Make 2013 your year of Inspiration

by Outlaw Photographer James Michael Taylor on January 7, 2013

in This is Business,This is Life

My son Canon swings at the Bandera First Baptist Church playground as stormclouds roll into the county.
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This is a call to action.

Action that makes a difference.

Your procrastination is killing your business, and it’s killing your ability to benefit and serve your market.

The time you’re spending doing anything but something important is time you’ll never get back. You’re not just standing still – you’re putting distance between where you are and where you dream of being.

I know how it is

Over the last 14 years I’ve been a professional photographer, I don’t even want to tally how many hours, days, months and years combined I have spent doing the things that didn’t matter.

I poured over reviews of the latest lenses, bodies, gear and gadgets. And I lusted and pined.

I read fiery argument after argument on the discussion boards about sharpness, pricing, the apocalypse of the industry because of the “noobs.” And I was flush with secondhand indignation and anxiety.

I read a thousand photo and Photoshop tutorials. And I even attempted doing a few of them.

I photographed flowers. So many flowers. And ants. And sunsets. A few bees and butterflies and interesting leaves and puddles of water. And I eventually learned that flora and fauna don’t buy photos.

I paid my annual dues, and my meeting dues, and my entry fees, and for the gas to drive into the Big City to attend my professional association meetings. And I always felt inadequate, only discovering years later that their goals and mine were completely incongruous.

I took as sage wisdom the words and advice of grognards – professional photographers who were too angry, bitter, jealous, lazy, stubborn, stagnant and broken-hearted to offer a single word of encouragement, much less actionable advice. And I was poisoned, distracted, disenchanted by their sick counsel.

I read books and I didn’t act. I read blog posts, e-books, and magazine articles and I didn’t act. I watched YouTube videos and I didn’t act. I attended workshops and I didn’t act. I attended meetings and meet-ups and I didn’t act. I attended national conferences and I didn’t act. I asked questions of photographers more successful than myself, and I didn’t act. I learned things, so many things, of such great insight and value, and I didn’t act.

Worst of all, I was inspired – and I didn’t act.

Inspiration is the most potent fuel for the engine that makes you run as an artist, and as a business owner.

Inspiration gets you out of bed an hour early in the mornings.

Inspiration gets your phone out of your pocket and a friend in front of your camera as often as possible to practice your art.

Inspiration gets you through another chapter of a good small business marketing book, and pen to paper as you plan how to make use of what you’ve learned.

Inspiration gets you off your arse and taking action.

It makes progress.

It creates value.

It enables Kaizen – the small daily improvements that create amazing change over time.

Tim Ferriss has a quote on his desk by chef Bobby Flay that reads:

“Take risks and you’ll get the payoffs. Learn from your mistakes until you succeed. It’s that simple.”

Don’t let 2013 be your year of inspiration.

Make 2013 your year of inspiration.

Next Steps

  • Brainstorm session: Whip out your paper and pencil. What are you spending your time doing that doesn’t matter? File a copy of this in your Brainstorms folder, and tack a second copy on your wall – this is your professional Not To Do List for 2013.
  • Another Brainstorm session: Whip out your paper and pencil. When do you feel the most excited about your photography business? When do you feel the most inspired? Where? How? Why? Are you inspired right now? What can you do this year to make yourself a more valuable photographer for your clients? File a copy of this in your Brainstorms folder, and tack a second copy on your wall – this is your professional To Do List for 2013.
  • Every morning when you wake up, define the three MITs – Most Important Tasks – for the day that will make a difference in your life. Individual, specific, reasonable, progress-creating tasks that each take you one step closer to the art, business, success, and life you want.
  • Then, in the words of the Goddess of Victory – “Just Do It.”
  • My writing at exists to serve your needs as an amateur photographer making the transition to paid professional. I appreciate and welcome your readership, and invite you to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter at the top of any page of this site.
  • If anything in this post has spoken to and inspired you, please comment below, drop me an e-mail, or call or text me at 830-688-1564 and let me know. I’d love to hear how you use these ideas to better your part time photography business!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Unapologetically Mundane January 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Every time I read one of your posts, I want to read ten more and then go out and book ten shoots. I’m not, you know, actually booking the shoots yet, but the posts always get me so excited about the idea of a real, live photography business and how I can make that work. Just wanted to say thank you!


