(Closed) How did you start your own business

posted 8 years ago in Career
Post # 4
Member
3125 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Check out Brazen careerist and Penelope Trunk’s blog..

Post # 5
Member
3098 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

Crebre owns her own business and I think klp does too. There are quite a few… don’t know where they are though… keep bumping!

Post # 6
Bee
12087 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2009 - Barr Mansion

I don’t own my own business, but I can give you some tips that I think might be helpful.

If you want to be a wedding planner, the first thing is to get your feet wet.  You could start with day-of coordination, that way you could do Saturday or Sunday weddings without quitting your job.  You could advertise on Craigslist to start with.  Offer your services for very cheap/free at first until you build up a portfolio.  Make sure to coordinate with photographers at weddings so that you can use some of their photos to showcase the weddings you coordinated.  From there, you will be able to guage the level of interest in your services and start upping your price.

I hope that helps at least a little bit!

Post # 8
Member
1675 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@Miss Chapstick I am in almost the exact same place as you! I too am eager to hear responses from ladies in the hive who have made it work.

Post # 9
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Ooh oh, I’ll play.  But it’s gonna take a while to formulate… give me a bit πŸ˜‰

Post # 11
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

The scene – 6 months out of school, working for “The Weather Channel,” selling advertising for a new but failing venture of something I could care less about.  (getting TWC stuff was the only highlight πŸ™‚

I had been doing photography for a few years.  Granted, looking back, the things I learned I had been doing wrong, OMG!  Seriously, for a while I thought my pics were grainy because I had dropped my D70s… No, it was set to ISO 1600. I knew my time with TWC was limited, and afterall, I only took that job because I had to get away from a toxic healthcare company where I was always worried for my patients and ethical issues.

While my time with TWC dwindled down, I started to invest in computers and software and camera equipment.  I started to scour the internet learning techniques and lived with a camera in my hand.  I researched my local market and was doing more than “journalism.” I started to work for an architect taking images of their designs.  I worked for a university doing head shots and event photography. Then, I took on my first wedding, and it was about 1 week after leaving TWC. I kept running.  Grabbing last min. weddings while marketing for my future.  I came out swinging and offering a product I was proud of and knew could rival others in the area.  My first wedding was $500. 2nd was $1100.  3rd was $1500 and up.  Nothing against them, but I didn’t want to be known as a CL photographer.  There were like 30 of them and no offense, some are still there and still charging $500… years later.

My first full year of business my “profit” (gross minus expenses, etc) before taxes was the same I was making at TWC. 

For me, I spent my senior year of college as president of our Students in Free Enterprise team.  we initiated a project with our towns Mayor to build small business in our community and that was my life.  I figured, why not do it for myself. 

When I decided to go into business, I had a product I knew myself and others could trust and believe in. I KNEW how to take a picture.  It sounds stupid, but most (not all) CL photogs are still learning technical aspects.  While I’ve improved (and must at all times while in business) I’m still proud to show images from 3 years ago. So, I took my product and came out swinging!  I spent all night working on building a website, all day at work day dreaming of freedom and brides, and the evening on google, flickr, and anything else I could get my hands on.  It wasn’t “easy.” still isn’t, but it’s so much better!

I truly think a big part is believing in yourself and being a smart business person.  Position yourself well and you’ll get the business.  I’m not sure WHY ON EARTH people seem to think CL is the only way to start a business. Seriously, CL is great for a lot of things.  Building a business is NOT one of them.  I’m all for using it for getting experience… but as a foundation on which to build your business, No. Be smart, work / market hard, fight for it.

About a year before I had dreams of wedding photography, I stumbled on a local wedding photographers site.  I was blown away.  I saw something on his blog that showed the “straight out of camera” image next to the “edited” image. I realized the only thing holding me back was my lack of post processing knowledge.  Here he was, making $5000+ a wedding!  So I solved that and entered the market.  He came to my first bridal show, my booth was PACKED, and I heard him in the background oohing and ahing and going “woah, where did she come from?”

That’s what I wanted. I wanted people to think I had always been, that I just moved into town, that I was some hot shot not a newbie… 

And that’s how I started on 1 CL wedding. πŸ™‚

Post # 13
Member
10218 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

sorry i’m late:D for me it was my life long fantasy to open a business doing what i do.  but i always doubted myself or said that it wasn’t very “practical”. instead i went to college, and worked in a different field for years!  my friends all told me, you need to do x, and i still wasn’t ready. 

fast forward to jan 2nd last year. i was 28 and a half to the day and decided that maybe i could make a living doing what i loved.  at the time i was working with a business partner and the business partner was a very good ying to my yang.  well, a few months later it was suggested to me that i submit my resignation at the bs company that i worked for and i happily obliged. at the same time my partner decided she didn’t want to continue with my company.  talk about baptism by fire! 

since then i have never been so broke, nor happy in my life.  i work long hours on my computer researching different marketing tactics and seeing what’s hot and new to stay abreast of changing trends in my industry.  however, i never really feel like i’m working because it’s what i love and honestly what i have always done. i have ALWAYS been obsessed with this industry.  my clients are all awesome and love my passion about the business and some are business owners and have given me pointers on licensure, what type of entity to set my business up with, etc.

as far as profits go hmmmmm… i haven’t done my taxes yet, but i think i may have broken even? this year will be a great profit. i only asked a 1/3 deposit down from my clients and most people are leary booking a newer person who does design etc.  as such i gave a way 5 free DOC packages (and advertised here in the classifieds section). i also found EVERY show in the area that i could. i quickly discovered that my way of thinking and viewing things is a lot different than most of the professionals in my area. so a lot of very modern people flocked to me and enjoy things that i offer. every time i see a need or niche for something, i see if my company can provide it AND i add it to my product line.  so far it has worked really well and i’m the only company in the area that offers certain products and offers them at a price cheaper than you could find on the internet. 

looking back i would have done it all again.  perhaps i would have focused more on my personal credit and built it up more so that i could get lines of credit for my business on things, but that’s about it.  going forward this year is amazing. i have approximately 15 events booked and that’s amazing and surprising and i am truly excited that people love what i bring to them.

the first thing i would say to you is decide what type of company you want to be, what are you looking for? then google that in your area and see if your market is supersaturated with that particular type of company.  if it is, see what you can do to make yourself standout or what you can offer to make yourself different.  we are in a recession right now and I currently market a design package based on the need for a less expensive option.  it’s helpful that i am currently going through the same thing that my clients are. i am getting married, i’m on a tight budget and hell it’s a recession so everyone is on a budget and i wanted to cater to myself.  what i have learned is if you do things that you like, no matter what you’ll succeed. every one of the designs i have created for my clients i like or love or would have at my own event and that’s what sets me a part i think. i’m not saving my best designs for that high budget client, i’m using it for the mid range client. i of course pray i would have someone spending 40 or 50k (omg the things i could show them) lol but good things come in good time.

Post # 14
Member
3098 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

I knew they’d show up! πŸ™‚

Post # 15
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

lol, Ya, we’re the token business owners / wedding vendors / brides here πŸ˜‰

Post # 16
Member
62 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

KLP – what does the CL stand for?  Thanks for sharing your tips though – definitely some great information!

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