Starting A Photography Business: A Structured Approach For Success

Starting a photography business seems easy to begin with. All one needs is a good camera, an understanding of photography techniques, a love for photography itself, and the enthusiasm to turn a passionate hobby into a business.Unfortunately, it really isn’t as simple as that!The moment a talented amateur photographer makes the decision to become a professional, to earn money from their photographs, he or she ceases to be a photographer and instead becomes a marketer and seller of photography.The distinction between photographer and businessperson is crucial and understanding of this is essential if the would-be professional has a desire to be successful at selling their photographic work.Put simply, photographers do not make money taking photographs. They make money selling photographs.Sadly, the ease of entry into the photography business is so simple that many photographers find themselves asking the question, “how do I start a photography business” after they’ve already discovered that the reality is not as simple as they thought it would be after all!For those who are new to the photography business, or considering making the jump from being an amateur to professional photographer, there is a structured approach that could save some agony further down the line. This systematic methodology is called “The Six Pillars Of Success” and can apply to almost any small business.The six pillars are:
Mindset
Positioning
Marketing
SEO
Sales
Client relationships
MindsetBeing in business is not for the faint-hearted or thin-skinned. Because of this, it’s essential to maintain a positive mindset and keep your business goals firmly in sight. Commitment is a big factor here, too, and it’s important to be 100% committed to your success no matter the current circumstances. This also means investing in your continuing business education, and having a forward-thinking mentality that’s focused on your future growth.PositioningKnowing where to position oneself in the marketplace is something that will set the aspiring professional photographer apart from the competition. Identifying a photographic genre as a specialty, together with the demographic and personality of the ideal target client are a great start here. A pricing model also helps to determine which of those ideal clients will be willing to invest in the photography services and products on offer.MarketingIn its most simple form, marketing is the process of earning, and competing for, your ideal clients’ attention. Effective marketing helps to educate your photography prospects about who you are, your values and beliefs, how you conduct business, and how the client can most benefit from the experience of working with you.SEOSearch engine optimization (SEO) is critical to the success of any business in this day and age. A photographer might be the most personable and friendly person in the world and produce the most incredible photography their clients could possibly imagine, but that won’t matter one bit if no one can find them online. Even with the most amazing-looking photography website, it’s essential to ensure that the search engines have a good idea of what the website is actually about.SalesNo one wants to come across as the stereotypical used-car salesman, and if the client senses the photographer might be uncomfortable with his or her own prices or at all nervous about asking for the sale, they will instinctively become much more resistant to the sales process, making the sales job much harder. The answer is to learn how to sell from an ethical standpoint, and with the client’s needs firmly at heart.Client RelationshipsThis is where most professional photographers really trip up! They attract the right clients, create beautiful work for them, do a great job of selling it, and then never talk to the client again! This is a huge mistake, and can mean the photographer is stuck in a never-ending quest for new clients. The solution is to stay in touch with your family of valued clients. It’s easy to send them an occasional card in the mail, an email newsletter, or even call them on the telephone just to see how they’re doing.An Upward Spiral To SuccessAs you reach the last of the six pillars, you’ll see that a happy family of clients naturally causes you to be happier as a businessperson, which helps create an even stronger positive attitude.You also get to know your clients in a lot more depth, which then helps you when it comes to positioning yourself and your business in the marketplace.The process of marketing becomes much simpler and a lot less costly, since you’ll see a lot more benefit from word of mouth marketing.The SEO for your photography website is also made much simpler because your blog articles, for example, further help the search engines to see you as a local authority.The sales process becomes easier to manage because you’ve now created a good reputation within the community.Finally, your family of happy clients will love you more as your photography business becomes more established.

