Lessons in Moderate Success

By | August 26, 2016

I enjoy finding out about the lives and work of the moderately successful; huge success always seems like an unattainable goal, while moderate success seems like a more reasonable target.

I recently found this video by Jared Polin, a reasonably well known Youtube photographer who has around half a million youtube followers, a photography teaching website, and a successful photography business. I think by most measures he is at least moderately successful.

Although aimed at photography students, many of Polin’s suggestions could be applied much more widely. Find your niche, work hard to make it work, be professional. It seems so easy when written in a short list, but I think one of Polin’s strengths in this video is that it very much comes across that he has worked hard to incrementally build up to where he is. He didn’t have a light-bulb moment or world changing invention. He just worked at his craft and figured out a way to make it work.

Yes there is confidence, perhaps verging on arrogance, but there is also an underlying humility in Polin’s reflections. He even openly aknowledges that his afro hair cut and colourful appearance are part of a marketing and branding effort. It works, too – he certainly has a memorable appearance. It’s telling, too, that Polin has also released the first ever video he posted to Youtube, which paints him in a very different light: nervous, unsure of himself and struggling to find his niche.

Working as a photographer requires considerable technical understanding of equipment, light and exposures, but it also requires much ‘softer’ abilities: working with people, marketing, and networking. As I work in technical field myself, I found many of these other tips on ‘soft’ skills were just as relevant to me.