May 31, 2011 –
As written in the past, I’ve started a small photography business as a part-time job. I don’t expect significant success or income from this endeavor, but if I can cover expenses and make a little extra, I’ll be more than happy.
This opportunity is certainly not about money; it completes an item on my life’s bucket list. I am not a professional or especially talented photographer, but seem to have an eye for interesting scenes. I’ve been fortunate and visited California, New Mexico, Niagara Falls, Austria, Switzerland, and other locations. Naturally, I took hundreds to thousands of pictures, some of which are unique and interesting.
This blog is all about assisting others in developing businesses for themselves – full or part-time – and fulfilling a dream. The path to my objective had many steps that I’d like to share with you:
1) Opportunity: I noted blank walls in my doctor’s office (artwork was gone) and asked if I could hang my framed photos. Win-win situation; the walls get covered and my work exposed to the public.
2) Domain: I immediately started brainstorming domain names and after several attempts registered SteppingStoneStudios at GoDaddy.com. I also registered a free email account using gmail.
3) Team building: I needed help with this project. I contacted my accountant for financial guidance, a pro photo framer, and a website designer – things I could do, but had no time.
4) Product and pricing: Bulk of the time spent here. I went through many iterations and researched market prices for possible sizes and used FedEx for shipping rates.
5) Communication: Key to this project coming together. Meeting in person with the framer and virtually (via Skype and email) with the programmer to ensure all understood the end goal.
6) Publicize: I created and published a Facebook page for exposure and emailed the link to select friends for their feedback. I also had business cards printed up with a logo created by the programmer.
Was this project easy? On a scale of 1-10, about a 5. More time-intensive than anything. Rewarding? Definitely, at least as an accomplishment. Will the website provide extra income? Unknown. Total setup cost is around $400 for the pictures, framing, and programmer. My time is not calculated.
The major advantages of the site are scalability – ability to add content at will – and virtual infinity. The site is established, needing ony minor changes from time to time. Further, the pictures on display will remain indefinitely and seen by hundreds if not thousands of people per month. Rotating the photos on occasion provides more exposure, increasing the odds that someone will buy.
This is how I put together a very basic, ongoing side business for a few hundred dollars. I will continue to update this blog about ongoing issues and lessons learned. Once again, if I can do this, so can you.
By Dion D Shaw
Dion Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs