Scott Robert Lim: Starting Your Business From Scratch
This subject is so huge I've only got twenty eight slides eso what I plan to do is just kind of go through what I feel is important and then I'm going to be opening up to chat room and you guys during this next ah day this and tomorrow I want you to think of this as your own personal mentoring session this is just me and you I this subject is so huge I'm just going to get like this is only twenty eight slides on this on this position particular presentation just me and you I'm going to give my points that I feel that are very important and then ask questions iraq what you know what are some things that you're dealing with or whatever? Because most likely whatever you're dealing with there's a billion other people dealing with the same issue so there is no problem under the sun that's any different than any of us right? And so your journey is going to definitely help someone else's journey too okay so let's get on with it starting a wedding business wedding photography business what I l...
ove about the business of wedding photography is that there are no qualifications we talked about that before or limits on income what I hate about the business of wedding photography is there are no politician that qualifications are living on income and that's what makes it black is that there's no filtering system the industry hasn't created well you must master these skills first before you khun do this which usually keeps that price of that particular industry up high but it's just a free market experience with wedding photography which is awesome it's awesome if you're an entrepreneur and it's awesome if you're creative so not only should you be creative with your photography but learn to use their creativity with your business too okay I quite frankly I don't even see myself as an artist because I would get sea and art all the time but I was always constantly even as a child I remember in fourth grade I made money going to my pond buying getting two buckets full of toads coming to my house putting a little sign up and said toads for sale twenty five cents and I made twenty bucks that day I always remember me hustling, making money and I'll share the story with you um because my dad said one thing to me when I was my dad passed away last january and he said one thing to be that helped me when I was going through some of the roughest time in my life and he wrote me this letter and he said scott um I don't worry about your two sisters because scott I know that you are ah hustler and he knew that somehow some way that I could make money um because he's seen it my entire life you know I started I still I started the entrepreneur's club, right? It was just it was in a club for anything but for us to make money so we would just take these all day suckers what you call those those suckers we would just take them carrying around and we just I would buy a wholesale and people would just buy people would use it to raise money for their you know, band or whatever. We just raised money for ourselves, right? And I was the president people were trying to shut me down, but I'm like god and I had all these different excuses that we did on so I just had a knack for doing that. I think really, honestly my creativity started on me finding out ways to make money and then it grew into photography but I was first a business person and so that's what I mean, if you get anything out of this session, use your creativity in all areas of your life with your business too. Okay. Cell it's just like I said before it's a sixty eight billion dollar industry they're more competition in the heart of the climb okay and that's what if there's big dollars involved there's going to be a lot of competition and it's going to be an extremely hard ride? Part time is easy like I said, ninety nine percent of the people can make money with photography if they're doing it on a part time basis that is easy peasy there's like yeah, of course you can do it right but full time is very, very difficult I kind of think it's like to do it well it's almost like I feel like it's about one in a thousand but maybe it's like one in one hundred I'm not sure but it's really, really hard I kind of get a gauge of this because I mentor photographers all around the world and so I kind of see these patterns and I've been doing this for I don't know how many years now eight years I've been teaching and that's what that is my goal besides teaching you how to do lighting and pose and all that my one passion is this I want to help people for those who feel like I've got that one in a thousand chance I've got that one in a hundred chance and I just feel it inside and I am dedicated to help those people to try to do the impossible and that's what my passion is that's what my real passion is so I love this business stuff because this business stuff really helps us to do that is to achieve our dreams okay basic what are the basic were parked car mints for a photography business camera. Okay. Besides camera, right license? What kind of license is why you need a business license? Because you have to be registered to pay your taxes. Well, I just pay my taxes. I don't. I don't. I don't. I don't have to be registered. Code of the city wants to know who is and who isn't making money. It's kind of how they contact you. Right? Okay. Anything else? Any other ideas? I was just going to give you some good to even go more basic than that. Okay, I want to see you, raisa. Hands I if you have a business