Going from 0 - 5K Part 1
I love today because I get to really just share my story today's really I know it says about business and stuff like that but really it is about my story and how I started my career and you know, at age twenty five um I was the first ever asian dropout college drop out in the world and then now twenty five years later I'm here on bits just been amazing ride and I would like to share with you some of the things that I've learned along this way along the way and I just can't wait to do it all right? So let's get going um we started with business yesterday just kind of like the basics of er building blocks of just, you know, the brick and mortar stuff like financial goals and all that kind of of issues now I'm going to tell you how I started from nothing zero my dad's not a photographer there not but, you know, I didn't have a family business, my parents didn't even own a business and so I knew nothing about establishing a business is establishing an artistic career anything like that s s...
o I'm just coming in raw and so I'm going to this first section is about how to go from zero to five k and the things that you have to think about and the key points that you have to hit in order for that to happen. Okay, so let's, get going. Um, no one is going to spend good money on someone who is inexperienced for the newbie experience more important than making money, so when you're first starting out, don't even think about money, think about experience, because that's, what you need first, you need to show that you can shoot a wedding, and if you can't show that, no one is going to hire you, I don't care how many workshops you've been, too, but if you can't show that you shoot a wedding, then you're not gonna get higher, so you need experience and that's the first key thing you have tohave experience, even if you're not getting paid for it. Okay, so in order to get regularly hired as a wedding photographer, you have to prove that you can shoot a wedding, you have to prove it. You just can't have a bunch of images. Like I said, from workshops, maybe you've been on my workshop or whatever, and just like pictures of scattered pictures of brides here and there, you had to physically show that you've been there from the getting ready to the reception and that you could do it all, and you have to show you can't even show your second photographer shots that you you did because you know there's a lot of people out there that can kind of tell that that's the situation so you have to be in control of the whole thing and show that you can do it so that's the big question how do I gain this experience how do we go about do it and the number one thing is you have to offer to do the job for a little cost or even free to your friends that's how I started okay, I started way back uh nineteen, ninety nine or something like that I can't remember but what I did was nobody would hire me so what I did was I fortunately that year I think I had six friends getting married that I got invited to and I emailed a lot of them and I said, hey, you know what? I'm starting this wedding business and I just wanna come and can I just come and shoot your wedding and of course I'll give you some images I just want to get a feel for the wedding day and um you know, see if I can do this thing oh yeah sure come on in you know you'll be more than happy to do that for you that's how I started just did it for free because I needed the experience see my mindset wass I know I could do this I just need an opportunity so I wasn't looking for money I wasn't looking for anything like that I was just looking for an opportunity to show myself and I wanted to just to be able to show myself so sure your first jobs well below market rate and I love the story of jay leno and how I don't know if you ever remember at anybody remember johnny carson at the time? Well, johnny carson had the tonight show and he was going to transition he was going to leave the show and so he wouldn't host a lot of the time so they had jay leno host and they had david letterman host and it was a battle between the two on what who were they going to choose jay leno or letterman and they were five they were going neck and neck and and I remember jay leno one time saying in this story that when he he when he got hired to go on the tonight show and his agent says hey up you're doing really well they want to know how much you want how much you want to do this for and he goes I'm just want market rate I'll just do it for eight hundred dollars what you're crazy the agent of course did like that because he gets paid percentage of what he says there's no I just want to go in I want to do this for eight hundred dollars so he went on the tonight show for eight hundred dollars and who? And so you don't eat just he wanted goes, this is an amazing opportunity. I just want to make sure that I'm getting the opportunity to go on that's. What? I mean, you just want the opportunity to show your stuff because in the end it's going to work out but you just need the opportunity. So just hey be like jay leno in the beginning. It's like this is an internship. I want opportunity but I need to show myself contact other photographers offered to exist second chute and so forth I tried that I got shut down. I e mailed everybody because back then it was like good old boys club. Everybody was making tons of money with wedding photography and nobody's was goingto let anybody into the game is very controlled. Digital opened it up to everybody. But back then there was only select group. So I remember literally one day going through every every nell los angeles is a huge place, there's fifteen million people there. I contacted every single photographer asking if I could second chute for free. I sent him pictures of my stuff, I got shut down on every single one, they wouldn't do it it's different today you have opportunity there's tons of photographers you khun trade amongst yourselves and you can practice that way but when I had it I had I couldn't do it my first wedding that I ever got I never even second shot before I was a lead photographer on my very first two heading so I had never second shot at all before so it can be done but that's an advantage that too half so take advantage of it network and get the word out be social you have to be very social tell your friends like I did on dh and think you know sometimes we think the doors are closed but they are not you are a creative be creative in your business and you'll figure it out you'll figure out how to network offer influential people your services for free okay if you see an influential person then you must add value to them before they even come back