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Archive for December, 2014

After Business Costs you need to make a Wage

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Here is a simple question for the small business owner: What wage does the business need to provide as an annual income?

Or, reframed, how much money needs to be made as a wage after all fixed and variable business costs are deducted? This simple question is a good place to start thinking about the viability of a business model and how a business competes.

In a perfect World I’d suggest that after all fixed and variable costs are accounted for in a business there should be money to pay the owner.

In Australia for 2014 the poverty line for a single person was $400 per week ($20,800 per year) and for a couple with two children the poverty line rises to $841 per week ($43,732). This is 50 per cent of the Median Income.

One third of people below the poverty line take their main income from wages. These are the working poor.

In contrast, the Australian average weekly total earnings for 2014 were $1,516.90 ($78,878 per year). That is to say, if a small business operator wants to assess the income provided by their business venture as a benchmark against wages in Australia then this is probably the number worth aspiring towards. Aside from the classic lifestyle trade-off of self-employment, the goal should be to eventually (touch wood) make the average Australian wage after business costs.

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The Art Photograph Sold for 6.5 Million Dollars

Friday, December 12th, 2014

In the few days since the sale for $6.5 million of American-based Australian photographer Peter Lik’s “Phantom” there have been the usual trope arguments about art photography lacking in worth. This argument has raged for over a century.

Here’s some news for you; this argument won’t be resolved in the near future. Ultimately “Phantom” is the most valuable photograph because the market says so. The market doesn’t need any photographer’s validation about merit or value. That sale is the only validation required.

Part of the problem is most photographers don’t understand the art photography market. They understand photographs. It really isn’t up to photographers to decide what is (or isn’t) fine art or to haggle about the photograph’s value. There is this thing we’ve been experimenting with for a few hundred years… we call it the free market. That free market decides what is art and the value of things sold within the art market. If the gallery or auction house achieved that price from the market, then that photograph is, by definition, worth that amount of money.

The question then becomes one of “who in the real world paid the $6.5 million?”

I’m sorry to burst any photographer’s bubble here, but people don’t pay even moderate sums based solely on the pretty picture paradigm. These pictures aren’t posters. They’re speculative investment.

Investors pay for art off a gallery wall in the hope that it will increase in value. That somebody out there will pay more. Eventually. It’s a standard investment risk.

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My Father & a Friend Smoking Tobacco (circa 1950)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

My father was a working man. He left school at the end of Grade 6 to help support his large impoverished family and I have a lot of respect for that. This photograph was scanned from a 6cm x 9cm film negative made by my paternal grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986). My father is the guy on the right with a cigarette and I’m not sure who the other guy was to him or why my grandmother made this photograph. The date would have been very close to 1950.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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