Santa Fe New Mexico Family and Children Photographer – David Moore» Blog Archive » “Figuring out your true passion” – coming up with a new business plan

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This is the photography blog for photographer and writer David Moore. He's based in Santa Fe, New Mexico but speaks with a funny accent.


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    December 29th, 2008

    “Figuring out your true passion” – coming up with a new business plan

    Star light, star bright

    As we enter a new year, it’s a time for reflecting on what happened over the last 12 months, and making plans for the next.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about what goals I should have for the year, and how I might reach them. Some of these are practical-sounding – like working out my budget for the photography and web design sides of my work – but once you start asking these sort of questions, they quickly end up bringing up much larger issues.

    I’m in the fortunate position of working for myself, and last year I made money building and maintaining websites, taking photos, training photographers in Aperture, and writing articles. But I have to admit none of it was really based on a detailed business plan.

    So I was very interested when I came across a great article by photographer Doug Menuez about how he came to redefine the work he did and enjoyed a more fulfilled (and more successful) life as a result.It’s worth reading in full, because it offers the kind of hard-earned advice that only comes from being broken down and finding a way to put yourself back together.

    The thrust of the piece is that planning for a long career in photography (or I’d argue, any creative profession) must involve not compromising in the sort of work you do.

    It’s a scary notion, especially in an economic climate like the current one, but Menuez argues that there’s really no choice:

    If you create a book that you think will get you work based on your perception of what sells, or on the advice of anyone who steers you away from your core, you have a complex problem ahead. Yes, you may find some work that way, which is really tempting short term, while you tell yourself you’ll do the real stuff on the side or in the future. “Show the work you want to get” is a lasting truism and if you have chosen to show work other than the purist version of your creative vision then whatever jobs do come in will be based on that work. There are many shooters who do this exact thing and end up with a middling level of success, stuck on a financial and creative plateau, slowly starting to run out of gas.

    His argument is that to do the work you think people want might get you short-term limited success, but you can’t really sustain it. The real money and success will follow those who are true to their own vision.

    As we make our resolutions for 2009, it’s a good time to think about how we can pursue the work we find valuable (and how we can make it pay).

    It’s a topic I’m still wrestling with myself, but having some kind of plan is better than just taking any and all work that comes your way. So the first step has to be working out what you will and won’t be prepared to do next year. That’s where I’m at right now – learning to say no, and working out what to say no to.

    If you’ve got any insights or suggestions, feel free to share them with me in the comments.


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