After being a stay at home mom and wife for 10 years I decided I wanted to do something for me. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE being a wife and mom and being able to stay home with the kids is the best. EVER. But there comes a point in a person’s life where my kids are getting older and I would like to have something else to do. Something that fulfills me. Something I love.
Finding my Passion
This was easy for me. I have always loved photography and babies. So why not I thought? Let’s see what I can do here. I started doing some research and thought that maybe I could do this. I was pregnant with my fourth kid and home with morning sickness for the next 100 years so I got online to see what I can find.There were a few big name photographers I found that had some classes so I started learning.
So maybe this passion of mine was going to be harder than I thought. There was a mountain of things to learn. Where do I even start? What does it mean to run a business? One of the things that really struck me was doing it legally. I felt like there was just so much t doo before getting started. Not only did I need to learn my camera and lighting and all of that but doing it according to state law seemed so overwhelming. But doing it right and following the law was really important to me.
A couple of the big name photographers that I was following and learning from said how important this was. Taxes, licenses, insurance, and on and on. I had no idea where to start. Especially since the laws vary from state to state. After searching more on the internet I figured I would start with the state of Washington. Seemed like a license was the best place to start. The Washington State Department of Revenue had a lot of information on their site but it made it really hard to find the information I needed so I decided to call them.
Making the Call
I could not believe how nice and helpful they were. Sometimes calling a government agency can be a less than desirable experience. The gal walked me through what I needed to conduct business not only in my state but in my town. She let me know what was considered taxable and when to pay my taxes. She got me completely set up with them as well as a license to conduct business. Seemed almost too easy. LOL
Some of the things I learned were:
- Our local tax rate (currently 10%) can vary from city to city depending on where product is delivered
- Services are taxable even if no product is delivered
- Digital images are also taxable
- The DoR actually has a section on their website with information broken down for each job out there and how to run it for tax purposes.
- I can get a license through the DoR and they handle all of it
- Based on my business type I only have to pay taxes once a year.
- Use tax is a thing that you have to pay when you buy things for your business online.
- And so much more….
Doing It Right
Setting up a business legally was one of the things that I had decided to do right from the start. I truly felt like it was the right thing to do. It’s always hard paying out money for these things, especially when you’re just starting out and not really making any money. Besides who really wants to pay taxes? Not me but since it is the law I guess I had better. LOL Next step…..insurance.
I know that this is something that seems pointless…..until it isn’t. It’s another one of those expenses that you don’t need it unless something happens but trust me, it IS important. Not only for the safety of your equipment but the safety of your clients and your business. I have it and thankfully have never needed it. Hopefullly I never will. After calling my insurance company I quickly realized that this was not one million dollars a year and was actually a lot more affordable than I expected.
I know that it is super easy to not do these things but I wanted to do it right and be a legitimate business and haven’t regretted it for one minute. I try and encourage anyone starting out to make sure they are doing it right and following the rules of the state and your local city. Check local laws for where you live and see what you need to do your business. I’m so glad that I did.
I’d love to chat with you if you are thinking of booking a maternity or newborn photo session or even if you are thinking of starting your own photography business. Contact me HERE and let’s chat.
Stephanie Rubyor Photography