We’re now a few days into 2017 and I thought it would be a good opportunity to look forward and talk about some plans and goals I have for the year.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last month thinking about what I want to achieve both in my personal life and my career. There are a lot of items on that list; some of them are very prosaic while some are completely outlandish. Several of them blend the personal and professional so much that I can’t easily separate them.
However, rather than go on about all of them here on the blog, I’m only going to talk about three things I want to achieve this year. These are the things I consider my most important items on the list and the things that when I achieve creates lots of other opportunities.
So, let’s talk about them…
Build my Photography Portfolio
As it stands my portfolio is a mishmash of sport, landscapes, and travel photography. There’s very little coherence to it and if I’m being honest a lot of the work in there was taken without any forethought or planning. It is full of opportunistic shots. Moments when I’ve stumbled upon something stunning and taken the time to stop and photography it. Because of that it is thematically all over the place.
I’m going to rectify that in 2017.
My portfolio focus is going to be purely on travel photography. I’ll still dabble in sport, portraits and other forms of photography that inspire me in the moment, but the Portfolio is going to be about travel.
I love all forms of photography but when I really thought about it, the shots that stopped me in my tracks, that took my breath away, were all by travel photographers.
Getting to experience a moment of another culture and place then being drawn into that moment fills me with a sense of wonder and joy that I want others to feel when they look at my work.
Travel photography is quite varied and in any given day you could be shooting portraits, landscapes, and adventure photos but with the constant theme of telling the story of where you are and who you meet there. I love it.
This year I’m going to travel to places with the specific purpose of telling a story of that place at that time through my photos. I’m going to plan out what I want to shoot and make sure I capture exactly what I want as well as anything opportunities that arise at the same time. I’m going to be more focused on capturing the places I visit and getting the best shots I possibly can. I want to come back from trips with a huge collection of great photos rather than the handful I come home with at the moment.
Which leads me nicely into…
I travel a lot with my day job. People assume it’s glamorous and I get to explore the countries and cities extensively. I don’t. I can be working up to 16 hours a day, indoors. I barely even see the hotel I’m staying in never mind anything else.
This year I’m going to try to build a few extra days into trips, or properly take advantage of any time I do get off. However, that’s not all I’m going to rely on.
I fully intend to travel for myself too, even if that means going somewhere on my own for the weekend, (which might make spending the entire time taking photos a little easier).
I’m going to focus my attention on Europe this year. According to the Been app I’ve already visited 21% of the countries in Europe and I’d like to get that up to 40% this year if at all possible. What makes it a little difficult is that my day job trips are more Asia and North America in 2017 so I can’t take extra days before or after them to visit new countries in Europe. I’ll figure it out though.
Previously visiting a country doesn’t mean I’ve experienced it in any great depth but for the moment I’m going to use that number as my measurable metric. Later I’ll start looking at returning to countries and spending more time exploring as much of it as possible.
I’d like to track that progress here on the site, but I’m not entirely sure how I’ll approach that yet. If anyone knows of a good WordPress plugin or tool to do it let me know in the comments.
Build my Business
Towards the end of 2016 I started my own company. It was formed with the idea of making me more accountable to myself. I had been freelancing on and off for years but I stopped taking it seriously.
Freelancing as I had been, wasn’t something I needed to push myself to do. I only took work whenever it appeared. I never set out to create anything or hunt for projects. I just ambled along using it as a nice bonus every now and again on top of my day job salary.
That way of thinking and operating bothered me but I no matter what I said to myself I simply never took any action to change things.
The lack of action became more and more of a negative thought running through my mind so I figuratively slapped myself about the face and made the decision to do something about it. Rather than wait around and procrastinate I formed a company that day knowing that it would be this year before I could begin to build it properly.
The fundamental aim of my company is to create art through the mediums of photography and writing.
Initially there will definitely need to be a balance between creating art and working with clients, but I’ll figure that out as I go. It’s a journey that will take me some time to fully explore.
To begin to grow income for the company, I’m going to focus on writing for clients while building my travel photography portfolio. With that in mind I already have my first writing client of the year. I’ll be ghost writing for them throughout January with a view to it being an ongoing gig assuming all goes well and it is a good fit for both sides.
One thing that I am building into the very foundation of this business is that it is location independent. While it’s officially based in the UK, if I want to travel and focus on travel photography I need to be able to run the whole thing with my laptop and access to the internet.
This site is going to be a huge component of the business too. I’ll be documenting the development of the company as well as potentially selling services and prints of my work. There may even be some affiliate marketing going on here in future if I find products that I use and believe in. I’m going to evaluate all kinds of options.
Since the company is more of a side hustle right now I have a few modest financial goals that I want to reach this year, but I’ll talk about them at a later point.
I should also figure out the logistics of actually running a limited company, that’s kind of an important step in the whole process.
Bonus Goal: Think Positively
It is so easy to fall into the mindset of thinking negatively. All you really have to do is switch on the news or talk to anyone about 2016.
This year I’m going to do my best to look for the positive side in each situation and break out of the cycle of negative thinking that is so easy to get trapped in.
Yes, bad things will happen but instead of focusing on them I’m going to focus on the good things that happen this year. It’s a work in progress but I think that mental shift will make the biggest impact on my life in 2017 and beyond.
2017: The Year of Hustle
There you have it. Those are my top three (plus bonus fourth) goals for 2017. Fitting them around my demanding day job is going to be tricky but I’m more determined than I’ve ever been to make sure I succeed.
2017 is the year I truly hustle to live my best life. What are you going to do to make 2017 your best year ever?
Photo: “The Point” © Christopher Hamilton