I was not prepared when I decided to start my business years ago. I ended up getting so burnt out that I actually quit. It took an entire year of careful planning, education, and new business practices before I decided to take clients again. These are the questions I wish I had asked myself before starting a business.
Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.
- No.01What are the legal and tax requirements?
Like all other businesses, you need permits, licenses, contracts, insurance, and you need to pay taxes. You’ll also need to consider your business structure for tax purposes.
Seek a lawyer and CPA who specialize in small businesses to help you navigate starting your business the right way.
- No.02What is my Cost of Doing Business (CODB)?
There are so many other factors that go into a business besides taking and editing pictures. For example, expenses can include continuing education, websites, insurance, equipment, maintenance, etc. Most new photographers are not charging nearly enough to run a profitable business.
This is a great calculator to see how much you need to make to run a profitable business.
- No.03Who is my target client?
Each niche has its own target client. From there, you’ll need to pinpoint your ideal target client based on your CODB. What are their ages, spending habits, household income, and likes/dislikes?
- No.04What's my a marketing plan?
Marketing is crucial for a successful business. Now that you have a target client, how do you plan on reaching them?
- No.05What makes my business different?
What sets you apart from the sea of other photographers in your area? Is it your editing style? Your playful approach? What kind of products and service you provide? Being unique will make you memorable.
- No.06What's my schedule?
Working from home makes it much easier to procrastinate, which leads to working when you shouldn’t be. Why do something now when you can do it before bed, right? Make a schedule and keep it! I also HIGHLY suggest you schedule time for family and fun.
*Tip* Outsource tasks like editing, cleaning, childcare, and cooking if you feel like you can’t keep up.
- No.07Am I really ready?
Charging next to nothing because you think your skills are not where they should be is NOT the way to start a business. It’s the fastest way to burn out.
Seek a mentor with business experience and ask them to critique your work. Ask how you can improve your posing, lighting, editing, etc. Ask them for their honest opinion on whether you’re ready to open a business or not. Don’t take negative feedback personally, use it to improve your craft.
I understand the desire to jump into a photography business right away, but have you asked yourself these questions? I know I didn’t and I struggled, especially with trying to balance work and my personal life. Are you a business owner? What questions do you wish you had asked yourself before taking clients?