In the quest to become a successful entrepreneur, so many new ideas come to mind. There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of products to make, services to offer, things to write, ways to make money… and it is SO fun to dream, to imagine, to plan, to launch, to create, to help others, to build a name for ourselves, to see our hard work really making a difference.
In my first few years as a business owner I was super zealous. There was no mountain too high, no river to wide. I ate, breathed and slept ideas. And it was FUN. Fun to turn my visions into reality. I worked many hours, but it rarely felt like work. And for a while, momentum was building and I was starting to make more money than ever before. As work got busier however, I started sacrificing too much of myself and my relationships. My expenses were growing to. The costs were skyrocketing out of control, and I didn’t even know it.
Most entrepreneurs start out with a small income, and therefor it is wise to begin with a simple business structure. In my case, as a sole proprietor, I was hardly making money the first year. So it made sense to filter all income and expenses through my personal bank and credit card account. I was saving money by not paying for a separate business account with monthly fees. It wasn’t hard to keep track of my money because there were so few transactions. And I was able to write off so much of my personal expenses anyhow. It worked to integrate my personal and “business life” financially. But when I started to expand, more of my time was required to build clientele and service their needs, and I didn’t have time to keep a tight eye on finances. I also didn’t believe I had the cash flow required to pay for help, or automated software for my business operations. So I tried to do it all, and didn’t give much thought to the actual numbers.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself always exhausted, unhealthy, with marriage problems and a child with emotional issues, out of touch with my friends, and struggling to pay the bills. Yet my business was making more than ever before. Where were the profits going? I was working so hard, and yielding so little. It was at this point that I started to tire of work and lose my zeal for what I was doing. Worst of all – when tax time hit that third year, and my accountant ran all the numbers, I discovered that I had actually lost thousands of dollars that year. My business had literally been eating my health, wealth and happiness. It was a startling discovery.
Through this school of hard knocks I learned A LOT. I learned the importance of weighing costs against benefits, in every spectrum of life. I learned that money never grows on trees, even if you are raking it in. I learned to value yourself and your relationships above all else. Increasing profitability is about much more than getting more clients and charging more money. A great business should profit your life in every area – financially, experientially, relationally, intellectually and emotionally.
I want to help you learn what I have, without sacrificing what I did. I am committed to providing business and life advice, encouragement, resources, and knowledge to wedding entrepreneurs and photographers. This post will be regularly updated with blog posts/articles to this end. See below for links!