Cure Your Financial Lack: Basic Factors to Consider for Becoming Financially Free

Most people can do better financially. Most of us if not all of us meet opportunities on a daily basis that are intended to change our financial fortunes for the better but are unable to recognize them in their camouflaged state. Opportunities of devious magnitudes happen to all men. We are programmed to see and hear only those things that we want to see and hear. What will happen if we can learn to freeze this approach to life and unfreeze the conscious expectation of everything we need to become what we should be, that is, if we fully comprehend and have visualized what we should be? Nothing happens by chance! You have to want it and want it very bad.There is always a starting point to everything and a first time with which to experience things. If we do not start we’ll never get anywhere and the worst that can happen is retrogression. Our dreams which are linked to our desires differ in magnitude. Some people desire to be wealthy and others desire to be well to do, that is, to have their needs met. Some actions have to be initiated for these things to manifest. It is only when you are consciously conscious of who you want to become and what you want to achieve that you will begin to take appropriate and relevant actions to achieving your goals. We all have something to give to others which we can do in exchange for something. This is how battering came about and was highly effective. It was all about meeting the needs of others. Think about what you can do to meet the needs of others and receive compensation for doing that and you will have found an income generating system.For those who are already earning an income, there are some things you can begin to consider to improve your financial status. Make sure that you cover the basic stuff first before considering moving to the next level of financial freedom. Personal financial management is the first hurdle to cross before attempting total financial freedom. If you acquire basic skills for personal financial literacy and manage your personal finances well, you’ll then find business finance management very interesting. The skills of saving, investing, and making your money grow for your future financial needs and of protecting your income are the basis for proper financial planning. Everyone can cure their financial lack.The quest to be financially healthy requires that we be disciplined, responsible, knowledgeable and understanding. Financial literacy is the most important set of life skills that we all need to survive and be successful in the modern world. This is the set of skills that has been acquired by very few people hence there are only few financially successful people in the world today. The lack of this skill results in many people finding it extremely difficult to manage their financial affairs and to successfully plan their financial future.If we spend all our money today we’ll have no provision for tomorrow and we’ll have to work extra hard just to survive. If we save some of our money today, we’ll have something for tomorrow. This is how serious saving and investing a portion of our monies today is. Put your money to good use and let it generate more money for you. If you spend all your money today, then you are giving away your future financial freedom. We cannot just hide our heads in the sand and hope that the future will take care of itself. We have to force ourselves to make hay while the sun is still shining, when age, time, health and resources still allow us to do so. Choosing not to take heed of the advice of the wise will be downright ignorant and foolish.Personal financial management is the launching pad for personal financial freedom and paves a way to personal wealth. We have to start by acknowledging that we are not going to be young forever, that we are not going to be strong physically and mentally forever. We are not going to be able to work forever even though we may wish so. Working, as a business owner or employee, requires strength and energy and aging might be a limiting factor. You need to prepare for an event or time when you will be unable to work any longer. This calls for you to protect your personal income in case you die, become disabled or retire due to old age. You have to consider life and disability assurance while you are still working either as a business owner or employee to protect yourself and your income. Not considering this advice is purely being irresponsible. Consult your financial adviser and engage him or her on this issue. Do the right thing, plan your personal finances. There should be enough money available to pay off debts and in the case of disability, to make changes that will help you cope with your new situation.You have to understand the negative effects of inflation on your savings so that you can craft strategies to counter it. For example, an inflation rate of say 5% a year will half the buying power or value of your money in 10 to 15 years’ time. In other words, if it costs you US$125 a month now to buy your groceries, you will need US$250 to buy those same groceries in 10 to 15 years’ time. Time is the most important factor when it comes to saving and making money grow. The longer time you save, the more interest you will receive out of your savings.Money grows when it is used to make more money. However, investing money is not a sure bet, it involves huge risks. The objective of investing is to make more money. Your goal should be to maximize the returns on your investments with less risk on your capital. It starts from searching and researching