In today’s world of seemingly endless time-crunches
and overwhelm, I thought I’d share some of my
“Teeny Tiny Actions that Build a Mountain of
Success–or What I learned from my battle with
While brushing my teeth today, I had a marketing
epiphany. It occurred while I was doing my usual
ritual of brushing my teeth and pacing the floor.
I know it sounds weird, but it’s one of the
habits I’ve picked up in the last year. An hour
earlier, I had been on my cordless phone pacing
around my office during a 90-minute conference
call. I was struck by how an action I started a
year ago (i.e., religiously wearing a pedometer
or step-meter) completely changed my behavior in
a totally painless and effortless way. That
behavior change led to the easy achievement of my
health/fitness goal: lose the pounds I’d gained from
my way-too-sedentary, mouse-potato, lifestyle.
To achieve my 10k steps/day goal I started playing
games with myself to rack up the needed steps.
During a phone call, I no longer sat. I moved
around. If I forgot something in my basement
laundry room, I didn’t begrudge the extra steps
needed to retrieve it. Two parking spaces in the lot
to pick from? I took the furthest, etc.,etc.
After a year of subtle behavior changes, I not
only achieved my goal, I exceeded it.
What does this have to do with your sales and
My epiphany was that the path to achieving big
professional goals doesn’t have to be difficult.
Small actions, consistently applied, work in any
area of business-whether it’s content development
or sales and marketing. Habits can be cultivated
and nurtured to achieve creative and business
goals just as my pedometer-wearing lifestyle
change led to achieving my fitness goal. It may
seem like a big “Well…Duh!” but I found it to
be a more integrated way of looking at the core
If you’re like me and have any perfectionist
tendencies-and being an independent creative
professional, you likely are-you’re always
slightly dissatisfied with the status quo and
slightly impatient. You probably ‘want it all
right now’: the new portfolio, the big surge in
new business, the dream assignment.
As an agent, my photographers never knew that I
would sometimes work for well over a
year-sometimes several years-to get an account.
Because I never turned in phone call or portfolio
presentation reports, the photographers only saw
the last 10 yards of the sales process. The bulk
of my pre-sale efforts were largely invisible.
From the photographer’s perspective, a call came
in, a layout arrived, we bid the job, and won a
What they never saw was the long, slow, process
of building ‘brand awareness’ in the mind of the
targeted art buyer and art director. They didn’t
see that a long series of small, and focused,
efforts repeated again and again, eventually
produced a big-dollar payoff.
Photographers who’ve tried repping themselves-usually
with inconsistent results-saw their business
increase substantially once they got professional
representation. They sometimes thought what I did
was magic-just as the uninitiated might view what
they, as professional photographers, were able to
produce. What I did-and what any other
sales and marketing professional would
do-was leverage years of relationship-building
efforts. Those new photographers I brought into
my product mix got the benefit of consistent
efforts over a long period of time.
It is one of the paradoxes of any business (and
weight loss!): it’s the teeny tiny steps made
consistently over time, that provide the biggest
and most stable pay-off. The key is knowing which
things you need to do each and every day to get
the most bang for your time-and-effort-buck.
So what are those key items you need to re-ignite
your photo career?
In the next issue, I’ll share one easy with you and
it won’t require more than a $1 cash outlay.
All the Best,
(c) Carolyn Potts 2006