Being a creative in a service oriented industry such as photography can be unexpectedly complex, especially if the desire is to stabilize. From not knowing how to rightly price yourself, to struggling to make ends meet, it can be challenging to get it right. Fortunately, David Macharia openly shares on his challenges while providing mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs and it was no different at the Branding for Creatives event. In his own words, he urges others not to make mistakes that can be avoided by learning from others who came before.
David has built the Versatile Photographers Brand to what is today and he still has his sights set on brighter future with his other ventures that include a photography school, a stock imaging platform and a conservation project, among others. At the Branding for Creatives event, David alluded to some of the personal traits that have propelled him to what he is today. These traits are adaptable by anyone who desires to take their personal brand to the next level. They include;
- Professionalism-“Creatives enjoy their work so much that they do not think they should be paid well for it,” he says. The first step to becoming professional is getting over the imposter syndrome which causes one to think that when they get a job, they just got ‘lucky’ and it was not their skills that earned them the job. He reminds creatives that their art does get appreciated. Being professional is what then takes us to the next level. He gives an example of his yesteryears where he would hire photography assistants who would then show up dressed too casually to his customers liking leading to complaints and a negative perception of his business, today, however, Versatile Photographers dawn in suits while covering events. This has led to trust building, a positive perception of the company and referrals.
- Problem-Solving- “Define a problem, create a solution then get paid for it. Duplicate this and be consistent with that activity. Keep improving and be open to change.” While we all have majestic dreams, it starts by focusing on the moment, doing your best each day and searching out how to be the best in what you do, despite the context. Through listening to his journey thus far, David shows that the journey is one of continued improvement through problem-solving.
- Creativity- “How do you brand yourself to be globally accepted? “He asks us. Whilst what you do might seem routine and you may be concerned that all there is to be invented already has been, David encourages creatives to think outside the box. It is important to brand yourself for your business because no one can do it the way you do. Thus, dare to the unique, different and diverse. This allows for innovations and product variety which is good for customers. David illustrates this by explaining why he has seen the need to diversify his businesses to meet various needs. It is all part of the creative process.
- Be curious- Curious here also means being open to learning, being teachable and striving for continuous improvement. With the inevitable rise of the internet, we have an opportunity to learn from experts through ‘Google University’a.k.a GIYF (Google Is Your Friend). Get online, publish your work and tell people what you do.
- Humility- While this can seem the last on the list, it is really the cornerstone for all the others. “Be humble “he urges, “listen and learn something from other people. “ Humility is what will help you turn back when things did not work out well. It will help you accept correction and always have room for improvement. Today’s pop culture may seem to glorify people with ‘ego’s’ but, be careful not to confuse it with strategy. Truly great people are firstly humble.
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