Tag Archives: self-employed

Saturday Work

Saturday Work

My son-in-law commented the other day that his boss won’t let him have Memorial Day off work.  I laughed because he too is self-employed.  Today I have Saturday work to do.  My boss is a slave driver.

With me it is a day when I can either be busy with clients all day, or a day when I catch up on the administrative stuff because I was busy with clients all week.  Either way, Saturday is not a “weekend” for me.  It’s a “workday” in every sense of the word.  My “weekend” day is Monday.

Belonging to a trade organization (Professional Photographers of America), I’ve noticed a huge shift.  When I first joined, I was employed full-time and my photography business was on-the-side.  About 90% of the PPA events were held Monday-Friday in my area.  This meant if I wanted to attend, I would have to take the day off.  I was OKAY WITH THAT!

Now, there’s a disturbing trend to hold events on Saturday and Sunday.  It is disturbing because Saturday is the busiest client day of the week, and if it isn’t, then it is the busiest admin day because you had weekday clients.    And, I don’t do that stuff on Sunday because it’s the Lord’s day.  So, it is disturbing on two levels.

Then there is the social aspect.  My friends who work 9-5, Monday-Friday, jobs don’t fully understand why I work Saturdays.  Well, it is because they work Monday-Friday, they can’t come in for a portrait session with their family on a Wednesday at 11am.  Instead, they want to come in on Saturday at 11am.

As a result, Saturday’s are a premium to me business wise.  Just like they are a premium to church-going Christians as a time to spend with family, they are a premium to me because I have bills to pay.

Brainwashed

I believe there are a lot of people who have been brainwashed about what a democracy is and how it applies to our country and U.S. politics.   This was brought to my attention when the local superintendent of schools said the local school district is a “pure democracy”.

Hogwash.  It’s a democratic republic.

A “pure democracy” would be a government where every decisions was put to a vote of the people qualified to vote.

A democratic republic, on the other hand, is where through the democratic process, the people qualified to vote elect representatives who then make decisions.

In a republic, a select few (i.e. the school board) make the decisions.  In a democracy, everyone qualified to vote makes the decisions.

The irony is, when it comes to the school board and school taxes, it seems to be taxation without true representation.  Here’s why…  Only property owners are taxed, but anyone over 18 can vote.   Thus, those who are taxed are not represented by the voters who don’t pay taxes.   So, if it were a “pure democracy”, a couple of things would have to happen.  1)  Only people who pay taxes would be qualified to vote –or– anyone qualified to vote would also be subject to taxes.  2)  There would be no school board.  Every decisions would be voted on by the qualified voters.

I’m not anti-school board, nor am I anti-taxes.  Let’s just not call it a democracy.  (And, I would like to see a change on how school revenue is generated.  The current process is greatly biased.)

59 and 1 Twelfth

59 and 1 Twelfth

Remember when we were kids and someone would ask, “How old are you?”, and we’d respond with, “I’m 6 and a half.”  It was like that 6 months really made such a big difference.  Well, I’m 59 and 1 twelfth.  Yup.  Big whopping deal.

It’s funny as I approach 60.  It’s no big deal to close another decade.  What will be a big deal is when I reach 59 1/2 and then 62 1/2.  The rest will all be a blur in time.

Too many appointments today

I had too many appointments today.  At least when I was working for someone else I could get up, go to the office, and all those appointments were on the company’s time.  Now, I get up and have to carefully balance my time because, as they say, time is money.  (And telemarketers wonder why I get testy when they interrupt my day.)

Have you ever thought what it would be like if the world were tit-for-tat when it came to time?

Let me give you an example…

Let’s say you take your car in for a repair and they spend 2 hours working on your car.  You now owe the repair guy 2 hours of YOUR time.  So, being a photographer, the mechanic would be able to demand 2 hours of my time taking photos.  Ah, but let’s say they tell you your car will be ready at 1pm, and you show up at 1pm and it is not ready, and thus you end up waiting 1 hour.  Now, the mechanic owes you 1 hour leaving a net of 1 hour that you owe the mechanic.

I bet if that were the case people would be more respectful of your time.

