So......How so you make money?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by bennielou, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    How do you make money, and are you ready to?

    Sure I am, you may answer! Absolutely! I can do it! I have crazy mad skills, and I rock the planet!

    Now, as an working photographer, I don't want to be a downer. I am here to give you tips, right? Unfortunately my tips won't be all, "get a camera and take some photos for money". I want everyone to learn and grow. I want everyone one of you who aspires to reach their dream.

    Ok, so what you need to know. I'm going to go with wedding photography for the moment because that is my lead business, but I also get paid to do Commercial, Boudior, Kids, Maternity, Portraits, and Photojournalism.

    Ok, so back to wedding photography, or people in general.

    These are thing you might not think of:

    1: Do you have two of everything?
    2. Does the money you make take account for:
    a. Your equipment
    b. Your time
    3. Do you have liabilty bonds?
    4. Do you pay sales taxes, or did you just throw up a website and go into business?
    5. Are you good at sales? Do you know what you should charge for your services, and once you zone that in, do you know if you are making a profit?
    6. Where do you meet potential clients? A coffee shop? Where can they get to know YOU.
    7. How will you get the word about about your business?
    8. How will you avoid lawsuits in case someone is unhappy?
    9. Is your business set up legally? Do you have a DBA? This is important if you own property.
    10. When you give quotes for prints and soforth do you consider that you need to include design time, post processing time, printing, mailing, etc?
    11. Do you understand that to do 30 jobs in one year, regardless what it is, you will need to spend aroung 300 hours doing the work? That means phone calls, e-mails, consults, shooting, editing, and delivering?
    12. Do you have all the state required bonds, insurance, and permits?

    If so, march forth you soldiers! If not, maybe you haven't considered everything yet. Hang in there. If you are dedicated you will get it.
     
  2. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    This list could easily have been twice as long but it is a good start :lol:

    One of my side business (non profit) is to help low income people set up businesses (very small ones. To start with anyway) and they are always amazed when we tell them it's going to be a while before they get started because of all the stuff they have to learn :D

    Fortunately we usually get rid of the people who don't have the will, the drive on our first meeting. They just don't want to learn and walk out :( All things considered, it is probably better for them. Being good at something is such a small part of business and if you are not interested in learning the rest (the business aspect) you don't stand much of a chance.

    Good post. :thumbup:
     
  3. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    Add on Cloud! I've seen so many people go under, get ripped off, close doors, lose everything they own.... BY NOT DOING IT RIGHT.

    And I haven't even brought up the client yet.

    It's definately not undoable. But it's impossible if done wrong.
     
  4. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Let them!

    Some people are willing to learn, some are not. Here, I think we have mostly photo geniuses who don't need to learn anything :lol:

    You cannot help people who don't want to be helped. I was recently told to get off my pills (or get on some, whichever/same difference) by someone who didn't like what I said when I was just trying to encourage him. Fook him.
     
  5. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    I just very much enjoyed a thread by someone who takes photos of clouds and friends tell us all how to make money. Seriously.

    All you can do is try to help, right? If they don't get it, they don't get it. The toughest lessons are learned with a few knots and bumps, right?

    We can tell them, but if they don't listen....nothing we can do about that. We had to try, right?
     
  6. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Agreed.

    But after 25+ years of trying to help people I'm burned out. It took me a couple years but I finally found someone to take over what I do and, now, I'm going to take care of myself.
     
  7. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Well, here is a couple ideas. This is for before you even start the business.

    Make a business plan.
    It forces you to do your research and it is the best way to figure out if you should or not start that business. If you don't know how to do one, the SBA can help, check them out.

    Make sure your business plan has a marketing plan.
    And stick to it no matter what. A lot of people stop or slow down their marketing in tough times. That's an error. Keep it up. The right marketing plan does not have to cost a fortune. There are ways to do marketing fairly cheaply for people who have more time than money.
    Be realistic. If you can't sell, you need to hire someone to do it for you. Is this person in your budget?
    I usually get my inspiration for marketing from Jay Conrad Levinson of "Guerrilla Marketing" fame. The guy thinks outside the box and that is the only thing to do unless you want to reach the same people as everybody else.


    And a couple thoughts: The customer is not always right. You want to try and satisfy your customers as much as possible but if they are totally unrealistic, you need to know when to say no. Large companies that can afford the loses (which, btw, they pass on to the rest of their customers) have left small businesses in a pickle with this "the customer is always right" mentality.

    Do you know that most businesses do not make a profit for a while? Six months, one year. Can you keep the business going for that period of time with no profit? This of course does not apply to weekend shooters. Obviously, if you are going to shoot weddings on the weekend while keeping your regular job, you have a serious advantage.
     

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