It's been about a month since my last post, and today I launched my Indiegogo campaign to raise some money to get some new equipment. I've been needing to upgrade for quite awhile, especially as I take on projects that I can do but I wish I had better equipment for. I always want to get my clients the best product possible.
I've been so humbled by the truly incredible amount of support in the FIRST DAY of campaigning by friends and family, but one of the most astounding assets to my campaign was a stranger who brought up a valid question. One that probably many people are thinking, so I think it's fair to answer it in a forum that is both professional and easily accessible.
They asked: Why should I fund donations for a for-profit company?
In all technicality, my business is not actually for-profit. Last year I made LESS than $0 (funding most of my work and gear out of pocket from my "regular" day job). As of this year, I'm ALMOST at $0 (or breaking even). I donate a lot of time, resources, and out-of-pocket money towards my business so that I can continue to offer competitive pricing to the clients that I do have. I want this to be a viable, full-time business someday, but in order to do that I need the right equipment, I need a larger client base, and I need to quite honestly focus more efforts and resources on marketing, some classes to update my skills, and some props for some really exciting new projects this year.
I do what I do because I LOVE to make people happy. I'm not in this for the money. I'm in this for YOU. I'm in this to offer my clients a higher standard, a better quality service, at the SAME price. I don't want to have to raise my prices exorbitantly just so that I can buy new gear. That doesn't seem fair to the people I'm supposed to be helping. Supporting my community by doing something I'm good at - that's what is important to me.
I don't have enough space to post this on my Indiegogo campaign, but here are the items I'm raising money for, and why I'm looking for $8000 in funds.
Canon 5D Mark III - $3400
Canon 6D - $1749
2 Pack LP-E6 Batteries for Canon 5D Mark III - $29
Battery Grip for 5D Mark III - $99.95
Battery Grip for 6D INCLUDES 2 replacement batteries - $74.99
Strobe lighting kit - $215
Software upgrades - $480
Materials for DIY Kino lights - $400
Memory Card for Canon 5D Mark III 64gb extreme compact flash - $146
Memory Card for Canon 6D (Extreme 64 GB Class 10 SDXC) - $65.56
Adobe Classroom book series - $37.79
Muslin Backdrops White/Black 10' x 20' - $41.69 each ($83.38 total)
Some marketing costs for this year (business cards, posters, gallery fees) - $500
Other (maintenance and props) - $720
I have invested so much of my own money, out of pocket, to building my business. I work a full time job and this is only my side job. One of the biggest questions I imagine I will receive is this - why in the heck do you need THREE cameras? I use fixed lenses, which means they do not zoom in or out. They are much higher quality and have much better glass which means a far sharper image. I've invested in all of the fixed lenses I want, on my own, out of pocket. But in order to use these effectively at events (think - weddings!) I need gear that can accommodate all of them at once, which means most often carrying at least three cameras around with me. I do that now, too, although I am using much lower-quality gear - A DSLR Canon Rebel and and a SLR 35mm Canon Rebel. They work, they do, but I would love to have the equipment to go above and beyond what my clients expect.
I also donate a lot of time and money to other small businesses across New England. I've spent time particularly with authors, one film business in particular, and quite a lot of other entrepreneurs. I like to see people succeed, and if I can help them do that, all the better.
I don't want anyone to think that I'm taking advantage of them. I want everyone to know that I am being as transparent as possible. I wouldn't be asking for money from strangers if I thought I could make enough profit to do it myself. But as Amanda Palmer said in her Ted Talk, there's nothing wrong with asking for a little help.
If you're interested in checking out the campaign, you can do so at this link.