Financing the Business
So a lot of times, people ask, well, how did you get started? Where did you get the funds? We kind of talked about the beginning, we kind of talked about where we had we had a little bit saved, but I didn't want to touch it, and we'll talk a little bit about what the decision that we need to get there. So initial investment so our initial investment was roughly in the ballpark of three thousand dollars and what the three thousand dollars now this was nothing but initial investment in december, it was the initial investment post february of two thousand six when j d had said let's move forward for you, because at the time he was never anticipating to be a second shooter. Um oh, don't do that again, ok, sorry, ok, so an initial message always three thousand dollars. What did the three thousand dollars what was composed of three thousand dollars around twelve hundred dollars, for cannon twenty the very first lens that he bought me was in fit in february or march of two thousand six, and t...
hat was the twenty four to seventy two point eight and that's, roughly fourteen hundred dollars and ah, couple months after that, I decided to have really cool business cards made, and that cost me five hundred dollars. So you're a startup costs might be a little bit less if you don't if you don't opts to get those types of business cards, but mine was around three thousand dollars and that's what we started with now that's what it stayed at for a while because jd has what I call any hates I always bring this up, but I felt like I had like a lightbulb moment I called the raise in rent the the name brand raising theory were in the grocery store and like I said, we're going from paycheck to paycheck we're ok, we're not starving, but we'll have to make it very financial conscious decisions and he opts for the del monte reasons and I'm like, dude, get the generic reasons he's like no, no, you have to get the money like you can't compromise and that theory is a applied to so many aspects of our business because when we started investing, I thought, should I get a generic lens? Should I get the cheaper flash so they get like the four thirty or the five fifteen? Whatever those cases, maybe and he's just like no name brand raising theory that's what I believe now, how can you mess the both of them if you don't have money and that is what I believe is you should rent toe own so as it were when greg started paying me to second shoot, once I became a paid second shooter, I then had the I don't know, right? Permission so request being paid for other weddings, and I used greg's payment as, like some sort of, like a template for what other people should be paying me remember I had been a second shooting up until this point, all that money was never like, okay, I'm gonna buy myself a pair of shoes. It was okay, I'm going to save it up for me next lens. So by the time I actually started my first wedding, I had saved up enough in addition, so jd and I need a first investment of three thousand, and then I had saved up the money that I got from second shooting, and I bought my first seventy two hundred two point eight I s and I also bought the sixteen to thirty five two point eight. So what did that give me? Give me very wide and give me very tight and that's what I was shooting with that's. What I shot with for a long time on the twenty four to seventy also has they call it like macro abilities that's debatable, but I shot it actually rings with that, you know, that's what I was starting with now, when we moved into our first wedding, we had to get more gear and I felt like it was imperative for us to both have, like the same set up and that's why I feel like it's definitely good to rent to own. So what was happening? And I'll get into this in a minute, but on our first wedding, we booked it for fifteen hundred dollars. Now I used that money to rent j d a can and twenty I rented him a seventy, two hundred twenty four to seventy twenty four I mean, the sixty to thirty five I rented him everything that I had and then I didn't have a flash of the time. And so we walked into rent myself flash and jamie was like, all like diamond jim and he's like get her a flash and I was like, what are you talking about? Like I was like, no, I don't like this, you know, I think it's like four thirty you said that the four thirties of anyway and was giving for thirty and then james like no get her the five. Fifty I was like, what are you talking about? Like, wear we getting this money and of course, like he's like no, this is your first wedding revel revel in the flash and I was like I got in there I was and it goes back to the name brand theory and do I believe it that paying the extra hundred fifty dollars for that flash made a difference absolutely I'll talk about that more in a minute but this is why we're doing it so we rented the following day after the wedding jd took all the gear back minus my new flash and that's what we did we rented to own anything that was made in profit from that wedding went towards one saving for our future gear and two if we had to rent for another wedding or a shoot that he needed a specific piece of glass for that's what I did um when did I apply for a business license in a tax I d I when I started second shooting I thought oh my gosh I started picking up gigs here and there and I thought