A Letter to Our Users

Thirteen years after Jason and I created Táve, I’m proud to announce that we’ve taken the next natural step in growing our beloved service by joining forces with our friends at ShootProof, who announced their acquisition of Táve today.

It’s hard to believe that just 4 years ago we added our first employee, and that Jason and I were the sole developers until just last year. Táve has evolved from our single-room office in Boca Raton, to enjoying a view of the Atlanta skyline from the ShootProof headquarters, surrounded by their team of warm, talented creators.

From the day my wife Karen enrolled us in the first beta of ShootProof, we’ve had a great working relationship with their team. As both companies grew, that openness continued and our teams were able to collaborate on everything from marketing to support, even allowing members of our team to visit to see how their methods could improve our own.

We’ve enjoyed the collaboration so much, and believe that the pairing of ShootProof and Táve holds so much potential.

As a unified team, we will be able to deliver deeper integrations and more powerful features to our communities. The passion with which the ShootProof team has worked to make us a part of their family is inspiring. I can’t wait to share with you the many ways in which this will yield the most impressive growth in feature set, usability, and overall value Táve has ever seen.

Whether or not you use ShootProof, this is an exciting time to be a part of Táve!

Thank you for joining us on this journey,

Adrian Ziemkowski

🎉 A Special Thank You 🎉

Curious to see why we’re so fond of ShootProof? In celebration of our partnership, our users can get 3 free months of online galleries. Sign up with code TAVE2019. Offer valid on monthly plans for new ShootProof users only. Sign up before 6/30/19.

In addition to being Táve’s Customer Service Lead, Nicole Hoffman also runs a full-time wedding photography business, Nicole Klym Photography. In this post, she shares her tricks for client loyalty, brand building, and all around good marketing.

As a wedding photographer, the service I provide for my clients goes way beyond just showing up on the wedding day.  I often connect with them in-person a few times through meetings and when we get together for their engagement session.  Staying in touch throughout the process is very important to show my clients that I’m thinking about them and I’m here to help during this exciting, and often overwhelming, time.  Most of my communication is done by email, often triggered using automations set up in Táve to make sure I don’t miss a beat. But, everyone loves a good surprise, and that’s where services like Greetabl help me get really creative!  

Greetabl Unboxed

Rather than investing a lot of money into advertising my business, I let my clients do that for me, and gift giving plays a huge role in that.  When my clients receive a surprise from me in the mail, they often take a photo and share it with their friends on social media, which makes me look pretty awesome too.  I’ve even had wedding guests approach me on a wedding day to tell me my gift giving was on point… how about that for marketing!

I love Greetabls because you can personalize them for any occasion or recipient.  They are a perfect holiday card alternative!  To make them extra personal to my clients, I include 3 photos from their wedding in their design, and they can pop these out of the box and display them in their home or office.

Nicole Klym Photography Greetabl Gift

The customization starts at the outside of the box, with designs that cover every occasion from holiday themes to prints featuring inspiring messages, adorable puppies, and other fun patterns.  If you’re sending one as a welcome gift for a new bride, you can use their adorable “Just Said Yes” design. They even have a matching gift kit for inside to keep with the same theme. How fun!

Inside each Greetabl you can include one or more fun items, and the options are endless!  You can personalize these for each box. So, if you know particular things your clients like (asking questions in your Táve intake questionnaire is a great way to find this out), you can really connect with them by choosing something you know they’ll like to show them that you’re listening.  Or, you can choose from a variety of fun treats, from brownies and chocolates to bath bombs and candles. I love the option to add confetti in each box too, so they get a fun surprise when they open it.

Now, it’s even easier to get your clients’ contact information into your Greetabl account with an import of your Táve contacts!  If you’re a Greetabl Insider Pro member, you can do this by choosing the Import Contacts option in Greetabl to pull in a CSV export from your Táve address book.  If you need a refresher on how to export one of your Táve Address Book lists, we have a tutorial on exporting your lists here.  You’ll want to choose the “all columns” option when saving your list there and then head on over to Greetabl to import those contacts. Greetabl Tave ImporterSurprise someone with a Greetabl today!  Happy gifting!

You’re sitting at your desk at work, plugging away at the task in front of you. It’s your day job, and it pays the bills. It’s not that you hate it, but you can’t stop your thoughts from wandering to your side hustle. Maybe it’s a growing photography business, a DJ gig or some freelance graphic design work. Whatever it is, you love doing it and can’t stop dreaming of the day when you can quit your full-time job and invest the full force of your time and energy into your side hustle.

But dreaming is one thing, and doing is another. How do you take those first steps toward making your hustle your full-time job? How do you know if you’re ready to take your side business to the next level?

If these are the questions you’re asking, then you’re in good company. We’ve got the tips you need to help you learn how you can turn your side hustle into your full-time job.

Signs Your Business Is Ready for the Next Level

What are the real differences between side hustles vs. businesses? The major differences are in how well-developed they are. Side hustles start small and need time to grow and develop. Only by investing time in these early stages can you be sure you’ll have a business worth anything at all.

Because of this, side hustles are always a little rocky when you start out. But let’s say you’ve been doing this for a few months or even a few years. The road is starting to even out, and you’re beginning to feel like you’re in control. Does this mean it’s time? Here are three ways to know if your business is ready to go full-time.

1. You’re Financially Stable

You can measure financial stability in several different ways when you’re running a business. Ideally, the best way to measure this is to look at whether or not you’re currently earning money from your side hustle. Unless you had a very generous benefactor, most startups begin with loans or debts of some kind. Your first months or even years will likely be spent trying to pay off these loans. If you’re finally to the point where you’re starting to earn money — meaning your earnings are higher than your expenses — this is a very positive sign.

