Now that you've picked yourself, the real work begins.
Last week I brought the good news: Pick yourself. Now is the best time to do something significant with your photography. It's never been easier to get started.
Today is the flip side of the coin. Because it's never been easier, it's never been more challenging. And with the advances in technology, it will only get worse.
If you want to make money with your photography, the rigor you use to create your business is even more important now.
Why is it so difficult?
Some of the reasons photographers struggle to make money today mirrors what's happening in other industries:
- Designers -- Once upon a time, I needed to hire a designer to create my business cards, brochure or website. Today I have an app that does that for me. Between Canva, Word Swag, Over, and Makr, I can look like I've hired a pro. Designers get far fewer calls than they used to receive. The few who still receive calls are competing on a service like 99designs. This business asks designers to do the work first for free to compete for a chance to be paid for their efforts. There's one winner and 98 losers, yet they all did the work. It's the worst situation for a designer, but it's becoming the norm.
- Writers -- A new technology called Natural Language Generators are now writing news stories in some publications. Writers who used to write Forbes' earnings reports have now been replaced by machines. Editors feed data into a machine, and it spits out the copy. All you have to do it personalize it a bit. Talk about writing on the wall — written by a robot.
- Taxi drivers -- Uber is the ultimate disruptor. In NYC, the 13,000 cabs that owned the streets have been swamped by 19,000 Uber drivers. With an app, I can always get a ride in any part of the city. As a result, there are 100,000 new Uber riders a month and 22 bankrupt taxi companies.
These are just a few prominent examples of what technology is doing to once-thriving industries.
That day is coming for photographers, too. With the low cost of entry for photography, we are seeing that almost everyone owns a camera. Now, people are less likely to buy basic photography.
It will get worse. Technology will make photography so much easier to take pictures, it could all but eliminate the need for what we sell today as photography.
Depressed yet? Don't be. In every challenge there is an opportunity if you are willing to look for it. I'll show you how to examine your business in this episode.
How do I know?
I made a good living in marketing and public relations, helping sell products and services. Then I went solo. I've made money taking pictures, selling photos, and teaching photography.
More importantly, I feel like I've made every mistake in the book by now. I've overcome a lot and figured out what works and what doesn't. Here are the things I wish I knew when I started. Photography is like most businesses. You'll never make any money if you commit one of these sins.
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What would you do?
I saw a woman struggling with her camera at the 9/11 Memorial. Most times I just keep walking and don't bother the photographer. This time I stopped to help. I was glad I did. I met a new friend, a charming woman who is a pastor from Atlanta. I'm not sure what led me to stop this time. It made me wonder. What do you do? Do you stop and offer to help when you see someone struggling with a photography issue you can answer? Tell me below in the comments.