“We’re going to live on; we’re going to survive. Today we celebrate our Independence day.”—President Bradford in the film Independence Day
The Fourth of July is typically a day for us to fire up the grill and not only commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, thus declaring independence from Great Britain but I like to think it’s a day to celebrate the wonderful independence that comes from being your own boss. I hope that on this Independence you take the time to do just that!
One of the single most important factors that causes people to start their own business is a powerful motivation to become truly independent. I know it was in my case; I was fed up with what I felt were coping with so many bad business decisions that made my job harder. If you find yourself saying, “if only I were in charge,” you know what I mean and maybe it’s time for you to take Bill Waterson’s advice to “Let’s go adventuring.”
When you open that studio, even if it’s in the spare bedroom of your condo, as it was for me, there is that strong feeling of being in charge, of being the boss. Mary and I only had $75 in savings when we started our business but it didn’t stop our optimism, our hope for a future when we were making the decisions.
If you’ve been reading all of the posts on Business Friday you know that the reality of owing your own photography business is that true independence may be difficult to find given interference from faceless, unaccountable government officials who will bury you with paperwork and demanding clients who make you long for the time when you actually had a coffee break but you wouldn’t trade the photographic lifestyle for anything else.
Being independent gives you freedom to “call the shots” unencumbered by what the boss, the boss’s boss, maybe the boss’s wife and the corporate culture and the ever-present “Not Invented Here” attitude dictates. Yet while you are free to shape the company in any way that you like, some new photographers, all of a sudden, become timid and end up copying the competition. Don’t do that. You don’t know anything about their costs or even if they’re being financed through a trust fund or wealthy spouse. Be your own person. Make decisions based on your financial situation and don’t accept every assignment that comes along.