Want to start a business but have no clue!!!


TPF Noob!
Jan 8, 2008
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Georgia gal
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Okay, so I'm ready to start my photography business but aside from going to the county clerk to register my business name, I am totally clueless about what else I need to do! I've got my website going and getting booked sessions mainly from word of mouth.

I need to get a business license? But where? And how much will it cost me?

What other licenses do I need? And what kind of insurances?

I'm doing on-location photography right now so I don't have a studio of any kind.

And what about taxes? What percentage of the money you earn do you hold back for taxes a tthe end of the year?

Any info is greatly appreciated!

Call your city hall and find out how you go about getting your biz license. When you are there they should be able to tell you where you get your resale license. I was lucky and able to get all my licenses in the same day becuase both the city and state offices where within a block of each other. If you are not using your name in your biz name then you will also need to file a DBA with your county.
A photography business is about 30% photographic skill, 50% business management and 20% marketing. A lot of great photographers go bankrupt because they mismanage. Go to your local community college at least and take a course in basic business management. Please do this long before you apply for the business license.

I usually recommend a student going to school for a degree in photographic arts have a minor in business management. I sometimes think a major in management and minor in photography is not a bad thing.
plus... buy "quickbooks" (kinds costly business software but worth it).

I run a (well... 2 businesses) contracting company from there. It will allow estimates, invoices, accept (if you want it too) major CC's, do your banking, profit and loss statements, inventory (if you use that) and will kick out all types of legal and tax information.

...just a thought.
Most photo business fail because people do not understand business. This is why I passed on getting a degree in photography and instead got a degree in business (for some reason with a focus in IT). I'm self taught in regards to photography...but I'd hate to be self taught in business...that would just be painful I think.
Wow, thanks to all who have replied!

The thought of starting a business is quite frightening to me to say the least! I think I may have to take some business classes here because I don't want to the IRS knocking on my door because of something I failed to do or didn't do correctly. I think in 5 years, though, my photography will be considered a hobby, due to losses--I'll probably be spending more than profiting...which is fine by me. But I do want to start charging so I guess I need to do this the right way.

Geez, I guess I better wait until I feel more knowledgeable and confident about the whole business thing.

...sigh...This ain't going to be easy.
it seems quite complicated to start a business in the u.s.a.

in england you just have to print some business cards and your away.

as long as you write down
a] what you spend
b[ what you earn

an accountant will then do the rest for tax purposes.

you dont need a liecence or any of the other stuff that has been mentioned
(man, this is going to be an unpopular post... but...)

When I first started out in business on my own (after being a partner with a family thing for 5 years), I was advised to try the "business" for 6 months before I went full out business license, fed tax ID, business checking account, blah, blah, blah. This was pretty much just to see if it was going to be a make or break event that I would have MORE red tape paperwork getting out of.

It worked for me and I have been in this (construction) business for 9 years on my own and I haven't hit 40 yet. Not too many regrets! It will be hard but worth it.

Good luck.
"Mr Obvious" ---- more like "Mr Oblivious" :confused:

:er: You can go to JAIL for conducting business without a proper Business License from your city/county, Fed Tax ID#, Insurance, etc etc.

OP - please contact your local SBA office and ask for an appointment. They will fill you in on the dos and don;ts for starting out. And, they will help you out financially if you need a loan. BTW the SBA loans have great interest rates, and, once you get going with the SBA folks, they will assign some retired business men/women [meaning, good people who have a solid proven background who WANT to help you succeed] to help guide you through the process of writing your business plan so that you might be able to secure funding, and possibly succeed in your venture.

It isn;t all gloom and doom, being a small busines owner is a very rewarding and good thing if you have the desire and passion to get er done, along with financing and good business savvy.

I am self employeed. I am currently in the 5th year of my 3rd business which has profited since day one, doubling each year gross sales. I have built up and sold [profitably] 2 previous businesses. My advise is above, and also to NOT take lightly the rules and regulations that you MUST follow in regards to income, taxes, etc etc.
(for the record, I did pay taxes on that income and I had a business lic and fed ID within 7 weeks.)

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