I bought Vision Mongers, by David DuChemin, a couple of years ago but I was initially put off by his slightly patronizing writing style and (my bad) the fact that he was a poor enough money manager that he had to declare bankruptcy at one point in his career (pre-great recession). I read some of the book then, skimmed the rest and put it aside meaning to donate it to the library.
I don't know what, exactly, pushed me to pull it back off the shelf and give it another read. I guess I was heading out to pick up my kid from school and needed something to read as I sat in the car and waited for the dismissal, surrounded by the cars of the vast contingent of soccer moms.
I know that the book hadn't changed in the interim so I can only guess that my brain changed since I last picked up the book. This time I had a different experience. While I still found a few things to critique (and what book doesn't have a few?) I thoroughly enjoyed my new read.
The parts I zoomed in on were mostly about marketing and I'll admit that it was probably my own hubris that kept me from soaking in the information before. David is spot on whenever he talks about marketing. I've been running a photo business for a long time and even wrote a book about the business of photography but I was able to absorb and really learn several valuable ideas that will help me be more efficient and effective in the way I run my business from here on out.
Bottom line for me was his explanation of why we can't waste time being jealous because on of our competitors got a great job or a great account. He explained it in a way that just reached in and turned a switch in my brain.
Essentially he said that you and your competitor are like apples and oranges. If a client wants an orange and you are an apple, painting yourself orange isn't going to work. If the client chose the orange they were never going to choose the apple so you never would have gotten the job in the first place. The underlying message is also that if you are an apple, sell apples.
I wish I'd read the book with a more open mind in 2009. I could have used the information well over the last three years. It might have changed the way I market what I do. Maybe not but now I'll never know.
The book is full of success stories and interviews with people like Joe McNally and Zach Arias; two masters of social media marketing. But the real guts of the book are about being true to your photographic vision and your business vision. And the golden core is the marketing.
If you work in a field where you must market stuff, services or yourself the book is well worth the twenty five or thirty bucks you'll spend. It's kind of fun when a book I've put aside comes back into my orbit with new life. But what I guess it really means is that I've changed over the last few years. Less pompous? Maybe. Open to new information? Definitely. All in all the book gets a "thumbs up" from me. I'm going to look for another one by David and see what he has to say in the present.