If you’re an entrepreneur, you must seek growth over everything else.
“If you’re not busy growing, you’ve busy dying.” – Bob Dylan
I see growth in many different ways:
- Growth of self-confidence in yourself
- Growth of knowledge and wisdom
- Growth of your skills and abilities to do or make stuff
- Growth of influence (gaining more followers, or deepening of influence on the followers you already have)
- Growth of physical strength and size (growth of muscle mass)
My philosophy is that life is all about growth. If you think of the ecology of life– life strives towards growth.
For example, consider a tree. A tree always strives to get bigger, by ingesting more nutrients from the soil and the air. Slowly but surely, the size, strength, and height of a tree is augmented.
As human beings, we must grow. We must grow in our wisdom and knowledge of the world, and the more we grow, the more powerful and strong we are, and the more we can share with others.
As an entrepreneur, you are a risk-taker. Specifically, you take risks in your personal life for the sake of the greater collective of humanity.
Of course you cannot allow yourself to die. It is essential that you stay alive. You stay alive as an entrepreneur by being able to pay your bills every month, and ensuring that your expenses don’t supersede your income. You must stay profitable as an entrepreneur (your income being higher than your expenses), and also it is good to have some financial buffer (in the form of cash savings).
But the thing I want to emphasize is this:
Often we let the self-preservation instinct become more powerful than our instinct of growth. To thrive as an entrepreneur, you must focus on growth over self-preservation.
Self-preservation kills us
For example, by focusing too much on self-preservation, you will fall victim to the ‘status quo bias’ — you will stay consistent to what has worked in the past, which will prevent you from innovating, making new things, and experimenting with new processes or ways of doing things.
For example, as I write these lines, I am currently #1 on Google for ‘street photography‘. I have been able to make a profitable living teaching street photography workshops and being a specialist in street photography. However I’ve been having the feeling the last few years that my destiny is something greater than just street photography. Also, my aspirations in life are greater than just the small sphere of ‘photography‘.
I’ve been really fascinated with all forms of visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, etc) and have also been interested in poetry, cinema, theater, film, music, and other forms of creative self-expression.
I’ve also been fascinated by entrepreneurship and the art of making a living from your passion.
So if I let my self-preservation instinct supersede my other artistic curiosities, I would trap myself in the small bubble of only street photography. By focusing on the growth-mindset, I benefit in several ways:
- Avoidance of boredom
- Long-term survival/thrivival (personal thriving in life)
- Augmentation of my knowledge, and future ability to further share more ideas
Once again said simply,
Focusing on growth is more important than self-preservation, if you want to achieve grandeur and fulfill your personal maximum in life.
Don’t just stick to the tried-and-true. Keep innovating!
How to grow
Now that we have established the fact that it is essential to grow as an entrepreneur (and a human being) — what does it really mean to grow? How can we track growth, should we track growth, and is it even possible to track growth?
The problem is that a lot of us track growth via numbers. A lot of people track their personal growth by the 1, 0’s, or commas in their bank accounts, by how many likes/followers/page views they get, or other quantified measures.
The reason why a lot of people track progress with numbers is because tracking growth with numbers is tangible. We as humans can easily see growth via increased numbers, increased percentages, and charts/graphs that show upward numerical growth.
But it is of my opinion that we shouldn’t track our personal growth with numbers. Rather, we should only track our own personal growth by our own self-assessment of ourselves. That means, track your growth by looking within yourself and asking yourself:
- “Have I learned something new today that I find valuable, that I can integrate into my life in some sort of practical or philosophical manner?”
- “Am I happy the direction that my life is going?”
- “Am I excited with the new developments in my life?”
Anti Peter Drucker
The business management guru Peter Drucker once said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”, which essentially means:
You must track your metrics in order to know you’re growing or heading in the right direction.
I respect Peter Drucker, but disagree. To me, we must follow our own nose, we must follow our own intuition, and we must follow our own gut.
In praise of Steve Jobs
I’m a massive Steve Jobs fanboy, who was a true visionary. What does it mean to be a ‘visionary’? It means to look into the future, and see a new future that others cannot see (yet). To be a visionary is to predict what people will want before they know they want it.
For example, Steve Jobs predicted the future of mobile computing, thus pushed for the iPhone and iPad.
There is a funny quote by Henry Ford (which might not be true) that goes something like:
“If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse!”
Similarly, it is your job as an entrepreneur and innovator to NOT ask people what they want. Rather, it is your duty to imagine and predict what others will want before they know what they want.
The sad truth is that most people don’t know what they want in life. Most people don’t know their preferences, nor do they know what is ‘good’ for them. Therefore, I believe it is not compassionate to ask people for what they want, or what their preferences is, because it is too difficult for most people to have to think about what they desire.