The biggest considerations of time are, in my opinion…

  1. someone being late for an appointment with you,
  2. being kept waiting for an appointment you are on-time for,
  3. starting a meeting late, and
  4. making a meeting go over time.

Self-Employed

I once had a client miss their appointment by a LONG shot.  Being self-employed I sat in my office wondering, “Do I open the door and say, ‘Sorry, your appointment was 2 hours ago’, and then close the door?   Or, do I simply chalk it up to miscommunications?

This is one of the reasons I take a non-refundable retainer when someone I don’t know makes an appointment.  Here at the house, we take a non-refundable payment when they book the room.  Why?  We’ve simply been burned too many times before.

Besides, people who stick to their commitments don’t have an issue with an advanced payment.  It is people who don’t stick to their commitments who do.  So, it becomes a red-flag in business.

There is an element of naivety too.   One one hand, you have the client who stiffs you.  What has it cost them?  Nothing, unless you’ve collected a deposit.  On the other hand, you have a business that has been holding time and/or resources available for you, and at the last minute cannot get someone to take your place and pay the money lost.

It looks like this…

Without deposit…

Client:  Out nothing for flaking – i.e. no responsibility or consequences
Business owner:  Wasted time and resources (example:  $85 for the room that night)

With a deposit…

Client:  Out $85 for flaking – i.e. responsible to the amount of $85.  That’s their consequence for flaking
Business owner:   Wasted time, but at least the resource was covered (i.e. the room got paid for that otherwise might have been booked by someone else.)

A sign in a doctor’s office once said, “You will be charged $35 if you do not show for your appointment.”

I have no problem with that.  That’s the way it should be.

Time is valuable.  We all get 24 hours in a day.  So, when one person robs another of time, there should be recompense.

If the election were held today

I got some e-mail asking who I would vote for if the election were today.  So, I went and looked at who is running…

  • Former Florida Governor – Nope – career politician
  • Neurosurgeon and Author – Yup, I’d consider him
  • New Jersey Governor – Nope – career politician
  • Texas Senator – Nope – career politician
  • Former CEO – Yup, I’d consider her
  • Former Virginia Governor – Nope – career politician
  • South Carolina Senator – Nope – career politician
  • Former Arkansas Governor – Nope – career politician
  • Ohio Governor – Nope – career politician
  • Former New York Governor – Nope – career politician
  • Kentucky Senator – Nope – career politician
  • Florida Senator – Nope – career politician
  • Former Pennsylvania Senator – Nope – career politician
  • Businessman – Nope – I don’t trust him

2016 Democratic nominees

  • Hillary Clinton – Former New York Senator – Nope – career politician and can’t be trusted
  • Bernie Sanders – Vermont Senator – Nope – career politician and admitted socialist
  • Martin O’Malley – Governor of Maryland  – Nope – career politician

Working

Working

It’s Saturday and I’m working.  I’m working on client images.  Yes, that’s right, the self-employed in my industry don’t get Saturday’s off.

At one point, I took some time and drove to the ATM to make a couple of deposits.  Other than that, it was retouching and painting all day.

While I like doing this work, since the accident I’ve been a bit anxious.  I’m not sure why.  I can’t put my finger on it.  It was like, a little freak-out when I realized I had to get this stuff done.  It wasn’t because I don’t want to do it; I love what I do.  It was more like, “Can I do this?”  I guess my abilities have fallen in to check.

“I can do this,” I keep reminding myself.  I’m not sure why I should have to remind myself.

I got a bunch of canned goods out for tomorrow’s dinner.  I decided it was going to be a make-your-own-Chinese-food night.  I’d have rice, various veggies and meat along with a variety of sauces and let people create their own.

—–

Totally different topic.

I’m reading this guys comments to a friend and this guy is all over my friend’s Facebook page telling him why he doesn’t need a gun.  My friend basically responds, “It’s my 2nd Amendment right to own a gun.”  The guy starts talking about burglar alarms and so forth.  Finally, I had to chime in.

I told the guy that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with “home protection” and explained why the founding fathers placed it in the constitution.  He then writes back and asks if my friend liked Bush as a president.

