Lately, I've been on the phone a lot, talking to photographers who I've never met before. It's usually in response to a spectacular image that's been shared, or a nice comment, and I like to just pick up the phone.
Well, I'm amazed at how many of you minimize the motivation, risk, and investment you've made to be an entrepreneur. Over and again I've had people say something like, "Look I'm just a little guy..." That statement is followed by an explanation of how small their business is or how new they are to the industry.
I wrote a post about five years ago, and it all started with an email I got from a member of one of the forums on Facebook, asking a question about self-promotion. Instead of responding via email I just picked up the phone and called him. I was overwhelmed the next day with an email I got thanking me for taking the time to call "an Average Joe" and a comment he made,
"If more CEOs would stay in touch with their employees and customers, we wouldn't have this type of economic crisis we are having today."
So, let's talk about all of you who think you're just "Average Joes." If it weren't for you, we'd have no photographic industry. There are only a handful of icons, but there are thousands of photographers who run great little businesses throughout the country who are unknown outside their communities.
Are the icons important? Of course, they are, because they're our guides and help us to see the trends, changes in technology and help us understand how to spread the word. If this were the old west, they'd be the guys breaking in the wild horses and leading the wagon trains, but all the rest of us would be in those wagons.
All of you who think of yourself as just an "Average Joe" - wake up! You're the foundation of this industry, and without you, there'd be no industry! Every photograph you take contributes to this incredible world of magic we call imaging, and as long as you have the passion and keep working to build a stronger skill set, you'll never be an "Average Joe."
Now, to his point about more CEOs contacting their customers: Your greatest marketing tool is relationship building, and as a business owner you should be staying in touch with your clients all year long. You're the "CEO" of your business, no matter how small it might be. I've talked about UnMarketing in past posts. It's a book all of you should read. The original tagline says it all, Stop marketing, Start engaging.
A week or so ago I was a guest on Shep Hyken's "Amazing Business Radio" podcast. Shep is a New York Times bestselling author and a leader in Customer Service education for large and small businesses. We talked a lot about the how great service builds relationships and in turn a stronger foundation for your business. The podcast is just a click away, and there's some excellent content in this one.
Third, and here's my last point to this morning's blog - you have to love what you do every day! I love this industry. I called "Average Joe" because I wanted to talk to another photographer. As photographers, you're responsible for capturing the memories of the world every day. As business owners, you're taking risks all the time to grow your client base, revenue and establish a foothold in your community. I'm your biggest groupie!
The "thanks" doesn't go to me for making a phone call. The "thanks" goes to all of you for supporting an industry we all love dearly. This is an amazing industry filled with a lot of wonderful people, and all of them, no matter how well known they might be today, started out "Average Joes."
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
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.