Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why is Everyone Else Doing Better?

There's a reason they call it March Madness, and it has nothing to do with the NBA- unless we're talking about "Not Being Already-booked."  It's that point when photographers have spent far too much time online- fielding emails for inquiries of people who haven't cleared their winter brain fog, going over last year's work and deciding if they should rebrand or create an entirely new website AGAIN, and spending too much time on social media or forums where they can size-up and compare themselves to others.  Whether we think we're better or worse than what anyone else has going on, the danger is in the comparison itself, and taking the attention off of our own intentions and focusing it on others instead of ourselves.

This is also the time of year I end up doing more consulting with people who want to get ahead by putting plans in place now before it gets busy, and one of the things I hear over and over again is people saying something to the effect of, "this person is doing SO well, they're sharing new work ALL the time."  Of course, they rarely seem to stop and consider that perhaps that work isn't paid work, or perhaps it's actually recycled old work from last year that's just now getting shared, or any other combination of things that appear to be one thing when maybe they're actually something else.

You see, the illusion created is that other people appear busy while you're just hanging out online, and regardless of what's actually going on behind the scenes.  You just fell for an illusion, or even worse- compared yourself to that illusion like looking at a photoshopped magazine cover model.  If you were busy implementing your own plans and getting down to work on your craft, you'd have no time to dilly dally with comparisons or other people's illusions.  If you were shooting, or out networking, or creating your next newsletter, or developing your next pitch for a special sales event, you wouldn't be on facebook or twitter watching the world go by your browser window.

The reality is that you're not getting ahead because you aren't creating work for yourself, instead, you're waiting for work to walk in the door.  If you aren't creating work for yourself, than you also aren't sharing work to promote yourself, leaving you even more time to spend looking at what everyone is doing rather than creating your own buzz-worthy projects and sharable shoots.

See where I'm going?  Do I even need to finish?

If what you want is to get ahead, you have to take some action and create something that's in line with what you love and what you want to attract.  Have fun with it, go big, get crazy, be outrageous, try things you'd never try with a paying client, answer only to your own sensibilities- and in doing that, you may create something entirely unique and buzz worthy.  Share it unabashedly like it's your newborn child.  Share it in as many ways as you can and leverage that work to attract new work.  Don't stop there, rinse and repeat.  Make it a practice that when you don't have work from others, you create work for yourself, so that you can always keep moving ahead to your next great client.  Start your process now by telling us in the comments what your next awesome project will be!

Anne Ruthmann is an editorial & event photographer in New York City. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography in 2004 as an independent small business.  She loves helping others find creative and smart solutions to business problems.  Stay in touch on Twitter or Facebook.

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