Huh?

I wonder how people would respond when asked about each of the items in the Bill of Rights.  The questions would be to the effect, “Why did the founding fathers place the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights?”   “Why did the founding fathers place the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights?” and so forth.  It would be an interesting man-on-the-street interview.

Never a Break

Never a Break

There is never a break when you own your own business.  Never.  Ever.  Well, seldom.

In a morning networking meeting, it was commented that the U.S.A. has a growing 2-tier economy.  Meaning, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Unfortunately, that divides the middle class too.   As the middle class disappears, they either get rich or poor.  Hence, there is never a break for the self-employed.

After my morning networking meeting, it was home for a short period of time, and then off to the doctor’s office.  (Another self-employed individual.)  That was actually a break from everything else.  And, from the doctor’s office, it was off to see a couple of other business owners about some business related matters.

So, let’s see… me, a small business owner, spent the morning with about 20 other small business owners who are looking for more business.  That was followed by my visit to my doctor, another small business owner.  From there, I went to talk to two other small business owners about various business matters.

The missionaries were unavailable on Sunday, so we invited them to come to dinner tonight.  This was the first time for both of them.  I baked a ham, some mac-n-cheese and green bean casserole.  A perfect meal for a day in the teens.

After dinner, I e-mailed some small business owners about business matters.

Yes, my day was spent dealing with my business, which supports other small business owners.  A hundred years ago the farmer was said to be the backbone of America.  Well, today, it is the small business owner.

So, the next time you step in to one of those national chains, ask yourself, “Can I get what I need from someone local?”

Chances are, you can.

Here are some links to find some local small businesses in the Palmyra & Rochester areas:

http://rocreferralnetwork.com/

and

http://tricountynetworkers.com

I personally know each owner of the businesses listed at these two sites.  If you have questions, or would like me to refer you to them for business, let me know.

D. Brent Walton and his wife, Elizabethe, own and operate the Beckwith Mansion (www.beckwithmansion.com), a tourist home, in Palmyra, New York.  Brent is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and owner of photography by db walton llc. (www.dbwalton.com)

Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday

Some days are just to cram packed with things.  It isn’t like working a 9-5 job.  My meetings started at 8am and things didn’t end until 7pm.  Hence, to day was a wicked Wednesday.  Being self-employed is really tiring at times. Today’s board meeting for the chamber ended with some of the board members trying to update the calendar.  Our current system isn’t very user friendly.  The good news is we’re moving forward getting a quote on re-building the web site and moving the hosting.  YES!

The Rochester Referral Network (http://rocreferralnetwork.com/) has grown quite a bit.  It’s demographics are so different from the Tri-County Networkers (http://tricountynetworkers.com/).  Both are great groups — just demographically different.  We had a full house today while Gary from the Morse Family CSA presented with his son about their farm.

This only left a few hours in the afternoon for me to get caught up on e-mails and that sort of stuff.  By the time my late afternoon appointment arrived, I had already put in a full day of work.

—–

A few days ago I posted some suggestions about visiting Palmyra, New York. (Click here if you missed it http://beckwithmansion.com/blog/2014/05/03/supposed-rain/ )  I’ve received some suggestions that should be added.

When you come to Palmyra, here is the shortest to-do list:

1)  Sacred Grove – Plan 1 hour for the tour of the log and frame homes and 2 hours for the Grove.  Bring insect repellent.  And, you’ll find once you get in the grove time will fly, and you may want to spend more time.  So, 3-4 hours.

2)  Hill Cumorah – Plan 1-2 hours.  You can drive to the top, but the walk up the north side is lovely and will give you an idea of what Joseph Smith might have seen.

3)  Alvin Smith’s Grave – 30 minutes.

4) Martin Harris Home – 30 minutes – it’s a stop and look – no tours

5)  E.B. Grandin Building (Book of Mormon Publication Site) – 2 hours.

5a) Historic Palmyra – Since you’re at the Grandin Building, when you are done make sure you visit the 5 other museums in Palmyra (ran by Historic Palmyra).  There is a charge of $5 per person, but well worth it.  One of the museums is a canal depot and you’ll see where they kept the mules, and learn more about the Canal, which by the way, made the printing of the Book of Mormon all possible.  Allow 2-3 hours.

