...the truth shall set you free!
Wondering where I'm coming from? Get caught up with me and browse through the previous posts in this series:
likeable business (part 1)
likeable business::listening (part 2)
likeable business::storytelling (part 3)
likeable business::authenticity (part 4)
|likeable business, by Dave Kerpen|
In my previous post I made known one of the best pieces advice I've ever been given: if you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. While I've never been on reality TV (and can barely stand to watch it, except for maybe when I need a mood booster...hey, there are some things in life that can make you feel better when you feel like your day has crumbled like the cookie in your toddler's hand), there is one thing the characters and casts can't hide from...the truth. Cameras are rolling all the time. All you have to do is hit rewind and that person cannot deny what they said or did.
Even though there aren't cameras posted around my home, there are email trails to follow...which I do frequently look back through when corresponding with customers. Not because I try to weasel myself out of something or look for a loophole, but to jog my memory about the previous convos. When you have a load of laundry to do each day, dishes to keep up with, dinner to prep and get hot, ABCs to teach and games to play with the kids, you tend to forget things and details may get fuzzy. Thank goodness for email...otherwise I would probably misplace or have grape juice spilled on the journal I would have to jot notes down from each face-to-face or phone convo.
Part of this chapter is devoted to transparency within your business, which have no value to me because I am the business. Employee numero uno. Owner. Manager. Self proprietor. No one beneath...just above me...the city, state and IRS. But in regards to customers, there is a level of transparency the business should have to build a relationship. I don't have to disclose my finances because I'm profit-based. Whew...which I guess opens a whole can of worms. The word profit almost makes me shudder...Fortune 500 companies and other businesses alike are always looking for that 'bottom line.' I personally know individuals who have left their jobs because of the corporate greed. Losing benefits? Furlough's? Pay cuts and freezes? Then that company exceeds all analysis expectations and has huge gains for the quarter or year? (note: this is not an inlet to a debate about the economy or politics) I recently read a book and in it the author brought this to light about your work life: are you in to make a killing or to make a living? To be completely transparent, if it weren't for my husband's income, I would qualify for the earned income credit. The check you write to me or the paypal invoice you pay doesn't not go straight into my personal wallet. No sir...
2011 was actually the first year I paid myself for working. The two previous years? Operating on a loss or breaking even. There's more to taking pictures than well, taking pictures. I have to pay an annual fee for the online gallery you get to view your pictures on. I purchase the discs, cases, labels, shipping and packing materials, business cards, stamps... Don't forget the camera! Rental and repair fees for equipment, new equipment, new software, new hardware...and no, I don't upgrade my hardware and software each year. I have a list of priorities. Last year it was to purchase a new camera, that way I have a back up camera (think weddings...would you want your photographer showing up with only one in hand...didn't think so). This year it is a computer. I've just about maxed out this laptop. Next year it will be an editing monitor. Folks, this stuff ain't cheap. And not to mention the taxes. Not just the sales tax I collect from you. Self employment tax, school tax...I have to pay the city $100 annually just to do business. We moved this past year. Each time I moved I had to update my address with the Secretary of State. Guess how much that costs...$10 a pop...but multiply by two because I update the address of the owner and the address of the location in which business records are kept. So I spent $40 just on updating addresses this summer.
This past year (2012) I was fortunate enough to pay myself with all the time off I took from maternity leave and moving...and learning how to juggle a home, family of 4 and a business. What I paid myself is what a family will pay for one month's rent for a 1300 square foot home in McConnells Trace Neighborhood. I know what the house rented next door to us cost. For 2013 I not only hope to cover the cost of a new computer, but my child's half day preschool for two days a week. I probably won't pay myself.
Making a living, not a killing.