ok, maybe I can do this on my own but I wanted to start getting like discounts I wanted to get information on album companies and they usually ask for like some sort of like business license tax idea or something to indicate that I was wasn't a client and so in june of two thousand six I applied for a business license and a tax I d now because I didn't know any better I filed as a sole proprietor and this is where one's like why did you do that and here's the thing I didn't because I didn't know any better, and it was probably a dumb decision. However, I ended up working with an amazing accountant, and he said, um, because when given, the option was like, I need to go to an llc in order for me to file for an l l, c in the state of california, it's eight hundred and fifty dollars, eight hundred dollars a year before two hundred and fifty thousand dollars gross. If I made more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars gross, I had to pay another nine hundred dollars. I didn't have the eight hundred and fifty dollars, to apply for the l see what he did recommend was to up my personal, my personal liability insurance, because I can add that to my insurance and pay just a monthly fee. I could probably do thirty five or forty dollars at the time, thirty five dollars a month to cover me for for anything god forbid, that should happen. Thankfully, nothing has happened, but I'm glad that I did that, and I still have since have up to my personal liability because I am now charging more and, you know, we're no longer in apartment things like that, um also, um yes, okay, how does tax work? Ah, so proprietor, I didn't do my self pride okay, so yes, I am still a sole proprietor I'm not a jealousy however, if I decide to come up with a product if I want to sell something in future, I would think that I would probably become incorporated these air for tax reasons I firmly believe in playing to people strange taxes and formalities are not mind, so I hire somebody to help me with that and they started like that from the beginning, but I'll talk to you about that in a minute paying taxes this is what I wish I would have known my first year I don't know what that I was thinking I don't know I just thought that I was exempted from tax or something and so I have to pay tax and I didn't know my first year I had to pay taxes on my services for my clients because I didn't, um charge my clients for it. Now the way that it works in california is if a client gets anything at all from you a disc, a single print, anything whatsoever you are responsible and liable to pay tax on the entire collection in and of itself I regardless of what the client says will always charge tax because the client will get anything an album, a disc ah print in california it's eight point seven five tax that is due in for me, in addition to the client's collection they pay tax on her wedding dress they pay tax on the food they pay tax on the drinks that would be texting there will be paying tax on my services as well because both the federal and state government require it from me and I'm not gonna pay for my money so cover for those clients taxes if however you decide to incorporate in your collection and state taxes included that's fine just know what you're getting into innit of advance the first year we did yearly taxes and then the third year god I went we done here the so I wish we would have been quarterly because we were like yeah, great great year and all the sin taxes come around and I was like breathing into a brown paper bag I was like, how much? You know, it wasn't like we worked for fifty percent of what we only what the heck you know and so when you paid quarterly it's entirely to regain its like yes, you know what you know socks paying that but it's not as much as this big lump sum a lump sum amount that kind of throws you for a loop that's kind of a technicality of what I've learned those questions might come forward if I don't know the answer I will not injure them that again is like my law school training you know don't hold me liable for your things I will only answer what I know and what I have put out is definitely what I know when I feel confident sharing um where this is going to be moving into the how and why posing and shooting in a business contacts we have a few minutes for questions about that section if there any right now chat room way do questions tonight how should we work? This should give you like a sign or something that I'm gonna come to an end or like I don't know it's just that there's so many questions that are not relevant tio exactly what you okay? You know what? You guys are so good at weaving this out we're way um questions about jd oh yeah way since that was in this section uh huh says joe louis photo wanted to know how much photography jd had uh how much experience he had before he worked and started to work with you and did he learn in the same fashion that yes and yes so he had yes, he learned in the same fashion as I did no he did not have any experience what I spoke was literally how it went down we were, you know, talking about things between ourselves over lunch, dinner in the bedroom, on rides, whatever the case may be and um I feel like his learning curve was a lot sharper than mine because I don't have his nice of the heart is greg does you know, like that over exposure conversation