Dealing with Threats - Problems within the Industry

This week has been very strange for me. As of right now, it's only tuesday and I have already had a ton of crazy things happen! What I want to talk about today is something that actually happened to me yesterday. I am blessed to have won the 2012 WMBF Best Of The Grand Strand. I am humbled by how much support I received. Because of a large YouTube presence brought forth by one of my best friends, I won by a pretty large amount. This was what was encouraged by the voting system was to reach out on all social platforms to promote WMBF and the voting of local businesses. Because we are a tourist town, it is not limited to people who live here because all the businesses being promoted are in the tourist industry in one way or another. I in no way think I am the best photographer in Myrtle Beach, but I also know that the guys that I look up to, do not put forth any effort in this contest so I am more or less competing with other part timers and small businesses like me.

I am growing every day in my skill and hope to one day call myself a full time photographer, but for now I am happy with taking the frequent jobs I have and continuing to grow in my profession. The fun all started yesterday when my friend Stephen Georg posted a video on his YouTube channel (which I am often on as a guest) asking people to vote for me. Within 6 hours I owned over 25% of the vote and had a commanding lead over the company in second place. I am sure it will even out by the end of voting season, and I am in no way too far ahead to not lose. I am just very pleased with the endorsement that I received and I hope I can continue to work hard and continue to impress with my work.

Here is where the fun starts:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 4.18.36 PM
Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 4.18.36 PM

This of course came from my contact me page on my website where the person put in an email address that was not theirs. The other fun thing about this particular piece is that the IP Address is easily tracked by a quick google search to find out that it came from Calabash, NC which has me thinking that is one of or affiliated with a disgruntled competitor. I was actually hoping that this may be the news so that I would make more of a splash than anyone else and when they interview me for a statement, they will find that every single vote was legitimate. The fact that it was sent or that someone was mad doesn't bother me, what really grinds my gears is the fact that these types of thoughts are spread throughout the photo industry in this area. I know that competition can be tough, but if there is one thing I have found it is that I have done nothing but gain more exposure and work by befriending other photographers. Am I full time? No. Does my photo business fully support my family? No. So take my words with a grain of salt, but also know that the info I am passing along is nothing more than the explanation of how I have put the teachings I have gathered from the greats over the years to use.

I shared all that to say this:

Don't spend your day tearing down other houses so yours is the biggest in the neighborhood, just continue building yours higher and higher so when the fight is over you'll be much higher than the rest. I never want to take any business from my competitors, I don't ever try to make my money by taking it out of anyone else's. So when seeing your competitors: respect the hard work and talent of those around you, answer the questions of those less experienced and befriend all of them. You never know where a friend in this business will take you, and you certainly never help yourself by hurting someone else. Alright, my lesson for today is over, but don't forget how easy it is to make a friend, and how hard it is to win over someone you have mistreated.

Merry Christmas!