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So You Want To Start A Business | Random Thoughts From Someone Who Has Been There

Hey friends!  Most of the questions we get asked are all related to starting a business!  It honestly makes me so happy because the fact that we get questions about business makes me feel that others recognize how much hard work we put into the business side of things.

Let’s jump right in.  Should you start a business?

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Well, if you’re asking that question, then you’re on the right track!  If it’s a no brainer then that’s when you need to slow down just a bit.  Starting a business takes purpose, thought, and lots of planning.  Unless you’re a 7 year old with a lemonade stand, then there’s a lot more to it.

There are fundraisers. There are hobbies.  And then there is business.

A garage sale is not a business.  That sounds funny to say– of course it’s not a business!  It’s just something you do once a year– you leverage your assets to make some money.  It’s smart because they’re assets you already have– and want to get rid of– and hopefully others are willing to pay for those items.  At the end of the day, you’ve got a satisfied feeling and promise yourself you’ll never over buy again… until you go to Target anyway.  A garage sale is a fundraiser.

Hobbies is where it gets a bit more fuzzy.  There’s a huge debate in the photography community, and I’m sure in others as well.  Where is the line between glorified hobby and business?  Well, probably somewhere along the lines of getting your business license in the mail, I’d say.  If you haven’t done that… then you’re probably just enjoying a hobby.  If you’re charging people money for your hobby, then you might need to check into legalities with that in your area.

I’ll never forget my first client.  It was the first time I was meeting someone at a specific location and time for the purpose of taking their photos.  I knew them, but we weren’t best buddies or anything.  I was in shock that they were willing to potentially waste their time to meet me and let me take their photos!  And they gave me a $25 gift card as a thank you!  Say what?!?!   I was over the moon elated.  I wanted to frame that gift card instead of use it.  $30 was our weekly budget for food, and they straight up gave me $25 because they were being nice!

But then at a certain point, I got serious.  Are you serious?  What are you goals in this?  To supplement income?  To provide a full time paycheck?  Why are you doing it?  Just for the paycheck?  Is it something you truly enjoy?  Is it profitable?

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Yes, a lot of questions fly across the table at this point.  A lot of doubt will build up, too.  Here are the questions I used when starting Fowler Studios, and still use today when we look at adding something new to our business:

1) Are my assets being used?  What are your assets to the business?  Josh loves creating new ideas and dreaming up new ventures.  I make them happen on paper.  Together, it’s a perfect fit!

2) Am I passionate?  You don’t have to be overly passionate about every detail of the business.  I’m not a huge fan of paperwork.  But there does have to be quite a bit of passion pouring out of you– both for the business and the reasons why you’re embarking on the business.  If you don’t have a fair amount of passion for the project, then you’re going to wear down quickly.  Passion creates momentum and keeps you going even in the hardest times.

3) Is this profitable?  Let’s face it, a business has to be profitable or it’s not a business.  Even non-profits have to make money in order to keep the doors open.  So put some pen to paper on this one.  How much will it cost to buy all the needed supplies?  What are the yearly costs (business license, ongoing supplies, marketing/website, etc)?  And how much can you reasonably pay yourself from each sale?  How many sales will you need to make your desired profit?  Is that reasonable?  How long do you think it will take you to get to that point?

Yes… a ton of questions!  But some great food for thought when you’re mulling that big question in your head… should I start a business?

The truth is, you don’t have to have everything figured out right at the beginning.  But you definitely do need a good idea of what you’re doing, where you’re headed, and how to get there.

Until next time, cheers!

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