Additionally, you’ll want to have a fair amount of savings piled up for a rainy day. The idea here is that if you run into any large expenses down the road, you’ll have the cash to cover it without having to take on more debt. A solid credit score is also a major bonus at this stage.

2. You Have a Scalable Business Model

A scalable business model is one that’s going to allow you to grow and continue making exponentially more money. For example, a business where your expenses are higher than your earnings will result in a net loss and is not a scalable model. This will lead to loss after loss and will eventually burn out. A scalable model, on the other hand, is one that keeps leading upward by minimizing expenses and maximizing profits.

A scalable business model is important for two reasons:

  • It helps you by paying you a salary and also giving you the money you need to keep making the company bigger and better instead of shrinking or even maintaining a status quo.
  • It encourages investors, convincing them you’re worth their money because your business is going to last.

If you’ve got a model in place, have tested it and are already putting it in place, then it might just be time for you to go all in.

3. You’re Having to Turn Down Projects

Turning down projects may initially sound like a negative, but it’s actually a good sign. As you turn out more and more success stories, word of your product or service is going to spread. People will tell their friends, and increasing numbers of curious customers will begin lining up at your door, eager to try your business for themselves.

As a creative professional, however, you only have so much time on your hands. You can’t be in two places at once, and as you become more and more popular, this will inevitably lead to turning down certain projects. At this point, this is a positive for your business because it means the demand is greater than the supply. This allows you to increase prices slightly and should give you confidence that you’re on the fast-track to having a full-time business on your hands.

Steps to Take to Turn Your Side Hustle Into Your Job

Side hustles don’t turn into businesses by accident — they’re the result of careful planning, hard work and a specific set of steps such as these. With this in mind, here are four steps on how to turn your side hustle into your full-time business.

1. Carve Out Time to Create Your Business Plan

A well-thought-out business plan is imperative to the success of your business. Think of it as a road map for your company or startup. Not only does it show your final destination, but it also has a clearly highlighted route that you intend to take to reach your goal. It helps you clarify your vision for your company and communicate this clearly to employees if you have them. Even if you don’t have any employees yet, it’s helpful to write this down for yourself, so you can keep track of your goals.

Business plans are also great for attracting financing and investment. After all, if someone is going to invest in your company, they’ll want to be sure it’s in capable hands, and that they aren’t merely throwing money away. They want to be sure they’ll see returns. A solid business plan can convince them of this.

As you’re getting ready to take the next step with your business, take the time to draw up a comprehensive business plan for your soon-to-be new job. It doesn’t have to be set in stone and can change when you see change is necessary. But, it’s important to have this road map as you start this new journey. Without it, you might get lost along the way. With it, you’ll always be able to keep track of where you’re headed.

2. Craft Your Marketing Skills

It doesn’t matter how amazing your product or service is — if no one knows about it, you won’t make any money. That’s where marketing comes in. Marketing is the art of advertising yourself to the world. To be an effective marketer, you need to figure out exactly what you want your public image to be. You need to figure out what connects with people, then determine how to build this into your brand. Then, you need to figure out the most effective plan for sharing this with the world.

It isn’t enough to send out a promotional email whenever it occurs to you or post on Twitter every couple of weeks. Instead, you need a detailed plan that covers marketing tools like email blasts, website management, social media tracking and in-person events. This is no small challenge, which is why you must build these skills up over time.

Before you can take your business and make it into a full-time job, you’ll need to be confident that your marketing skills are up to the task. If not, then you may need to spend a bit more time developing these. After all, they’re going to be the major driving force that brings traffic to your door. If your marketing skills aren’t up to par, your business likely won’t be making enough to support you.

Hone your marketing skills by reading books, attending seminars, following relevant blogs and even taking classes. You can also conduct case studies by choosing a popular brand you love and paying close attention to the way they market themselves. How often do they post on social media, and what are they posting? How often do they send emails? These brands have become popular because they know how to market themselves, and this makes them fantastic examples to study.

3. Get Ready to Work — A Lot

Anyone can mess around with a hobby in their spare time. Anyone can slowly turn this into something that makes them the occasional dollar. But turning that side gig into a full-time job? It’s a daunting task, and it’s not for the faint of heart. We believe in optimism, and we think you have the power to get it done. However, we also believe in realism, and the reality is that if you want it, it’s going to take a lot of hard work.

You’ve heard the phrase “time is money.” While that’s true in many settings, it likely won’t hold true for you yet. You’ll need to be prepared to put in long hours with little to no visible return. These hours aren’t meaningless, as they’re laying the groundwork for future success, but you’re unlikely to see any monetary gain from them — at least not yet. You’re your own boss, so there won’t be anyone standing over you giving you incentives to keep going. If you want it, it’s up to you and you alone. This is certainly no small task.

To help cope with the strain of this work, try a few of these tips out:

  • Change Hats Often: There’s a good chance that your business isn’t big or stable enough yet to hire employees. That means all the work is going to fall on you as you switch hats at lightning speed, moving from one role to another as the situation calls for it. You’ll need to play the salesperson, the customer service professional, the head of human resources, the bookkeeper, the CEO and more. This can be frustrating, but it also keeps you from getting too bogged down in one role and teaches you the many sides of running a business.
  • Break It Down: Taking your side hustle to a full-time job is a big step, and it’s important to go into it without any illusions that it will be easy. However, you can make this seemingly insurmountable task a little lighter on yourself. One of the best things you can do is to break big tasks down into smaller tasks. Rather than looking at your work as a mountain of projects you’re constantly struggling to make a dent in, create a checklist. Check off one item at a time and allow yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment with every small thing you get done.
  • Think Long Term: Finally, try to maintain a big-picture attitude. When it feels like you’ve worked for hours and hours with little to no results, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re planting the seeds for future success. You might not see it now, but someday you’ll look back and be glad you didn’t give up.