card. Okay, good. Because I talked to a lot of people in there trying to get into this and do this like, oh, do you have a business card? And more often that they don't. So the one thing is, get a business card, have what available because you're going to be asked, you know, for what? And at least have it ok website. Of course, you gotta have something where people khun concealer work on, of course, that's dealing with facebook. It seems like facebook is kind of essential right now. It's too. Graem where, chris, this is where you need to get the word out and show people what you're doing, where class, maybe for blog's they have something like that blah guy, I believe, is very kind of important for a new business to get started because you can start to reveal who you are. Ah, blawg, you really need to show different sides of you how I saw it, wass you know, people on the internet are interviewing me there there, checking me out. They want to know more about me. So this is my time to just share my whole life and one of my about one of my core values, how I think, and I'm getting them too buy into me a lot of times when a client hires me. They had been interviewing me for two years, and I just didn't know it. They were looking at my facebook. They were looking at my blog's, etcetera, etcetera. They were buying into me. So by the time that they got the, you know, that time was for them to choose a wedding photographer. They already had me in mind that they had been interviewing me for the last two years. And so when I meet with them it's, just like sign on the dotted line there, ready to go. Those were the best clients, but I did that I purposely now I don't know how far you want to go, but I purposely show my life in who I am I just feel like I'm an open book. This is who I am and people can really identify with that authenticity, I think, and being a real person, okay, d b a does anybody doing? Know what that is doing? Business as and I don't know what state requirements or whatever, but this is the thing if I wanted to establish a business and it was scott's big boy photography, okay, if I were tohave, you write a check and say, can you write that out to scott's? Big boy photography? I would have to have a d b a, which is doing business as and it's an official document that says scott, robert lim living at so and so with whatever you know driver's license or social security number or whatever you feel out is, you know, scott's big boy photography. So then when you go to your bank, you can get a business checking account, they're going to need a d v s so u could open account and you can accept a cheque in that name. I know nowadays that actually receiving a cheque is getting more and more rare, but if you want, you don't have to, you can have a murat you know you're you're signing a cheque right for somebody and they said who will make it out? Tio make it out to scott limb or I could say I make it out to scott robert photography. It puts me a little bit above I'm official on the d b a doesn't take much to do maybe a hundred bucks or something like that. You could do it online, probably. And then you can open up a checking account, and then you can call yourself whatever you want to call yourself and receive a cheque in that way. And also it keeps your accounts seperated. You should never have all your your personal money, plus your business money being intermingled with that because it makes accounting very difficult. Okay, so I recommend having a separate checking account, get another business, credit card and so that's what I do so every expense that that businesses on I just charge it on the card. So I have a personal card, and then I have business. Credit card s o I separated and so it's, easy for you to organize your taxes when it's separated like that paypal account is pretty much vital nowadays. You gotta have that so for easy accounting purposes, keep all your business transactions separate from your personal, so whatever you receive, income in then you have a separate accounts for that. Whatever you're paying out of, you have separate accounts for that just for your business. So when I go and do my taxes and I hand it to my accountant, all I show is my credit card and my bank statement and my paypal account that's it I don't do any receipts, I don't do anything else, and they figure out everything from there because that's, all my business expenses are just shown within those accounts once you start mixing it with personal and this other business, and that it becomes a nightmare, and you can't figure out actually what your business is doing. And so therefore, when you mix it up like that, let's say, if you have two jobs and you're mixing it up all in one account, you can't be accountable toe what that income is bringing in, or how much you're spending for that business, and so then the lines get blurred, and then you will never figure out where you're at and that's really about businesses, knowing exactly where you're at. You should just at least know that you're losing money, but sometimes we're afraid to face the music, and we don't want to know, so we don't do it, but then in the end, we're going to go out of business, so keep that uh in mind now let's talk a little bit about business practices ok, when you first start out you might only charge like one hundred dollars for a wedding, right? So if you're charging one hundred dollars from when and guess what there's also low commitment if you want to get out of that that situation you go here's your