A few weeks ago, Chase Jarvis explained about “the other 50%“. Creating and sharing stuff is only half of what you need to do. The other 50% is the other stuff you do. The hard work that goes into making yourself known, that people rarely speak about. He told us what it is we need to do, but he didn’t go much into how we should go about doing it.
Naturally, it created a lot of questions. So, in this video, Chase answers those questions plainly and simply. Some of the answers may seem obvious if you’ve been doing this for a little while. For those that are completely new to setting up in photography as a business, though, it’s very valuable information.
Being “successful” is a matter of personal perspective. But the journey to getting there is often quite common to all.
Participate in your local community
The example Chase provides is a designer who’s trying to get their work out there and begin a career as a freelancer. Actually participating in your local community is one of the biggest things you can do. And he doesn’t mean virtual community, he means your physical local community. Get out there and meet real people. The natural question now is, “where’s there?”.
There are trade organisations that have local meetings all over the world. There are organisations for designers, photographers, retouchers, and almost all other creative fields out there. Show up and meet other like minded people. There are other organisations like Creative Mornings, too. These are events where you can meet other people in your area and network.
Not surprisingly, Chase also suggests using Google. Searching for terms such as “entrepreneur”, “meet up”, “dinner” and your local city. You could add more general terms like “business” and “networking” to these, as well, to tie down specific types of meetings. Not all of these meetings will be useful or applicable for you, but that’s where you’re going to have to just figure things out for yourself.
Get together with like minded people digitally
This is an easy one for almost all of us today. Platforms like Facebook make it a breeze to network online. There are groups out there for all kinds of businesses and topics. Not just photography and creative fields. Some are general business groups, others target specific groups where you may find other services that compliment your own, or even potential clients.
Follow the leaders in your field. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms now make it easier than ever to follow people you admire. But not only to follow them, but to interact with them, and their communities. But don’t just go hoping to leech from an existing group. You have to integrate and be a valuable member of those communities. You need to earn credibility and respect.
I started following photographers I admired several years ago. Today I can call many of them my friends. We don’t just talk about photography, we talk about general topics, our families, what’s going on in each others lives. Business aside, those friendships are a highly valued part of my life, and they’ve still led to work and networking opportunities I couldn’t have imagined.
Work, Volunteer & Contribute
Within the local and online groups mentioned above, there are smaller groups of people who are already doing things. Offer to help, work with them, contribute your skills to a common goal. Again, it helps to build up credibility and respect. It proves you can do what you say you can do, and demonstrates work ethic.
Volunteer at an art gallery, be a grip on a photography or film set, assist at a photo studio, work as a personal assistant. Sure, you’re not always going to get paid what you think you deserve, but the “on the job” knowledge you can gain is invaluable, as are the professional connections you can make.
But right now, you want to get involved in an industry that doesn’t know you exist. You need to show them that you exist, and you need to show them why they should care.
Do you agree with Chase’s advice? What else do you do? Is this something you should keep doing even after you do become “successful”?