Why Did I Start This Blog?

Why Did I Start This Blog?

I’ll be honest with you, the initial thought of consistently blogging for no financial benefit seemed like a vast waste of my time.  Why would I, an admittedly slow writer, venture into the overly saturated blogosphere if it’s not going to be a financial asset for my business?   Have I become such and altruist that I put everyone else’s business at the forefront of my attention over my own?  The short answer to that is obviously no, but that does not mean I’m not interested in helping people either.

The ultimate decision to blog, to podcast, to coach others, is so that I help build the dream community that I wish truly existed.  I wish photographers charged more, because that raises the standards for the industry and thus I can justify my pricing.  I wish photographers cared more about owning copyrights so all agencies and clients would not default to Work For Hire contracts.  I wish more photographers were respectful of their peers and ethical in their practices, so I could be less cynical.  I wish more photographers stopped crying about the good ol days and started innovating again, so I could be inspired instead of depressed.  And in the midst of listing off a million things I wished the industry could be, I recognized the hypocrisy of my complaints, that I was just another selfish follower, hoping for someone else to take charge and turn this industry around while I reaped the benefits by doing nothing.  That’s not how I believe I’m going to get ahead, and I don’t think it’s how you are either.

I have recently been on a Brene Brown kick of late, watching her Netflix special, listening to her Ted Talks, and picking up her books about vulnerability and shame.  I’m not an expert enough to explain what she has spent her life studying, but I’ve picked up one basic lesson through her teachings; the more vulnerable I am with others, the more they are with me.  The more transparent I am with my failures, the more they are with me.  The more comfortable I am talking about by my shortcomings, the more trust I receive, and ultimately the more productive conversations become.  I’ve put this into practice of late (and believe me, it’s a practice alright), and have been amazed by its effect.

Recently, I was asked to talk to a group photographers about my business practices in an effort to help people improve their freelancing skills.  And I’ll be fully honest here, the thought of just talking about my highlights and boasting about the hard work I’ve put in to get where I’m at came across my mind.  In fact, it might’ve been the most intuitive and powerful impulse I had during the preparation process.  But the truth of the matter is, the greatest lessons I’ve learned, ALL came from my failures.  You read that right.  All of the most transformative lessons I hold near and dear to my heart come directly from my stupid decisions and poor judgements I’ve made.  And as such, it became clear to me that I had to discuss those areas in order to validate what I was preaching.  I had to put myself out there as someone who had not figured it all out, someone who has constantly failed over and over.  And the amazing thing happened after my presentation.  People would come up to me and share their practices, their stories, their struggles, their concerns, and we would spit ball ideas on how to improve our businesses.  See how I said “our”?  This wasn’t a teacher/student transaction.  This was collaborative.  It was the best facet about being part of a tribe that I could have imagined.  We shared our ideas to grow our businesses, something that would not have happened had I not been open and vulnerable about my process.  And that, folks, is why this blog is here.  Thank you for being part of this journey.

Michael Der


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