by Skip Cohen
It's an old African proverb, but the more I read it, the more I'm in awe of how much these seven words really say. They sure seem to fit everything we learned over the last few years about business.
Think about it. The economy was horrible and you worked harder than you've probably ever worked in your life. If you didn't make some serious changes in the last two years, you at least are giving them serious thought. Changes in marketing, business, workflow and even your shooting style - nothing is sacred when you're worried about survival.
What's most exciting to me is the new energy focused on marketing. Years ago we used to laugh, because Don Blair would get a thousand people in a posing and lighting program with a few cute models and I'd get ten people in a marketing workshop and five of them were relatives! Okay, I'll admit his topic was more exciting, but my jokes were better! Today, every marketing, business and workflow program is packed and people are taking notes.
That's the way it'll be with Zach and Jody Gray's program in August at the Summer Session of SCU. In fact, that's the way every program will be, since even a hands on session, because the class is ONLY 20 people, brings out questions about marketing, business and promotion for each instructor. (Yes, it's a shameless plug for what used to be Skip's Summer School, but only because this program really is that good!)
In spite of the challenges and the number of photographers who may have stepped away from their businesses over the past two years, we're a stronger industry than we've been in a long time. As the economy continues to improve we'll see some of the friends we lost come back into the business, but with a stronger focus on diversity, creativity and marketing.
Scuba diving is a major passion of mine and I remember a dive when I first started, in horrible water. We had 6-8 foot swells and we were in a small boat - I was diving with my buddy, Bob Nunn. The captain looked at us and said, "If you guys can dive in this you can dive in anything!" I came off the boat green and my Bob left breakfast a half mile off the Florida coast, but it really did make us better divers. It also gave us something to laugh about
Well, as an industry we've survived a couple of tough years, bombarded with a bad economy and trying to keep up with technology, but the key word is survived. The proverb says so much that to keep talking about it becomes trite...the point is we've all learned to sail in rough water and as a result we're better sailors!
Give yourself a pat on the back - your passion for photography is alive and well and you've got more tools to make this an amazing year! As we keep saying at SCU - it's time for you to THRIVE, not just survive!