Taking the 1st Steps: Transitioning from being Managed to Self- Managing Your Own Business

By: Roosevelt Andlove

It feels good having money in your pocket, I’d like to believe everyone can attest to that. I started working when I was 15, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. It’s something about feeling money in your pocket that brought the allure to seek out a part time job.

The consistent, calculable checks you get are something like a godsend. You know what you’re going to make; they establish your per hour worth right out the gate, you know that as long as you show up and do a passing job you’re guaranteed money on payday.  But what happens when that consistency is taken away.

Photo Credit- Visual Hut.jpg

Trial and error is the term. Having your own business, being young and black, there is a bit of a learning curve you have to achieve to be successful. Stepping away from the 40 hour work week is the first step. Stepping away from what someone has dictated what you are worth and how long you have to work seems like a clear cut choice for a lot of young budding artists wanting to be the next Basquiat or Mark Zuckerberg. That is, until reality sets in.

Some young entrepreneurs are blessed to have a mentor that has been where you are, and gone on to be where you want. So if you are in the position to have someone to show you the ropes, learn everything you can from them, then apply it for yourself. I’ve been able to have several mentor’s from the start of my career, and each one has the same underlying theme. Know your worth.

So remember, if you want to work for yourself, Trial and Error is key, know your worth, never stop learning, and never cheat yourself

As simple a statement, this is probably the hardest ideal to bring to fruition. It almost transcends the words and becomes a lifestyle. Just ponder that; you set your hours, your pay, your product, everything. This means total control. Praise when it goes right, and side eyed looks when it doesn’t.  But this is where another key ideal comes into play. Never stop learning.

Especially for photographers, such as myself, out the gate you either set yourself too high, or too low. It takes time to perfect your craft, and secondly price your craft. I still adjust myself to where I feel comfortable charging, or not. This means that no matter how good, or bad you are at something, it takes time to cement yourself. With that being said, once you have everything down, as far as experience and your knowledge of you craft, this is where the final step must be applied.  Never cheat yourself.

This is where you’ll catch the most flack, but regardless of what people say, always stay your course, and don’t be afraid of losing a client because they don’t want to pay you what your worth. Have faith that your work is good enough to bring another willing client your way.