An entrepreneurial idea: in order to most effectively create new wealth (new sources of value for humanity), it is best to leverage and focus on your pre-existing strengths, rather than trying to build upon your shortcomings or weaknesses.
“Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth.” – Archimedes
Archimedes of Syracuse, was a serial mathematician, engineer, and inventor of ancient Greece (~200 BC). He made lots of discoveries and inventions, for example the principle of displacement of the volume of objects in water, and innovative pulley systems to be used in war to overturn ships (as well as many other interesting inventions).
Out of all his ideas, the concept that fascinated me the most was his concept of the lever — that a single man can create massive force (as long as he knows where to stand/what to focus on).
You can change the world
In practical terms, the concept of Archimedes lever is this:
Know what your strength is in life, and focus on that.
For example, if you wanted to overturn the earth with a lever, you just need to stand at the right “fulcrum” spot.
Focus on your asymmetrical strengths
In modern life, we are told that we need to be ‘well-balanced’ and to improve on our weaknesses/shortcomings. I disagree. I am rather in favor of focusing on our asymmetrical strengths — improving on what we are already really really good at, or really really talented at, instead of wasting our time, resources, and energy on what we are weak in.
For example, let’s say your strength is writing but you are horrible at public speaking. If you wanted to create more value, it is better for you to focus on further improving your writing, rather than working on your (poor) public speaking skills.
Or if you’re a photographer and you’re really good at black and white photography (and horrible at color photography), it is better for you to focus on your own personal “archimedes lever” of your pre-existing strength in black and white photography, instead of wasting your limited resources on improving your non-existent color photography skills.
Why focus on your strengths?
Why focus on your strengths? Why not try to become a “well-balanced” person who is good at a lot of stuff?
Our lives are short, we only have a certain number of hours in the day, and a certain amount of energy in our lives. It is better to create 10x massive value in what we are already good at (and keep getting better at it), rather than being mediocre in aspects we are weak in (which will not create new sources of value).
For example, my personal strengths include writing, blogging, teaching, and public speaking. I am very bad at planning and logistics. Thus if I wanted to best leverage my strengths and create new sources of value, it makes the most sense for me to spend all of my time, energy, and focus on doing what I’m good at, instead of wasting time what I’m bad at.
On Building a Strong Team
A practical suggestion: to best leverage your strengths, have others help you where you’re weak, in order for you to better focus on your strengths.
For example, I am eternally grateful to my manager Neil who helps me with workshops, business, planning, and logistics —because it allows me to focus on coming up with ideas and sharing them on this blog (my strength). Similarly, I am so grateful for Cindy for also helping me with building up HAPTIC INDUSTRIES — leveraging her strengths of creating products, packaging, and delivery. Also my sister Annette for creating illustrations for HAPTIC DIGITAL.
Thus when you’re building a team, find teammates or people who are really good at doing what you’re very bad at doing. This will create a team of A-players who can all exploit their strengths, to create the most value as a collective, rather than having a team of all C-players who are average in what they do. In DIABLO or video game/RPG terms, better to have a team consisting of a Knight (high hit points, and strength), an Archer (distance attack, high damage per second-rate), and a Wizard (healing properties, support character) instead of three characters who are all ordinary soldiers or footmen with average stats.
We are born to collaborate
The only reason why humans have been able to prosper so much as a species is our ability to collaborate, help one another, and for us to specialize on our particular strengths. It is better for the farmer to focus on growing corn and feeding society, instead of him (also) trying to make shoes for society. Let the shoemaker focus on making the shoes.
However I also want to share the concept that you should focus on specializing what you’re really good at, but also allowing yourself to explore other fields, to build wide-ranging erudition and knowledge across many different fields of knowledge. They call this the “T technique/model”— deep specialization and knowledge in one field, but basic knowledge in many fields which allow you to “cross pollinate” ideas and concepts to create new ideas and innovations.
Memento Mori Entrepreneurship
Remember friend, your life is short—how are you going to best leverage your skills, talents, and strengths in your life to create new sources of value and wealth for the rest of society?
As an assignment, write down a list of your strengths, talents, and skills and ask yourself:
How can I cut out more distractions from my life, and keep focusing on what I’m really good at?
Then in terms of monetization, ask yourself:
How can I charge money to provide this service or product to others, which will improve their lives and make them happier as a result?
Learn more how you can leverage your strengths as a photography entrepreneur at my upcoming Photography Entrepreneurship 101 Workshop: Monetize Your Passion, Build a Loyal Following, Stand Out (San Francisco, September 22-23, 2018).
- How to Create Value as a Photography Entrepreneur
- Why Become a Photography Entrepreneur?
- Why You Must Ignore Nay-Sayers to Succeed in Entrepreneurship, Business, and Life
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.
- Open Source Business Model in Photography Entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneurship 101: Growth and Innovation Over Self-Preservation
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