Love the new tumblr theme. :-) How long did it take for your to feel confident and comfortable enough in your work to preemptivly sell it to others? I've been accepted and invited to very limited art showings, been interviewed, and now even have a regular flow of local celibrities wanting to shoot with me. This is something I love, I do it because I'm driven to learn and try new things, and I'm never confident that my work is worth selling until it actually sells. How did you make the leap?
How did I make the leap? Like this…
9 years ago I basically did this. That capsule was a day job. The earth was photography. My day job was taking me further and further away from what I really wanted to do with my life.
When Felix Baumgartner opened that capsule door there wasn’t any going back. No one was going to pick his ass up. There was no ladder to climb down. His only safety net was strapped to his back. He either jumped and maybe died or stayed in his capsule and definitely die. Jump for glory or hang on to security. There was nothing in between.
When I quit my job I was married and had one child at that time. When I quit the only thing I had to fall back on was going back to my hourly day job. Note that I didn’t quit a “career” job. I was making an hourly wage doing a job anyone could walk in off the street to do. My work experience is cashier, barista, temp worker, rental car agent, copy machine runner.
I had to make photography happen. Confidence or not. Jump! And jump I did. I had a safety net of my last paycheck and… if the photography thing didn’t work out I could go find some other $8 an hour job. I was living in a crap apartment. I was driving a crap car. My son was in a crap day care. One little thing going wrong and I was screwed or I was asking my mom for a set of tires. You know how much it sucks being 30 years old and asking your mom for a set of tires? Know how much that sucks? I couldn’t get a credit card because I had horrible credit.
Yeah. I’m jumping. I have to make this work. That’s how I did it. Not saying that’s what you do. I don’t know your position in life. I don’t know the responsibilities on your shoulders. I HAD to sell it no matter what level of confidence I had. I knew I could shoot. I knew I could come through. I had a solid foundation of technical ability under my belt when I jumped. When Felix jumped it wasn’t his first rodeo but that was THE jump of his life. After all his training and preparations he was hoping it would all go well. And… it did. One little thing going wrong could have killed him though. Luckily my life isn’t in that delicate of a balance!
You have a day job. Your spouse has a day job. Bills are basically covered. You hate your job but you like the security of the check. You dream of being a photographer. You dream of jumping but you don’t think you can actually do it. You beat yourself up. You think your work is crap. You compare yourself to others. You think you just need one more year at the day job THEN you’ll be ready. You said that five years ago.
Look. If you want to jump you just have to jump. You may go SPLAT very quickly. Felix couldn’t tip toe his way back to earth. He couldn’t pull over for a rest if it got too intense. There was no one in that capsule to put a boot to his ass when it was time to jump. He had a coach on the phone basically and a bunch of people on earth cheering him on but that jump… that was all his.
Your jump? That’s all on you.
Here’s what I’ve learned. If you wait until you’re ready you’ll never get anything done because you won’t ever be ready. “I just need to get my book ready then I’ll start a promo campaign.” Well, you aren’t ever going to be completely happy with your book. You’ll want to keep working on it and never get anything out into the world. “As soon as my web site is where I want it then I’ll promote it.” It ain’t ever going to be ready. “As soon as I have this or that or the other thing then I’ll do this or that or the other thing.”
Sometimes you just have to take what you have, stick a price tag on it, and jump your ass out into the world and figure it out from there.
That advice will never get you a loan from a bank. You know that right? There are a lot of business teachers cringing at this post. I get that. I do. I know.
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