Getting Business Legal

On the side of my own life, I’ve recently been “mentoring” another photographer who I happened to be in the military with, which now… seems like ages ago!

eilseFDRrendezvous
The unit we served in together, used this FDR quote, well, part of it, as their motto. A “Rendezvous With Destiny” we certainly had! (This is part of the FDR Memorial in Washington D.C.; photo courtesy of my husband, who tries so incredibly hard to be the photographer husband!! Bless his heart and shakey hands!)

He’s been diving into the photography art and discovering how it works and all the glorious things that come with it. One thing I wish I’d have done better as a young artist would be that I’d have gotten completely business legal, much quicker. There’s something about it that gives you the ultimate confidence to stand behind, ahem, your business. Yep, your business! Not “hobby”.

I know that when I wanted to start a business, it seemed daunting and terribly difficult. If you’re looking to start a business (of any kind, really) yourself, I’m here today to lend starting points for you so you’re not lost! Hooray, small business owners!

Here we go:

  • Choose / select / be good at a specialty or niche AND build a portfolio
  • Develop a business plan
    • business formation type
    • policies — look at some legal contracts to start some ideas
    • how to process a client from start to finish including basic timeline and product delivery
  • Choose a business name
  • Reserve your business name within your state
  • Apply for an EIN on the IRS website
    • THIS IS FREE!! Do not pay a third party to do this for you. It is easy, quick, and PAINLESS.
  • Submit for business license in your state
  • Apply for Sales Tax License / Permit, doable on your state’s website
  • Open a business bank account; you will need your EIN for this
    • Shop around for the best perks of accounts at different banks
  • Set up a professional email account
  • Set up an accounting worksheet or purchase “The Easy Client & Money Manager” from The Modern Tog. (Not an affiliate link, she’s just really that great!)
  • Develop a list of session types / packages / price list. Make sure to do your Cost of Doing Business (CODB) BEFORE just throwing down some numbers.
    • Find business(es) to print your product with, and open a pro account with them.
  • Develop a photography contract. My recommendation is to use a professional one reviewed by a lawyer.
  • Put your business out on social media
  • Market your business
    • Offer Portfolio Building (PB) prices for a short term or selected number of sessions. Let these clients see your full value, but that they are also receiving a discounted price for letting you portfolio build with them / their images.
      • PB will do two things: 1.) Let you PB ANNNND get paid AND use those images for marketing material, and 2.) That full price you put out there and show to the world anchors a price at the beginning, versus putting out a price and then having to quickly RAISE it while people are still anchored to the *cheaper* price. You’ll quickly see how people will value you / your work… MORE.

Of course, please do also look into what your state requires of you to have a business; your state could require more or less. This, to me, is a sound starting point, however, I’m no lawyer by any means. This is a great starting point to lay down a solid, forward path in getting business legal. If I had been wise enough in my early years and confident enough to chase my dream full-force, I’d have done these things. But, everyone has doubts at times, it’s just a matter of being confident and positive and researching what it takes.

Well, I really hope that I’ve been able to help someone out! Till next time, friends!

E L I S E

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