Photography Marketing & Sales Secret #39: Never take advice from someone who is not where you want to be!

Be Very Careful Who You Listen To - They May Sound Confident, But Are They Where You Want To Be?

Be Very Careful Who You Listen To – They May Sound Confident, But Are They Where You Want To Be?

Photography marketing and selling is difficult. Most photographers love photography, not photography marketing and selling.  (In fact, many photographers honestly believe that marketing & selling are bad things; that if their images are “good enough” – whatever that means – the images will sell themselves – which unfortunately is totally wrong!)

I have a WARNING for you today: Be very careful who you listen to. There are tons of people on the Internet these days who proclaim themselves to be “successful photographers” and who want to give you lots of advice on how to become a successful photographer yourself.

The great photographer and business person, Donald Jack, who I understudied with for two years at the beginning of my career, taught me this many years ago:  “Never take advice from someone who is not where you want to be yourself!“  I’ll never forget it, as it changed my life forever. From that day forward, I have been VERY careful to make sure someone was where I want to be myself, before I took his or her advice!

Those are very powerful words right now, too, with all the misinformation on the Internet these days!

Here’s 3 key points to building the photography business of your dreams quickly (but NOT overnight!):

1. Just because someone can write some words on the Internet does NOT mean they are someone you should listen to, or are where you want to be as a photographer.  There is no “editor” or “publisher” who is checking them out, and making sure they are a good source of  good ideas for building a successful photography business that is like the kind of business you want to have.

So be careful not to do something people are recommending until you have convinced yourself that they truly are a successful photographer and are running the type of photography business you want to have yourself.

Don’t misunderstand me here – yes – you want to take PROVEN advice – from people WHO ARE WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.  As Ben Jonson (English Renaissance dramatist, successful play write, actor and poet) said, “He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.”  Just be sure those you listen to are where you want to be!

2.  Limit the number of people you listen to and allow to influence you.  I’ve always done this.  Don’t listen to everyone, and just blindly take the ideas you like from them – this will cause your business to flip flop all over the place – one month you’re doing one thing, the next you’re doing something totally different. You won’t have any stable consistency.

To be successful, you need to be consistent and persistent – driven to succeed and build a “brand” that people admire and respect, and that you are proud of yourself. But just carefully limit who you listen to. Find 2 or 3 people you really respect, and “model” your business after what they are doing – and success will be yours, as long as you totally believe in what you’re doing.

The great Marie Curie said: “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”

3.   Make sure the people you listen to are NOT talking about tricking or manipulating people.  Be sure they are people who you can admire & respect.  Be sure they are talking about how to build an amazingly successful photography business by being HONEST with clients & prospects, and delivering what they promise!  Never, ever say anything that is not 100% true in your photography marketing and selling. (Or anything else, for that matter!)

Remember, your character, honesty and trust is the backbone to building a successful, long term photography business in your community.  There is no such thing as an “overnight success.”  It takes work – hard work. It takes time, consistency and PROVEN principles to build a successful photography business.

Horace Greeley (founder & editor of the New York Tribune) said, “The darkest hour in the history of any young man is when he sits down to study how to get money without honestly earning it.”  Don’t let that be you!  Instead,  model yourself and your business after someone whom you respect, trust, believe in, and who’s character is upstanding and honest.

If you will carefully follow these three key points, you will grow and prosper in your photography business, and in your life – much more quickly than if you tried to do it completely on your own, with no input from others.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.”

All the best,

Charles J. Lewis, M. Photog., Cr. ASP

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