Most people who subscribe to mailing lists and follow blogs simply ignore great articles unless the headlines contain some kind of hook. Marketing does work, of course—if you do it well.

Ok, point made. But to be a successful entrepreneur you need more than a catchy headline. What successful businesses do is evolve with changes in their industries. I made a living in the photography business by wearing many hats as I progressed in my career from being an artist, to a businesswoman, to a successful career coach. I garnered a few key realizations along the way.

First realization
Most artists don’t make money. Sad but true. Only a few become successful and the rest try to glorify the bohemian lifestyle. It didn’t take long to figure out that being broke is overrated. You can’t really move forward when you can’t afford doing things that cost money. Remaining stagnant and continuously struggling is not for me. I doubt it sits well with you, either.

Second realization
Business people make money. They begin at entry-level positions and after investing time and effort, they move up the ladder. The higher the rung, the more money, the better connected, and essentially more successful they become. I was motivated to combine both the artistry and the business sides of photography because I am passionate about both. So, I had to get good at both sides of the industry to climb up.

Third realization
The ways of business are constantly changing. In two decades we went from faxing (which you may remember was considered revolutionary in the mid-90s), to scanning, texting, and tweeting. Ever wonder what’s next? Admittedly, I’m an information and tech gadget junkie. I love technology and finding new ways of doing things. (What I don’t like are rules and convention.)

It’s clear to me that if you follow where the money is being made, there is a good chance you will find ideas that are worth exploring. This is how innovators do it. Consider Apple. Their edge has been to create a need we didn’t know we had and offer user-friendly devices that we can’t seem to live without. Who knew we needed personal computers until Apple told us so? Similarly, we didn’t know iPods or iPads were must-haves until the lines around the block told us not to wait.

An essential trait for entrepreneurs and successful businesses is a willingness to be bold and take risks. If you stay open to recognizing what is going on in our industry and in the world in general, you will see many creative, fulfilling opportunities that are visible to those who are willing to change and evolve.

When I started my photography image licensing company from scratch and then sold it to Bill Gates in 2006 for millions, people wanted to know how I did it. What were my secrets for success?

Here’s the one secret: it’s called work. And I can’t reiterate enough how crucial it is. I became an “overnight” success after 13 long years of busting my butt.

Work is not work to me. I hope you can say the same. I love combining my passion for helping people make money and advance their careers, with my love of business. When my clients become successful, I feel successful. What does this scenario look like for you?

Your realization
You can’t wait for success—you have to go get it. Where is your business heading right now? Are you following the next ideas and trends? Are you adapting to the changes we’ve seen in the photography industry or are you still waiting for things to go back to “normal?”

Maybe it’s time to jump start your business with a new marketing plan or revenue stream. Learn everything you can about how the photography industry is changing and the gadgets that are on the way. Go to conferences, sharpen your skills, meet new people, and dive into understanding how this new world ticks. Be bold and courageous. Do that and you are in excellent shape!

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