This morning I started my day with a run on the treadmill (woohoo, right?). There is just something about going for a run that gets all of my creative juices flowing. I wish I could somehow write and run at the same time, because that's when all of my inspirational blog posts come to me. This blog topic has actually been one I've thought about for a few weeks, but as I thought on it more today, I decided to go ahead and write about it.
Owning your own business is awesome! I highly recommend it. As with anything though, there are a few things to be aware of before taking that leap of quitting your current job.
This week I'm going to write a bit of a series, because otherwise this would be one incredibly long blog post, and I might lose ya.
So here we go: part 1 of 3 is all about the disadvantages or the hard parts. If we get the not-so-fun aspects out of the way, we can enjoy the fun parts!
1. It’s inconsistent.
Depending on the kind of business you own, you'll most likely have busy seasons and "slower" seasons. This is definitely the case with both of my businesses (photography and real estate). Some months you'll feel like a total champion, bring in lots of cash, and others you'll wonder if you've made the right choice when you're trying to watch your finances while your friends are going to movies, eating at expensive restaurants, and buying nice things!
You have to make a plan and you have to save. When I have "big months" I really try to be just as strict about putting that money in the bank and continue to watch what I spend so that it won't bite me later. For more tips on that, you'll want to check out Dave Ramsey's recourses!
"Busy season" also means telling your friends you have to work when they all have big plans to hang out. I've been doing that for several years now, so it doesn't bother me as much as it used to, but just know there are a lot of fun things you'll have to pass on.
2. It’s expensive.
It sounds fun to start your own business, but when you make it a legitimate business, here are a few of the costs involved (from a photographers perspective that is) :
- Camera equipment (Three camera bodies, 6 lenses, two flashes, flash triggers, flash stands, umbrellas, Camera bags, batteries, etc = Around $14,000)
- Camera repairs: My cameras and lenses have been amazing! But with years of wear and tear, I definitely have to get them repaired, and believe me, it's never cheap.
- Memory Cards: 16 GB Compact Flash = $25 x 4 = $100
- Website domain: $10/year
- Website host: $25/month
- Personalized professional .com email address: $5/month
- Gas milage: This one can get crazy!
- Editing software: Thankfully I bought mine when you could pay one price to have it forever. Now they do a lot of monthly/yearly plans. I paid $150 I believe.
- Files storage: External hard drives are about $100 each depending on size.
- Education: For good workshops, I've usually pay a minimum of $1,000. That's because I prefer to go to them in person.
- Shipping and materials: Usually just a few dollars to ship out packages, but it adds up!
- Coffee Consultations: $10-$15
- Email Campaigns : I use Constant Contact and they're about $25/month (it depends on how many subscribers you have)
- Flash Drives: $16 per flash drive
There are more expenses like website galleries for sharing high resolution images, insurance, business license fees, high taxes, etc.
3. You Don't Get Benefits
When you're self employed there are no paid vacation days, and there are no medical or dental insurance services paid for by your employer. I'll never forget getting my very first cavities and paying around $1,500 out of pocket to get them filled. What a horrible way to spend hard earned money!
4. It can be lonely.
You'll spend a lot of days and hours behind your computer. If you're up to speed and really good at social media, you'll have interaction with people through Facebook and Instagram and such, but there's nothing quite like having friends at the office to talk to, bond with, and eat lunch with.
5. Failure Happens.
Sometimes you mess up. Sometimes you don't deliver and it's awful. Sometimes you decide to cut someone a deal or help someone out and it turns out to be a big mess. Sometimes the money doesn't come in like you had planned and it is no fun. Being a business owner can bring you to your lowest lows sometimes. When something fails in your business it can easily make you feel you and your life are a failure.
(PC: Kira Ellen Photography)
I have the days when I wonder why I didn't take the comfortable job with the consistent pay and the zero risk. Other days - the majority of the days - I remember why I chose this and why I love it. And that is part 2: The perks that no one told you about running your own business. Stay tuned...