Home Based Photography Business

A home based photography business can be a lucrative venture for talented individuals who don't want to punch a clock. No more early morning commute in heavy traffic or filling up at the pump for a weeklong junket back and forth to the office. Photographers can work at their own pace from sunup to sundown, take a leisurely break, or catch an afternoon nap and still make money doing what they enjoy! Working at home offers photographers a chance to ply their craft without incurring the overhead that goes with operating out of an expensive storefront. A spare bedroom with adjoining bath, or an unused basement can easily become converted into a studio complete with a darkroom for developing prints. And unlike a 9-to-5 job, freelancing from a home-based business puts a priority on the family. Mom and Dad have time to take the kids to school or dance lessons and catch up on the day's activities over a relaxed dinner in the evening. Self-employed entrepreneurs have the luxury of setting their own hours and managing schedules to maximize professional and personal time.

But operating a home based photography business is not all fun and games; it requires self-discipline. Unlike regular employees, photographers and other home-based entrepreneurs only make money when work is available; and it is not going to come up to the house and ring the doorbell. Independent agents need to employ creative marketing strategies to gain and retain a clientele that will ensure a steady income stream. Advertising in local newspapers and magazines and online are surefire ways to get noticed. Novice photographers or those just starting out in entrepreneurship may need to give free services in order to receive revenue from local and online customers. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38).

Offering specials during the holidays for family photos opens the door for repeat customers. Photographers can visit local high schools to submit bid proposals for doing yearbooks and annuals at reduced rates. Stopping by car dealerships, restaurants, and shopping malls to chat with merchants can drum up some business-to-business revenue. Most merchants will need professional photography services as part of a marketing or advertising program. Leave a few calling cards at each location for future references. Freelancers who operate a home based photography business may also try bartering, or trading goods and services, with other independent agents or entrepreneurs. That's a cost effective way to boost revenue without expending a lot of cash.

"Have camera, will travel" should be a professional camera jockey's motto because most professionals don't mind going where the action is to get the perfect shot. But thanks to the Internet and web-based advertising, photographers don't have to leave the comfort of a home based photography business to reach a global audience. Since photography is a visual medium which is best showcased on the web, posting a photo gallery of professional shots on a web page gives photographers an online portfolio accessible to the world! Freelancers can drive existing and potential customers to their websites to get a firsthand look at an electronic portfolio which can be regularly updated. To prevent browsers from using photos without paying for them, self-employed shutterbugs should embed a prominent watermark across each photo and set up the site to accept charge cards for online orders. Freelancers can also print a Uniform Resource Locator or URL on business cards to drive traffic to their websites.

When it comes to being creative, most professional photographers shine; but becoming a self-employed entrepreneur can be a little taxing. A home based photography business should be operated like a legitimate enterprise and must meet all local, state and federal regulations. Entrepreneurs should apply for a business license at the local city licensing office, which will be listed in the telephone directory. Some municipalities may require that entrepreneurs get a city-approved signed consent form from neighbors who live in close proximity to a home-based enterprise which will allow the entrepreneur to conduct self-employment in the neighborhood and hang out a shingle. Novice entrepreneurs may also consider getting additional homeowner's insurance to protect against liability if customers will be entering the premises on a regular basis to be photographed. In a society that tends to love lawsuits and frivolous litigations, individuals who operate a home based photography business want to exercise caution.

After obtaining a commercial license, photographers will want to open a bank account in the company or personal name, get calling cards printed, and dedicate a telephone line to the enterprise with Internet access and fax capabilities. Setting aside a specific space in the residence for production and to greet and discuss projects with clients keeps the home based photography business professional. The photography office should be treated as an environment separate from the other living areas for two reasons: (1) a more formal workspace is part of operating a disciplined, productive and profitable home based enterprise, and (2) a separate workspace qualifies for a tax deduction if used eight hours a day. When the home based photography business begins to grow, there really is no need to lease outside office space. Most clients appreciate photographers who save them time and money by commuting to a home, office or other offsite location. Mobility, flexibility, and availability, coupled with the benefits of operating a home based business is a surefire formula for a freelance photographer's success.

