Episode 1. How I started.... #starterseries
I’ve had two main passions in life. Singing and visual creativity. My visual creativity evolved into using a camera and computer. I love bright colors, overexposure and genuine laughter. That’s how I came up with my tagline Light, Life, & Laughter.
For the next few weeks I’m going to be doing my #starterseries on Periscope... What that means is, I’ll be telling you about my journey from the corporate 9-5 world to becoming my own boss. There will be a lot of honesty and hopefully some great insight for those of you wishing you could ditch your 9-5 or are already in the process.
The reason I decided to do this series is because I want to encourage those of you out there doing the same thing as me and being telling my story from, well, the beginning! I’ve heard so many people say, I get asked all the time how I got my start and it just kind of happened! Well, yes, that’s true in a sense – but there’s a lot more to it than that as well, as I’m sure you already know. In fact I’m learning new things every day!! And I want to share them with you!
So here’s how it all started:
5 years ago I was working at a Real Estate company with a good friend and boss at the time and I was looking at some of the Real Estate headshots people were using. I turned to her and said, "Some of these are just no good, and even worse some of these headshots are over 10 years old! The person doesn’t even look like that any more! These people need new headshots." And then the light came on…
I can help! I can make this better!
I had never been a professional photographer before that moment, I had only dabbled on my own point and shoot camera, but I didn't even have a DSLR yet…
So I turned to my friend and I said, "You know what? I can help with this. I can help people look good in photos and I can be their photographer! Do you think they’d let me?"
and she was like, "Girl! That’s an awesome idea, you would be so great at that!"
So the very next weekend I went out and bought a new DSLR camera, played around with it a little and advertised my services.
I knew nothing about running a photography biz. I just jumped right in. I created crappy invoices, that I would be embarrassed to show you now... :) But don't worry, I lost them awhile back. I partnered up with some friends and family and started taking photos of big life events like maternity, newborn, engagement and even a wedding! I had people who believed in me! But at the time, this was still a part-time gig.
Not to mention my focus was primarily on pursuing my musical career, yes, I was also doing that too. I had recorded an album and was working on a second. But photography kept popping up, and I really loved it too! I even took my own album cover images, the ultimate selfie I'll tell you what... and that of my boyfriend's band as well.
Holy Schnikees Batman!
I had no idea that in that five years I had actually been starting a business… 2 businesses in fact. But even better than that, I had been given the chance to save money. I was technically working 3 jobs: My corporate day job, my music job and my photography job. That opportunity allowed me to save over these past 5 years. And that leads me to my very first tip and one of the most important tips for starting any business or creative venture.
YOU NEED TO SAVE!
You need to build up savings that could sustain you for however many months you feel you need…and I mean months plural. One months savings is not enough. Ideally you’d have enough for a full year of business. If in case you literally make NO money in your first year of business. Which, in most cases, is not the case - but be smart about it and plan ahead.
So how can you plan ahead and save?
I have a few budget tools that you may find very helpful.
First is Dave Ramsey.
- - Go look up Dave Ramsey and listen to him.
Second is Dave Ramsey.
Third is Excel.
- - Yes, I said Excel. and Yes I mean for you to start mapping out your own budget. Take control of your expenses and be realistic. If you’re like me and you still owe thousands to your student loan, factor that in. It sucks, but it’s reality.
Make good habits!
I started to, no matter what, take out a certain amount each month and feed it into my savings. I actually plan to keep this habit up, there’s no reason to stop and it’s extremely helpful.
So, whether or not you’re looking to start your own business, full-time, part-time what-have-you and even if all you want to do is be better at budgeting. This is my first tip for starting a business… SAVE< SAVE< SAVE.
(Save away, save away, save away)
You don’t have to be like me and work part-time at a passion for 5 years before committing to go full-time. But I will say, working part-time and building your business while making some extra money for savings was very helpful to get me where I am today. I am ready to go full time with my OWN company ya'll! I never say ya'll, that felt weird, but it fit.
My last bit of advice is this…if you what you want is more money. EARN IT. One of my best friends in college had 3 jobs every time she went home for the summer. She was telling me about it and I was flabbergasted. I asked her how she did that? I would be SO exhausted! And she looked at me and said, I have high standards for living and nice things that I want. And if that’s what I want, then I have to work for it.
Done and done.
You go girl. You didn’t know it, but that seriously inspired me.