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What advice would you have for someone starting a business?
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Really, there isn’t a ton more to the question.

Best advice?
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Work for someone who is doing the business that you want to start for a year.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Stay small, try to do the work yourself so you don't have to rely on employees.


Formally known as Cherrycracker
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Write up a business plan before starting a business. Get feedback on the business plan. Pay extra attention to criticism of said plan. If you go forward make sure your books and tracking / inventory system are spot on. Review your data weekly. Know your numbers by heart. Keep looking for ways to improve your processes. Don't be afraid to admit something is not working and when things are working don't rely on them to work.forever. Also make sure to set aside money to pay living expenses before you ever open your business.

"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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I think you will get a lot better advice if you shed a bit more light on what kind of business you're planning on starting.

I started a business around 7 or 8 years ago. The advice I would have to offer would vary greatly depending on what you're planning on doing. I might not offer advice at all it was something I'm unfamiliar with.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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What kind of business?

Mowing lawns? Restaurant? Hair salon? Landlord?
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [J-No] [ In reply to ]
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J-No wrote:
What kind of business?

Mowing lawns? Restaurant? Hair salon? Landlord?

Lol,

Mowing lawns? Don’t buy scissors. Opening a hair salon? Don’t buy a lawn mower.

Maurice
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [BCtriguy1] [ In reply to ]
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BCtriguy1 wrote:
I think you will get a lot better advice if you shed a bit more light on what kind of business you're planning on starting.

I started a business around 7 or 8 years ago. The advice I would have to offer would vary greatly depending on what you're planning on doing. I might not offer advice at all it was something I'm unfamiliar with.
That’s fair. I kind of kept it vague to get some of that general, globally applicable advice, though it may not all be too useful.

And to answer the above advice about having money set aside for living expenses, there would be other income coming in, not just anything from this.

My preamble over, I’ve been a long time car enthusiast, and a several year photographer.

I’m nothing record-shattering or ground breaking, but after seeing the other photographers work in our local area, and the prices they charge, I know that the quality of my work and the service that I can provide would, and already have, far outpace that provided by some of the bigger names in my area.

I’ve started writing some stuff down and playing with numbers.

But if that gives more context, there have you (:
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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No matter that the business, I'd do a search to see how much competition there will be. Especially since photography is a has a very low barrier to entry. While you have an eye for this type of thing and know your work is much better than others, others may not. Or they may not care enough to pay a premium that you'd need to charge for doing the job correctly.

Maybe create some portfolios and have "regular" people compare them to what else is available. Have them be brutally honest if they notice a difference.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Tge #1 reason I see people failing at their own business is their disconnect from the money that comes in the register. IF you had a $2k day(in the register) you cannot think of it like you got 2k. You have to factor in every single expense related to what it took to make that 2k, including any vig you are accruing on payables.

Knew a guy with his own little bike shot, got a bunch of friends to invest and buy a little piece, netted like $25k. The next week he had a brand new, fully loaded truck, you know, for work....I have 100's of stories like that unfortunately, we get at least 2 or 3 new bike shop guys to every one of out FIST camps. It hurts to hear them sometimes...
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Be honest with yourself about why you’re doing it, and be honest with yourself about whether that’s a good reason to do it.

Expect and plan for a ramp period before things stabilize. No matter how conservatively you think you’ve planned for it, the ramp will probably be longer than you think.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [wimsey] [ In reply to ]
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Start up a bar. Everyone loves to drink and the business almost runs itself. What could possibly go wrong?
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Photography is hot right now but a finicky market. My best advice is to find a niche that makes you unique from every one else out there so you can be competitive.

We recently just started a business and the same old about trying part time first -we lived off one salary for a year just in case it didn't work out. Also have a cushion for expenses cause photography crap is so expensive....within a month out drone crashed and we needed a new MacBook.

Also be great with numbers or get a tax person or accounant. Tax withholdings suck. I do all our books and it's basically a part time job

With that being said, I don't regret it for a minute :-)
Last edited by: trigirl244: May 21, 19 18:48
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Koala Bear wrote:
My preamble over, I’ve been a long time car enthusiast, and a several year photographer.

