No, I’m not pulling a Chaz Bono—don’t get THAT excited! Nor, am I pregnant….although THAT would due something to write about.
It’s with a quiet and humble smidgen of fanfare about something I have been silently working on for months that I shall share with you here, now. Something that has been truly swimming through my head for over 3 years. I have been trying my best to get as much right straight out of the gate as i possibly could, in a possible vain attempt to have it run like clockwork without any hangups.
I kinda figure with Inspire Photo Seminars coming up next week, this is as good a time as any to make my little/major announcement. I must admit that I toyed with the idea of silently slipping this new approach to my business mode into action without any fussing whatsoever. I REALLY wanted to avoid the Facebook “big news coming next week!”... “giant super-duper announcement in 3 hours…” kind of tease…but I realized that would be unfair to the team who has committed themselves fully to this new project. Photographers who themselves are changing the way they operate, taking a risk, shutting down their websites and shaking things up personally after running their own businesses for so long, in order to simply to join me in my new project because they believe in it. That’s an overwhelming feeling, of both pride and fear.
I know for a fact that I have over-thunk this beyond belief (ask my poor friends who have had to listen to me ruminate for months on end about this subject….” We’ll what if THIS happens? What if THAT didn’t work right…” on and on and on.) I’d of wanted to shoot me if I were them, and I am forever grateful for they’re patience.
I am lucky enough as well, to have an amazing network of CT photographers whose brains I have tapped into on many an occasion the past few months. Professionals willing to generously offer their time, opinions and to openly listen to me carry on for an hour or more hashing out THIS and THAT in my head…You guys KNOW who you’re (I don’t want to give away my Super Secret Inside connections) and I thank you a million times over for your generous gift of time, advice and open minds. You all helped me fish though the oceans of options and approaches in my attempt to find the balance for me. It often felt like this was New Business: Day One.
This has been quite the education for me both business wise and personally, as I used to think that was a pretty flexible guy open to change. The rather eye-opening reality discovered through this process is …. Well— that’s not really the case. I really do kinda like things the way they “are” and, I get REALLY comfortable with patterns I’ve established. 21 years of a business pattern is a tough nut to crack overnight, and the ability to “let go, trust and embrace” a new way of working has been far tougher than I expected for me. My close friends look at me when I say that and give me the, “...what? Are you KIDDING me??? You thought you were FLEXIBLE to change????!!” look in the eye—ok,ok-— I can take hint. Settle down. I GOTCHA. I realize everyone else knows me better than I know myself.
STILL being stuck in your old farty ways cannot be 100% bad, as it has gotten me to the level of success I now enjoy. I don’t believe that’s all just simple chance, error and luck. And I write this to ANYONE who is thinking and any kind of either personal or business radical change. It takes a big leap to shake yourself out of whatever rut you find yourself in, as transformation doesn’t happen without discomfort and uncertainty. So enough with the esoteric….
So what on earth is this big, damn news?
It’ll probably be a letdown now after the dramatic setup, but Robert Norman Photography is now a group. A Team. A Studio. A “collective” perhaps. Three talented photographers with a similar eye yet different approaches, all working under the umbrella of Robert Norman (I get to claim the big, red throne…) Allowing us to expand, offer more options, keep some more work in house (to be honest) share duties, produce a consistent product across the board, learn, grow, change and discover. It is truly a 180 change for me, but only for the better. I feel like the time of working fully alone and solo for weeks on end are over in exchange for something more collaborative.
Still, I know the time is right both for a change as well as expanding and taking a different approach. No risk, no gain. And for me, this FEELS right at this point I time. It’s a very different way of running my business, but I would not have made this leap if I thought it was an error. This was not a decision made overnight or lightly by any means; you have no idea how much the spinning wheels in my knuckle-head have been twirling for months on end . I have seen this done VERY well, and I’ve seen it done poorly, dissolving within months. I have seen people take on a position only to feel undervalued and taken advantage of. I can’t stress enough my concern for having that NOT be the case. Having been an employee who has felt more like a slave, my main concern is fairness, open dialogue and commitment to the entire group; getting it to feel “right” for all of us. This is no longer “just me” (having to refer to my business in terms of “US and WE” in consults rather than “I or ME” has been a giant , very strange change alone right there!!)
Finding people who can represent you is not an easy task, as they aren’t just shooting photos for you, but are an EXTENSION of who are and the Brand you have worked so hard to establish That’s quite the sticky point as well, as there are an amazing amount of talented people in CT who are qualified and whom I’m rather close to. But I found myself, as I think ANY pro would in a similar situation, considering not just the WORK, but the EXPERIENCE they provide, and how that fits in with MY business vision. Not everyone you like make a great match, and that’s a tough call, but in fairness on the flip side, I would not be appropriate for many studios either.
So away we go…I know this, like any worthwhile endeavor, will be a work In progress. Things will change, grow, mutate and maybe get worse before they improve. But I know in the end it’s all for the best. Please help me welcome Jay Fleming and JC Carley now with Robert Norman Photography. Along with the additions, we have changed and significantly changed and simplified our pricing structures to keep things basic, simple, and hopefully confusion-free. Our quality and approach shall remain consistent: we simply now offer more photographer options to help be more available during the peak seasons as well as offer various price points.
Thank you for listening to me ramble on and on– you can TELL this was a big decision—And if you happen to run into someone from our team, come on up and say HI!! Of course, you can say HI to me too…(the website updates are all pretty much complete– they re a lot of fun, so take a look!)