I was having a conversation with a fellow photographer who runs a social media group to connect other photographers. I approached this individual with an idea of doing a co-op live where we share information to the group on how they can better market themselves and grow their businesses and careers.

The response back was not what I was expecting.

“I’m not interested in helping photographers with marketing in my local market, as it is something I’m still trying to establish myself ahead of my peers…”

Imagine that this is coming from someone who is claiming they are a resource and connection for others.

I would like to explore this mindset. In this individual’s opinion, work in the market is very finite and if we go public and share our insights and information in attempt to help others, then we are allowing them to steal work from us.

A few years ago I heard a similar rhetoric from another photographer on how so many up and comers were stealing all of their business and how awful it was that they were “cheating” the system.

Supposing they were both accurate and the industry was very finite and limited, and work was drying up, why then are so many finding ways to succeed? Why then are so many scaling up versus down? Why then are individuals finding new and innovative ways to do exciting work if all is wrought with limited resources?

If you show me someone who is struggling in business and I will show you someone else who is succeeding in the exact same market!

The difference between the two, I can almost guarantee it, is their mindset.

Do you look at your industry as being filled with limitations? Do you resent the success of others and assume they didn’t deserve it. Do you envy when others achieve what you are trying to achieve?

If the answer to any of these is “yes” then you are handicapping your own potential.

Let us flip the script now. Imagine if everyone within your industry had the best knowledge and resources. Imagine if they openly shared best practices and ideas. Imagine if instead of competition they practice co-opetition.

Now; imagine how much better the industry would get. Imagine how much more work and opportunity there would be. Imagine everyone pushing each other and rising the tide for all boats.

Having this mindset is not natural for many. To be honest, it certainly is not natural for me. But one can train himself or herself to look at the world this way just like some trained themselves to have a limited mindset.

And the more we practice shifting that mindset, the stronger that muscle gets and the easier it becomes. As with anything, it requires exercise to improve.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto

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