Professional photographer Jeremy Cowart shares his knowledge on starting a business in this article over at Success.
With his help you can avoid some of the common mistakes people make when they decide to make photography their profession. Follow these steps and you can make it a reality sooner than you think.
Narrow your focus to your greatest strengths.
With so many other businesses able to provide a one-stop shop, Cowart realized he needed to focus on what he does best. He put away his Creative Suite tools and picked up a Canon, and chose not to look back. He didn’t try to do it all; he put his money where his talent is. That meant switching “thinking from graphic designer to photographer,” Cowart says.
Not every idea is a winner.
Now that he is an ideator, Cowart says he gives his ideas two months. It takes discipline to mull over an idea for that long. He seeks counsel from his wife and his business manager, and then lets his idea marinate. He explained that oftentimes, “I’ll have an idea and by the next day, I already think it’s lame. Or by the next week, I think it’s lame. So I wait for a two-month period and see if I am still excited.”
Don’t wait for support, be proactive.
I assumed, like many, that sponsors must have approached Cowart when he started gaining high-profile clients, but I was wrong. When he started to gain a social media following, he reached out to potential brands.
“I would approach sponsors and say—this was before the brands were social media-savvy—’I know you’ve never heard of me, but I have people paying attention to me online,’ and I could show them the numbers and say ‘I’d love to use this tool or this hard drive and I’ll post about it online.’ So then they’d go do their research and look at the numbers and then give me the gear.”
Part of being proactive means sharing about your work. No one loves self-promotion, but Cowart admits it’s part of the package. He does not employ a marketing team or even an agent anymore. “I have no choice. If I don’t talk about it, it won’t work. It’s just part of the drill.”