FAQ's About Setting Up Your Business
We've just loved all the learning and discussion that has been spurned from these email and blog conversations. We're so excited to see you take hold of your dreams and visions for your birth business, and we feel so honored that our words and ideas might help you find an easier path to achieving them. We've been talking about what it means to start a birth business in today's fast-paced world. We've encouraged you to take the time to truly explore your values, your mission, your vision, and your market. We've given you two parts of an extended business plan that should help you work through these separate but intrinsically connected areas. We've loved hearing some of your thoughts as you explore this!
I remember when Jennifer and I first met each other. We were both birth photographers serving the Denver area, and in many ways, we were competing for the same clients. But somehow, someway, we hit it off and found that our passion for birth was far bigger than petty competition over clients. We sat down together and began dreaming of how we could utilize our shared passion to create a business that could change the world and sustain our families. We dreamed big from the very beginning, and before long, we sat down and began to lay the foundation for Birth Becomes Her. We discovered our values, we discovered our mission, and we've only seen our vision grow bigger and bigger as time has past. We found launching Birth Becomes Her to be so much easier than when we launched our individual businesses largely because we already had a guide to follow on all the steps we needed to take. We didn't have to hunt down every answer for all those many logistical questions. We were able to take our idea and make it a reality quickly...and that truly made all the difference in the world!
So many of you have asked us some great questions, and we wanted to take a few moments to answer them:
How much/what kind of insurance do you get?
It's so important for any business to carry liability insurance. This covers anything accidental, bodily injury, personal injury, property damage, damage to premises and more. Liability insurance and equipment insurance are the two types of insurance that a small business needs to think about. Liability insurance can be purchased from photographer specific insurers, or if you are a hobby photographer, you can purchase liability through your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Especially if you are photographing in your home or in-home studio. My homeowner's policy was able to cover my equipment insurance as well. These together cost me under $100 for the year! It's worth the peace of mind to have it and it's not as expensive as you think! If you are a professional photographer, you can get a higher policy from PPA or another specific insurance company.
What is the process of getting clients to approve images for use on social media?
Because birth images are SO vulnerable and intimate, it's essential that you and your client have a written agreement (ie contract and model release) about what they do and do not want shared. We strongly believe that every birth photographer AND doula (if she wants to use any images from a client's birth) should have every client sign a model release that gives your client varying degrees of choices about what they want shared online. You can find model releases online. We also have a model release for sale in our shop with our contracts. (Secret: we will be including these contracts as a BONUS during the launch of the Birth Business Toolkit!!)
Is it recommended to make my business a registered LLC?
Yes. For most beginning birth businesses, it is recommended to establish your business as an LLC. I started out as an LLC and eventually became an S-Corp after my yearly income surpassed 80k. We talk more about the reasoning behind establishing yourself as an LLC as well as the difference between LLC and S-Corp in our Birth Business Toolkit.
How much do I charge for my services?
One of the first steps to determining how much to charge for your birth business is to ask yourself, "how much money do I want to bring home each year?" Once you have that number, it's time to roughly estimate your taxes and yearly expenses (equipment, training, website hosting, marketing, etc...). We suggest that you plan to save at least 30% of your business earnings for taxes. It's a big number but so important to plan for! Once you have a sense of how much money you'll need to bring in (with taxes and expenses factored in) to get your magic number, then you need to ask yourself, "how much do I want to work?" Do you want to take 2, 3, 5 births a month? Do you want to take time off? You can then divide your projected business earnings with the number of births you want to work each year to get a sense of how much to charge. If that number seems drastically higher than what other birth photographers are offering in your community, it's worth exploring why. Perhaps you need to think about a different model of doing business. Perhaps your entire community needs to charge more for their services!
How do I get clients without offering free births?
Births are incredibly emotionally and physically demanded. They not only take a toll on you but your whole family. There is no reason to offer your services for free considering just how demanding and valuable having a support person or a birth photographer is. We recommend investing time and energy in creating a presence in your community. Spend time truly understanding who you are and what you offer. Believe in your value! If you don't have a ton of money to spend on marketing, invest in your local birth community. Attend events. Meet midwives and other doulas. Become more than just a website; become a person who cares deeply for the women and families in your hometown. Once you become present in your community, you'll often find families who are looking for the very service you offer. You don't have to give away your work!
What is the best way to target my marketing?
Social media algorithms are always changing, so we can't encourage you enough: start a mailing list! We love ConvertKit because it truly allows us to segment our mailing list so that we can send out emails to very specific groups of people. We talk more about the importance of mailing lists and how to set yours up in our Birth Business Toolkit.
Do I need to invest in software to make sure an e-signature is legal.
The E-Sign Act is a Federal Law that went into affect in 2000. To make an e-signature legal a few things need to occur. The signer must be authenticated, there must be consent, disclosure, the signer must know the signature is legally binding, all signers need to have access to the document, all actions need to be documented. That seems a little overwhelming, but its actually not that bad. As long as your client knows the contract is legally binding, and you are using some form of online signature service (HoneyBook, dubsado, DocuSign, SignNow, Adobe Sign, etc) then you can expect these legalities are followed.
We love answering these questions because we remember how overwhelming it felt at the beginning of our businesses. We had so many questions and we didn't know who to turn to for answers. My dad has been an entrepreneur and business-owner for over 30 years now, but because birth is so unique, even he didn't have answers for most of our questions. Jennifer and I are just so excited we have something to offer that can take away the confusion and stress. We're thrilled to get this Toolkit out into the world because we believe it's going to make your life easier and your business thrive (just like Birth Becomes Her is thriving right now).
This MONDAY!!! Because you're on our mailing list, and you've been following along on this exploration, you will be among the first to receive access the Birth Business Toolkit! For a limited time (until Friday at midnight), we will be including several BONUS contracts during the launch of the Birth Business Toolkit, which will give you everything you need to get your business on the right foundation!
Please feel free to share this email or blog post with your friends. We want more people to have access to this important information!