Thursday, March 24, 2011

Something Bad is About to Happen...

Something bad is about to happen. Actually something bad has to happen. Why? Because too many good things are happening. And that just ain't right. I shouldn't find myself smiling idiotically over nothing at 1 o'clock in the morning.

The irony is that I have never felt this way. I've never been the kind of person who gets uneasy when things go right. I've always felt like I deserved it. Or that they go well because I work hard for it and that it's the culmination of a lot of small successes.

So I don't quite understand why I feel like I'm getting "lucky"?

Coming off of my last post about remembering where you came from, I've revealed about how far I've come. I honestly remember less than a year ago literally saying to myself, "It can't possibly be
this difficult. There has to be another way..." By "this" I was referring to my photographic journey and that I was not landing many (or any) paid assignments. Truth be told, I wasn't really actively looking for work which meant I wasn't really looking hard enough. But the math wasn't adding up. I couldn't see myself finding enough work to pay $1,200 a month in rent alone.

Did I mention the $40,000 I racked up in expenses last year?

Hasselblad + rent = most of it... to this day I'm still scratching my head on how I managed to spend that much money in 1 year.

If you told me last year that I'd make it all back in 2011 I would have said, "Don't be an asshole" But seriously, that's pretty much exactly what I would have said because I wholeheartedly believed that I was going nowhere!

And so things have literally turned upside-down.

I don't know if I mentioned this in my previous post but I generate revenues in the following ways (in no particular order):
1. I shoot models for their portfolio
2. I teach workshops
3. I shoot for advertising clients

Last year, I taught 1 workshop. Literally 2 photographers came to that workshop and it was a 2-day workshop. I had no idea what I was doing and I didn't promote the workshop at all because there was no downside risk. The worst that could have happened was that no one signed up for the workshop and then I would have cancelled it.

Before November 2010 I shot only 1 paid test.

Before November 2010 I had never shot for a paid advertising client. That revenue stream didn't even exist.

I told my wife (several times often as we were driving to dinner), "I've got to change the game. It can't be like this. I'll never get anywhere this way". And I'd go to sleep and think and different ways of "changing the game". I thought about how Mark Zuckerberg created Social Networking with Facebook. How Steve Jobs reinvented MP3 players and figured out how to make money selling MP3s. Maybe I had to travel the world and shoot models in never-before-seen locations? Maybe I had to do something revolutionary.

Never did I think that all I had to do was do something "mundane" but do it better.

That thought never crossed my mind because I figured, I'd been trying that route but it wasn't working.

It wasn't that it wasn't working. I just wasn't doing it right. Or maybe I wasn't doing it better, yet.

I'll very likely have to dedicate a post for each revenue stream and detail the events that have brought me here today. In due time of course. There are certain things that have been set in motion that I don't want to jinx. Perhaps that's why I feel something bad has to happen... to offset all the good things that are happening.

Or maybe all the good things are happening to offset all the
bad things that have already happened?

Either way, I have a few stories to tell that are quite interesting and in retrospect absolutely pivotal to the successes I've attained recently. As an example, if I didn't teach the 2-photographer workshop in July 2010, then I wouldn't have had the confidence to teach my January 2011 workshop. That workshop in January 2011 was called "How to Work with Modeling Agencies" and it was precisely this workshop that gave me the confidence to rent a $4,000 mansion in Las Vegas for my upcoming Fashion/Editorial Workshop. And as a result of hustling to fill the Las Vegas workshop I called a well-known company to see if we could form a partnership for future workshops. The rest I can't tell you, mostly because the story hasn't been written yet!

So if it weren't for LD and Natalie in July 2010,
everything would have been different.

And I have at least 2 other examples where a sequence of events was set off by 1 pivotal move. A move that was either inadvertent, dumb-luck, or unintentional. The ones that were intentional aren't nearly as fun to talk about :)

I've gotta go to bed but I'll probably continue this story tomorrow. I'll let you know if an airplane engine falls out of the sky and crushes me to death as I'm dreaming about a 6-foot bunny :)


  1. Good point, I am at similar situation as you 1 or 2 years ago. Just thinking a lot why I don't get many paying customers. Could be that my work is not good enough, my marketing sucks and I am too lazy and tired from full time job and beeing a parent to do something about. Something has to change:) don't you think

  2. Dude I've been so impressed with your "Success" and mostly just from the portfolio of your work an modelmayhem. I thought man... this must be another guy whose been in the fashion industry for like 30 years or more with all that talent! Then I saw your promo video on vimeo and was like, "Whose that young Asian guy behind the camera? An assistant?" Just today it has all started making sense! =)

    Kudos on all of your work and making it to becoming a "professional". It's a lot of hard work I'm sure and I need to dedicate more time to it... and post processing (which I'm glad you love!) Would love to attend one of your workshops in the future, I really like your style and the "artistic license" you use to drive your workflow to the place you want to be.

    Also, super thanks for contributing back to the community and sharing of yourself. It's truly inspirational and insightful!

  3. Cheers to that! :) Thanks for the kind words!

  4. Get daily suggestions and instructions for making THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS per day ONLINE totally FREE.