Earn More Without Working More – The Simple Sales System with Annemie Tonken

A good system in your photography business is one that allows you to maximize your profits while making the best use of your time and talents. Enter: the Simple Sales System, a revolutionary way to run a profitable, sustainable business that you love.

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Introduction (2:25)

What is the #1 mistake people make when creating systems? (3:46)

People overcomplicate what a system is. A system is simply a repeatable, efficient workflow. The better you get at systems, the less thinking you have to do, you make fewer mistakes and you give a more consistent experience to your client.

How do you find time for organization when you’re stuck in the shoot, email, edit, repeat cycle? (6:19)

There is a misconception that you have to do everything yourself. Someone else may be able to do a task faster, more efficiently, and with less mistakes, which can make it cheaper than doing it yourself. Lean into the things you are good at, and outsource and automate the rest.

How did you overcome the mindset of “to earn more you have to work more”? (9:33)

When I got divorced, I had to really deep dive into my finances. To now provide for my family, I had to make more money without spending more time. So I mapped out the IPS process and figured out which aspects made it work so well, and then figured out how to do those things in an automated or remote way. That is how the Simple Sales System was born.

With your Simple Sales System, do people just order prints and albums online? (17:34)

Pic-time approached me when they saw I was making more money using their gallery software than their other family photographers. I shared my system with them and they then created a Simple Sales System marketing automation based on my system. So now the system to order products is really user-friendly and presented in a beautiful way.

How do you keep yourself from burning out as a photographer? (22:55)

The little things that need to get done take up so much of your time, but those are not the things that make your business great, like connection with clients, or the photos you make. Always be on the lookout for the next thing you can get off your plate.

How do you stay on track with systems you create? (25:39)

First and foremost, get a CRM. It takes some time to set up, but once it is done, you will never have to spend time making a to-do list again.

How do you move past not knowing your numbers and creating a business you can be proud of? (28:35)

Give yourself grace – there are many businesses out there at this stage. But knowing your numbers and what you need to make will enable you to make decisions that make your business successful. Don’t postpone.

Other than the Simple Sales System, you also teach “Revenue on Repeat”. Tell us more. (32:09)

I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t work for a few months, and I needed to stabilize my income. I realized that a membership model where people pay a monthly fee towards their session was beneficial for both me and my client. That meant during Covid my income didn’t drop.

Do you have any success stories to share? (38:18)

A student used the Simple Sales System after moving across country, and quadrupled her average session income.

Speed Round! (40.52)

What are you creatively curious about (44:36)

How other people run their businesses

Discover more about Annemie Tonken
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Annemie Tonken is a North Carolina-based family photographer, co-founder of The Family Narrative conference, and host of the top-rated photography business podcast, This Can’t Be That Hard. Her secret superpower is systems, which she believes hold the key to sustainability. She’s on a mission to help photographers systematize the business side of their businesses, so they can get back to doing what they love (and making a real living doing it).

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