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Monday, March 16, 2009

ON THE BUSINESS SIDE - Tax Consultants, Lawyers, Oh My!!

Making sure the business side of my photography endeavour is set up properly is as important as continually improving my skills as a photographer. It doesn't matter if I'm the best photographer around if I'm not managing my affairs appropriately, have no idea what my costs are, don't target my marketing and advertising efforts in the right direction, have poor contracts, etc. etc. The list is pretty long.

The way I see it, overall, I should be spending about half of my time on 'being a photographer' and the other half 'being a business person'. I think that in the first year or two, it's probably even more emphasis on the business side. Of course, I'd love to just spend all of my time 'being a photographer'. That would work out alright if I had people 'on staff' to take care of the business side of things. But, unfortunately, I can't afford 'on staff' people for that. So it's up to me to sort it out.

Since part of 2007 and all of 2008 was spent slowly laying the foundation for formalizing my business, it's important that I spend time with a tax expert. Figure out the right way to keep track of things now so that I don't have to worry so much about it later.

Not only do I have tax items that need to be looked after, I also have things like contracts and model releases that need review, to ensure consistency and appropriateness for my intended use. The phrase that's always in the back of my mind is 'you don't know what you don't know'. That's why there are people who specialize in just these areas. You most likely wouldn't hire your plumber to be your wedding photographer and you probably wouldn't hire your photographer to fix your plumbing.

One of my goals is to establish a long term relationship with professionals such as a tax expert and a lawyer. This way there is someone I can go to who does know.

Not being able to dedicate my full attention to this means that it is a long, slow, frustrating process. But regardless how painful it is, it is absolutely necessary. So now I spend hours organizing my documentation in preparation for meeting with the experts.

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