Outlaw Photographer James Taylor January 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Thank you Katie! The bookings will come – just keep making progress every day. Any journey worth taking goes step by step. You can make it work! Take a leap of faith and put yourself out there – there are a lot of folks just waiting for you to open the doors to your talent so they and their families can be blessed by your art!


Kim January 11, 2013 at 12:50 am

Thank you! I always seem to spend my time “being inspired”. I do need to get off my bum and just get to work.


Outlaw Photographer James Taylor January 17, 2013 at 1:24 am

Hey there Kim! Thank you for your comment! I greatly enjoyed visiting your portfolio tonight – you do lovely work! All those beautiful babies! Your clients are blessed by your talents.

I know how it is – it’s so easy to be struck with inspiration, then the Procrastination Devil pops up on your shoulder and says, “Oh, that’s grand! Just grand! But don’t do anything yet – better wait on it. Don’t make any decision now! Give it time to settle and stew. You wouldn’t want to make a fool of yourself, would you? Oh and it’s so cold outside. Surely no one wants to shoot today anyway. And hey, you still haven’t watched that Netflix DVD, have you? Why are you paying for it if you’re not going to use it? Hey, there’s some popcorn in the pantry, let’s go watch that movie…”

Over. And over. And over again.

Have you ever read Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art”? Absorb the words within, and you’ll be able to recognize all those devilish times when you’re inspired to act – and Resistance does everything it can to stop and distract you. Awesome book, I recommend it to every photographer I talk to.

Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures in 2013!


Janice January 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I am guilty, guilty, guilty. One of my goals this month was to read Eat That Frog! (21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating) by Brian Tracy. It is now January 20th and I have procrastinated reading this book. This post has definitely pushed a button and so I am here thinking about all the time I have wasted reading everything on the business of photography, goal planning, and changing my brand. So much so that I have not taken out my camera to do any personal projects while I am waiting on the next client. Thank you for this post and most importantly, thank you for this blog. It’s time to get things moving in 2013. Peace & Blessings


Outlaw Photographer James Taylor February 21, 2013 at 1:35 am

Thank you for your comment and readership Janice! I really enjoyed visiting your portfolio tonight – you have a beautifully vibrant personality and artistic style! Absolutely jumps off the page.

Eat That Frog! is a truly fantastic book – adopt even some of the teachings in that book, and you’ll become addicted to the progress you learn to make from it.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the tidal wave that is life (and business), and then one day, come to a halt and say, “What on earth have I been doing for the past [day, week, month, year, decade or three]!”

I’ve enjoyed the most success by adopting writer Jeff Goins’ weekly stop-and-smell-the-progress plan:

I always try to start each day with three Most Important Tasks in hand, then dedicate as much time as I can toward those tasks, and end the day with a quick recap – which is when I set my MITs for the next day. I probably don’t even hit 50% on achieving what I put on my plate, and I truly try not to be unrealistic in the daily goals I set, but even I haven’t found a way to execute with perfect efficiency while juggling a day job, photography business, friends, wife, and three kids. But progress is made daily – and that daily progress, however small, makes for awesome change over time.

Thank you again for your readership! Please do keep me posted on your successes and adventures!


Gemma Watson January 26, 2013 at 10:38 am

I’m so grateful i stumbled across this site/blog!!


Hark February 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Another great post James. I’m just stopping by to leave a comment to show my appreciation for your writing, keept it going 🙂


Outlaw Photographer James Taylor February 21, 2013 at 2:49 am

Thank you so much Hark, I appreciate you checking in! Drop me a line sometime and let me know how your business is doing. Your work has such a great style, I know your clients are blessed by it.


Candice February 13, 2013 at 9:48 am

Very inspired by this post! So glad I stumbled upon this blog!


Outlaw Photographer James Taylor February 21, 2013 at 2:52 am

Awesome Candice, thank you so much for your kind words and readership! If there’s any topic you’d like me to write about, please don’t hesitate to let me know! Keep me posted on your successes and adventures!


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