A physics and philosophical principle which can help empower us is this concept of “first principles”—a concept leveraged by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and other visionaries.

What are first principles?

A first principle is to get back to the fundamentals of physics, and to ask ourselves:

What is physically possible and impossible?

Applied to everyday life,

Let us never call anything “impossible” unless it defies the laws of physics.

Because, technically according to physics, almost anything is possible. Now, whether it is difficult to do or not is a different story.


As an entrepreneur, always take it back to first principles.

For example, when Elon Musk decided to make more affordable rocket ships, he asked himself:

What is the price of the materials and atoms which are necessary to build a rocket ship, and if I were able to rearrange the atoms more efficiently, how cheap can I make a rocket?

He realized that if he would be able to build reusable rocket ships, it would dramatically lower the cost. And therefore, rather than thinking, “Rockets have always been expensive and will always continue to be expensive”, he took it back to “first principles” to innovate a more affordable option.


To me, this is very exciting for us as entrepreneurs! This means with digital technology, the sky is the limit!

Consider the extreme abundance we have as photographers in today’s world. Digital photography is essentially free (we no longer need to pay for film and processing), wifi and internet connections are essentially free, and cloud storage online is practically free with Google Drive and Dropbox. Also consider that the price of high-end digital cameras keep getting cheaper and cheaper.

With the internet, your photography website, your blog, social media, YouTube, you can build millions of followers, and earn a living from your passion in photography. Of course making a living from your passion in photography and getting tons of followers is a combination of hard work, persistence, and a bit of luck (having the right opportunities). But it is of my thought that making a living in photography is relatively easy, as long as you can reduce your expenses to a minimum, and as long as your lifestyle isn’t expensive. I’ve been able to make a living as a photographer/digital nomad by keeping myself profitable by lowering my expenses to a minimum, and increasing my income/revenue from teaching workshops and selling products.

First principle thinking for photography entrepreneurs

Practical ideas to apply to your entrepreneurial thinking:

  1. Rather than thinking what is “probable”, think of what is physically possible.
  2. Study the trends of digital technology (faster internet connections, cheaper storage, rising population growth, more people moving to cities, more people shooting photography with phones and digital cameras) and ask yourself: “What kind of opportunities do I see, which I can exploit/leverage to my advantage?” For example, more people buying iPhones means more people who want to learn how to take better photos (a good opportunity for you to get into photography education, or to become a phone or iPhone photography specialist/expert). Because I see more people moving into cities (and thus shooting more photos in cities), I see street photography as the hottest growing field and market.
  3. Ignore nay-sayers and pessimistic people. To be successful as an entrepreneur in today’s brave new world of photography, we need to be a little foolish and crazy.

BE BOLD, and shoot for MARS!
ERIC


Photography Entrepreneurship 101

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