I was at the Wisconsin Professional Photographers Association Convention this past weekend, and all of the speakers and a few of the guests had interesting things to say, although what I latched onto was a few concepts regarding the following:
1) "It's unfair. Confusing."
2) Making 2D look 3D
3) Everything you could know
4) Business isn't that hard if you understand your ACTUAL needs
A common phrase I hear is in this day and age is "It's unfair", "The odds are stacked against me.", or my favorite, and one that I've muttered to myself when I find the jealousy setting in, "Must be nice."
I've made it a goal in the last week to pay attention to this when people, including myself are talking. Noting what they say, and of course how they say it. I've heard a lot of negative, more negative than positive.
Now don't get me wrong, no one is a Positive Patty 24/7, we all have challenges, we know there is actual pits and fights against, and for, entire groups of people in society, however let's pretend for a moment that we're all on a level playing field when it comes to business. Just roll with me here.
My gut reaction to "unfair" is this, it's not "unfair" it's a different way of thinking. If we don't embrace the changes and the future we're creating our own demise. Not to get too out there on you and say astrology and the stars dictate life as we know it totally and without question, however, for the past 60-70 years we've been fighting societal norms on both sides. We're entering the age of Aquarius, in a nutshell this means we've experienced and we will continue to experience some of the following: revolution, drastic change, humanitarian pushes, uniqueness, finding your own unique group, finding your tribe, your path, and how it works and functions with society. There's going to be a heavy push in science and AI.
Any of this sound familiar?
On a basic human level we are just starting to prime the engine. Be prepared or be left behind.
When we look at how things used to be done, vs how they're done now, what it means to be a business in the internet age, and really what it means to be a thriving business in the internet age you see a major difference in how the younger generation is making a living versus the older generation. Neither one is better than the other, but somehow both tend to blame one another.
The younger generation processes at a rate of intake that's massively faster than the older generation. And even myself, only at 36 going on 37 find myself latching on trying to keep up. Trends are trends. If you are hearing about a trend on social media, it's already too late. You have to be ahead of the game, and that in and of itself is a challenge. So rather than fight the new ways, hire the new ways. Sure you've been in business for 30 years and YOU know exactly what has to be done, and how it has to be done and you're not going to listen to anyone. Good for you. Watch as the ship floats into the sunset. Sounds rough, tough, hard, a bit pragmatic even. After all the basic tenets of business don't change even though you're in the internet age. But I challenge you, what can we learn from the youth who can teach us far more than we give them credit for. Not all the kids are selfish selfie loving mindless bots on TikTok, IG, whatever the latest social media is after all.
The seven most expensive words in ANY business, relationship, partnership, project is "We have always done it that way."
I'll let you take a moment to let that sink in.
So now on that note we're going to move to the next concept that really hit me like a ton of bricks.
EVERYTHING YOU COULD KNOW
This was a very enlightening presentation by Jon Allyn on The Subtle Art of Persuasion. Super eye opening.
Yes, we're talking about anything and everything under the sun.
It's the famous Donald Rumsfeld quote, "Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones."
We don't need to be concerned too much with the last phrase about the history of our country, but in context it's important to have as part of the quote.
For the visual types down we're going to imagine a pie...who doesn't like pie? Forgive my terrible cutting skills, math was never my forte.
Don't know the answer, look for someone who does! It's as simple as that. Don't know where to start, ask around, don't feel afraid to sound dumb. You're not above anyone and they're only above you in the knowledge base because they took an interest in it.
So how about we move on, and think about changing this flat boring set of topics into something super useful for us all.
MAKING 2D LOOK 3D
Photographer Lisa Asp brought up a good point about photography one that hit me square in the eyes.
A photographer has one job. Make 2D look 3D. And while we're on the topic, forgive my grade school graphics on this blog post. I never said or claimed I was a graphic designer either, that's a whole different ball of wax, texture, look and sound.
Think of it like this, you have a circle. It's flat, it's boring, it's nothing special, until...you make it a sphere, now suddenly it has definition. It has dimension. It has character. It has an inherent quality to want to see what's behind it, to spin it, to learn from it. The flat circle can seem unfair, biased towards being repetitively the same, and it can feel and act and sound like you'll never be able to get out of it.
We're going to look at Henry Ford here on the reason you need to keep planting your wisdom seeds, "The wisdom of life is to keep on planting. Some… never plant after youthful imagination dies, and they reap only the one crop which they planted in youth. Plant every season and life will be a succession of harvests."
You MUST be willing to allow yourself to see past the flat circle and embrace the sphere mindset, in my case the egg mindset.
When you allow that mindset shift to happen, anything is possible, and instead of just a black and white answer, you're able to be one with the future, the murky shadows don't scare you. They excite you. You can be forward thinking looking towards tomorrow rather than yesterday, even though you know you're looking at the past for the people on the other side of that sphere. But that doesn't matter, that's THEIR past, not yours.
BUSINESS ISN'T THAT HARD IF YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR NEEDS
Boy oh boy...I feel like this could be another post, and it probably will be. Presenter Rick Trummer became the Gordon Ramsay of a successful photography studio for 3 hours, and for those who missed it, you missed a good one.
In a nutshell, whatever you think you want to make in a year, month, per paycheck needs to be backed up by numbers. Sounds simple, right? Maybe there's a little more than you think. Remember how I said I'm bad at math, well...if you don't understand what you need to survive, and how to budget and project properly find someone who does know how to help! This is where you folks 30 years in can help the youth. It's worth your weight in gold. Education knows no age. Numbers don't lie. If they did we'd all live in buildings that fall apart constantly. The human species has built things that defy nature.
Become an architect of your business, and you will defy those who said you couldn't, and define your success on a level that's backed by numbers.
I'm going to again rely on my old pal Henry Ford here...
"The conflict between the generations is as old as the natural consequence of human progress. Those who are coming on behind us are not our children in the sense that we have created them and defined their limitations; they are rather a new race, different from us in their equipment and outlook – quite likely to be much better than we are."
Live long and prosper my fellow chickens!