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Bookkeeping 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs

Posted by on June 11, 2012 with 4 Comments
Are you treating your business like… well, a business? If you’ve been neglecting your financial books (or you don’t even have financial books), you are not alone.  Most small business owners (and even more creative small business owners) don’t give their bookkeeping efforts much thought.  However, most small businesses fail and even more small creative businesses fail.  Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so; it’s a precursor to a much bigger problem… Avoiding The Details. Keeping records is a crucial part of running a business, and it’s not just so that you can properly pay your taxes either!  Keeping records creates the opportunities for you to see trends, dips, growth…  Knowledge is power, and that definitely applies to your bank account!  With all that knowledge, you don’t have to wonder how your business is doing – you know!  You have the tools to plan for your prosperous future. I understand that keeping records can feel incredibly intimidating.  I get that it can be overwhelming, frustrating.  Heck, it’s been known to cause hives.  I get it.  But the thing is, not knowing your numbers, not knowing the truth about where you’re at… Well, that can do the same thing! Avoiding numbers doesn’t actually get them to go away.  Instead it leaves you defenseless, lacking a clear path for which to follow. Far too many small businesses only realize they’ve begun sinking once it’s already too late, all because they avoided the numbers. 

SO HERE IS YOUR QUICK GUIDE TO RECORD KEEPING…

 WHAT YOU MUST HAVE IN PLACE:
  • A Separate Checking (and Savings) Business Account: If you don’t have a business license, you can just open a second personal account until you do get your license.
  • A Business License: I’ve been asked many times to define the right moment in which to apply for a business license.  I applied for mine immediately.  More than anything else, it was a psychological thing for me.  I was going to be successful and I felt it was important to plan as such.  Skirting corners by avoiding taxes wasn’t the road to success, and I knew it.
  • A Place to Keep Receipts: Write on the top of the receipt to remind yourself what they were for (i.e., lunch with intern).
  • A System to Record Financials: This could be Quickbooks, Excel, or even paper and pencil.
WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST TRACK:
  • Business Receipts: Any receipts that contribute to your business should be categorized and filed.
  • Deductible Expenses: This goes along with the first, but it’s important to remember that you will need some deductions for end of the year filings.  We realized almost too late that I hadn’t spent nearly enough money and was going to be paying a huge chunk in taxes if I didn’t reinvest more into the business.
  • Client Invoices: Every Session should have a coordinating invoice so that you can track sales orders and session fees.
  • Credit Card Transactions:
  • Bank Deposit Slips: If you don’t “go to the bank,” then keep track through bank statements.
  • All Lab/Vendor Invoices: You need to be able to see what your product expenses are in comparison to your sales; plus, you  need it for the purpose of writing off taxes at the end of the year.
  • Any Costs Contributing to Your Monthly Overhead: Even if you don’t have a studio, you do have costs!  Think about reoccurring payments, prop purchases, home office space, etc.
  HOW DO I KEEP IT ALL ORGANIZED? You could ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers as to what’s the best way to keep your records organized.  Ultimately, you just need to do something; preferably what feels best for you!  You may choose to do it virtually or with good old fashioned paper file folders, or perhaps a combination would be best.  If you’re great with Excel – create a few spread sheets.  If you’re not – use a ruler and a pen to make up your own spreadsheet. The most important thing is just to be doing it.  So look into what’s available and see what feels best for you!  As for software options, Quickbooks is the obvious go-to for tracking expenses and keeping up on accounts receivables, so that might be a great place to start.   AT WHAT POINT DO I NEED TO HIRE A BOOKKEEPER? There are 2 ways to know if it’s time to hire someone! The First:  If you can’t trust yourself to actually follow through and keep your own records organized and current (It’s okay to admit this; you are far from alone!), then this is the point when you should hire someone else to help!  We all have our strong suits, if this isn’t one of yours, find whose it is and give the task to them! The Second: If you have been keeping records (You should give yourself a big pat on the back!), and you get to the point where you’re either clearing 6 figures and need help with tax stuff, or you’re simply ready to move some things off your plate and onto someone else’s, then bookkeeping is an easy and affordable task to delegate. Quick Tip: If you’re ready for this next step, set up an appointment with three local bookkeepers/accountants. (The first consultation shound be free.)  Look for someone who not only understands your business type, but is a fun fit for your personality. HOW LONG DO I NEED TO KEEP MY RECORDS? You should keep records for at least 3 years.  Find a good way to file them; box them up and stick them in the garage.   Keeping organized and clear records not only offers peace of mind, but it also helps you make better decisions for your business. Plus you will just feel more legit!  The most important thing to do, if you’re not already, is just to start!  Don’t wait for the perfect method to show up, a huge chunk of time to knock on your door so that you can go through old documents, or to be hit by a meteor and become a mathematical genius.  Just start with today. You can do this!  Go you!
Filed Under: Business
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

