I was blessed to be raised by entrepreneurs and to be a homeschool kid. I was able to go to work with my dad, be trained by his office staff, go on business trips, and see the hardship of being a business owner first hand. I can’t say that it looks glamorous. In fact, any one in their right mind would have gone in a complete 180 direction. It would take a crazy person to see the things my dad had gone through as an entrepreneur and then decide to follow his path…
Hello, my name is Deb, and I may be a bit crazy.
When I was 17 years old my dad encouraged me to get my business license. I didn’t fully understand yet what that meant, but I knew I loved photography and that is what I wanted to do long term. My older siblings helped me pick a name, I posted an AD on Facebook, my parents got me my first Photoshop program and within two weeks I started booking photoshoots. I tried walking away from photography multiple times. Every attempt, I came back to my first love.
As a creative, it was a crazy learning curve to go from being artsy to understanding business. Wait, I don’t get to just photograph all day and not worry about proper expense tracking, advertising, networking, and marketing? I thought being a photographer meant people would just discover my work because they loved my talent. I didn’t think for a second about the business end. That is until I had the “Ah-Ha” moment!
When I was 22 we found out we were pregnant. Soon after we found out we were pregnant with a girl! For some reason, that felt like a whole new level of pressure. She would grow up looking up to me, her mama. Yikes! Something naturally changed in my motivation. I immersed myself in business books, CDs, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, networking events, summits, any business knowledge I could get my hands on. I knew I wanted to love my life. I wanted to do something that I could be proud of. I wanted to make my daughter proud. I wanted to succeed and finally learned what that meant and what that looked like!
Having a craft you love is amazing, but there has to be a point that you make your decision for this to be either a business or a hobby. Don’t get the two confused and don’t wait until you get burnt out. If I could give my first-year entrepreneur self some advice it would be to immerse myself in business knowledge. Educate myself on what would it look like to do photography as a career long term. Do I want to work for someone else in it, or do I want to create my own job? What steps need to be taken to set myself up for a successful business? Do I need to take classes? Contact resources? Who do I admire in my field that I could study under?
Every field is its own adventure. Not everything is going to be black and white. You will have to navigate your journey. Here are my go-to tips for creating a startup business:
Take some time to discover what it is you want to do long term. Sit down with your thoughts, close your eyes, breathe deep, and ask yourself “where do I see my life long term?” What is your long-term vision, long term plan? Is it a destination, a dollar amount, a new car, a vacation?
You’ve now discovered that yes this is something you want to do long term. Research your field. Immerse yourself in this area and reach out to others and ask them all the questions! I highly suggest finding someone in your field who lives a good distance away from you. Often entrepreneurs are concerned about competition.
Create a business plan. What are your 1, 5, and 10-year plans? What needs to happen within those years to grow your business?
Have your mentor take a look at your business plan. They may be able to give you insight and ensure you are setting yourself up for success.
Now it is time to make things legal. Contact your lawyer to discover which business license is best for you. Your lawyer will advise you from here what steps you need to take.
Once you have made everything legal you are ready to put your name out there! Figure out what social media and advertising platforms work best for you and create an account. Ask friends and family to help you get the word out there. Most are happy to assist in making your dream a reality.