hundred dollars deposit back and then you can go off on your merry way and do whatever okay and there's low expectation also at the same time they can expect a lot it's a it's it's only one hundred dollars if you want to cancel or something like that, I say if you're gonna cancel event if you're going to go down that right at least have a substitution for them ready or if you're sick or something like that have a substitution, some people put a non performance clause in there contract, so they gives them the ability to switch if they want to and what they do is they say this okay? If I can't perform or if I'm not going to perform at your wedding, I'm just going to give you back whatever your deposit is and we're just finding daddy so what they do is they'll just take every single wedding they'll get a low deposit amount and if some other wedding comes up like in paris or some other wedding but the bride is it seems like it's better fit, and it has potential for them to make more money with this person. They'll just give the deposit back to that client and then they'll take that other client. Okay, now that's certainly legal. I mean, you have the right to do that. You should know about it, but is it ethical? Do you wantto have your business built on something like that? Yes, you could do it it's in the closet, but do you want people talking about you? I actually have never done it, so whatever I committed too, I did, but I just want that to where if you want, if that was pacific case, then that's what that non performance clause does for you and when I always feel is what comes around goes around. So what you put into it eventually, if you're trying to cut corners or your integrity is not right eventually it's going to come back and it's going to bite you in the butt, and so you just try to be I know we're all human and we all make mistakes and and that's true, and if we do make a mistake, just own up to it and try to be a better person and move forward, but in general with business, what comes around goes around, so if you're looking to you know cheat somebody or whatever then it's going to come back and bite me so whenever I'm dealing with business it's why I wanted to be an equitable trade where everybody is gaining value and that's the overall picture that I put around everything okay so let's wouldn't do about pricing and guidelines one thing I do is in general I'm just giving you a very generous like if you have no idea where to start I say just take the cost let's say you're going to sell eight by ten print whatever how much is eight by ten print costs two twenty I think you could give an even lower acosta oh if you wanted right whatever okay like a bud vase cost two dollars so then you would say two dollars times three dollars I'm charging six dollars wow I've seen six times three times the amount I'll guess I'll charge my eight by ten for six dollars right but then what you fail to recount for is the time that it took you to produce that print the editing and all that kind of stuff so you have to account for that and so that's really what your prices is the cost of the goods plus your time equals your price and so our least service and so what I felt like if I could do this on the weekday not on a weekend and I could do this job any time of the week or I could job it out I would have a lower hourly rate for that particular service because a I can either job it out or it's on the weekday where I'm not is busy I could charge lower at that point and so I suggest entry level maybe start at fifty dollars an hour to begin with if you're a little bit more experienced one hundred dollars an hour and if you're at the expert level you could be two hundred to four hundred dollars an hour that you base your professional services on dude I just see it like a doctor mad what would they charge right and if you're at that level then hey she should be charging that same amount to on dh so I think that's just a guideline to start at now what's your hourly wait on the weekend that's different because why that's where I make all my money so I have to make the highest amount of money on the weekend if I have to do it on the weekend and I'm going to charge you mawr because I've only got fifty weekends to make all my cash so if it's a service that I have to do at the weekend then it's going to be more on it could be double triple quadruple so when I kind of did my business if I could do it during the week I would say I just price it about one hundred dollars an hour that's what I'm gonna charge okay, but then when it came to the weekend I'm gonna be a four hundred dollars an hour because that's where I need to make my money uh oh and so that's that's kind of in general how high priced myself okay, my income was derived from weddings mostly so that's where I had to gain my money. So if it's a weekend event it's a premium and if I'm not one thing I learned to is if I'm not making a lot of money on the weekend I could have spent be spending it with my family and so you don't want your family getting mad at you and that's another huge issue is sometimes when we do things for cheap, everybody wins, you win because you're getting business and you get to promote your business the client wins because they're getting a great price, but who loses your family loses every single type you don't want to lose that, ok? You don't want to lose that part so you keep doing things for cheap you keep doing things for this yeah feeling good my businesses schooling whatever you take all your weekends