Directions and Pathways
It is said, "if you want to commit to a plan the first thing to do is write it down".
I see some sense in that, the words kinda sit there as a reminder to prick you into action when slackness and other humdrum factors of daily life take over. Sometimes we need a good prod, most times we need a plan and we always need some goals.
In order to get it all into words I decided to share with you my plans for this blog and even give a little insight into the long term picture of where I want to go with the blog, then maybe you dear reader can all hold me to account if I slip along the way.
Maybe in doing this I am being overly ambitious, stupid, naive or just ill advised but what the heck, I'll stick my neck out.
So why the new blog, why the name, what am I going to do next, why am I doing this, why did I do that....enough already, stop with the questions!
OK, so here goes, stick with me now, it will all make sense, I promise.
The blog is actually part of a much bigger plan for world domination and undiminished personal power......no not really but the part about of a bigger plan is true.
I have been conducting digital photography and related digital workshops for over 12 years now, in fact I think I ran the first one on scanning in 1998. I don't live in a large urban city, my town is around 28 000 souls and certainly not enough to support an endeavour like mine so I have to ply my trade further afield which involves extensive daily travel, sometimes over 600km in a day plus the time to run the workshops of course. And you don't just turn up to teach despite what critics of teachers like to think, we do actually have to prepare!
So guess what, whilst I don't mind the daily grind I would like to do less of it, I would love to have more people come to me, to run workshops on-line, to run larger workshops less often. I am sure that most folk would see that as a reasonable idea.
Beyond that basic requirement, my wife and I love to travel and already do so regularly but with travel comes the loss of income, ultimately we would like to develop ways to create income whilst we travel. I would still be happy to work each day whilst we galavant around our country or another country of course and mobile technologies now make this quite easy.
You want more, well there is. Wendy and I have had a long term dream of running overseas photo travel workshops, but we have had other intermediate plans that needed to be addressed first but now finally we are rapidly approaching the time when we can put this phase of our life plan into action. She is an organiser par excellence (thank goodness) and I of course provide the skills, together we are actually a pretty good team.
So right there you can see we have three goals we want to achieve, but of course goals are useless without a plan and a means to achieve them. Have we thought about that? Sure have in fact we have had years to think about that and this new blog is the first step in realising those goals
Now forgive me, or indulge me or whatever, but I need to be just a little forthright here, and trust me I am not one to blow my own trumpet under normal circumstances and no, I have not been to some self actualisation guru for a dose verbal "go go juice", thats not my style at all.
There are two things in life I know a lot about and consider myself pretty competent at, photography and teaching.
When it comes to photography I am totally confident that given a brief I can produce any type or style of work needed, I know for sure that if a student asks me how to find pretty much anything on any camera I can do so quickly. There are very few areas in photography that hold any mystery too me, regardless of how arcane they may be, 35 years of active living making experience does this.
In teaching, I have a reputation, I am the guy who can teach just about anything. It's not a crazy claim, I am often called and asked could I run a workshop on "x" or "y" and we can give you a week or two to wise up on it. Teaching, despite what many "would be teachers" think, is not about being an expert in any one area, it is about having a very specific skill set in the communications area.
I will let you in on a secret, in 35 years I have probably taught more subject areas than any other teacher in my region, I am known for this. Long before I taught photography, I taught, woodwork, literacy, maths, science, life skills, routing, communications, and far more. I managed a community college, taught disabilities groups (still do), taught inmates, the unemployed, other teachers and trainers and so on.
The point I am trying to get across, and I don't want to labor this, I have a very solid skill set in teaching and photography, it's not a hobby, I don't just dabble....it is what I live every working day. At last count, (just a couple of days back as I needed to organise a listing for a potential client group) I worked out offer 50 different workshops!
I figure that I have done my 30 yr plus apprenticeship and the necessary hard yards and its time to capitalise on this, reap the reward. I have I believe a fair expectation I can achieve more. But of course that "more" can only come if I do what's needed, in other words make the extra effort
There are several steps to this longer term plan, which is already well progressed, like 10 years in.
The long term goals are to:
Establish a passive income stream via web based services
Leverage off the massive amount research and written material I have produced on a wide array of specific digital areas to convert these into several eBooks that can be sold via iTunes.
Conduct far more workshops in my own town, drawing clients in from across the country.
