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Starting my own business… What was I thinking???

I was going to start this post with the sentence: “What no one tells you about starting your own business…” but that isn’t true. I knew exactly what I was getting into. But how crazy am I to do this at 52 (almost 53)? I’m very fortunate that my husband earns a good income, so we can afford for me to make this leap.

I’m still open for the “right” corporate job (Product Management or Product Marketing), but I really want to make this work. I’ll start with the tough parts…

Starting a niche business from scratch is slow. I’m creating a market for heirloom photography which requires educating potential customers. That means I don’t have a pent up demand to fill. I am still confident it will get there – but it will not be overnight.

The hours are long. I get up and work on the business, shoot photographs during the day. And then I find that I’m working on the business as we sit in the family room at night. And it’s 7 days/week. But so far, I love every minute of it.

It’s so tempting to veer from the business plan. But I am staying focused. I am in the process of adding a couple new products to the biz, but they will serve to build the main business plan. At sometime I may change… but not yet.

Now with what’s already giving me rewards.

I’m meeting some really fascinating and supportive people as I build connections. I’ve joined a women’s networking group – WESOS (Women Entrepreneurs – Secrets of Success) – and I’m getting great support and knowledge. Plus I’ve been networking with people who can help spread the word about my business to their clients – and they’ve all been great. Next up – I need to join some additional local business networking groups.

I’m putting my marketing chops back to work and I LOVE that. Fine-tuning my message. Listening to how contacts and clients describe the service. Finding new ways to communicate to prospective customers. Finding new prospects. All while staying in my budget! I’ve spent my career preaching that we need to spend the company’s money as if it’s our own. Now it is!

I’m continuing to improve my photography skills. Lots of practice, lots of online classes. I’m getting better and better thinking about lighting and composition. And I feel that’s helping my nature photography as well.

I’m following some of my own “corporate life” advice. I’m documenting processes. I’m automating where I can. I’m starting with “free” wherever I can, knowing that I can upgrade when I’m ready. I’m doing at least small business cases for every purchase – I know my breakeven points and make informed decisions. It’s actually fun to use that discipline.

It feels great to hear “what a great idea!” when I talk about my business. I truly believe there’s a demand for my services & skills. Between the trend to declutter and an aging population that is downsizing to smaller living spaces, there’s definitely a need to capture the memories of our possessions before we discard them.

And finally, I still get to make time for nature photography – my form of therapy. (That’s me out yesterday. I’ll prpbably skip today since the heat index is supposed to be around 100!) I don’t get as much time to head out, but it’s still so very rewarding.

Wish me luck as I proceed on this exciting, and scary, endeavor. And thanks for all the support and encouragement you’ve shown so far!!!


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