Talent and smart marketing are both critical to sustain your career. But they are much more powerful when they are allied with your vision and values.
A vision-based business is tied to your core values. Values become the foundation of your vision statement which is something broader and deeper than “I want to make a bunch of money.” Or “I want to get published in X” or “shoot for Y.”
I discovered this by accident. I never sat down and wrote a vision statement. But if I had, it would have said: “I love being the connecting link between two sets of innovative and creative people. Introducing creative people who need to know about each other is a total blast.”
Even though I didn’t write it down, it helped knowing this because without intending to, I ended up making a boatload of money. I was a rep for decades because I really enjoyed working with photographers and art directors–no matter what their budgets.
Some reps who were in it only for the money bailed during the inevitable economic downturns. For them, it was hard to stay in a high-stress business like ad photography when they weren’t getting paid well. My rep firm ended up having staying power. I generated trust among my clients. And trust builds repeat business.
It’s the same with the photographers I know who have survived multiple recessions. Their shooting styles have evolved, but it’s their focus on their core values that have allowed them to survive.
A photographer I know who began his career in the early-1980s is still going strong because his business is based on a deeply sincere love of people. Whether getting a $10,000 fee for an advertising image or a getting $250 for a local headshot, the way he approaches each portrait is exactly the same: he ‘s always 100% present and is happy being with each of his subjects. There’s no ego and no attention paid to what he’s getting paid to shoot. Everyone senses that when in front of his lens. And that’s why he gets tons of repeat business.
Your values should be apparent in your vision and your vision will keep your own and others eyes on your values.