Going back to the iPhone/iPad example, before the iPhone was made, people didn’t know what they ‘needed’ or even wanted an iPhone. People seemed pretty happy with their Motorola RAZR phones/crappy Windows “smartphones”.
Similarly, people didn’t know that they wanted an iPad before it was made. But when it was announced, it quickly went on to becoming one of the most sought-after and best-selling devices.
Growth is innovation
Sorry I’m getting a bit off topic, but my point is this:
One of the best ways to grow is to innovate; to come up with new ideas, and to predict the future.
Thus in entrepreneurship, always seek to innovate. Keep on coming up with new ways to create information, share information, and use all the digital tools at your disposal.
Practical ways I’ve been able to innovate:
- Studying abstract painting (especially Piet Mondrian) and being able to explain photography composition in simplified forms (using iPad and Procreate app).
- Creating photography slideshows in iMovie and making my own beats/music in GarageBand, and uploading them on YouTube (instead of just uploading single photos to Instagram or Facebook). Download BEATS by KIM VOLUME I.
- Discovering more ‘scalable’ solutions to monetizing on the internet by selling digital products (HAPTICPRESS digital books), and online video courses.
How to innovate
I’ve found one of the best ways to innovate is restrict your options, which will force you to find new solutions to your problems.
Let me give you an example: I deleted my Instagram about a year ago, and have been trying to discover new ways to share my photos.
To be frank, Instagram is probably the simplest way to share your photographs and pictures. But the problem is that Instagram doesn’t allow much innovation, because you are stuck inside Facebook’s ecosystem. Closed systems do not allow for as much innovation as open systems.
Because I was no longer able to share my photos on Instagram, I had to think really hard and experiment with new ways of sharing/publishing my photographs.
I then realized several ideas:
- I should just publish more photographs to my blog. The benefits include that I can better control how to display my photos, I can change the order of the photographs, and I can also display many photographs in a single blog posts. This is better than Instagram, because on Instagram you cannot change the sequence of your photographs after you’ve published them.
- I could make video slideshows of my photographs, and share them on YouTube. This is superior than just publishing single photos to Instagram, because I’ve discovered that by adding music, the experience of consuming photographs is much fuller and richer.
- By exclusively publishing photographs to my own platform (my website and blog), it encourages more people to visit my own website instead of just staying stuck inside the Instagram-ghetto.
Therefore, I believe that innovation must be born out of need, and by having no other options.
This is why companies with huge budgets and a ton of money rarely innovate– they get spoiled by having too many resources, too many options, and can easily buy their solutions.
But the most innovative ideas in society have come from scrappy, money and resource-lacking individuals, who had to come up with novel solutions to their problems.
To wrap up this messy essay, let me try to re-summarize some concepts I want to share with you:
- We should aim for growth above everything else (following the lead of Amazon, who focuses on growth over profits). Because if you keep growing and get big and strong enough, the profits will always (eventually) come to you.
- Growth shouldn’t be tracked via numbers, rather, by following your own self-assessment of yourself.
- One of the best ways to grow is to innovate and come up with new ideas and approaches.
- To innovate, restrict your options, and focus on building your own platform.
- Stay hungry and stay foolish, to keep innovating, growing, and thriving.
The Modern Photographer: Tips, Strategies, and Tactics to Thrive as a Visual Artist in the Digital Age
Marketing, Branding, Entrepreneurship Principles For Success
MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER is your new philosophical and practical primer to succeed as a modern photographer in today’s digital world.
How to Monetize Your Photography
- Photography Entrepreneurship 101: INFLUENCE
- Should I Monetize My Passion for Photography?
- 10 Practical Photography Monetization Strategies: Pricing, Google SEO, & Entrepreneurship
- How to Make Money From Street Photography
Why Become a Photography Entrepeneur?
Take control of your own photographic destiny:
THE MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER
- CREATIVE CAPITALISM
- How to Monetize Your Photography
- 5 Practical Photography Career Tips and Advice
- 10x Thinking
- How to Hustle as a Photographer
- How to Become Your Own Master Marketer
- The ‘T’ Technique of Success
- Go Ahead and Sell Out
- What is Your Unique Voice?
- Why You Must Self-Promote Yourself
- What is Your Unique Angle as a Photographer?
- Photography Content Marketing 101
- Why You Must Become Your Own Publisher
- The Art of Cross-Pollination in Photography
Photography Entrepreneurship Articles
- Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Pictures to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Flickr
- How to Make Money From Your Photography
- Photography SEO and Blogging: How to Become Number One on Google
- Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
- Now is the Best Time to Be a Photographer
- What Is The Value of a Picture?