Remember that thing…

Posted by on June 8, 2012 with 1 Comments

Filed Under: Business
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

Gratitude Project & Mini Instagram Books

Posted by on June 6, 2012 with 0 Comments
My Gratitude Project: Each day (well sort of each day), ever since my birthday, I’ve been trying to capture a photo (with my iPhone) to document something that I am grateful for. I thought this would be a really fun way to remember my 30th year! I’ve snapped a picture of my Jamba, the kids being extra good at the bank, sunshine,  fresh picked flowers… It’s just a simple and fun way for me to focus on all the happy that is in my life! The one predicament though…. How would I preserve my gratitude project? I’ve been trying to figure this out for the last several weeks, until today! Tinybook:  Today I found Tinybooks and now I know exactly what I’m going to do with my little pics! Tinybooks (measuring 1.7″ x 1.5″) takes all of your Instagram pics and creates a wonderful little pocket treasure keepsake! And the best part is the price tag, only 3 for $10! I’m really excited! Now I just have to start uploading my images to Instagram instead of just saving them on my phone.

Filed Under: Personal
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

The Monthly Giveaway – JUNE ED.

Posted by on June 1, 2012 with 28 Comments

Here’s what we have this month… And don’t forget, one lucky reader will win all of them at the end of the month! That’s right, I’ll be shipping out a package with everything you see above tucked carefully inside! Here’s what you could receive!  1. Chevron Camera Strap Cover in Navy by Ivy & A (There are several other colors to choose from!) 2. Branch Coral, Rainbow Moonstone Necklace by Adorned by the Sea (So delicate & lovely!!) 3. This month’s Giveaway Inspiration all started with these fun writing accessories that I found at Target 4. Vintage Camera Rubber Stamp by Brown Pigeon 5. Coral Baby Girl Cocoon and Headband Set by Punte Bella 6. Striped Paper Straws (Navy & White) by Cupcake Express (I am obsessed with these Paper Straws right now!) 7. Teal & Coral Drop Earrings by SusiD Jewelry  8. Love You Savon Soap (Contributed by Go4ProPhotos)   P.S. If you are loving the backdrop you’re seeing, it’s Spangled from dropitMODERN!

{ If you’ve already subscribed, go ahead and move on to step 2! }
  a Rafflecopter giveaway
Filed Under: Giveaways
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

