Why Your New Photography Business Needs Professional Help

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The sad truth is that a lot of advice is generic, inconsistent, and incomplete. It might help you get started on your journey. It might even help you avoid or get out of a bit of trouble now and then. But when it comes to getting you where you want to go, everyone is clueless.

Most would agree that doctors, lawyers, and rocket scientists are well educated professionals. Chances are, though, that none of them would perform surgery on themselves. The lawyer probably wouldn’t represent himself in a murder trial and even the rocket scientist takes his car to a mechanic.

Even professionals need professionals.

Your photography business is all about meeting people. Some of the first people you should meet aren’t clients. They are the professionals who help get your foundation in place. I like to call this team of pros your Five to Find.

Your Five to Find

You need to find these five professionals for your business team:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or other tax professional
  • Attorney
  • Insurance broker or agent
  • Banker or financial advisor
  • Coach or mentor

Each of these provide valuable and necessary services and expertise. Most will provide a free or low cost initial consultation. Even if those in your area do not, no startup budget should ignore the expense of these services. Whatever you pay in the beginning will save you much more along the way.

You get what you pay for

Yes, there is a tremendous amount of free advice available on the Internet. There are countless online communities where photographers learn from one another. You can even access those pros that you need.

The sad truth is that a lot of that advice is generic, inconsistent, and incomplete. It might help you get started on your journey. It might even help you avoid or get out of a bit of trouble now and then. But when it comes to getting you where you want to go, everyone is clueless.

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That’s because you are unique. Your life is unique. Your business will be unique. All those unique things about you and your life will see to it.

Cookie cutter versus custom

Have you ever looked at a modern housing development? With slight variations, these are cookie cutter houses built by developers that offer limited and set floor plans. These are the houses they build. They know down to the penny how many screws and nails go into each house because they are all alike.

Let’s say you select one of these plans in a new housing development. You’re very happy with your new house, but every once in a while you remember that the main difference between your house and every other house on the block is the brick or the paint colors.

What if you don’t really care for any of those floor plans? What if your family needs more bedrooms, or a bigger yard? What if a third bedroom isn’t important but you’d rather have a massive gourmet kitchen instead?

You want and need a custom house. A house built for your family, lifestyle, and goals in life. It needs to work around your lifestyle and values.

Think of your business as a house

Effective professional advisors will ask questions. They will learn about you. Where are you now? Where do you hope to go? What resources do you have? Where is your money coming from and going?

If you are married, that big picture has broadened. How will a business affect your financial and legal situation? Do you have a retirement plan and what happens to your family or business if something happens to you or your spouse? So many questions!

You’ll have questions, too. How does a change in one area of my life affect my business, and vice versa? Is it better to be a sole proprietor, or do I need to protect my family’s assets with a different business structure? Do I have enough insurance to keep my lifestyle and business going if something happens to me or my spouse? And what happens to my business if something happens to me?

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These are personal and private situations. I have yet to meet anyone comfortable sharing their deepest financial details with the entire World Wide Web. I hope that person doesn’t exist! Without that big pictures, however, no one will be able to help you build the custom business of your dreams. You will be limited to the same cookie cutter business on every corner of your neighborhood.

In a sea of sameness, you need all the advantages you can get

A firm foundation in a house built specifically for you has a real affect on your lifestyle. There’s no question about the value. You avoid the frustrations of things that fall short of what you really want or need.

Just imagine what that would be like for your business. With a solid plan built around your strengths, concerns, values, and needs, instead of “most businesses”. How would this affect your decision making? Would it give you added confidence to be bold? Would you sleep better at night knowing your plan isn’t just guesswork?

Find your professional team. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Build something wonderful with their help.

Or maybe you’d rather do your own surgery.