Monday, February 21, 2005

Getting a business rolling...

I've been thinking lately about what my goals are for my photography. The number one goal for me over the past 10 months or so has been to gather up a nice collection of photographs and to eventually start selling prints at art fairs as well as online. I know it's not usually the way to get rich in photography, but it means the most to me. I'm not particularly interested (at least at this point in time) in doing paid assignments (weddings, corporate shoots, journalism). I don't intend for this to become another job where I work for someone else taking the shots they want. Selling prints allows me to do photography on my terms....I take the shots I want, produce the prints I'm proud of, and don't worry if someone's not thrilled with my work (they just don't have to buy it).

So now it's about time I start transitioning into the next phase of the process...thinking more about business aspects. I've been putting together a list of things I need to do and think about. Today I mailed off the paperwork for my sales tax license. I consider that my first official step. Hopefully that will jump start my drive and motivation to get things done. At least the simple act of finally dropping it in the mailbox has gotten me a bit fired up about everything. The next thing I'd like to do is work on a business plan. I tend to wander aimlessly if I don't lay out a clear direction for what I need to accomplish. That's just my personality. I probably could have done more by now if I had done that 6 months ago, so the last thing I want to do is put it off. So I've been doing some initial research into writing business plans and coming up with a few ideas, but I'm still early in the process. However, I know myself...if I don't put my mind to it, I'll drag the process out and still be working on it in a month. So here is my goal: Tuesday I do some reading. Wednesday I do a rough outline, and then I work on doing some more research and refining it over the next several days. One week from today (Monday, February 28) I want, I will have my initial version complete. So that's goal #1.

The next thing I need to do is get to work on gathering up my best prints, post processing, then printing and matting them, and even framing a few. I've been told to sell matted prints rather than framed prints, but having a few framed ones on hand is probably a good idea to show off their real potential. I've been picking up some supplies over the last couple months. I have a few frames ready, several mats, and some backing board. I'll need to pick up more of those, plus some plastic baggies that the prints go into. After that I need to work out a web site and some business cards. I should also put together a little portfolio of photos...a book I can take with me showing off a bunch more of my photos, even if I don't have them all available and matted (would allow me to take custom orders).

And of course, through all of that, I need to continue to take more photos. I still haven't been taking as many as I should, though I do have a backlog of photos I need to process, print out, and upload. I've been getting excited to go do some more shooting. I've been reading "Learning to See Creatively" by Bryan Peterson. It's a really good book. I'm about halfway through it and it's been giving me some ideas. I should finish it up in the next week or so (I'm not that fast of a reader, plus my priority should be more towards my business plan). As soon as I get the book finished, I'll post a review here.

I'll finish up here with one last thing. A week ago I started putting together this little list of things to do on a post-it sized sheet of paper. For the last thing on my list, I tried something different. I've always read/been told to write myself little inspirational/motivational messages. It's always seemed to me to be a rather hokey idea, but I finally figured "what the heck" so I added one last item onto the list. It seems to be working. I look at that list every day, and it really makes me want to get things done. I've written lists before and then never follow through, but I think I realize this time that if I ignore my little message I'll be letting myself down. This time I'm really starting to get things done. So what was my message?


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