As small business owners, we feel a lot of weight on our shoulders. I mean really, it’s all up to us! We are our own bosses.. and while that seems like it would be Ah-mazing to most people in the 9-5 workforce, it’s a daunting task. Think of everything a boss enforces, all the decisions he or she makes, all of the pressure that rides solely on them… we experience all of that… AND the actual work of the job!! Being a small business owner isn’t easy. In fact, I would venture to say that in a lot of ways, it’s a lot harder than working under someone.
The more I work for myself and grow this business, the more I realize just how VITAL the “Business” part is. You either have to LOVE it or pay someone else to do a really great job taking care of it. You can’t JUST be a photographer and be successful… it’s not possible. You have to be business minded. So many GREAT creatives run their businesses into the ground because they just can’t seem to wrap their mind around the finances, the contracts, the sales tax, the income tax, etc. I understand, it’s hard! It’s not fun either! But if you’re in a season where you’re struggling in your business, I think it would be a great time to step back, analyze the areas where you’re failing and then hire someone to help you get back on track.
Michael and I spent a small fortune working with our CPA this spring and making some pretty major changes to our business and we’re already seeing the benefits of that expense. Sometimes it takes spending some money to make some money! So what am I trying to say in this post?! Well, I want to be encouraging AND challenging to those of you out there that aren’t where you want to be. You can get there… but you have to figure out if you’re a business person or if you’re just amazing at your craft. If you’re not a business person, that’s ok… but you’ll need to take some steps to continue to grow your business.
Not sure where you stand? Here are some characteristics of the business-minded :
- They naturally think of their time, profitability and scalability when coming up with new ideas.
- They know that only about 40% of their income is actual income.
- They’re always thinking of new ways to do things.
- They enjoy figuring out the theory behind WHY something is selling or succeeding.
- They are conscious of bottle necks (areas of their business that are slowing them down and hindering profitability)
- They live off of their systems.
- They don’t feel bad charging for mileage reimbursements or travel costs.
- They are constantly aware of their bank accounts and everything that is coming in and out.
- They track their financial progress throughout the year and compare to prior years.
- They have a sense of urgency about their business.
Now do I encompass ALL of those qualities all of the time? No way. But I do embody a lot of them and that’s how I know that I enjoy the business side of things. Business comes easy to me, but it actually doesn’t come easy to most creatives. If you went through that list and just kept saying “Nope, that’s not me…. neither is that… etc”… you need to consider hiring some help. Sure, it’s an investment, but its an investment that will add integrity to your business and help you succeed. Here are some services to look into:
- Hiring a hands-on CPA for ALL tax related items in your business.
- Hiring a Bookkeeper to track monthly expenses and generate reports
- Start working with a financial planner… even if you don’t think you have any money! (I’ll be posting more about this in a week or so!)
- Hire a part time office manager to run the backend of your business so that you can continue to CREATE!
- Outsource the work that you DON’T HAVE TO DO.
- Get Educated : Coaching, online resources, business books, podcasts, etc. LEARN more about these areas that you’re not so sure about! There is so much out there!!
Someone VERY wise once told me that if I didn’t start outsourcing work, my business would be stagnant… forever. That one piece of advice was a game changer for me. Growing businesses ask for help. So if you’re your own boss and some of these topics are hitting close to home, it could be time to sit down and figure out your next step. Instead of struggling with the business side of things, lets hand that over to someone who ENJOYS it so that you can do more of what you LOVE. :)
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