The key to Success is “Progress not Perfection” and Act & Relax

Many creative people–myself included–sometimes use their great powers of imagination and pre-visualization to sabotage themselves. They can imagine a great goal but get frustrated and discouraged when they imagine a huge distance between where they are now and where they want to be.

In photography marketing and promotion, this is a pretty common scenario. You can imagine sending out a great promo on a regular basis that leads to dream assignment. You can imagine making social or in-person connections with prospective clients that becoming repeat customers because you have such natural rapport with them.

ACT

But the real key to success– in any endeavor that takes a while to achieve– is to begin. Sometimes that’s the hardest step because you know that it’s only a teensy tiny bit beyond where you are right now. But that one step IS movement.

One step is greater than zero steps.

And then the key is to keep going. And going and going. And most importantly: to get back on track when you inevitably fall off the track. We all do. Everyone who is honest with themselves and others, will admit that.

Don’t waste time berating yourself for not doing it perfectly all the time. What good will come of that? Beating up on yourself and then feeling crappy about your lack of perfection dampens your spirit and is a creativity killer–and as an artist, that’s the last thing you want to do to yourself.

To achieve those imagined results, everyone MUST attend to the small sometimes boring steps that take you from here to there. Often those steps get abandoned for their seeming lack of grandeur. Doing data entry into a CRM system is one of those tasks. If done correctly, it is one of those business development chores that can really pay off–especially when it’s time to promote your news to just the right audience. E.g. you’ve just shot a project that you’re really excited about. Who should see it? What if it’s a great food shot? Do you really think those in your e-list who work on fashion or automotive need to get that email from you?

If you’ve already done your due diligence when you’re building your list and you have the right kind of CRM, you can easily pull up everyone who works on food accounts and promote specifically to them.

Yes, there are list brokers –some far better than others– who maintain big databases photo buyer information. You can buy a monthly or yearly subscription to their data. They can help you figure out, for example, which ad agencies have food accounts. That can save the perpetual procrastinating photographer from never getting any promotional pieces sent out.

But taking the time to actually build your own “house list” is always a great idea. Those big lists rarely are able to drill down to the level of decision makers who actually control the work on those accounts. But your personal network will likely be able to get you that info if you’re diligent. And then you can combine that data into something that can really work for you.

“Progress not perfection” is a very helpful mantra to remember if doing reasearch and data entry bores you to tears. And speaking of mantras, now might be a good time to learn to meditate– if you don’t already do so. Many successful artists and business people practice regular meditation.

Relax

Those of you who’ve followed me for a while, know I’m a big fan of the importance of supporting your Muse by making sure your mind is not filled with fear, doubt, and anxiety. Mediation relieves those negative emotions.

The easy on-ramp to starting a regular mediation practice can begin by jumping onto the free 21-day mediation series that Deepak Chopra and Oprah offer quarterly. A new mediation streams online each day. The latest series just started yesterday but you can still join as each mediation is available for 5 days after it’s first posted.

Registration is at https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience

I currently practice Transcendental Meditation which I learned it in the ’80 but.. fell off the track.  I got back to meditating a few years ago via the 21-day free program offered online by Deepak Chopra and Oprah after a friend invited me to try it. Then I returned to doing TM.

Meditating has helps me neutralize any negative emotions. Like those that arose when I realized that I’ve not been doing blogs post as often as I would have like to.

In my next post, I’ll tell you what I’ve been working on that has kept me away from blogging. Soon…..

 

Want More Success in Your Photo Business?

Want More Success in Your Photo Business?

Curious about how to play and win the Inner Game of your photo career?

Success in your photo business has many aspects. Many would describe a successful photo career is one that allows you to frequently shoot what you love and be well paid for it.

Achieving that goal is a journey–not just a destination– and that journey has many elements. Both seen and unseen.

Obviously, creating great imagery consistently is of primary importance.

Promoting your work? Also, essential.

Getting to the right people at the right time. Yep. That, too.

Those are both the principal actions you must engage in to achieve your photo business goals.

But do you know that in addition to those actions, there are also hidden elements that can play an even more critical role in whether you succeed or fail?

Top players in any competitive field know the critical importance of performing well while engaged in external competitions (or e.g., on a photo assignment).

But they are also aware of the importance of playing and winning their daily Inner Game–the one in their own mental space that pits them against themselves.  When played well, those internal exercises allow them to rise new heights of performance in their competitive environments. And when those internal games are not practiced well– or worse yet, ignored! –that absence of attention can tank the careers of even the most talented of stars.

On Thursday 4/27/17, I return to Minneapolis to present my all-new photo business seminar: How to Get Your Head Together to Get Ahead in Business.

In this talk I’ll give you tips, techniques and strategies on how to win your Inner Game by learning how to Manage Your Mind. I’ll share exercises that many peak performers in both business and the arts use on a daily basis.

You’ll get to taste-test a few of them during this event.

The onslaught of information and the constant demand on our attention in this always-on, always-connected, 21st-Century has made most of us all feel overwhelmed and distracted much of the time. Few feel capable of having the kind of sustained focus and creative inspiration they seemed to have had only a few years ago.

Many creatives know that’s what fuels their best work and are trying hard to find a way to get those feelings back. There are ways to do that. People at the top of their professions know these strategies.

