During December I applied for support from the New Enterprise Allowance ( NEA) to build up a viable business rather than keeping photography as a hobby. We are always best at what we love to do, so it follows that I should try to make a living - and a success! - out of something I really enjoy and for which I have skills.
So when NEA gave me a blank template for a Business Plan, booked me on a 3-part Workshop designed to teach you about starting up a business, and told me I had five weeks to produce a feasible Business Plan for their approval, I was understandably apprehensive. I have never worked in an office, I am not that good with spreadsheets and my idea of market research was logging onto Compare the Meerkat Dot Com!
There followed hours upon hours of market research and learning about cash Flow Forecasts, Profit and Loss Forecasts and many other business-related subjects. Luckily Diana is very knowledgeable about business and together we managed to put together the Plan and submit it before the deadline.
As the famous movie producer Samuel Goldwyn once said, "the harder I work, the luckier I get!". Well, that work sure paid off last Friday, 3rd February, when I received THE call. My Business Plan was approved and I officially start on the programme this coming Wednesday. This means a bit of financial help towards starting up and also having a Business Buddy to help with advice. Which has me smiling on the inside but... still thinking of the next step and, much to my wife's annoyance, not showing much outward signs of joy! I am usually quite reserved, and not easily given to physical expressions of joy.
Otherwise, with the wedding in December as well as the Business Plan, I've been a bit sidetracked lately, including from my fitness plan, which I've let slip. So 2012 is a fresh new start in many respects - new life as a married man, new business, and new fitness plan, which I have embarked on recently .
In terms of new images, there have been very few. But on the flip side, I now have a new website up and running with Zenfolio and the image hosting capacity is unlimited, which means I can upload as many images as I need to - great for those who have asked me regularly to showcase more new images on the site! My regular followers will recognise old favourites but there are also a lot of old images revisited, some I always thought not good enough but after a bit of editing turned up quite beautiful! What a difference a year makes, and a little more experience and knowledge!
Zenfolio has an integrated print service allowing me to now sell prints of my work directly through my own website which, again, was something else many followers commented that was missing from the last site.
As you'll see from the few images here, I finally got out with my camera today. A crisp yet sunny day here in Yorkshire, so Diana and I went round the Eccup Reservoir, to take full advantage of the cold stuff we call snow. My aim was to capture some little Robins to possibly use for Christmas cards. I know, I know - Christmas is not even two months behind us but with photography you must always think ahead, and take shots every season for next year's needs.
My last images of Robins were kind of dark and I don't recall showing many of them off due to the quality of the image. However, thanks to the above very co-operative "model" - who cheekily almost provoked me to take pictures of him, tweeting at me every time I turned around to capture a gold crest that was playing about nearby - today I have a good number to choose from.
The best images will be uploaded to the website shortly.
Now that things are ticking on, it is time to work on my portfolio with a greater focus than before. Which means that I'll be more than likely beg, borrow or steal friends, family, items of jewellery and clothing to practise on.
Until next time...keep in touch - whether via Twitter (@DavidOakesPhoto), my website or my Facebook page!