Hi friends, can you believe that school is already back in session and we are headed into fall? As we move into a new month and a new season, I have a lot to share with you so I’m going to (try to) be brief here and give you some VERY challenging things to consider. I’m going to warn you in advance though, what I have to say might insult or offend you; two things that I would absolutely HATE to do. So why am I going to say them anyway? Because I love you and I genuinely want to see you managing a business that is healthy and thriving. So here’s the truth.  The truth that I wish I could go back and tell myself 8 years ago when I was two years into owning my own business as a “professional” photographer.

Amy Ellid Photography

Here are three signs that you are actually running a healthy professional business:

1.  A professional business pays its owner a salary.  No more of this, “I sometimes let myself buy things out of my business account. That’s paying myself, right?”  Not paying yourself a consistent set salary (regardless of the size of that salary) is a sign that you are not taking yourself or your business seriously OR that you do not have a healthy grasp on your business finances. This rule still applies for businesses with fluctuating monthly revenue…and thats just about all of us. You are not the exception. Guys, it took me 8 years to put on my big-girl-business-pants and start paying myself a set salary every month. Its game changing on many levels.

2. A professional business has completely separate bank accounts and credit/debit cards. Work related purchases only go in and out of your work bank account.  Every expense is clearly tracked and accounted for. Period.

3. A professional business is able to operate debt free. Now before you throw a shoe at me,  I do realize that there are a lot of industries that carry debt as the norm, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say that your business probably does not have to be one of them. If you find that accumulating business debt is the norm for you it should be a giant red flag that you are trying to grow faster (or act larger) then your business can actually sustain. Slow and steady wins the race.  Make the money, then make that next investment.  Before you assume that you have to go into debt to grow your business stop and answer this question, “Is there another alternative?”  Chances are there is another alternative we just don’t like it because it often requires more time, patience or work.  What do Michael Kors, Chipotle, Whole Foods and Coach all have in common?  They are all companies on the S&P 500 that are completely debt free. #winning

The year is more than halfway over and I think that is great time to evaluate things. Are you committed to running a healthy business or are you nurturing an expensive hobby? Both are okay but you do have to choose which one you want to be. Pick just one of these steps and make this the year that you start to take yourself and your business seriously.

Shoot me a reply and let me know which one YOU are committing to the rest of this year and I will be cheering you on!!

– Shay

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