From F-Stops to Finance: Applying the Lessons of ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ to Your Photography Business
I read the book “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason a few years ago and I decided to pick it up again last week. no, I did not read everything in there, like, cover to cover, I just read my notes and the sentences which I have underlined. This book is a classic book on personal finance and wealth creation. It is the guru of gurus when it comes to wealth creation.
Everyone in the business world recommends it. Though not a photography book, photographers who wish to learn personal finance and wealth creation can take a few points from this book. Understanding shutter speeds and focal lengths are just one aspect of photography. When it comes to finances, it’s not about apertures and ISOs, it’s just money, and financial literacy. Here are some lessons photographers can learn from the book:
- Save a portion of your income: “The Richest Man in Babylon” emphasizes the importance of saving an amount or portion of your income, ideally at least 10%. Photographers can apply this concept by setting aside a percentage of their earnings for savings and investing. How do you earn from every photo session? Now, take 10% out and save it. Save first and do what you want to do next. Most photographers I have had conversations with do not have a problem with landing clients, though some do, they have a problem with keeping money. They are interested in every new digital innovation. The new phone comes out, they want it, the new lens and camera come out, they want it, and without realizing it, this habit is keeping them broke and cannot save. What do you do? Start saving 10% every time you photograph a gig. If you’re hungry for financial freedom enough, then, you will want to do more than a 10%, you want to go for 15–30%. If you’re single and still stay with your family, then bro, you can hit 50%. Save a portion of your income.
- Invest wisely: The book encourages readers to invest their savings wisely and diversify their investments. Photographers can apply this concept by seeking out investment opportunities, such as purchasing equipment or investing in stocks and carefully considering the potential risks and rewards. The best way to invest in yourself as a photographer is through information. Pay for information. You will not realize how necessary it is until you one day notice that you lost money because you did not know A, B, and C. Invest wisely when it comes to purchasing equipment. Always think long-term. The photography industry is not a place to spend money carelessly. How old is the Canon 6D? It’s quite old and I still see some photographers here in Ghana rocking this bad boy and are still creating stunning images, winning photo awards and also putting smiles on the faces of their clients. Think about what that new gear is going to add to your business. If it’s not going to be a huge difference, and you’re not going to be using it consistently, it’ll be better if you just rented it.
- Live within your means: “The Richest Man in Babylon” emphasizes the importance of living within your means and avoiding excessive spending. Photographers can apply this concept by creating a budget, sticking to it, and avoiding unnecessary expenses. Living within your means is not just about creating a budget and sticking to it. It’s also about not purchasing what you don’t need to impress people you don’t even like and people who don’t care, nevertheless, stop purchasing non-essentials. I cannot say what is non-essential to you, but I’m sure you do. Keep subtracting until you’re good with the few and essential things you need.
- Seek out opportunities: The book encourages readers to seek out opportunities for wealth creation and be open to new ideas. Photographers can apply this concept by seeking out new clients, expanding their services, and exploring new avenues for income generation. This is self-explanatory. Reach out to people, network, attend workshops, and offer whatever it is you ought to offer to bring a client in.
- Take action: “The Richest Man in Babylon” emphasizes the importance of taking action and putting your plans into practice. Photographers can apply this concept by setting goals for their financial growth, developing a plan to achieve those goals, and taking action to make it happen. In the end, it all comes down to taking action. You do not read about muscles to gain muscles. You read and act. Action is where results are found. I have read many books millionaires and billionaires have recommended but I’m not one of them. Why? Because I did not implement the things written in the book. If you want to stand out, don’t just be a reader, stop being an observer and start doing and you’ll notice exponential growth in your life and business. building a successful business and wealth creation all come down to habits.
By applying these principles, photographers can achieve financial success and stability in their careers.