Almost two years ago, I started using ShootQ, a client management system for photographers. Shortly after getting it setup, I wrote a review of it that you can read here. I’ve been meaning for a while to write a follow-up to this review. I used ShootQ from January 2013 to March 2014, so I can say I truly gave it a try. I actually got so used to it and dependent on it that giving it up was scary. So why did I leave ShootQ?
I’ll start first by saying that reading my review, I still agree with everything I said. I think it’s a good product and I have many successful photographer friends that absolutely swear by it. They can’t imagine running their business without it in fact, which is what made me try it in the first place.
When I first signed up, I spent about a month setting it up, not every working hour but it was one of my big projects during the quiet month of January. I am a little bit obsessed with time management, so much that I can accidentally spend too much time focusing on managing my time, if I’m not careful. I know… it’s a type A personality thing. I was convinced that ShootQ would save me time. What I found though was that for me personally, it did not.
I began to feel like I was doing double work in keeping track of things at times, and spending a lot of time managing ShootQ. I also felt like one by one, I was finding certain features that I had been excited about didn’t work well for my business. I tried using pre-made canned responses to inquiries and really did not get a good reaction from the potential clients. People can tell if I react to their email with authenticity and write in the spur of the moment. Maybe it’s that I’m informal when I do, and when I sit and think about what to write in an email, it comes out formal, which just doesn’t match with my brand.
I was also very excited to setup a ShootQ pricing page and let my clients sort through their own options, putting together what they’d like. To the dork in me that sounded fun for them. Truth be, my clients are busy and they come to me for full-service photography. They aren’t paying what I charge to do things themselves, and this carries through from the initial contact until when I hand them their album.
So I started looking at other client management software programs. I was hoping to find something that could just work a little better with how my brain does and, once again, save me time. After doing much research and several trials of ShootQ’s competitors, I instead setup my own system. It’s simple and it works for me. I have file folders for each client and EVERYTHING I do with them goes in there. The contract, payment receipts, their survey answers, their album choices… all together in one place. It’s backed up remotely and to backup hard drive. Active clients are duplicated on Dropbox so I can access the information on my phone if needed.
Yes, this is only a piece of my client organization system but it’s the piece that replaces ShootQ. As I said, I was terrified of not having it anymore. Honestly though, I have not looked back or missed it for one second. I know many photographers will disagree and I’m not writing this to slam ShootQ. It is a good product and the solution for many. For others of us, there are other options. For me it’s simply a virtual filing cabinet, with cloud storage, pieced together with Square, Echosign, and Evernote. It sounds like a lot of things but it all works into my daily work and life flow.
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