wise elephant, making it happen

Q: The questions for those working the middle are, what can go wrong and who gets left behind when the wave comes?

By Jason Moriber • Jan 11th, 2010 • Category: Ask the Wise Elephant, Strategy & Planning, Thinkering

(This Q/A comes from an earlier post: Where the Work will be 2010: The End of the Middle, the Rise of the Middle)

A: The middle shouldn’t be the default; it should be a choice, a hard one, and include a commitment to the long haul. Also, it’s not about waiting, you have to make a business there, not bring a business to there.

Knowing that you are a photographer, in general, my suggestion is to keep marketing your work to the “high-end,” the agencies, the brands, etc. yes, it’s more competitive than ever before, but it’s still the most viable, current, market you have. The opposite, or low-market, would be stock photography, also a viable market, but not as lucrative as assignment work.

Looking over your blog and reviewing the work you are passionate about I have brainstormed 3 ideas for potential new business-paths in the middle.

1. NYC Greenmarket, the org that manages most of the farmers markets in NYC (most famously the one in Union Square), is growing leaps and bounds. Maybe they need a staff photographer? Or would consider a cookbook or guidebook? Calendar? Photostream? What business could you build for them, and/or for their market of food buyers, farmers, and purveyors? You could be the Greenmarket photographer.

2. Staying with food, you could position yourself as the “Organic” photographer; better yet you could create an agency that specializes in shooting organic food. Maybe this business is a monthly/subscription model where you regularly shoot imagery for these types of brands so they can update their websites, Facebook pages, and blogs with custom, fresh imagery. You do content development.

3. Cooking Academies. Students could want portfolios of their works to help them gain positions. What if you had a service, aligned with the cooking academies, where you or your staff would document a student’s progress and take shots of their completed dishes? These could be bound in a self-published book with the recipes, notes from professors, recommendations. All students could graduate from school with a photographic record of their dishes and accomplishments. Maybe other verticals could use a similar service?

What could go wrong? The error would be to remain stagnant. The plan should be to keep innovative with how your craft can be marketed and/or solidified into a business. And if one of the ideas sticks, great, but that doesn’t mean to stop the innovation. Keep moving.

Who gets left behind? I’m a believer in the pendulum. If you stand still long enough the trends will come back around, but it might take decades. Better to blaze new paths, try new ideas, and keep working until one hits.

Jason Moriber is a veteran product/project/marketing manager, underground artist/musician, and online community developer, Jason expertly builds/produces/manages clients' projects, programs, and campaigns. Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/jelefant
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