I have been thinking about starting a photography side business for years. I love taking photos and have always had a lot of camera gear that I carry around with me. I began the process to start my own business with continual encouragement from my husband, Tyler. I started googling how to start a small business in Colorado and began to feel a little overwhelmed. Do I really want to do all this? I just wanted to take photos but knew I had to get the legal side of things taken care of first.
The first thing I had to do was pick my business name. This took me a couple of days to do. I didn't know if I wanted to be creative or just stick with my actual name. I obviously did the latter. I didn't want to have a business name that was hard to remember or search for. Then I filed my trade name with the Secretary of State.
Even though I decided to be a Sole Proprietor instead of a LLC, I still applied for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS in order to open a business account. I decided I want to keep all my business transactions separate from my personal account. Then I linked my new business account to this website and Paypal etc.
Then came the frustrating part: trying to figure out the correct tax with-holdings for my business. After coming to many dead ends with google, I went to the professionals at H&R block. They gave my some great advice and sent me on my way to begin booking clients.
I wanted to make sure my prices were competitive with other photographers on the Western Slope, specifically in the Grand Junction area. Since I want to focus on family sessions, I made a spreadsheet of all the photographers I could find here and their prices (if they were posted). I found that all the prices ranged from $135-800 with a wide variety of what is included in that package. Some did not include any digital photos or print releases. I want family photos to be accessible to EVERYONE in the Grand Valley. The tax representative at H&R block told me she hasn't had family photos done in 9 years because it's so hard to find a good, affordable photographer here!
I love all things that have to do with being creative, so I thoroughly enjoyed building a website. I did some research on the best photographer websites and made many accounts with different websites to see which one I liked the best. I decided on Pixieset because it had all of the components I was looking for in one website.
I also needed to have a solid contract ready for clients to sign. I wanted to be very upfront about exactly what the client would get and what the expectations were for me. It took awhile to build one that covered everything but I finally got a contract ready to be printed.
In order to be the best photographer that I can be, I have been reading guides and booking seminars for myself so I can build my skill set. I have big visions for where I want this side business to go but for now, I'm ready to book clients and get my portfolio built!