Benefits of a 9-5 job

As the days go by I notice photography is turning much into my days of being in Martial Arts.

Crazy to compare? No not really as when I was in Tae Kwon Do, the one thing people asked was “Are you a Black Belt?” When I had first started, that was all I ever wanted to be. Black Belt. Be called “Mr. Kilgore” by everyone in the class, even those older than I. In photography I am asked “Are you doing this full time? Or do you have a day job?”

What I learned in TKD applies to photography; The black belt (being a full time photographer) is a SMALL part of the journey. Getting there is where all the fun is!

With TKD, I learned after being in the “real world” that it wasn’t as effective as I wanted it to be. It worked wonders to get and keep me in shape, but I felt there were lots of things missing. I went to class and did what I was supposed to and at the end of the day, I didn’t feel any different. The same for photography. To those people who always ask if I do this full time as my only income, like the black belt, “Yes, I am, are you?” is my answer. The reason I ask it back isn’t because I’m throwing it in their face, but because I honestly feel those who work a 9-5 job are in a MUCH better position to grow as photographers (or non black belts) as those that are.


Simple; working a non photography related job gives you the access and ability to reach out and touch true marketing employees! As photographers, we can learn and grow with EVERYONE we speak to if we allow it. We can take the good as well as bad practices of a 9-5  job and apply it to our photography. We can see what works, how it worked and most importantly WHY it worked and apply that principal to our photography business. There are those who say there isn’t anything new that can be done with regards to photography, to a certain extent this is true. On the other hand, we are in a great position today with 30mp DSLR cameras, high quality video built in and unlimited editing capabilities. We can do more today with one device, than we could five years ago with three!

Reach out to your companies Marketing team. Find someone and get to know them, take them to lunch. Throw some of your own marketing ideas to them and build a rapport. Once you have that, then you will start to understand why you work for your company. You will find out how not only you have heard of them, but how they are putting themselves out to new customers and getting them (hence keeping you employed). When it’s all said and done, apply what you learn to your photography business.

As a business owner, learning is done by trial and error. Sadly, the error comes at the expense of your wallet so use all the free means you have available to you!

Capoeira and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are my new martial arts obsessions. In Brazilain Jiu Jitsu there’s a saying;

White belt is the most fun.

Blue belt is the hardest.

Purple belt is starting to learn

Brown belt is mastery

Black belt is honorary.


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