and give you something back that is the key to a lot of things that's adding value how can you help that person? So when I meet some person of influence, the first thing that goes into my mind is like how can I help them? What skills do I have? What networks do I have that I can improve their life not what can I get from them that's the bad attitude you'll never go anywhere that way so if you try to add values to somebody, then they're going to turn around and they're going to throw a bone to you and they're going toe they're goingto be able to access their network and I relay this to maybe one story uh oh, I'll talk about it a little bit later actually because it's going to come up but I'll talk about this issue a little bit later, okay? Position yourself is a value at her and that someone for hire so I kind of mentioned that you must be a value add err this is one skill value atter that I don't see a lot I I see a lot of people asking for this asking for that thinking and so this is this I guess this is a mentality people think, oh you're you're well off and you're doing this and you're doing fine can you just look down on me? I'm not in the same position can you just help me out, right? Uh and I sense and that's that's a way of thinking, but really the correct way of thinking is is bringing value to that person? Yes, they are successful and so forth, but what? What? You know what, they don't have any responsibility to help you out at all they have none that they don't have to help anybody out if they don't want to ok, so you have to come in and say how can I help this person and that's what you should constantly do in life? It's it's learning how to be creative in your mind so you can help other people out even though this person may be of higher influence there's still a human being they still have human issues that they have to deal with and if you can help in some way bam you're going network yourself through and then they're going to take you to places that you've never known before okay see yourself as a lowly intern and desperate to prove yourself and I think that's what I kind of tried to convey in the beginning and that's what you got to see you're just not going to make jack for a few years and just realized that you gotta feed the beast and you're getting it in a lot of experience and that's what you need to do a ten workshops that offer portfolio building so in addition to being able to shoot an entire wedding, you need some spicy images you need some shots where you do get a very, very aesthetically prison pleasing person that you you are in kind of upscale situations and so make sure if you do go toe workshops that you're able to get some portfolio images that you can show and create that wow on your website build a portfolio, complete weddings. And while images just said that okay, wedding business marketing works on lee after a photographer has a portfolio showing a few complete weddings. Content is king. Okay, that's what? You really have to remember? Content, content, content? It's not how many? Pretty, uh, facebook profile pictures that you have of yourself. It's, what is behind that? What is the rial meat of the story and concentrate on that first. Have that, and everything else will fall into key. So the ceo the not advertising web sites, social media ex sector. It means jack, without content, you can have all this that you're gonna have the best ceo rating in the world. Everybody clicking it in the world. You're the first on the page. They click on that patient and look at your images and it's. Terrible. What did it do for you? Absolutely. Zero. And so what I see happening is people doing this trying to get the likes, you know, you get that, you get this email and they says we'll please like my page, you know, that is if you would just want these mercy likes that's really gonna, like, make your business, um, take off content, just worry about the content. Everything will fall in place you don't even have to need ceo or any of that you don't even I'm going to tell you methods on how you don't even have the market I'm gonna interview people that do zero marketing it's called zero marketing and I'm gonna be talking about that you don't need any marketing at all just work on your content good content re cars no marketing effort and you can't keep a good man down and I think sometimes we get into this content thing and we're doing things the right way with integrity and building it right guess what it takes a little bit longer that way and so you're doing things the right way and then you see a friend or something and they're going crazy and you're thinking wow I'm better than them how did they do that and then you start getting bitter and you start it's like comparing yourself and you start like wow it must be doing something wrong or and why does that person have five million likes and I don't like I don't know right? I'll tell you this if you keep producing great content you will be discovered it might not be tomorrow might not be in a year it might not be in two years it might not be in three years and I might not be in four years five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve but you will be discovered because we have the internet now and we have this explosion off anything that's that is is mind blowing will be discovered, so don't worry about it you can't keep a good man down just keep going forward and keep producing that excellent content so let's go to how to start your business one we talked about this you've got to develop a portfolio that's number one to you gotta network your little heinie off okay and there's ways to do that one you've got to go online you gotta have that twitter that instagram, whatever you gotta have it in place but remember you're only going to be networking with your friends and things like that in the beginning once you start producing the excellent content then that's when you get the worldwide nationwide appeal but you're not going to get that you're just going to be in your same little circles until you start producing world class content world class content gets you world class exposure and that's the only way there is no other shortcut face to face wedding planners so if I were actually to get back into the game I go completely opposite what does everybody do? Oh, you gotta have a high rating you've gotta have like a web they spoke page with five million likes on it, whatever I would go completely opposite I would go completely personal and I would switch it so what what what I do a lot of times this is in regards to marketing a lot of times something works and then everybody follows okay, but by the time you follow its its a history