You want to make it on your own as a photographer, but that costs money. You don't want to be drowning in debt, so what do you do? Lindsay Betz manages a popular photography studio in Colorado, and she's an expert in creating a budget, managing money, and avoiding debt.
Lindsay pushes young entrepreneurs to follow their business path and to expand only as their revenue increases—not before. Lindsay emphasizes a solid foundation for all businesses, and she has 9 tips on how to create this:
- Make a business plan. Focus on one long-term goal to start, and then draw your attention to smaller goals that will make your long-term goal a reality. Achievement and growth don’t happen over night; be patient and trust the process.
- Start small. Don't take on more than you can handle. One great thing about being a professional photographer is that you can start as small as you need to, and grow bigger from there. You can maintain a separate job along with your passion for photography until your photography business can sustain you.
- Prepare to sacrifice. The photography business isn't all butterflies and rainbows—be prepared to make hard choices. You might have to work multiple jobs for some time until your photography takes off. You might need to cut back on luxuries in order to save more for the sake of your business, but in the end, it’s worth it.
- Know when to make the leap. When you're going to make professional photography your full-time job, make sure you're ready. It's a risk, so aim to be able to pay yourself 50 percent of what your previous job compensated for six months.
- Spend less than you make. Keep track of every business expense and what your income is in order to spend smartly. By doing this, you'll be aware of how much disposable income you have, and it'll dissuade you from spending what you don’t have.
- Start with the end in mind. Picture who your clients are and what they'll want from your photos. Price your art accordingly, so you can meet your monetary goals. Try to learn from your experiences and take client feedback.
- Consider work-life balance. Are you willing to have photography as a full-time job? Or do you see yourself doing it as a part-time job? Weigh your options and be realistic in order to make the best decision for you.
- Recognize needs vs. wants. You don’t always need the latest technology to take great photos. Buying a shiny new lens may be tempting, but when you're starting a business, you’re living on a budget. You have to learn to control your wants and focus on what you need in order to thrive in the industry.
- Envision the big picture. Imagine your business in the future. Have an idea of what you want so you can focus your goals on achieving this dream. Thinking like this will allow you to tackle tough decisions with a goal in mind.
Read the full article to get more tips on creating a debt-free business in Professional Photographers Magazine. If you're not already a PPA member, don't forget to join PPA to get the latest advice and news in the photography world!