Sarah already had a number of contacts as well as a social media following, but she knew she would need to upgrade her equipment to make a go of it full-time and provide the quality brides and grooms expected. She also felt she needed a small studio for portraits and simply because her small condo was well, small.


She prepared a business plan and listed her needs – new professional grade camara (her current camera could act as a back-up), high end professional lenses, tripods, camera bags, lighting equipment, props, backdrops, studio space, desktop computer, laptop, editing software, external hard drive, and quality photo printer plus she would need a payment system, business license, insurance, and accounting software or a good accountant. Sarah also felt she’d need a marketing budget for business cards, a new website and online portfolio, and social media campaigns.

She crafted a budget with price estimates for all she was going to need as part of her plan. As she began to look for studio space, she was a bit intimidated by lease payments, but felt she truly needed the space. After months of searching, she found a small space in an up and coming area which she could purchase more cost effectively than lease. With her numbers in hand, she began her search for a lender who would consider her for a term loan to get her started.


After considering several options, she opted to purchase the small space, knowing it could act as collateral for the term loan – 7 years, $175,000. With what she had saved up, her excellent credit history and score, and the detailed financials she had maintained for what was now her former side gig, she was able to secure the loan and get her business started.

Within a few months, she had portraits and weddings booked for nearly the entire upcoming year. Business was doing so well, she hired an assistant almost immediately, and six months in, a receptionist.


After her first year, Sarah discovered her property had appreciated considerably and her calendar remains full. She’s even booked several weddings from outside of Virginia due to her growing social media presence and accolades from brides, grooms, and wedding parties.

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