One of the things I have always worked hard on behind the scenes has been taking care of my clients by sending them fun surprises throughout their experience with me. I love getting and sending mail and think having a tangible piece of the “experience” to provide is so important, especially in these super digital times. All of the little bits and pieces that go into packaging things for them can get kind of crazy though if you let it (especially if you send out multiple things and sell prints and products, too!), so last year I worked hard to develop some new ways of doing things to make this part of my business run as smoothly as possible! My motto is always “work smarter, not harder”! Who wants to be working when there’s Netflix to be binging on and Cheetos to be eaten??
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the packaging portion of your business, here are three ways that I’ve made mine so much simpler!
1.Keep a spreadsheet of all of your packaging materials
Somewhere along the way, I realized that a huge bottleneck within how I send packages out was running out of something I needed to put together the packaging and then having to order it and wait for it to arrive, OR having to drive all over town looking for the items. Now, I keep a spreadsheet (a Google Sheet, to be exact!) of all of the things that I need, broken down by the specific package it goes to (i.e, client welcome kit, album delivery, etc) along with a link to where I usually purchase it. Once a month or so I go through my stash and take a look to see if there’s anything I need to replenish so that I can re-order everything before I need it. You’d be so surprised how just organizing the spreadsheet and taking the couple of minutes to see if I’m running low on things really does help!
2. USPS click n ship
Another HUGE bottleneck for me? Actually making it out to the post office! None of the ones closest to me are near any other errands I’d typically run, so I would have to make a special trip in order to go. It always felt like so much work since it was so out of the way. And that’s just getting there! Between the ridiculously long lines and the grim attitudes of the disgruntled postal workers, going to mail things easily became something I dreaded.
These days, my workflow is SO much simpler. Instead of taking the time to drive out to the post office, I use USPS Click n’ Ship, an online service that lets me print my labels from home and schedule a free pickup! I DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. AT ALL. It’s super easy! The main thing you need to get started is a scale to weigh your packages, but we already had a food scale, so I actually just use that. You can pick up an inexpensive scale on Amazon.com. Try it out and let me know what you think!!
3. Bulk prepare your packages weekly
Instead of putting together one package on Monday when a new client books and then another on Wednesday when it’s time for someone’s final images to go out, and then a last on Friday when I need to ship an album, I wait til Friday morning and prepare anything that needs to go out on that day. That way I’m dedicated a chunk of time to packaging tasks once a week and instead of pulling out all of the things I need three or four different times that one week, I’m only pulling everything out once. I’m only paying for postage once. I’m only printing labels once. It’s so much easier to bulk prep everything because you’re not dedicating your time to doing the same things over and over. Wouldn’t you rather relax with a glass of wine (or, insert any other fun activity in here) with that fifteen minutes you saved cumulatively than spend it looking for packing tape, getting boxes built, etc??
I hope these simple tips helps make your packaging process go even more smoothly so that you have more time to spend doing what you love! As always, feel free to reach out via email or comment with questions!