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Thread started 24 Jul 2011 (Sunday) 21:02
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BermyFunk
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Jul 24, 2011 21:02 |  #1

I am working on opening a studio and I have been searching the forums quite a bit lately. Although there are some (okay A LOT) of great tid bits of information out there, I am getting sick and tired of reading discouraging posts to young entrepreneurs trying to do what they love. We all know photography is not the greatest business to start, but please do not discourage. Some people warn others of bumps in the road (which is great), but to those who say "don't bother" or "give it up" shame on you. A lot of people come to these forums to learn from other peoples mistakes. This just makes us better businessmen and more importantly better photographers.

Sorry for the rant.

ON THAT NOTE I will leave this thread open for successful studio start up stories because that just makes everyone feel better! ;)


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Hollywoodgt
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Jul 25, 2011 00:02 |  #2

BermyFunk wrote in post #12815984 (external link)
I am working on opening a studio and I have been searching the forums quite a bit lately. Although there are some (okay A LOT) of great tid bits of information out there, I am getting sick and tired of reading discouraging posts to young entrepreneurs trying to do what they love. We all know photography is not the greatest business to start, but please do not discourage. Some people warn others of bumps in the road (which is great), but to those who say "don't bother" or "give it up" shame on you. A lot of people come to these forums to learn from other peoples mistakes. This just makes us better businessmen and more importantly better photographers.

Sorry for the rant.

ON THAT NOTE I will leave this thread open for successful studio start up stories because that just makes everyone feel better! ;)

Joe I feel that it doesn't matter what type of business your in there will be issues. I've owned a auto facility and custom motorcycle shop for 25 yrs. When the Chopper shows came out everyone was a bike builder. Owning a auto facility, there our bad shops, cheap shops and the list goes on. We do very well for ourselves and that's done with offering the best service, clean facility and quality work. Don't get discouraged, have a business plan, understand your cost involved, have a marketing plan and a good reserve of cash to carry you. Follow your plan and move forward, I've been up and been extremely down...were building again and it's because of being positive. :-) Best of luck to you!


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PeaceFire
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Jul 25, 2011 02:27 |  #3

I have a pretty decent success story. In 2006 I was on top of the world- great paying job, wonderful life, famous friends... it was awesome. Then 2007 and that damn strike hit. Suddenly I didn't work for months and went stir crazy and started toying with the whole photography idea. In 2008 I decided to take the leap and get into the biz more. The strike was over and I was back at my old job, but it just didn't feel as rewarding as it once had. So I pursued photography a bit more... but still on the side.

Then in February of 2009 I was in a serious accident while at work and was told I was no longer allowed to even come to my other job. That left me A LOT of time on my hands where I was just sitting around doing nothing. That's very un-me so I picked up the camera, got a business loan so I could buy some decent gear, and dove in head first.

Almost 3 years later I have traveled the world, met some amazing people, shot some amazing events, had some once-in-a-life-time experiences, bought a house, built a studio, and expanded my company to 3 employees total. I make money, I have fun doing it, and I'm happy. IMO, that's all you need in life. I'm not rich and I'm not making nearly as much money as I once was, but if there's one thing I've learned in this life- money really doesn't buy happiness. I realize now how miserable I was with my high paying job and fake "friends".

So it's not all puppies and rainbows, but it's not a horror story, either!


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andrersa
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Jul 25, 2011 07:09 as a reply to  @ PeaceFire's post |  #4

PeaceFire,

That is one of the nicest and most motivating posts I have read in a long time. Thanks for sharing your success story and all the best with your business.

Andre




  
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JLPhotography82
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Jul 25, 2011 07:26 |  #5

PeaceFire wrote in post #12817121 (external link)
I have a pretty decent success story. In 2006 I was on top of the world- great paying job, wonderful life, famous friends... it was awesome. Then 2007 and that damn strike hit. Suddenly I didn't work for months and went stir crazy and started toying with the whole photography idea. In 2008 I decided to take the leap and get into the biz more. The strike was over and I was back at my old job, but it just didn't feel as rewarding as it once had. So I pursued photography a bit more... but still on the side.

Then in February of 2009 I was in a serious accident while at work and was told I was no longer allowed to even come to my other job. That left me A LOT of time on my hands where I was just sitting around doing nothing. That's very un-me so I picked up the camera, got a business loan so I could buy some decent gear, and dove in head first.

Almost 3 years later I have traveled the world, met some amazing people, shot some amazing events, had some once-in-a-life-time experiences, bought a house, built a studio, and expanded my company to 3 employees total. I make money, I have fun doing it, and I'm happy. IMO, that's all you need in life. I'm not rich and I'm not making nearly as much money as I once was, but if there's one thing I've learned in this life- money really doesn't buy happiness. I realize now how miserable I was with my high paying job and fake "friends".

