Thursday, February 19, 2009

Business books and business myths

Business books and business myths, article.
Did you know that "nine out of 10 businesses fail in the first five years" is a complete myth? I didn't.

For photographers who are thinking of turning pro, this ties in with Mike's article about that.
"The other thing that "positioning" means is specialization. Many professionals fail because they refuse to pigeonhole themselves. They believe (usually with justification) that they are widely competent and can do all kinds of work — an interior this week, a portrait next week, catalog shots of industrial widgets the next. Unfortunately, that's not how buyers think. Buyers of industrial widget shots want the best industrial widget shooter, and they wouldn't dream of hiring a portraitist to do them. I once knew a guy who shot a lot of metal parts for one of his clients who was surprised when his client found another photographer for a particular job. When questioned, his buyer told him, "But you do foundry parts. That job was for automotive parts!" It's that bad."

"Professional photography is not a "nice life," however much you might think it would be fun to be the next Galen Rowell. It's not a way to escape the nine-to-five grind. For almost everyone who is successful, a simple nine-to-five job is a life of leisure by comparison."

"It's a tough, demanding business, with long hours, high pay but low yield, lots and lots of marketing to do, and not a lot of opportunity for indulging your artistic side."

That's the thing, innit? When I was a kid, I had this idea that being a professional photographer would be creative, how cool would that be? But not only do only hard-working pro's make any money on their photography, the number of people who do so creatively is virtually nill. The chances are better becoming the next Mick Jagger.


Wonko said...

It's not just photography. My wife is currently looking for a job and she's encountered exactly the same issue. Unless you totally specialize in that potential employer's work area it's very hard work to persuade them you might just be good enough to do the job. The classic example was a heritage body who needed someone to edit their books, pamphlets, information sheets, etc. What they needed was an editor, instead they advertised for a historian because they simply couldn't conceive that anyone could properly edit their text if they weren't a historian. It's true the person doing the job would need some knowledge of history to make sure the text wasn't complete rubbish, but ultimately the important aspect is making sure the text would be engaging and interesting to read for Joe Public, not other historians. They needed an Editor. She didn't get the job despite having two honours degrees in English and a background over the last few years in heritage work for a charity.

I have found one example where this is not the case. Weta Workshops (who have made the physical props, costumes and weapons for films from the LOTR trilogy to King Kong and Narnia) need people who can do lots and lots of things. So, they don't care what you did before, as long as you can do the seventy-twelve things they need you to do. That seems to be a very New Zealand way of doing things.

eolake said...

They say that TV is an area where a many-thingy-doity (is there even a word for it) is not a handicap.