Posted by: draknor | October 19, 2011

The Bottom of the Hill

This post is being backdated to Oct 19, 2011 which is when I wrote the text, but didn’t actually get it posted online.

I’m starting to feel this feeling that I haven’t had in a long time…  the excitement, the anticipation, the fear — of starting something new.  It’s one thing to sit back on the sofa and “dream” about setting off on my own path & starting my own business.  It’s quite another thing to actually take real, physical steps to doing it. And wow — talk about fear!

For those who don’t know me in person, let me give you a little sense of what I’m like… I’m relentlessly optimistic, eager to face new challenges & blow them away, and not one to turn down a crazy new experience.  That’s part of why I’ve done things that some people only dream of (and others have nightmares about!) — sky-diving in Hawaii, scuba diving in Central America, have run 3 marathons (+1 ultra-marathon) and will be doing my 2nd marathon this month in 2 weeks (!). Oh yeah, and quit my comfortable, 6-figure job to take a summer vacation.

And now I’m scared.

Let’s face it — when you’re not “doing” anything, people have no expectations of you. I took the entire summer off & nobody really had any expectations of me. It was great!  I could do what I want, when I wanted, or not do anything at all.  I needed that kind of break — but it was just a break, not a lifestyle that I really want.  I want to do great things, and to do that I need to face challenges.  And something needs to push me to face those challenges, because hey — that’s hard to do and while I’m awesome, I’m still human and I like to take the easy route too!  My motivation right now is income & desire for control — the end of my savings is in sight, my spending really hasn’t subsided, and I’m not too interested in taking another 9-5 job to keep up my lifestyle.  Thus, time to find my own path.

Since my post last week, two things have been developing.  The first is real estate photography — seems like a great way to make some money off my new passion without getting mucky in portraits & wedding photography (which I have no real interest in anyway).  Some friends of mine have been trying to sell their condo for awhile in this slow market, so I offered to take some photos for them to help build my portfolio.  They introduced me to their real estate agent, who’s interested in working with me for a couple of his other properties.  I offered to do 3 shoots for him for free, in exchange for building up my portfolio and his future business & referrals (assuming we work well together!)

“What the hell am I doing?” I’ve been asking myself… I’ve never done real estate photography before!  And here I just offered to do 3 shoots for an agent!  And he wants me to do a head & body shoot for him for his promotional usage.  Whoa whoa whoa — this seems crazy!

Here’s the thing — yes, it is crazy.  But here’s what I know about myself — I love to learn.  I learn quickly. I’m a smart guy.  I have a great work ethic and I like to please people.  I can hustle.  So here’s what’s going to happen: Before I meet this guy on Friday I’m going to find everything I can on the internet about real estate photography (and in fact, I’ve already started my research). I’m going to become an academic expert in a couple of days.  I’ve already got (or have ordered) the equipment I think I need.  I’m going to schedule these shoots for probably the next week or two, and I’m spend my time between now & then practicing taking photos anywhere I can (probably a lot of my apartment!) and touching them up using Adobe Lightroom — which I’m also going to hustle to learn the basic workflows of.  I’ll probably invest a little more money in some additional equipment & some educational resources (ebooks, online training, etc).  And by the time I actually show up to our first shoot, I’m going to be 80% ready.  I’ll get amazing experience & feedback from that and the subsequent shoots, and by the time I’m ready to start charging I expect to be at ~85% “basic professional”. That last 15% is a long tail of learning advanced techniques, streamlining workflows, more sophisticated equipment for more challenging shoots, and developing a better eye for composition & lighting.  But getting to that initial 85% should make me better than every [non-photographer] real estate agent out there in my area — and then I can focus on proving to them why they should hire me instead of taking their own photos with their pocket point’n shoot cameras.

And to top it off, I’m also meeting with a gym/workout space owner on Friday to pitch my martial arts class.  I’ve never taught before, I’ve never done this before — but I’m going to do it.  I’m going to figure it out as I go, and I will learn a lot, and it will be awesome.

It’s good to be alive… and sometimes, feeling fear is how I know I’m still alive 🙂