Build it and they will come

Just before Christmas a car crashed into my house. The driver lost control on the bend, over corrected, narrowly missed three terrified joggers, ploughed through our front garden taking with it a mature Camelia, a Daytura, an old rose and a 12 ft Nikau Palm before hitting the wall of the room in which I’d been talking to clients all day.

Amazingly he clambered out of his defunct vehicle unscathed. Our garden and front of the house was not, however, and this year we started work on the exterior, deciding we might as well paint the rest of the house and as part of the prep, undertake some long overdue building work whilst we were at it.

My house has felt like a parallel to my consulting practice. From a humble blog I threw together 5 years ago (and a lot of referrals) it’s been growing fast. So many photographers have reached out to me- many of whom I have not been able to fit into my schedule.  I decided I had to build a bigger online world from which photographers could find more inspirational, motivational and practical support.

So the first quarter of this year I have been completely absorbed in rebuilding my new online world, accompanied by the sounds of power tools and the occasional expletive from the builders and painters working on my house.

A few weeks ago the scaffolding came down and the painters reached the 95% finished point. The builder took a holiday and finally we could hear the Tuis in the rainforest again.

This post coincides with the launch of my new website. And it’s only the start. Over the next few months I’ll be rolling out ongoing support options, releasing my book, and reaching out with lots of new content on my blog and in my newsletters. We’ll also be brushing off the Creative Asia Plus world and getting it ready for a bigger and better 2016 event in Singapore in November.

Talking of which, at the last CA+ event Richard Hollingum from online agency Sapient Nitro talked to us about the importance of building worlds. Major brands (and anyone smart enough to understand what consumers want) are no longer selling a product or service- they’re creating worlds. One or two dimensional thinking is no longer adequate. You must offer an experience. As a photographer you’re in the business of selling a feeling (Yup- a feeling. Not photography. Not someone who has the best gear. A feeling.), and what better way to do this than to inject it into everything you share- your website, social media, newsletters, the way you respond to your clients and the service you provide. Your studio if you have one. Everything must feel consistent and stand for something.

It’s not an overnight task- I’ll be the first to admit. It’s no wonder that some of the photographers who’ve attended my programmes are only now launching various aspects of their own worlds. Having first attacked some crucial groundwork they conceptualised a personal project, and only then started building their world, beginning with the website.  But with good foundations in place their world can grow organically and yet remain consistent. Like my house and my consulting world, both which will probably be in building mode for the next year at least, they are ongoing jobs.

Google did it first. They used the mantra ‘build it and they will come.’ And it worked- to the tune of billions of dollars in ad revenue. Now you can, and should, build your world. I look forward to sharing more of mine with you. Take some time to look around, and let me know what I can improve. And I look forward to visiting yours.