So it's not all puppies and rainbows, but it's not a horror story, either!

inspiredbw!


Life is to short to grow up, have fun, laugh, enjoy the moment, cause a little trouble. Once you're gone you will never have the chance. -macroshooter1970

  
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airfrogusmc
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Jul 25, 2011 08:04 as a reply to  @ JLPhotography82's post |  #6

I've been feed'n the family (doing it full time) and feeding them quite well with it for 25 years and it aint all perfect but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Like any profession there is good with bad but for me the good outweighs the bad by a lot or I wouldn't still be doing it.

Good luck, work hard and DON"T QUIT...Talent, skill then just as important persistence and a good accountant.




  
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BermyFunk
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Jul 25, 2011 11:28 |  #7

PeaceFire wrote in post #12817121 (external link)
So it's not all puppies and rainbows, but it's not a horror story, either!

Quote of the day for me....although I wish there were more puppies involved...


-Joe Sadlo
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ni$mo350
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Jul 25, 2011 11:51 |  #8

I'm in the middle of what could be a success story as I type. I'm currently working for a bank with a secure job helping people who are having issues paying they're mortgage and offering programs to assist them but recently it's become so tedious that I'm planning a push to go ft in photography this year. I've been here over 5 years and it comes with nice benefits and lots of PTO but the pay isn't anywhere near what it should be and it's no longer rewarding. Seeing people who deserve programs to stay in their house being denied and then watching the most cruel and uncooperative people get it has taken a toll on me and I've become bitter and hateful because of it. I know photography is my way out and at 24, it's make it or break it time.

My worst day of shooting is better than my best day doing my day job. I'm settled decently with my bills and have my equipment paid off so I'm taking baby steps now to get a license and go from there. I know some very successful photographers with great stories and that motivates me more and more to obtain my dream which is to shoot full time. The only thing stopping me at this point is myself.


-Chris-Website (external link)|| (external link)Facebook (external link)|| My Flickr (external link)|| Follow me!!! 500px (external link) || (external link) 5D mkii || 35L || 70-200 f/2.8L IS MKII || My bank account hates you all :cry:

  
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cptrios
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Jul 25, 2011 12:23 |  #9

ni$mo350 wrote in post #12819019 (external link)
at 24, it's make it or break it time.

Eesh, really? Comments like this always terrify me, as I'm 28 and still don't even have the seed of a career (though a healthy nest-egg due to some lucky investments and a ridiculously performing set of stock options from a previous job). I'd say that about 50% of my friends do, but I envy literally none of their lives. Their salaries, perhaps...but more or less nothing else. The idea that you're screwed if you don't have your future entrenched before you're 25 strikes me as very old-fashioned...but if that's the norm now, I'm up the creek without a paddle! Either way, I wouldn't stress too much over it if I were you.

My father, for example, has a very decently-paying (though not six-figure territory) job that he absolutely loves, and according to him he didn't even enter into the profession until he was something like 33. I doubt I'll be so lucky, but it makes me worry a bit less.

And to OP... I think PeaceFire's success is down to a successful combination of luck, connections, business sense, and talent, and I personally wouldn't get into the business because I possess none of those. But I don't see any reason at all to say "don't bother." If you have the confidence, the ability, and the drive to stick it out, then you have a fine chance of succeeding. Of course it'll be difficult, but no matter what happens (provided you don't completely wipe out your financial existence), it'll be worth it. I'd rather wake up at age 50 as an insurance salesman, knowing that 20 years previous I'd tried and failed to be a professional photographer than wake up at age 50 having been an insurance salesman since my college graduation!


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smyke
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Jul 25, 2011 12:49 |  #10

cptrios wrote in post #12819185 (external link)
I'd rather wake up at age 50 as an insurance salesman, knowing that 20 years previous I'd tried and failed to be a professional photographer than wake up at age 50 having been an insurance salesman since my college graduation!

Whats wrong with being an insurance salesman? just curious. :p


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david ­ lacey
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Jul 25, 2011 12:51 as a reply to  @ cptrios's post |  #11

Don't let the nay sayers get you down. Keep it up, live by your heart soon we will be dead.




  
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ni$mo350
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Jul 25, 2011 13:03 |  #12

cptrios wrote in post #12819185 (external link)
Eesh, really? Comments like this always terrify me, as I'm 28 and still don't even have the seed of a career (though a healthy nest-egg due to some lucky investments and a ridiculously performing set of stock options from a previous job). I'd say that about 50% of my friends do, but I envy literally none of their lives. Their salaries, perhaps...but more or less nothing else. The idea that you're screwed if you don't have your future entrenched before you're 25 strikes me as very old-fashioned...but if that's the norm now, I'm up the creek without a paddle! Either way, I wouldn't stress too much over it if I were you.

