Tahlia taks us to business school & reminds us of the importance of jumper leads

For the last 7 weeks or so, I have been studying business. In another week, I should have myself a certificate 4 in small business management, an accreditation that is ordinarily spaced out over 12 months, fast tracked by the government to get me off Centrelink and working for myself, because it the amount of time I have spent on the dole compared to how much time I have spent working full time has shown that I have no motivation for being employed by anyone else. Haha!

Freelance photography is something I’ve flirted with for a few years but never really did anything about, until I found out about this government initiative that seems to be tailored for artist types to get off their ass and start contributing to the economy properly. SHIT YEAH I’M GOING TO LEARN USEFUL THINGS I screamed happily in my head once I discovered I’d gotten in to the course. But the things I learnt went far beyond how to book keep effectively and how to encourage more sales.

Things I learnt at business school:

It pays to be nice to everyone.
The group of people I was studying with were a large and diverse bunch. Coming from nearly two years of working in a bar in Fitzroy, I wasn’t really used to interacting with people of a variety of backgrounds. I was nervous as shit on the first day of class, and the second day, and the third. But by the fourth day everyone in the class had interacted a fair amount, and I started to feel at ease. These people were just as passionate as I was about getting their businesses going and we could related to each other on that level. I opened up, started chatting to people, spamming everyone with emails with links to my photo blog and online folio… and by the end of the course I’ve had an offer of a free website, a free hair colour (and hopefully soon hair extension…) in return for providing the hair dresser with photos of it, the possibility for a fashion shoot for a clothing designer, a quote for product photos for a guitar maker, the opportunity to use a pink Cadillac limo in photo shoots, the opportunity to document film productions, and I job in a few days documenting a special music funding announcement by the Victorian government. Fucking. Dope.

My focus is much the same as it was in high school- extremely low when it comes to numbers.
In high school I all but failed my maths classes. There was something about numbers that made me black out from boredom. They barely made sense. I didn’t care about what they represented. “FUCK THIS, WHENAM I EVER GOING TO USE THIS SHIT IN REAL LIFE?” was something I remember thinking constantly. And probably saying out loud to anyone within hearing distance. Turns out that my inability to care about and concentrate on numbers has lead me to live only just above the poverty line for most of my adult life. Numbers are totally necessary in business. Business is numbers I suppose, so I had to bite the bullet and try and get my focus on. I tried so hard. SO HARD, and I worked at it and worked at it, but most of the time I would get angry at all the numbers swimming around being so similar to each other, and give up in a huff of frustration, turn the page over and start doing stupid little drawings. Which leads me to my next discovery…

I really enjoy drawing.
But I never start unless I’m really bored or really frustrated. It’s been like this always. So be it.

If you have a car, keep jumper cables in it.
Getting stuck in a muddy car park with a disorganised guitar maker and his car’s shitty battery is not so bad, especially if you get along really well with said guitar maker, but going through the hassle of finding another car owner with jumper cables is a bitch. And when you do find one, you fucking love that forward thinking car owner for the rest of the day. I don’t own a car, but if I do in the future, I’m getting some jumper cables.

Generational differences can be confronting, but getting riled up about it achieves nothing.
Being taught about business finance by a 64 year old accountant was never going to be that exciting. I knew that from the beginning. But thanks to my aforementioned lifestyle in the two years before this course, I really wasn’t prepared to be in a room with a man who’s opinions and attitudes differed SO COMPLETELY from my own. Every day there was a little gripe to be had about “Ms. Gillard’s carbon tax” (regular readers will know my opinion on this issue), everyday (until complaints were made) the women in the class were often referred to as “Darling” in the most horrible condescending way- unknowingly condescending. At first I was totally taken aback. Who the fuck was this guy? Has he been living under a rock for the last 20 years? I hadn’t encountered anything like this kind of attitude for a long, long time, having been surrounded by men who don’t consider gender differences to be something worth mentioning in passing conversation since graduating from high school. It was hard to bite my tongue constantly in these classes. But eventually I came to see the reasons for his ways. While I certainly don’t champion forgiving shitty outdated attitudes because of the person’s back story, I came to learn that I wasn’t going to learn anything from this man if I chose to let myself be angry. Thank fuck he’s not teaching economics to a group of teenage boys though- I hate to think of the consequences of those classes.

Make sure your Facebook privacy settings allow only your friends to see things on your wall.
This lesson is directly related to the discovery that I love drawing when I’m bored combined with my initial frustrations with the accountant. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

So there you have it. I have more knowledge and new experiences to aid me in setting up my own business. It’s highly possible that from now on, much of my writing for CoolPerthNights will revolve around this business of mine, and a few little rants about religion and politics from time to time. I hope you’re as interested as I am in me and my photographs, because you’re going to learn HEAPS more about it all if you keep reading this column.