The Strategic Photographer: Business Ed for Photogs

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Are you climbing the right ladder?

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw

 How do you measure your success? Let me tell you that about ten years ago I was following a photographer wondering what it would be like to bask in the light of the fame and fortune he was enjoying. I wanted to meet him face to face so I arranged a lunch meeting with him. As the hour progressed I began to realize that I was climbing the wrong ladder. I knew this was not what I wanted. Although I admired his abilities as a photographer I learned that after ten years as a photographer he was putting in 18 hours a day mostly all six days of the week. Can you imagine?

While some of you might be ok with that amount of work to get to the top, I have never had any desire to live like that. I am way too lazy!! I have learned however to use both my strengths and my limitations very effectively to my advantage, including my laziness. Did you know also that Stan Lee created Spiderman out of laziness? I was watching a documentary that my nerd friend made me watch on how Marvel comics were created. Listening to Stan Lee tell about his creation process was extremely fascinating. 

 In short Stan Lee was trying to figure out how to turn Peter Parker into Spiderman. After playing around with a bunch of ideas like having his parents come from another planet, he literally said that he was too lazy for all that so he just had Peter Parker get bit by a radioactive spider and the rest is history. Laziness is the second mother of invention. Do not underestimate its power!

I am not what you would call a type "A" personality. In order to make a career out of this I have made photography my tool not my master. I have many hobbies and interests. They all take time and some of them take money. My photography career from the beginning until now has been an exciting one that allows me to travel, camp, bike, fish, read, study, explore other business options and investments and keep up relationships with my family and friends. My wife has never worked and I have had a very close and active role in raising my children. 

To be precise, so you understand the power of this tool we call a camera. Looking back over the last 12 months I spent nearly 3 months of it on vacation. My wife and I went to Israel in January, Guatemala on a humanitarian project (www.mayanecohomestead.org) in March, Malaysia and Singapore in August and Italy in October. I also went on trip to South Korea with my sister because I LOVE Korean food. So you don't think we have neglected our children, also had a very productive July and still managed to get in 2 1/2 weeks of camping with my family in Yellowstone and nearby mountains. All the while, this has been my most productive year to date!

Do you want to hitch your wagon to a horse leading to burnout, fatigue and busyness?  For us photography is not the end, it is the means. This doesn't happen by accident. It happens by strategy. It doesn't happen overnight. It starts with unreasonable ideas and goals and an education and  strategy to achieve those goals. This unreasonable idea was first planted in my head by an unknown photographer (can't remember his name) who was single at the time. He was working 6 months on and 6 months off as a photographer. That sounded great to me! Now, that is a ladder I want to climb!

Which ladder are you on? Strategic photographer is very specifically designed to set you one the right course, the course where you get more productive year to year while spending less time doing it. I hope this all sounds unreasonable.