I’m nothing record-shattering or ground breaking, but after seeing the other photographers work in our local area, and the prices they charge, I know that the quality of my work and the service that I can provide would, and already have, far outpace that provided by some of the bigger names in my area.
Assume that they are charging what they have to (to stay afloat), not just whatever they think the market will bear... you will have to figure out how to offer more service or a better product, at similar prices. And market it so that potential customers notice.

Less is more.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Big Endian] [ In reply to ]
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Big Endian wrote:
Koala Bear wrote:
My preamble over, I’ve been a long time car enthusiast, and a several year photographer.

I’m nothing record-shattering or ground breaking, but after seeing the other photographers work in our local area, and the prices they charge, I know that the quality of my work and the service that I can provide would, and already have, far outpace that provided by some of the bigger names in my area.
Assume that they are charging what they have to (to stay afloat), not just whatever they think the market will bear... you will have to figure out how to offer more service or a better product, at similar prices. And market it so that potential customers notice.
That’s where I think that I do have an edge, but what to find out from others of course.

I’m acquaintances with one of the other area car photogs and this past winter I actually paid him and he did a shoot of my car.

What I noticed was all of the communication was done over Facebook messenger, there wasn’t really a set plan for where or when we were meeting until about 30 minutes before we agreed to meet, and once we got to each location he just started shooting.

I’ve got a professional email set up, and would offer clients a means of contacting that they are comfortable with.

I’ve created a google forms questionnaire that I email (and have already had reviewed and edited) to clients asking preferences is editing style, location types, etc, and then I get the results back before the shoot so I can plan and give them a package of shots that really speaks to them.

Im almost done with the first draft of an online portfolio/website and am taking feedback on it as of noon today.

So realistically, after seeing some of the best work in my area, I think that I can turn my passion into something legitimate 🤷🏼‍♂️
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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That's not starting a business. It's starting a job that you own. Big difference. I own my job, I wouldn't recommend it.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Koala Bear wrote:
BCtriguy1 wrote:
I think you will get a lot better advice if you shed a bit more light on what kind of business you're planning on starting.

I started a business around 7 or 8 years ago. The advice I would have to offer would vary greatly depending on what you're planning on doing. I might not offer advice at all it was something I'm unfamiliar with.
That’s fair. I kind of kept it vague to get some of that general, globally applicable advice, though it may not all be too useful.

And to answer the above advice about having money set aside for living expenses, there would be other income coming in, not just anything from this.

My preamble over, I’ve been a long time car enthusiast, and a several year photographer.

I’m nothing record-shattering or ground breaking, but after seeing the other photographers work in our local area, and the prices they charge, I know that the quality of my work and the service that I can provide would, and already have, far outpace that provided by some of the bigger names in my area.

I’ve started writing some stuff down and playing with numbers.

But if that gives more context, there have you (:


I’ve been self employed for over 25 years. Some years are good and some are not. During 2008 I had a developer stiff me over $80k and the bank foreclosed on the commercial site we did that work at. That was bad times. Good times were when I bought my Porsche Cayenne and the business pays for it. Realize it took me a LONG time to get to that point. I tell people that I was 20 without kids and I was single. I worked probably 65 hours a week on average and probably made $5 an hour. Eventually, it became something that gave me flexibility in my schedule and I make a decent buck. If all goes well, I can sell business assets and walk away with the business checking account as a minimum- or sell the business for a pretty good buck. Frankly, anyone I know working in the corporate world with health benefits, 401k, etc- probably is in just as good of a position as me. So, is it worth it? In many ways no. In some ways yes.

More importantly, a self employed person is usually someone with certain characteristics that would define them as someone who would be self employed. You need to know if you are that guy. Google the traits of a self employed person.

As far as photography.... decide if this is a side gig, or a real job. Google Peter Lik. He is the most successful photographer that there is. He has marketed himself well. He has made his photos a product that is desirable. My girlfriend has a few of his pieces and they are beautiful. I was in California and met a photographer when I was there and I bought two of his photos. When they were shipped to me, I inspected them and one is not right. That framing didn’t turn out right. I won’t go into it much, but bringing this up because you will have situations like this and you will take a loss on a reprint and shipping and possibly framing.

