3 Ways to Protect Your Creative Business
We love helping our clients be creative with our imagery at Media Bakery, but there are a lot of things to consider for your business besides the artistic aspects. You have to have good business practices to make sure you get paid on time so that you can keep doing what you love and still support yourself. Here are some good business practices that are just as important as how beautiful the work is that you create.
With any business transaction, the first and most important step to finalizing the deal is to make sure you have a good contract. This should cover the who, what, where and when of any kind of photo shoot, design, or meetings. It may seem like a hassle, but it ensures that you and the client are both on the same page with expectations, costs, etc.
Having a written contract means that any future conflicts can quickly and easily be resolved on both sides.
Contracts are especially helpful at the time of delivery. Having set time periods of when and what to deliver makes things better for both sides. If the contract states that only the files will be delivered, but after delivery the client demands an album, you are protected from having to deliver it.
One of the most important aspects of a contract is having a failure to comply clause. This means that if a wedding is called off, the client changes their mind, or you get into an accident before the shoot, there is a way for both parties to work out an arrangement, hopefully avoiding costs and court battles.
2. Protecting Gear
Probably the worst thing that can happen to an artist is having your gear stolen. It's a sad fact, but your expensive gear is for the most part small enough for a thief to walk off with it.
Never leaving your gear alone is the number one thing you can do to prevent its theft. If you have an assistant, a responsibility can be to watch your gear. Otherwise, your best bet to minimize danger is to invest in hard cases that lock and can be secured to an immovable object.
This precaution goes double for leaving gear in a car. A thief can easily smash a window and grab several thousand dollars worth of equipment in seconds.
If the worst does happen, you also need to be prepared. Register your gear with the manufacturer and/or secondary sources such as LensTag. These services register the serial number and can help to catch thieves or recover gear if it is sold through a reputable dealer. But you also need to have insurance on your equipment. This can also cover any damage that happens on the job.
3. Protecting Your Work
Making sure your work is safe at all times is your number one duty. Someone has paid you for your expertise and a product you produce, so if it is lost, stolen or otherwise damaged you are on the hook.
First, it is important to have multiple copies, preferably spread around to different locations. In the event of a house fire, you'll be glad you have put this practice in place.
Backups are extremely important, and a good basic backup system keeps two on-site copies and one off-site copy. The two on-site copies ensure that if one hard drive were to fail, the chances that both were to fail at the same time would be minimal. In the case of one failure, a new replacement drive can easily duplicate the still-existing drive.
An off-site copy protects you against theft, fire or other damage. This off-site copy should be rotated every few months to ensure that the drive is still healthy.
Having an online backup through a cloud storage site is also another cheap and easy way to make sure there is another backup, which can be extended to your whole catalog.
Have any other suggestions or questions? We'd love your feedback on how you protect your growing business!