4. Build Your Network

Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and none of us would ever learn anything if we didn’t have people to learn from. That’s where your network comes into play. This is a fancy term for the smart, savvy and supportive people you chose to surround yourself with as you go on this journey. Maybe some of them you’ll end up working with, but it’s also possible that some of them will never have anything to do with your business. This doesn’t matter — they’re still a vital part of your network.

Here are just a few of the important roles the people in your network can fulfill for you:

  • Inspiration: We all know that feeling of being a kid, looking at someone and thinking “I want to be like them when I grow up.” This is the grown-up version of this. Inspiration encourages us to grow, change and be better. By surrounding yourself with individuals who inspire you, you’ll constantly challenge yourself to up your game.
  • Advice: Few things are more valuable than the advice of someone who has walked in your shoes before. Are you acquainted with the owners of any successful businesses that started just like yours? Ask them what advice they’d give to their younger selves. You never know what tips you might learn.
  • Support: Support might not be a quantifiable resource, but doesn’t make it any less valuable. When times are hard and you’re struggling to see the big picture, sometimes the only thing that keeps you going is the encouragement and help you get from your network, both personal and professional.

Make Your Transition as Smooth as Possible With Táve

As the owner of a brand new business, it’s easy to feel like there’s far too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it in. That’s why so many creative professionals such as wedding photographers, videographers and DJs have tried and fallen in love with Táve.

Táve is a one-stop software app that handles many of the business management tasks associated with running a startup while simultaneously freeing you up to focus more on the creative tasks you love. It’s built to handle lead tracking, online booking, calendar management, email scheduling and so much more.

Are you ready to take the plunge and go full-time with your side hustle? Táve is here to help. Sign up today for your one-month free trial and experience for yourself what makes so many creative business owners fall in love with Táve.

As the owner of a startup business, you have a lot on your plate. You manage clients, track billing and expenses, order supplies and book your services, all while creatively advertising yourself and creating a brand that people will notice. It’s easy to feel like there just isn’t time in the day to fit in any more tasks.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to ease some of this strain on yourself? A way to give your small business a boost and push you in the right direction? Today, we’d like to suggest that ongoing learning can fulfill this exact role in your life and your business.

In addition to being an invaluable resource as you work to build up your brand and business, ongoing learning has the added bonus of being easy to fit into your busy schedule. You can often even complete this learning online, so you don’t have to worry about dropping everything to commute to a school or campus. Instead, you can do it all from the convenience of your own computer. By sprinkling ongoing learning into your lunch break, evening or weekends, just a little bit at a time, we think you’ll be amazed by the results you see.

The Benefits of Ongoing Learning

It’s easy to feel tired and even burnt out as a business owner. There’s so much to do, and if you’re just starting out, it can feel like all that weight is resting solely on your shoulders. So if you’re asking yourself, “Why should I bother with ongoing learning as a business owner?” then we understand where you’re coming from.

However, we also think that ongoing learning is worth the time and energy. By investing yourself and your efforts, here are just a few of the benefits you’ll begin to experience as a result. Whether you’re a DJ, designer or photographer, ongoing learning has the power to revolutionize your business.

1. Trendspotting

One of the most crucial aspects of running your own business is the need to stay on top of current interests and fads. If you aren’t relevant, customers are very capable of leaving you and going with someone more in line with the latest industry trends. However, if you aren’t currently tapped into the industry mainframe, it can be challenging to get a sense of current trends.

Ongoing education helps with this in more ways than one. First and foremost, it gives you the tools you need to learn how to follow trends. It will teach you how experts stay on top of the shifting markets and help you learn to do the same. Then, you can continue with these techniques even after your learning program ends.

Secondly, it also helps by tapping you into the network itself. As you learn, you’ll be reading relevant books, articles and essays. You’ll be learning to use new tools and technology, and you’ll learn the industry thought leaders who you should be following. In short, ongoing learning puts you directly in touch with the current flow of the industry, thus helping you spot trends even before they crest and decline.

2. Networking

Any educational program is a fantastic opportunity to network, and as a business owner, you’ll want to make the very most of this possibility. If your ongoing learning will put you in touch with classmates, why not reach out to them and exchange ideas, techniques and experiments? Is the instructor or teacher available for contacting? Take advantage of this and make a personal connection with them.

The basic idea here is that you never know which connection could be the one that leads to that breakthrough client, sponsor or investor. Keep those lines of communication open and foster connections with those relevant figures in your industry. You never know how this might end up benefiting you. Even if it never leads anywhere major, you’ll still have valuable connections who you can always ask for advice.

3. Avoid Burnout

Burnout is inevitable. It doesn’t matter if you have the best, most exciting dream job in the entire world. There will always be days, weeks and months where you feel exhausted, and like you’ve lost your vision of why you’re doing this.

The solution is to figure out how to come back from burnout, and how to lessen it as much as possible. One of the best ways of doing this is by reminding yourself what excited you about this world and this industry in the first place. Ongoing learning is a spectacular way to do exactly this. It teaches you about new ideas, new technologies and new trends within your field. It connects you with others who are excited about these things. All of this combines to make the perfect antidote to the burnout that creeps up on us all from time to time.

4. Reinforce the Fundamentals

As a business owner, you’re constantly striving to learn some complicated new techniques in the interest of staying relevant and beating the competition. We’ve all been there, and we get it. It’s vital to stay on top of what’s current.

This becomes a problem, however, when we’re working so hard to stay on trend that we forget the basics. Ongoing learning can help with this. It’s a great chance to be refreshed on the basic skills and information that you started with. We’re not saying you forgot these things. The odds are that these things are so deeply ingrained that you couldn’t forget them if you tried. But sometimes they get buried under the latest gimmick, and we need to be reminded of our roots. Ongoing education is just a gentle reminder that many of us need in this department.

