It's Sunday morning and I'm always a little more reflective. I'm sitting here pondering the week ahead, the week that's just passed and simply feeling good about life. I'm grateful for so many people who are in it, starting with you, my readers and friends.
I admit I've watched too many episodes of Duck Dynasty and totally subscribe to Phil Robertson's "Happy, Happy, Happy" philosophy, but I was there long before he became a celebrity. The point is we've got two paths to choose from every day and simply being happy trumps everything else.
So many of you have provided inspiration for me personally. For years I worked for other companies, constantly afraid of failing and hanging on tightly to the security of a regular paycheck and working for Polaroid, Hasselblad and Rangefinder/WPPI. I sat and lived a totally vicarious life inspired by so many of you, but afraid to take the plunge myself.
Now I'm working with many of you, who are part-time photographers hoping to start a full-time business some day. So often I've been asked, "When is the right time for me to leave my day job and go full time as a photographer?"
Well, here's a sampler of what I've learned...
- The challenge is to grow your photography business to a point where you can't afford NOT to quit your day job.
- Don't be in a rush, especially if you've got a family. It's important to not underestimate the importance of the benefits from your day job and that usually means health insurance.
- Do everything you can to keep building your skill set, even in areas you might think you never want to do. Build your skills to be as diverse as possible.
- Building a new business isn't just about a cute logo, the right location and friends who believe in you. It's about building brand awareness. That means being involved in the community, giving back, networking with associates in photography, other retailers and the people you hope to target for your business. You can start building brand awareness right now. You don't need to be full-time to be involved.
- Develop a strong network of support. Your inner circle, starting with your spouse or simply your closest friends are going to be the most important. Get rid of the "Negators" in your life. As a good buddy of mine used to say, "Dump all the Dr. No's" - you know the ones - they're the people who always tell you why something won't work.
- When it's right you'll know it. Seriously, this is like falling in love. You'll know exactly when it's the right time to head off on the entrepreneurial highway. NEVER head off on the journey before you totally believe in yourself!
- Last but not least, stay on track with the most important thing I've learned from my wife Sheila, "To thine own self be true!" You can't create images that pull at people's heart strings if your heart isn't completely in it.
Wishing all of you a wonderful wrap up to Thanksgiving weekend. If you're going to be traveling today, just be safe and take it slow. Today is considered by many to be the second worse day of the year to travel. Weather and the challenges of the holiday only add to the degree of difficulty to get home safely.
Safe travels and thank you for sharing your passion for this industry!
Photo Credit: © vasabii - Fotolia.com