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This is a post I have been formulating, and writing over and over in my head, for a LONG time. The truth is, I have no idea how to sum this up- how to sum her up.  And I also feel so lucky to have her that I don’t want to share her- but it is completely time to tell you all about one of the biggest changes I have made in my business in the last 4 years since I began.  And that change is Sarah.  Sarah is an old student of mine…turned friend…turned babysitter…turned JGbride…turned JG Assistant!!! Since last November, Sarah has been working for me as technically my virtual assistant, even though we live near each other and long term, I am hoping to have her do a little more with me at weddings/etc.

The reason I am sharing about her is two fold.  First- because I just have to brag on her a bit.  Sarah is artistically/creatively wired- she is a writer, and a fabulous musician.  But she is also extremely smart and a go-gettter, and gives 100% to everything she does.  And she has been life saving and life giving for my business.  The lovely Katelyn James was the one who gave me the idea of hiring her, at our coaching session last fall.  It took us no longer than leaving Virginia to know that we were going to do this- so Michael and I spent a bit of our drive home writing out what it would look like: what jobs to assign, how it would get done, and of course, who. We knew if I was going to give over some control of my business, access to the backend of a lot of my accounts, and also access to the other side of my business in general, it was going to have to be someone who I really trusted and who would do an amazing job. Sarah came to mind immediately– and was the PERFECT choice.  She has been an amazing hire, and I am so grateful for her!  I will share more and more over time, but today, I wanted to share 5 easy tasks you could turn over to an assistant if you are looking for time to grow your business, not just run it.  That was what it came down to for me that made Katelyn suggest I do this.  Because all of my work time (which is about 15-17 hours a week) were spent just maintaining my business.  But a lot of those were things that someone else could do for me- so that I could spend time doing the things people can’t (like developing my first Workshop that ran in March!).  So- if you find yourself in that spot- spending so much time doing smaller tasks that someone else could do, but you aren’t sure what or how- read on! These tasks are all great starter tasks for an assistant as you learn what else they can do for your business!


1). Social Media!!! This was one of the first things I gave over to Sarah. Now I want to be clear- she does not ever post real content for me.  While I think you COULD have an assistant do that for you, it was important to me that it is always my voice in my posts.  But I was almost a year behind on engagement session facebook galleries- which are great publicity! And that is an easy job for her to do! We share a dropbox folder with many different folders in it, one being Facebook Albums. I put images in, and she uploads/tags/tags vendors/locations.  It is a 20 minute task for weddings- but that is 20 minutes that I get back to formulate a blog post (or play with my kids!).

2). Photoshop prep.  Whenever I write Wedding Wednesday or Education posts, or post engagement session posts, there are photoshop templates involved in the marketing for those posts. They take 5 minutes or so a piece- but that adds up! And now Sarah makes those for me! To teach her, I use quicktime screen videos that I can take me me doing the task- and then upload them for her to watch, and she does them after that! We use trello to communicate all our jobs back and forth!

3). Gallery prep! Even if you don’t blog or use social media a lot, all photographers use some sort of gallery to deliver images. Sarah goes through the backend of my 2 gallery sites (zenfolio and pixieset), creates the galleries, sets urls and passwords, makes collections, creates coupon codes, and then updates the documents with that information that I send out when their galleries are ready.  This has been one of the biggest helps for me, and was also the first thing I turned over.

4). Just this year, I started using Two Bright Lights as a tool for getting my work published (and just shared about my first publication!). In the backend of Two Bright Lights, you have to enter vendor information and information about the couple to tell their story.  Sarah can do all of that for me now using the blog post! It is so helpful for me, and saves a lot of time so that I can quickly get weddings entered for publication!

5). This is not as descriptive or concrete as the rest…but so helpful! Often in my workflow, in the programs I use, new capabilities come out, or I decide I want to use portions of programs that I didn’t initially. For example, through my gallery delivery program, you can give your sessions categories to label and find them easily. I didn’t think that I needed that capability at first, so I didn’t use it. But once I got nearly 100 galleries in there, I found a big use for it. So instead of losing half a day of work to do it, Sarah does it for me! This has happened with honeybook (my client management system) and other programs I use also- technology changes, I want to update, and she can make those small technology changes for me!

There are so so so many other things she does for my business regarding albums, galleries, and more. I plan to share more over time, and also plan to post soon about how to find an assistant if you are looking for one, and what to look for!  I can’t wait to share more, but in the mean time, help me celebrate this amazing woman who has changed my business!  Sarah- JGP grows because of you!  We (my family) and I are so so thankful for you!!!

Sarah_0004Had to throw this one in there from her beautiful spring 2016 wedding!! Sarah_0002Sarah_0005Sarah_0006

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  1. How awesome is it to delegate and get your life back!! Sounds like you’ve found a real gem in Sarah!!

  2. Jamie Gay says:

    That’s awesome! Congrats!!

  3. Sara O'Hara says:

    How fun!!! Looks like you’ve found such a great friend and business help!

  4. Misty Adams Christensen says:

    So awesome!! Hooray for finding an awesome assistant!

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I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic Aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!). 

As a past high school teacher, I have a major heart for education. After going full time in my business, I have built a business I love that gives me an almost 6 figure salary and allows me to be home part time with my kids.  I dream for you to run a business that enhances your life and lights you up, and I believe I can help you learn how to do it with a little hustle and a lot of heart!

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You're in the right place!  As a past high school teacher, educating others is my life's work and a HUGE part of my business!  I have been teaching moms and hobbyists how to use their camera from first purchasing it all the way to coaching them into businesses of their own, and I'd love to help you as well, wherever you are (and whatever camera you have!).

I'm so glad you are here!  Teaching Photographers and other small business owners how to run more joyful, successful, and profitable businesses is one of my favorite parts of my business!  I specialize in working with photographers to make their goals a reality (or figure out what their goals should be in the first place!).  

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