Photography Education

Quarterly Planning System for Creative Entrepreneurs

January 25, 2021

I’m Manali
Coach, editor & brand photographer based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. When I'm not behind a camera or teaching about systems, you'll find me at a vineyard or cuddled with my cat Keegan on our cozy couch!
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For the longest time, I took things in my business on a month by month basis! I think a lot of people start out this way but today I’m walking through 3 reasons why you should consider switching to quarterly planning instead of monthly or yearly planning for your business! I love quarterly planning because it allows me the opportunity to refresh or even have a clean, fresh start in business on a quarterly basis so that I can better adjust to how life is going rather than sticking to something that I set at the beginning of the year and going full steam ahead without reevaluating whether that is still the best path! I don’t necessarily entirely rework ALL of my yearly goals but it does give me a second to pause, think and consider whether this is something that I do TRULY still want to pursue.

Three Reasons to use Quarterly Planning in your Creative Small Business

  1. Your income fluctuates by season

    If you’re a creative entrepreneur that works in the wedding industry, chances are your income is seasonal. That means that what you’re pulling in in the spring is going to look different than in the fall! Our income very much so varies depending on if it’s engagement season or not!

    I love using quarterly planning because this allows me to better understand how my income is going to be coming in on a quarterly basis and account for the fluctuation! You might make WAY more in Q1 than you do in Q2 and that’s totally ok! I encourage you to break down your yearly income goal into quarters and make sure that you weight some quarters more heavily than others based on your own numbers. Take a look at last year and see how much you brought in for each quarter to help you set goals for each quarter in 2020!

  2. Breaking down goals into quarterly increments allows flexibility

    Things in business change, quickly. Some things work and others don’t and I think it’s on us to be evaluating what works and doesn’t and to lean into our strengths as business owners!

    Re-evaluating my goals on a quarterly basis allows me the flexibility to pivot and go in a different direction if my passion is leading a certain way or to tweak things as I go each quarter rather than worrying about the yearly outcome.

    It’s also much easier to break a large goal down into quarters and to take things at chunks at a time. Studies also show that it’s best to really go after a goal for a 90-day period! Plus, it makes it more realistic when you’re shooting for a more immediate outcome rather than saying you’ll get to working on a goal at some point this year.

    If you would love to hear more of the in’s and out’s of how I implement this in my own business, be sure to hop on the email list below to get bi-weekly practical photography business education sent straight to your inbox!

  3. It gives you the chance to reset & start fresh each season!

    I’ve always been someone that thinks about LIFE in seasons! Your business and your life are never completely separated and switching to a quarterly system allowed me to account for seasons of life that I knew were going to be busy to adjust what I was doing in business. And vice versa, seasons of business that I knew were going to be a little bit crazier to adjust my expectations for life! I now take a more holistic approach to planning things for my life and business at the same time rather than separating them out. When I sit down to plan the quarter I’m looking at both of them at the same time. I use a tool called Powersheets to do this as well as practically using The Productivity Zone’s Fresh Start Systems to give my business & life a thorough decluttering each season rather than trying to tackle a huge mess at the end of a year!


If you’re wondering what the inside of a successful & streamlined photography business looks like the Resources Vault is for you! It includes everything from email templates, client questionnaires, workflows for portraits & questionnaires, a breakdown of a profitable marketing strategy & how to streamline and organize each and every part of your business. More of a visual learner? Be sure to watch the totally-free masterclass!


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I help creative small business owners feel calm & confident in front of the camera or behind your business with brand photography, educational resources & online business management.


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Enneagram 4w3, cognitive & computer science major turned biz strategy nerd!

I went from charging $600 per wedding to over $5k & went full-time within 1 year of starting my biz! Now I help creative small business owners show up confidently behind the scenes with elevated brand photography, business strategy to build their dream biz & life and help managing all the logistics and details along the way! 



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