Chase Jarvis and Tim Ferriss Talk About What it Takes to Make It

tim ferriss chase jarvis
Ever wonder how Chase Jarvis went from soccer-playing PhD drop-out photographer to purveyor of global education? It’s pretty simple, though a little unsexy: Work.

In a recent conversation with CreativeLive instructor Tim Ferriss on his podcast, for his podcast, the Tim Ferriss Show, Chase shared stories about his early life as a ski bum, his first photography sale, and how CreativeLive was born out of his own hunt for accessible, exciting creative education. But mostly, the conversation focused on the fact that success is the product of a great deal of work, and not necessarily a great deal of talent.

Chase, who taught himself how to use a camera after his grandfather passed away and left him one, spent a lot of time experimenting with different forms of creativity as a young person — but it wasn’t until he really pushed himself outside of his comfort zone that he says he found success.

“I knew I wanted to be a ski and snowboard photographer, so I moved to a hardcore ski town,” Chase explained. There, he did his research, honed his skills, and figured out how other successful sports photographers had made their living. Because, Chase says, success doesn’t just happen — it’s the result of work and pressure and commitment.

“Once you’re great at your craft, everything else is vision and the ability to execute…Whatever your thing is, you have to be great at your craft,” Chase explains. “Some people want to skip that step.”

Talent, though, isn’t enough to launch a career. Learning to market yourself is also a difficult (but necessary) skill, says Chase, which he had to teach himself.

“I think there’s a belief that people who are successful can sell themselves really well and they’re natural at it. I was a natural hard-worker, but not a gifted positioner and seller. That was all learned.”

Mostly, says Chase, the difference between artists who make it and those who don’t, is doing the work.

“That idea that, once you make something, if it’s great, it will just be discovered, is totally fictional. The people that I know that are successful, as soon as it’s done — the making part — it’s about packaging and, frankly, the narrative. Being a good storyteller is mission-critical…being able to tell a good story is another thing that people tend to overlook.”

Get more of the Tim Ferriss Show on iTunes, and read more from Chase on his blog.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.