Deciding to commit to being a professional photographer is the same as deciding to start a small business in this media age. There are several factors to consider, but one of your top priorities will be business finance.
What is Photography Business Finance?
In the business world, the term finance applies to the money one needs to create the situation that will then produce revenue. Terms like “seed money” and “venture capital” have basically the same meaning to a new entrepreneur photographer: money to start with. Before you spend or ask for one cent, it is important to write a business plan.
Business Plans for Photographers
A business plan is exactly what it sounds like; it is a document that covers all aspects of a business owner’s intentions and needs. Investors will want to see the business plan, which is what makes this document exceptionally important to business finance. There is not one specific form that is used to draft a business plan, but the internet is full of many templates that may help you to walk step-by-step through the process.
For a photographer, equipment and studio location are usually the primary expenses and subjects addressed in the business plan. Since this is a service oriented business, your skill as a photographer is also something that can be listed but it needs to be quantifiable. Focusing on the projected cost of equipment and the studio needed to launch your photography business will be an important point to lead with. Be cautious though when determining your needed equipment because this is not a wish list. Think reasonably and sensibly so that each of your stated equipment needs can be justified to potential investors.
Where to Look for Money
Once your business plan is complete, you can begin looking for capital funds or investors. Unless you are planning to revolutionize the photography world in a big way, you probably will not be looking toward angel investors or investment capitalists because they want bigger returns than an individual photographer is capable of offering. The other end of the spectrum is small business loans, which will require collateral and good credit. If you are a recent college graduate, you may not have the opportunity to take advantage of any of these first options.
This is where it pays to be creative. A popular form of financing right now is crowdfunding. This is when you ask a large group of people to invest a relatively small amount of money via a crowdsourcing website like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. There are many of these websites with various requirements and limitations, so you will need to do your homework before launching into a campaign.
Another possibility for financing your initial venture is by obtaining an American Express small business credit card. While this option can grow your business credit, it will require some formality to begin. You can always look for easier options like grants, borrowing money from friends and family, or simply saving up your own funds from an alternative income source.
Most Important Part of Financing
Many businesses fail because they are underfunded in the beginning, which means they simply lacked the power to service customers or draw attention in the market. Wait till the time is right, and then enter the market on solid financial standing.
Jay likes to combine his passion for photography with his financial wizardry. In his spare time, he reads financial journals, and tries to get away on the weekend to take a few snaps with his DSLR.