When I first started my wedding photography business, I wasn’t “Linda Barry Photography.” I was “Life As I Know It Photography,” and I did everything that came my way and I was in no way shape or form, a true business. In 2013 I decided I wanted to be a legitimate business in Portland, Maine and I wanted to specialize in weddings. I will write a blog post about specializing at some point to describe what that was like. So, I’m just going to share a few things that you can do, regardless of whatever type of business you are starting, to make it legit!
#1. Register for an EIN (employee identification number).
This will allow you to file your taxes with the government at the end of the year, and to open up business bank accounts. This can be done here. You can also do this with your social security number. However, I am not familiar with how you would do that exactly.
#2. Call your city office/town hall.
Ask them about the types of licensing you may need to be a business in the area you live. For my business in Portland, Maine, I only need a DBA (doing business as) and not a business license. This lets the city know that I am running a business under the name of Linda Barry Photography. Having this DBA also allows me to have a business bank account with my business name.
#3. Write a business plan.
As you start a business it is really important to know how you would describe your business to someone, as well as understanding what your goals are and how you are going to meet them. I am going to be sharing some tips next week about writing business plans.
#4. Start tracking your profits and expenses.
I keep basic tables for each month for profit and expenses. I write down all the money spent that is associated with my business, as well as keeping all of the receipts. This will make it easy for my accountant to see the big picture at the end of the year. Plus, it’s important to know what you are investing in your business as well as what you are making.
#5. Meet with a lawyer to ensure your contracts will hold up in court.
I bought contracts online and met with a lawyer at a later date. She did a lot of work organizing it, making sure it would be easily understood by my clients, and ensuring that I would not have to leave the state of Maine should any legal issues arise. This was a really great move for my business.
#6. Create a website/social media page.
It is important to get your name out there! You can use a free platform for a website until you have the means to get your own URL.
#7. Create an e-mail address.
Every business should have an e-mail address so that you can be contacted by potential clients, as well as having a place to send all of your receipts and correspondence for online activities. Gmail is a great source to use for this.