Types of Ongoing Education Available

When we think of education, many of us have the knee-jerk response of instantly conjuring up an image of a classroom in our heads. Because many of us have spent so many years of our life in school, the idea of learning and education is inherently tied to a classroom environment.

The truth is, however, that this is far from the only type of education out there. To illustrate this, just think about the last thing you learned. Maybe you learned the ins and outs of a new app on your phone, how to cook a new recipe or how to speak a new word in a different language. The odds are that you didn’t learn this in a classroom. Many of us are learning new things every day without even really trying. The key to ongoing learning is to make this process intentional.

Here are just a few of the types of ongoing learning where you can begin to invest your time and energy.

1. Formal Education

These all represent forms of education that take place at a fixed time and are more formally organized. While some of these options may be free, these are also very likely to require payment to access.

  • Classroom training: This is what we traditionally think of as education. This means sitting in a classroom with a designated teacher or professor.
  • Formal qualifications: What additional certifications or credentials can you earn in your field? What does the training for them look like?
  • Online interactive learning: Think of this like an online classroom where you can interact with an instructor via messaging systems.
  • Webinar: This is real-time video learning through the internet.
  • Conference: Gatherings of industry leaders, innovators and thinkers who come together to share news, developments and tutorials about the field in question.
  • Seminar: A seminar is a learning group, held perhaps one time or as a series, where one individual leads a discussion-based class.

2. Informal Education

These types of education can be completed on your own, at your own pace, with no oversight of any kind. While it’s not always the case, these types of education are much more likely to be free.

  • Podcasts: Play one of these while commuting to work, washing dishes or running on the treadmill.
  • Video: The internet is full of videos on any topic imaginable.
  • Blogs: Find blogs on the topics that interest you and subscribe to them to sprinkle nuggets of learning throughout your week.
  • Books: No matter what you want to learn about, a book is always one of the best places to go. Both paper books and ebooks are great ways to learn.

Online vs. Offline Learning

There are lots of benefits to both in-person and online learning. You can profit from each in different ways, and each offers benefits that the other does not. Likewise, both have a few drawbacks that the other won’t have. Deciding which is best for you is a personal decision, and there is no right or wrong answer here.

Online learning has the incredible benefit of allowing you to complete your learning from anywhere. At home, at the office on your lunch break or even from a coffee shop on the weekend — it doesn’t matter. You can also complete your learning whenever is convenient for you, save on transportation costs and not worry about having to be somewhere at a specific time.

Offline learning, however, has the added benefit of allowing face time with industry professionals and peers. This creates greater opportunities for networking and helps you build these all-important relationships.

Decide whether online learning, offline learning or a combination of the two is best for you, and take that first step towards beginning your continued education. Whichever you choose, you’ll find it’s well worth it.

Get Your Team on Board

You may have heard the advice that if you want to start a gym program, it’s best to do it with a friend. This is an excellent idea because it gives two people the benefits of a gym routine and creates accountability between the two. When the one sees the other going, they’ll remember their desire to go too, and both can help encourage each other on the days it doesn’t sound so fun.

Ongoing education is very similar. It can be difficult when it seems like you’re the only one doing it. Make things easier on yourself and share the benefits by inviting your entire team to participate in ongoing learning with you.

Here are just a few tips for getting this ball rolling within your business.

1. Highlight a Mix of Learning Opportunities

Not everyone enjoys podcasts, and not everyone like to read books. Some people would rather attend a discussion-based class and others would rather sit in the back of a lecture and listen. To make sure there’s something for everyone, try mixing up the types of educational opportunities created for your employees.

2. Create Learning Incentives

Most people like the idea of learning. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that many people are busy and if there isn’t any concrete reason for them to learn, it’s much easier not. Create a culture of learning by giving employees incentives and rewards for furthering their learning, and you’ll be amazed as you watch this culture grow.

3. Get Your Employees Excited to Learn

Create spaces that foster a love and excitement towards learning, spaces where employees are allowed and encouraged to share what they’ve learned with one another. This might be a bulletin board, a monthly meeting or whatever else you can dream up. Perhaps if an employee completes a particular special educational opportunity, you may even give them the chance to put on a talk for the other employees to share their new knowledge.

4. Bring in Experts

Do you have a longtime friendship with an expert in your industry? Did you just meet an up-and-coming entrepreneur? Ask them if they’d be willing to give a talk to your employees. This gets your employees excited about new topics in the field and brings in an outside voice and a fresh perspective they may not have heard before. Who knows? It may just be the spark that ignites a renewed interest in a particular subject for one of your employees.

How to Get Started With Online Learning as a Business Owner

Getting started is as easy as taking that first step. Pick up a book. Download a podcast. Look up seminars and classes in your area. Once you settle on one or two options that spark your interest, it’s as simple as just beginning.

One idea in particular that you can also investigate is looking into tax deductions for educational expenses. This may not always be an option, depending on specific circumstances, but it’s certainly worth checking out. You never know what benefits you or your employees might qualify for.

Get Your Free Trial of Táve Today

Online education isn’t the only way you can give yourself a helping hand as a small business owner. Your newest virtual assistant is here — Táve. Táve is a software app that helps you manage the business end of your operations and lets you focus on the more creative tasks. From workflow management to online bookings and lead tracking, Táve can do it all.

Try Táve for a month and if you don’t love it, you won’t have to pay a dime. Get your free trial today and start experiencing the power of Táve.

