Five years ago I was jotting down notes for a "five year plan" in a spiral notebook during a slow afternoon at Southlake Bar and Grill. The previous day I had discovered www.chasejarvis.com and spent four hours on his site scrolling through a collection of amazing photos and blog posts. I was blown away by all the content but even more so that he was giving away all his secrets. He had videos showing the gear he was using, how he was lighting a subject and general things to plan for on a shoot. I loved his attitude of building a bigger community rather than keeping secrets and working against each other. I was incredibly inspired and motivated that afternoon.
Naturally, when I get inspired I spread the word to anyone who will listen. My good friend Mike Mercer (who writes a great blog with his dad btw) strolled in for an afternoon beer on his day off not knowing what he was getting into. It took only seconds before unloading all my plans on him. The bar had now started to fill up and one of the new patrons overheard my ramblings and flagged me down. He had said he heard me chatting about Chase Jarvis and informed me that he knew Chase and even had a photo of him that he took on his phone. My mind was blown. This "new patron" was Darien Chin. Darien and I exchanged info and he later became one of my mentors and good friends. Darien shed a ton of light teaching me many things not only about photography but also business. Was this a coincidence? Sure. Have many things like this happened to me over the years? Absolutely. Whatever it is or was, it's my job to see it and prevent it from slipping between the cracks.
Let's back it up to the spiral notebook though. Here I was, writing a five year plan for a photography business while behind the bar. The steps were very basic and simple; "learn Photoshop", "learn different lenses", "travel and shoot", "record time and figure out how much to charge". After the steps there were questions like "who is my market?" and "who do I talk to?" I actually only recently stumbled upon these notes and once I read through them, I realize I had followed my plan pretty closely. Sure there have been some twists and turns here and there but overall, I'm doing what I want to be doing.
Here I am now. Almost five years later and as of 4 days ago, I am no longer on the schedule at the restaurant I've been working at for 5 years. The time is now. My five year plan is in effect and it's time to take things to the next level. It's time to write another five year plan and prepare for the journey ahead.
What do I have to lose? I have kept a really positive relationship with the restaurant so I can always go back to where I was.
What's the worse that can happen? I could fail miserably which would only set me back to yesterday.
I have to be willing to fail if I want to succeed. If I just keep on playing it safe, I will never get to where I want to be.
The time is NOW! I have an amazing group of people who are connecting me with more amazing people which is giving me a ton of opportunity for work. Who knows if this opportunity will be here tomorrow. If I don't take advantage of this moment now, I will never know what could have happened.
I'm living the dream. I typically hate that phrase because it's usually used by people who are doing anything but. This is where I want to be. This is what I want to be doing.
Thank you all who have helped me get to this day! I truly couldn't have done it without you.