Risk/Reward

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by LBPhotog, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys:

    I am at that point in building my business where I am looking for that one big "risk" to take to pay off in that one big "reward" ...

    I just want to hear from others, who have established themselves, with what big "risk" they took and also at what point they knew that they were going to be "ok" and be able to make it ...
     
  2. matfoster

    matfoster TPF Noob!

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    i know of a solid business that got killed by a couple of expensive, ambitious deals that went bad. if they had stuck to their bread and butter business they would probably be around still today. they got tempted by potential big profit margins in a niche area that they lacked experience in (new technology). the product didn't work, the hardware manufacturer blamed the the 3rd party software developer, the 3rd party software developer blamed the hardware manufacturer. they were into hundreds of grand of installed equipment and licensing. the customer threatened to sue. they had to settle out of court. game over. cash flow was now crippled which wrecked the day to day core business.

    possible moral of the story: stick to what you know.
     
  3. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

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    Agreed! I would never venture into a realm without knowing anything that about it, that's just dumb.

    The problem is that the higher the risk the higher the potential reward can be and the more tempting the offer.
     
  4. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm.

    Personally, after I had apprenticed for a while and knew I wanted to do this for a living, my husband and I decided to sell our home, and one of our extra cars to buy the equipment and software that we needed. I quit my day job so I could devote full time to this. (It can be labor intensive). Needless to say, my husband and I were a bit scared by all of this. We believed in the work we were doing, and were selling a bit already, but we didn't know if we would make enough to survive.

    The first few years, I messed up and sold too much at too little pricing. I worked my ass off. 60-80 hour weeks were the norm. But I started getting lots of referrals. I woke up and changed my pricing. I started doing less weddings. I started to make good money, and my work began being recognised by people.

    Then the economy tanked. I was too expensive for most people, but didn't want to charge less, so I came up with a shoot and burn package and hoped to sell up. (Which we were able to do). I saw a lot of my good friends totally tank. Great photographers. They now had to sell seminars to keep things going. It was a rough year for everyone I think.

    But in the end, I'm still going. I love my job. I make good money. But that came with a lot of hard work, many years of building our business, and lots of personal sacrifice.

    I wish you all the best in your endevors. It's hard, really hard, but it can be really rewarding as well.
    Best to you!
     
  5. matfoster

    matfoster TPF Noob!

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    the pertinent thing was they had lots of experience in the sector but not in the product (which wasn't proven technology.) Apple, Boeing, Sony can get their fingers burnt like that but write it off and survive. the little guy often can't recover.

    i know someone else who basically set up an iTunes-style operation in 1999. flopped. maybe cost him 250 grand. wouldn't have flopped in 2009. he was already in the music biz, understood the product, the technology and the strategy but misjudged the demand.
     
  6. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Bennielou:

    I know people in the same boat right now - I know those that are thriving, and those that are finding it very hard to stay afloat ... I also see this time as a GREAT opportunity to get started. Yes, we are still not doing well economy-wise; but, this is the time to "pay my dues" if you will (and hard work is not something I am afraid of, infact, I love it, makes me feel good about the things I am doing). I feel that if I can lay some real ground work now, when everything gets "better" again I will be able to thrive.

    As for selling the house, the car that's a HUGE risk; that's putting your whole life at stake and it almost makes it impossible to fail (you can't lose everything, right) ...

    I have the knowledge. I have the talent; but, I am scared as hell to fail ... as I have been "chewing" these things over in my mind the last few months I have had a lot of "inward" discussions with myself, almost like I am trying to talk myself out of it. Then, about a week ago, my wife and I got takeout Chinese food ... at the end of the meal I took the appropriate fortune cookie (you know, the one that is pointing to you with both tips) and I opened it and read the piece of paper inside. The words printed on it stopped me in mid chew of the cookie, "Act as if it were impossible to fail."

    That piece of paper is now taped to my monitor.

    I just need to hear more stories of people "making it" to assure me that yeah, if you lay it all on the line, and you are willing to work hard then things will be OK ...

    I need "Rudy" like inspiration! :lol:
     
  7. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    Oh, I love the part about the fortune cookie. That is so cool.

    Sometimes in life (I'm probably a lot older than you), you decide to just say F it and take chances. I was old enough to know that I wanted to live my life on my terms.

    So I do.

    It sounds like you have the right way of thinking of things. You know what you are up against. You are willing to put in the work. That is 3/4th of it right there.

    I'm rooting for you!
     
  8. LBPhotog

    LBPhotog TPF Noob!

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    I have reached that point - I don't like the way my life is right now, and I've hit that "I don't have much to loose, so why not" point. Maybe it's time to just say, "F IT!" and let my stubbornness just take over and not let myself fail.
     
  9. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I like this thread. I have been in photography my whole life. Personally I never had a big risk that turned into a big reward. Just kind of always been in photography.

    Photography is not like the stock market. Paying out $5,000 in gear will only help if you need it. The investment is in you and your work. The payoff is life behind the lens(and of course a lot of marketing). Few things could be better.

    Love & Bass
     

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