“I’ve only got two days next week.” The Passer says. “How am I supposed to get by on only two days pay?”
“Apply for unemployment.” I say and shrug. “Like all the rest of us.”
I should be working on my own Shoots. I should be running ads, handing out business cards, putting a nice photo ad up on Craigslist, doing something to attract customers. I should be working on my paperwork, figuring out how to create the perfect landing page, thinking about what kinds of poses and lighting I will use.
Instead I am sitting around thinking about doing things. Oh, I am tweaking a bit of my old promotional material and I have bought a couple of new backgrounds to go with my new light kit. I am also looking at better cameras, but I need to start making some money before I spend too much more.
It is once again that time of year when underemployment comes to the world of Assembly Line Portraits. A day or two a week, even if they are good days, leaves a bit of free time to think-There has to be something better than this.
I still think that there is a time coming when there will be no choice, The Company will either go out of business or simply close down the directory division and forget about it. I should take the preemptive strike and just quit-that would put the burden of making a living fully on my own shoulders. Which, of course, is a bit scary. While I have a few days a week I can go on thinking about doing something without having to do it.
I am also busy reading a number books about business, photography, and time travel. I am always reading something, as one of the Passers I was working with recently noted. I had a Passer ask me if reading was what made me so smart-funny, I didn’t realize I was all that smart. Anyway. I have read a couple of interesting books on getting rich through the sell of information products. It is always the kind of idea that appeals to me-bang out something about ten pages long, charge ten dollars for it, and sit back and relax as millions roll in. Only I have never really been able to do it. It always feels too much like a con job-all those ebooks on getting rich selling ebooks might have something to do with that feeling.
I should be watching a bunch videos on how to improve my portraits through the use of better lighting and better posing. These are not always improvements as far as The Company is concerned, as I am still getting complains about my posing. I had one of the best sales days I have in a couple years last week-using the same, basic Standard Set I have been using for lo these many years, with one or two tweaks.
I should be working my way through a stack of Amherst Media books I have accumulated, but so far I have only managed to flip through most of them looking at the pictures. Some of these book talk about marketing a photography business, while other talk about lighting and posing and varied and sundry other aspects of portraiture. I like the books that a collections of 500 Poses, but I would like them better if they had a little guidance on how to duplicate the pose and lighting instead of just printing a great portraits and saying-Go For It.
I should be working on a bit of promotion on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. But mainly I just like to publish quotes and talk about House and Doctor Who and the like. None of that will help my business efforts, but I am not at all sure what would. I have a couple of books on using LinkedIn, facebook, and Twitter, and I should be reading at least one of them. Who knows, maybe even following a bit of their advice for an hour a day. Instead I tend to ignore facebook, diddle around on Twitter, and have recently been playing around on Blogcatalog again. I used to really love Blogcatalog, but it turned into too much of a time sink for me.
I should be learning more about using ProSelect, the very costly portrait viewing software I bought. It is a nice bit of software, but it only does about half the job that I expected it to do. It is also a time sink in which I can become wrapped up in building Wall Groups or Portrait Packages, when really, I don’t need all that many options.
I should be updating my prices and trying to maximize my profits. Again, so long as I don’t have any actual Shoots I guess there is no rush there. The price lists I have will work should I get an account in the near future. I’m not sure there is any reason to add all the odd little doodads like key-chains and bobble-heads and the like.
I should get some t-shirts printed up. You can never have too many t-shirts with your company logo and website address, can you?
I should be thinking about places I might like to visit and see if I can arrange a Shoot or two in those areas. Of course, if I could figure out that whole travel photographer thing I would do that and skip the whole portrait business. But then, that would be a bit of a waste of fifteen years worth of skills and talents.
So what have I done today, just for an example of a productive day off. I cooked a couple of meals, always a good use of time. I watched the Incredible Shrinking Man-I haven’t seen that movie in like forever. Reminds how much I dislike giant spiders. I watched the latest episode of Doctor Who. Listened to a bit of Lady Gaga’s latest album-yes, I’m an old man, but she reminds a lot of Madonna so I like her stuff. I wrote a blog post. I have diddled around on this blog post for a couple of hours. I have deleted number of blogcatalog follows, seems most of the people I followed haven’t blogged for a couple of years or speak a foreign language. I am thinking about watching some more Misfits or maybe Groundhog Day.
The problem with having your own business is that it’s up to you to get out there and do something. Which might be why so many small businesses never really get off the ground.
I liked Fast Track Photographer by Dane Sanders. Dane says-Change will happen when the strength of your vision and plan, combined with your dissatisfaction with the status quo, is greater than the cost you are willing to pay to see change happen. I guess I’m not quote there yet. But I am getting close.