Success is like a ladder and no one has ever climbed a ladder with their hands in their pockets. ~Zig Ziglar

If you are planning on climbing up to the roof of your home, the steps are easy to understand. Find a ladder, place it against your home, and start climbing. One step at a time you move your feet until you reach the last one and step off to your destination. It doesn’t take much time – and probably not much thought. You just do it because you have a goal in mind.

But what if the ladder you are trying to climb has hidden steps? What if you don’t know what its leaning against, nor how many steps it will take to reach the top? Things can get a bit more challenging.

Everything in life has a final destination and the ever-important steps to get there. If you want to learn to play chess, you have to find a chessboard and playing pieces, learn the basic rules, and practice. If you want to play golf, you have to find some clubs and a ball, find a course to play on, learn the basic rules, and practice.

Running a photography business is no different. You have to have camera equipment on hand, learn the basic rules of running a business, and practice. Again and again. Things will go wrong sometimes and right others. But overall, building a solid foundation will set you up correctly and help you accomplish what you’ve set out to do – run a successful business.

If you ask an expert in the photography field what the crucial steps are to his or her success, you’ll likely hear a laundry list of items. And if you ask more than one, you’ll likely hear a few different items. Don’t get lost in the details. The real difference between a pro and an amateur is simply that the expert has built a solid foundation and is much more effective at determining what steps to take to continue building up from that successful foundation. He or she is constantly adding to the fundamental skills he or she already has in place.

You can do it too. There are three simple ideas on finding the basic skills needed to create a solid foundation.

Expect Mastery

Think back to everything you’ve achieved in life so far. Before you accomplished it, did you believe you could?

That’s kind of a trick question because the first step to any action is belief. If you think you can, you will. If your goal is to have a college degree, you take as many classes as necessary to graduate. You see the goal and word to get it.

The same applies to your business. Do you see it? Can you see yourself working full time as a photographer? Or can you only see it as a side business – your real money comes from your day job?

If you want to be a world famous photographer, you have to lay the foundation. You have to have the proper skills with the camera. You have to understand lighting, posing and production. You have to understand marketing, planning and sales. And you have to want to do it every single day, without stop, until you find success.

Think About The Long Term

Many people try to rush into success, only to give up because they simply can’t do it as well as they can see themselves doing it in their mind.

For example, lets say you’ve never had ice skates on before. But you watch the Olympics and think ice dancing looks like fun. So you head to the rink and put on your first pair of ice skates. Your first step on the ice is probably going to be filled with disaster. Your legs will wobble, your ankles will weaken, and you’ll probably find yourself sitting on the ice more than standing. But if you don’t learn to stand, you’ll never glide across the ice. If you’re not comfortable moving forward, you’ll never be able to move backward. And so on.

When you see how easy other professional photographers have it, its easy to get caught up in the excitement and expect it yourself. If they shoot 30 weddings a year making $250,000, you should be able to do it too. And you can – but keep in mind its going to take time. One foot in front of the other, learning as you go, adding on to what you’ve learned in the past, until you find the success you are looking for.

Avoid Getting Fancy

Putting the basics into action are the only important steps you need to take along the way. When you find yourself running into a complication or a problem, question yourself as to why it really seems difficult. Is it due to a shortcoming in one or more basic skills? Rarely will you find a fancy or complicated technique to be the answer.

If you can’t ice skate, the most expensive ice skates in the world won’t help you do it any better.

Thoroughly mastering the basics takes time. But its well worth the time spent. Remember, there are no “secrets” or shortcuts to success. Build your foundation. And add the basics as you go along. You’ll soon find yourself at the top of the ladder, stepping off into the lifestyle you’ve dreamed of.

Are you still struggling with understanding the basics of your DSLR? Then you have to check out the new guide DSLR: The Basics. It’s a camera and exposure book in friendly ebook format. I’ve just finished going through it myself, and love the detail and knowledge that Ed goes over. In addition to simple language for every situation, you’ll also find a wealth of information in his graphs, charts and photographs. Many of them help you understand difficult techniques in a user-friendly way. If you’ve ever struggled with the basics, or are still questioning different components of your camera, you can’t afford not to add this book to your collection.

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