Being an Artist in Business
- Part 3 -
How you can do it too

 Other essays in this series

If you don't do what you love you are not going to be good at it. 
And if you are not good at it you are not going to make any money doing it.
Donald Trump

In this three-part essay, of which this is the third and last part, we have looked at the path I followed, intentionally and unintentionally, the path that led me to where I am today.  However this essay is not just about me. It is also about you, and about how you can do it too if you are so inclined.  This -how you can do it too- is the subject of this third and final part. 

In approaching this subject my focus will be in drawing conclusions from my personal experience and outlining what I consider to be the most important aspects.  I have learned an immense amount since I started doing what I do full time.  However, some lessons stand out as more important than others, and those are the ones I want to bring to your attention.

As a preamble, I want to add that the list of recommendations about what to do and what not to do is much longer than the 11 items I selected for this essay.  So much so that I originally wrote a list which included (and still includes actually) over 40 different items.  However, I decided to shorten the list to those points which I believe are the “top 10” so to speak, at least in my mind.  If you are interested in learning what they are, the other 39 points are available on my Marketing CD, in my Marketing workshop, and through my one on one consulting program.

Navajoland Cloudscape

2 - Do what you love .  Doing what you don’t love isn’t going to be any easier
At the beginning of the journey I described in the previous parts of this series was the realization that no matter what I would choose to do in the world, as long as I wanted to be competitive in this endeavor, success was bound to come at the cost of a lot of work.  I therefore determined, quite accurately since I have not been proven wrong yet to this day, that I might as well do exactly what I wanted --what I love-- for it was not going to be any more work.

Plus, and this is where it gets really interesting, by doing what I love I would have the added benefit of doing exactly what I wanted to do right now as opposed to hoping to do so at a later, and usually undefined, date.  I would also bypass counting the days, months and years on the way to this uncertain time at which I would be free to do what I really wanted to do.

Where it gets even more interesting, is that the most energy you’ll ever have will be at times during which you do exactly what you want to do, without any further motives in your mind, without any regrets, without any other thoughts of things that you would rather be doing.

If you look at the three elements I just mentioned  --doing what you love, right now, without any desire to do anything else-- you will realize that those three elements are foundations of success.  Granted, in isolation they are not enough to guarantee success. More has to be present, and we will get to some of those (not all, some) in a minute.  But the three elements I just listed are foundational when it comes to motivation.  Doing what you love, right now, without thoughts of something else you would rather be doing, guarantees single mindedness of purpose, excitement and passion.  With this, you will be able to give your best, give everything that you have, to whatever activity you chose to do.  It goes way beyond photography, although for the time being, and for the purpose of this essay, we will not stray beyond the field of photography.  Note that we could, and that maybe we will, but not yet, at least not right now.

From the discussion of how Natalie and I share our business responsibilities, each focusing on different areas, you can see that we implement this rule on a daily basis.  You can also see that this implementation not only addresses our original decision to do what we like, but also our more “minute” decisions to focus on certain aspects of our business rather than on others.

In other words, after deciding to do what we love, which is practice and teach photography and art, we continue to make decisions about what we like most within this field. For example, Natalie likes to do matting and framing.  She also likes to do art shows. Personally, I prefer to create images, optimize them and print them, and maintain our website.  This is the way things stand right now, and I have no doubt that they will evolve from the present situation, as we continue to follow the same rule when it comes to selecting what each of us wants to do.

Lake Powell

3 - Take control of your own destiny

Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances -- it was somebody's name, or he happened
to be there at the time, or it was so then, and another day would have been otherwise.
Strong men believe in cause and effect.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the first decisions I made was to take control of my own destiny.  Rather than hope for the best and to get lucky, I decided to take actions towards achieving what I wanted to achieve.  If luck came my way, great.  If it didn’t, no biggie, I was moving along just fine.

This is a very important aspect of doing what you love. By deciding to do exactly what you want to do, you also make the decision of being on your own, of being a freelancer if you will, although I don’t like this term all that much.  At that time you are no longer dependent on superiors to judge your progress and award you salary increases and upward advancement as gratifications for your hard work.  Rather, you are dependent upon yourself and yourself only.  To wait for someone else to take control is bound to be disappointing.   No one wants to, no one will, and worst of all, no one knows you are waiting for that to happen.  After all, if you wanted that to happen –i.e. someone to take control of your destiny—you wouldn’t have set sail on your own!  Rather, you’d be working as an employee somewhere, waiting for someone else to tell you what to do.

How You Can Do it Too is continued in the full essay, available in eBook format at this link:

Essay and photographs Copyright © Alain Briot 2006
All rights reserved worldwide