Have you ever had to give up on something? If you are like most of us, you would have tried your hands on a number of things that didn’t work out as planned. You would agree that going down the downward spiral is draining. It will sap all your strength and well, if care is not taken, could lead to psychotic disorders. So this appearing and disappearing thing an issue. I feel it is important for me to say this, “Failing at certain things in life does not mark you ‘F,’ only you can do that to yourself.” Perhaps, what you need to do is to leave the ‘bookie’ arena where you penned down all the goals, formulas, and definitions and really, really, get integrated.
Some things happen just because you keep showing up. There’s a lot of sacrifice in starting up a business. You cannot afford to wait for the business to bloom with the initial capital you started with. Why? It’s a new venture – or relatively new – you are open to risks that even you are not aware of at the start. The return on investment (ROI) will not encourage you. Plus, you might still need to purchase some equipments that will help you do better. Remember, you are competing with people who have been in the business for a longer time that you actually have.
When I first started out as a photographer fresh from school, I thought that all other things will fall into place if I can just buy my camera. Little did I know that realize later that was merely the beginning of the journey. I changed career in my late twenties, when most of my mates were getting settled. I quit my Customer Service job and started a business with the hope to be go learn photography when the business was stable. For where? I lost all my money. I had to get a petty job so I’d gather some money for to learn the photography. So, in my mind, I was feeling that things will fall into place as soon as I start shooting, especially because I was out of job for such a long time. It didn’t work out that way. My earnings were not steady and also, not enough to cater for my basic needs. It wasn’t a easy ride at all, but you can pull through anything if your vision is strong. No matter what happens, don’t stop showing up.
Find the right association. Change the places you visit by default. Create a world around your craft. Attend seminars, visit art galleries, read books, and – here’s the tricky part – meet with other people who are in your field:
Make friends with those who are on the same level with you, so you can roll together and share ideas.
Be on the lookout for people who have gone ahead of you. It will save you a lot stress and heartaches.
Associate with those who are below your skill level and impact knowledge. The more knowledge you give, the better you become at your own skill. I mean, look at Canadian photographer, Peter Mckinnon for example. He is a formidable personality in his field, all thanks to his teachings on Youtube!
It might be stressful, what’s not stressful these days anyway? But it is a great way of preparing for opportunities. Collaborate with other entrepreneurs who can benefit from your skill. If you are a fashion designer or tour guide, you might want to collaborate with a photographer who is also up and coming, and come up with a win/win situation. You need images to promote your own work, the photographer needs a portfolio, publicity or an avenue to create awareness for his/her skill.
In my opinion, I’d say these things come in stages. There’s a point where you want to scream, “Please! Use ME!” At that point, The major thing you want is an opportunity to serve; you want to practice, sharpen your skill…to let the world associate you with the particular skill. Most people who patronize you at this stage think they are doing you a favour by so doing, even if you bring the entire world to their feet. They underprice you work (or they don’t even pay you at all). Then you grow into the season where you begin to stand for something. The difficulty is the transition. It’s where most creatives miss it (I for one, have missed it a great deal) See, when the time comes for you to make that shift and you don’t, you will remain at the bottom for the rest of the entrepreneurial journey.
Stoop low, but don't stay there
If it means you will have to get a job to support yourself so that you won’t end up devaluing yourself by accepting just anything to get by, do it! But don’t abandon your skill.
There are reasons you didn’t meet up before you gave yourself a wide berth. If your goals aren’t reachable, review it; cut down the excesses and beat them down into small sizable chunks that you can take at a go…steadily. Find out what didn’t work, and why. Learn some new skills that aren’t in your field but will be good for your business. Example: Administration, Financial Intelligence (how to handle money), Emotional Intelligence (how to manage your emotions and work better with people), Branding, Digital Marketing, Graphics, Business Analysis etc.
So then, after you have done all to stand again, you stand! It seems like the logical thing to do but it is not always the case. The world is changing at a fast pace. You don’t want to be left behind! Don’t settle for just your little corner in the world; be informed. Know the trends. Check out new gadgets. If you need to learn other skills to support what you have, then go for it. The idea is to stay relevant no matter what.
I hope you have been able to learn one or two. Those are practical things I have learned as I continue to rock my bumpy ride. What other things do you know that will creatives and small business owners? Do you care to share?