From Stressed and Burned Out to Systematized and Scaleable

Katie Monroe is a photographer who started out as a wedding photographer ten years ago. While she loves weddings, she’s been adding in branding and commercial photography as well. It was at that point that we met to discuss adding Dubsado and automation to help her to scale her business and work less.

Before she started working with me to automate her business, she did everything manually and tracked her business on Google Spreadsheets. She had emails in a Google doc that she copied and pasted to manage her business. She also manually scheduled meetings with clients and used a CRM called Inly to send invoices, collect payments as well as send contracts for digital signatures, but it was all manual and didn’t have the beauty of her new Dubsado proposals, contracts, and forms. Not only that, but she had to manually remind clients to pay invoices.

When I met with her, she was overwhelmed and stressed with a new baby on the way and wedding season looming. She had already burned out at least twice in the past ten years and knew there had to be a better way.

Katie Monroe's Dubsado Set-up Experience

Katie Wanted to Scale Her Business But Didn’t Have the Bandwidth to Make it Happen

On the discovery call, I remember her telling me how she had burned out numerous times throughout her career. She was a brand new mom who was exhausted and KNEW there was no way that she could continue to run her business the way that she’d been running it. Especially not if she wanted to scale. She knew Dubsado systems and automation could make a huge difference in her business, but she didn’t have the time to complete a Dubsado set-up for herself.

Don’t take my word for it, here’s my interview with her on August 15th, 2022 after she’d been using Dubsado to run her business for three months.

Amy: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today Katie! I just have a few questions for you. Why don’t we start with what was your business like before we started working together?

Kreate Photography Wedding Photography
Photograph by: Katie Monroe

Before Working with Amy to Complete my Dubsado Set-up

Katie Monroe: Prior to working together, I was very set in my ways, and they were totally functional because I was so used to them. When I think about what I was doing for 10 years…

I was manually copying and pasting names and emails into Google sheets and Google Docs. I cannot believe how many hours a week I spent just maintaining my old system. 

Again, it worked. I was landing leads and the business was fine, but I was literally tied to all of those administrative tasks. I had no idea how I would scale my business. 

Since Working with Amy

I’ve been obsessed with Dubsado. First of all, the workflow itself. Just getting all of the information when someone fills out a lead capture form on my website. Knowing all of it auto-populates into Dubsado and we just roll. That right there saves me 30 minutes EVERY TIME! 

The Scheduler Has CHANGED my Life!

Then on top of it, the scheduler has changed my whole life. It’s even changed how I work with my employees. I just send them a link to my calendar to schedule appointments. I don’t send tons of emails back and forth scheduling meetings. I’m saving I think probably at least 10 hours a week on those two things alone, which has opened up my schedule. 

Kreate Photography Wedding Photograph
Photograph by: Katie Monroe

Dubsado Had me Look at My Business in a Different Way

Dubsado really had me critically look at my business in a different way. I’m kind of at this fork in the road where I have a full wedding business and a commercial business. It’s really helped me, create workflows for the commercial part of my company that I want to expand, but prior to doing my work with you, I was just scrambling so nothing was getting done. I wasn’t growing the commercial part of my business. Since Dubsado has taken over so much of the wedding client process, I am manifesting more commercial work.

I Think I’m Going to Make More Money This Year Than I Have in 4 Years!

I think I’m going to make more money this year than I have in four years! I’m pretty sure that part of the reason I’m able to mentor young photographers, design online courses, and work on commercial work is because of our work together. 

I know it’s kind of a broad statement but as a very busy, business owner. I mean Kreate photography has five photographers. That whole part of my business was keeping me from doing the things I really want to do because I didn’t have any systems in place. I didn’t have time to do anything other than what I was doing.

Photograph by: Katie Monroe

How Have Things Been with Your Dubsado Since You Started Using it?

I’ve tweaked things since we worked together, but it’s so easy to pinpoint what to change and tweak it. For example, I want to shift the thank you after someone’s wedding to have a to-do step to remind me to customize it before it sends it because I want to add some personalization in at that point. I can just add that step into the workflow and it gets added to the next client that works with me.

My Life Has Changed so Much! 

I haven’t had to bug anybody for payment. I’m getting bigger tips. It’s been really easy to land leads where I would have been out of their budget before, but now I’m able to offer a three-part payment plan and it’s so easy. There’s no extra work to do that and I don’t have to remind them to make the additional payments. 

