"That's too much work!" a retired businessman said to me after my stock photo workshop when I explained that part of his routine as a freelance stock photographer would include bookkeeping, filling out government forms, entering descriptive keywords for his photos on his website, tracking email correspondence, carrying out the trash, and washing the windows.
“But it's worthwhile, -to me, " I responded. Our resident philosopher here at PhotoSource International, our office manager, H. T. White, phrased it this way – “Nothing is worth doing if it isn't worthwhile. ”
We all have a reason for doing whatever we do. “Whatever your motivation for doing it -fear of failure, altruism, greed, desire, -if it's worth it to you, you'll do it and probably do it well, " H. T. says. “Some tasks aren't going to be very romantic, but they'll get done and your pleasure factor will be high if the end result is worthwhile to you. "
I've met a lot of entrepreneurial photographers who express great interest in seeing their photos and their credit line in national circulation, but when it comes down to doing the A, B, and C tasks to accomplish this, they break down. Their displeasure at having to do the nitty gritty far outweighs the pleasure of seeing their name in print.
“Many entrepreneurs, ” says H. T. , “have the unrealistic belief that people who attain success in business have some kind of innate desire to do mundane tasks. They wear the hair shirt, so to speak. Not so. These people simply long ago realized that overcoming the tedious barriers that block many people from accomplishing their goals, can actually be pleasurable, when you realize that doors that were once closed to you can be opened if you grit your teeth and invent a system for tackling the everyday ‘chores’ that need to be done to keep the ship moving. ”
H. T. figures it this way, that many people conduct their lives at a “low pleasure factor. " That is, they put eight hours a day in at some job that they don't enjoy. “If they really dislike what they're doing, " H. T. said, “I give each hour they work a factor of 10. If they moderately dislike it, I give each hour a factor of 5. If they love what they're doing, I give each hour a factor of zero. "
And what do these “factors” mean? H. T. suggests that some people never really “work” because they love every minute of what they're doing -even though they put in 60 to 70 hours a week. They don’t call it work. Other people who put in an official forty hours a week, but dislike their work, are actually, according to H. T. ’s system, putting in an equivalent to 400 hours! No wonder some people looked dragged-out or suffer ailments and baffling diseases.
Are you putting five and six hours a day on your photography business operation -and loving every minute? You're not really ‘working’ at all. You'll go far. Or do you dislike it? If operating your business, and this includes the nitty gritty, isn't worthwhile to you, try something else. No one should work that much.
Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes. Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. Telephone: 1 800 624 0266 Fax: 1 715 248 7394. Web site: http://www.photosource.com/products