She'll Never Have Enough Equipment
Robert's wife is leaving her current job and wants to find another job or start a photography business. They're in the middle of their debt snowball. Should they finish that before starting this business?
QUESTION: Robert in Wake Forest is calling because his wife is leaving her current job and wants to either find another job or start a photography business. They’re in the middle of their debt snowball. Should they finish that before starting this business?
ANSWER: Go make some money with the equipment she has on a part-time basis. Let’s start building that business now. Even if you used all of that money to reinvest back into equipment, that’d be fine. Just keep tearing into the debt snowball, but if you used her side-job income to just build her equipment base up a little bit...
Let me just tell you about photographers. I’ve worked with a bunch of them over the years. They never have enough equipment. There’s no end to it. You’ll buy equipment the rest of your life if you do that, and you’ll never make a profit. It’s just like computers. The thing’s a freaking moving target. As soon as you buy a piece of equipment, there’s a new one. As soon as you buy that, there’s another one. I’ve got photography equipment and TV cameras and stuff all around me every day, and I’ve got to tell you I have to push back against the tech crew around here pretty regularly because there is no end to how much stuff we seem to need to be able to pull this show off. You’ve got to have a budget for equipment replacement in that world, and then don’t exceed it. We make do with the budget, and the budget includes making a profit, of course. We budget to be profitable, and as a part of being profitable, continually buying and upgrading equipment but at a slow and reasonable pace so that the equipment Jones doesn’t eat all of your money.
It’s pretty amazing to me what you can take with a basic little camera these days. My cell phone doesn’t take bad pictures now. That’s the world we live in. Don’t get all caught up in that is my point. It has to do with the eye, the settings, and the ability to work with people if you’re shooting people as much as it does the equipment. Yes, I understand basic lighting and that kind of stuff. We’re always trying to keep my head from shining. I know exactly what you’re facing. The deal is that at the end of the day, it is more about her talent than it is her equipment, so take the equipment that you’ve got, go make some money with it, buy some more equipment, meanwhile take her day job—and by the way, she’s building her business during that time—and let it just continue to pay the bills. Your day job continues to crank through the debt snowball as well. That’s how I would look at it.