my own business! Why am I hoping my clients don’t use my services?”.
The first time she did a boudoir session, she loved it so much that she dropped everything else. Shortly after, she had the opportunity to photograph a male client. Although she was a little nervous going into it, she quickly realized that that working with men was what she wanted to do. Although it can be challenging, it’s a better fit for her in every way.
Jen encourages everyone to take a moment and think about the kind of work that energizes and recharges you and then focus on that. It took her three years to discover boudoir photography and when she did, the difference in the amount of joy that she found in her work changed dramatically.
Jen says, “Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing. Be brave. What’s the worst thing that happens? If worse comes to worse, you can go back to shooting the other stuff.”.
Ditch the TO DO List
“It’s garbage. It’s just there to mess you up!”. Really. Most photographers aren’t linear thinkers so more often than not, we get overwhelmed by them. We start things, don’t finish, don’t start at all, sit and stare at them…sound familiar?
Jen uses a “cheesecake system” to help her be productive and get all the things done. The idea is that just like you can’t sit and eat an entire cheesecake (or even a slice) quickly or in one sitting, when you break it up into smaller bites, you can finish what’s on your plate.
Jen breaks her tasks down into small individual chunks that take 10-15 minutes to complete. Rather than making a list, she uses color-coded sticky notes to lay out the work that needs to be done. Each task is broken down into the steps required to complete the task. Each step gets it’s own sticky.
When the step is complete, the sticky is tossed. This system makes completing a task very manageable and lets you see how much you have accomplished.
Take Email Off of Your Phone
Responding to emails in a timely fashion has been a struggle for Jen, who freely admits that she “hates email.”. Even if you don’t feel that way, I think most of us can relate to reading an email on your phone, feeling like it’s too much to respond to from your phone and then responding days later or never responding because the email doesn’t show up as “new” in your inbox.
Jen solved this problem by removing email from her phone completely. She says, “If I can’t read it on my phone, I can’t put it off.” Taking email off of her phone also keeps her from reading emails in the middle of the night or while she’s having dinner. She checks her email 2-3 times a day and responds immediately. Doing this has alleviated all of her email related anxiety and increased her productivity.
If you’d like to learn more from Jen, she’s offering our audience her free guide, “5 Tips for Increasing Your Productivity”. Check it out HERE.
Links mentioned in the show
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