After the recession my photo agency and production company were in debt to the tune of $300,000. Yes, it was scary. In fact it was downright awful.
I had learned that the more you make when times are good, the more you can lose when times are not good. I had staff, a large office, overheads and a bunch of photographers whose lives depended on me.
I had to take drastic action.
Reducing prices didn’t work (believe me, we had tried that), so I decided to INCREASE our prices.
In addition I let go of staff (and helped them find new jobs), sub-let some of our office space and decided only to work on the jobs where we could be paid fully, and be appreciated for the tremendous quality and experience we offered.
The day we turned away our first low budget assignment we received a call later that day with an assignment worth $300,000. We won it. And the big jobs kept pouring in. At the end of the year we were sitting well in profit.
Looking back, mostly what I did was declutter. I cleared the way for those better jobs by decluttering unnecessary clients, staff and even office space.
Recently I’ve been decluttering my life on so many levels and it’s amazing.
The theory is that if you let go of things that don’t match your idea of a first class life you should let them go. Even if you don’t have a replacement you have to prepare your space (mental or physical) for the newer, better version of whatever it is.
I’ve been getting rid of all those old folios without homes, letting go of chipped crockery and unworn clothing, throwing out old files from old businesses and oh my, does it feel good. My head is clearer, I have clarity and focus, and new and more amazing things are coming into my life.
Here are some ideas for decluttering your life and making ways for an amazing future, shooting what you want, working with the nicest and most inspiring clients, and earning the money you deserve:
1. Declutter your archives. All those bad to mediocre shots that you never even look at- ditch them! (OR hire someone else to). Do you really need to hang onto several thousand back up shots from those 10 year old assignments?
2. Declutter your website & Instagram. Focus on the best work that reflects the work you want more of. Find out more here.
3. Declutter clients you don’t want to work with. Those who drive you bonkers. Those who treat you disrespectfully. Those who don’t pay you properly, or on time. (Check out this post on ways to say no without saying no)
4. Declutter people who don’t support you in your dreams. The naysayers; the ones who pick holes in your work or whinge about the industry or other photographers, the assistants who gossip. You don’t need these people in your life! Seek out people who inspire and motivate you to be your best.
5. Declutter old or dodgy equipment. Even gear you don’t use. If it annoys or frustrates you, if it’s unreliable, gathering cobwebs or incompatible – let it go. You may even make some money in the process, and you’ll no longer be that photographer who turns up with dodgy gear.
6. Declutter old job files and old accounts that no longer have to be kept for tax reasons. Ditch old Emails. I’ve been using Unroll.me It’s brilliant!
7. Declutter an unproductive rep (making sure you check first that the problem is them and not actually you!). Letting go of people holding you back will open doors for new people in your life.
8. If you’re a photo rep, declutter photographers driving you mad, or not earning any money. It’s bad energy for both of you. Let go and create space for those guys to find the right agent, the right path, and better still, clear the way for the next top photographer to find you.
Okay that was a bit harsh. Please don’t freak out about those last two. They are important. In my early, more naive rep days I kept hold of unproductive photographers much longer than I should have, just to avoid hurting feelings. It didn’t do either of us any favours. And I still meet many unhappy photographers who talk about leaving their reps.
Now’s the time to take action. What are you going to make space for this week, month and year? By decluttering you’ll create room for opportunities and you’ll be amazed what comes to you.