You wanted to know, and the story goes a little bit like this:
1996: Girl starts a photography business with nothing more than A Camera and A Dream. Married, she has two small boys.
(Sidenote: I have a penchant for buying random urls for funny phrases I like in case it makes it big time. I purchased www.acameraandadream.com after a random drunken post in a forum yelling at newbies about how “How photography was more than A Camera and A Dream” back in 2010, some 3 years before this blog was birthed. I also own www.masonjarsandgazebos.com and www.almostsusanstripling.com. Please contact me for detail on how to purchase)
2003: Girl leaves her part time job at a studio as a printer/photographer to pursue her dream as a photographer for her own business. She is at the pivotal point that she is losing business because she is working at the studio, and it’s becoming a clear conflict of interest . She is clueless about her business and her spouse handles all of the “math stuff” that she likes to avoid.
2004: Business explodes and Girl doubles her pricing . This is the year both her babies are finally, blessedly, in school full time. She works like a dog to grow the business. She knows that this is her calling, and what she was meant to do.
2005: Girls marriage is failing (married too young, blah blah blah). They call it quits. Ex spouse hands over the spreadsheets for the business with his usual admonishing statements of “THE PIE IS ONLY SO BIG KIM, YOU CAN’T JUST KEEP IGNORING THIS STUFF”, which is exactly one of the reasons it didn’t work out, all his harping about that kind of thing. I mean geez, ART, do you not understand my ART?
2006: Girls business explodes. She doubles her prices AGAIN. The divorce is now final and she is a single parent.
2007: She surpasses the amount her spouse used to make and feels like she’s the Queen of the world. She’s shooting awesome weddings, taking care of her children with a killer income.
However, the Girl…she didn’t really count on one thing. That killer income? She wasn’t paying the proper amount of estimated tax.
Turns out, the fucking pie really is only so big.
The Girl owed 17 THOUSAND DOLLARS to the IRS.
The IRS? They don’t play. They’d like their money NOW, thanks. Otherwise they do most unpleasant things like levying your bank accounts and attaching liens to your home.
That year, I became a business owner.
You never, ever, know where life is going to lead you. My best advice to anyone now who is entering in this field would be to become a buisness owner first, and a photographer second. For every moment you spend looking a photo blog wishing you could have a 1.2 lens to have that buttery bokeh spend the same amount of time on a marketing and sales blog.
Open your mind not just to the art, but the BUSINESS of the art.
The business is not nearly as glamorous as those 23 likes on Facebook from your friends and family for a killer photo that you post, I know. Artists crave acceptance like pie.
Me? I now like my pie with a big ole’ serving of bills paid Ala mode.
P.S. My favorite pie? Coconut Cream. Yours? Leave it in the comments!
P.P.S. I paid off that debt in full in 2009, the IRS gave me a payment plan. They charged me monstrous amounts of penalties and interest but they did work with me. When I made the final payment on the phone the agent said “Would you like to know the total amount of penalties and interest you paid over the terms of this agreement? I answered “No, it’s probably best that we don’t discuss that so I don’t kill myself” To her credit, she laughed. To this day, I honestly do not know what that amount is. Some things are just best left alone.