I wanted to hop on and answer a question I get all the time... How do you start a photography business?
Yep, I know it's kind of a broad question but believe me I get tons of emails, Facebook messages, and Instagram DMs with people flat out asking for me to help them get started.
I don't mind, really I'm happy to help but if I really truly shared every bit of information with every single person who reached out it would take me hours and hours to put it all together and I would be giving away everything I have done/learned. That is coaching or mentoring and if you are looking for a business coach I know some amazing ones and I'd be happy to connect you or if you'd like to hire me as your photography business coach, I'd be happy to work with you.
It's so much more than taking pretty photos or setting up cute backdrops and props. If you don't have a good understanding of how to run a business it can be incredibly challenging.
I have done countless hours of continuing education, online workshops, mentoring with other photographers, photography boot camps, webinars, in-person workshops, conferences, and more. With lots of coaching, training, and constant self-improvement I have made it 10 years in business and my business is doing awesome. I absolutely fought to get to where I am today and I'm very proud of my business. I want to be a resource, leader, and mentor for my peers and I'm not worried about competition. I believe there is enough business for all of us. I'm happy to share a few general tips to help photographers get started out the right way and if you need more stay tuned for my next post where I go into more details about things I wish I knew starting out. If you want more help consider 1 on 1 coaching and mentoring with me, I'd love to work with you and help your business thrive.
1. Research, research, research:
If you have not done any research at all about starting a business
Start here:>>>>>>>>>>> https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/10-steps-start-your-business
What do you know about running a business? Marketing, accounting, networking, creating a business plan, federal and local tax Ids, business banking, trademarks, copyright, etc. Is the business name you want to use already being used by someone else in another state? It's important that you know what you are getting yourself into before you buy that cute logo on etsy, build your website and start up your new business Facebook page.
2. Get a Business License.
If you are going to be doing business you need to make sure you are operating within the laws of your state. Do your research and avoid being fined.
"Most small businesses need a combination of licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies. The requirements — and fees — vary based on your business activities, location, and government rules."
3. Talk to a CPA and Bookkeeper:
It is so important to set up a proper system to make sure you are tracking your revenue. You don't want to owe tons of money for failing to report your income to the IRS. Make sure you are tracking and reporting your income and expenses and filing your state and local tax returns. Talk to a tax professional to ensure you are doing correctly from the get-go and you will be set up for success.
I highly recommend Wayne Rivers CPA in Battleground, WA for Tax and accounting services.
Once you have a system in place you can your financial goals, pricing, and other business decisions around your reports. It's critical to your success to understand this part of your business.
4.. Talk to an Attorney.
Consider your liabilities. It's not a matter of if you will get sued but when you will get sued. No one ever realizes how important insurance is or an LLC until they need it. Figure out what you need to do to minimize your risk of being sued. If someone trips and falls in your studio. If you are sick and don't show up to a wedding. If you are driving a client and you get into a crash and they get injured. If your memory card fails and you lose all the images. If your camera is stolen out of your car with your client's wedding images still inside... All of these scenarios could happen and you need to make sure you have the right kind of contracts, business license, and insurance to protect you, your business, and your assets. Clearly, I'm not a lawyer so I recommend you seek out expert advice and hire an attorney to help you. https://thelawtog.com/ is an excellent resource for photographers.
5. Get insured.
Business insurance for a photographer does cost much at all but the peace of mind it can bring you is invaluable. Don't cut corners here. Your clients trust you to operate a legit business. What is your plan for when things go wrong? More resources from https://thelawtog.com/?s=business+insurance
I could go on and on and get into more of the specific details about running a successful photography business but I will save those tips for a few more future blog posts. Until then, start with the steps above and make sure you are running a legal and legit business. Check out the resources below to get more information and education.
More Resources for photographers:
Vancouver WA-Portland OR Photographer