In the AIBP Forum there's been a lot of discussion lately as a couple of members have taken the plunge into becoming full-time photographers. Each time I hear about somebody getting ready to take that leap, I start pondering my own situation and it makes me realize how amazing life can be.
I headed out to start my own company a little over five years ago. While I sort of had a plan, it was hardly very decisive. I was divorced, starting a new relationship and had left California for Ohio.
I remember family members and a few friends telling me I was out of my mind to try and start a new business in the worst economy of my lifetime. I remember a few people seriously questioning my sanity at getting involved in social media rather than going out and finding a "real" job. I guess that's when this quote became my mantra:
"I do it because I can...I do it because I want to...I do it because you told me I couldn't!"
A week after moving in with Sheila, I got a job offer to do portfolio review for three solid weeks at Hallmark Institute in western Mass. It paid well, and without a foundation of clients yet and no revenue, I jumped at the chance. So, off I went, gone from home for three weeks, leaving Sheila with my dog and 80 boxes to unpack in a house we'd rented just a couple of weeks before.
Well, here I am five years later and having some of the best times of my career. I've met and worked with so many talented artists. Twitter came into my life about three years ago when good buddy, Scott Bourne, started beating me up for not going beyond Facebook. (Later he'd beat me up for my PC and my Blackberry. LOL) Every day is another adventure and the more I learn the more I realize how much I still have to learn. Just when I got Facebook and Twitter down, they both started changing their formulas and now Google+ and Pinterest are starting in the mix.
So what's my point this morning? I'm not going to suggest it's been an easy road for the last few years, but it was a dream to want to do more of the things I enjoyed most and here I am. I so understand those of you who worry about failure and get the criticism from friends and family who just don't get your quest to be an artist. I've also learned how important it is to build a strong network and within that inner circle of people closest to you, be able to build on the friendships and the passions we all share for the craft and business.
There's one thing I've learned that's critical to what each of us do every day. It's about being in touch with your passions and in turn staying focused, asking for help when you need it and sharing your frustrations with the right people. It's all thanks to some guy named Shakespeare, but Sheila's hit me with it over and over again...
To thine own self be true!
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.