January always brings out a lot of emotions and thought provoking ideas for me. I love looking ahead and building a plan both for business and for me personally! I sat down with one of my new Photography assistants this week and talked through our "partnership" over the next 2-3 years and it was so exciting for me...It takes so little to make me happy! I've been spending quite a bit of time working on my 5 year business plan. It's so much work but, so rewarding. When you work for yourself you have to set your own goals and even provide incentives to help you along the way. For example: I want 15 weddings for 2008 (no more and no less - more then 15 means I'll be away from my growing family too much and less then 15 means I won't reach the financial goals I've set for the business) as I reach 5, 10 or 15 there's equipment I get to purchase...AND we all know shopping is a great reward! (Note: I buy most my equipment through B & H Photo or at the WPPI Convention in Las Vegas)
I usually breakdown the year into segments to help me achieve the goals. For example: I'd like to book 10 of the 15 weddings before I leave for Vegas in the middle of March (6 weeks away)...and I'm well on my way to that goal. :) Then, I'd like to book the remaining weddings before the birth of our second baby 6 weeks after that. Then I'm taking a full two months "off"cause I'll still be shooting portraits and engagements. The last 6 months of the year is dedicated to "my brides" and continuing to mentor my assistants! Everything wraps up in November and then I start the planning process all over again.
My goals for this year:
-Stay on top of Quickbooks through out the year so it's not such a beast to sort out every quarter.
-Shoot when I don't have to and when I'm not being paid...just because I love photography.
-Stop worrying because it always works out (and worrying doesn't help anything!) Know matter how long you've been doing your job, when you own your business, there's a weight of responsibility that can get really heavy. Finding ways to keep it light is the key.
I hope this is helpful to those of you reading trying to make a go of photography or other small businesses!!