It’s been about a month since I became a full-time business owner, and even though I started my business over six years ago, I’m always learning something new. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. As hard as running your own business is, it is much more rewarding. Although hindsight is always 20/20, there are a few things I wish I had known before starting my entrepreneurial journey. After reflecting on the past few years, here’s what to know before starting a business.
You’re Always ‘On’
As a boss and solo business owner, there really is no “downtime.” I am learning to batch my time and create a productive schedule, but my mind is always on business, even when I have time off. When I’m not working, I think about marketing techniques, emails to send out, social media strategies, etc. When you love what you do, it becomes all-encompassing. I carve out family time, put my phone away, and be as present in the moment as I can be. Since running my business full-time, I’ve even implemented social media-free Sundays, which is a work in progress.
I charged $100 for my first photo session. At the time, I was so grateful and happy anyone wanted to pay me to take their photos. When I look back at it now, it was definitely a loss when it comes to profitability. It takes money to run a profitable and sustainable business. The cost of running a business includes a minimum of annual licensing fees from your state, website hosting, business insurance, and the equipment required to operate the business. For my business that would include cameras, digital cards, computers, and editing software.
When you’re a solo business owner, you also have things to think about, like health insurance, life insurance, and paying into retirement. If you’re a past client of mine, it’s no secret that my prices have increased, but I’ve also added value to what I offer. Clients have the option of a studio space, and you will receive tangible products at the end of each session. Believing your worth and pricing yourself to be profitable from the very beginning is very helpful in the long run for your business.
Find Your Tribe
Being a creative business owner can be really lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. I attend at least one networking event per quarter to mingle with other like-minded business owners. I also have photographer friends I can call on when I have questions about something or when I want to meet for coffee and socialize. It also helps to have hobbies outside of your business, like traveling and bookclub! Besides hanging with actual people, I consume like-minded business podcasts while I’m editing, in the car, or out for a walk. Experts say you’re most like the top 5 people you surround yourself with. This includes what you consume, so listen and follow wisely!
While there is a lot to know before starting your business, these are some of the main things to remember. You want to price your business to be profitable from the beginning, which will alleviate having to change your pricing structure while in the middle of running your business. Trends change, and sometimes it’s just inevitable. Networking can also put you in touch with the right people to help you run your business successfully. Running a successful business is hard work, but the payoff is worth it!