already it's kind of like fishing I don't know if you guys like to fish but I love to fish and I think that seems weird that people think that I love the fish but let's say you're going into this area and you go to this pond and you're killing it right in this area you're just like oh my gosh I caught all these fish and look at this okay? And so this s o this person's caught all this fish and then they got up at six in the morning you got up at seven that morning there finish and they're coming out wow look at all those fish you stopped the guys and goes hey, where were you fishing? Oh yeah we were right over there around that little cove right behind that tree there what were you using o I was using power baiting and and I was just floating it for, you know, five seconds then I was just reeling it in a little bit and then they took it all wow! So you go and do that exact same thing in that hole what happened what's happened that holds fished out there's no more fish there they fished it out already and that's, what happens with marketing? A lot of times you copy something and then it's gone, you need to use your creativity and you be the one who creates the great marketing idea first, don't be a follower, okay? And so ah lot of times, whatever is popular don't do because everybody's doing it and it won't work and be innovative develop the thirty second pitch, so when you're in a social contacts and somebody and what do you do? You gotta be able to quickly and succinctly say what you do on dh in a slightly kind of thought provoking and provocative way that people were spot and fortunately for us, we have the best pitch ever was somebody ask you what to do? You just simply say, I'm a photographer, people are interested, wow, I mean that's all I had to say, really, and I'll start it off that way and then it'll get into into whatever, but we're fortunate that lee, that photographer has a really cool ring to it. I don't know if you've noticed this, but in the movies, like I told you, I used to watch a lot of movies whenever they want to give the cool person a nice job, they always they always give them the photographer job, right that's so cool, all right make a business card I said that yesterday I don't know how many people like rodeo and I'm talking to them and I'm interested in them only you got a card uh uh just do my less went out right? Okay, this is part of going to feed the beast okay make business cards more than you could ever give out because I've been there it's like maybe you make some really nice business cards and then you meet a whole bunch of people and then you feel like, well, this is costing me like, you know, fifty cents a pop or whatever right? Did you see a bunch of ten people and you're going to give them out here in your head that's five bucks right there and so you go you start making decisions I'll give one out to you but I am not sure about you so I'm not going to give one out bad philosophy big business cards where you feel comfortable that you're just giving them out like water just live well here you go everybody it's fishing man you're just getting your line out as many places possible so whatever kind of materials that you get, don't be tense e with it mad feed the beast let it go it wants to go create those dark cards create your own events featuring you okay, so now you can do things that uh where you are the center of attention for example I'm just given example there's tons of them out there and you could be creative with how you want to do that let's say you came with me next june and you came to my paris workshop and you're there and you had some great images you took some good portfolio images but you also walking around you took some really cool door knobs and you took some you know, photo journalistic shots and some great landscape shots right to get all this great stuff once you come back and have a little party for your friends set up a little gallery of twelve prints that are amazing and put them around your house or actually go higher gallery or something if you think they're really that great and invite all your friends and say hey, you know what? I went to paris and I'm just having I wantto just share with you some of the pictures that I went there once you come over we'll have some wine and cheese or whatever you want to do I don't hire deejay or something I don't know whatever you want to do but create an event that's all you so everybody who shows up it's all you know you have to be in your face or whatever but naturally they're going to come they're going to see your photography where you get to talk about your photography and then you can mention what you do and so forth and when you give back to some I think somebody they naturally want to give back to you and that's you know, a lot of organizations do that that's why they have these nancy thinks so just recently my daughters go to private school so they had a fiftieth anniversary dinner all right? And so it was like black tie only oh actually that's why I have this because I had to buy something that was black right? So I go man I'll get a velvet tuxedo because then I can wear that on creative life so that you did on so I went there in its fancy they did this nice dinner everybody's stressed up nice they did this huge performance where the kids did these amazing musical they had a famous, well famous actor I guess if you're your kids watch the disney channel but anyway o r nickelodeon and so they had one of these kids that graduated from the school that has done really well and what was it? It really was just a fundraiser to raise money but they raised about loaning money but they gave first they gave value first and when you give value first something that people can appreciate they naturally want to give back to you it's just a natural reaction so you do that main event they're coming everybody is going in their mind they're going to shoot man he's looked at that gave this to me I want to try to help them out maybe you know they can shoot our family picture or oh yeah I know somebody getting married I'm going to recommend this place but you need to show that you want to give to people first before you get anything back maur than anything we talk about this you gotta look sharp you definitely have to look sharp and I know that this doesn't sound politically correct but I'm just going to tell you that this is the game that you have to play if you want to enter this if you want to be an entrepreneur if you want to market yourself correctly you must look sharp and so basically the honest truth is this looking good has immediate impact nobody today, so let's say you're going to a network event nobody knows that you