All Posts in Self Employment
Mike Davis and I are speaking at B&H Photo Video's Event Space!
Date: Februrary 14, 2013 (Yes Valentine's Day)
Location: B&H, Super Store, 2nd Floor, 420 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Time: 4:00–6:00 p.m.
The event in sponsored by one of my favorite website building platforms, Squarespace.
You can learn more about our talk at B&H's Event Space listing.
It's been 11 months since my last post and admittedly that ridiculous in-my-head-you're-so-lame self-defeating voice has kept me from writing.
But really, this first year teaching seriously whipped my ass.
It's been a scary, intimidating, anxiety-filled, stress-inducing, exhausting year and it has been a thrilling, satisfying and incredibly enlightening year.
And so with the new year begins year two. But, this isn't any new year of teaching. This new year starts with a new course I've designed (experimental at this point) called, "Craft Your Image".
The Course Creatives Need and Never Got in School
Once I started marketing this course this year's photography graduate students signed up immediately and several undergraduate students were on the waiting list.
I was thrilled.
So for approximately 14 weeks, I'm going to collaborate with my students to "Craft their Image". Some of the major topics of discussion will include:
- Creating a business road map
- Identifying your people
- Nesting in your perfect place and position
- Keeping your eye on your cash
- Taking the scary out of marketing
Some of the nitty gritty must-cover topics:
Why a Business Course?
I get it. I've been there. I'm still there but in a different way. (I may not be running my business full-time but you can't take the mindset of entrepreneurship out of me.)
The idea came from experiences with my clients and from talking with so many creative people: beginners, seasoned professionals, photographers, designers, consultants, etc.
In my first semester I gave two three-hour overview workshops about preparing a portfolio, the importance of personal branding, marketing and more. It was geared for students about to graduate. The students share many feelings professionals have: fear, uncertainty on next steps and how to take action.
My goal was and is to distill the information and present it in a non-threatening, accessible way ripe with no bs, a few curse words and admitting to not having all the answers.
Visual Communication Programs Need to Get with the Program
Visual communication programs need to step up to the plate and design a curriculum that includes a course that covers the basics of business. The classic, generic business-school course won't do. It must be a business course tailored to creatives by a creative.
Visual communication professors have a responsibility to prepare students to find work in whatever form that may be: a full-time employee or as a "solopreneur".
For aspiring photographers this is not optional.
We do a great job teaching students concepts and the latest and greatest software; however, most schools fail at prepping students with the tools, the fundamentals of running a business, the mind shift it takes to think like a business, an entrepreneur.
Newhouse has been cultivating the entrepreneurial mind in students for quite awhile. I'd like to think we are setting the pace.
Visual communication students are eager to learn and to be successful. We need to get beyond politics and red-tape. You know, get creative and make it happen.
Last month Adobe announced that it will no longer support Flash for mobile.
The interwebs were quick to announce that Flash is Dead. Heck, it makes a great headline.
I'm waiting to see what happens but I do lean toward this camp.
But if that doesn't jive with you maybe this will: Flash isn't dead but it is moving in a new direction.
So I'm putting up a red flag for all the photographers using a purely Flash-based website or even thinking about buying into a Flash-based template. (My yellow flag? It's Time to Break Up with Your Flash Website.)
Hello, Mobile is the Future
Let me say that again: Mobile is the future.
Adobe has clearly recognized (as well as most savvy business peeps) that the mobile market is just going to continue to grow.
If anything Adobe laying off 750 people to concentrate their efforts on HTML5 should alert you to where things are headed.
Sure, your flash plug-in may still be working on your desktop but here's fact: Desktop market share (for browsers) is declining.
Check out this infographic on mobile marketing, too.
Now is the time to ask
Ask your website company what they think about the future of Flash at their company.
How will it impact your website (your business)?
What are their plans to help you deliver content on mobile devices?
Will they make it easy for you to migrate your existing content?
I've stopped many photographers from buying "quick and easy" Flash website templates because it has always been important to design for the present and the future.
With devices and technology changing so often you want to be ahead.
It's Good Enough?
Some of you may feel you're OK because the company you use utilizes a combination of Flash (for desktop) and HTML5 (for mobile).
You maybe in a better position (remember: desktop is declining, mobile is rising.) but the problem I've heard (and seen) even with this setup is this: Most of your branding disappears.
Maybe you don't care. Good enough is good enough.
Compare your non-branded HTML5 iPad experience to an HTML5 iPad experience that is branded.
Consistency IS important. Every time your audience comes in contact with your brand elements such as your logo, color scheme, photographs, it reminds them of you.
Who is your target audience? Will they notice? Do they care?
Sophistication attracts sophistication. Details matter.
Make time and start your research.
Whatever the outcome of Flash, you want to be in a position where you are ready; not scrambling to get a new website up.
The time it will take to migrate content and possibly start from scratch may cost you more.
Time is money.
Are you willing to risk eyeballs and possibly your next lead because your portfolio or website won't display? Do you have the time to keep track of what Flash is doing or where it is going?
Wouldn't you rather be making your next best picture?
There's a great lineup of photography workshops and speakers.
Every time we attend a workshop it's this amazing opportunity to reunite with old friends and make some new ones (Hello, marketing!)
And speaking of the so-called dirty "M" word…
Join me for a workshop on branding and marketing tomorrow afternoon.
Students and photographers making (or thinking) about making the leap into business
This workshop is about getting in the right mindset to help set you personal foundation and make your efforts more targeted and less willy nilly.
Photographers feeling stuck or skeptical about branding & marketing
I hope to make you think and challenge any preconceived ideas you might have about either or both. Please come with an open mind!
What to Expect:
- Be prepared to interact and ask yourself some hard questions
- Worksheets! (Because it's a workshop.)
- What is branding?
- What is marketing?
- Why are they important?
- Common gripes and excuses why you aren't marketing.
- Tools to help you with marketing
- Takeaways for the beginner photographer
- Takeaways for the mid-career photographer
- Q&A session
My hope is that you'll feel more confident about branding and marketing when you go out the door.
There are 2 sessions back-to-back in the afternoon so remember to bring some fuel.
Website and Marketing Reviews, too!
AND… during the portfolio reviews on Saturday, I'll be available to review your website and marketing materials so please bring what you can!