The ONE Thing

© Leslie Burns

There is one thing you can do, today, on Independence Day (USA), that is absolutely free and will improve your business on a fundamental level. Anyone can do this, and in so doing, you will see an improvement in your business.

What is it? What can you do?
Stop blaming anything external for the state of your business.

The economy, your family obligations, your equipment, other photographers, your clients… you name it, I can find examples of photographers blaming the outside world for their woes. And though you might feel better after a bitch-fest, it doesn’t change anything to blame anyone or anything. All it does is make you a victim… a helpless, hapless victim.

My advice? Get over it.

Instead of looking at all the crap outside of you and your business, look instead to what you can do.

  • You can make images–make more of them and make them better than and different from anyone else. You have that power.
  • You can call your targets.
  • You can research better, more appropriate targets.
  • You can reduce your costs.
  • You can improve your production flow to save money and increase profitability on each project.
  • You can get a second job to get the money to send fabulous promos to your A-list targets (or get a professional edit of your portfolio and/or website, etc.).
  • You can start running your business like a business, with solid paperwork.
  • You can register ALL your copyrights.
  • You can start respecting yourself as a professional including not working with clients who treat you like crap.

And so much more.

The list of what you have the power to do is longer than you might think, especially if you are focusing on the external stuff. Nothing can hold you back unless you let it and you are not powerless unless you choose to be.

So on this Independence Day, I suggest you declare independence from your victimhood. The fireworks you watch tonight? They are for you–you live in a country that makes it (relatively–compared to many other countries, for sure!) easy to follow your professional dreams and run your own business. Celebrate that.

And tomorrow, when you start the second half of 2011, do it with all the fire and passion you ever had.

7 Responses to “The ONE Thing”

  1. Martin Trailer Says:

    Excellent advise!

  2. Tony Blei Says:

    What? You mean we get days of to celebrate Independence? My wife, Susan, handed me the laptop and said, “You need to read this and afterward, we can take a picture of you” (because I’m doing all that you’ve mentioned in this post).

    I learned to let go of my problems (and they were many) and move forward. I became a photographer because I loved people and taking pictures of them. So I created a project. I take pictures of strangers. It’s therapeutic.

    Just before my wife made me read this, what was I doing? Setting up a portrait session of a pair of Twins who will light their first Sparkler on the Fourth of July (before this year, fireworks were illegal in Arizona).

    I hope people listen to you, Leslie. You are the real deal.

  3. Devynn Says:

    I love this 🙂

  4. ANAPHOTO Says:

    Love this! Excellent reminders for all of us.

  5. Fred Says:

    Great Leslie – thanks!

  6. Harvey V. Chua Says:

    Thanks, Leslie. I am forwarding this to the people in our studio.

  7. Martha Retallick Says:

    I’ve found that the antidote to the kvetch-fest is to do things. They may not be perfect — like my handwriting on the postcards I’ve been sending to potential photo buyers — but they are actions I’m taking.

    In addition to the postcards, I’m also sending e-mails and making follow-up phone calls. And, guess what. People aren’t biting my head off over the phone. If anything, they’re being very nice.

    I’m also working on a photo book that I’m planning to send to really interested buyers.