My father, for example, has a very decently-paying (though not six-figure territory) job that he absolutely loves, and according to him he didn't even enter into the profession until he was something like 33. I doubt I'll be so lucky, but it makes me worry a bit less.

And to OP... I think PeaceFire's success is down to a successful combination of luck, connections, business sense, and talent, and I personally wouldn't get into the business because I possess none of those. But I don't see any reason at all to say "don't bother." If you have the confidence, the ability, and the drive to stick it out, then you have a fine chance of succeeding. Of course it'll be difficult, but no matter what happens (provided you don't completely wipe out your financial existence), it'll be worth it. I'd rather wake up at age 50 as an insurance salesman, knowing that 20 years previous I'd tried and failed to be a professional photographer than wake up at age 50 having been an insurance salesman since my college graduation!

One of my best friends died last year out of nowhere in the parking lot of the building I work in. Simply put, that is my hell. When I mention that now it's make it or break it it means that I've put enough time into a company that I know will not get me anywhere or ever make me happy at what I do. I don't measure success on the amount you make but on the hapiness it gives you. I'm single and have no kids which is a huge bonus for me right now as I have nobody to support but myself. The longer I prolong and wait to make my move out of here and into photography, the further that dream feels.

I know where you're coming from though as my dad served in the Navy for 20 years and began a new career in MSO in the medical field and makes over $100k and he's just shy of 50 which I admire a ton but I can tell he's not happy with what he does and even the amount of money he makes can only keep you content for so long. Living secure and living happy are a rare combination for most people. I chose happy because secure hasn't cut it for me for the last 6 years. I've got nothing to lose right now so there's no better time than now.


-Chris-Website (external link)|| (external link)Facebook (external link)|| My Flickr (external link)|| Follow me!!! 500px (external link) || (external link) 5D mkii || 35L || 70-200 f/2.8L IS MKII || My bank account hates you all :cry:

  
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IrishK
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Jul 25, 2011 14:33 |  #13

JLPhotography82 wrote in post #12817700 (external link)
inspiredbw!

I echo this. My thoughts are yours.

Nice story, PeaceFire.




  
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cptrios
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Jul 25, 2011 14:34 |  #14

smyke wrote in post #12819330 (external link)
Whats wrong with being an insurance salesman? just curious. :p

Nothing if that's what you want to do! Just a career I'd personally not like to have...for example, there's nothing wrong with being a doctor but I sure as hell don't want to be one!

ni$mo350 wrote in post #12819428 (external link)
One of my best friends died last year out of nowhere in the parking lot of the building I work in. Simply put, that is my hell. When I mention that now it's make it or break it it means that I've put enough time into a company that I know will not get me anywhere or ever make me happy at what I do. I don't measure success on the amount you make but on the hapiness it gives you. I'm single and have no kids which is a huge bonus for me right now as I have nobody to support but myself. The longer I prolong and wait to make my move out of here and into photography, the further that dream feels.

I know where you're coming from though as my dad served in the Navy for 20 years and began a new career in MSO in the medical field and makes over $100k and he's just shy of 50 which I admire a ton but I can tell he's not happy with what he does and even the amount of money he makes can only keep you content for so long. Living secure and living happy are a rare combination for most people. I chose happy because secure hasn't cut it for me for the last 6 years. I've got nothing to lose right now so there's no better time than now.

That's all totally reasonable. If I were you I'd get out of there too! Stable works well for some people, but terribly for others. 70% of Americans my age and up would probably look at my post-graduate life and be repulsed and vocally critical; one steady job of 2 years, bracketed by four that had contracts of finite lengths. And the only one of them at which I'd have had any legal opportunity to work longer than a year (all were overseas) went bankrupt in the middle of my contract! So no, a midlevel office job is probably not on the cards.


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nathancarter
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Jul 25, 2011 14:43 |  #15

Heh. I'm 35 and still sitting in a cubicle. My goal is to be successfully self-employed by the time I'm 40.

I've got a little bit of an ace-in-the-hole: My wife is an experienced professional video editor with an advertising background. We're developing a videography and photography company that targets small businesses. She's doing freelance editing work and building the business, while I stay in my cubicle job for the benefits/insurance/rel​iability, and develop my photography/videograph​y skill in evenings and weekends.


http://www.avidchick.c​om (external link) for business stuff
http://www.facebook.co​m/VictorVoyeur (external link) for fun stuff

  
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