a. Money. Enough to equip yourself with the knowledge that you’ll need to do the business. Spend it to get the technical skill for the job.
b. Money. A second lot. This lot is for the education in business practice – pricing, employment, taxes, accounting, time allocation, emergencies, etc. Spend it and learn as much as you can.
c. Money. This third lot is necessary to keep you in clothing, food, housing, medical expenses, and transportation for the next three years. Spend it wisely and sparingly.
d. Money. This fourth pile is to buy experience and advertisement. You’ll need to assist and/or intern to find out how different business is from what you learned with the first two lots of money. You’ll need to pay for good advertisement of yourself. Bad advertisement will be available free.
e. Money. This fifth pile should buy you your lighting, backdrops, accessories, working computer, working clothing, toilet paper, and office furniture. Buy as good as you can and plan to use it repeatedly for a long time. Not the toilet paper…
f. Money. This last lot can be used to buy a camera and a lens. Buy as good a camera as you can and as good a lens as you can afford. It does not matter which brand you get – they all work – get the sturdiest in their range that your money will stretch to. You may be able to do all your business on one lens, if you choose wisely and market what that lens can do as you product.
If you essay to enter the wedding market, halve the price you can afford, and buy two identical bodies, lenses, and flashes – and choose the most basic you can get. Do not do a wedding with one camera.
You may need to press money into the hands of professional associations to compel them to let you in, and it may seem like a blatant ramp at that…but bide your time and do the critique and cheese-on-a-stick circuit as much as you need to do to ease yourself into whichever section of the industry you enter. It is an advantage to have a good dental plan because you can arrange to have fillings in your teeth that grind silently. You’ll want that at association meetings.
Note that there is a common theme running through all the sections – your need to have and to spend money. You need to do it before it returns to you. if you’re not in a position to do it, don’t start until you are. Clerk in a 7-Eleven if you need to, or sell your body in the bar of the Millionaire’s Club if at all possible – but don’t fly into business half trained or half-capitalised.