companies, funds and business sectors you wish to invest in. There are many different ways of investing money in the economy and each of these different ways has its own levels of risk and return unless you open an investment account with a financial institution (bank). Work on your action plans for short-term, medium term and long-term investment strategies.While it is extremely important to invest in reputable companies, the reputation and integrity of your financial adviser is extremely important. Do not take your adviser’s advice at face value. Go for a second and even a third opinion and do more research. You cannot afford to believe only what your adviser is telling you. Trust is not enough as it will not guarantee you your returns. Research and scrutinize documents before committing yourself. Never put all your eggs in one basket regardless of how tempting it might be.It is extremely important to have a will. Will allows you to register your wishes in writing so that when you pass on, you may have this document speaking for you. Failure to do this will result in your possessions going to people you never wished to have them or going to the state (intestate). Any person of 16 years or older who is mentally capable of understanding what he or she is doing can make a will. Estate laws differ from country to country. Please check laws relevant to your country. Banks, lawyers and trust companies (most of them are insurance companies) can assist with the drawing up of a customer’s will. Ask your banker or financial adviser about the process of setting up a will.Regardless of how prosperous your business and investments are today, you have to provide in advance for the needs of your growing age and the protection of your loved ones. A budget is a plan that deals with the future allocation and utilization of various resources with regard to different organizational activities over a given period. Budgeting is a disciplined way of spending your hard earned income. It is a tool used to translate future plans into quantitative terms.Remember that the wealth you are trying to create is not only for you, it is for your second, third and fourth generations. Budget your expenses in such a way that you may have money available to pay for your necessities. You must also make provision to pay for your entertainment without spending more than ninety per cent of your earnings. Make provision for giving to deserving charities in the ninety per cent available for you to spend. It is important to get used to giving as it is a spiritual and universal law that binds all of us. Make sure that you invest the ten per cent of your income to give you excellent returns. Guard this ten per cent with all diligence for it is a seed that has to generate wealth for you.

Software Maintenance Implications on Cost and Schedule

Abstract The dictionary defines maintenance as, “The work of keeping something in proper order.” However, this definition does not necessarily fit for software. Software maintenance is different from hardware maintenance because software doesn’t physically wear out, but often gets less useful with age. Software is typically delivered with undiscovered flaws. Therefore, software maintenance is: “The process of modifying existing operational software while leaving its primary functions intact.” Maintenance typically exceeds fifty percent of the systems’ life cycle cost . While software maintenance can be treated as a level of effort activity, there are consequences on quality, functionality, reliability, cost and schedule that can be mitigated through the use of parametric estimation techniques.1. INTRODUCTION One of the greatest challenges facing software engineers is the management of change control. It has been estimated that the cost of change control can be between 40% and 70% of the life cycle costs . Software engineers have hoped that new languages and new process would greatly reduce these numbers; however this has not been the case. Fundamentally this is because software is still delivered with a significant number of defects. Capers Jones estimates that there are about 5 bugs per Function Point created during Development . Watts Humphrey found “… even experienced software engineers normally inject 100 or more defects per KSLOC . Capers Jones says, “A series of studies the defect density of software ranges from 49.5 to 94.5 errors per thousand lines of code .” The purpose of this article is to first review the fundamentals of software maintenance and to present alternative approaches to estimating software maintenance. A key element to note is that development and management decisions made during the development process can significantly affect the developmental cost and the resulting maintenance costs.2. SOFTWARE MAINTENANCE Maintenance activities include all work carried out post-delivery and should be distinguished from block modifications which represent significant design and development effort and supersede a previously released software package. These maintenance activities can be quite diverse, and it helps to identify exactly what post-delivery activities are to be included in an estimate of maintenance effort. Maintenance activities, once defined, may be evaluated in a quite different light than when called simply “maintenance”. Software maintenance is different from hardware maintenance because software doesn’t physically wear out, but software often gets less useful with age and it may be delivered with undiscovered flaws. In addition to the undiscovered flaws, it is common that some number of known defects pass from the development organization to the