Friday, November 02, 2007

Failure is impossible if...

I haven't ever advertised for any of my businesses so I have relied on Word-of-Mouth and "Word-of-Mouse" marketing. I think this is the best way to go about most businesses these days and this is what I love talking to photographers about. The world is becoming increasingly more connected and you can see that natural, organic growth doesn't necessarily mean a slow adoption of a product or service. If your product is good and if you listen to your customers and make changes that need to be made your business can skyrocket even without the typical things that you think you might need.

Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist for Apple, says we need to approach most business with a "Ready - Fire - AIM" mentality.

I did this in my wedding business.

I started shooting weddings long before I was "prepared" - I didn't have a sample album (still haven't gotten around to that), I didn't have a website or a blog, didn't have any promotional material (still don't but I have a cool business card), have never advertised, never ever went to any bridal shows and at the beginning I didn't even have a computer to show my work on! I showed my first clients pictures from a service project I did in Mexico! I showed pictures of sad little kids but I booked the jobs and it made me realize that a lot of the things people think they need to succeed they actually don't need at all!

Showit-DVD is another great example of this! Countless people told me this would never work and since this business cost 10's of thousands of dollars just to start it and is a semi-expensive business to run it kinda freaked me out. But I knew from my own experience that there was a need and that a lot of photographers didn't want to deal with the hassles of producing and delivering products to their clients and so I went about it the same way as I've gone about starting my other companies. I've gotten the product out there and let it spread on its own. We haven't even made a real website for it yet because we wanted to see if it would actually get adopted and boy did it ever! This is a little graph my partner Todd sent me today showing the rapid growth shown by monthly orders we've had simply by letting customers who use it and enjoy it tell their friends. Last month there were 397 Showit-DVD orders!

What are you putting off because you don't feel ready?
Go do it...and don't be afraid of failure because I've learned that it's impossible to fail if you are results oriented. Think about it. You ALWAYS get a result! It's not always the result you wanted or hoped for but you can learn and grow from it and that is success!

22 comments:

Mary Jane said...

I guess it's because you're just so darn lovable.

So much FUN watching you succeed! :)

Showit Web is the greatest!

Andrew said...

Great observations.

Here's another good insight:

"People think of execution as the tactical side of business. That's the first big mistake. Tactics are central to execution, but execution is not tactics. Execution is fundamental to strategy and has to shape it."

from the book Execution: The Discipline of Getting
Things Done.

Rachel

I Go by Ed said...

Sometimes individual projects or endeavors DO fail in a business. It's just a fact of life. Unforeseen circumstances and changes in the environment produce unexpected results.

Look at New Coke and the Apple Newton. Failed products from two well-respected and wildly successful companies.

Failures are something to learn from ... they aren't something doesn't happen.

Ginger Murray said...

that's what i needed to hear...
there is something I've been holding off on. Partially because of timing...but i think the timing is right.
Thanks.

Sarah Barlow said...

RIGHT ON!! :)

Reminds me of the story with Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb..he could have accepted failure at the end of 900 different tries but he just figured that it was 900 ways how NOT to make a light bulb and kept on going! Thankfully he did! :)

I'm so excited for how much God is increasing you!

Daniel Hardee said...

David, I have been following you and your work closely. I am concluding my first year as a wedding photographer. I am not where I want to be technically in my photographs. This post really hit home. I went out on a "limb" too starting my business. I am in a creative and motivational slump right now, but I continue to read the positive blogs and review other photographer websites for inspiration.

Thank you for your contribution to the industry. I hope to meet you some day and share my photographic testimony.

God Bless.

Col. 3:23
And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Daniel J. Watkins said...

Great advice. Contingency plans are important too -- especially if you have a young family that depends on your income.

Holritz Photography said...

Love the post, especially the part about going for it!

- N

Trina said...

Thanks. I am a student; too often I focus on knowing how to "do it right" before I do it at all. I appreciate the advice :).

Josh Stichter said...

This is one view that I can honestly, whole-heartedly endorse. In my industry we are taught to produce to get results. I get results, then use them to be productive; Chicken or the Egg issue really. Being able to make any result or outcome fruitful is a unique skill.

I feeel so close to you right now DJ :P

Fed said...

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Pablo Picasso

Patricia Stein said...

Great post, thank you.

Amy J said...

I am a total control freak, so I kept telling my dad that I needed to "prepare more" before pursuing this business. He finally just yelled at me, all exasperated and said "Amy, the old adage goes like this, if you wait until you're ready, you'll be waiting forever". Great words to live by, and I have never regretted jumping in head first for a second. :)

kymberli q. said...

I've been a blog stalker of yours for awhile now and the last paragraph was so great that I had to come out of hiding! :) Thanks for sharing!

P.S. Just signed up for Pictage and listed you as my referral. :)

Tushar Shah said...

Great insight and 110% true!

Kevin Sturm said...

Right on. I agree!

|| davidjay || said...

Rock on! Love that Picasso quote!

Christina said...

You have started an empire!

Your heart is in everything you do and that's why you succeed. Great job and I can't wait to see your going to come up with next.

Christina

ibgraphik said...

Hi! this comment is refreshing and couldn't come at a better time in my life.
My last 2 shoots made me question that I had it in me to photograph other people's special moments. I was disappointed with the images I shot.
Until my clients saw the images I was afraid to show them. I realized I created images that were special and meaningful to my clients. Watching my images made them feel good and made them relive their special day.
My definition of a successful shoot has now changed. I was comparing my images to other photographers' and felt like I had failed. Now I know I can make people happy with my images. That is my new definition of success. This now gives me the motivation to shoot again and again ...

Cait said...

Thanks Daivd...

Like everyone else who has commented, this came at the right time for me. Being a really young, barely launched photographer, I find it really hard to do some things. I don't want to challenge myself for fear of failure. Actually, I don't feel prepared to shoot the next three family portrait sessions I have coming up because of my lack of experience.

Thank you for this post... I am encouraged and ready to go shoot some families. Thanks!

Cait

Sal said...

There is a biblical parable that basically states that the we all have gifts and talents, god given talents, and that we should take our talents and share them and develop other talents. David, you have done just that...and you are blessed because of it.

I know I am not prepared, but here I go too!

Thank you!

KATIE said...

Thanks for the words DJ!

Sweet!!!