The Do-It-Yourself Grant
By Rohn Engh
Artists, songwriters, poets, photographers are able to apply for various grants available for creative entrepreneurs. These grants, of $1,000, $5,000, even $10,000, are usually available through non-profit foundations and the government. The artist utilizes the grant funds to further their career.
If you have faith in your talent and your business sense, you've probably considered applying for a grant to get you started, or to expand your stock photography career.
DO IT YOURSELF
"Why spend all that time filling out papers, when the law of probability says you no doubt won't win the grant? There are too many applicants," said my friend, when I asked him how he got his start in stock photography.
I'll refer to him as Keith.
"I knew I had talent," said Keith. "I compared my own work with the images that are being published. That's the real test. So, I gave myself my own grant."
Keith smiled, "I said to my wife, 'Look honey, -it says on this envelope that they'll advance me $5,000. And it'll take 5 minutes to fill out the form.' It was one of those offers you get from a financial institution every five minutes if you have good credit. My wife grimaced," Keith said.
"This was one of those situations where it really was 'too good to be true.' I put the elements together: I had good credit. My credit reports said I was in the 650's, which is excellent. I'm business-minded. I know how to budget. I have the courage of my convictions. I'm talented.
"My wife, said, 'O.K. - Go for it.' My accountant said the same.
"It took more than five minutes, maybe ten, to contact the company representative. In one week I had a credit line of $5,000 and a credit card with low interest that I could use to make all my purchases for my burgeoning stock photography business."
NOT FOR THE LAZY
"This was the boost I needed to get over the financial hump. My good credit rating was lying dormant. I had a proven track record in photography. I was involved in something I loved doing. I quit saying, 'Someday I'm going to get a grant.' Instead I gave myself a grant!
"When you give yourself a grant like this, you commit yourself to getting the job done. You've got to pay back that loan. When you get a grant, that's not always the case. You can be lazy and continue to procrastinate or indulge in your idle ways.
"Why other emerging stock photographers who have a good credit rating and a talent for the stock photo industry don't look into going this route, 'giving themselves a grant,' I don't understand."
Keith: Now they may be more likely to check it out, thanks to your sharing this with us.
What could you do with . . .
(Note: these estimates include costs such as postage, envelopes, telephone, mail list rental, temp workers, fulfillment expense, etc.)
-Acquire a domain name. Build (with a computer-savvy high-schooler's help) a web site that features an exhibit of your work.
-Join an Internet organization that will promote your work. (See URL's below).
-Sign up for a listing in a photographer directory that will include your profile and specialties.
- 1,500 Postcard campaign. A postcard with a "best" photo on it serves as a reminder to photobuyers. Postcards are effective because there is no envelope to open.
- 500 magnetic calendars. A handy (small) calendar, including your 800#, remains within a photobuyer's reach of a telephone 365 days a year.
- sign up for inclusion of your photos in a desktop illustrated directory of images.
- take out an ad(s) in a major photography magazine(s).
- buy software that will help you build a photo business database for photography.
- 500 CD's to a select group of targeted buyers. Packaging, burning, labeling, fullfillment all done by a professional organization.
- 1,000 posters to be distributed to photobuyers
- Hire a consultant who will demonstrate where you're going wrong, where you could be going right. Once you are turned in the right direction, hire a rep who can make your accountant happy.
-produce an on-line vanity book featuring your photos
- Produce a vanity photo book. If you have what it takes, others should see your images. Design, production, delivery, will be your main focus.
Build a website. "You never get a second chance at a first impression." Make the design and selection of images A+.
About the Author
Rohn Engh is the best-selling author of "Sell&Resell Your Photos" and "sellphotos.com." He has produced a new eBook, "How to Make the Marketable Photo." For more information visit http://www.sellphotos.com
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