Reminder: This is a rough draft – therefore, your comments and suggestions are welcome. Please send in also your questions, so that I would know what else to write on. May I ask for suggestions on how I can paste an Excel spreadsheet without losing the grid/cell lines? I seem to have lost all the vertical lines.
Chapter 1, Part 3 : Aim for the Top
“Know Thyself” and “Aim for the Top” might be two good mottos to follow when considering a personal business venture. As a hobbyist, you probably are a member of a camera club, and have been associating with fellow-hobbyists, some of whom might be doing part-time business as photographers. You’ve probably compared yourself with them, and you know where you stand among your peers. You know where you are weak, and where you are better.
But what I would suggest is that you also mingle with the top guns among professional photographers. Don’t be shy. Many successful photographers like to share what they know, and often take beginners who share their passion for photography under their wings. Hang out with them and observe them. Offer to assist. Ask to interview them. Attend their seminars and workshops. When you are watching them up close, you can see why they are considered masters of their craft, why they surpass their competition, why and how they succeeded, and continue to succeed, in establishing themselves in the fiercely-competitive business of photography.
When you have acquired a fair knowledge of who are the top ranking photographers in your chosen field of specialization, what are their qualities and qualifications, their competitive edge, how they operate their businesses, the challenges that they faced and how they managed to overcome them, then you may want to do the following exercise, “Aiming for the Top.”
Draw grids. The first column is for listing down these titles: Outstanding Qualities, Challenges Faced and Overcome, Competitive Edge, Major Achievements (you may add more, but these should suffice). The second column is for you, while succeeding columns are for top three photographers in your field. (See sample workbook below).
Don’t be daunted by the results of your analysis of competition. Comparing yourself with giants is not meant to make you feel like an insignificant pebble on the road. As a photographer, you can aspire to someday be one of the towering stars yourself. You can plan your growth by having a checklist of what you need to do and to be, based on your knowledge of other people’s success stories, and of course, your awareness of your own abilities, challenges and ambitions.
Go have fun shooting with your peers, but don’t forget that associating with the star photographers will help make you shine someday, if not sooner.
Workbook: Aiming for the Top