Being a sole proprietor in the state of Georgia

Being me, I decided that if I was going to get into the photography business, I’d go the whole 9 yards. Here are the steps I’ve taken to become recognized as a business (it’s not 100% official, but I’m working towards it!)

  1. Registered to get a free Employer Identification Number with the federal government a.k.a. the IRS. It was an online process and rather painless. I opted to receive a one-time PDF download that contained my EIN number. This number is great because it allows you to do business without putting down your social security number (SSN) every time you do business with a vendor who requires an EIN or Tax Identification Number (TIN).
  2. Registration with the state is surprisingly more painful and I’m not completely clear on what needs to be done to be recognized by the state. I did visit the State Tax website and registered to pay taxes on whatever income (which is not existent at this point) I may earn.
  3. Registration with the county in which you are operational. What you actually need is a trade name application or a “fictitious name” application which allows you to ‘officially’ call yourself “J and J Photos” or in my case, Jane Ullah Photography. Thankfully, my county’s website was much saner than the State of Georgia’s so I have the paperwork and know what I need to get submitted i.e. 1 form indicating your operational business name which costs $30 and apparently, I’ll have to run an advert in the newspaper for 2 weeks which will also cost $$! Overall, I expected that I’d run into these administrative fees so I’m keeping meticulous records and planning on including these expenses on my Schedule C form for the tax year of 2010.
  4. Rented a P.O. Box that will serve as my ‘official’ mailing address to receive correspondence. Mail meant for Jane Ullah Photography (fan me on Facebook!) should be addressed to: Jane Ullah Photography, P.O. Box 943 Athens GA 30603
  5. Designed and ordered business cards for my business! I’m pretty proud of the work I did on my business cards. I heartily recommend that you use which gives you a chance to preview what your card will look like called a “proof” in the PDF file format! I can’t stress how helpful that free feature was and they ship the cards promptly too!

It’s clearly a work in progress, but I look forward to becoming a small business owner/sole employee! Of course, I *still* have my day-job which I like and will be keeping, thank you very much. πŸ™‚

Overall, it’s not as painful as I anticipated, but I’ll surely keep you informed if that viewpoint changes!

2010 and more

Wow! Everytime I promise to keep this blog updated, I end up not posting at all. So, I’m done with promises. Deal? πŸ˜› Good.

What have I been up to? Well, a LOT:

  1. At work, I have my hands full and while I love being busy and I love my job, but at time, how I long for the slightly-less-hectic days of fall. πŸ˜› My year-end evaluation was great and reflected what I felt about my job/bosses and coworkers. I *am* blessed to have a job that lets me thrive and allows me to be able to leave the job at work & come home to do whatever else strikes my fancy like blog about technology, blog about my photos and work on my business (Jane Ullah Photography)!
  2. I inked my first contract to shoot a wedding this February. It’s my first wedding flying solo and I’m understandably nervous, but in a very good way! I want to exceed her expectations and get a good review too. So, wish me luck! πŸ™‚ I’ll be renting a backup camera, lens and dedicated flash from Borrow Lenses. I’ve never experienced any deal-breaking issues with lighting or camera, but I won’t jeopardize my job by not have a backup plan. I intend on attending her rehearsal for free in order to get acquainted with the church, etc.
  3. I purchased a new HP dv7-3080us laptop at a ridiculously low price ($200 for a laptop that’s worth $1499!). I participated in a penny auction site ( is like eBay meets gambling) and I initially paid $150 for the laptop ($50 actual price I won the auction for, but I spent ~$100 in bids). Being a lousy gambler, I ended up losing $100 more on the site so I tell people I paid $250 for the laptop counting my $100 loss in. Read all about my penny auction win here and remember that my results are not typical. Matt has inherited my HP dv9700t customized notebook and he’s absolutely loving his increased productivity and our old desktop computer will be inherited by his dad (to replace his ancient 2000-era desktop computer).
  4. Matt and I will be pet-parents! I adopted a 5-year-old mutt named “Ellie” and we are going to be moving in order to accommodate the need for a pet-friendly apartment! We will miss our old place, but now is the time for a new chapter in our lives: pet-parenthood! lol
  5. I’ve been learning about using social media to my business’s benefit and here are the steps I’ve taken towards to that:
    • starting a twitter account dedicated to highlights samples of my work (@janeullah)
    • starting a photo blog (powered by Tumblr and it also autoposts to the twitter account above) that showcases samples of my work and keeps potential clients/visitors abreast of events/developments in Jane Ullah Photography
    • registered my business with the IRS:  Getting my Employer Identification Number (EIN) number was surprisingly painless and don’t get suckered into paying money to ANYONE for getting your EIN number from the federal government. I’m currently filling about forms to register my business with the state and my county as well as opening a business checking account for photography related purchases. In order to open a business checking account, you have to be registered within your state and have your DBA (“doing business as” or fictitious name registration form submitted to the state/county). Even if you don’t have employees, it’ll be smarter to use your EIN for business related issues versus your personal Social Security number. I’ll keep you posted on my progress with getting registered and all. It promises to be interesting to learn about my small business tax obligations, et cetera.
    • Getting listed in several search engines (Google, Yahoo Local and Bing (pending) as well as directories online like Wedding Wire, Gathering Guide, and Eventective. To increase visibility, I took advantage of a $100 Google Adwords credit which didn’t last long (surprisingly) and I ended up spending ~ $63 on Adwords.
    • Creating a Facebook Page for Jane Ullah Photography and using that as another avenue to spread the word! Tip: get over 25 fans for any page you create and you’ll be able to create an easy-to-remember username for that page. For instance, to visit Jane Ullah Photography on Facebook, check out My personal page on Facebook uses my other handle:
    • Registering for a “Fundamentals of Photography” class which counts towards the earning of a photography certificate! I can only go so far with the manuals. I think having deadlines and class assignments will take my creativity up a notch.
  6. Matt’s kicking butt and taking names at his classes. He is currently on track to earn a certificate in Geographic Information Systems and will put those courses towards earning a degree in that field. It’s a LOT of work, but he is committed and I’m glad he’s letting me tag along to some of his IT-related classes! πŸ™‚ We’re such a quirky couple and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
  7. So, I could rattle on and on, but the point is: good things are happening in Jane’s world. πŸ˜› I’m in love with life and I hope you are too!

Enough of my horn-tooting. Duty calls! Ciao.