“Hey Stanley, I’d love your advice.”

Photo by Dennis Fahringer

After being in the industry for forty years, I am often asked for business advice from newbies and other pros.

By the way, most pros still phone a friend for their advice every once in a while. We ask for advice because you never learn it all and are always looking for a better way to handle business situations in the future.

Research shows that those whose advice you don’t take may have a worse view of you afterward. Those you ask for help may even see you as less competent or avoid you. So you don’t ask too many people for their advice; you cannot follow everyone’s recommendation.

Develop those relationships so you can return to them in the future.

Photo by Dennis Fahringer

Nearly all those coming to me for advice are interested in working with photography or video. I get more questions about gear than business, but those who ask the business questions will be asking me more questions in the future because they will still be in business.

The American Society of Media Photographers, ASMP, is what I joined way back in 1987. Back then, the name was the American Society of Magazine Photographers.

I learned more about how to be business successfully than any other organization I have been a part of through the years. As a result, ASMP members wanted to help each other with business questions.

ASMP members know it takes about three years to determine if your business practices will let you survive. Therefore, it was in the member’s best interest for you to understand how to price your work based on what it costs to run your business.

The most significant problem with newbies is that most start by trying to get work by undercutting everyone in their market with lower prices. The problem for the newbie is that those prices are not sustainable to stay in business. Over time they soon learn they are losing money and not making a living.

The undercutting also hurts the market. It is hard for those charging prices that produce a livable wage when customers can hire the newbie for less. When newbies have to find another way to pay their bills, they put other pros out of business.

It was a problem when Walmart started putting its stores in small communities. First, the downtown shops in many of those towns all disappeared. Then, years later, when Walmart pulled out, the city was decimated.

Photo by Dennis Fahringer

Are You Interested In A Photo/Video Business Workshop?

I realized the market lacks workshops and seminars to learn the business side of photography. So I have been teaching this for the past 16 years in Kona, Hawaii, and helping One-on-One with people.

If you are interested in a one-day business practice workshop, please email me at [email protected].