So you own a photo booth. Maybe you get a respectable number of clients and customers but are looking to up that number. Or perhaps you’re struggling even to get enough clients to make ends meet. No matter which position you find yourself in, you’re not alone. Photo booths are a fun and rewarding way to earn money, but they do present unique challenges. There are many pitfalls to avoid, and if you aren’t careful, you may be dipping your toes into one of these holes without even realizing it.

Not to worry. Just as there are several ways to endanger your photo booth business, so too are there numerous ways to get it back on track. If you’re looking to get your photo booth business back in the fast lane, then we want to help. Here are our top tips for increasing your number of photo booth clients.

Offer Referral Benefits to Past Customers

The first step to any photo booth marketing plan should be to make use of any past clients. These individuals are natural marketers for you, and they may already be doing this work without you knowing about it. If they had a positive experience with you, the odds are good that next time someone they know is looking for a photo booth, they’ll say, “Hey, you know who you should check out?” If this process is already happening, why not take the next step and make it official?

Initiate an official referral program that creates a direct chain of cause and effect between customers, referrals, repeat customers and higher numbers of new customers. There are many ways you might set up a program like this, but here is one model you could follow.

Make it a policy that every time a past client refers a new customer, they receive a discount on their next photo booth experience. That discount can be whatever you deem appropriate — half off, 20 percent off — any amount that makes sense for your photo booth business plan.

This plan is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it helps bring back customers as repeat clients, which increases the likelihood that you will become fixed in their minds as their photo booth of choice. Secondly, this brings in new first-time clients, who may then refer their friends, and so on. Will you sacrifice a small amount of profit for offering discounts for referrals? Yes, but this is far outweighed by the benefit of attracting so many new customers.

Once you’ve set this new plan into motion, it’s crucial that you make your customers aware of it. Showcase it on your website and social media page, multiple times and in prominent places where it will be impossible to miss. When you meet with your customers in person, remind them verbally. Anytime you’re out on a booking, pass out fliers that have all the necessary information on them. The simple fact is that people love discounts. If you make it known that you’re offering one, the results are sure to follow.

Improve Your Website and Social Media Presence

This tip essentially boils down to one basic idea — make yourself easy to find. In this internet age, people can find anything they want at the click of a button. Most likely, anyone in need of a photo booth today is going to head to a search engine first. This means that you need to make sure that your name is among the first results that appear.

1. The Website

This starts with building a stunning website. Think of this website as the headquarters of your online presence — your business card, advertisement and store all rolled into one. This is where people will come to contact you, to learn more about your policies and services and to hear past testimonials. Your job is to make sure all of this is immediately available and easily accessible.

Minimalism is your best bet when it comes to designing a website. Don’t be tempted to add fancy bells and whistles and instead, keep things simple. Choose plain backgrounds, easy-to-read-fonts and avoid large blocks of text. Place links to your social media at the bottom or top of every page, and don’t bury important information beneath layers of clicks. Above all, place everything in its logical place. Test this by asking a friend who’s never seen your website before to click around and see if they think everything is where it should be.

2. Social Media

There is nearly an endless list of social media platforms you could join, but few of us have time for all of them. Instead, narrow down the ones that are worthwhile. Facebook and Twitter are must-haves for any business, and Instagram is an excellent idea as well, especially given the fact that this is a platform that’s designed specifically to showcase photos. Beyond these, it’s up to you to decide which ones are worth it. Other platforms to consider include YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat and more.

Once you join these social media platforms, your job is to be an active source of fun, timely and relevant content, featuring your spin on topics of interest to your audience. This means perhaps commenting on news that’s relevant to your industry and customers. It’s an opportunity to link back to your website and blog, if you have one. It involves posting deals, discounts and promos as you’re running them. Essentially, this is a platform for you to connect with your audience and sell yourself as a reliable, fun and trustworthy photo booth service that’s a great choice to hire for someone’s next event.

Besides this, social media is a great place for your customers to connect with you and ask questions, or to leave comments telling you what a great time they had with your booth. These are both things which help boost your credibility and will go miles towards earning you new customers.

Get Testimonials From Past Clients

Have you had even one customer who enjoyed their experience with you? Then there’s the perfect opportunity for a testimonial.

1. How to Get Testimonials

Try sending your clients a survey to fill out after they’ve completed their experience with you, asking them to rate their experience and being sure to leave a field for comments. This comments field is especially crucial, as this is where you can get some great quotes to use.

You might also email, call or contact your past customers directly. Explain that you’re trying to get some testimonials and ask them if they’d be willing to share a quote. There’s no need to say anything fancy here — most people will understand the importance of testimonials and, provided they had a good experience with you, most will be happy to help. Simply be polite, explain what you’re after and ask if they’d be willing to give you a quote. If they are, terrific. If they aren’t, be courteous, thank them for their time and try someone else.

2. Where to Put Testimonials

Testimonials are one of your best marketing tools. In every single piece of your photo booth advertising campaign, there’s a place for some good old-fashioned testimonials. Your website, of course, is the number one place where these will come in handy. Make an entire page on your website dedicated to testimonials, clearly label it and place your quotes there. Additionally, you might put one or two tastefully throughout the rest of the website — perhaps at the bottom of the page, or as a pull-quote.

Social media is another excellent place to advertise some of these glowing testimonials. Maybe this means taking a quote in part or in its entirety and posting it to social media. It could mean linking back to your social media post. However you choose to do this, make sure you’re spreading these types of positive reviews across your social channels, letting people know that you aren’t all talk. You also deliver exceptional results, and people are willing to back you up on that.

Grow Your Network

Networking is an invaluable tool, the importance of which cannot be overstated. It can’t entirely replace advertising, marketing and a strong online presence, as these will always be crucial to your success, but networking still has a critical role to play in your photo booth business growth.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, networking is the practice of creating, growing and maintaining personal connections in your industry of choice. This means fellow photo booth owners, photo booths supply companies, frequent patrons of the industry, major local clients and more. Even though some of you may be competitors, and thus playing for different teams, as it were, you’re all involved in the same game, and it’s important to connect with one another.