that greg was like? Oh, you know, I was like, what happened here? We did have a conversation on, so basically how it works, even still to this day and oh, my god, the internet is going to hate me. I know this so after wedding, all go through my images as the first shooter and all coal, which means I picked the ones that I want, and I put away the ones that I don't want. Then I look through j d's cards because jamie, from my perspective and is the second shooter he's like ground to tile, he feels in the gaps. So when I look at his cards, I'm looking at things and how to get better. He sits next to me, but go over exposure still to this day, opposing exposure, focus all of those things, and they give him a grade on the last time I spoke about this uncreative life, people are like, oh, jin hee, did you get to be getting a's? Now I'm just like, oh my god and I'm a fair greater if he gets a b plus he got a b plus like get over it and you want me to look at your images that will be a b plus to let you know I know, but so that's what we do now and I know he didn't have any experience he learned on the fly and after the wedding I'll be like, this is what you need to do this is what you do this we need to change and every single wedding he slowly got better, which goes back to his notion of being patient, which is the advice of working in this house? Yes, yeah, actually a question from a friend of mine on twitter terry photo it's related tio oration I mean that's a lot of up from cost there's gotta be a lot of motivation and inspiration that comes along with it. You've mentioned god a few times on your block and your relationship and your faith is that, you know, what's permanent driving you are there a lot in pieces? I don't think there's ever like one thing, god is like a huge piece of it, like the back story of people who are familiar with the block is yes, I love me some god, my daddy is a pastor, so you know, clearly that runs deep in my blood because of it but at the same time I've talked about it before a group very poor and so when you're dealing with these types of numbers, you know, buying flash like five or six hundred dollars on heard of in my entire life like, you know, we got thanksgiving dropped off on our porch and I only ever shopped at their stores so that amount of money I couldn't even wrap my mind around it so when you talk about hustling out shooting it's because you know, I have to make this work like somebody believes in me and this is a lot of money and so you know that belief the, um the hunger god, your family and just that desperation to not go back to where I was so unhappy like my option was you make this work or you go back to law school not a bad option like, you know I mean, I get it but I was so unhappy it's like choose to be happy and hustle or go back to the easy route I know where you're going to be in fifteen years and that was it. So yes, we have around ten minutes for questions, so if you guys I'm gonna take ashley's and then if you guys and get a couple that great okay um how did you decide to use show it are they came to you right? They shoot maybe or and did you get someone to do that obviously like how I'm gonna talk about that tomorrow okay and detail in detail because I would tell you that people ask for like game changers people ask for tipping points that right there boom sauce like rocked my world I'll tell you exactly how it went down I'll tell you everything I feel like I had become a distinct evangelist because I see it work distinctively want talk about branding and marketing we're going to go there and we'll talk exactly about how I use that tool for it so I'll talk it up but I'm a user you know it's like that hair commercial now only my president used to yeah I'm not the president god, I wish I wass is there uh a question from me meatwad three sixty five how does someone on a peanut butter budget connecting attract a whole foods budget client so I was shooting the pb and j bride and making her look like she was whole foods like, you know, like I did not and we're gonna talk about that in a minute in a few minutes actually but yes, everybody struggles with that everybody who gets in the game is like I want to shoot a high end ride well guess what, you don't get the third base by not running to first so you know, get with it don't get it twisted my belief has always been and will always been take what you have and make it work don't try to fake the funk because people will see right through it the people who have money smell the money if you ain't got the money like don't even try to fund like think funk funk like yeah I don't think the box so yeah like the whole food rides home food yes, yes I had a brain fart I had a brain fart whoa! The whole full rides uh, bride and rides came but at a much different point I was not shooting a wilful bride until you're three you know? And yet even then there are times when I'm not shooting the whole food right now but I make it look like it is and we all have the same capability I won't talk about that in a minute. Questions from a few people and start bites on twitter about insurance are you gonna talk about that? Oh that's a great question now that could yes, I got insurance probably the minute I got my three lenses. So the seventy two hundred eyes two point eight twenty four to seventy two point eight and the