You can learn them, too.

Come to this ASMP Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter Event from 6:00 to 9:00 pm on Thurs. 4/27/17 at 514 Studios and you’ll get some real-world, easy-to-implement solutions to help you. Solutions that will not only help you cope but help you become better at both creating and marketing your photography.

Registration information is here.

 

Photo Business seminar in Minneapolis 4/27/17

I’m excited to head back to the ASMP Minneapolis chapter on April 27th to present my latest photo business seminar: “How Get Your Head Together to Get Ahead in Business”

Are any of these thoughts frequent visitors to your headspace?

  • They didn’t accept my bid.. They don’t like me. I’m no good. (Fear of rejection).
  • I suck. That other shooter has it all together. I’m a fraud. (Impostor syndrome)
  • I have social media FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).I should be posting on Instagram, Facebook LinkedIn, and/pr SnapChat right now or no one will ever hire me. Ever. How are those other shooters are doing it?!? I know should be. (also known as FOMO: Fear of missing out)

It might be time for you to install an upgrade on a critical Operating System–the OS that you use to run your own mind.

In this brand-new talk I’ll be discussing why updating your “internal operating system” is one of the best strategies you can implement in this age of information overload and the short-attention-span economy. When you employ both mindfulness practices and implement various software marketing reminder apps, you free your mind to be more focused and creative.

Consider this….You’d never think to process your images using the software you were using 10 years ago, would you? You intuitively know it would not be able to effectively process and render so much more data–not to mention your client’s demands for more and faster deliverables.

Then why do you think you don’t need to readjust how you mentally process the increased amount of information assaulting your mental space every day? Information that can derail a relationship if it’s misperceived. E.g. is that other person that’s driving you crazy, really doing it on purpose?

Time for a brain hack?

Where: 514 Studios, 514 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

When: 7:00-9:00pm Thursday, April 27th

Cost:$20 for ASMP Members and Students; $40 for Non-Members

Registration: Here’s the link to the ASMP National site where you can register.

Private marketing sessions:  As usual, I will be available for private consulting sessions in the 2 days after the event.

You can contact me directly to book a session. Early bird discounts will apply.

 

Mindfulness and Virtual Reality: two of my fave trends

Anyone who’s been following me on my Facebook page, knows I’m a big fan of meditation. As filmmaker and long-time Transcendental Meditation advocate, David Lynch says, meditation is a great practice for all artists as it helps you focus and contributes greatly to one dropping down into the source of one’s personal well of creativity. I’m all for that.

I recently heard Terry Gross do a great interview on Fresh Air with author Jo Marchant about her latest book, Cure:A Journey Into The Science of Mind Over Body  It’s fascinating stuff on how our brains work and can be brought under control –something useful for anyone who’s stressed on regular basis.

The recent post-CES media buzz about virtual reality finally going mainstream, is something I’ve been watching for about 10 years. I think there are amazing opportunities for both healing and artistic expression. So watch this space as I’m going to be posting more about VR soon.

How to “impress the judges” at a face-to-face photography portfolio review.

[This article originally appeared as one of my regular contributions to the ASMP’s Strictly Business blog. ]

Carolyn Potts doing a portfolio review

And now…. you are live!”

Ever feel like your in-person portfolio presentation is a bit like being a contestant on American Idol?

Whether you’re “performing” at a one-on-one portfolio presentation or at a portfolio review event (where you’ve signed up for a series of 20-min. with multiple reviewers), to cement that contact and land that dream assignment, here are some ways to improve your odds of getting serious attention and even score that gig.

Prepare. Google is your best friend. Doing your research provides clues about what content the reviewer might need from you. If you’re seeing multiple people in a day, have more than one presentation (or an easy-to-edit one) so you can tailor each presentation with the most relevant work up front.

The portfolio should open with your strongest and most relevant image. Close with the second strongest. Remember, some people start from the back when they flip through a printed portfolio. The middle should flow well and reinforce your main vision.

Connect .Try to see someone beyond their role as the keeper-of-the- assignment-purchase-order. Be interested in them. Make eye contact. Give a good hand shake. Relax. Breathe. If you’re a bit nervous, be honest. It’s ok to be real. Most relate more to honesty than bravado.

Let them drive. How fast they flip through the book is NOT an indicator of interest or disinterest in the work. Remember, the reviewer has probably seen thousands of portfolios. Thousands.

Absorb deeply. If a reviewer makes a suggestion, consider it seriously. If more than one reviewer says the same thing, DO IT!!!

If you’re getting the vibe they like your work, then ask them about their follow-up  preferences as to frequency and format. Some like printed pieces. Some like to save trees and prefer only emails. Some have no preference. Before you leave the event, record their preference in your contacts database and then do what they say.

Reviewers like talented photographers who do their homework, are relevant, connect, and have a sense of the buyer’s needs. If it’s really going well, ask if they’ve a colleague who might also be interested. If they say yes, ask if you can use their name as a reference. Reviewers usually like referring photographers who have all those qualities. They won’t, if you don’t.

Bottom line: The time you spend together, once it’s over, is gone forever and neither of you can ever get those minutes back. Spend your minutes wisely and remember to thank them for their time investment.