Even though I know there’s no such thing as the perfect job, photography feels pretty close. It has been about a year since I left my day job to pursue photography full time and I can honestly say I have no regrets about that decision. Mike and I made Steamed Mussels with Garlic and Parsley the other night and, while we were eating, he asked what I have enjoyed the most about working for myself.
The first thing that came to mind is the freedom. I can make my business whatever I want it to be. I choose my projects and I plan my schedule each week. It’s incredibly rewarding. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges, or that everyday is easy. Being a photographer is so much more than taking pictures. It’s about building relationships. It’s about listening and earning trust. It’s also about knowing how to value your work and clients so you can, in fact, be in business. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life.
This show is incredibly insightful about what it takes to be a business. Do you watch it? I always learn something new and two things always stand out to me that I practice with my own business: 1) Know your numbers and 2) Business isn’t complicated.
Know Your Numbers
As someone who averaged a C in math, this one seemed more intimidating to me than it needed to be. If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide, then you will be just fine figuring out your numbers. I purchased QuickBooks Online to help me track my profits and losses and also work with my accountant, Helena to help me with the more daunting task of quarterly taxes and general business and tax questions. Although I was intimidated by this piece, I knew I wanted to do it right. Surprisingly, I started to enjoy looking at my numbers everyday, because they helped me see my success and where I needed to grow. It also helps me appreciate the importance of setting goals and setting up a plan to achieve them.
Business Isn’t Complicated
With a contract, business is not complicated. I learned this one the hard way. I was on a job a long time ago, with no contract, and I ended up losing four hours of unpaid time on a photo shoot, not including the post-processing time after the shoot. Afterwards, I was pretty upset. I felt taken advantage of and like my time wasn’t respected. I soon realized that I had no one to blame but myself. I didn’t have a contract to state the terms and conditions of the photo shoot and I didn’t speak up when we went overtime. It wasn’t a good day, but it was a game changing day. It opened my eyes to the importance of setting boundaries and how a contract is essential for all of my projects.
So, cheers to the many learnings of entrepreneurship and cheers to Friday! It has been another busy week and I’m looking forward to relaxing with Mike tonight and welcoming the weekend with open arms.
STEAMED MUSSELS WITH GARLIC AND PARSLEY
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for toasts
2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 or 2 whole garlic cloves for rubbing toasts
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds mussels, cleaned
¼ cup white wine or water
Note: We used a Pinot Gris.
1 baguette, split lengthwise, then cut crosswise in half
1 cup roughly chopped parsley
1. Heat your stove to medium-high heat.
2. Put olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
3. Add the minced garlic and red pepper and let sizzle for 30 seconds without browning.
4. Add the mussels, stir to coat and increase heat to high.
5. Add the wine or water, and put on lid.
6. After 2 minutes, give the mussels a stir, then replace lid and continue cooking until all mussels have opened, 6 to 8 minutes.
7. Paint cut sides of the baguette pieces with oil and place cut side up on grill to toast.
8. Remove the toast from the grill and rub with the remaining garlic cloves.
9. Stir the chopped parsley into the mussels, then ladle mussels and broth into bowls.
10. Serve with the garlic toasts.
All images © Regan Baroni 2016.