Sounds selfish? In business, it is not. I stumbled upon this while I was browsing through the Youtube videos. This quote comes from the movie The Dark Knight. It is about The Joker and his underlings . If learnings from business school can be summarised, it is this immortal word from the Joker. Even though this statement might sounds selfish, but there are few good reasons behind it.
1. Our Time Is Our True Resource
Nobody in this world can live forever, and every second that passes by is our resources gone by. That time was better spent doing something else, for example spending it to catch up with your family members back in the village, or to BBQ some of the unique delicacies of Sarawak, or even fixing your Grab speedboat to be used to pick your hot Iban girlfriend somewhere at Song. Unless you have taken the vow of charity, every second that you spent outside of these usages should be charged. The charge that you have imposed at least can be used to improve your life and your family, so that you can build a big longhouse mansion for your sulu ati/dayung sangon. Otherwise, you better wish you have a infinite life like Deadpool, and be left “makan hati berulam jantung” because your time was gone to waste and nobody is going to pay for your lost time.
Imagine if these trained professional does it for free, with what they are going to pay their house and car loans? It’s not going to work man. M10-P & APO-50
2. It keeps the business running
Once you receive the payment from whatever art that you have charged, it can be used to pay the dues. For example, in the side business I am running, I need to fix my lenses, camera body and even pay for the transportation/accommodation where it is due. I am using Leica, which is regarded as the Ferrari of cameras, or Rolls-Royce (whatever you call it), so expect the price and the charges I am giving is same par at it as well. When I think about my first amateur commission job, the amount of money that I receive is enough to make me cry red blood because it is sooooooooooo looowwwwwwwwwwwwww that it is not even enough to pay the most basic Leica service charges that Daniel gave to me. Lesson learned – charge accordingly, and consider the economics well before proceed with anything.
If you manage the economics well, and it is compensated with the quality of the final product, then your business will grow. However, being a hardcore Leica M user, please do not look for me if you want to have a shot that uses flash. I do not use flash and only use 50mm lens for my job (35mm for wide angles) because that is my niche, and that is my personal vision. Others might employ a variety of tools for their job, but that is their preferences. That is why we have a lot of photographers, each with their own strength and unique approach. So, pick the one that suits your taste and fits the bill.
3. It Will Motivate You
This one is definitely the one. I am a dedicated guy, a Leica-wielding photographer and has been running around with my M since 2017. So far, my inner flame is enough to ignite everything around me with my M, and my colleagues know how crazy I am with Leica camera. But still, if I get an additional money, it will a good morale booster because it is one way I get appreciated. With this money, I can keep the business running well as well. Otherwise, it will remain as a hobby and not side-hustle. Edwin Lay managed to make his break after years of trying, and he is even kind enough to offer advice to me. What a great soul he is. Happy is the man who can make a living out of his hobby. That is my ultimate dream. However, that does not stop me to always ask around the masters on how to improve my photography to the next level. Every Leica M shooter are always aspire to be as good as Henri-Cartier Bresson, a legendary M photographer. I also felt very lucky to be able to meet people like Mathias Heng, Fulvio Bugani and Thorsten Overgaard – all of them are great Leica photographers. Slowly but surely, I want to improve and be good like them as well.
4. BONUS: Always Remember, You Are Paid Based On Your Experiences As Well.
I have to write this because just now I saw my friend, Mark Julex “MJ” posted –
Selalu jak dengar org persoalkan, “why do I need to pay musicians/band super expensive?” Ingat org isi kereta guna pasir pergi your venue? Ingat org bayar bil elektrik guna oksigen utk practice your songs?
(translation: I always heard that people question why payment for band/musician is super expensive. Do they thought that people fill in the car using sand to go to your venue? Do they think that electricity bill can be paid using oxygen to practice for your song?)
In photography, trainings for that any photographer is not cheap. So is their experiences. If fact, every time you are hiring a photographer, you are not only hiring them for the final images, but for their soul, for their trainings, years of experiences and everything else in between, including their down-times. That is what it takes to make a good photographs. What we see is just barely the tip of the iceberg, so do try to understand their plight as well.
As a summary, whatever you do, be it singing, painting, emceeing, or even cooking for others, you should not do it for free if you aspire to make a living out of it. Otherwise, that practice is not sustainable and you will not be able to run a successful business. You can always be blunt but remember to be respectful and be professional all the time. Best of luck to you!