How to Make $400,000 in your photo business!

Do you want to have a business that rocks like one of the following photographers?   Luke & Cat Have grossed 1 million dollars over the past 3 years Luke and Cat were in the family business of cattle farming in Texas when they got the bug to start their own business and shoot weddings. They read blogs and worked their circle of friends and after 1 full year in business had grossed just $9,000 after shooting as many weddings. Once they took out taxes and expenses they were making around $150 per wedding! They felt defeated. They either had to change something or give up. They did something incredible and over the next 3 years they grossed 1 MILLION dollars and will hit close to $400,000 this year alone! So what changed? What was the catalyst for their success? A Business Jump-Start Luke and Cat came and spent $3,500 on a personal coaching session with us at the end of 2011 when things looked bleak. We poured our heart and soul into them and worked with them to get their business on track. They took what they learned that day and went home, did the hard work, and implemented everything with some spice of their own and blew their business up! If you want to learn the same information that we shared with Luke & Cat at a fraction of the price, and take your business forward, then don’t hesitate, don’t put it off, don’t be the one that thought “maybe next year” and miss out on getting your business working now! We have 8 seats left for our 2014 Business and Marketing workshop that is going to... Read More

4 keys to avoiding a HUGE tax bill you can’t pay, PART II

Tuesday we shared the first two keys to avoiding an unexpected tax bill.  Today, we continue on with the final two steps! Step 3. Set aside taxes EVERY time you pay yourself The easiest way to make sure you NEVER get hit with a tax bill that you do not have income for  is to set aside taxes any time you pay yourself. This makes you pay yourself based on your CURRENT income, and not a PROJECTION of your income.  This is why we have never been surprised with a tax bill and always had the money to pay it. Example: – We get paid $5,000 in total payments for our products and services for the month. – We have $500 in expenses to fulfill those products and services, so we pay the $500 of business expenses directly out of the business account using our debit card. – It’s the end of the month and we decide we want to keep $1,500 in our account for cushion (saving for gear/upcoming expenses, etc), and  we now are ready to pay ourselves the remaining $2,000*. – We transfer out the $2,000 into our personal checking account and divvy up the money as follows: 25% ($500) to a separate (non-business) checking account which is solely for holding our taxes 10% ($200) to a separate (non-business) checking account which is solely for holding our tithe (this of course, is how we operate our money, but if you are not a believer and do not tithe, then skip over this line!) – This leaves a remaining $1,300 that is “free and clear” to pay... Read More

4 keys to avoiding a HUGE tax bill you can’t pay, PART I

A photographer we know paid her tax bill a few years back and had saved just enough to do so that year. At the beginning of the next year, her “tax adviser” said she should plan on paying the same amount again, which she did trusting that he was giving her good advice. She has a huge increase in business and profits that year and actually tripled her income! Her “tax guy’s” advice she got almost ruined her business. Because she only saved the same amount that she did the previous year, she now owed thousands of dollars she didn’t have and spent the next year trying to clean up that mess. We NEVER want something like that to happen to you. (Disclaimer: This post is about simply covering your butt when it comes to taxes, it is NOT about HOW and WHEN you should pay yourself, cashflow, projections or irregular income scheduling which we cover in other posts. We are not certified financial advisers. All information found on here is for informational, educational or entertainment purposes only and should not be constructed as personal financial advice. Please consult with your own CPA to determine what is best for your own business).  The IRS stated in 2009 that about 8.2 million people owed the IRS 83 billion dollars that year. Pretty much the worst thing that can happen at the end of your year is to realize that you owe the IRS a big bill, and you don’t have the cash! Since we began running our own business back in 2007, we have never been hit with a tax... Read More

Top Reads | The Total Money Makeover

Welcome to our Top Reads series where we feature a book that has shaped the way we think and act about business and includes a small snippet as to why you should add this to your arsenal! Today we are featuring The Total Money Makeover. Dave Ramsey’s princlples on money have not only changed our personal finances, but allowed us to start and grow our business completely debt free. Dave Ramsey is a New York Times best-selling author, host of his own hit radio show, and runs an extremely successful firm with over 325 employees right here in Nashvillle, TN. Make sure to check out our other top reads we love and... Read More

