Case Study - Business Growth
Hey everyone Phil and will back together again for another case study. Today we are chatting about business infrastructure and continued growth trying to expand our business. So in this section you covered a lot of things with showing up Odio the productivity tool that you're using. There's other ones that are out there. There's lots of things that yeah, I use Tremolo is another one that you can do a lot of similar things. A sauna is another one. Um and a lot of people can just use, you know, document. We also talked about insurance. I talked about insurance, I talked about accounting taxes. So yeah I don't know anything else that we need to cover with insurance. Well let's talk a little bit about insurance for your film production business which is a little different but that's different. We have an overarching very expensive insurance plan. But that's because we tend to have bigger shoots and film shoots where we have to cover general liability as well as workers comp will be renting...
trucks will be renting big locations. So our general insurance plan is a bit more expensive. Have you ever had to use that? Not once. Have you ever heard of anyone having? Yes, I've heard of a couple people but mostly it's because of damaged equipment. It's usually like a dropped $60,000 camera or I know rental houses. I've had to use it because of stuff but it's a process and it takes time. But boy let me tell you, is it worth it from the stories that I've heard um you know, as photographers as we start to collect equipment and technology, you're one drop away from, you know, not being able to show up for your wedding next weekend or you know, not be able to show up for the job for the rest of the day or you know, say business is slow and you need to buy a new camera gets stolen out of your car. Like there are a million things that can happen that can shut you down real fast. And so the insurance is really to help you continue your business in case of catastrophic events. Have you ever had to do any like warranty stuff with specific year through like that camera? Like if there was a malfunction or anything like replacements? I've never had any deals with that with buying new equipment. And the biggest thing that we've had was drop lens, but it got to the point where it was less than our deductible. So you know, at that point we just paid for it. It was like a few $100 A $100 mistake. But you know, you're having a business, you're gonna make mistakes, things are gonna happen. You just have to continue moving on stuff like that. Alright, so with accounting, I talked about that you're using Quickbooks, right? Am I use Quickbooks basically? Quickbooks exists as my Carnahan Creative umbrella that we talked about before. So it's got teaching, it's got photography and it's got music cinematographer. And so I it's not just photography, but the way it works is that it's an online program that's hooked up to the Carnahan Creative that we'll see photography bank account every time I use that card, it brings in those transactions. Every time I send an invoice to someone, I send it through Quickbooks has all the contact information for everyone there. Um and basically it's like it just sinks everything. So at the end of the year, when I send it to my tax person, they can actually log in and see where my expenses are. They can put it up against my income so they can see like this is how much money you're spending every month. This is how much money you're making every month. Maybe stop spending so much money, maybe try to get more or or or or the other effects make more money so that you can write stuff off more easily. So the point of having quickbooks or doing it on your own is like so important to track in the long term, like you want to see what your growth is or not and and and adjust accordingly. Like Yeah, and I mean you make a lot of decisions off that like if you have to increase your pricing because there's a lot of things, I think beginners don't take into account with how much it costs to run a photography business, let alone any business and things like, you know, your domain name or external accounts or Lightroom or whatever. You're not thinking about that, your equipment alone, like your laptop goes down. Like you need to be able to edit, You know, photos, you need to be able to upload photos and then, but like you think about, Okay, I'm going to go to a shoot, I'm going to charge $50 an hour. That sounds, that's a pretty good hourly rate for like anywhere in the world. You know, above $15 an hour is pretty good compared to what most people in the world make. But then you take into account everything else that we've talked about and yeah, That's why it's important to do accounting and to know how much money or what your overhead is that what you're spending. I mean, Zen folio is so expensive. Like I love how much is it? I've the full tier, so it's like $230 a year. Okay. Which comes out to like, you know, lower cost monthly. As long as I do one head shot a month, I can afford that. But that's eating into that. So that's what I mean by your overhead. Like you're, you know, if you're using Dropbox, it's 10 bucks a month. If you know you're renting lenses every month, that's another cost a month. You're gonna buy your domain every other year. Like you buy a new camera and then that's like, you know, four months of work that you being able to analyze the business income and expenses so important