1. Why Network?

Networking is one of those practices that may feel a bit pointless at the time but will come in handy when you least expect it. Maybe you need a certain supply, and a supplier you connected with months ago is willing to offer you a discount because of your personal connection. Or maybe one of your competitors had to cancel a booking, but has a good relationship with you and so recommended your services to the client instead.

In other words, what goes around comes around. Establish good working relationships with those in your industry, and you never know the ways this might circle back to you.

2. Where to Network?

One of the best ways to network is to volunteer. This may not connect you with competitors, but it will connect you with potential corporate clients. If there’s a charity event going on near you, volunteer your photo booth for free. This gains you exposure with innumerable new potential clients.

Other great ways to network include visiting trade shows, conferences and other industry events. You never know who you’ll meet here, or when those relationships will come in handy for all parties involved.

Offer Auxiliary Services

Every photo booth out there offers the same basic services. The booth itself, maybe some fun props to hold and a photo strip that prints out afterward. These are all elementary services and are standard across the industry. If this is all you have to offer, then your services represent the bare minimum of what a photo booth can be.

To rise above this status, you might want to take time to step back and ask yourself — what else can you offer? How can you set yourself apart by going beyond what ordinary photos booths offer? There is a whole world of ideas out there, but a few of the ones in demand right now that are worth considering include:

  • GIFs: GIFs are all the rage these days, and there is plenty of technology out there that makes this a viable option for photo booths. From three to four frame GIFs to short, boomerang-style GIFs, this is a great extra feature to add to your photo booth services.
  • Green screen: Let your client’s guests see themselves in a whole new world. This isn’t new technology, and it’s so simple that there’s no reason not to offer it.
  • Custom props and backdrops: Clients like customizable photo booths, and they love to see their logo reflected in the photos themselves. Why not make this an option for your next upgrade?
  • Slow-motion video: Everything is a little more dramatic and outrageous when captured in slow-motion video. Because this feature is so much fun, it might just gain you a few extra customers.
  • Dubsmash karaoke booth: Dubsmash is a recent craze and by investing in it, you set yourself up as someone who’s on top of current trends. Let your customers sing and lip-sync to popular songs, or even create the option for your clients to host competitions.
  • Virtual reality: This strays a bit from the basic photo booth service, but there’s enough overlap that this is another natural place you might take your work. Invest in some virtual reality (VR) equipment and let clients rent it for events. With the recent interest in VR, this is sure to be a popular choice.

There is no limit to the places you can take your photo booth or the services you can expand to.

There’s nothing wrong with offering basic services, and you should continue to do so. But if you’re looking to stand out from every other photo booth service out there, it might be time to think about how you can step up your game.

Take Your Business Management Solutions to the Next Level

With all these new incoming customers you’re sure to acquire if you implement these methods, you’ll need improved solutions to manage them. For this, there’s no better solution than Táve. Táve is a one-stop software app that helps you manage the business side of your operations, giving you more time to focus on building your client list and delivering a one-of-a-kind photo booth experience to them.

From workflow management to online booking, Táve can do it all. And best of all? You can try Táve for 30 days free. Sign up for your 30-day trial today, free of charge, and experience the difference only Táve can offer.

Looking for a career that won’t leave you sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, five days a week? Longing to take your creative passion and turn it into something profitable? Why not consider a career as a commercial photographer?

Commercial photography is a viable career path for many people. Whether you’re someone who’s never practiced photography professionally, but has always had a passion for pictures, or perhaps someone with a creative photography business who is looking to expand into the commercial realm, this doesn’t have to be a pipe dream any longer. You can make it happen, and today, we want to discuss the nuts and bolts of how to go out there and do it.

Why Become a Commercial Photographer?

Why Become a Commercial Photographer?

Before we talk about the specifics of how to get into commercial photography, let’s lay the groundwork. Why would someone want to become a commercial photographer in the first place? As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons — and they begin with a simple commercial photography description.

A commercial photographer is someone who shoots professional pictures for a company. This description is extremely broad, but that’s appropriate, because there’s so much variety within the field. In this line of work, you might find yourself briefly partnering with and working for any number of companies and industries. You might take photographs of homes for real estate companies. Maybe you’ll shoot enticing pictures of food for a restaurant or a food brand. You might contract with a tech company to capture snapshots of their latest gadgets for a roll-out campaign.

Close your eyes and think about all the times and places in your life you see professional photographs. Surely there are too many to count. Nearly every store, company and business in the world needs to hire a photographer at one point or another, since they need photos to advertise their products, businesses and services. However, because the photographs are the only part of this transaction we see, we often don’t think about the talented people behind the camera. But someone had to shoot those pictures. Why couldn’t it be you?

The major perk of commercial photography is that as long as people are selling things, there will always be a need to advertise them. And as long as advertising exists, there will always be a call for someone to take the photographs to include in these ads. In other words, commercial photography isn’t going away anytime soon, so if you enter this field, you can feel confident you will always find work.

Additionally, commercial photography is appealing because it allows you to exercise your creative passion for art and capturing images while remaining financially stable. Instead of becoming the stereotypical starving artist, you can have a job and a reliable source of income while still practicing your art.

How to Get Started

Of course, it’s all well and good to talk about the benefits of becoming a commercial photographer, but ultimately, that won’t get you any closer to achieving this goal. So let’s talk practically. How can you launch your career as a commercial photographer?

For starters, try following these basic steps.

