Thirteen years ago, I quit my job in pursuit of being a professional photographer. Believe it or not, I didn’t do it for the money. I had no idea that there really was any money to be made in photography. I wanted to do what I loved doing. That was my main motivator. Today, I often find myself laughing with my financial planner when she reminds me of my goals at the time.
We all fail at some point. Even the most successful people fail. What most people don’t realize is that successful people fail more than most.
Working with your significant other isn’t easy. But it can be one of the most rewarding experiences you ever have if you figure out a way to make it work for both of you. I’m by no means in any kind of professional position to be dishing out relationship advice. But I’ve been looking at the life Sal and I have built in relation to our business together, and I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me find balance in my work/romantic relationship.
It’s the end of the year. There are plenty of New Year’s resolutions, tons of hopes and lots of forgiveness for last year’s failures. Will you really change this year? Will this be the year you see your business double? Or will you once again forgive yourself for not crushing it and promise to do it better next year? You’re a photographer and you do work that you love and blah blah blah. But here’s the truth: Work that leads to success is so often work that you do not want to do. So here is a list of things you need to do this year that suck.
Have you ever felt you’re failing as both a parent and businessperson? As if the two are impossible to balance? My wife, Eileen, and I sure have. But there’s good news. While we’re still far from being perfect parents (like light years away), we’ve learned a number of habits over the years that make a world of difference for us and our three children. Actually, I think my own parents taught me most of these habits—it just took me half a lifetime to realize it.
In 2011, my wife and I took a big risk. We emptied our savings to fund the film project. We’d just experienced a loss in our lives, and we needed to step back from taking pretty wedding pictures for a while. Instead, we turned our cameras toward kids fighting to survive in one of the world’s most violent slums. The result was our low-budget documentary Lost Boys of Paradise, which raised money for the nonprofit Engadi Ministries, with which we still work. So the risk paid off, right? But not how you might think. Things change. Today, after five years writing for Shutter (now a premier photo industry publication), our tiny 2011 video project has led to something bigger than I could have imagined. Our professional life has come full circle—almost miraculously so. Because now you are part of this story, too.
One of the hardest things to do as a small business owner, especially artists, is to recognize when you’re approaching burnout. The signs are always obvious when we talk about them, but they’re not when they’re happening. I can’t figure out what’s wrong but I know when I’m off my game. Here are some strategies to think about.
I have worked my ass off building a very successful business, one that has been featured on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies three years in a row. But it hasn’t been easy. I am sure as you read this you can relate on some level. You have had things go wrong in your life or business. We all have. I don’t have all the answers. All I can do is share with you my lessons learned and how I have managed turmoil, adversity and negativity in my recent past.
Sooner or later, many of you will start dreaming of publishing your own book someday. Your images look terrific and your skill set keeps growing. Your friends and family love your photographs, and somewhere along the line, you’re going to decide being an author is the next accolade you want on your journey. Thanks to ePublishing, it’s easier than ever to publish your own work, but there’s one factor that’s stood the test of time since Shakespeare: Will people want to read it?
Am I good enough to charge these prices? Will people like my images enough to book me? XYZ photographer is so much better than me, why will people want to hire me? No way will anyone pay these prices for pictures. Does any of this sound familiar? Self-doubt is common for any artist. Every one of us has asked ourselves at some point if we are good enough to continue to do what we love. Why is that? Where does this self-doubt come from and how do we push through it?