Why You Shouldn’t Borrow Money to Start A Photography Business


So I got a call recently from a gentleman who claims to have been hanging around the premises of Photography for the past 52 weeks. He had finally come to the decision that photography was indeed a business he’ll like to get into. His reason for calling me was to find out if I’ll approve of him getting a N60k ($350) 6-month loan from a relative.

I didn’t know when I shouted a BIG “NO”. Its important to note that the basic number one tool that increases your chances of succeeding in an industry like photography is actually NOT your camera. Yes, quite a number of photographers might disagree with me on this but I strongly believe you ability to sustain impactful relationships is a critical foundation for success in this industry.

A newbie in the industry with a past record of a chronic lie-telling disease would eventually have to pack up business even if he/she has the latest equipment. Compare the same person to someone with integrity & great interpersonal skills but no camera. The later would eventually end up buying the equipment of the former.

I still believe in the importance of getting a reasonable amount of education (youtube videos, books, blogs, photography schools, etc) before venturing into an industry one isn’t too familiar with. Sometimes people tell me they can’t afford the fees we charge at eloPhotos Academy that’s why they just want to start by just getting the camera first. If only they’ll at least consider investing in books and materials of world-class industry professionals (like Edward Lilley, Steve Stint & Joe McNally) so as not to repeat the same mistakes that has been made by elders in the profession.

Perhaps another way to look at this issue of borrowing to start a photography business is the fact that many first time business owners have actually not been disciplined enough to manage resources well in their “past life”. Infact, many just believe that if they have enough faith, they can repay whatever loan they get. However if you don’t have concrete plans on how the loan will be repaid, you’ll be walking into a trap that will leave you heartbroken and disappointed by people you think should UNDERSTAND.

Perhaps the other question you should ask yourself is how sure you are (on a scale of 1-10) of repaying a loan for a business you’ve never done before. You’ll be surprised at how that same relative will almost choke you to death once they realize you’re not forthcoming on the debt repayment. Trust me on this.

Another way to go about getting your desired N60k might be to consider asking 10 people to sow 6k each into the fertile soil of your life (assuming you have a good reputation). Better yet, do what I told the gentleman to do: become friends with someone that has the range of camera you want to borrow money to buy. If you have to wash their clothes or cars to win their hearts, please do that with your whole heart. Touching the heart of someone that has a camera will increase your chances of being “loaned” the camera by that same person when you need it. Its way better than getting a loan that you think you’ll be able to pay back in 6-12 months.

If you feel a loan is what you need, then be 100% sure that the person or organization you’re getting the loan from won’t stress or sue you if you’re unable to pay when you think you’ll pay. Trust me, people tend to show you a side of them you wish you’ll never see when it comes to collecting money from debtors. They seldom care how you get the money (even if you have to rob a bank); as long as you pay them back. But then again, you can’t blame them because if they knew that the money won’t be paid back when they expected it, they probably wouldn’t have loaned you. This might seem like an unnecessarily long note just for a N60k loan….I just hope you’ll not repeat some of the mistakes many – myself included – have made (and are still making).

Please feel free to air your views on scenarios when you feel someone should seek for a loan to start a business (not just photography).

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Contact us on 08120129149, 08023008873 or info@elophotos.com for a detailed list of options of classes to take at eloPhotos Academy. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness.

One comment

  1. olamide · August 9, 2014

    I didn’t own a camera for the 1st year of my photography career but I never lacked one. Good relationship with those who has can save u and during that one year, I was able to save and buy even a better camera than the ones I was borrowing. A loan won’t solve ur problems. Butcher if u think and know u can, pay back and still be in business good luck with that. Also remember, your photography brain would do you better. So get a brain.

    Like

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