Yesterday I posted this on twitter.

A little while later, I had a question come in from a photographer asking:

"can you ellaborate to us newbies exactly what this has done for you. Should you have it if you are just starting your business?"  

So I thought I'd take a few minutes to talk about how, AND why I use ShootQ.

Now, first things first.  ShootQ is generous enough to be sponsoring the Starting Out Right: One Day Intensive.  You should know that up front.  You should also know that they aren't paying me for this post, they don't pay any money towards the workshop, and I pay full price for my membership to ShootQ.  They ARE contributing a 6-month membership to ShootQ, to be given away at each city.  No one at ShootQ asked me to post this - in fact, they don't even know I did :)  I just thought you should know.

Okay.  So what is ShootQ?  From their site:

ShootQ is your virtual studio manager, assisting you from the moment a prospective client contacts you until the final product is delivered. ShootQ keeps your job leads and workflow organized, always reminding you what needs to be done next.

It's true - ShooQ is like having a full time staff person working for you, handling things like client inquiries, booking proposals, invoicing, and workflow management.  It's a web-based software program that lets you manage your businesses from anywhere.  Here are a few of the reasons that ShootQ is such a good fit for our business.

1. When clients contact us, the inquiry form goes directly into shootQ.  This allows us to start tracking our correspondence, and client interaction, from the moment they contact us.

2. ShootQ manages our booking calendar.  When we receive a lead, shootQ automatically lets us know if we're already booked that day.  It also syncs with our iCal calendar, which means that it also can identify other things on our calendar that might be conflicts.

3. We can create and send proposals to clients online.  This allows us to provide clients with a way to review, add-on to, and book their wedding package right online.  They are able to sign their contract online, and make their retainer payment - all while I'm doing other things to grow the business.

4. ShootQ manages our client workflow for us.  Every day when I log in to shootQ, it lets me know what tasks I need to do for each of my clients - whether it's sending a thank you note, scheduling an engagement session, following - up on their questionnaire, or ordering their album - ShootQ manages it all.  I simply setup my workflow in the beginning, and ShootQ helps keep me organized.

5. Clients automatically receive invoices, and other automated correspondence.  ShootQ will send client invoices at the times I specify, send questionnaires, allows you to set up email templates for messages you send on a regular basis, and lets you manage the way you interact with your clients.

6. Clients receive their own online-portal.  They can update their wedding information, change the number of guests, review their contracts, make changes to the questionnaire, and pay their invoices - all from their own custom page.  Clients love that they don't have to try to get ahold of me to make one small change.  I love that I don't have to chase after clients to get information - it's all right there.

I'm a big fan of systems that make our life easier, and ShootQ is one of those systems I couldn't live without.  Hopefully that helps.  Whether your new to this business, or looking to make your life easier - I definitely recommend ShootQ.   If you have questions about ShootQ, you can check out their site, or follow them on twitter:  

(disclosure: If you click on that referral link, I receive a small referral credit towards my use of ShootQ).

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