Give me the biz, coach!
From the Edmonton Sun: By Danny Hooper
Celebrity shutterbug Fred Katz was chosen to judge the national image competition for the Professional Photographers of Canada.
One of the great benefits of being self-employed is the fact nobody can fire you. At least that’s what I used to think.
These days I’m not so sure. In fact, I know more than a few formerly self-employed business owners who must lie awake at night wondering, “What the hell just happened?”
You lost your business, that’s what happened.
Forget all the talk about global warming. EVERYTHING in our world is changing faster and with greater velocity than at any other time in the history of mankind, and if you’re a self-employed business owner, you better be lying awake at night thinking of ways to change up your business, regardless of how well things seem to be going at the moment.
Technology is the culprit, causing our globe to shrink and throwing the door wide open to a flood of competition from every corner of the Earth, giving every single business owner I know, myself included, the same option: sink or swim.
And so in the interest of becoming a better swimmer, I’ve done something I never thought I’d do. I’ve hired an executive business coach to help me sort out what I need and need not be freaking out over.
It’s a big commitment, both financially and in terms of the travel time I’ll spend meeting with him twice a month in Calgary over the next year. But the way I see it, it’s time and money well-spent.
Actually, no. Well-invested is a better way to put it. I learned a long time ago that there’s a huge difference between cost and value.
And if spending a few bucks and a bit of time with a professional business coach will better teach me how to trim my sails, navigate the seas of change and keep me focused on the future, that’s a good thing.
Better that than wind up blind-sided and out of a job.
ALL ABOUT FOCUS
Fred Katz is a guy who has not only survived but also thrived in a business that has been both blessed and ravaged by technology. As a professional photographer, Fred has witnessed his share of fatalities in an industry he describes as “not for the faint of heart.”
“Everybody who buys a $1,000 digital camera thinks they’re a pro,” says Katz, “yet every $1,000 camera sold means another potential competitor.”
Born in Prince Albert, Sask., the self-described geek who headed up the camera club in high school came west in 1979 to study photography at NAIT. He hung his shingle in 1983 and started chasing brides the way an injury lawyer chases ambulances.
Weddings, after all, are the bread and butter of the shutterbug trade.
The early years were lean ones, but as his reputation spread, so did the scope of his work.
Today, of the 250 or so commissions he shoots annually under the banner of Fred Katz Fine Art Photography, fewer than 10% are bridal-based, the balance an equal mix of family and corporate portraiture.
The secret of his success and longevity in the competitive and ever-changing world of professional photography?
“Find your niche, be good at what you do and remember to hit the refresh key from time to time.”
For Katz, who was recently selected by the Professional Photographers of Canada as one of 12 people from across the country to judge the upcoming national image competition, that means attending seminars and workshops on a regular basis, as well as mentoring young photographers looking to find their way into the industry.
“At the end of the day, this business is all about focus, and there’s not a digital camera in the world that can help you with that,” Katz says with a grin.
Hmmm, I know what he means.