Happy hump day everyone! Today I am going to cover something that concerns almost all content providers whether it be full time or hobbyist. I am going to address the notion that at some point you just give up and why you never should.
About six years ago I personally started taking photography seriously. That is when I started buying equipment and getting out there to create content. At the time I was working a regular 9-5 job and doing photography on the side. I had a mortgage payment, car payment, and other bills to worry about so I didn't have the ability to leave a 9-5 and pursue my dreams of being a full time content creator. Honestly, at the time, in my early 30's I was too scared to give up the security of that 9-5 paycheck as well.
Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of my grandfather's passing. He was really the guiding light in my world for a very long time. He taught me about business, and passion, and hard word. That man taught me a lot of what I carry around today and apply to my own business. He was also there to talk to about any topic whether it be business or personal, so a lot of what I want to touch on today is because of him.
In 2014 I decided that I finally had the courage to follow my dreams and become a content provider as my full time job. What I also decided is that I wasn't going to do it in the town that I had spent almost my entire life in. That is when I determined that Chattanooga, TN was going to be the right place to build my brand. The types of business that I do would work well if I were based in a central location, or at least I thought that at the time. Before buying my house I looked at the other photographers in the area and thought that I brought something different to the table. It wasn't about reinventing the wheel, it was just about being different and having a different approach.
So in January of 2015 we packed up all our things and my wonderful girlfriend and I headed south to where we would call home. Didn't really know anyone, and wasn't sure how it would all work out, but I figured that the two of us would make it work. Learning from a young age that you go for your dreams and never give up. Grandpa told me to work hard for what I want. He was a firm man when he needed to be, but everyone respected him. That is what I wanted for my life.
A year ago I was a little naive about what it would really take for this to work though. I never had an issue with hard work, and my content stood on it's own against anyone's so I should be able to gather clients...yeah not so much. While the first things are still true, what I didn't count on was learning a new market and how to build your brand within that market. There were times that I would lay awake all night worrying and wondering if I made the right decisions by leaving a well paying office job, packing up and moving south, along with starting to doubt my talent. That is when I started talking to Grandpa at night to try and get an idea of what the hell I am doing.
Grandpa would also instill in me either directly or indirectly that you don't give up. You fight through. Times over the last year when I thought I just could not do it anymore, I had to just remember those words. I had to remember that I can't give up because he is watching and cheering for me to succeed. So are others, like my amazing parents and friends. And then there are those just waiting to be able to take that "I Told Ya So" jab at you, and I won't allow that to happen.
You as a content provider that relies on your work to pay the bills are going to go through some tough times in life. There are going to be times when you start out and you don't know if you are going to have the money to keep the lights on or put gas in your car. The days where all you can afford is a loaf of bread and maybe some crappy cheese and that's your 3 meals a day for the next week. There are going to be those dark days of doubting your decisions and your abilities. Trust me you won't think they'll come but they do.
The one thing that you have to always remember in all aspects of you life is that you can never, ever give up on yourself and your dreams. You have the ability to make it happen with hard work and passion. You would not have chosen this path if your abilities weren't there. So when you find yourself in doubt, you need to stop and think for a minute about you and your dreams along with all the others that are rooting for you to succeed. And don't forget about those few lurking in the darkness that want to give you the "I told ya so" lecture. Success does nothing but shut them up.
Never forget that you have someone on your side when it seems like there is nobody, and that's because I'll always be rooting for you to succeed. I wish everyone would follow their dreams and be successful. And if you ever find yourself in that lonely self-doubting place and need a way out, just drop me a line and I will be more than happy to talk to you about it. But don't ever give up on yourself!
Have a great day my friends!!