The Truth About YOUR Spending Habits…

Posted by on May 29, 2012 with 0 Comments
Spending money is not hard to do… Wanting to spend money is even easier! You open your inbox, do a quick rss scan and you are bombarded with offers. Some are really bad and they’re easy to say no to, some of them are way too expensive but they’re just ‘sooooo pretty’ and some of them actually are worth your money… But chances are you’re not investing in those ones, in fact you may not have even thought twice about the ones that could and even would actually help you and your business. There is a vital question that you can ask yourself before you make any major purchases that will save you from spending your money on “regret crap”. “Regret Crap” is all the stuff that you spent your money on in hopes that it was going to make your photography look better, your business be better or your phone ring better… But it turned out that it wasn’t really what you needed. It was a poorly planned and pathetically researched attempt to find an easy fix that turned out to never solve the problem or have any of the qualities that “easy” should have. I have a closet of “regret crap” that I bought at the beginning of my career. I feel I need to put in a disclaimer… What’s in my closet doesn’t have to be ‘regret crap’ for you, it just turned out to be “regret crap” for me. There is a light meter (because I never used it and bought it in hopes that it would be my easy fix instead of learning manual), a ton of newborn props (I don’t even photograph newborns anymore), about 100 lollipops that I was going to use for a lollipop garden concept-shoot right up until I realized I was going to need ten times that to have any sort of impact. (On a plus note, I now stick these on the top of gifts for the birthday parties my kiddos attend!) …And well, you get the idea. Each of the items I mentioned, are things that I bought to either try to mask the real problem area or were poorly researched and prematurely purchased. After hundreds of dollars wasted and a list of items added to my ‘someday post on eBay’ to-do list… I’ve learned to ask myself this very important question: Will _________________(insert the item you’re thinking about buying) solve a problem or is it just masking the real one? My spending habits seemed to graduate from Kindergarten to High School over night just by asking this simple question! It also had a wonderful side effect of helping me narrow in on where I really should spend my money! For example, after spending a bunch of money on props and such in hopes that this would draw new clients in.. I finally invested the time and money into learning how to genuinely and properly market my photography business. With this one simple question you can begin deciphering if the item you’re interested in is a Band-Aid or a cure! By personally asking this question, I’ve been able to invest in the right areas of my business! Because of that fact, I finally have the money to buy the things I really want, when I want them…  But it’s not with false hopes of making something happen that won’t. It’s because I want it and I can! That is an empowering feeling! Tomorrow Night (Wednesday the 30th) I will be teaching a live web event: Go4Profit – The Art of In-Person Ordering! If you’re ready to have the cure instead of the Band-Aid, ready to have the money to buy things just because you want them and not have to feel guilty about it. If you’re ready to create amazing summer experiences for your family because of the thousands of dollars that you’re brining in from your photography business, then I highly suggest that you REGISTER RIGHT NOW for Go4PROFIT! Image Source
Filed Under: Profits & Sales
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

Jen Thompson’s Fighting Chance against Cancer

Posted by on May 25, 2012 with 0 Comments
Jen Burgess Thompson is a 37-year old wedding and portrait photographer from Redmond, Oregon.  She’s a devoted mom.  And she has advanced ovarian cancer. Jen has bravely endured major surgery and months of brutal chemotherapy. Her doctors have given Jen 12-18 months, but there’s hope: They want her to enter a clinical trial at the Mayo Clinic. The estimated price tag is $63,000. There is no doubt in my mind that our photography community will not only get her there but also help her with the long road of recovery that awaits.

Offer your donation at AM I STILL A GIRL or PHOTO DOUGH

 SIGN UP FOR THE GO4PROFIT WEB EVENT AND I WILL DONATE AN ADDITIONAL $50 ON YOUR BEHALF

Filed Under: Inspire Me
Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).

Pet Mini Session Campaign Kit

Posted by on May 23, 2012 with 6 Comments
It’s almost time to unlock the next Go{4}Pro Facebook Freebie! To make sure you’ll know when the Pet Mini Session Campaign Kit unlocks as a FREE DOWNLOAD:
  1. Like Go4ProPhotos on Facebook
  2. Subscribe to the Go{4}Pro Photos Newsletter (I’ll send you an email as soon as the 48 hours starts!
  3. Spread the word… Well that will just help you get it faster!!
  This time I’ve created a Pet Mini Session Campaign Kit (featuring the oh so talented Sarah Beth) that you can enjoy offering during the dog days of summer! Oh yes, that pun was soooo intended and yes, I crack myself up too! INCLUDED IN THE PET MINI SESSION CAMPAIGN KIT:
  • Mini Session Success Strategies 
  • Blog/Email Banner
  • 5×7 Client Announcement Post Card
  • Blog Mini Session Announcer 
  • 3×3 Accordion Mini Album Template
  • Pet Mini Session Scheduler
  • 10 Simple Pet Photography Tips
Photography Credit to Sarah Beth Photography of  Minneapolis, MN. (Amazing right?!!?)
  Are you ready for more? I'm determined to prove to as many photographers as will let me that you can have passion, profits and time for a great life.

I create six-figure photographers, and I'd love to teach you, step-by-step, how it's done. This is happening for photographers from all over the world who are just like you. Let me prove just how wildly successful YOU can be!

If you're ready to take your business further, sign up for email updates (it's free).