We've all watched enough shows on television to know that doctors always scrub before surgery. They have a routine they go through every time. Yet, as business people, so many artists are completely scatter-brained having absolutely no routine for handling things that need to be done in business every day.
In early July of 2009 I wrote my first blog. I had no plan, just wanted to see if I could do one every day and make some kind of contribution to an industry I love deeply. Well, here I am four blogs later with over a 2000 pages of blog posts, a few thousand comments and I've only missed posting 6-8 days that I can remember. I've learned a lot about you, the industry, but most of all about myself and I'm hoping my experiences might help you.
Whether it's your blog or just keeping up with email, you've got to be consistent. It's all about developing a routine. Read anything from any one of a dozen social media experts and the one message you'll pick up over and over again is the importance of being consistent. Whether it's every day or once a week, you've got to be there on a regular basis. The same goes for your posts on Facebook and your tweet stream.
The challenge is finding the balance in your life to make the time. I write full time, it's my "job"... you, on the other hand, are aspiring to be or are already working as a professional photographer. That means it's even tougher for you to find the time and balance in your life to post. You're juggling so many different projects. So, let's see if I can help you find a way to balance things out just a little better.
1) Prioritize a few different things you need to do for your business and make them part of your daily routine. After a couple of weeks it'll become as natural as brushing your teeth every morning. For example, I've talked about checking your website every day to make sure it's loading properly. You love your business, you love your site - what could be better than going through it each day for 5 minutes? And remember to check it on more than just one platform.
2) Do something that keeps you in touch with an industry you enjoy. Many of you are part time photographers and have other businesses and interests. Find a project that keeps you involved and gets you feedback. This is about shooting on a regular basis. A few years ago, my buddy Brian Palmer, did a 365 Project, shooting a new image every day for his blog. Whether he was shooting a wedding or not that weekend, he NEVER missed a new image for the day and two of them actually wound up being published. You never know when an image is going to hook a new client or maybe just help launch a new friendship.
3) Just like television shows that spin off of other main stream programs, don't be afraid to go "off Broadway" if you've got an idea you want to try. It might be with your own blog or maybe it's in adding diversity to your business. The challenge is to find something new to try and experiment with.
4) Pick a couple of blogs and then follow them to keep in touch with new products and techniques. One of my personal favorites through all these years has been Photofocus. I also follow a lot of the Panasonic Luminaries, just to see what everybody's up to.
5) Last but not least keep your family involved in what you're doing. They're your best cheerleaders and your most honest critics. Don't get defensive if you have a great idea, but they're not crazy about it. Odds are you didn't explain it enough.
Most important of all is just staying focused and that's far easier said than done. I'm the epitome of a kid with A.D.D. constantly moving from something I'm working on to checking on the chime of a new email. However, when I get on line first thing in the morning it's typically two hours where I literally go through my morning routine...writing, posting and tweeting. But just because I have a routine, doesn't mean there still aren't components to follow up with. George Carlin said it best:
"Just because you got the monkey off your back, doesn't mean the circus has left town!"
Photo Credit: © jamstockfoto - Fotolia.com
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.