There is a subject that has been on my mind for a while so I wanted to blog about it. It’s about business, sharing, building relationships and making friends. The general attitude in any business is that other, similar businesses are the enemy. In some cases this is true. In Hope, Arkansas, if you open a watermelon stand next to another guy with a watermelon stand there might be some trouble. But in a service type business this really isn’t/shouldn’t be the case. There are many examples I can give but for the sake of this conversation I’m going to talk about what I know, the photography industry.
This isn’t going to make any sense at first, but in the photography industry you really don’t have any competition. Some will say, “How can you say that there is no competition? There is a photographer right down the street, or in the next town over, that you are competing with for clients!” Really? Ok, I’ll agree that there are people out there hiring photographers other than me. I’m not getting all the business. They are going to other photographers for their family portraits, weddings, baby pictures, etc., that’s true. But let’s look at it for what it is. A potential client can go anywhere and get someone that can take great pictures, get the same products, get someone better than me. They can get that ANYWHERE. They can never go anywhere else and get ME. They don’t walk up to me, call me, email me, whatever, and ask me if I can take great pictures. They already expect that. That’s a given when they contact me. So what are they actually buying when they hire me? What is the one thing that is unique about my business? ME. That’s it. Me. That’s the one thing that I have that “Worlds Greatest Photography, Inc.” doesn’t have. “People don’t pay you for how good you are at what you do, people pay you for how good you are at who you are.”
So, with that being said, do I really have any competition? No. I don’t.
If you believe in your heart and soul that other photographers in your area are the enemy, or competition, then I feel you are missing out on a great opportunity. Photographer David Jay said “If you truly make your business about helping other people, you will always have plenty of work”. That is so true. Helping other people not only means helping your clients get great pictures, but it also means helping each other to become the best THEM they can be. Jay also quotes Dale Carnegie who said “You will go further in two months by becoming genuinely interested in just two other people than you will in two years trying to get other people interested in you”. I think back to all the photographers that helped me along the way. I still have a long way to go in my photography and my business, but I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without the help of others. They gave of their time and talents to help another photographer, and in turn that helps the industry as well. If we all kept to ourselves and shared nothing, where would our industry be?
Please remember that the best things in life are free. It’s free to share. It’s free to give. It’s free to love. It’s free to make friends. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to do this. I believe if you fail to do this, over time your business will also fail. Now let’s get out there and start building relationships and friendships, even with the photographer down the street. It will be the best business decision you will ever make.