maintenance group. Accurate estimation of the effort required to maintain delivered software is aided by the decomposition of the overall effort into the various activities that make up the whole process.3. APPROACHING THE MAINTENANCE ISSUE Maintenance is a complicated and structured process. In his textbook, Estimating Software Intensive Systems, Richard Stuzke outlines the typical software maintenance process. It is apparent that the process is more than just writing new code.The following checklist can be used to explore the realism and accuracy of maintenance requirements.o Which pieces of software will be maintained?o How long will the system need to be maintained?o Are you estimating the entire maintenance problem, or just incremental maintenance?o What level of maintenance is required?o Is that which is being called maintenance in fact a new development project?o Who will do the maintenance? Will it be done organically by the original developer? Will there be a separate team? Will there be a separate organization?o Will maintainers be using the same tools used during development? Are any proprietary tools required for maintenance?o How much Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) is there? How tightly coupled are the interfaces?o Some follow-on development may be disguised as maintenance. This will either inflate maintenance figures, or else cause shortfalls if basic maintenance gets pushed aside. These questions will help you ask whether maintenance is being honestly represented.o Is the activity really an incremental improvement?o Are healthy chunks of the original code being rewritten or changed?o Will additional staff be brought in to perform the upgrade?o Is the maintenance effort schedule regular and fairly flat, or does it contain staffing humps that look like new development?4. SANITY CHECKS Although sanity checks should be sought on a year-by-year basis, they should not be attempted for overall development. The reason for this is that maintenance activities can be carried on indefinitely, rendering any life-cycle rules useless. As an example, consider Grady (p. 17):We spend about 2 to 3 times as much effort maintaining and enhancing software as we spend creating new software.This and similar observations apply at an organizational level and higher, but not for a specific project. Any development group with a history will be embroiled in the long tail ends of their many delivered projects, still needing indefinite attention. Here are a few quick sanity checks:o One maintainer can handle about 10,000 lines per year.o Overall life-cycle effort is typically 40% development and 60% maintenance.o Maintenance costs on average are one-sixth of yearly development costs.o Successful systems are usually maintained for 10 to 20 years.Finally, as in development, the amount of code that is new versus modified makes a difference. The effective size, that is, the equivalent effort if all the work were new code, is still the key input for both development and maintenance cost estimation.5. FIVE ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES All software estimation techniques must be able to model the theory and the likely real world result. The real world scenario is that over time, the overlay of changes upon changes makes software increasingly difficult to maintain and thus less useful. Maintenance effort estimation techniques range from the simplistic level of effort method, through more thoughtful analysis and development practice modifications, to the use of parametric models in order to use historical data to project future needs.5.1 Level of Effort As is sometimes the case in the development environment, software maintenance can be modeled as a level of effort activity. Given the repair category activities and the great variance that they show, this approach clearly has deficiencies. In this approach, a level of effort to maintain software is based on size and type.5.2 Level of Effort Plus Stuzke proposed that software maintenance starts with basic level of effort (minimum people needed to have a core competency and then that that basic core staff must be modified by assessing three additional factors; configuration management, quality assurance, and project management. His process addressed some of the additional factors affecting software maintenance.5.3 Maintenance Change Factor Software Cost Estimation with COCOMO II (Boehm 2000) proposes a deceivingly simple, but also quite useful methodology for determining annual maintenance. Maintenance is one of the menu selections in the menu bar. In COCOMO II Maintenance encompasses the process of modifying existing operational software while leaving its primary functions intact. This process excludes:o Major re-design and re-development (more than 50% new code) of a new software product performing substantially the same functions.o Design and development of a sizeable (more than 20% of the source instructions comprising the existing product) interfacing software package which requires relatively little redesigning of the existing product.o Data processing system operations, data entry, and modification of values in the database.The maintenance calculations are heavily based upon the Maintenance Change Factor (MCF) and the Maintenance Adjustment Factor (MAF). The MCF is similar to the Annual change Traffic in COCOMO81, except that maintenance periods other than a year can be used. The resulting maintenance effort estimation formula is the same as the COCOMO II Post Architecture development model.As stated previously, three cost drivers for maintenance differ from development. Those cost