If You Want to be in Business, You Need to Make a Profit

Is Your Business Making a Profit, or is it Just an Expensive Hobby?Your business has exactly one job: to make a profit.

It cares about nothing else. It doesn’t care about changing the world. About saving lives. About helping people. It cares about one thing – making a profit. That, at the core, is a business.

If your business isn’t making a profit, it isn’t a business. It is an expensive hobby. <<Click to Tweet!>>

Of course, as individuals who own our own businesses, we have lots of issues surrounding money. Whether we feel we deserve to make money, to charge more than other people charge for our work, or feeling bad about clients who say that they can’t afford us, all of these are issues you have to deal with head on as a business owner. You need to come to terms with these things, because they are holding your business back.

I Feel Guilty Charging So Much!

I can’t tell you how often I hear someone say that they feel bad for charging more money.

I always challenge it with this, “Do you think Mercedes feels bad for charging $80,000 for a car?”

$80,000 is more than many people make in a single year. It would put a big dent in buying a house. It will pay for part of a child’s college education. It is a lot of money. But I guarantee you that Mercedes has ZERO guilt over charging that price. Can’t afford it? You’re not their client. You don’t value it enough to make it happen. Whatever the case may be – you won’t be driving a Mercedes if you don’t have the money to pay for it. They are a business.

You aren’t selling a car, a commodity. You are selling access to YOU. There is only one you, and there is only so much that can go around.

Basic supply and demand – you’re in limited supply, so when the demand goes up? You have to raise your rates.

I understand the struggle that you can have with pricing things higher in that situation. I have faced it several times myself. I want to spread my “You Are Enough” message to every woman, far and wide. However, the simple fact of the matter is that I can only have one-on-one time with a very limited number of people. As much as I may want it for everyone? I can’t do it. (Unless someone figures out how to bend the time-space continuum to make it so more of me can go around! If you know how to do that, can you let me know?!?)

I’m Too New To Charge That Much

The other most common thing I hear from people starting out in business is that they are too new to be charging more.

Again, do you think Mercedes said that when they started their company? “You know what guys, this is our first car to roll off the assembly line. I think we should just give it away for free. Like, portfolio building. Get a few people out there driving our cars first. They will maybe tell their friends.”

Ridiculous, isn’t it?

Or imagine a new Chef in your area opening a new restaurant. Yes, they do soft openings to make sure that all the staff is running smoothly, to get the press in to try the food, and things like that. Now the doors are open, they are in regular business mode. “You know, we should just sell these dishes at cost. We are new. No one will pay more than cost for them anyways. I sure hope we can keep the lights on while we grow our business this way.”

Your business has exactly one job: to make a profit.

If you feel that you are ready to go in to business, GO IN TO BUSINESS. All the way in. Set yourself up as a business entity. Get the appropriate tax documents for your sales tax. Get a business license if your area requires it. BE A BUSINESS.

Which involves turning a PROFIT. Otherwise, you’ve just got an expensive hobby.

You are allowed to charge competitive rates, ones that are sustainable in the market, from the day your business opens the doors. Matter of fact, I highly encourage it if you want your business to last. You have to be able to cover your costs, your bills, to pay yourself. How much you choose to invest back in your business is up to you, but you need to be making money to invest back in to it.

You’re Allowed to Make a Profit

When you’re struggling with these aspects of your pricing, ask yourself what your business needs, if you’re making a profit, and if you could be making an even higher profit. Go ahead, you’re allowed to make money. That is the whole point of all of this work, after all!

30 Comments

  1. Ally on January 6, 2015 at 6:19 PM

    Genius. So many photographers are undervaluing their work. Awesome post!



  2. Victoria on January 13, 2015 at 12:04 AM

    I’d love to hear your thoughts about the capital that goes into building that business when you’re in your first 1 or 2 years.

    I just started my 2nd year and while it’s far from a hobby it is certainly still expensive.And without a strong client base, funding my business can be tricky.



  3. Rose on March 18, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    YES! This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today. Thank you, Thank YOU, THANK YOU!!



  4. […] Remember: if your business isn’t making a profit, it isn’t a business. It is an expensive hobby. […]



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