Wedding Affiliate Programs

With hundreds of wedding affiliate programs available on the Internet today, the opportunities to make money may seem virtually endless. Companies that sell bridal gowns, rings, flowers, stationary, and accessories are looking for individuals and small businesses to help them promote and market products and services through their websites in exchange for a portion of the profits. There are programs available for every aspect of a wedding, including the most obscure. Exercise videos for brides who want to lose weight and pre-written speeches for best men are offer associate programs. Wedding affiliate programs may be appealing to a novice affiliate, but the business is also very competitive. Several large websites have an edge on the market. Although it helps to have a wedding-oriented website, anyone can join.

Marriage is a commitment and an investment. Brides and grooms-to-be take the products and services purchased very seriously and rarely make impulse decisions. Wedding affiliate programs are ideal for small businesses in the wedding industry to earn extra income. Event planners, videographers, and professional disc jockeys can easily incorporate links or web banners to advertise other services. Marriage counselors, alumni directors, and memory book suppliers can also benefit by joining an associate program. Affiliates don't have to take on any additional inventory, so there are no extra overhead costs. The merchant takes care of customer service, selling and shipping products. All associates need to do is point customers to the merchant website. If an associate already has a solid client base and a solid website, most of the work is already done. Clients prefer to get information and make purchases through a trusted source. Plus, by offering information on new products and services, wedding affiliate programs can actually add business to current customer base.

In exchange for referring customers, merchants pay affiliates on a per sale basis. On average, wedding affiliate programs pay 10-12% commission on each sale. Some pay a flat rate of $20-$30 per item. A few have per-click arrangements that pay associates for clients who click through to the website but don't necessarily make a purchase. These usually range from $1-$2 per click. With a website that has a lot of traffic, sales and click-throughs can add up quickly, earning associates extra income. There is no charge to sign up with an affiliate program. Upon joining, associates have access to graphics and links to post to their websites. Plus, most programs will provide extras like data feeds, product information and special discount codes to pass along to potential clients. "Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth. My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly." (Job 33:2-3)

When affiliate programs began, associates often posted a one-page sales letter to pitch products to customers, but research has shown this method to only be effective in making one-time sales. Associates who want to build long-lasting relationships with customers have developed strategies that have gained the trust of new clients and the loyalty of existing ones. There are many ways in which individuals and businesses can enhance their involvement in wedding affiliate programs. Many associates have already developed a specialized niche market that fills a void in the market. Providing information through blogs, e-newsletters and well-researched articles helps clients stay informed about the products and service they are considering for purchase. Associates often post articles, blogs and post in forums about their industry niche with a link to a landing page of the website. Even bloggers of more general topics include a wedding topic every now and then to optimize web traffic. Other methods include using very specific keywords, including the web address on printed materials, and listing the link on business emails. View traffic log on the affiliates' website regularly to see which methods are working and adjust strategies appropriately. Be careful not to jump into too many methods at one time. Choose one strategy and perfect it before trying another one. Build a client base slowly and purposefully, investing into clientele to keep their business.

Bridal shops or wedding professionals who wish to begin wedding affiliate programs should be prepared. Many novices make common mistakes that could be avoided but cost them credibility and potential associates in the process. It doesn't hurt to look at how other programs operate, but each merchant needs to develop his or her own association. Create a contract that is specific to the business, not just a generic contract from another program. Make sure all the facts are consistent and accurate, not just for potential customers, but for associates as well. Merchants need to be able to upkeep an affiliate website in addition to a commercial website. This special website keeps track of sales and commissions earned by each associate. Pages should look professional and be easy to navigate, including a section for frequently asked questions, privacy statements, and any contact information. Be sure to avoid other common mistakes like spelling and typing errors that make the website look less professional.

As with any associate affiliation, individuals and small businesses wishing to join wedding affiliate programs need to research the company before joining. Make sure it has a good, clean reputation. If possible, get a referral or check with the Better Business Bureau before applying. Good programs will have a strong assistance plan to get associates started and build a successful business. Reputable companies will not charge associates to join. Watch for scams and disguised multi-level marketing schemes. Knowledge is the strongest weapon. With it, good decisions are made and mistakes can be avoided.

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