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Why We Should all Be Photography Entrepreneurs

Preview of my new course, “Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography Entrepreneurship” now live on Udemy

Dear friend,

An essay for you: Why we should all be photography entrepreneurs; and why you might already be a photography entrepreneur without even knowing it!

Entrepreneurship for the masses

GoPro Fusion mounted on top of Lumix LX 100 with hotshoe mount
GoPro Fusion mounted on top of Lumix LX 100 with hotshoe mount

For me, I don’t see entrepreneurship as being something in an ivory tower; only for the select few individuals who are making millions of dollars from their passion in life. Instead, I see an entrepreneur as an individual who is willing to take a personal risk in order to improve the lives of others, and to create value to empower humanity.

Not only that, but entrepreneurship isn’t just about starting a business or making money. Rather, it is about making a positive impact in society– regardless of how/where you make money from.

For example, if you have a 9-5 job (or if you’re retired and already making money from your savings), you can still be an entrepreneur. Your entrepreneurial desires in photography might not be to make money from your passion in photography, but rather to share your life experiences, your wisdom, and practical tips, strategies in photography that you think can help empower and uplift others!

High perspective shot, with the Lumix LX100 (24mm) in the air, using the LCD screen to frame, and pointing the camera downwards.

I also don’t think that entrepreneurship needs to be altruistic either. Entrepreneurship can also be self-centered, and self-focused. It can be a state of mind that allows you to empower yourself as a photographer, to take more risks, to put yourself out there, and for you to share ideas which others might not like– but you have a strong and deep conviction in those ideas.


Empower your mindset.

Once again to re-iterate, entrepreneurship is a state of mind. I see entrepreneurship as more about risk-taking, about having faith and confidence in yourself, and having the brazenness/tenacity to share your ideas/concepts/thoughts/services with others.


Why is entrepreneurship important?

I believe that society thrives from entrepreneurs — individuals who take a personal risk to change society for the better. I actually believe that if you’re trying to make any positive change in society (whether political, social, economic, etc) — you are an entrepreneur. For example I would actually see Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. (two of my heroes) as entrepreneurs– even though their ambition wasn’t to obviously make money; but to empower humanity.

I also think that on an individual basis, I love entrepreneurship because it empowers us as the individual: it reminds ourself that we are important, we have ideas/thoughts/opinions which are important, and that we can actually in-fact, “put a dent in the universe” and make a positive change in society/”change the world”.

I am the eternal optimist; yet I am still pragmatic in my approach.

Seek to empower just 1 other human being!

Cindy yellow portrait temple

Consider, if you create a photo, video, article, blog post, or musical piece that inspires/empowers at least 1 other human being on planet earth — you are in-fact “changing the world!” Why? Because that 1 other individual that you are empowering will also continue to “domino effect” their empowerment with others– whether they continue to empower their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

Therefore the best way to empower society is to just aim on empowering 1 other human being on planet earth (the chances of you empowering 1 other human being on planet Earth, with 7+ billion people, is nearly 100%).


How to change the world

Cindy yellow hand on face hand gesture

Some suggestions:

  1. Publish what you consider 80% “good enough”: Often we fall victim to “paralysis by analysis”, which means we become paralyzed because we get overwhelmed from over-analyzing all the options, or we feel like it isn’t “good enough”, because we are afraid that others will negatively judge us (or we are too hard on ourselves). My suggestion is that once again realize; if your thing can empower at least 1 other human being on planet earth, it is worth for you to publish and share it!
  2. Create more value than you capture: This is a concept that I got from Elon Musk: to become a successful photography entrepreneur, create more value than you capture, which means to create more value in your small niche of photography than anyone else out there, and also capture some of the value by changing money for it. Ask yourself, “How much value am I creating for others, and how much am I charging others for it?” For example if you offer an online entrepreneurship photography course for $199 USD and you empower your student to eventually earn $5,000 USD extra money in their lifetime, you’ve created a plus value of $4800 USD+ to their life!
  3. Realize that empowerment is the key: It is my belief that in today’s society, we don’t really “need” more money, we don’t “need” more material goods, etc. I think deep down inside, all humans desire to create more art, to make a more meaningful impact on planet earth, and also to have more self-confidence in themselves. For example, the reason we get suckered into buying expensive brand named goods (clothes, cars, etc) is because we believe that if we purchase these goods, we will feel more empowered, and we can achieve and do more in our lives. So ask yourself, as a photography entrepreneur, how are you empowering others? This is how you can create the most value.

Memento Mori Entrepreneurship

Kyoto cop, 2018

Realize that one day you will die. Don’t you want to spend your life, living your life to the fullest and making the maximum positive impact while you’re still alive?

Memento Mori is remembering that you will (and must) die. If you think about death, you realize that you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

Kyoto older woman, street portrait. 2018. Looking at this photograph puts a huge smile on my face!

Knowing that you will die, why do you care what the haters or trolls will say? If you know you’re gonna die, why do you care what your parents, friends, or other people will say about you?

"The Spotlight" // Photograph of Cindy in Downtown LA, 2009. Canon 5D, 35mm

In the face of death, we become more confident, and more brazen in our ideas and beliefs. As my best friend Steve Jobs said,

When you think about death, all your fears of failure fade away. You don’t care about the haters. You stay hungry and foolish and seek to put a “dent in the universe”.

Be bold, be foolish, and be the change you wish to be in the world.
ERIC

Unlock your fullest potential with my brand new course, Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Photography Entrepreneurship,” now live on Udemy!

By ERIC KIM

Artist-Philosopher