In my business, lawn maintenance, landscaping, and snow removal there is so much that can go wrong. This winter, two trucks hit parked cars. I bumped the brick work on a commercial building with the bed of the dump truck. Even with insurance, filing claims are not worth it- so I just pay out of pocket. A single parking lot that pays us $45k for the winter sounds like a lot, until you see what goes into the job. I imagine photography is similar. Right now, your looking from the outside in. You need to really learn what it takes. I would bet taking the photos is actually the easy part.

As far as advice-

Set up a business checking account that has no fees or minimal monthly fees. Get business cards. Make your business pay for your cell phone. Take one room of your house and call that your office. Deduct that as office space on your tax return. Take a mileage deduction on your car, or lease a car in the name of the business. You will need a commercial auto insurance policy most likely if you lease the car in the business name. Contact the state department of financial institutions and setup an LLC for the business. Contact the IRS and apply for an FEIN, basically a Social security number for your business.

Anything else and probably need a consulting fee. :)
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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My wife had/ has a photography business. I live in rural Maine so the types of work, competition, etc., could vary.

She started out small, mostly family pictures, then newborns and eventually high school seniors which became her bread and butter. She did a wedding for a friend at low cost and eventually did close to a dozen. She did this part-time for just over three years before she eventually burnt herself out. Her biggest problem in my opinion was she never said no to anyone. Particularly from late August to early November (Seniors and Foliage) she was gone every Saturday and Sunday from dusk till dawn. She also spent spent several evenings a week editing. We'd talk every year about how stressful the previous year was and how she missed being with the kids and would have a plan to just do one weekend day. We'd start with this plan but she'd get a call and wouldn't say no to a $300-$500 session on the other weekend day.

It just became too much with a full time job. Even with weddings, I doubt she could make half of what she makes in her full time job, with benefits, retirement, etc as a full-time photographer as the demand isn't there. That said, she was able to cover thousands in camera and computer equipment. She also paid for a Disney trip one year.

If she was to try it again, my advice would be as follows:
  1. Have a business plan that factors in other jobs, family time, etc. and don't get ahead of it. Weekends and in particular Fall is the major time for clients where we live. I think she should have charged more, limited herself to one day a week and did fewer clients.
  2. Truly understand travel and editing time. She'd often travel a couple hours for ocean and foliage shots. I do not think she adequately charged for this or understood how much time as a perfectionist editing would take.
  3. Weddings were too much for her. She did a great job but was super stressed/ worried for a week before until editing was done.

Good luck
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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Numbers! Numbers! Numbers! Ever watch Shark Tank? It always comes down to the numbers. People do math in their heads and usually do it poorly. They think they know how much they brought in and how much they spent and rounding, forgetfulness, etc. makes that unreliable. Forecast realistic revenue and expenses and track against that.

What will it take for this to be a business and not just a hobby? Is that level of business, in volume or price, realistic in your market?
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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My friend's wife is a photographer/graphics designer. Started as a hobby. After settling in Canada she managed to land jobs in agency who'd do product photos for companies like Sony, Toyota etc. At one point as they had hick-ups with the business she was laid off. Husband had helped her to make photo studio in a basement and she declared herself as a business. Starting photographing friends and their events for free, then for little money but for five years was making close to nothing. Then suddenly for whatever reason she landed couple of rich clients who brought he few more rich clients and from then on she is happy like a clam and making good money.

http://veloreality.com
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [jharris] [ In reply to ]
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I would never expense one of the rooms in my house for business.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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jimatbeyond wrote:
I would never expense one of the rooms in my house for business.

Why? Are there negative tax implications down there?

Maurice
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [mauricemaher] [ In reply to ]
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It is a big red flag to the IRS.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [Koala Bear] [ In reply to ]
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If you are in the U.S., don't go halfway & set up an LLC or Sub S corporation. Go all the way and set up a C corp and have clear lines between your business & your personal life.

Pink? Maybe. Maybe not. You decide.
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Re: What advice would you have for someone starting a business? [japarker24] [ In reply to ]
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can you explain this more? that an LLC or S-Corp is half-way?
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