by Skip Cohen
It's a new year; my first Reflections post for 2024. I'm staying with my usual theme - rarely, talking about business and marketing. Sunday mornings are about the personal side of life, and this morning's topic has been on my mind a lot lately..."Why?" It does jump into a business related topic, but when I headed out on my own in 2009, everybody thought I was nuts, which I am, but that's not the point.
As I wrote recently, I still have days when I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. A friend recently asked me why I do what I do every day. Well, it starts with simply loving this industry. I stumbled into it completely by accident so many years ago.
As I pondered my "Why," I really couldn't come up with a profound answer, except to say I love what I'm doing for several reasons:
First, I'm the biggest groupie on the planet when it comes to artists in imaging. It starts with your creative spirit and then respect for your entrepreneurial endeavors. For years, I lived vicariously through all of you as small business owners until 2009, when I decided to see if I could walk the talk.
Second, while my heart is that of an artist, my passion became the business and marketing side of life. I don't have the photographic creativity I respect that so many of you possess, but I wanted to play a part in an industry I love. My quest to help you focus on more than the capture of an image became insatiable. Most of you are off-the-chart right-brainers. Your creativity drives everything you do, leaving you little time to develop the operational side of your business as it deserves. So, I started sharing ideas about how to build a stronger business model.
Third is the product itself - helping the world capture memories. You're the magicians who turn the intangible into something tangible, photographs and videos people can physically hold forever. Think about everything you feel when you look at old photos. That old line about a picture being worth a thousand words puts all of you as authors at a level with Shakespeare!
I became an industry cheerleader, occasionally criticized for seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. Through the challenges of the pandemic, up and down economies, changing technology, and even a recession or two - the world has never slowed down in the need to capture memories. That makes the fight to help you thrive even more important.
Well, here I am, still working while most people my age have retired. Why? Because I love it, and there's a never-ending need for help in post-production - not the manipulation and printing of an image, but in the final stage of creating a successful and sustainable business.
My mantra has never changed:
I do it because I can.
I can because I want to.
I want to because you said I couldn't.
It's a new year, and if you're questioning your "Why," take some time to consider why you chose this career path. It's a path that requires complete focus, not just on the technology of capture but on the importance of fulfillment to a client base that will never let you down as long as you stay focused on their needs. You can't create images that tug at people's hearts if your own heart isn't in it.
Wishing everybody a day ahead that's filled with love, peace and confirmation to support your "Why." Go for those eleven-second therapeutic hugs with the people you care most about. Friends and family are a big part of your "Why," but don't forget that face in the mirror.
Happy Sunday...or Monday if you're on the other side of the world.
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.