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    Three Reasons to Use Quarterly Planning in Your Creative Small Business

    March 4, 2024

    I’m Manali
    Business coach, editor & brand photographer based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. When I'm teaching about systems or editing, you'll find me at a vineyard or cuddled with my cat Keegan on our cozy couch!
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    quarterly planning for photographers

    As a creative entrepreneur, I understand firsthand the seasonal fluctuations that can impact our income and productivity. That’s why I swear by quarterly planning—it provides the structure and flexibility needed to thrive in a dynamic business environment. In today’s blog post and Youtube video, I’ll dive into three key reasons why quarterly planning is essential for creative small businesses like yours.

    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!

    Be sure to grab the FREE Quarterly Planning Worksheet HERE

    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. I can also 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.

    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.

    Here are topics that I make sure to reflect on and plan for each time I go through my Quarterly Review Process:

    1. Calendar
    2. Income
    3. Clients
    4. Marketing
    5. Team / Relationships
    6. Systems
    7. Brand Audit
    8. Business Goals / Projects for Upcoming 90 Days
    9. Mapping out Action Items with lighter weeks

    For the FULL breakdown be sure to grab the Quarterly Review & Planning Worksheet HERE.

    Want me to map out your business goals & action-items for the next 90 days? Fill out one simple questionnaire so I can map out your action items around your work schedule/hours and your strengths! Sign up for a Quarterly Quickstart for only $97 here. I’ll email you back your Trello/Asana Template or Google Doc with your action items all mapped out within 1 week!

    New episodes come out every Wednesday on Youtube! If you love the videos, be sure to leave a comment with your favorite tip from the video and share the show with a friend in the industry!

    Cheers to showing up imperfectly & making an impact!


    If you’re wondering what the inside of a successful & streamlined photography business looks like, the masterclass is for you! Tune in to this free masterclass to learn how I grew from $600 to $5k weddings and went full-time in less than 1 year without sacrificing my time!

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    I help growing photographers feel  calm & confident behind their business with intentional systems & templates inside the Behind the Business Course for Photographers.


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    Helping ambitious and growing photographers tackle their schedule and systems to create a uniquely freeing and fulfilling business. My mission is to help you spend more time on what matters most to you - both in business and in life!


    Manifesting generator, cognitive & computer science major turned business coach + editor

    I went from charging $600 per wedding to $5-10K and went full-time within 1 year of starting my biz! Now I help creative small business owners show up confidently behind the scenes with 1:1 business coaching, editing and elevated brand imagery to build a life and business that's equally freeing as it is fulfilling.



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