sixteen to thirty five two point eight in my twenty deed the minute I had that I was like I have to get insurance so a lot of people aren't big on it I'm just like listen you pay a premium according to what you have I didn't have that I didn't have very much but I did know that like it should be a business cost from the outset because you carry your business on your back now it is even that much more I pay a lot more for insurance because not only do jd and I have you know, nice cameras we also have back up here we have two sets of everything so this is a nice little like shut out to be an age like hook a sister up but no I mean um we somebody snags our bag and they're literally probably walking out with twenty five thousand dollars worth of gear it's silly not to spend that amount you know, to spend a month a yearly amount and we paid by annually I think actually I used hill and usher they're kind of like the biggest yeah candice using two they were again hill and usher was recommended to me on an online photo form and I just went from people's recommendation and they are specific to photographers so they already know like itemizes itemized list that we're talking about you the scent of photographers it was very easy I just had to go and type in all the serial number of numbers and then they give me a figure to cover the that those amounts on my policy and I'm just wow having great ballpark would be for that said so okay, so in orange county minimum like you have to have coverage up to a million dollars so for me to shoot in orange county that's what was required so I got a million dollar policy right? And then how much would that be like bye annually or annual baby how much depends like you know is it what is it now? Because remember our dear start off when you have a twenty on like three lenses hey, what we pay now half yearly yeah three fifty no no no no and at the time to even asked if they would have like monthly payments and the the brokers are really, really nice and the kind of work with you according to you like your budget and sometimes people can't cover all of it because I get it now you know, you might not have fifty dollars a month for coverage I get it, but covering what you can cover is always better than not covering anything at all five hundred a year okay. And it's like they I just have to have it that five hundred paid off the years so it's like I just throw whatever I have if I make more of that month, I just throw more to the insurance until it's that's perfect that's actually good here because you're probably working women like of the average that we have two sets of gear and I also take a laptop to a wedding so I have the laptop covered too which is raising our premium but yeah seven hundred dollars, five hundred dollars and even when I was just starting was probably less than five hundred so definitely is that from dollar zero deductible or is it like if you get lost they just give you from my understanding the people that I have that have had their bags stolen through helen usher you have to file everything but they pay you back for what it is and then your premium goes up but understandably but there are options like you can set it up with a higher deductible say someone is great so you're doing like a trash that dress in the ocean pups drop my five day march to eighty five I totally have no idea way do like you know way have our bags and we hide them underneath the deejay so we always make friends in the d j like he's our friend in the reception right see walking can I get you a drink? How do you do in we stash her bag understand? Because the deejay is usually always by his gear um but god forbid you know something just perhaps that bag is just too much I have a question from rage aromatics one twitter, um, she's at work watching him. Okay, um and she'd like to know if you have renter's insurance or if you have covered that homeowners insurance for my house, like, in case I got well, like I know it's for you have insurance for on shoots. But what if you get it broken into? Is that cover helena sherwood, cover that because it's stolen anyway. But, yes, I have homeowners. We have insurance for that to rhyme like all about insurance. Let me tell you, e number. Yeah. And gary boyd and twitter also want to know if you could mention the photographer specific insurance again. The name of phil and usher killin usher. Yeah, like omg. You know, because you guys got that you know that, christine? Because she had the three moon t shirt or the three wolves. Well, I am dyslexic, too. Yeah. Any girl that could draw like a wolf on her t shirt like you, you win literally was like, okay, I think I have one more question. Well, this is a relevant question, but attacks question. And that is how do you go about what sales tax do charge when the client is in a different country? Or okay, so it was explained to me because I also have a bookkeeper, so I have a bookkeeper and I haven't accounted again. I'm talking about things I don't do anything I don't want to do because they don't take me away from one getting better to running a business and three just being happy, like I don't want to go through like my financial statements and quickbooks it o lord, have mercy so the way that it was explained to me and again, I could be wrong. But if you shoot in another state and you're and what you