away and you're doing it for two hundred bucks or whatever it isthe right and you're taking all that time away from the things that are really important to you yes, a lot of people that are trying to raise their price is a little bit do you think that saying we'll keep your weekly right what you're at and then for a test trial or to see if they can maybe just say okay add weekend prices and see if you can book those as a way for them to kind of shift upward yeah for sure I mean hey, I always I always think charge more because you could always lower your price I can make it an excuse to charge a lower price for anything and we see that on the internet black friday this they're always coming up with some darn excuse oh, we got a special price because of booze or it's our anniversary theirs an easy way to always lower your price so you can always just at least try you have nothing to lose but because we are afraid of negotiating skills and we're not sure about it then we shrink back but that's what we need to do and that's that's another thing is a negotiating skills that we've gotta work onto okay number one mistake of most small businesses is not correctly accounting for the entire time it completes the job so you have to think about how law for example do you know how much time it takes you to do a wedding? Everything, the engagement session, the album and all that you can't accurately price herself until you understand your time and then maybe you think about your time and you think about the price that you have to charge and you go no one's gonna pay me that price maybe you should job out then right so you have to know these things so you be accountable so you can know what's a good business decision okay what certain services should I offer well on lee offer what you love doing okay on dh that's really what I kind of subscribe to I keep very if not one job it out be overpriced that ridiculously so if you have to do it that at least you're making some cash and say honey you know I got to do this but guess what I'm taking you out next week and we're celebrating whatever, right? So reward yourself for doing something you hate doing okay? I want to have to do that a lot don't offer it just just don't simply just don't simply have it in there when you're first starting out I strongly suggest limiting your services especially if you have another full time job or you have other time commitments like family or whatever dil offer the moon because then that's more expectation on you just do the things start off small like for example hey it's great to start off just doing a shooting deliver wedding especially if you have a full time job because one we'll talk about this a little bit later but once you start to start to doom or services than a chute to deliver guess what you're learning curve goes up because now you have to learn photoshopped do you want to learn photoshopped right now you have to learn all this now you have to learn about album design do you want to learn about album designed? How long is it going to take you to do that well so the more services that you offer the learning her for that gets higher and higher and higher and so you have to consider that when you're trying to manage your business full time job and family at the same time okay this is a ten dollar book that changed my life I believe everybody should get this book it's a very popular book it's called the myth it's why most small businesses don't work and what you do about it okay get it and I read this book and the reason why I read this book a few years ago is the same is the reason why I am here right now okay, so I was doing my business and I told you that I was a graphic designer before I was good a graphic design but guess what I hated doing? I hated doing album design I didn't like it yes, I could do it very well but I didn't like it so I would do an album signed guess how long it would take me to do in albums I how long does it take you guys to do an album by design couple hours a couple hours okay it's pre laid out just right okay it'd take me like four days I'm a freaking graphic designer I would feel like this is perfect it would take me an hour see pia oh uh black and white ocean I put it here dining here I'm less like micromanaging the hecate I mean I was because that's what it was it was I felt that because I was a graphic designer it represented me and it had to be perfect but I hated it so I read this book and if they do what you love and when you do what you love that's when you're gonna find most success it's like oh, this is ridiculous listen, I could job this out for two hundred dollars why am I doing? I charged charged twenty four hundred dollars for an album I'm spending a whole week doing it I could job it out for two hundred dollars why don't I do it so let's say I'm doing twenty four weddings a year and it's taking me a week to do an album design how many weeks did ijust gain twenty four weeks I gained almost a half a year of my time I probably wasn't that much more but if I simply jobbed it out, I can now figure out what I loved doing what do you think that wass even teaching? So at that point, I said, I'm going to job out my album design and I'm gonna concentrate, I'm going to try to train people with photography and I could take all that time and do it, my love and then all of a sudden bam, my life started to get bigger and exploding do what you love if you don't love it, job out it's going to bring you more success, you need to be in your happy zone all the time