Conduct overseas photo travel tours, starting with the West Coast US
Most of all continue to enjoy life.
So the question then becomes, how does one achieve these goals. Obviously the eBooks need to be put together, the tours planned etc, that just nuts and bolts stuff. The issue is even if I do all that stuff, without my potential market being aware that I can offer these services it will all be to nought.
Clearly a plan for promotional action is needed, I need to build a wider ranging brand, a public awareness, a reputation that goes beyond my own region, I need to capitalise on my strengths.
Hence the blog is the first part of the extended plan "in action".
Yeah I know lots of people claim "oh, I just blog because I want to share", well sure I like to share, but honestly I am doing this because it's part of the bigger plan. I do lots of stuff as a community service, but honestly this isn't one of them, it is deliberate and targeted, I am not going to BS anyone on that facts. But of course I do sincerely hope that it value adds to the photographic lives of reader, hence you won't find re-postings of drivel and dross just to drive traffic.
Yep I am going to do it the hard way folks, by actually providing real individually created content, If I wanted the easy way out I could drive traffic by reviewing whatever new trinket comes along, I won't, lets leave that to the others who have been doing it for years and enjoy that stuff.
Here are some core things I am doing to get to the other side of the rainbow.
I have built a studio to shoot instructional videos and am currently working on developing video editing skills, deciding on the shooting gear to invest in and developing some concepts for the first productions. The studio will also be used to photograph gear and other items for websites and for providing training for students in photographic lighting.
An in house training room is half finished and will be complete by mid year.
We are currently landscaping our yard, this includes building areas which can be used for conducting outdoor portraiture photography training, this is due for completion by Easter this year, and I think we will make that time frame.
This blog is now well under way, I have probably 60 articles already done and scheduled for posting, so along with the more reactionary stuff that I create along the way, I have enough to keep things rolling for a few months. If the blog builds as I hope, it will be linked to affiliate advertising to help defray costs and perhaps pull a few dollars.
I am working on establishing a new community college in our town with a like minded group of professional people, we are well under way, have a locations organised, paperwork signed etc. This will obviously help me but it it will also help perhaps thousands of others in years to come.
There are 10 books in various stages of development, 4 of which only need some minor updating and reformatting for the iTunes bookstore format, a further two that are close to complete in content and then 4 that are partially done. The plan is to roll the first 4 out by the end of the year.
My wife and I have already put quite a bit of planning into the Photo Tours and have completed some preliminary trips to scope out the possibilities. We are still 18 months shy of starting these.
We area about to properly ignite the fuse on the social media channel options, to cross pollinate with other websites and other pathways.
So there you have a little insight into the direction we are taking.
To finalise for today I would like to make a few mentions regarding this blog. As a reader you have probably noticed there have been blogs on an array of topics, well rest assured it is not random, it's part of a plan, so hows about I share with you the categories of content you can expect to see on the blog and also the frequency with which they will appear.
How To's and Technique One or two each month, sometimes serialised, like the Kit Lens one
DIY Corner: One item per month, they are all items I have actually made, not re-posts from other websites
Photo Philosophy: Twice per month
Off topic: Once per month, probably not photography related but rather to give insight into who I am and what interests me.
From the Camera Cupboard: A look at a particular collectible camera from my collection, including lots of pics and some historical facts, this will be once a month.
Thursday Pic: A current image of my own that I particularly like, weekly of course
iPhoneography: A monthly article on iPhoneography, I actually own the website address iPhoneography.com.au and will hopefully have time to get that running later this year and thus add more comprehensive content to that website
Commentary; As I see fit, could be weekly, just depends on how the photographic world is turning
Occasional Review: Only if it is an item I have bought and intend to use, likely to be cameras only very very rarely, more likely to be lenses or other accessories. Most likely in the video area this year as this is what I am needing to set up.
Monthly Artwork: A rundown on one of my major artworks, this will include details of the concept, editing, framing, hanging etc
Pic from the Vault: Images from my vault, these could go back 35 years and will include some taken by my other family members from the dim distant past which have been scanned and re-edited. Monthly for this one.
Decoder: Simple and clear explanation of otherwise complex digital imaging issues and aspects, mid month, once a month
Meet a photographer: Interviews with other photographers, monthly
I of course reserve the right to add or subtract from this list, but this is the plan and as they say, "those who fail to plan, plan to fail"!