were on creative live or nobody knows that you have great, amazing images nobody knows anything about you and the beginning. We're nobody right? So what's going to give us a little bit of pop what's gonna give us a little bit of buzz, we walk in the room and we have a nice look we have a nice style and we look professional has immediate impact, they've done studies, they stand studies where they've got solicited donations okay, they had one person as a slit aesthetically looks very, very nice and high beauty contact and they've had an average person and they'll go out and they'll try to get donations. What do you think happens? Who do you think gets the most money through the looking person every single time? It may not be politically correct but that is the real world. For example when you go into these restaurants some of these nicer restaurants like well let's say if you go to cheesecake factory or something like that the hostess the first person that you see they always put a very good looking hostess tw why do I know that is because every time I see them well maybe they could model from my workshop I constantly says you see that thing you like oh suit maybe she could help me do it like suit she's cute right? So that's what they do they know it because that beauty represents them and its beauty there's an attraction to beauty okay beauty sales because beauty represents perfection and we are all attracted to perfection and it's just innate thing that we have s o one you gotta have an immediate impact by looking good than on top of that the great personality adds to your attraction okay because I know it I know what you some of your ladies are thinking to go well, you know what if that scott guy wasn't married and if he was twenty five years younger I may go out with him if he asked me out I am like seven inches taller than him but I think I would still go out with him because look he has a great personality right? So a great personality can add on to that and then guess what? Your portfolio seals the deal okay and that's the process you can't go in with an awesome portfolio because they're not even gonna look at it before you have all that other stuff to help it so you need all that other stuff first and then your portfolio damn that's it it's a done deal I'm gonna get this person I'm going to hire this person it's over you've locked it up correct any significant fixable disadvantages we have I'm not the tallest person in the world and I know it but I can learn how to dress okay? I can work on my personality I can just sincerely care about a person sincerely caring about a person will take you a long ways if you open your heart up and you sincerely care about somebody and you want to add value to your life there's always a place for you this world period so just if anything is fixable do it be a better person you could be more giving you could be more open to somebody's troubles or whatever if we need to lose weight I need to lose weight I know what it could do it you can do it if you could do it do it there's some things that we can't fix like height or whatever I can't you know change my ethnicity or whatever if I felt that that was wrong right but that's other baggage that you might have to be dealing with but you know this thing is if you can fix it fix it, improve your personality for ten dollars or less ok there's a few books that I recommend howto win friends and influence people by dale card anybody recommend that it's ah read that it's a great a book on try toe on adding value to people it is sold millions and you could probably get it for three dollars used on amazon right now here's another one called that likability factor how to boost her el factor and achieve your dreams life's dreams and this is just showing examples of how people just became more likable and improved their opportunities improving personality may be difficult but it may be the ball on deck preventing you from a flood of opportunities you may have it all you may have the style you may have the portfolio but there might be just this personality thing that's holding back the flood load the flood gates of just opportunities and business that's ready to happen for you and a lot of times, life is like that if you read this book called the eighty twenty principal there's usually the twenty percent in your life that produces eighty percent of the results, and so you just have to find that one more thing toe breakthrough and to get those massive results and that's what happens in business? A lot, how to fix being shy or annoying, you know, it's it's, easy to defects that you're shy because, you know your sigh, it is obvious, but how do you know if you're annoying? Nobody knows I'm an annoying person, right? I need a lot of annoying people, but it's hard, I can't, you know you do you're really annoying. I can't say that, right? So well, anyways, so if you come, this is when you meet somebody one compliment in a sincere way, compliment them to ask questions as questions about them and three solve problems for them or give them suggestions. Ok, annoying people talk about themselves constantly, you know that first? Oh, sure comes someone so party and you walk away because, you know, all they're going to do is talk about themselves, right? So if you don't, if you if you think about how we are and how it's sometimes shoot, yeah, I am and I think about that too, and like, jeez, I do a lot of talking a lot of times, like better, like, cool it down and ask more questions about them too, so I am constantly putting myself, so I'm right here too. I could be very annoying at times just asked my wife and my kids, but yeah, I put my check myself and check all the time because, like, I just love to talk and give advice and whatever and then I was like, okay, I better crank it down and ask about them now, too, and I'm constantly putting myself in check so that's, just a little suggestion for you. Okay, so yeah see this movie crazy stupid love you familiar with that movie that's where I got my title crazy stupid light because I saw this crazy, stupid love and it's about this guy who turns forty or fifty and he's going through a crisis with his wife and they're about to get separated so he's about back on the single market again. And so he meets this young buck, and he tells them how to dress and how to talk the ladies and everything but that's the whole process I mean, it's, not about getting woman, but it's the same thing about that's, well, getting business. But it's the same type of thing. We've got to change a little bit and repackage. All it is is just repackaging ourselves that we're a little bit more attractive so we can get a few more opportunities.