collect doesn't supersede the minimum amount for you to file taxes in that state, you don't have to apply taxes to death. So for instance, if I was shooting in texas and the minimum requirement to file taxes in texas is six thousand dollars and I shot a wedding there for four thousand dollars it's not worth the state's time to get the tax on the four thousand dollars is, however, I lived in d c and I was shooting a lot in vermont and a lot in new york and a lot in connecticut, and I'm shooting quite often in those like little tri state tri state three seats in that area, then it's up to you to find out. If you want supersede the minimum to file taxes in that state and then have to file taxes within that state I usually depending on the client I'm not shooting in the state enough to file taxes and if that's the case it's not worth the state to follow up with me in regard to the texas um it's where the client lives that where the taxes should be filed so that's like a good thing so five clients coming in from out of state and nothing is delivered to them within the state then it's according to their state that's what was explained to me but again now the internet's gonna be late I'm sure there's some account no no no I don't know any better you know that yeah great! I know I know about the country the country yes I am better the country and no, I don't think that I would file tax it unless unless, for instance, if you're in seattle and you shoot in canada a lot and that you've developed a market there, I think it would be in your best interest to find out what the tax laws are there. But if I'm shooting once in canada or once in costa rica, I don't think the country of costa rica isn't a comeback and tax neat on that unless you're in a border town, find a part time and yet be advantageous um, it's faras working in other countries. But you have to do some kind of visa or if I do, the onus is on the bride, and I know that there are some heavily visa two countries, and then there are some others that are not. I tell my clients in an email in advance, and you have to find out everything I need. Because if either the onus and something goes awry, I'm completely liable for everything. I need her because I have so much going on. I need her to be in control of what I need and when I need it. If she needs my help, I will be there for her. But we have to stay on the same page every single step of the way, but it's her initial responsibility to find out what we need in how we need it and when we need to apply and all of that good stuff. I love that you just gave commission toe, like put that right. I think it's a good business decision. No e never yeah, you never want to take things that could be out of your. Control yeah you know it's a whore if she says no way we need to get a visa and were like three weeks out from the wedding it's like whose fault with that but we're having the minute I have a destination wedding that's the first thing we're talking about like yeah definitely wanted you one more question yeah okay um ceo and photography I would like to know what your biggest business mistake if there was one and how did you overcome it and then she wanted me to say jasmine you are totally the reason I didn't give up my business uh well I hope now my hope is because I'm an overachiever is like not only that she doesn't give up her business but she makes her business successful because it's not just enough to give up on your dream because if your dream isn't working then maybe you should be doing something else and this is merely a stepping stone to getting there so I'm hoping that her business now revolutionize because of it the biggest mistake that I made was not taking bigger risks in the beginning was not trusting myself who is not letting go of my inhibitions because I think of how far I've come and I think wow if I had just believed in myself if I am just given myself the permission to say we're gonna do this one hundred percent for an entire year I was like do you think double dutch jumping and jumping and begin is like two ropes? And I'm like, am I gonna do it might do him good if I just jumped in and just gave it my best shot? I think that I would be in a different place, but I'm not gonna cry over spilled milk, but if you're right where you are right now, take big risks best thing that you could do for your business because I think big changes result in create big results, you know? You can't make small things and you hope on this is gonna be the reason I'm gonna book the high end, right? No it's, big things that will shake up your business career and personal life girl, you did something right. Thank you. Well, I mean, I don't know and I know and I just feel like I'm very, very, very lucky to work with people who trust me again, we go back to that notion of trust, the fact that they let me do what I do, the fact that they let me plan their wedding time lines, which is what we'll get into a low it later to god, it just feel so good, and I believe that that is within everybody's grasps because you don't have to hide behind what you don't have because you might not have the photo. Karen. You might not have the credential, and you might have people supporting you. But what you do have is you. And if you believe in yourself and you know what you're capable of, the opportunities air, just like limitless.