5 SIMPLE steps to managing your business finances!

Today we are back with more Q and A, and today’s question comes from Phylicia Ghee!   She asked: “I wish I had a real life mentor to ask questions and go to for guidance, but for now I just have to work with what I have I guess, since I cant afford to go back to school for business. I still get lost in the logistics of bookkeeping, taxes and cash-flow. How did you and Jody learn to tackle, understand and keep track of those financial aspects of your business?”     Finances, taxes and cash flow are all tough when you are first thrust into a major part time or full-time biz. But, if you follow the 5 SIMPLE steps below, you will be on your way to less headaches and more fun in your business!     1. Use professionals. We have a tax guy and a small business adviser (both work for Tax Alternatives in Nashville). Paying a small fee to have a real pro advise you is worth every penny and we have never regretted it. Do not try and do your taxes on your own when running a small business because it is not worth it to make a mistake with the IRS.   2. Only use advisers with the heart of a teacher. If your advisers primary purpose is NOT to have you fully understand what’s happening with your money, your taxes and so on, then don’t hire them. You must have a standard that they live up to, so we use our business hero, Dave Ramsey, who has his own Endorsed Local... Read More

Tuesday Photo Tips & Tricks | Making Money pt. 2 – The Mind Gap

“One of the reasons that millionaires are economically successful is that they THINK differently.”  – Thomas J. Stanley, The Millionaire Next Door         The second most important concept to realize when it comes to finances and winning with money is that half of all of your earning potential is tied to whether or not you BELIEVE that you can earn. In The Millionaire Next Door, a 25 year study of millionaire’s in America, Thomas J. Stanley found that of all the 6, 7 and 8 figure earners in the US, something unique is found with all of them. Even if they LOSE all their wealth, MOST can EASILY begin to earn at that level again. Why is it that they can 1. earn that type of money in the first place (as of 2009 if you paid taxes on $112,000 or more, you are in the top 10% of wage earners) and 2. earn it again after you lose it? Especially when you consider that 90% of wage earners will never earn that much money per year in their lifetime?   The reason that the high earners can easily do it again, is because they KNOW that it’s possible. They have done it before, and therefore they believe. Our minds and the belief set that we carry with us has much more power than we give credit to.   When we first started our business, I (Zach) had never earned more than about $15,000 per year when I was working day jobs and then touring as a musician. I was 27 when we started our photography business, I... Read More

Making Money | The Culture of Earning

Welcome to week 1 of this 3 week series on how to make more money in your business + a sweet GIVEAWAY. Today we will cover the first and most important aspect of becoming great at anything you set out to do – culture immersion. Generating money requires complete devotion and dedication to earning.  Think back to when you first became a photographer. You somehow got the itch, started checking out cameras and blogs and before you knew it, you were in deep! When I (Zach) started shooting back in 2006, I got into photography almost overnight. I wanted to learn so bad that I pushed an A&R guy from Provident records to get me on the assistant list of the best commercial shooters in town and went out for free and carried gear bags just to see them shoot. I went to the library and read loads of books on lighting and shooting techniques, I poured over dozens of blogs, websites, YouTube videos and started making friends that were shooters with whom I spent hours talking shop about cameras and lenses, I spent hundreds and probably even thousands of hours learning, shooting and soaking it all up. The result? Jody and I had photographers asking us to teach photography just 1 year into running our business. It seams like maybe that was premature for us to start teaching since we had only been “shooting” for a year, but the reality was that we had spent so much time previous to that learning and becoming good at what we did, we really were ready to start teaching. We were immersed in... Read More

Business Finances, Part IV | How to Delegate Extra Monthly Income

Welcome to Part IV in our Business Finances Series!! Today we are tackling how we keep track and organize the extra finances that we have at the end of the month. In the video below we share the different categories we save for throughout the year and how we keep all of that organized. Enjoy the video! Download our Emergency/Savings Breakout Excel Sheet. In case you missed out on Week 1, CLICK HERE to view our financial story and the how to’s in creating a budget! In case you missed out on Week 2, CLICK HERE to view the first step in managing your finances with an irregular income! In case you missed out on Week 3, CLICK HERE to view the second step in managing your finances with an irregular income!   RESOURCES:   FREE video worksheet Downloads:  Grab them HERE Web | DaveRamsey.com Reading | The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Classes |... Read More

Business Finances Part 3 | Managing an Irregular Income (Cont.)

