Everyone has a belief system, although it may be invisible to us or difficult for us to see. Our beliefs influence and, sometimes, control our behavior. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. I’m not talking about social, political, or religious issues, but the way you perceive yourself, your work, your business, and your talent. If you’ve heard me speak at WEVA or your PVA, you know all too well that one of the reasons I help others with sales and marketing is because most of this industry struggles with a poor belief system with sales. You may be the greatest filmmaker or videographer around, but if you don’t believe in your pricing and your brand, you won’t be able to sell. Inversely, if you don’t believe in the work you produce, you won’t be able to sell that either.
The biggest truth about belief systems, both in our work and in our personal lives, is that we cannot act or behave in a manner that is inconsistent with our beliefs. Doing so can be poison to a business that is trying to survive and thrive. In today’s economic climate, none of us can afford to produce work we don’t believe in. Our beliefs define our limits and our capabilities. Those who are complaining about a lack of leads, that the phone isn’t ringing, or that they’re getting beat up on price all the time—give yourself a gut check. Are you feeling disenfranchised? Burned out? Why? What’s the biggest underlying reason you can think of that’s making you feel this way?
Here’s a story that might help explain. An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his loyal worker of so many years go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes. But in time, it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship, and he used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end such a fine career. When the carpenter finished his work, the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you for all of your years of dedication and hard work.” The carpenter was shocked! If he’d only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all differently.
So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. This building for videographers can be our sales process, our marketing and branding, and, of course, the work we produce. Then, with shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently.
The videographer friend I recently coached had a wake-up call and started building a new “house.” His belief system started by comparing his work to industry greats, getting let down that he couldn’t ever dream to produce the work they did. “And besides,” he thought, “my market is nothing like Miami or New York.”
But then he realized the same “comfortable” work he’d been producing for years had problems that started with him. He has since starting looking at inspiration in a new way and begun producing short-form wedding work that he loves and is proud of. The transformation process has begun.
Imagine selling a product and creating a business that you are proud of instead of blaming the economy, competition, or even your own disappointment with the work you produce. Create films and videos that you want to produce and that you are proud of! Never let a film leave your studio that you don’t believe in. And never try to sell your services or take money from couples if you don’t believe in the work you are trying to get them to invest in.
Life is a do-it-yourself project! Your attitudes and the choices you make today build the “house” you live in tomorrow. So build wisely, my friends!
Matt Davis (coaching at lifestagefilms.com) of Life Stage Films has been described as the “Head Coach of Wedding Videography,” providing one-on-one business coaching as well as group coaching webinars. A featured speaker at both WEVA 2009–10 and IN[FOCUS] 2010–11, as well as a multiple CEA award winner and 2009 EventDV 25 all-star, he is based in Wilmington, N.C.