First off, Happy New Year! Don't you love it when the New Year comes around? It is like the perfect opportunity to have a clean slate. To start all over again from scratch and fixed the things we might have done wrong, or to propel us forward with the things we were doing right. The New Year gives us chances to reflect on the past with a vision to the future. With that in mind, here are five things that I have come up with that might help make 2013 your best year ever in the industry.
- BUSINESS. Treat this year as your business is a business, because it is! One thing that a lot of photographers, and MANY models do not do, is declare themselves as businesses. Did you know that a lot of your work/prep that you do for fashion shows, photo shoots, and the like might be actually tax deductible? Rental garments, gym memberships and other things that you spend your money on, Uncle Sam might give you credit for, but it starts with being legal. Find legal and tax council on how to go about becoming a legal entity.
- INVEST. I can't say it enough; we plant seeds to grow trees. We always stress in this industry, invest in your portfolio, and while no time is more important than now to do so, we must also invest in our futures. This can be putting money away in stocks, buying land, or even collecting savings bonds. The idea is to be able to make the journey on the road to our vision.
- LEARN. While we talk about investing, your mind is often your greatest tool. There are countless subjects to learn and being aggressive about that will put you ahead of your competition. Make it your goal to read a new book (pref nonfiction) once a month. Pick up a magazine or a blog weekly and study trends. If you subscribe to periodicals for your business/trade, even THOSE might be tax deductible. Your goal should be to continue learning on a consistent level.
- TEACH. We are all at different levels, but there is something that we know that someone else doesn't know, and vice versa. By conducting communal teaching, we learn so much faster than we would on our own. Also the goal is to make the industry better as well. As less experienced people come in, there are those who WANT to know better but have very few avenues to turn to. Be that guide.
SAVE. Save 10-20% of all commissions and earnings. This is a must. The industry fluctuates, and the reality is that people do work in less than ideal terms when they are going through less than ideal circumstances. I have seen models that wouldn't do nude, do nudes and those who wouldn't do adult work do so because of a payout. The worse your situation, the less leverage you have.
Bonus tip: REINVENT. Take this time to review your portfolio, your website(s), and your social media presence. Review everything that is pertinent to your brand and your image. Do you still have images, likes, words, and quotes on display that doesn't reflect who you are today? Then change it. Reinvent and evolve!