Photo by Barry Schwartz
The problem with being lazy, always looking for the easier way, is that the easier way takes so much work to set up it generally stresses me right out. It’s an engagement with neuroses (it takes a lot of work to be neurotic!).
As far as clients go, my stress is not their problem; it’s all about them, as it should be. They don’t care so much about my neuroses except as it benefits themselves.
For instance, receiving big files can be a source of anxiety for clients. There are lots of ways to do this that involve disks and hard drives (too much work!). There are third-party websites that allow you (often for free) to upload big files, give the client a link which they click on, leading to another link, maybe a login (maybe not), maybe a registration (maybe not), and then most of the time the files arrive in some form or another. I use two bits of software to simplify my clients’ experience. (Why two? One is the backup for the other one.)
These are both for Macs: FileChute, which is free-standing, and CargoLifter, which becomes part of your email software. Both send your files into the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, your own server, and other clouds). Both provide you a link. You send the link to your clients. The client clicks on the link and the files download to their computer just like that. It’s a beautiful thing.
Bidding and negotiating are part of the entrepreneur’s gig. To reduce my own stress, my estimates and contracts look almost identical and are templates, including the terms & conditions. The templates are bigger and more comprehensive than they need to be.
O man, you may say, that’s a drag… The deal is this: it’s far easier to take things away (like signature lines) than to add them. In the course of a few minutes, my contract template becomes an estimate, including removing language that does not apply to the type of project I’m bidding. If I get the job, I add things back (like signature lines) by copying-and-pasting from the original template. There are lots of software programs that do this kind of work, but I’m pretty comfortable with Word, so no biggie. Any word processing program will do. Not much stress involved, discounting the ever-present sensation I’m bidding too low or too high. But now we’re talking about my neuroses, and I’ve already addressed that (no cure, only mitigation!).
Doing any kind of photography, Lightroom is my best friend. No surprise: it is designed to be my BFF by Adobe because they spend so much time listening to what their own clients, photographers, need. (What a concept! Could we pass this gem of business logic on to my cable company?) Lightroom is designed to enable you to intuitively automate a remarkable number of processes while still producing high-quality work. Like, wow.
The unfortunate side-effect is I now feel more comfortable taking way more photos than I used to because it’s so much easier to edit large numbers of images. (Seems counterintuitive for a lazy person; perhaps I should write Adobe and ask them to back off making the software so good.) Clients love getting all those images to choose from, like they get something extra every project.
When all my little efficiencies are working smoothly, I save so much time being lazy I get do all the other things that can’t be automated, like eating, sleeping, and walking the dog. Walking him always makes me less stressed (him too). So maybe I’ll hold off on calling Adobe on account of my dog; he doesn’t really care that much about software, anyway.