Welcome to Part III in our Business Finances Series!! Today we are talking about the 2nd step in managing your finances with an irregular income. Enjoy the video! HIGHLIGHTS: Steps to Paying Yourself: Keep track of upcoming business expenses & retain the money in your business account Collect a paycheck Stay organized by creating multiple checking accounts (Monthly Spending/Tithe/Taxes/Emergency & Savings) and pay into those accounts every time you pay yourself Transfer out extra $$ to Emergency/Savings account Jones Family $$ Example: End of the month Paycheck: $10,000 Deduction: 10% to Tithe ($1,000) Deduction: 25% to Taxes ($2,500) Remainder: $6,500 $1,500 is transferred to Emergency/Savings fun $5,000 remains in Monthly Spending account to cover all bills & cash spending for the coming month   Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom.   In case you missed out on Week 1, CLICK HERE to view our financial story and the how to’s in creating a budget! In case you missed out on Week 2, CLICK HERE to view the first step in managing your finances with an irregular income! We hope you have enjoyed week 3 on Business Finances! If you have any questions, makes sure to list them below and we’ll try to cover them in our further videos!   RESOURCES: Web | DaveRamsey.com Reading | The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Classes |... Read More

Business Finances, Part II: Managing an Irregular Income

Welcome to Part II in our Business Finances Series!! Today we are talking about the first step in managing your finances with an irregular income. Enjoy the video! [iframe: width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/0hIl5McW83Y” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]   DOWNLOAD HERE the excel sheet that we use to keep track of our yearly income! In case you missed out on Week 1, CLICK HERE to view our financial story and the how to’s in creating a budget! We hope you have enjoyed week 2 on Business Finances! If you have any questions, makes sure to list them below and we’ll try to cover them in our further videos!   RESOURCES: Web | DaveRamsey.com Reading | The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Classes |... Read More

Business Finances, Part I: Budgets

You have asked for it, and we’re giving it to you – A post on business finances! We have learned a lot over the past 6.5 years with our personal and business finances, but before we even get into managing business finances, it all starts with setting good foundations for those spending habits. …. and this is where budgets come into play! Listen how to get an instant pay raise and to start the steps of having financial freedom by getting on a budget!!! [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/QoPTxJTikek” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen] DOWNLOAD HERE the excel sheet that we use to get the correct denominations of cash for our monthly spending. Here is an additional video to walk you through how we utilize the excel sheet we have created. [iframe: width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/2P7w2qNr8p8″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen] We hope you have enjoyed week 1 on Business Finances! If you have any questions, makes sure to list them below and we’ll try to cover them in our further videos! THE 6 BUDGET STEPS: #1. List monthly bills #2. Create cash budget categories #3. Save monthly receipts #4. Look for areas to reduce spending #5. Agree on a monthly cash spending budget #6. Take out cash RESOURCES: Web | DaveRamsey.com Reading | The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey Classes |... Read More

Think & Grow Rich… is it really that simple?

I wanna be a billionaire, so freakin’ bad… Anyone else? ;) I (Jody) love the song, “Billionaire.” The lyrics often get stuck in my head… And is that such a bad thing to want? What’s the point of having $$? We love what Dave Ramsey (the smartest man on business and finances we know). He says money is good for three things – saving, spending, and giving. I love that! Ever since we came across Dave Ramsey, almost 7 years ago we have followed that idea as well as his financial principles. We’re always eager to learn more about how we manage our money better, and of course, grow it! (Not sure where to start with your finances? Try reading Total Money Makeover by DR). I recently picked up a book, Think and Grow Rich, thanks to the high recommendations from a friend of ours. Our friend read it, applied the principles, and a year later, made $1,000,000. Um, if that doesn’t get my attention I don’t know what else will! I started the book on vacation and am about a third of the way through. It’s really good stuff so far and I wanted to share the biggest thing that has struck me so far. The battle for your success will first start in your mind. Yup, read that again and soak it in… then move onto these quotes from Think and Grow Rich.   “…no more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty” (p. 22). “Both poverty and riches are the offspring of... Read More

Money Money Money | How we Handle Income

Today we want to talk about something we all often may ignore – MONEY! Yes, we receive it and we love that part, but what we do with it can either really hurt us or help us. So, today, we are going to talk about that dirty old word we all hate, TAXES! **Disclaimer: This is simply Zach & Jody advice that is not a source to quote if you’re ever taken to court. Make sure you refer to your local state and county guidelines for taxes and other laws :) ** The biggest hassle at the end of the year for your business can be paying taxes!! How much do you owe and where the money is coming from can be the biggest STRESSERS! There are quite a few ways (and some more elaborate than others) to help relieve the craziness taxes, but we’re going to keep it simple, for those who like simplicity :) When you have money coming in from your photography business, and maybe money coming in from a day job as well, it can get confusing what money you owe taxes on, ESPECIALLY when the money is combined in the same banking account. And then what about paying yourself? What about business expenses, quarterly payments, what to write off and what to not? There is a lot to think about, so here a few simple tips to help keep your money organized, especially as you’re starting your business and don’t have your $$ in any fancy business management software :) 1. In addition to your personal checking account (we’ll call that account CheckingP. “P” for... Read More