This post is for anyone who has ever felt like giving up or quitting (with anything).
My Friend Quits (Almost)
“Hey man, I’m thinking about quitting my photography hustle,” my friend told me recently in the car.
Let’s call my friend, Aïsata (in case anyone gets the reference from the critically acclaimed French movie, Entre Les Murs. That YouTube link will show you the exact scene of the movie at the end where I got the name).
I was shocked when he said that.
“Haven’t you been taking photos for years now?” I asked him.
“Yeah,” he replied, “but I don’t enjoy doing it anymore. It doesn’t feel like it’s worth it.”
I took a moment to process what he said as we sat in silence.
“Are you still getting gigs?” I asked him, thinking that the problem was him not having enough gigs.
“Yeah, I’m still getting gigs,” he replied.
“So then what’s the problem?” I asked.
“I don’t know man. It just doesn’t feel worth it for me to do anymore. It’s not fun anymore. I can use that time to focus on other things,” he said.
Then it hit me.
I recently listened to some audiobooks, one was “The Aladdin Factor” by Jack Canfield, about how you have to ask for things to be worth your while.
You have to ask for the lifestyle that you want.
Coupled with some advice from another self-improvement book that I forgot the name of right now, I told him, “Look. You’re feeling unmotivated to do your photography side hustle because the price you’re asking for is too small.”
“What do you mean?” he asked, perplexed.
“How much are you charging?” I asked.
“I’m currently charging $200 for 2 hours and then I give them the USB of all the photos after the event,” he said.
“You’re feeling discouraged because you’re not making it worth your while bro,” I told him. “How much are your competitors charging?”
After thinking about it, he said, “Well, this one guy who I really admire is charging $3000 per gig.”
“$3000 per gig?! That’s amazing!” I exclaimed. “Why don’t you charge that much too?”
“Well, he’s been at it longer than I have. And his photos are really nice quality.”
Aïsata showed me the photographer’s Instagram profile and, indeed, his pictures looked amazing.
I wasn’t going to let my friend’s limiting self belief get in the way of him pursuing his passion in photography though.
I wanted him to at least attempt charging more.
“So then what do you think about charging $1000 per gig and then increasing from there?” I suggested.
He pondered the idea silently for a bit.
“You know what bro, that’s a good idea. I’ll think about it,” he said quietly.
We said good bye to each other as we parted ways and I didn’t hear back from him for 4 months.
Out of the blue, he reached out to me to show me an email from this gig that hired him every year to take photos at one of their events.
He normally charged $200 for every event he did.
This time he charged $450.
It’s still short of the $1000 I recommended that he charge, but hey, we all gotta start somewhere.
Amazed at his rate increase, they said, “We’ll get back to you,” in the email.
Then a week later, the email said, “Can you do $375?”
My friend held firm and his response was, “I’m sorry but my quoted price is $450. The most I can lower it is $430. Can you do that?”
They shot back an email the next day saying, “Yes we can do $430. You got yourself a deal.”
I was so happy for him that he asked for it, and that he received it.
Not For Everyone
My friend was in a win-win or walk away scenario. More on that soon.
He was already making good money working 8am-4pm, Monday through Friday, managing operations for a design company.
If the higher quote for the gig didn’t work out, it wasn’t like his livelihood depended on it.
But because it did work out, it paid for one month of his car payment plus insurance.
According to Stephen R Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this was a win-win or walk away scenario.
It’s one of the better scenarios that could happen in life or business because both sides walk away without ill feelings or resentments.
If he charged his old rate of $200 and did the job, he wouldn’t have enjoyed the gig nor found it worth his while.
He would have resented doing the job.
It would have been a win for the gig requestor, but a loss for Aïsata.
His new rate of $450 was still one of the lowest in the area and I think the requestor knew that.
Aïsata was prepared to walk away if he didn’t get his win.
And the requestor was prepared to not go with Aïsata if they could find a cheaper/better alternative.
In other words, both sides were prepared to walk away instead of accepting any deal that would’ve left them feeling resentful.
The reason why this scenario isn’t for everyone is because you might not be in a position to bargain.
One scenario I can think of right now is your child or parent is dying and the only way to save them is to pay $40,000.
Would you walk away and let them die or would you do whatever you can to save them?
Another scenario was when my parents first came to America and they didn’t speak English nor have college degrees.
They took whatever job they could find and ended up being mistreated and underpaid as kitchen staff in abusive Thai restaurants.
But they did it because they had no other choice to feed their three children.
So it depends on your life situations.
With that said, you keep fighting the good fight.
Keep working on making each day better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today.
In one of her podcast episodes, Steph, a personal finance blogger at simplisticsteph.com, said, “I stopped comparing myself to other financial bloggers and their networth. Now I only compare myself to how I did months ago.”
And I think we can all learn something from that.
Ask for what you’re worth.
Make it worth your while.
Enjoy the journey.
And always keep striving to improve your life today to make it better than yesterday.
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