Friday, March 14, 2014

Photographer studio vs working from home

So, this January the girls and I loaded up everything in the tiny Tara Marie Photography office and moved it from my home in the country to the new office/studio in downtown St Francisville. I have had a town office before, when I lived in Marble Falls- in my pre-children days. That was great. This has been a little bit different- it's 5 years later into my business and life, and now two toddlers and two part-time employees are involved in the decision making process.
I only signed a 6 month lease on this little building because I wasn't sure how this would go. Now, three months into it, here is my evaluation of the pros and cons.
Pros:

*There is a permanent place to do in-person viewing and sales.

*Increased visability, community awareness, and professionalism.

*I don't spend nearly as much time of my days driving to and from shoots and meetings (before I was 30 minutes from town).

*People can stop by and pick up their products.

*Employees are no longer coming to my house, which means if I don't want to fold the laundry or put away the dishes, I don't have anyone seeing that besides my family. This is also a bit of a con- that was somewhat of a motivator to keep my house cleaner.

*I have nothing better to do during the day at the office than get my work done. When I was at home, I always wanted to be doing the dishes, cleaning out something, going for a walk, training my dog, etc- you know, anything to prevent me from having to sit down and edit pictures. Now, the biggest distraction is Sonic being about 1/2 mile away, and a trip to Sonic can only take so long.

*I have access to several available day cares for the kids. Before, to use a day care (which luckily I didn't have to at the time), I would've had to drive 30 minutes to the day care and then another 30 minutes back home to work. That would've been not so fun. Now, I drive 30 minutes with the kids,drop them off, and I'm at work 5 minutes later. I go out on shoots, have meetings, get my work done, and then pick them up on my way home. 

*The studio is easily accessible for clients to drop by. If only they would drop by..... The only drop by people we have had have gone like this- 
"Is this the leasing office for these buildings?"
"Didn't this used to be an antique shop?" 
"Hi Tara! We're here for our pre-wedding consult." (This was the meeting I forgot to write on my calendar. Thank goodness I was there doing my daily work! Count that one as a super-duper pro.)

*The studio provides a place to do parties, classes, meetings, and also can be a dressing room when needed. A couple Fridays ago, there were 13 girls working together to do a fashion photo shoot in the studio. It was nice to have a big open space to do that.

*More time and availability to do location scouting. Before, it was a major trip to do any location scouting. Now, I can simply drive or walk around once or twice a week and get some new locations to use.

*Time and accessibility to community involvement. If someone from the Chamber of Commerce needed a quick promo pic, I could be there in five minutes versus what used to take me 30 minutes. I now feel like I can join in some of the community efforts in our area, because I'm in town and available to be there on weekdays.

*Internet speed. The Internet speed at my house was ungodly slow, along with limited bandwidth usage, thanks to my rural life. Now, I feel the angels smiling over me again with high-speed Internet- something I haven't experienced in years. I've watched probably a hundred webinars (ok maybe not that many) and I may or may not update my phone every chance I get. I even STREAM things...  Wow. This is too overwhelmingly good to think about.

*Quick access to people and photo shoots. One day a miscommunication made me late for a 4-H photography club meeting. Had I been working from home, I wouldn't have been able to make it to the meeting at all. Instead, I was able to walk to the meeting and make it in time to really help.

*It's harder for me to work all the time and ignore my family. I have to get here on time, get my crap done, and get out on time, versus what I used to do-- work SOME during the day, and then stay up late or get up at 4 am and get work done.

Ok, so now the cons of working in town...
*Tomorrow, I have to go in to work. I know that sounds dumb, but if I had my computer here, I would totally be on it right now, editing away at midnight, so that I could clean my house and be with family all day tomorrow before my brother-in-law gets married Saturday. But, alas, I have editing deadlines, and I have to get dressed up and go in. 

*I have to brush my hair, put on a little makeup, and wear decent clothes. Ok maybe that's not a con for the people who have to look at me, but for me, it just takes longer to get started with my work.

*Other people have had to really pitch in when my kids got sick . Which of course they did within the first week of me moving in, since they started a new day care. I could no longer keep them at home and just work while they napped. I had to get an alternate sitter and still go in to work. Although, twice now one of them has come to the studio and stayed most of the day, and it worked out just fine as long as I bring movies. 

*I don't get much done around the house. That's because I'm no longer there during the daytime.  I do miss getting dishes done on my lunch break, being able to start supper, etc.

*I'm not able to watch out for things around the house. - the dogs, the horses, my garden, etc, obviously because I'm not there.

*Cost- the studio costs of course are a little higher than working from home. Mine is a small, cheap place, so it's not too expensive, but definitely costs more than being at home.

So, as of right now, the pros mostly outweigh the cons. I hope this can help someone decide whether or not to move into a small studio in town. My situation was a little different because I was living so far out in the country. If I had been closer to town, I probably would have stayed in my house longer.
Tara




Tara Morris
Tara Marie Photography , 5877 Commerce St, St. Francisville, LA
P/TEXT: 225-721-1313 
IG: @taramariephoto

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