we artists, artists have we have a hard enough living? Just, you know, making ends meet, we should at least be happy about what we're doing, okay? We're not making a lot of money that we should be happy, but what do you want to do? You want to not make a lot of money and not be happy at the same time? You might as well go back to your ninety five because you're making more money, right? So if you're going to go down this right, be happy, okay? Planning your income, this is very important on how you want to plan your income, so you got now, you decide, maybe you're out there and you're going you know what I want to give this full time I want a good scot inspired me I know this is gonna be a long process but I want to go for it you've got to consider once you go full time here's the expenses that you've got to consider that you gotta have first is the equipment right and we talk about that that could be very then you've got the computers right because then you're gonna be editing photos you've got to do it a lot faster you gotta upgrade and all this kind of stuff you gotta look cool I gotta have ipad I gotta have iphone you know because all photographers have ipads or whatever that and also you got to get it right phone service now on dh then you've got to have software photo shop light room the list goes on education you're not going to go anywhere without any education thank goodness for creative life but still on top of that you've gotto do that health insurance now because now you're working for yourself then you've got your otto you gotta drive places right on how's that an auto insurance and internet in office lease if you decide to have an office and offline storage clothes all right you gotta look like a five k ten k photographer memberships memberships to this that and local guilds and things of that equipment insurance liability insurance you know what that is is that you're going into a place and let's say your tripod falls over and injures somebody then you have to be responsible for that so you have to take out of two million dollar policy for that then delivery bols albums right let's say you're doing twenty weddings and you've got twenty albums right twenty times three hundred six thousand dollars right there and expense that you're gonna have just with albums by itself ok, so let's add up all the stuff two thousand dollars for equipment ten thousand and that's it pineau on the low end right that's on the low end right that's on the low end maybe ten thousand dollars a year okay, right computers that's on the low end all this stuff is on the low and software education let's say you go to, you know workshops or whatever right health insurance all this stuff auto internet I don't know office lease this is only a five hundred dollars a month rending in office only fired and that's that's pretty low, so I'm going conservative on that and all this stuff he added, what do you think this adds up to anybody have a guest you're forty one thousand dollars a year right off the bat? Do you know that forty one thousand saying everything? Guess what? This is not covering marketing and promotional materials this is not even covering any marketing right here. That's forty thousand dollars I mean, maybe you could skimp on a few things of like okay, well, I don't have to have a office lease I work at a home stuff like that but in general that's what's going to be okay, so what I wanted to prove was this if you have an income goal of sixty thousand dollars a year, okay, in general, most small businesses, whatever you're expecting your expenses always fifty percent of whatever you receive in general. Okay, so if you wanted teo teo, make sixty thousand dollars fifty but you know that your expenses is usually fifty percent off. Whatever you bring in, you need one hundred twenty thousand dollars in gross to make sixty thousand dollars. Okay, uh, which is, what, ten thousand dollars a month? You've got a gross. Justin makes sixty thousand dollars here. Okay, these are the numbers just like before. I'm telling you reality this is reality. Okay, give it to you up front. What does that mean? Oh, shoot. That means I got to do three weddings a month. Thirty three hundred dollars or I could do two weddings a month at five thousand dollars. Okay, we'll get into that a little bit more, but let's, let's go in this this deeper because there's something called taxes and things that that you have to consider, too. Okay, and guess what? You can't be afraid because you gotta feed the beast. They want to grow that's what your business is it's a beast it's eating everything up, and if you under nourish it, it won't grow. So this is the thing. You go big or you go home, okay? You have confidence that you're going to do this and you're going to make it happen. Or you just if you're not going to be willing to do that, don't even start it at all. Most small businesses, I mean up there, probably probably laughing right now. If you're gonna start a small business, I mean, like, two hundred thousand dollars is nothing it's, literally nothing on most small businesses. Why do you think these people goto small business loans and get millions of dollars? Because but that's, what we have to if you can't feed the beast it's not going to go if you undernourished shit all the time, you're goingto I don't have money to do this. I don't have money to do that. I don't have money, you're going in with no confidence, you can't get to that next level, I guarantee you, you just go straight out of business.