This is the second part in the series I started last week. I wanted to create some videos and blog posts called “Growing Pains of a Startup Business.” I’m not sure if you’ve had the opportunity to watch the first video of the series or read the first post. This week, I speak about starting a business and how I did it. I’m sure most people do it that way too! You can watch the second video below.
It might be a good idea for you to go back and read the first part (linked above). That’s because I talked about the different reasons why the wildly successful people we know today, do not speak at length about their humble beginnings. They fleetingly mention their different fears and struggles they’ve had when they started up. You can go watch that so you kind of have an idea of where I’m going with this.
My idea behind starting a business
In this post, I wanted to talk about the reason I started my business. It mostly stemmed from my wanting to buy expensive photography gear as I started getting better at photography.
My friends started noticing my photography and started leaving very kind comments on Facebook where I’d share the photos. Then a couple of my friends told me I should start doing portraits.
I don’t like being in someone’s personal space and doing portraits would mean that I would have to do exactly that. I didn’t want to do it, I was very opposed to the idea. Then I realized that if I had to keep buying all the expensive gear that was required for photography, I would definitely have to find a way to earn that extra money so I can indulge in my expensive toys. That’s when I started practicing portraiture and very soon I found myself quite comfortable with it.
I had some really great colleagues and friends who helped me with building my portfolio and I soon realized that I could probably turn this into a side business. That’s where I began and the rest, as they say, is history! 🙂
I didn’t think much about what business would entail because I had very little idea. However, I decided that’s it, I’m going to start charging for my work because people told me that I was really good at what I was doing and that I should be asking for a fee.
That’s what starting a business meant to me back then. Little did I know what I was getting myself into. It was a huge challenge because my photography improved but my business skills didn’t.
My business skills sucked!
Starting a business, I definitely didn’t expect to become a very successful businesswoman or a highly acclaimed photographer even though that’s everybody’s dream. When someone picks up the camera they’ll dream of one day becoming an award winning and highly acclaimed photographer.
I wasn’t really thinking that far, I was just mostly living from one shoot to another. Soon I realized that I didn’t really have a lot of time to devote to business because I was working full time and just focusing too much on photography orders. As a result I just wasn’t making any money.
Honestly, up to that point, I really hadn’t thought out my business and had no business plan whatsoever. I was going through the motions of doing one photo session after another and asking for very little money in return. I started getting frustrated realized that if this were to be my second source of income, as a single parent with no financial support, I definitely needed to have that extra money.
Why people start a business
I think some of you might be able to relate to how some of us start a side business. We do it for a few reasons:
The first reason for starting a business might be that you need that extra income, just like I did.
Second could be that you are so sick of your job you really want to do something on the side and then turn that into your primary source of livelihood.
The third reason is that you have a lot of time on hand. Just like me back then, because my son was already a teenager and didn’t need me as much. I had a lot more time on hand and I thought I’d devote it to pursuing my passion.
Fourth reason for starting a business is because you have always loathed the idea of someone else bossing over you. This happens to a lot of people and I know a few myself.
Starting a business without a plan
Most creative people and small businesses get started without a plan, very similar to how I did. There was very little I could do because I didn’t know where to start. Then one day I came across a photography website where I found that they were bringing in really renowned photographers and teaching classes online. I became a member and bought a couple of these online workshops and started honing my photography as well as my business skills.
Each of these photographers would talk about their businesses a little bit and I would start picking up small nuggets. That’s the way most of us start, by listening to other more experienced business owners, unless you have a business degree.
But then again, having a business degree is something when you’re working for someone else. Utilizing that education to start your own business is sometimes still tough. I’m speaking from experience because I do have a couple of clients that have a business degree but they are still struggling with their startup businesses. That leads me to believe that it’s mostly hands on stuff that you do and you learn from. Sometimes having a lot of knowledge can also make us more cautious and it doesn’t really serve us. Of course, I threw caution to the wind because I have always been a risk taker, like I mentioned and I didn’t have a business degree to start with!
No big idea to start with
Very frankly, I didn’t have a big idea when starting a business. I just knew that I had to make some extra money, which meant that I had to find some clients. I had no clue how difficult it could be so I just jumped in the deep end of the pool and then struggled to get to the surface to just breathe.
You can watch the video because I discuss this topic a lot more, but I hope you got an idea of how I started my first business. I’m onto my second business right now and I can talk about that in another video. I do hope that some of what I’m sharing about my experiences resonates with what you are also experiencing.
Sometimes you just end up starting a business because you get this hair brained idea. Then you think that, “Oh well, this is sellable and I can turn it into a business venture.”
Until next time … stay focused on your success!