The business of a business

As I write this, I would like to say this edition of my blog, ok truthfully it’s been way over a month since my last entry, is one of more about the business of a business.  Throughout the time period since I started my photography business I’ve gotten hit with a lot of ideas, information, suggestions, ads, buy this, or this, and thoughts about what is the best direction for my business to go.  Thus, I have been doing a lot of reading and researching processes and procedures over the last year and a half.  Still not sure if I have answers yet, but I do have more questions

I’ve have had my photography website up since October of 2019 and it has been functioning as a sole proprietorship for better or worse.  Side note, I’ve actually had this blog for a lot of years.  I am thinking the blog has been up for the last eight years give or take a couple of years.  Of course, this means my per month or per week posting is really low, and from what I am learning not good.  I really have to get better at this writing a blog thing.  But what I’m finding is, and yes I know I was going to focus on the photography, but building a business is a part of the business.  This is even more important especially now that it is tax season.  So, I guess I’m going to talk a little bit about the starting a business, which direction to go, what is the best business process for a single person entity.  As I said, I started this in October, 2019, it was kind of a pipe dream a little to get this going, to get this up and running, and to really start this “business.”  I was hoping to get a couple of bucks a month extra that I could use for spending cash to pay the photography business bills and maybe buy some extra equipment.  However, the more I’ve worked on this, and the more I work on the actual photographic work, the defining of the website, and the more I put money into this, it’s really become more of a decision to do something different and better with this photography “business.”  Basically, I want to grow my photography business more. But how, see more questions.

So, I need to grow this business. I need to continue to make this work. And then, of course, when you do your taxes. Turbo Tax other tax entities and the IRS, sit there and tell you that if you don’t start making money off this business venture after three years it’s not going to be considered a business anymore and you will be relegated to “hobby status”.  Which I understand that “rule” but there’s too many questions out there that I don’t know the answers to on how to do better with the business.  It could be ranging anything from: do I just do a sole proprietorship, which means it’s just my name and that’s it and don’t do anything else?  Or do I do an LLC or an S-corporation? Do I just incorporate?  What do I do?  I think that’s probably my biggest unknown right now is what do I do with the business structure or not do anything with that?

Too many unknowns, which means I’m not sure of which direction is the best to go with my business.  To be honest, I am kind of confused about the whole process of deciding which one is the best for me.  But I guess that’s part of the whole process of when you try to start up a business.  I do regret that I should have done this way back when I was a youth and try starting a business.  To have the experience of success and failure at a younger age would have or at least could have been life changing.  But do I build this business to grow and prosper or just break even.  But what is really rolling around in my head, is how do I really grow or try to grow the business into what I want to do with it and that is to be a replacement full time job and retirement income.  Thus, the understanding and knowledge of how to build a business, to see what happens with the business if it does grow, and what do I want to do with this business after that, or how do I handle the failure of the business…which means do I want to keep doing this.  It’s a learning process, but most importantly it is an opportunity.  With all of this said, this is something that I’ll continue to do or continue to work on for the time being at least. But a lot of questions still from this standpoint of where do I go, what do I do and how do we do it? And I think that’s just what I need to figure out.

And I will be honest, I am starting this business without putting a whole lot of money into it, but I’m expending a lot of money in the sense of website costs, blog costs, domain costs, security costs, and email costs. Not to mention trying to upgrade my equipment, increasing my advertising that I can do…well at least try to get that going.  So there’s a lot of things that I put a lot of money into this whole website business to sit there and try to keep it and grow and to keep it going.

Did I answer some of my question and did I find out a couple of new things?  I think I did…or at least it felt like I gain some new knowledge. I spent some money this spring to attend a couple of non-credit classes through the local college and learned a lot in the last class on how to market your website business.  It was quite the learning lesson.  It did help to point out some things that I wasn’t doing or I should have been doing, or I needed to do…but really need to get set up so my website is recognizable on the internet.  So, I took advantage of that and kind of got that going from there to do the best I possibly could. I got my website set up on Google Business and Bing Places.  I consider that a win in my book.  I’m getting views…just not any sales

This whole idea of selling my photographic work is really and ideally a pipe dream, but my bigger pipe dream is doing this full-time as a job. Going out, shooting photos of the landscape around the area, the region, the country, and then bringing them back and then trying to sell them as a business.  I own my bigger pipe dream, but I guess you got to start somewhere.  To be honest, I would be happy just creating an income that helps during the retirement piece.  So who knows, I guess that’s really the next step of where I want to go from this point and how do I get there. Again, more questions.

And then the next step from there is, how do I sustain the business?  Am I on the right website?  I’m currently using SmugMug, which has been really great and easy to set up.  It’s been able to do a lot more as I continue to learn and grow with it.  I’m kind of enjoying the flexibility that it’s giving me, but at the same time, I’m expending a huge cost during the year for that.  I’m also expending a huge cost for this blog site. But from what I understand, I think I could probably consolidate the two into one, spend a little bit extra above what I’m spending for the blog and then have the flexibility to do everything that I want to do in one website or one website provider, I guess is how I should better word it. So that’s another thought, another question.

So, I guess to wrap this up, I guess I have more questions than answers.  So if you’re reading this, please, if you have answers, suggestions, or you have some knowledge, please share in the comments below. I would greatly appreciate that. Insight from everybody or others is always welcomed because we can all learn from each other.  So with that, I close this weeks, hopefully, but at least this month’s blog on that note. Have a great day, go out and see the world. Take memories, not physical property, leave nothing but your breath and nothing else. Have a good day. And we’ll talk to you later.

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