It’s almost official

I’ve now got an occupational license ($11 for a half year), a Florida tax certificate, and an IRS employer ID number. I expect my employer will approve my official request for outside employment, since it doesn’t conflict with their interests, and then I’ll officially have a side business. I’ve already registered with CompUSA and Costco.

My dad is my model for a successful independent business owner, and he’s proud to give me advice. I’ve also had very helpful advice from and others.

Since I’m starting in the red, I’m trying to be careful about expenses. Model releases, if I need them, can be printed on 4×6 cards and filed in an index-card box I already own. I can burn CDs on a computer that’s already in our household, and I can find a cheap filing thingy to store all necessary paperwork. I should probably get some sort of order/receipt form, too. And business cards would be a nice touch. Oh, padded mailers, of course.

On the other hand, I don’t yet need a DVD burner with LightScribe (though that would be classy; you can burn a photo’s image onto the surface), so that’s $130 Costco won’t be getting. And therefore I don’t need any DVD blanks. If I find a steady stream of income, I might start saving up for the next Dell half-off laptop sale; my current laptop has only 1GB free space (of 6GB) and USB 1.x, making it unlikely to be useful for quick turnaround at a shoot. Then again, perhaps nobody wants just the CDs. Perhaps most people want me to send them prints in an album or something. We’ll see. And later, again if there’s a reason to do so, I might try full-color business cards. Meanwhile, I’m using a free online spreadsheet for my records. I want to keep this lean unless there’s a really good reason to invest more.

PS to : if you have a wildflower vanity plate, I think I saw you coming home on MLK around quarter to seven. I was one of the guys passing your column of traffic in the other lane, getting around that truck before the I-75 on-ramp.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “It’s almost official

  1. knobody

    cheap business cards: vistaprint.com. free cards if you let them print their logo on the back. you pay for shipping ($5.25 for slowest method).

    do you have a card reader? if not i recommend one highly. there are some inexpensive multi-card readers out there and some even cheaper one or two format card readers and they can save a ton of battery life by not having to d/l stuff directly from your camera.

    and if you ever start your own web server for photos, i happen to like plugging gallery. we use it here for photos of the kids and such (gallery.farthinghalearms.com, if you want to check it out). it has different skins available, and although we have it disabled, it does have commerce capabilities.

  2. sylvar

    I like their designs, but as a matter of principle I can’t use someone else’s stock photos, no matter how pretty they look. I must eat my own dogfood.

    I do have a CF card reader, but I love the software that comes with the Canon. Yes, you heard me right, I finally bought something that’s bundled with software that I love. I can download selected photos into a folder I choose and rename them on the fly (to ClientName0001-9999, say). I’d never give that up to save battery time. And anyway, I’ve got two spare batteries charged up. :)

    I’ll keep Gallery in mind if I ever start doing that sort of thing. I might use it to show off my best work, but I know I won’t be storing customers’ images there for very long. Besides, I don’t want monthly fees to pay. :)

  3. tregoweth

    VistaPrint also has cheesy stock art, too.

  4. knobody

    i didn’t know you couldn’t upload your own photos. i know marshall and jennifer (different jennifer) upload their own logo, but maybe they pay more. i agree, a photographer who puts someone else’s photo on his business card is a waste of silver.

    that reminds me, i should probably install the canon software from my camera on the pc (yeah, i’ve only had it a year and a half). that whole stitch feature won’t work without it. so, um, you can’t use the canon software with the images from the cf reader? i thought the mac versions i got worked with files from any source (although i think the mac software was incomplete).

    gallery is open source, you put it on your own server. there are no fees. although i guess a shopping cart would come with them, and if you host of course (our server is just in our dining room with the rest of the space heaters). i guess i wasn’t thinking of contracted images (although it’s a good place to put proofs or sell a service so that people can let their friends and family view online), so much as some of your other images that people could view online and purchase a print of and then get it in the mail from someone like shutterfly or ofoto. i know you like to use creative commons, but there’s no harm in letting people give you money if they want to.

  5. kiarrh

    Yup, that would have been me. I work in the Citigroup building there next to the hotel at MLK and Falkenburg. :)

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