Starting something for the first time can be a bit scary.
Especially when that "something" is your own business.
This past month I decided to make the jump from photography being my side hobby for the last 5 years, to making it my main source of income. I went from periodically doing shoots for those I know to throwing myself into everything photography related. From becoming part of a group of thousands of photographers nation-wide, to getting my business name legalized, updating my website (work in progress, still), ordering business cards, to upgrading my lenses/equipment- even booking a 4 day trip to San Antonio, TX to do intensive workshops!
Amidst it all, I somehow got October completely booked (I say 'somehow' because I literally did nothing different than before when I got my bookings, other than lots of prayer and taking a leap of faith and quitting my 'safe' job), and because of that, I knew I needed to get my ish in order. Without structure, there is CHAOS (deep revelation, I know), and I am not a woman that is about chaos. No thank you.
So today, as I am laid up on the couch sick, unable to photograph precious little newborns, I decided to spend the last several hours researching and finalizing multiple business tools I will need. Above, you'll see just a small portion of what I have recently added to my monthly expenses to help run my business smoothly. To be fair, I have started various monthly trials to make sure these are perfect fits... only the best for my clients!
Now the reason why I decided to blog today wasn't to necessarily inspire anyone, this is strictly just for me (but hey, if it helps others out, then awesome). I'm someone who doesn't like to forget (can you tell by the field I decided to go into?), and I'm someone who constantly likes to be making progress and to make sure I have ways to compare and measure that progress. This is why I thrived in school, an environment that was constantly giving out visual reports of "success", why I love seeing my savings account grow, and why I love charts and number comparisons. That being said, this post is to record these beginning-stage thoughts and processes, so that in a few years I can look back and shake my head fondly at the mistakes and the naivety of it all, and see how far I've come. (Another thing I am known to do- believe that whatever I set my mind to accomplish- I will)
So, where are we now? This past week I did my first ever boudoir session (and fell in LOVE- I can see specializing in these kind of shoots in the future), and this weekend I have a wonderful couples session up at Bennett Hill. To prepare for these shoots, I just upgraded my Nikkor 50 mm 1.4 lens that I have had in my bag for the last 4 years to a Sigma ART 50 mm 1.4 lens (IN LOVE), and added an external flash, cleaning kit, 3 lens filters, mono pod, and lens bag to my photography. In June I legalized my business name with the state of Idaho (I'll go to LLC this next fiscal year), and just recently opened up a business account to keep track of profit/spending. In July, I connected with a photographer from the Shoot & Share group I am a part of, and she put together a logo for me based on the very very very rough draft of one that I had had before. I then got my website up and running and business cards ordered from MOO near the end of August, and now I have signed up for Pixieset as a way to deliver photos to my clients, got my pricing sorted out, labs set up to deliver prints, and 17hats is what I'm looking at now for invoicing/accepting payments, getting contracts written up/signed/delivered, and everything else in between. Oh, and Stripe is what I have chosen for authorizing payments!
Through all this, there is still SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN AND DO. And while sometimes it's scary if I try to think about it all at once, I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT. I love knowing that I haven't reached my full potential (not even close) and that there is still so much more to accomplish. I love being in charge of my own schedule, I love researching and figuring out my workflow and the way I want to run and operate my business. I love learning more tips and tricks about my camera, lighting, composing, but more importantly, I love all these beautiful people I get to meet up with and spend time with and give my whole heart and soul to. Not just with clients, but with other people like makeup/hair artists, various vendors and other photographers from all over that are so inspiring, so amazing, and so full of life.
Who knows where I'll be this winter, as well in the next coming years. Heck, who will know where I'll be in just a couple weeks after my workshop! I might decide to change everything I've spent the last couple months figuring out. Who knows. Only God, really. He's the only reason I am able to do this and start this journey. And I know He has perfect timing for everything, even in our business worlds.
If you've made it this far, I applaud you. And I hope I haven't bored you too much. I just want to be the best that I can be in what I do, and if you're a future or existing client I hope this post doesn't come off as complain-y or whine-y, I hope that it just shows you how invested I am in giving you the complete best.
Let the adventure begin.