to understanding how to be successful and analyze what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong. Yeah. Now you're using Quickbooks that does also cost, there's one I think I mentioned it Wave apps or Wave accounting. It's wave apps dot com like Wave and that's, it does a lot of the same free stuff. There's a mobile app. You can connect your accounts and pretty cool if you want to get started. There's a self employed quickbooks I think that's pretty cheap, five months, five bucks a month or something. I can't recommend having some sort of app to help you enough. We are not accountants like you can learn and do as much as you possibly can. But having an account on your side or having an app that's really going to be a tool and help you do this is so worth it. And that's why. But that's also why we added it to this section of the course because a lot of people aren't at this point yet necessarily, but it's really when you're about really focus on growing your business that, that you really want to start doing that and if you enter into doing this full time, you really should look into it. Like it is, if you're, if this is a full time gig, it is just going to save you time and effort and you know, hurt cool taxes, taxes Oh man the worst. How about we talk about the importance of saving for taxes. I know that bit you in the that bit me real big the first couple of years I was freelancing and you don't realize it until you're too far deep in and now after doing this for years it's fine. Yeah. Because you learn through your accounting how much you should be setting aside For your taxes per your region. Again, you said this to talk to an accountant that we have to keep repeating ourselves. But it's so we can't give you a specific number that you need to. But generally I know for us like 30-40% is generally a super safe place to save and expect that you're going to put that money back in your taxes. But when you're getting a check or you're getting a Venmo payment, you're getting someone's hand you cash while you're shooting like it's not taxed, no one's coming and taking that money and if you get it into your account and you start getting audited for some reason you don't pay your taxes, it's not good. And of course these things change. But yeah, in the US we have to pay not only our personal income tax but self employment tax which covers things like Social Security and things like that. So that's just on top of that. Um That being said there are like the expenses that we can deduct from our taxes and again that changes though. That's changed in the past couple of years. So we kind of have to be on top of that again, why it's important to have an accountant who knows this stuff and stays up to date. They've literally invested time and energy into their job and they will help you out. I don't know anything else about taxes, taxes. It's about taxes. Just death and taxes man. Yeah, only certain things. You talked about scaling prices up conventions and meetups. Any other things? Yeah, I mean, I think what I said in the class about, you know, slowly raising your prices using your accounting, you know, radar to see where you're at and judge that based on how you doing or not doing is really a good practice talking to other photographers like going these conventions is so valuable to even us like you and I both run businesses separately and together. And so like, you know, we talk about stuff and like we've worked off each other and sam like the three of us have been able to really like hone in. And I think when you're doing it by yourself, it's, it's, you can, it's very easy, but it's so much more helpful when you have other people to work off of and be accountable for and understand how you guys are working with each other in tandem. I mean you talked about like earlier in a case study when we were looking at your price list, how you would have three shooters at your weddings when you started and one was your partner, but you would always have another shooter. And so again, who knows? You might not be the one that's finding the weddings. But if someone knows you're a photographer, if you're connected with them, they might ask you to come on. I love being, I actually just covered for my friend in palm springs. I was a second shooter and I hadn't done it a long time. I was like, sure, I'll just show up low profile, shoot wides, get paid later. So that's always a good way to start to meet photographers and understand how they run their businesses where you're in their downtime. Um, so yeah, meeting people and helping will really help you figure out how to scale up scale and you can do that at conventions meetups. We need to yeah, I know for sure. But also with scaling up prices, I just wanted to add that. Um, be confident in yourself, Especially if, if, you know you see your photos, it's easy to critique your own photos and feel like you're not as good as the competition in your area. But the people, your clients don't necessarily know how long you've been doing this or whatever. But if they see your photos on your website and they like it. Be confident in charging a higher price and upping your prices because Typically a lot of clients won't, won't care if they like you as a photographer. Then raising your prices 10, over time isn't going to turn away a lot of clients. So just want to add that awesome. Well, it's been a great in this case study and I hope you enjoyed it and we'll see you in another lesson.