Last night we had dinner with some very dear friends. We met them over 15 years ago at a bridal expo, and have been friends ever since.
They’ve been in the photography industry for over 30 years now, and I have to say they are in love with it as much now as they were when we met them. They’ve changed direction along the way, and are doing things completely different even from a few short years ago. But sitting with them is a motivating experience. They love what they do. They never run out of ideas. And they always reach their goals because of their passion.
So last night I started thinking about what separates photographers like them from other photographers. And I came up with five characteristics – or ingredients you have to have to find success in this business.
1. Dreams. The first ingredient is where everyone starts. It starts with your dream of doing something different and meaningful in your life. You can’t accept what you already have. You have to dream of where you want to be. The more vivid your dreams, the easier you’ll be able to make them a reality.
2. Make it positive. What motivates you to do better has to in a positive light. “I hate my job and want to do something else” will only get you so far. It doesn’t have depth or commitment. Instead, “In 2011, I will work as a full time photographer out of my studio in XXX location” will provide you a positive direction.
3. Knowledge. I’ve owned my own business for 20 years now, and I can tell you I still don’t have all the skills needed to be successful at many different things. The only way to get better at what you are doing is to educate yourself on where you need the most help at the moment. If you’ve never operated your own business, get help from someone who has. Take a class. Sign up with a coach. Always, always, always learn. If you’re excited about it, the key is there for you to learn from.
4. Belief. Do you have the belief you can do it? Many people say, “I’m going to have my own studio one day.” But secretly they don’t believe they have what it takes to make it. They like having a stable job with a paycheck on Friday’s. They like the stability of their life and don’t want to “rock the boat”.
While those 4 ingredients are mandatory for every successful businessperson, I discovered last night there is a fifth. It’s what I saw in our long time friends. And it’s something that you have to have if you want to guarantee your success in the future.
The Missing Ingredient
A desire and a vision of what’s to come. If you don’t have a purpose for what you will be doing, it puts everything else on the back burner. You have to know that in a few months (weeks, years – you choose) time, everything you are working for will lead you here. It might be a vision of a new home on several acres, with a kitchen that overlooks a beautiful lake. It might be the ability to take three months a year off to travel with your family and friends to exotic locations.
Everything you do, everything you work for puts you one step closer to that desire – that vision. Ever created your own vision board? I have had many vision boards over the past 20 years. When you put things down, you make them a reality. It really works – give it a try.