My small photography business actually began as a hobby; I have been taking photos since I was 12 years old. The jump from taking pictures for personal enjoyment to charging people took some planning and preparation. Making lists helps when planning to start a business; I started off with my main list. Then, I just went from there. I have enjoyed the journey.
The Legal End
The first step is to make certain the legal structure of your business is in place. For my photo business, I was able to go with a sole proprietorship which means I am the only one responsible for the business.
Registering my business with the state was my next step. I was able to do this step right at my local courthouse. I also set up my information for my local and state taxes. I wanted to make certain that I had everything in place before beginning. Then, I checked with my insurance company to make certain that my house was covered for an in home business. If you are uncertain about the process, check with a professional that help you set up or go to www.sba.gov which has many helpful hints and resources.
Pricing & Services
Once all the legal factors are in place, I had to determine the pricing to charge people that was fair, competitive and allowed me to make a profit as well as what services I wanted to provide. I checked local photographers to see what they were providing and then I tried to stay within that price range. In the beginning, I did do weddings but once I was set up to do archival photos where I take old negatives, slides and photo and make them into digital prints; I stopped doing weddings. So, do not be afraid to drop services and add others as your business progresses. I even added a mail in option for my archival services which has helped increase my business.
Official Website and Social Media
One of the best ways to get your business noticed is by making your presence known on the web. I first started with an official website. After searching, I was able to find a hosting site that met all my needs. Next, I utilized all the vast social media platforms available. Most of these sites are free and allow the user to set up business pages. However you want to further promote your pages, there is usually a fee involved especially when creating an online ad. Depending on the type of business, this option many be a valuable asset. I actually have just started to use this option.