Why…oh WHY am I doing this? You better know!

We are excited to bring you part 2 of our 5 part ‘Getting Down to Business’ series by our guest blogger (update: and now-not-so-silent partner), Erin Brule.

If you missed part one where we talk about the oh-so-titillating topics of policies and contracts, read it now.

Today, we’re going to tuck away our nerd, and bring out the dreamer for a moment.  But then…we have to bring out our hard-core realist!

Why…oh WHY am I doing this? You better know!

Before you decide to hand in your resignation and make the leap to start your own photography business, really think about what you want from owning your business (the same question applies if you ALREADY handed in your resignation…in fact…you best do this exercise TODAY!)

So often, I hear people talking about how nice it would be to own your own business, to be able to set your own hours, be your own boss.

Here’s the thing – many people think they are starting a business.  In fact, they are buying themselves a job.

I’m not saying it is a bad thing.  But, it is important to be clear what your OBJECTIVE is when starting out.
(side note: I highly recommend reading the E-Myth, by Michael E. Gerber)

Personally…what I soon discovered after starting my photography business is that I bought myself a job.

Coming from a business & marketing background, I thought I had a fairly accurate idea how my time would be split between actually taking photos vs “other stuff.”

I was wrong-o-rama!

I think it is fairly accurate to say that I probably spent 20% of my time taking photos, and the other 80% editing photos, updating the books, collecting invoices, creating marketing strategies, working on networking in the community, developing client relationships, delivering product, and doing portrait sales presentations.

PLUS, there is all the time spent learning new techniques, new posing, new marketing ideas, etc etc through online tutorials, forums, blogs, etc.

Try to think back on the last 2 weeks – how much time have you spent on photography forums, checking out other photographer websites, and, the ultimate time suck – checking out recent updates on facebook!

When you have a “9-5” job, you are paid for the time you spend learning new things.  Not so with your own business!  (not directly anyway!)

When I finally poked my head up to take a peek at the overall structure of my month, it was a far cry from my original vision of being ‘in-studio’ 3 full days a week, with another 2 days to cover the rest of it.

There are lots of things I could have done to change this.  Hire a book-keeper.  Outsource my post-processing.  Work with a marketing company to run my promotions.  Practiced better time-management and so on.

There are no right or wrong answers on how to run your business.  You need to decide for yourself what it is you want.  I’m simply recommending you take the time to really identify what it is YOU want from your business.

If you can decide now what your objective is, you can align all your actions to be working towards this goal.  Because this much I can guarantee  – if you don’t run your business – it WILL run you.

(side note: Nothing you write is set in stone.  Your goals and objectives may change over time – but it’s still important to know what your goals are TODAY!)

Assignment Time!!

Take the next 15 minutes and jot down the reasons WHY you want to own your own photography business.
(there are no right or wrong answers.  And please, skip the PC bullsh*t answers…unless they really apply to you!  No one is going to be looking over your shoulder…unless of course you would like to share!  Your reasons for wanting a business don’t have to be altruist.  It’s OK to say you want to make money. In fact, it’s MORE than OK!)

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If you are having a hard time coming up with reasons, here are a couple points shared in one of my weekend workshops

  • I want to stay at home with my children
  • I want to work part-time
  • I want to have flexibility to accommodate my travel plans
  • I want to run my own business, and this is one that requires very money little to get started
  • I am looking to explore a more creative side after spending years as an engineer.
  • I want to be in charge of how much money I can make.
  • I believe I can make a difference through my photography.
  • I want to be able to work my ass off for a few months of the year, and then go skiing all winter.
  • My friends told me I should start charging for my work.
  • I hate my current job.  I want to try something new.
  • My girlfriend in (other town) started a business, and she’s making $4,000/month – I want to do the same thing

Now, once you have the reasons WHY you want to have a business, think about HOW you can structure your business to make sure your goals are met.  And make sure they ARE being met.

For example, if you currently have your own business, and one of your goals is “To be able to stay home with the kids” ask yourself,

“Am I REALLY at home WITH the kids?”

Daughter and Mother

Or, has your business taken over to the point where you are madly trying to edit a couple photos while little Johny is throwing spaghetti around the kitchen, and then you find yourself getting frustrated when he wants to head to the park when what you really want to be doing is uploading a sneak peek to facebook for your clients?

Or…if, your goal was “To work part-time”…ARE you working part-time?  Or are you working ‘pretty much full time’ and getting paid ‘part-time?’

The key here is to be honest.  And, if you are up for sharing, we would love to hear from you!

Why do YOU want your own business?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Now going back to the whole “let’s make some money” thing…for some reason, the ‘artist’ inside seems to find it ‘distasteful’ to focus on making money.

What the????

If that sounds like you, be sure to catch the third part of our series…“Sales is NOT a dirty word!”

(Need a ‘kick-start’ to get your business wheels spinning?  Avoid the overworked, stressed-out, whiny photographer syndrome….UPDATE!!  Watch for an SUPER FUN, SUPER ACTION-oriented biz resource coming SOON!)

 

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[…] Back to the ‘why’…I encourage you to take the time out to figure out and reaffirm your why (if you missed the original post on ‘the big why?’  Click here to read it now.) […]

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