I LOVE my Mini Session Workflow That You Built

Another piece that I love is my mini sessions workflow that you built for me. Mini-Sessions have always really stressed me out. there’s so much back and forth to schedule dates and take good care of clients.

The extra work is literally all gone. I’ve done nothing, absolutely nothing after you built that mini-session scheduler and workflow. It’s a one-and-done. I could just DM a link to all the people that were asking me about mini-sessions. They can book a session, pay, and get my guide. Not only that, but they get appointment reminders. It’s beautiful! That made my life so much easier You either pay the full fee or you don’t book. My mini sessions are fully booked and I didn’t have to lift a finger. That’s what makes it worth offering the lower price point too. 

Katie Monroe's Dubsado Set-up Experience

I’ve Been Inspired to Create a Group Coaching Program to Help Other Photographers

The mini-sessions have really inspired me. I landed a mentee through my mentorship workflow that you and I worked on. The other inspiration from our work together was after you built the mini session, that one-and-done piece made me think. ‘Wow, it was pretty versatile. I’m going to be launching group coaching classes with photographers all over the United States where I can coach 10 photographers on a Zoom call. I could use that mini-session idea here too…

I love that it’s not just my CRM system, but there are other ways to use it to save me time and scale my business.

I’m so excited because I never knew how I was going to start coaching. It stressed me out just thinking about it. I didn’t know how to onboard clients, get contracts signed, and handle them all while running shoots and delivering the finished photos.

I was stressed out and now I feel like this it’s so easy. It’s a one-stop shop. I’m a new mom and I’m really fucking tired and I feel like this is what I needed all the years and I did not have it.

What Made you Decide to Invest in my Dubsado Set-up Services?

I started researching CRMs first, I started researching, and reading reviews. I was between Dubsado and another system. I know I hated HoneyBook because it wasn’t sexy. The forms weren’t beautiful. I googled Dubsado specialist or onboarding specialist and you were in the top 10 on page one. I went to a couple of websites and they just didn’t entice me. I left within like 10 seconds. 

I think that your website had a call to action that resonated with me. It was very direct and I was overwhelmed by the idea of doing it myself anyway. I just remember thinking if I don’t write someone now I’m gonna be in wedding season and I’m never going to do this. I wanted to get this dialed in before I went crazy. I loved that we were able to get on a call really quickly and it was smooth and easy to get started with you.

Before you had Dubsado Set-up you Were Using Inly Right?

Inly let me send invoices and get contracts signed, but there was no automation. I would land the lead and add their information to my Google Sheets and then I’d do everything by hand after that. I’d copy and paste emails to clients, and go back and forth to schedule emails. 

I just busted my butt until the off-season hit. During COVID I wasn’t gonna prioritize this because I was it was COVID. Every off-season, I get big projects. I never even realized that this was what needed to happen until it did.

Amy Gould  

Yeah, I don’t blame you. When you had a baby, all of your priorities shifted. Not only that, but you also moved and sold a house while we were working together.

Katie Monroe

You and I met during the most stressful time of my life. We had to move out of the house we were renting. My husband had just had surgery. We moved in with my in-laws, bought a house, and had to move again. It was awful!

I think that’s part of why it took me a while to get used to Dubsado. I had a lot going on in my personal life.

You were so wonderful to work with. I felt like we became friends and I needed that.

Amy Gould  

Yeah, definitely. I had a lot of fun helping you to learn to integrate your Dubsado set-up into the way that you run your business. It was awesome to hear how relieved you were when you started using more automation. It’s been a lot of fun to see your business grow since we worked together. I can’t wait to see what you do in the future. Your group course for photography is going to be amazing!

To Wrap it Up

That was such a fun interview. Katie and I really did become friends while I was helping her to systematize her business through a Dubsado set-up. (In fact, we’re talking to each other frequently while we finish up courses that we’re both working on.) Mine is going to be a live group Dubsado setup that kicks off September 22, 2022. It’s going to have live Q & A sessions as well. (After that, the course will be recorded, but students will still have access to live weekly Q & A sessions.

It’s so amazing to see what her Dubsado set-up has done for her business. She’s booking so many commercial clients on top of her wedding clients. Payments are being made on payment plans without her having to lift a finger and she is so much less stressed than when we first met.

If you’d like me to help you to systematize and automate your business with Dubsado (or you want to see if Dubsado is a good fit for your business), book a free systems strategy call, and let’s chat.

I’d love to help you to get out of the middle of your business so you can work less, make more, and WOW your clients too.