Is The “F” Word Creeping Into Your Business and Personal Life?

“Most people die at 20 and live until they are 75.” – Les Brown

I saw this quote the other day and wrote it down to remember it. I have a whole list of quotes I love and look to them often for motivation.

And while I completely agree with this quote, another part of me asked “why”. Why do people give up everything, lose their dreams, and continue with a life they really don’t enjoy?

When I started out after high school, I attended college because my mom said I had to. I didn’t have a goal or a purpose; just my mom behind me saying I had to have a degree. She wasn’t allowed to go to college back in her day because her family assumed she would drop out and get married anyway; why “waste” the money? She always regretted it and made sure her daughters had a degree instead.

So I “fell” into a business degree because I really didn’t know what else to do.

Then I fell into a variety of “jobs”, from banking to accounting to auditing. I never loved it; I just did it. I did get paid very well for what I did. And I also traveled all the time, which I guess is what whetted my appetite for travel. But I just did it all because that’s what you were supposed to do.

Then something happened when I was 28. My dad died of a massive heart attack. It was very quick, no warning. Just here one day, gone the next. He was 54 years old and way too young to die. But he has continued to influence me more since his death than he probably ever did while he was alive. [Read more…]

Why Perfection Makes You A Poor Photographer

“I’ve been working on my website for months now. It took me months to choose the right system to design it on, and I’ve had to go back through all of my images, finding the perfect ones to include in my gallery. We’re almost finished with it now, but it’s still not quite the way I wanted it to look. I’m not sure how many people I’ll tell about it, because it truly isn’t up to my standards.”

Do you see yourself in the above statements? Or how about:

“I’ve been shooting for years now, and love the idea of building a business. I’ve created my business cards, and have been planning for quite awhile. But I’m just not sure what to do next. I want to make sure everything is in order before I find my first client. I don’t want to give the appearance my photography isn’t up to par, so I’d rather wait and make sure everything is right before I start bringing in clients.”

Yep, both of the above examples are a form of perfectionism – something I hear quite a bit in start up businesses.

Perfectionism is the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. It’s the tendency for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards.

Unfortunately, those standards are always self-evaluated, and determined through your own mindset and opinions.

Being a perfectionist may sound good in theory – who wouldn’t want a business set with high standards? But in reality, perfectionism does more harm then good because it puts us into a state of paralysis that reduces “action”.

In a report on perfectionism, psychologist J Clayton Lafferty PhD said it best:

Perfectionism has nothing to do with actually trying to perfect anything. It is about illusion, the desire to look good.

And while he was talking about perfectionism in corporate America, the same holds true throughout small business as well.

Small businesses work because they are willing to take action, and move forward with a new idea to test and see how well the market likes the idea. Then they tweak, and tweak, and tweak, until they get it right. [Read more…]

Can Your Photography Business Be A Lifestyle Business?

Chances are you’ve been seeing the word “lifestyle” much more in the general media.

I’ve seen lifestyle malls, lifestyle TV, and lifestyle consumers. I’ve also seen it attached to “photography” and “business” again and again.

According to Wikipedia, they define:

Lifestyle Photography: a style of photography which aims to portray real-life situations in a controlled setting. Lighting is bright, airy and natural-looking. There are many commercial applications including magazine editorial and advertising usage.

Lifestyle Business: Businesses that are set up and run by their founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.

So when you combine the two, from my viewpoint you get: [Read more…]