Get the Right Equipment

If you want to establish yourself as a professional in the photography industry, you’ll need to arm yourself with the right equipment. No matter how advanced and high-resolution your smartphone camera may be, you can’t expect potential employers to take you seriously if that is your only camera. Additionally, these cameras typically do not have the same capabilities you’ll find on professional tools.

To begin your professional photography business, these are some of the items you’ll need to invest in.

  • A camera: There is a whole world of professional cameras out there, each offering a unique set of special features, but all offering the technical prowess necessary to help you succeed. You’ll want to do your research into the different brands and models to decide which is best for you. As your business grows, you may even need multiple cameras for different types of shoots.
  • Lighting equipment: On some days and in some places, the natural lighting is perfect as-is. That doesn’t happen very often, however, and the business doesn’t slow down on days when the light is imperfect. To keep your work going, you’ll need to invest in professional lighting equipment to transform any setting into one that’s beautifully and professionally lit.
  • Tripod: You’ll likely do plenty of shooting while holding the camera in your hands. But there will always be moments where you need it steadier than you can secure it, or you need to put it on a timer while you can’t be there to hold it yourself. For moments such as these, a tripod is an essential element in the toolkit of any professional photographer.
  • Bag or case: An essential part of your job is likely going to be traveling from job to job. You’ll spend a lot of time on the road, moving from one shoot to the next. To make this easier, you need a reliable carrying case or bag for all your equipment so you can pack up and go, knowing your camera will remain safe while you travel.
  • Editing software: Few photographs come out perfect the first try. No matter how good a photographer is, almost everyone touches up their photographs with the editing software of their choice — brightening the colors, removing imperfections and sharpening the lines. You’ll have to pay for most quality editing software, so research which one will work best for you and make the investment.
  • Miscellaneous equipment: This list is by no means a comprehensive inventory of all the gear you’ll use in this career, but these items do represent some of the most important pieces. Beyond this list, you’ll need to decide for yourself what would be useful, or what is necessary for your specific clients and jobs.

Educate Yourself

Research is one universal step, no matter what industry you’re trying to break into. You’ll need to do some homework and learn about common standards within the industry. Learn about best practices, expectations and recommendations. Learn the rules, both written and unwritten, spoken and unspoken. If you don’t know these things, you’ll risk coming off as an amateur at best, and at worst, you may make a serious faux pas that can derail your entire career before it even gets off the ground.

When it comes to a field like photography, you’ll need to do more than educate yourself on the best businesses practices. You’ll also need to learn the techniques and artistry of photography. If this is a longtime passion of yours, that step will likely not be a chore. What’s essential to remember is that this career is an ongoing learning experience. Techniques and technology are always changing and growing. If your goal is to succeed as a commercial photographer, you’ll need to commit to staying up to date on these advances.

Keep in mind commercial photography is different from creative photography in that your artistic vision alone is not the sole factor guiding your work. Instead, you are working to showcase your clients’ products, and you’ll need to learn to restructure your approach to reflect this.

Maybe you’ll do all this learning on your own, checking books out of the library, reading plenty of photography blogs or even interviewing professional photographers. Another excellent option is to sign up for photography courses online or at your local college. All these are excellent routes to learn the information you’ll need to kickstart your career.

Get Your First Clients

When you go into business for yourself, signing up your first clients is a challenge regardless of your line of work — whether it’s photography or something entirely different. It takes dedication, patience and a willingness to stick it out, even when the results are discouraging. No matter how successful a business owner eventually becomes, they all must first go through this challenging beginning stage.

To find your first few clients, try looking in these key areas.

  • Friends/family/acquaintances: Your existing network should be the first place you look. Do you know anyone who runs or works for a business that may need some photography work done? At the very least, you can certainly ask these people to keep an eye out in their circles of acquaintances for such work potential.
  • Network: Get to know other photographers. Attend conferences and workshops and meet with industry professionals. In other words, invest the necessary time and effort to get your name out there as someone who’s active in the industry. Becoming an active member of your industry helps build credibility and may also get you the connection you need to land you those first few jobs.
  • Job boards: This method is standard for finding any job, and it can lead to success in this line of work as well. Try searching for contract or freelance work to begin building a list of satisfied clients and positive reviews. These, in turn, will lead to more opportunities and a solid reputation.

In addition to looking in these specific places, here are a few tips to help you get these first few jobs that will then form the groundwork for future work.

  • Adjust your rates: In the beginning, you will likely not have much of an existing reputation to recommend you to people. Because of this, you will need to set fairly low rates. After all, no one is going to pay an exorbitant amount of money for someone who, for all they know, might be another amateur. You can raise your rates once you’ve established your reputation, but not yet.
  • Build a portfolio: Before you even apply for or solicit your first job, spend some time putting together a portfolio you can show clients. That means using your time to hire models or recruit friends and putting together a collection of shots you can use to show proof of your expertise and ability.

Grow Your Client Base

Congratulations! You’ve gotten those first few crucial jobs under your belt. That part was hard, but the work isn’t over yet. Now, your task is to build on this success and to continue adding new companies and businesses to your client list. Try implementing these steps and see what a difference they can make.

1. Market Yourself

It doesn’t matter how talented and passionate you are: If nobody has heard of you, you won’t get any new clients. So be active in the industry. Advertise with your local newspaper. Join any appropriate job boards online. Attend panels and conferences. It isn’t enough to exist and hope the right people find you. You have to make yourself available in the spaces where the people you want to attract will be looking.

2. Engage on the Internet

Let’s say one of your friends gives someone else your name. This third party then heads home to look you up. They type your name into Google and up comes…nothing. Odds are, they’ll get frustrated and call whichever photographer shows up first in the search results instead. Avoid this by creating an active online presence. Create a sparkling website. Engage on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — this last one being a particularly fantastic and natural place to advertise your photographic work.

