Updated: Nov 25, 2019
A friend asked if I would lay out a few steps to starting a business. So here it goes… I went to WGU to earn a B.S. in Business Management. Throughout the degree program, I gave a lot of thought to different business ideas. A lot of time was spent bouncing ideas off of friends and family. Voicing ideas out loud and listening to the ideas of others is really important. People have a natural tendency to want to help and often they can pull out all the flaws-which isn’t a bad thing. Overtime, I discarded probably over a dozen different ideas. I always kept coming back to my love of the outdoors and photography. I didn’t want to have a traditional photography business because the market is very saturated and doing family photos, engagements, etc. is extremely boring to me. We did have a portrait photography business at one point, we just didn’t have a lot of motivation to keep doing it.
One day Kayden and I were laying on our recliners watching YouTube. Well, I should say Kayden was watching YouTube and I was sleeping. Around 11pm he shook me awake and made me listen to something. The vlogger said something about how he used to film hunts for people. I sat up so quickly in my chair and said, “We HAVE to do this!” Interestingly, we came up with the idea the exact same day I turned in my capstone. My capstone was an in-depth business plan, financial statement and balance sheet on starting a photography business. As we thought and talked about the idea over the next coming weeks, the more it grew on us. Hunting videography was perfect for us- it combined our love of the outdoors and everything cameras. We also want to do film work for outdoor sports (hiking, running, climbing, etc.), special occasions, achievements or ideas and promotional work to help other people build their businesses.
We asked our friends and family if they knew anyone who would be interested in having a hunt filmed for them. Within a couple days we were working out the details to drive to the Henry Mountains to film an archery bison hunt. We were ecstatic! I had already spent six weeks creating a business plan, financial statements and a balance sheet on a photography business. So, I only had to spend the next week revising the documents to incorporate the hunting aspect. The business plan is so crucial to get the ball rolling. I like to imagine the business plan as a living document because your business should always be growing and evolving. (Email me if you would like the business plan template that I used!)
Upon completion, we started working our way down our checklist. The first thing we needed to do was get a business license. For Utah, you can go here: https://secure.utah.gov/osbr-demo/welcome.html. The registration is really straight forward and took me less than an hour. When I was working on the business plan, I gave a lot of thought to whether we should be a sole proprietorship, general partnership, LLC, or LLP. I came to the conclusion that we should start simple and work from there, so we registered as a sole proprietorship- which is by far the simplest. Down the line, we would like to register as an LLP. Even Apple Inc. started as a sole proprietorship. I think it is better to just get started (even if the business is rough around the corners) than wait to until the business is “perfect”. Anyways, I know photography/videography used to be considered a service; however, now the state requires that we pay sales tax on services. I was worried about how complicated paying sales tax would be. A few weeks later, I received the license and instructions on how to pay sales tax. I was relieved to find that it is pretty straight forward too.
The next thing on our list was finishing buying everything we needed on our gear list and getting everything insured. We have about $7,000 in equipment. I insured two cameras, a go pro, two computers and a gimble. I worked through State Farm and purchased a personal policy plan. We pay about $14 a month and with a $100 deductible we can get everything replaced if anything gets broken, gets lost or if anything gets stolen. This is a huge relief because I am very prone to tripping and dropping things. Once, I went to get my sensor cleaned on an old camera. Unfortunately, I was foolish enough to not check the camera immediately after picking it back up. The camera was destroyed. I can only say I wish I had insurance then!
From the moment we had the business idea, I began playing with website templates. I like using www.Wix.comthe best. It’s super intuitive to use and has a lot of apps you can add in. In the business plan, we already decided on a style for our business so picking a template was fairly easy. Right now, we agreed that just our name for a logo was sufficient. We played around with a lot of logo makers and just didn’t like anything. We also didn’t want to pay a lot of money and wait weeks to have someone make one for us. Eventually we may re-evaluate and decide that the investment is worth it. By then, we may have more ideas of what we actually want for a logo. I think time and experiences will play a big factor into it. Before the website was completely done, I had ordered some business cards from Vista Print. I passed them out to friends and family and told them not to look at the website just yet...lol.
There you have it! The steps to starting a business is relatively easy. The hardest part is getting over mental barriers. Kayden and I are very introverted. Before we started the business, we hadn’t been on any kind of social media for over five years. Setting up social media accounts and putting ourselves out there has been the greatest challenge. Our business and the lifestyle that we want to create for ourselves is important enough that we will push through it. My only real advice is to push through your own mental barriers and just get started!
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