5b)  Erie Canal – it’s right down at the end of Canal Street.  Go take a walk on the dock.  There’s also a very cool bike trail.  You can walk from there to the west to the Aqueduct Park, see Lock 29 (the lock itself — not the bar on Main Street), and there is an actual change bridge in the park.  Allow 1-2 hours if you take the walk.

6)  Palmyra Temple – 2-3 hours for a session

How’s that for an update?

The Truth About Self-Employment

Being self-employed is hard work.  Anyone who thinks it isn’t, is fooling themselves.  It’s hard, demanding, and requires a lot of attention to detail.

My day started off very early with my annual trip to the dentist.  Immediately after that, I was on the road to attend a networking meeting.  From there, I had no down time before I had to drive to Geneva for a professional photographers’ meeting.  By the time I got home from that, it was well in to the evening.  My wife had already had dinner, and the last I recall eating was when I grabbed a bagel after my dentist appointment.

That’s about what every day is like, 6 days a week.  (I do not do business on Sunday. )

What happens to the self-employed when they don’t work hard?

They join the ranks of the 80% that go out of business in the 1st year.

New Tuesday Routine

I commented to someone that I had to rearrange my work schedule so that I could go to the temple on Tuesday mornings, and then work Tuesday evenings.  They responded, “You work?”

It took a little explaining that when you are self-employed you have to establish business hours and a routine.  I think there are a lot of people who don’t completely understand that.  It is even more rigid when you have walk-in business.  I don’t accept walk-in business because I never know when a client may want to schedule an on-location photo session.  I also travel to attend and/or speak at conferences and gatherings.

So, what are my hours?

Sunday’s are my day of worship.  I don’t work on Sundays, and I take Monday’s off to do the stuff most people do on Saturdays.  On Mondays I fix things around the house, grocery shop, etc.

Tuesdays now consist of going to the temple from about 9am-11:30am.  I then keep office hours from noon to 4:30pm.  Then, it is back to the temple for the evening.  Wednesdays and Thursdays, I go from 10am to 10pm.  Fridays, I work from 10am to 5pm, and on Saturdays, it is back to 10am to 10pm.  Of course I have some flexibility.  Occasionally I will book a session on a Friday evening, but I like to keep Fridays open for date night.

When I do weddings, I may have to juggle my schedule.  Most weddings are on Saturdays, and many go beyond 10pm.  That’s all part of the business I’ve chosen.  (I love doing weddings.)

There you have the new 2013 routine and schedule.

D. Brent Walton is a professional photographer who specializes in fine art portraiture and weddings.  Brent is a member of the Professional Photographers of America, and its associated state and local affiliates (PPSNYS and FLPP), and the American Society of Photographers.  In addition to creating beautiful photographs, Brent also teaches others the art of photography.  You can see is work at the following web sites:  www.dbwalton.com, www.FineArtbyDB.com .  For classes taught by Brent, visit www.palmyra-ny.com , http://www.meetup.com/Palmyra-Photographic-Workshops/ and https://www.fisheyeconnect.com/instructor/5349/d-brent-walton/profile.aspx

Old Sayings Have Some Truth

Old sayings have some truth behind them.  Like, “A penny saved is a penny earned”, or, “The early bird gets the worm”.  There is one I’ve heard several variations on, but it is so applicable to being self-employed.  It goes something like, “When you own your own business you have a jerk for a boss.”

Today was supposed to be my day off.  Nooooooo.  I couldn’t take the day off.  I had work to do.

So, what did I spend the day doing on my day off?

Working.

It is a matter of discipline, I know that.  I need to schedule my time better.  I rationalize this behavior by telling myself, ‘At least my clients get their product that much sooner.’

Even my play time can become work.  If I go on a bike ride, what do I do?  I take a camera.  What do I do when I get home?  I load the pictures on the computer.  What do I do after that?  I start retouching them.

Aye, yi, yi.

My boss better value me as an employee and start paying me better.  That’s all I’ve got to say about it.