So I have decided to add little excerpts on things I've learned along the road of entrepreneurship. For the kick off of this addition, I've opted to share 5 things I've learned in regards to business and branding.
Photography is like all other businesses in that it is a business. For me, it's not just a hobby [although I do love it] - It's how I support my family and pay my bills, and I get to make new friends along the way. As much as I enjoy & love photography, it's 70% business, 30% photography. So understanding a few basic business principles helps ensure the business moves forward and continues to grow.
1) Write out your goals> Writing out your goals is important. It forces you to realize and think through where you are at, and look at the various avenues to take you where you want to be. Goals for me are SUPER IMPORTANT. I write out goals every couple of months, and also jot down ways to make them happen. - And then get to it, make it happen.
2) Invest in a logo> For real. Your logo represents your business, and perception matters. You want people to see you as a business, look like one [act like one and follow through like one, but that's another post]. Keep a pinterest board of things that you feel represents what you would like in your branding. Color schemes, photographs, ideas, quotes, fonts, etc., and find a graphic designer you like. Your inspriation board will help convey the vibe and look you want in your logo and a professionally designed logo will get you off to a good start of building a business. [not to mention the confidence that comes from knowing your logo was designed professionally]
3) Learn about Google & SEO> SEO is Search Engine Optimization. SEM is Serch Engine Marketing. Why does this matter? Because the internet is where people turn to find everything from a local pizza joint to ...well, wedding photographers. Having an online presence is a necessity. Also knowing & understanding at least a little bit about how it all works will only help you. Not sure where to start on this? Google it :) - or buy a book at the local bookstore. Use a phrase similar to this, "beginning with SEO". Another option is to hire someone who is an expert in this area, but if that's not an option for you, take a class, buy a book, or get busy reading on your new bff: google.
4) Know your numbers> Know your income vs. expenses. Have an idea [from writing out your goals] of how much money you need to bring in [or would like to bring in]. Keep up with these numbers as they can often change, it's important to be aware of where you are and be realistic about the financials.
5) Hire a CPA> I will admit, we didn't do this the first year I started Freshly Bold because we were half way into the year. Well, one audit later, I can say I am glad we did after that. Having a CPA will help ensure you are doing things properly. The first year, we used Turbo Tax. Simple enough right? Well, apparently Turbo Tax is also a reason a lot of small business go through audits [which are MISERABLE]. A CPA can explain what you need to keep up with, the differences in write-off's and deductions and what goes into what category and all the other jargon that quite frankly, makes my brain hurt.
Starting a business is the easy part. Keeping your business going and growing is a lot of hard work, sweat and sometimes even tears. But now this, it's worth it.