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JoyofPhotographyJoyofPhotography subscriber Posts: 2
edited November 2006 in Thought Leadership

Anybody out there interested in being part of a success story ?   I need some serious advice.

Long story short, I`m a wife/mother/police dispatcher & owner of
Joy of Photography in Las Vegas waaaaay earlier than what I ever
planned.   It`s sort of a long story but I`m not ready to run
a business and I have no clue what I`m doing. 

I`d love it if there are any successful business owners interested in
hearing my case but it`s way to long of a story/situation to post on a

I know that I will one day have a very successful business, but I guess
I`m just looking for some encouragement and sound advice. 

My plans are to #1continue with startup nation & take a business
class specific to photographers next semester at my school, #2 graduate
with my Associates Degree in commercial photography this December 2006,
#3 take more business classes (I don`t know what aspect I should
concentrate on), and #4 get a serious plan together for eventually
quitting my job as a dispatcher and running my business full time.

I`d love to hear from you if you have a successful business and have any helpful advice.

Thanks !! 


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    Hi Joy,
    I too am a mom/wife and solo entrepenuer.  I began my business by refilling ink jet cartridges in Oct. 2000.  By Oct 2001 we carried a full line of technology items.  By Oct 2002 we were able to offer a complete line of office supplies and furniture.  Pretty much if Office Max/Staples/Viking/Quill/Office Depot carries it, we can get it for you, also.  Hence, we compete with the big guys.
    We began by grosses $50 in 2000.  I spent a lot more than that for refilling supplies, but that`s ok.  For last year we brought in over $70,000.  I run my business very part time around the family and family commitments and all, and end up keeping us in state of the art office supplies.    I`m sure if I were to put in full time hours, I would earn full time wages.
    Anyway, that`s my story and I`ve seen a bit of yours.  If I can do this, I`m sure you can.  I would recommend one very important thing.  Make sure you set up official office hours when your work from the house.  Even if you don`t have an office, just make sure you can get a set of hours when you can devote to your business and nothing else.
    Feel free to contact me if you`d be interested in some one on one chit chat.  Maybe we can learn priorites together.  I quit my 10 hr a week job last week.  Just wasn`t worth the hassle.  I could use the time to work on my business.
    Well, it was nice typing to you.  Have a great day!!
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    CalgaryPixCalgaryPix subscriber Posts: 2
    Hi Joy,Well, advice on most photography forums is concentrait on the business courses first, and shoot a lot on your own. While the photography classes can teach you a lot, you still have a lot to learn when you get out - so you may as well get going on that. I looked at your profile where you mention an interest in commercial photography and it looks like you`re already in the photography course. If at all possible, start shooting some people (I mean as a photographer, not your police involvement {sorry, bad joke but couldn`t resist. You probably don`t even get a gun as a dispatcher.}. )As well as business courses, one of the most valuable skills a photographer can develop is learning how to sell. It`s part of the job, you may as well be good at it.Aside from business skills, you would do well to develope a style/philosophy of photography that you can sell as "you." Make it your passion. You may not get to always shoot that style, but that`s what you market. Of course, that doesn`t mean you shouldn`t try other styles on non-paying shoots, you will want to grow and develop over the years. But, if you market one look, it makes it easier for art directors to figure out how to use your photography - which means more jobs.Best of luck with your venture,Neil
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    bobbyhumebobbyhume subscriber Posts: 1 Member

    I thought I would throw my comments in here as photography is both a
    passion of mine and something that I from time to time get to charge
    people for.  Neil is right on.  Photography classes are great
    and they can help you grow as a photographer but at the same time they
    don`t teach you how to make money (for the most part, although I have
    taken a couple that did).  Being a photographer is all about
    selling yourself and your style.  While I have not done any
    commercial work, I have done portraits and a ton of sports photography
    and I have to say that the hardest part of the photography business is
    selling.  When I did it full time I was constantly selling. 
    Every minute I wasn`t shooting I was selling.  For me my website
    was crucial.  It brought me quite a bit of business and allowed me
    to proof and sell photos quickly without setting up a gallery. 
    Don`t go overboard, but don`t skimp on the size or quality of work you
    show online.  Watermark and copyright your online images or people
    will steal them.

    Business classes are fine and good but don`t go overboard.  So
    much of being successful in business you simply cannot learn in a
    classroom.  You learn it by doing it.  By asking for
    help.  By finding the right people to guide you along the
    way.  You found Startup Nation and it is a great resource, use
    it.  You sound like your time is already stretched thin. 
    Your family has to take the prime spot they are the most
    important.  School is also important so finish the degree you`re
    working on, but also remember that what really counts in the end is
    that you get your business up and running smoothly.  Personally I
    feel that time is better spent doing and learning the ropes at the
    school of hard knocks than sitting in a classroom and listening to
    theories and procedures that might not ever apply to you.

    Lastly you need to build a team of people to help you.  I am a
    control freak and I like to understand how everything works down to the
    last detail.  It is a complete waste of time, but my OCD doesn`t
    let me stop.  You don`t have to be
    that way.  Find an accountant to handle your tax issues. 
    Find a lawyer to handle your legal issues.  Find people who have
    been in your shoes to give you a nudge in the right direction and give
    you a summary of what they have learned the hard way.  Once you
    become the success that I know you are going to be, help others. 
    Keep the spirit alive.  If you would like help with any aspect of
    your business I will do my best to offer you whatever assistance you
    need.  My best advice is don`t spend a bunch of money that you
    don`t need to up front, use your brain before your wallet.

    Good Luck

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    EllayEllay subscriber Posts: 6
    I am a mom of two working as an Admin Assistant to get bills paid. I have been looking for someone to assist virtually whether it be research, spreadsheets, letters, whatever.
    BobbyHume is right...find some people...I am an island myself. I have wanted to start my own business for about 8 years....I do alot of planning and things but I never have anyone to talk to about it and my ideas tend to become stillborn.
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    Fiberartist219Fiberartist219 subscriber Posts: 5
    Taking photography classes is good...
    My best advice to you as a photographer is to know what your customers want in their photos. My wedding photographer was only ok... but if she had taken some great pictures, I would have recommended her to others. Word of mouth gets around very fast!
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    bmwsmitybmwsmity subscriber Posts: 1
    Check out score.orgYou can get free mentoring online from former CEOs and business owners in your area.  I just got my mentor, and it has been a great thing for me!
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    JoyofPhotographyJoyofPhotography subscriber Posts: 2
    I wanted to stop in to thank all of you for your great advice and
    encouragement.  It`s been awhile since I`ve logged in - just busy
    of course.  bmwsmity - thanks so much for the heads up on
    score.org - I did check it out and I`m excited to get in contact with
    them.  I agree that the school of hard knocks is a great way to
    learn what I need to know, but I just feel completely uncomfortable
    with hard knocks right now beause I seriously don`t have a clue
    WHATSOEVER about the business end of this.  It`s very frustrating
    because I feel so ready to spread my wings when it comes to my
    photography, but I am smart enough to recognize being good at
    photography is not enough to be a successful business owner....and I
    know that`s my weakness right now. 

    Again, thank you all for your advice and helping me to keep my spirits
    lifted in this endeavor.  You all have been truly kind!
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