3. Use Tools to Manage Your Business Effectively

As your photography business continues to grow in success and reputation, so too will your number of clients. You’ll be busier and busier with new jobs, leaving you with less time than ever to manage the business side of things. Neglecting things like tracking new leads, incoming payments and referrals could be disastrous, however. So what’s the successful creative professional to do?

The answer is Táve, a one-stop software app that manages the business side of your career while you focus on what you do best — photography. Here are a few of the things Táve can help you handle.

  • Online booking: Send out quotes, questionnaires, contracts, payments and more all in one simple step.
  • Lead tracking: Trying to keep track of who seems interested in your work? Táve makes it easy.
  • Workflow: Create to-do lists and check all tasks off as you complete them, allowing for fantastic visual cues to keep you on track every time.
  • Automation: Frequently find yourself doing mindless, repetitive tasks like sending identical emails, logging payments and more? Why not automate these tasks to free you for more important work?
  • Time management: Never wonder where your calendar is again when you use the integrated calendar feature to log all your appointments, deadlines and more.

Start Your Free Trial of Táve Today

Does Táve sound like the ideal solution to finally help you launch the career you’ve been waiting and wishing for? There’s no reason to wait. You can create your account today to get started. And in case you’re still not 100 percent convinced, don’t worry. Táve offers you a 30-day free trial to get accustomed to the software and decide whether it’s something you want to continue with.

With an offer this terrific, there’s no reason not to go for it. Sign up for your 30-day trial today, free of charge, and start experiencing all the ways Táve helps you prepare for success.

2018 in Review 🎉

Not too different from yourself, we kept busy in 2018. With improvements to quality of life and some of our partnerships, there’s a lot that happened! Here’s a recap in case you missed anything.

Webinars and Team Hangouts

Webinars 🎥

With version 2.0 of our webinars, we’re dedicated to helping new users and existing users alike get up and running in Táve. For new users, we have our ‘Introduction to Táve’ and ‘Getting Started in Táve’ webinars, covering the basics of how Táve can help organize a business, and covering our getting started checklist so you can get clients booked in Táve. These webinars are both hosted weekly, and you can register for them by clicking on ‘Support’ inside of your account.

Team Hangouts 👨🏼‍🏫

In addition to our webinars, we’ve added in weekly team hangouts that can be joined from our Facebook User Group. These hangouts are open, so you can click the link, join, and we can talk about whatever you’d like! They’re a great place to ask a quick question, suggest something, or just talk shop!

Client Access Updates 🎨

PDF Printouts for Quotes, Orders, and Invoices

Manually saving and sending over a PDF for a client is officially in the past. Now if you want a client to see their entire order or want them to have a printable PDF of their invoice, you can.

Branding Updates

The look of a new brand should feel awesome right away, but we also updated a lot of back end CSS to bring older portions of Táve up to date.

Quote Updates

In addition to updating branding as a whole, we updated the look and feel of quotes, including the payment schedule and optional items. Booking clients in Táve should feel better than ever!

Organizational Improvements

Full Time Zone Support 🕐

Running a powerful business means you may hop a time zone or two. In additions to time zones now being automatically set based on the event location, you can also set default ones for every user on your account.

Better Calendar Feeds 📆

Calendar feeds can now be created with powerful filters. This means you can create calendar feeds just for certain brands, job types, attendees, or all of the above.

Job Templates 🎛

Your job type templates can now be reordered in your account, and creating them is easier than ever.


Quality of Life Changes 🙌

Quick Modals for Easier Setup

Modals (pop up windows) have been added into many places in Táve, removing the need for you to leave a page in the flow of setup. Check them out on your job types, lead status, job worksheet and more.

Updated Job Overview Page

The job overview screen can now be customized via drag and drop, allowing different layouts per user. We’ve also added an Agenda widget to this overview so you can preview the schedule for the job a little bit quicker.

Other 2018 Changes Include

  • You can now pass along a Credit Card Surcharge using our Square integration.
  • Transactions using our Square integration will create an entry in the Square Customer Directory.
  • Addition of Early Access Betas for new and upcoming features.
  • Full GDPR Compliance to ensure our compliance when interacting with any clients you have from the EU.
  • Táve will match new leads to existing contacts in your address book based on email address, first and last name.
  • You can now duplicate Email Templates.
  • You now have a sidebar section just for your invoices.
  • You now have a brand new Support menu with links to upcoming webinars, updated support content, and a lot more.
  • Over 400 other updates, bug fixes, tweaks, improvements, and hidden Taco Bell gift cards in the source code (maybe, maybe not, maybe we just want to know if you’re still reading this).

If you want to see more changes from 2018, you can always visit the changelog.

Guide to Running Your Own Business While Working Another Job

If there’s one thing any creative professional knows, it’s that there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Instead, it takes years of practicing, experimenting, trying, failing and trying again as you hone your craft, and that’s all before you even have the necessary chops to start your own business. Even once that happens, it takes years to build the reputation, clientele and experience required to quit your day job and pursue your creative venture full-time. So what’s the artistic hopeful to do in the meantime?

For most people, the answer is working multiple jobs. Creative professionals around the world spend their days in offices, boardrooms and business meetings, only to rush home to spend the evenings and weekends working their second job.

How can a creative professional find the time to do this and make their lives a little easier on themselves? That’s what we’re here to talk about today. We want to go over some tips for starting a business on the side, balancing two jobs and maintaining your passion even through the busiest seasons.

Read more

Online Marketing Starter GuideIt all starts with an idea — something that’s unique to you. Maybe you’re a photographer. An artist. A designer. A writer. A makeup artist. These distinctions don’t matter when it comes to the actual business side of things. What matters is that you’re a creator. You’ve created something special, and now you want to share it with the world.

Read more