This post by guest blogger Kevin Gonsalves appears as part of Photographer's Month. This June, my business Kevin Gonsalves Photography turned two years old! I’m amazed at how the time has flown by. But to be honest, two years ago I would have never imagined I’d see my pictures in some of the country’s top glossy magazines (Homemakers, Fashion and The Fourth Period to name a few).

Probably even more amazing to me is the fact I’ve been able to run a successful (and profitable) small business.

So I have to give props when they are due. I was a lucky beta tester of Wave Accounting, and Wave has been a big part of my success for almost a year. Why’s that? Well, Wave gave me the insights that made it quite apparent I was making some mistakes in how I was running my business. But thankfully I was able to identify these mistakes and make adjustments. Below is a list of my top 3 mistakes. I hope this post helps you avoid them!

Kevin Gonsalves uses Wave for his photography accounting

1. I didn’t know how much I was spending

Well, actually I knew roughly but didn’t know exactly. You can ask any photographer, especially when it comes to gear, it’s very easy to justify purchasing things spontaneously for a shoot or for creative development. Wave’s dashboard empowered me to see visually were I was with my spending at any given point. It also helped me think more strategically in my timing and about the types purchases I made.

2. I was too nice to some clients

God bless them, but photography clients can be a mixed bunch. I have some clients who pay the same day an invoice is issued, and some who take advantage of my payment terms. Before using Wave, I never had a system for knowing how late a payment was. In my head it was either late, really late or ridiculously late. Without actually digging up their invoice, I didn’t have a clue. Wave allows me to see with a click of a mouse exactly where I stand with my Accounts Receivable. And because of this, I’m now far more proactive in ensuring timely payments. No more Mr. Nice Guy! ;)

3. My rates were too low

When I first started in the industry, I took on jobs at a multitude of different rates. At the beginning I just thought, “Wow! They want to pay me to take pictures of NHL players, how cool is that?” I took a lot of jobs based on what I thought was a fair number and not necessarily the right number. It wasn’t until I started using Wave that I not only brought into focus how much I was making per job and hour, but also the value of my time and talent.

By using Wave’s robust reporting tools, I was able to strategically figure out on a daily, weekly and monthly basis the exact amount I needed to work. Also, I was able to determine what rate to charge in order to deliver the revenue and profit I needed to make my business sustainable. FYI: I have since then adjusted my rates and thanked Wave especially for helping me out with this one!

Kevin Gonsalves is an editorial, lifestyle and event photographer based in Toronto, Canada.

Contact Kevin:

Toronto Fashion Photographer

Wave is 100% free accounting software for photographers, freelancers and other small businesses.