- Your Photographic Labor is Not Free
PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS 101
- Chapter 1. How to Make a Photography Blog
- Chapter 2. How to Price Yourself
- Chapter 3. How to Find Your Market
- Chapter 4. Why Teach Workshops?
- Chapter 5. How to Build Trust
- Chapter 6. How to Market Yourself
- Chapter 7: Why Should Someone Attend Your Workshop?
KEYS TO SUCCESS
- Why You Must Be a “Personality” in Order to Succeed
- THRIVE OR DIE.
- Impatience is a Virtue
- Create Your Own Category
- HOW TO DREAM BIG.
- Will Not or Cannot?
- Why Not?
- How to Think BIG
- How to Stay Ahead of the Curve
- How to Invest in Yourself
- The Two Camera Rule
- MEANINGFUL DIFFERENTIATION
- Advice For College Students
- How to Thrive in Uncertain Times
- CANNIBALIZE YOURSELF.
- DO AND GROW RICH
- Does Fear of Punishment Hold You Back?
- HOW TO GET MORE FOLLOWERS
- How to Innovate
- How to Build Your Own Empire
- YOU ARE ENTITLED TO HARD WORK.
- PICK YOURSELF.
- OWN YOUR PLATFORM
- 10 KEYS TO SUCCESS
Table of Contents
Learn how to make a living from your passion:
- Preface. BRAVE NEW WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY
- Chapter 1. How to Create Value
- Chapter 2. ZEN CAPITALISM
- Chapter 3. Scarcity
- Chapter 4. How to Brand Yourself
- Chapter 5. How to Build a True Following
- Chapter 6. The Blueprint to Success in Photography
- Chapter 7. HOW TO BE BOLD
- Chapter 8. How to Sell Out
- Chapter 9. GO AGAINST THE GRAIN
- Chapter 10. EXTREME ABUNDANCE
- Chapter 11. Photography Experience Economy
- Chapter 12. Why You Should Make Money for Your Photography
- Chapter 13. How to Become a Famous Photographer
Photography Business 101
How to Make Money with Photography
- How to Charge More Money in Your Photography
- Why You Should Not Pursue Photography as Career
- Can Photography Make You Rich?
- How I Earn $200,000+ a Year From Photography
- How to earn $10,000 a month as a photographer
- Why you must be an expensive photographer
Photography Marketing 101
- Why Have More Followers?
- Why You Should Do Photography Work For Free
- How I Became an Internet Famous Photographer
- Photography Blogging Ideas
- Why You Should Promote Your Own Name
- How to Build a Following
- How to Stand Out as a Photographer.
- HOW TO GO VIRAL AS A PHOTOGRAPHER.
- How to Master Marketing
- How to Sell Yourself
How to Hustle.
- Entrepreneurial Advice to My 18 Year Old Self
- How to Become Insanely Productive.
- 5 Lessons From Hesiod on Hustling
- It is Better to Beg For Forgiveness Than Ask For Permission
- The Free Way to Become Rich
- JUST DO IT.
- 7 Steps: How to Make a Living From Your Passion
- How to Do What You Love for a Living
- How to Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
- How to Fail Big
- How to Invest in Yourself
- How to Be Bold in Photography and Life
- Mission: Cover Your Rent and Food
- 1,000 True Fans
- The “10x Principle”: The Only Difference Between “Success” and “Failure”
- Make More Value Not Money
- We Live in a Photo Utopia
How to be a Full-time Photographer
- How to Make a Living From Photography
- The 3 Principles of Making Money With Photography
- Advice for Aspiring Full-Time Photographers
- Don’t Go Into Debt For Your Photography
- How to Brand Yourself as a Photographer
- Trust: The Most Important Thing You Need to Succeed as a Photographer
- How to become rich from photography blogging
- How to Make a Living with Blogging
- 50 Blogging Tips For Beginners
- How to Start Your Own Photography Blog
- A Photographer’s Guide to SEO, Blogging, and Social Media
How to Teach Photography
- How to Become a Photography Teacher
- How to Teach a Street Photography Class
- Why I Teach Street Photography Workshops
- Why I Deleted My Instagram
- The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers
- Why Do You Need More Likes or Followers?
- Instagram is Going to Be the Next Facebook
- Don’t Trust “Free” Photography Social Networks
How to Save Money
Take your street photography to the next level:
- August 27 (Friday): SEATTLE MASTER STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP - [NOW LIVE!]
- September 11 (Saturday): DOWNTOWN LA ADVANCED STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP - [NEW!]
Be notified of when new workshops are live here.