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Model Monday: Happy 2013! 5 Things to help make this year GREAT!

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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.

Behind the scenes

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Leighton DaCosta

LeightonD, LLC, PO Box 80065, Charleston, SC 29416, USA

Hello, I'm Leighton and I help people around the world tell their story. Let me introduce myself. Whether it's for online dating, or a professional profile, it always seems that the "About Me" section is always the hardest to write. Not because you have nothing to say about yourself, but because you want to be sincere, genuine, interesting, and brief all at the same time. I have never been a fan of writing about me in the third person, like: "Leighton DaCosta, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to Brooklyn, NY at an early age when his parents wanted to form a new life for themselves and their children. In the third grade, the family moved to Orlando, Fl, where Leighton considers his home town. After spending 3 tours in the Navy, he settled in Jacksonville, and now Miramar, Florida, where he now calls home. Today, still wanted by many, he does work as a fashion and wedding photographer. If you have a wedding(or photo shoot)... if no one else can help... and if you can find him... maybe you can hire... ok.. this is not The A- Team." But you see what I mean? What do you know about me? How can we connect? Did you know that my FAVORITE food is Pizza and Sushi? Or that my favorite color is Purple? When I go to the wine bars, I usually order Mimosas, because even the cheapest champagne tastes great with some good ole OJ. When I travel, I like staying in nice hotels. Not because of the name, (even though I AM partial to Hyatt) but because of the bathrooms. One of my favorite hotels is the Viking in Newport, Rhode Island. Small rooms, but AWESOME bathrooms. I LOVE TO EAT, and eating as much as I have, has led me to be about 100 pounds more than I was in High School... Yeah there is some muscle there, but if it was all muscle, I'm sorry folks, I wouldn't be taking photos, I would be retiring from the NFL. If you want to see some of my favorite dishes, follow me on Instagram. Because of that, I find myself now in the gym more than ever. Trying to stay fit and alive... I workout, so I can EAT! Well that's enough for now, if you want to know more about me, follow my blog. Better yet, I want to find out more about YOU. So let's talk!

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