Running a Business in College (Part Two)
I walked down the long, paved path thinking about what I could write about on the blog and the list of photo orders that needed to happen that day. I remembered that I needed to prep for my client meeting that evening and post a senior gallery online. I walked into the dorm room, threw my bag of books on the bed and sat down at my desk hoping that I could get it all done in an hour.
Running a business is a huge commitment & last week I shared a few tips on Running a Business in College. Today I am sharing the second part in this series!
SELECT THE “RIGHT” MAJOR - This does not mean that you need to major in photography. There is no formula for selecting the right major for you, but it’s really important to pick something that is so interesting, you want to spend the rest of your life doing just that. Pick a major (or two) that will be interesting to you in fifty years so that you never want to stop learning or growing! If you are a photographer, I would suggest majoring in something that you could fall back on should you lose your business or decide that you don’t want to run a business anymore. Leave doors open and give yourself options!
I majored in Math because I have always loved math and it comes naturally for me to work with numbers and think in theorems. I have a minor in Computer Science because coding is (still) one of my favorite things to do. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy computer science or how much I would use it in my business! If I ever decide that I want to change things up (this makes me laugh since I love my job so much), I can always use my degree in a formal setting! Then there is my minor in Counseling. I can still see myself getting a masters degree so that I can counsel people when I am fifty years old.
KEEP A CALENDAR - I remember sitting in Probability and Statistics when it occurred to me that I was going to have to write things down. Up to that point, I was trying to keep my to-do list in my head and it was. not. working. I had a calendar that kept track of all assignments, tests & hours for my part-time job but I was still trying to manage my business in my head. And I was fine. But I didn’t want to run a mediocre business, I wanted to run a thriving business and I didn’t want to be at maximum stress for the rest of my life so I knew that something had to change.
Write down everything. Do you need to go to the post office, bank or your sister’s softball game? Write it down. Did your client request something special? Write it down. Is your test on the same day as your product shoot? Write it down. This will help you see how everything is lining up on a day-to-day basis and help you to plan ahead. I would even write “Finish Numerical Analysis Paper” or “Cull Abby and Blake Wedding” in my calendar a week before the deadlines so that I wouldn’t forget to get work done. Once I had everything written down, I could easily look at my day, week or month so I would know if I actually had free time.
I have learned that I can be a better photographer, business woman and wife if I will just write things down so that they aren’t floating around in my mind anymore. Keeping a calendar and staying organized means that I get to be more engaged in what I am doing and do it with excellence.
CREATE A SYSTEM FOR EVERYTHING - I talked a little bit about systems in THIS blog post, but I am planning to devote an entire post just to this topic. I think it’s so important to create a system for every single thing that you need/have to do in your business (and life). Stay organized with contracts, invoices, photo requests, blog posts, emailing, editing and so on! You might think that you aren’t very organized, but don’t let that hold you back in your business! If you aren’t good at staying organized, set goals to become the very best organizer or hire someone to do it for you.
Once you have a system, write it down and stick to it!
EDUCATE YOURSELF ON BUSINESS - No matter what major you select, it is going to be extremely important to keep growing as a business person! A lot of talented artists don’t make it simply because they don’t know how to run a business or lead a group of people. So whether you have great business instincts or not, keep growing. Listen to podcasts, read books and blogs (like this one!!) and apply what you learn so that you can run your business well!
I hope this is helpful as you run your business! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them in the comment section below.