Find a job you love and you will never work another day in your life..
Well.. that is the dream for most anyway but for the daring and the brave it does become reality. So how do you turn your passion into a profitable business? By giving yourself time. time to enjoy, time to invest & time to make mistakes. The perfect example of a successful side startup is Will from W.L Fight Photography.
Will is the epitome of what I’m all about & hopefully, what you can be too. His love of martial arts & design have led him to an awesome (and lucrative) side business that has given him a favourable name in the combat community.
Will has always been obsessed with martial arts and by the end of 2011 he decided to try and combine his love of combat sports and photography. With a few friends and coaches in the industry, Will prepared a small port folio and offered a few shoots pro-bono. It didn’t take long for Will to become a recognised name among the fight scene. By 2013 Will had been nominated for ‘Photographer of the year’ at the Australian Muay Thai Awards and is a now a well known presence in todays combat sport scene.
“As a martial artist, i have a unique perspective of the sport and that helps me with my timing and knowing what to capture. I’m very passionate towards martial arts and I don’t think I’d be able to produce these kind work without the drive.” says Will.
By day, Will works as a graphic designer, W.L Fight Photography is his side business. This has allowed Will the financial support to manage expenses such as his photography equipment, computer hardware and to really keep the art into his work. And let me tell you art really is what Will makes. his pictures are perfectly timed and angled to capture both the tradition, grit & gallantry in his photos.
“My first paying gig required me to travel 1hour across the city for a quick photo shoot. I ended working till the morning to edit all the photos and have them delivered by the afternoon while trying to finish some uni work. From this first job, I learnt how to quote jobs by its travel requirements, urgency and workload.” explains Will.
We can see now that keeping your day job whilst starting your business will definitely relieve financial strain of starting up but it is also a lot more forgiving when you make those “rookie mistakes”.
When I asked Will about this he admits that “One of my biggest mistakes was working with dishonest clients who would not pay up and fabricate stories in an attempt to damage my brand. It adds unnecessary stress and to my job and that’s the last thing I want to worry about. From those few bad experiences I’ve learnt to only work with reliable and trustworthy people. Especially with this type of creative work, I want to be comfortable to produce my best work without worrying about whether or not I’ll be paid.”
Two of the biggest obstacles starting up a photography business are variable income and copyright infringements. Obviously Will has his variable income issues sorted until he’s happy to go full-hog. Although with copyright, however tedious it may sound Will suggests to always watermark all of your photos.
“I spend many hours going through each image before uploading it with my watermark. It’s very disrespectful to have someone else deliberately remove my name from my work and then profit from it by using it for their own promotion.”
Will continues to grow and expand his business by maintaining positive relationships with his customers and employes. “I find that in this industry, your reputation and personality goes a long way. I’ve been fortunate to have grown by being recommended from previous clients and employers.”
Will has just released his second book showcasing his work. over the next two years Will plans to develop a bigger branding nationally and to begin with international marketing. Having worked with Will first hand I can say that the love he has for martial arts falls nothing short of full hearted passion exploding out of each of his photographs. I strongly recommend checking out his books. You can see Will’s work and get a hold of his kickass book here .