3 Awesome Benefits of Running Your Own Business and Being an Entrepreneur

Denver, CO, USA

There are a lot of things I love about being a freelance photographer!

Today I’m flying to a friend’s wedding in Colorado. Since I can edit photos from ANYWHERE, I often use flights as a time-blocking opportunity to get through a bunch of photos. I’m currently editing a wedding that’s due back to my client in about a month. So I’m trying to carve out time to edit whenever I have a spare hour or several hours. Little by little work adds up to hundreds of beautifully edited images!

Here are a few awesome things about being an entrepreneur and starting your own business —

(1) Flexibility. I work with my clients to find times for photo sessions that work for both of our schedules. Can’t do Monday mornings for your business? Not to worry, you can still find clients who are available other days. Work another job that includes odd hours? Not to worry, being awake odd hours on your day off works fine for your editing — the photos can be edited at 3pm OR 3am. Such nice flexibility.

(2) Making extra income. Controversial opinion — never go into debt for your business! (This includes refusing to finance new gear, computers, etc., that you might want for your business). Use cash. I had a completely debt-free business for 6+ years until recently, when I financed an $1100 lens. It was such a mistake and stressed me out for MONTHS! Thankfully, after a good debt snowball (h/t to Ramsey Solutions for this idea), I paid it all off! Any time you use debt to grow your business, you’re making your business insecure, liable to bankruptcy [in severe cases], and you’re limiting your ability to grow your venture. Boycott debt so that when you make money on your business, it INCREASES your business’s value, instead of just becoming a meager debt payment. (Also, don’t forget to set aside 15.3% of your earnings for taxes, otherwise — when April rolls around — you can say hello to unexpected, large fees). Now that my business is debt free, and I prepare for taxes every year (by setting aside some of the business’s earnings), I am able to either use the remaining business income to take new entrepreneurial risks for my business (getting nicer gear, doing paid social media promotion, creating marketing products, etc.) or to supplement my own personal financial goals. There is so much flexibility and adventure that can come from carefully developing your business to be sustainable and profitable.

(3) Growing professional skills on your own terms. When you go to school, the teacher runs the educational schedule. When you go to work, your boss sets the pace for workplace learning and projects. But when you’re running your own business, you get to develop existing skills and brand new ones — on your timeframe and at your discretion. So…if you’re running a photography business and discover that you hate nature photography, you don’t have to keep doing those kinds of sessions. You can focus on what you like most. If you discover that you hate bookkeeping, you can hire someone else to do that for you. If you find out you LOVE event photography, you can make it a priority to take each opportunity to photograph these kinds of sessions. Last year, I started working for a nonprofit organization, and now run the entire marketing department. I credit this business with teaching me the majority of the marketing skills I now use every day in an exciting career. Not every in-demand, marketable skill is learned in the classroom — sometimes, the skills that you use to provide most of your regular income are developed through curiosity, experimentation in the real world, learning as you go, and making mistakes and learning from them in your own endeavors. If you stay curious, determined, enthusiastic, and willing to learn, owning your own business can teach you great things — skills that might even get you excellent jobs you didn’t expect.

In review, running your own business is amazing because it comes with flexibility, the opportunity to make extra income, and the opportunity to develop professional skill on your own terms.

If you’ve started your own business or freelancing gig, which of these three benefits have you found most helpful? Let me know in the comments!
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