On a regular basis I will solicit feedback from a variety of my clients as to their experience working with my team and myself. The goal is to use this information to continually improve the services we provide.
Recently I decided to take it a step further to better understand the perception of my own brand by asking clients what was the best thing they’ve heard about us as well as the worst thing they’ve heard about us. This way I could understand what we are doing right so we can double-down on those efforts as well as areas we absolutely need to improve on.
For several weeks the only real critique we heard was that we were very expensive compared to others in the area; something which was done intentionally. However recently I was informed that a relatively amateur photographer was telling a few local talents that I had a big ego.
After thinking about it for a moment I have to agree with them. I first clicked a shutter at the age of 19 and now 14 years later I’ve been able to build a business by doing it supporting myself as well as numerous contractors.
However this has not been an easy 14 years. I’ve never considered myself the most artistic person but the thing I do have that many others don’t is the willingness to work harder, longer, faster and smarter than anyone else.
Clients were never given to me; I had to work to earn those relationships. My brand didn’t grow itself; I spent years developing new ways of cultivating it. The success I’ve had for more than a decade, which allowed me to leave my career in marketing to do this full time was neither an accident nor a fluke. It was the result of the investment and effort I put into my craft.
I take a significant amount of risks in my career. I roll the dice on projects, concepts and even people. There are a lot of times I lose. I don’t win the project, I don’t get the client, and I mess up the approach.
However I face and risk failure enough times that eventually I get a few wins. If you don’t think that builds confidence, you’re mistaken. Nothing breeds confidence and endurance more than a taste of success. I am extremely confident, not only in my abilities in the work I create, but in my drive to persist beyond others. This is why my career has taken the direction it has.
Will there be downtimes? Absolutely! There have been innumerable downtimes previously and there will be times ahead where I fail, hit rock bottom and have to climb back up again. It is a near certainty with the field I am in. The point is that I will climb up again and reach a level higher than I was at previously.
Does that equate to egotism? Perhaps. However I am humbled enough to know that I deserve and am owed nothing despite everything I’ve already achieved. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished but don’t for a second feel that means the rest of the road will be easier.
The higher I climb, the steeper that climb will get. And I am prepared for that journey.
There are many out there who are not ready for the mountain and who prefer scaling only anthills.
It is much easier to critique those ahead of them and try to break them down rather than focus on their own growth and development. Focusing on yourself means analyzing your own faults. Precisely what I try to do on a regular basis to get better. I encourage them to try it.
James Patrick, ACS, ALB is am award winning and internationally published commercial and editorial photographer based in Arizona. He has also worked as a marketing professional, website strategist, journalist and a public speaker covering a variety of topics including photography, marketing and business development. James is a co-host of both TheProExposure and Photo Buddies podcasts. He is a past recipient of the Inside Tucson Business as an Up & Comer of the Year award and has received numerous ADDY® Awards from the American Advertising Federation for his work in photography. His work is available to be seen at jamespatrick.com and his e-books are for sale at FitModelGuide.com.