In the last chapter, we discussed the importance of professionalism and significance of ethics in the business of photography. Good manners and a right code of conduct on the professional front are an important requirement to sustain in the industry but the main thing that keeps you going at the end of the day is M.O.N.E.Y. It is the most essential thing in any business. No matter how good an artist you are, if you fail to make money out of it, you won’t be able to go ahead in your practice since you will need money to earn your daily bread, pay for the roof over your head, and invest in your art. In this chapter, we will talk about how to save money in freelancing or full-time photography job in order to keep moving ahead in the business without getting ‘broke.’
The most common thing I have personally observed in most of the freelancers is that:
- They are focused more on short term benefits rather than long term cookie.
- They are always broke because supposedly, it sounds cool (No, it doesn’t.)
- They are wasting money on vacations and/or on weekend parties.
- They are always on for Starbucks meetings (and/or similar nonsensical meetings).
- They have impulsive shopping habits.
One can easily avoid these things to save money in the account but people are so addicted to such habits mainly in order to sound cool, and also because of the herd mentality that is as common as drinking evening tea among Indians. But photography being an art is an exclusive practice that holds no place for the common people. Ask yourself: Do you want to spend the rest of your life as a common individual? No? Then you can easily give up on the Starbucks coffee.
You can easily drop the weekend plans with just a text to your mates. Do you really need to spend bullocks of money on that vacation solely for uploading pictures on Social Media in order to seek validation from a few people? Don’t you think investing the same amount of money on buying better gears and advertisements would be more beneficial than wasting it on ‘having fun’ that lasts for no longer than a week in general. If you plan on living an uncommon life, a life that separates you from the herd, a life that gives you an exclusive identity as a well-known photography artist, then you GOT TO reverse engineer these habits in order to save money for better sustainability in the industry.
To understand this money saving habit, we need to go a little back to the time when we were kids. Remember how your parents used to say, “No” for certain things that you wanted to possess but did not really need in life. You felt sad for some time when they did not fulfill your wish but later, you forgot about it.
Now, come back to the present time. You don’t need that Starbucks coffee that digs a hole in your pocket, you don’t need another pair for shoes, you don’t need that wrist watch, you don’t need that highly expensive piece of clothing you have stumbled upon while window-shopping in the mall, and you certainly don’t need that drink in your body to feel better for a temporary while.
Yes, you might feel sad for not buying that piece of clothing, you might feel ‘out of world’ for a moment after having that drink, you might not be able to flaunt your materialistic possessions to the outside world in order to look cool, but 4-5 years down the lane, these things won’t even matter in front of the possession of a successful business that you will have in your hands. It’s only a matter of time when you have to make certain compromises on the economic front to save for a better future. If you prevent yourself from spending money on things that provide momentary happiness today, and invest it in the growth of your business, then in the near future, a lot more than temporary happiness in promised.
Let me elaborate a few examples that I have provided above in this chapter so as to emphasize my arguments and make myself clear. You like coffee. You went to Starbucks and ordered a coffee worth 280 bucks. Seriously? 280 bucks on a fucking cup of coffee? You could have invested this money to run a promotion on Instagram for a reach of 1600–2500 people for three days which could have resulted in 40–50 new followers, and as a result, better word of mouth. As for the love of coffee, a 2-rupee sachet of Bru is available in the market that can easily quench your thirst. Think about it!
Now, coming on vacations and weekends- to put forward my stand, I would just like to share an extract from the book called Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari:
“Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better. Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country — they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfill our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted.”
On an average, you spend 1,500–2,000 rupees on a weekend party, and 15,000–20,000 rupees on a vacation. Better spend this much on your brand, and see what happens. People do not really care about how much you travel or what type of alcohol you are into, but would they give a damn when they will see your brand growing. This will result in more ‘word of mouth’ that will provide you more work, and hence, more growth in business, and consecutively, more money. That’s it about how to save money for a better future in the business of photography. Stay tuned for the next article!