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With Lockdown 2.0 hitting the UK and the same happening all over the world in some way or another, it’s time to really make the most of our enforced break. At the end of the day, what else can we do?

To that end, I would suggest doing a few things within Lockdown 2.0 to prep for the future. These things are not compulsory but genuinely, I would really try to do them! Let’s start:

Honestly appraise yourself

Assess yourself, your business (if you have one) and your skills. Really take a LONG hard look and identify weaknesses or things you want to do better. It could be editing, it could be shooting, it could be business, it could be your own mental health.

Identify these things and note them down. You may see a huge list looking back at you and that’s ok – don’t be overwhelmed. It’s now time to break it down and make actions from the points.

For example, you’ve maybe identified that your outdoor shooting skills are weak. Let’s look at solutions for this; it could be watching youtube tutorials and testing those out with your camera on your exercise walks, or even in the home. You could use stationary objects to practice composition and exposure outdoors. You might look a little crazy to the average passer-by, but it will pay dividends for your future work.

Try to identify 3 actions that will overturn each weakness, turning it into a strength. Then, it’s time to plan those 3 things into your day-to-day life in Lockdown 2.0.

Stuck on where to start with your weakness identifiers or struggling to honestly identify potential actions? Don’t worry, it’s a skill that needs to be developed too. If you are really stuck, we can cover this in a “business” online one-to-one. We often do portfolio reviews, shoot reviews and equipment discussions so you are absolutely not alone here!

Look for the good

It’s always there, sometimes it’s just a little harder to see. There will be good in all things, however small. Look at your work from this year, identify images you are really proud of. Look outside and see the good in what is right there in front of you. Heck, even look into the internet – look for things that empower and enrich you, not things that cause anxiety, stress or worry. Stay away from news sites, look for educational things and positivity.

I try to keep the YouTube channel positive, educational and regularly updated. Yes, there are some deep, emotional videos on there – watch them if you want to feel less alone but other than that, maybe focus on the educational ones!

When you practice finding the good, the silver lining in the dark clouds, you’ll get really good at finding light in darkness, love in loss and good in all of the crazy bad we see on the daily.

This sounds a bit kumbaya but honestly if I didn’t have this skill there’s a high chance I would not be here today to share it with you all!

Develop yourself

Ties into the first point, but it’s so much more. There are 3 things that bring happiness when your basic needs of eating and sleeping are met. These are autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Find Autonomy

Autonomy is the need to direct your own life and work. To be fully motivated, you must be able to control what you do, when you do it, and who you do it with. It is being able to make decisions and assess options honestly. In a Lockdown situation, you lose a lot of autonomy, but some still exists. You have autonomy over your time at home, your thoughts and your actions. Use this autonomy and do at least one thing each day because you chose it and you want to do it. (abide by laws and guidance please guys)

Find Mastery

For me mastery is all about having confidence in your skills. It’s the hard work to learn a skill, apply it and then feel confident using it. Mastery is the desire to improve. If you are motivated by mastery, you’ll likely see your potential as being unlimited, and you’ll constantly seek to improve your skills through learning and practice.

Everyone will see mastery different and for some people, it can change your life. For me it gives me so much confidence and self-worth I genuinely think developing it is a cornerstone to a fulfilled life.

Mastery is usually skills based. Find something you feel hopelessly inept at. It can be anything at all. Make a conscious pact to learn all you can and apply all the learning in direct action. Mastery takes time – it takes HOURS and it’s hard work, but man it’s worth it!

Find Purpose

A contentious topic but really “purpose” is using your skills to achieve a “greater” purpose – for instance, getting involved in a “good cause” that you are passionate about. I guess my puspose is pretty clear – to give back to others and help them improve by sharing knowledge and mastery over the photographic craft.

What you need to do here is say, ok, how can I use the skills I have to help? Maybe you could help a charity, maybe you could help new photographers, maybe you could help the elderly who are lonely during Lockdown 2.0 if your skill is conversation and putting people at ease?

You get the idea – use it don’t lose it.

Don’t despair with business

Those with businesses, this is tough. We’ve closed once then got all ready for the holiday season and then now we’re closed again. I’ve cancelled an end of life shoot which I had already rescheduled once. I know I won’t forgive myself if the dog passes away during this lockdown. I just won’t. It’s tough.

But, we can’t sit and cry all day we have to move forwards and plan ahead. Just like in the first point, look for business weaknesses, look at improvements you can make and seek help if you aren’t sure what you could be doing differently. Help is out there.

In terms of sales, remember that we’re only a week or two away from the online workshop on sales. This workshop will go through a very in-depth process that provides concrete steps for success when it comes to maximising sales. In the period between these two lockdowns, IPS students who have worked with me online in one-to-ones have seen a surge in sales where the value is concerned. That means that for the same number of sessions, they’ve achieved in most cases more than double the income from the end sales.

I’m all for efficiency and you should be too. Why not make the same money from less sessions? It’s a win-win, but it takes work. Check out the IPS online workshop for more information – it will be delivered in English but there are auto-translated subtitles from Google which are quite good!

Other business things to do would include identifying future business partnerships in your area, updating your website, updating your Google Maps profile and refreshing social media. Be a positive beacon of activity where possible!

Manage your time

I’m a big believer in productivity but only when it’s paired with efficiency. Focused activity is better than random business. I like to split my time into two:

  • Income producing activity – This is activity which directly affects your income. This would be sessions, sales sessions, product selection, social media work, website work or whatever it might be.
  • Non-Income producing activity – This is other things that are useful but not directly tied to income. For me these are acts of self-care, training the dogs, blogging (usually) and future planning bits and bobs. I also do a lot of non-business work for others like the mental health movement and being there for other photographers too.

Try and balance the two to a point that you are happy with. I personally try to do 6 hours of Income Producing Activity each day but to be honest sometimes it’s closer to 4! Whatever you end up with, be really clear about the time you are spending and how it can pay back both in terms of your mental health and your finances.

I’ll add to this post as and when I think of more things, but for now, that should be a good start!