This isn't just about building your network, but touching base with people already on your "team." A good network is only as strong as the time you put into its care and feeding! During the week I caught up to old friends and new ones. I often asked, "So, what's new?" or "How's business this year?" The answers were all over the place.
I was surprised by the number of people with a common theme. There are so many of you frustrated because your business isn't growing as fast as you'd hoped, and you haven't hit your stride yet. Chasing dreams is exhausting, especially when you don't realize how much progress you really might be making.
It's the perfect topic for Marketing Monday - sharing a few key things I've learned in my almost-an-old-fart life's experiences:
1) Everything always works out for the better! It sounds trite, but I've seen it happen over and over again. Just when you think it's the darkest day of your life, the sun comes out. Just trust this concept! The key is not to give up, and I'm reminded of a quote by Ross Perot:
They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown."
3) You're judged by the company you keep! There she is again, Grandma Alice, who used that expression all the time. In today's terms, it means hanging out with people who can help you grow. I've worked with and for a few people over the years who loved to be intimidating. They managed by being bullies, but I learned the most from those managers who encouraged me to challenge their decisions. The same goes for my friends, who challenge me every day.
If you're a tennis player, you know your game gets better when you play with somebody better than you. Photography and business are the same way - surround yourself with people who are trying new things, have confidence and are willing to give you advice, even when it contradicts what you're about to do.
4) A stitch in time saves nine! One more from my grandmother and I'll let her rest. She used to scream at me because of the holes in my socks as a kid. Since she was the only one in the family who sewed, her efforts often involved "rebuilding" a sock rather than just fixing a hole. Yeah, this is when you realize I'm an old guy, because today you just throw them out and buy a new pair, but here's how that applies to business.
When you run into a problem, address it at the time, don't procrastinate, especially with customer service issues. Not calling a client back who's upset comes up most often. When a customer doesn't hear back from you, things immediately start getting out of proportion. You don't always need to have an immediate answer, just let them know you're listening. Often all it takes is three short sentences, "I understand you're unhappy. Well the buck stops here. How can I help?"
5) Never believe your own press releases. It's the ego bus, and there areafew too many people on it lately. Remember, you pass the same people on the way down that you passed on the way up!
6) Anything is possible! All it takes is hard work and a great support team. Look at some of the things you're doing right now. You're probably involved in projects or techniques today you never believed you could do just a few years ago.
We're part of a fantastic industry with incredible photographers, terrific manufacturers/vendors, and many genuinely approachable icons, but you've got to talk to them to get their feedback. You've got to share your ideas to develop new ones and most important of all, you've got to be patient and don't slow down!
It's very important that you find something you care about, that you have a deep passion for,
because you're going to have to devote a lot of your life to it. "