The very first and hardest step is to believe in you…
12 years ago this month I was made redundant and left my job as The Network Operations Manager for UK company Virgin Media. It was the third time I had been made redundant, always pretty much to company restructures, deep joy, we have all been there these days, and I made the decision as I switched off the office lights and closed the door for the last time that I would never put my fate and future in the hands of a single company again as an employee. I have had some great jobs but when you have a family and all the rest that comes with that you have to take a step back sometimes and look at where you are going in this life and really ask yourself is that where you want to end up…
I am a firm believer that we only have a short time on this earth and life is precious so use your time wisely, always!
I sat down in my dining room for 5 days and constructed and drafted a business plan for a brand new business called ‘AmbientLife’. It was possibly one of the hardest things I had ever done and was nerve racking because I had approached people to ask their thoughts and so many said that it was unlikely to succeed and was too ambitious. I had comments like, ‘aren’t you too old to start a new business’ and ‘sounds great but the chances you will succeed are pretty much zero to nothing’. The thing is I believe in ‘me’, I always have and I always will. I am very happy to take advice and listen to people but at the end of the day it is my life and not theirs and it is my belief that if you really want to achieve something in life and your prepared to work your butt off to make that happen then the chances are a lot higher than zero!
A few people out there might be reading this and it is really hitting a cord, I guess in many ways my life has been colourful and my background has a lot to do with the person I am today and the way that I view what is possible if you are really dedicated and you believe in yourself.
I did an interview with Kalebra recently and perhaps that might shed some light on where I came from to where I am today.
I worked hard and I pushed forward, I am still pushing forward today and hand on heart I can say that being made redundant and making that decision to follow a path in life that I believed in was the very best thing that ever happened to me as it gave me the kick to start something new for myself, follow my dreams and hopes, as well as give me massive fulfillment in that one area of life that we often overlook, to have a real purpose…
I am blessed that I am married to an amazing woman who I love completely, a person who is my best friend and who is very much also my rock in life.
We have two children, both boys, so yes I am a constant referee lol, and we also have a small dog called Edster that thinks is is a child… Life is amazing.
12 years on I am pretty well known for what I do, or at least I would like to think so lol, and work is great. I love what I do and I love the people that I get to meet, and the opportunities that present themselves along that journey. People sometimes say to me that I am lucky, I don’t believe in luck, I believe that the harder you work the luckier you seem to get. I don’t class myself as a great photographer but I do think that I work hard to improve year on year and that is what is important to me. Even though I can be literally all over the world shooting work for clients the money that generates means that I can enjoy extended periods at home with my family and doing other things that also feed my soul, in essence its a balance.
There will be a people who read this and say yeah that all sounds great ‘but’…. Truth is there are no ‘buts’ in life only those that you choose to put there yourself. If you want to think outside the box consider the fact that there might be no box at all only the one that you have in your mind…
Of course all this sounds great but hey its not that easy is it, no it is not easy at all, and that is where belief really matters, small steps, small goals, enjoy those and celebrate them each and every time!
When circumstance or life comes and throws you a curve ball then be ready to acknowledge that it not only happened but also that it will happen again, it really matters how you choose to deal with that as it will always impact on the outcome. I know loads of photographers that sit drinking coffee all day in coffee bars hooked up to the wifi bitching on about how there is no money in photography anymore and its all impossible, the truth is that these people are just wasting their time putting up the walls around their own hopes and dreams. If you really want something in life you will achieve it, if you don’t then your likely to come up with a whole bunch of excuses as to why you couldn’t do it so that you can feel better about that, harsh I know but true I think. The people that we lie the most to in life is ourselves…
I have never looked back since I started following my dreams and there have been some amazing highs, it is also fair to say that there have also been some pretty desperate lows as with anything in life but I don’t regret a single choice I made, because I made those choices for myself, for the right reasons and for things that I believed in and not for anybody else.
Today I can say, AmbientLife – I made that happen.
I speak a lot about ‘business’ and photography and having the right mindset in life but don’t get me wrong I am not prefect and things do not just go right all the time, I guess in many ways the measure of who you are inside and how you life your life can often be seen by how we deal with disappointments and failures. You can not have a rainbow without a little rain…
Having recently turned 50, yes I know 50!!! Where the hell did that come from lol! I celebrated that milestone by gong on a road trip through the Rockies in Canada, which was on fire again, but hey we had a laugh and had an adventure and made some more amazing memories and that is what counts.
I do believe that there are things in life that are essential to consider. If you start a business just to earn lots of money the chances are that you are doing it for the wrong reasons and I know a lot of people who are workaholics and live in mansions literally but most of them are not that happy and never see their families. Money is a by product of a successful business and we all need it to live but you should not become a slave to it, instead consider how wealthy you are in your soul, what I mean by that is simply ask yourself, ‘am I truly happy’. Do you get to spend the time that you would like doing the things that you love and with those people that you love, if the answer is no then take a step back and think about if that is going to ever change on the road that you are currently on. You can change and you can in fact do anything you want to if you really are committed and believe that you can. I am fascinated by human nature and it is often said that man does not really ever really push a big change in his life until the moment that he is stood at the edge staring into the abyss and at that point it is usually too late, remember that your blessed to be alive and use the time you have to do and become the person that you believe that you want to be.
If all this has rang a bell then that’s great, maybe your sat there right now thinking, ‘hey that is how I feel’ The greatest gift that you should now consider is that ‘you’ have the ability inside you and the opportunity to do something about it. Nothing ever was achieved ever in the world until somebody sat up and had that moment where they said to themselves ‘I and going to try’ If you put that off then you will never make that first and very important step. Sometimes you will run, sometimes you will crawl and there will be moments, lots of them, the you feel like your standing still or even worse you’re going backwards. When this happens you have one thing to do and one thing only, believe, do it for you because you deserve that.
I hope that this helps somebody out there and if you would like to spend some time with some straight talking guy with a funny British accent talking about the steps to starting out a business in photography or even if you have already started and your looking for some tips and a slightly different viewpoint of how to get from A to B then feel free to check out my two classes on this along with a whole load of other stuff on lighting, shooting and a look at how I work.