drivers are software reliability, modern programming practices, and schedule. COCOMO II assumes that increased investment in software reliability and use of modern programming practices during software development has a strong positive effect upon the maintenance stage.Annual Maintenance Effort = (Annual Change Traffic) * (Original Software Development Effort)The quantity Original Software Development Effort refers to the total effort (person-months or other unit of measure) expended throughout development, even if a multi-year project.The multiplier Annual Change Traffic is the proportion of the overall software to be modified during the year. This is relatively easy to obtain from engineering estimates. Developers often maintain change lists, or have a sense of proportional change to be required even before development is complete.5.4 Managing Software Maintenance Costs by Developmental Techniques and Management Decisions During DevelopmentWhen it comes to maintenance, “a penny spent is a pound saved.” Better development practices (even if more expensive) can significantly reduce maintenance effort, and reduce overall life cycle cost. The more effort put into development, the less required in maintenance. As an example, the software development cost and schedule can be significantly impacted (reduced) by letting the number of defects delivered grow. This cost and schedule reduction is more than offset by the increase in maintenance cost. The following discussion is an example of how management decision can significantly affect/reduce software maintenance costs.Lloyd Huff and George Novak of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in their paper “Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Performance Based Software Sustainment for the F-35 Lightning II” propose a series of development and management decision designed to impact and reduce software maintenance costs. They propose an eight step process to estimate and control software maintenance . Their proposed steps are:1. Strive for Commonality2. Apply Industrial Engineering Practices to Software3. Engage4. Adopt a Holistic Approach to Sustainment5. Develop Highly Maintainable Systems and Software6. Manage the Off-the-Shelf Software7. Plan for the Unexpected8. Analyze and Refine the Software Sustainment Business Case (use Parametric software sustainment cost estimates)5.5 A Parametric Assessment of Software MaintenanceParametric models like SEER for Software allow maintenance to be modeled in either of two ways:Estimating maintenance as a part of the total lifecycle cost. Choosing the appropriate Maintenance category parameters will include an estimate of maintenance effort with the development estimate for the individual software program. Several reports and charts show breakdowns of development vs. maintenance effort. This method is best used to evaluate life cycle costs for each individual software program.Estimating maintenance as a separate activity. Using the appropriate maintenance parameters for the software to be maintained you can model the maintenance effort as a separate activity. This method will allow you to fine tune your maintenance estimate by adjusting parameters. Maintenance size should be the same as development size, but should be entered as all pre-existing code. This method can also be useful in breaking out total project maintenance costs from project development costs.A good parametric estimate for maintenance includes a wide range of information. Critical information for completing a software maintenance estimate is the size or amount of software that will be maintained, the quality of that software, the quality and availability of the documentation, and the type or amount of maintenance that will be done. Many organizations don’t actually estimate maintenance costs; they simply have a budget for software maintenance. In this case, a parametric model should be used to compute how much maintenance can actually be performed with the given budget.Estimating and planning for maintenance are critical activities if the software is required to function properly throughout its expected life. Even with a limited budget, a plan can be made to use the resources available in the most efficient, productive manner. Looking at the diagram above, you can see that not only are the multiple inputs that impact the maintenance, but there are several key outputs that provide the information necessary to plan a successful maintenance effort.6. Conclusion The conclusions of this article are:o Software maintenance can be modeled using a simplistic method like Level of Effort Staffing, but this technique has significant drawbacks.o Software maintenance costs can be significantly affected by management decisions during the developmental process.o Software maintenance can be accurately estimated using parametric processes.o Software maintenance is best modeled when development and management decisions are coupled with parametric cost estimation techniques.REFERENCES [1] Software Maintenance Concepts and Practices (second Edition) by Penny Grubb and Armstrong Takang, World Scientific, 2005.[2] Estimating Software Intensive Systems; Richard Stuzke, 2005, Addison-Wesley.[3] Lloyd Huff, George Novak; Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Performance Based Software Sustainment for the F-35 Lightning II.[4] G. Edward Bryan, “CP-6: Quality and Productivity Measures in the 15-Year Life Cycle of an Operating System,” Software Quality Journal 2, 129-144, June 1993.[5] Software Sizing, Estimation, and Risk Management; Daniel D. Galorath, Michael W. Evans, 2006, Auerbach Publications.