Mark Twain is credited with the quote above and while it was probably said over a hundred years ago, it's so relevant to business today. I love it because it's the epitome of great marketing. With WPPI coming up, along with dozens of regional and state conventions, you've got an opportunity to enhance the "size of the fight in the dog!" However, (there it is, a qualifier!) you have to make sure your mind set has the "dial" turned all the way to optimism, no matter how tough business is or has been.
A while back I was talking to a photographer from Ohio and she made a comment, "I can't wait for this economy to turn around!" She painfully laughed about the challenges and complained about some of her fly by night competitors and questioned whether or not she was going to stay in the business. We talked for a little while and as I hung up the phone, I can't begin to describe how much her thought process bothered me.
It's credited to an unknown author, but this quote really seems to fit:
"Do not wait for your ship to come in - swim out to it!"
Every year for the last five, we've been in the perfect storm, often caught between technology, the economy and consumer trends. Every year is tough in any business today. Photographers don't have exclusivity on the challenges of earning a living.
I talk to photographers every day and most are "getting by" and a few have seen growth. Everyone recognizes all the paradigms have shifted and whatever was the norm a year or two ago is totally different today. But there are some common denominators with photographers "getting by", "having an okay year" and "having a great year!"
- They never stop looking for new business.
- They keep fine-tuning their skill set in order to be able to shoot virtually everything that comes through their door.
- They're constantly looking for ways to diversify and they utilize their network.
- They accept failure as just a word and part of the learning process and simply get up and start over every time they fall.
- They're expanding their marketing repertoire to include their blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest and many have brought back direct mail.
- They're not trying to be a solo act, but have teamed up with other vendors in their community to share the cost of expanding their reach.
- They attend every workshop and convention they can.
- Many of them follow a dozen or more blogs, webinars and online education.
- They spend a huge amount of time thinking about their strategy and they're goal oriented.
We're just a month and a half into the new year and you've got about the same amount of time left in the first quarter, before "slow season" is over. This is the time to be thinking about your goals for 2014, because it's going to be an amazing year. And if you don't believe me, then I need to work on helping you with a better plan.
Everybody knows where to find me and I've always done my best to give people an objective opinion on things they're working on, especially their websites.
This is a hard business because the way you learn it is all backwards. As Jerry Ghionis once said, "We should all be starting out as second shooters first. That way we could perfect our skill set and not have to worry about running a business too. Instead we launch our business at the same time we trying to develop the expertise to be a great artist!"
The process of starting a photography business is flawed - so stop worrying about "the size of the dog" and let's get you going on teaching that pup to fight better!
Photo Credit: © Bill - Fotolia.com