Friday was the last official day in my full time business (the portrait studio).
I am now completely self-employed. Or, to put it another way, unemployed.
This is a big change for me.
I have been in the business for my entire adult life. After well over twenty years, it is a bit sad to see it go. My parents started the business while I was in high school. It has been a real education in retail, sales, marketing, as well as photography.
If everything works out, I will be working completely from home from now on.
There are several things I will be doing.
I will be concentrating on this blog and on my photography site for the most part. I also plan to start a few more sites. I have seen some interesting ideas recently and I want to give a few of them a try. Still, most of my focus in Internet Marketing will be centered around this blog and the photography blog.
I will also be doing another home-based business.
This will probably be the long term focus for income. I just have to make up my mind and do it.
I am planning to see what I can do with photography.
For a few months at least, I am staying well away from portrait photography. I look into doing it again sometime in the future, but for now I will look into other types of photography. Besides, I do not have a studio now and it is not very good weather to do portraits outdoors here in Wisconsin. In particular, I intend to develop my stock portfolio a bit for the next couple months.
We may have kept the studio open if we had the business we have had the last few weeks last year.
Why is it once you decide to close, customers seem to come out of the woodwork? My last week in business was probably the largest single week we have had in several years. I had to turn away many potential clients. There was no time to get them in before our lease was up.
I still have some work to do at the studio over the next few weeks.
Our landlord was very kind and has given us the month of December to clean up. After 20 years, we have a lot of things that either need to be sold or thrown out.
Lessons to learn.
Watch the industry you are in. Take notice of changes and make sure you change with them, when the time is right.
Do not change too early.
Sometimes, the early adopters pay a lethal price. Often, early generations of technology have serious flaws.
Do not change too late.
Failure to change will leave you too far behind to catch up. Our failure was not shutting down our film lab soon enough. It was actually costing us money to keep the equipment running.
Marketing your business is the real business.
Everything else is secondary. Make sure your marketing is designed to bring you business, not just get noticed. You are better off sending 3 letters to 10 clients than 1 letter to 30 clients. Also, always be ready to repeat a last successful marketing campaign. Don’t put all your cards on a new method till you see results.
Finally, and probably most important.
Your list is worth it’s weight in gold.
BACK IT UP!