Starting a home photography business is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is important to understand that there are going to be conflicts with your family, current job if you still have one, and even with your personal life. If you can find a way to gain balance among all of these things, owning your own photography business can be the ideal situation for yourself and your family.
What hurdles are you experiencing right now that is keeping you from starting your own photography business? Money? Time management? Kids? Husband or wife? Holding onto a current job? Fear of failure? If it’s something you really want, don’t let anything stand in your way. Think smart and you can find ways to maintain balance, gain happiness and get exactly what it is you are after.
If you are still facing obstacles that are keeping you from achieving your dream, keep reading. We may have some direction for you.
“I have no money to start a business with.”
Well, I can’t throw money at your feet but it’s important to realize two things. First, there aren’t many businesses that can thrive without having at least some form of investment. Second, keep in mind that while it may take some money to get things going, if you are smart and use your money wisely you can stretch the little money you have available to put into your business, much farther than you ever thought possible.
Take your marketing money for example. Sure, you could go drop $1000 on a magazine ad in a local parenting journal…or…you could do some leg work and networking to mingle with other parents in your community and get direct face to face contact with them. How about where your children go to school, attend ballet or play sports? There are a million places you can go that can give you a more personal relationship with other parents and besides…a magazine ad will not keep your target’s attention for an entire 5th inning of a baseball game like you can!
“My spouse doesn’t think I will have enough time for family and run a business.”
If you have a significant other in your life, and especially if you have kids, you have to get everyone on the same page with you if your business is to succeed. Not seeing things eye to eye or having constant disagreements is going to cause nothing but stress and that is not something you need to be dealing with when starting a new business. Hold a “family meeting”, let everyone communicate their concerns and address them with your solution. Try to be as understanding of their concerns as possible but assure them that with the right plan in place, nobody will be left out, neglected or forgotten about. Devise “family nights” or play dates that are promised times with your family. Always remember that your family is your number one priority and should never be put after your business and you will find that this will keep calm and peace in your household.
“I am just plain scared.”
What if the sales don’t come in? What if I am a terrible photographer and nobody has just had the guts to tell me? What if I can take decent photographs but I have no sales techniques? What if I get rejected?
It’s a very emotional thing, this thing we call “Fear”. Fear keeps most of us from doing a lot of things but you don’t have to let it. It’s time to put on your “big girl pants” (or “big boy pants”) and take some risks. No, I don’t mean financial risks or doing anything crazy. I am talking about an emotional risk. Put yourself out there. Have the confidence to know you are good! Do your homework to understand the type of risk you are taking: calculated or foolish and obviously don’t take foolish risks. Nothing worth anything comes to us easy. Be brave, strong and proud of yourself!
“I have too many distractions to focus on a photography business.”
Don’t we all? I’m not going to lie: running your own home based photography business is going to take a large amount of self discipline, scheduling and control on your part. You are going to have your kids running around, TV blaring in the living room, a spouse asking you to come and watch a movie with them, neighbors coming over just to chat and all sorts of other every day distractions. Realize that you are not going to escape those completely. This is your home and unless you kicked everyone out, it’s not going to happen. However, you can take steps to minimize these distractions or at least find ways to put them off until your “non-working” hours. Set a schedule of when you are working and ask your family to respect that time as your time and must be made available to you so you can focus on growing your business. Tell your friends and neighbors, that you are working a job (and you really are) and can’t be pulled away unless it’s an emergency until after 4pm during the week. It will take time to get everyone on the same page but eventually it will come.
“The thought of tracking sales and book-keeping sounds boring.”
Oh, well, if the thought of raking in $2000 in a single portrait sale is boring to you, then maybe this is the wrong career for you. Alright, I admit it, business can sometimes be boring. Keeping records, managing session IDs, organizing your paperwork is not the ideal form of fun we would all choose but it is a necessity of running a business. However, one trick I have learned is to try and keep the “boring” stuff limited to just a specific day each week. Handle your bookkeeping first thing on a Monday morning for the previous work is a way to get the boring stuff for the week out of the way immediately and not have to think of it again until next week.
If you can define your fears, you can address them and come to a solution to anything that is standing in your way of opening your own home based photography business. Best of luck!