Here are my answers for the first week’s assignment for “So You Want to Start a Business,” a Clickin Moms online class.
1. List some reasons for wanting to start a photography business. At first, I instinctively shied away from the idea because I didn’t want to have to think about my turning my fun hobby into passionless drudgery. I began reading other mom photographer blogs and saw the work they are doing and decided I could do that too. So now I need to decide if I want to. I enjoy making something artistic. I am so touched when I hear compliments on my photo work or see my work displayed in my friends’ homes. I also need to be very busy in order to feel like I’m at my best, with the proper balance, of course. I need other interests outside of being a SAHM. I have a lot more to learn both artistically and technically, which will keep me interested. If I could earn income from it eventually, why not try it? If it becomes a burden, I’m out. I have nothing to lose. It’s rewarding for me to see something come together from start to finish (session to delivery and happy customer). I LOVE the idea of preserving/creating memories for my clients to have forever. Finally, I love to show that there is extraordinary in the ordinary.
2. Determine what Successful Business Startup is right for you. Ask yourself these questions and write down your answers.
What do I like to do with my time? Besides spending time with my family, I like to sit in front of the computer reading blogs and editing pictures or lay in bed reading a book or magazine. I LOVE organizing and cleaning, as well as scrapbooking. Of course, I love exploring the world through the camera’s lens. I am an introvert, so I like being alone after a busy day out and about.
What technical skills have I learned or developed and am I at the level that I feel is adequate to start a photography business? I shoot in manual without flash 99% of the time. I’m good at edits in PS Elements. I know there is much to learn, which is exciting to me. I want to start shooting in RAW but I need more memory cards first! I would like to batch process in LR. I can provide quality images from a photo shoot and I love doing it. I instinctively feel where the good pictures are. Hmm. I have doubts only because there are so many people out there with better/different skills.
What do others say I am good at? (Things that may be an asset to owning a home business) Organizing, accounting, time management, multitasking, hard work. People are comfortable around me. I have good people skills and I love taking pictures of children and babies.
Will I have the support of my family? Yes. I have a wonderful support system. My husband and my parents are great at taking care of my daughter. I am also motivated to show my daughter that mommy does something outside of taking care of her.
How much time do I have to devote to this? Yeah, that’s the issue really. I have three preschool mornings a week, one or two afternoons, and some weekend time if necessary. I can get up early and work (this is my favorite time since I’m fresh and it’s quiet). I’d have to cut down the post-production time. I will aim for one session per week.
3. Let’s identify the niche your business will fill:
What area of specialty? Children and families
What services or products will I sell? Digital images on CD; photobooks
Is it practical and will it fill a need? Yes. My circle of friends want super cute pictures of their kids but not everyone wants to buy a DSLR or knows how to achieve some of the effects.
Who is my competition? Known photographer friends, those who have props or a studio. I’m not really competing against the mall portrait places since those are cookie cutter and not very creative, nor do they shoot on location.
What is my business advantage over existing photography businesses? What can I offer that they might not be able to? Flexibility. Approachability. Also, I’ve invested nothing so I could walk away if I want to. I strive to catch natural moments whereas some of the competition is more posed.
Can I deliver a better quality service than my competition? Hmm. I think I’m lacking confidence.
Can I create a demand for my business? That’s a tough one. I haven’t focused on advertising/marketing yet. I think people feel comfortable with me and so I’ve been relying on word of mouth.
4. Pre-business checklist:
What skills/experience do I bring? Personality, creativity, energy, passion, ability to multitask, desire to learn and push myself, organizational skills.
How will I maintain business records? I’m looking into Bizbooks.
What equipment/supplies will I need? Website, branding, logo, portfolio book? DVD cases and packaging, business license, insurance, props, soft light, backdrop. I would love to upgrade my camera once the 5d Mark iii is released!!! Oh, and I’d like a Mac too. 🙂
How will I compensate myself? I’ll probably reinvest my profits into the business to buy equipment. This is really a hobby, not a profession, at least for the time being. I’m trying to decide if I want to take it further.
What are my resources? Continuing education, books, photography blogs.
How will I purchase equipment? I’ll purchase what I need from my profits.
Where will business be located? I will shoot on location and do the admin part at home.
What will I name my business? Poetic Aperture by Naomi Wittlin
Strengths: attributes that are helpful to achieving the objective
- love photography
- excellent communication skills
- strong technical understand of camera; post-processing
- eye for composition
- great multi-tasker
- always striving to learn more
Weaknesses: attributes that are harmful to achieving the objective
- introverted sometimes
- I dislike selling
- I have a hard time asking for help
- I have a hard time saying no
- busy mom
- post processing takes me too long
Opportunities: external conditions that are helpful to achieving the objective
- existing relationships
- future relationships in our congregation and my daughter’s preschool
- balance between being a SAHM and work.
- lack of time
- oversaturated market