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How to build a life in media when you’re constantly bombarded with ‘pie-in-the-sky’ strategies

Let's cut the clutter and make it simple.

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Do you want to be rooted in life, rooted in art, and rooted in business?

Do you recall that old-fashioned saying pie-in-the-sky? Lately, everywhere you look online, several adverts are floating around, designed to appeal to the gullible and those desperate to make that which they love into a business. 

‘Write a book during lunch and sell 5000 copies a day,’ or ‘How I made millions in 30 minutes daily, and I don’t even write.’

They need to prove it to us. Nobody sells 5000 copies daily of anything, especially not some hastily thrown-together AI-generated content with no depth or marketing strategy. Somehow, people believe this ‘pie in the sky’ and have the naive belief that success is as simple as creating something and putting it up for sale.

This isn’t only limited to writers. How about the pie-in-the-sky self-proclaimed photographer selling a course promising a non-stop stream of maternity, children, and wedding photography gigs? Pay me only $49 to learn how he claims, and you can be booked solid. However, the truth is far from this enticing pitch. You might learn a few things, such as basic tasks like sharing photos on Instagram, designing business cards, and offering discounts, which you could easily figure out on your own by browsing the internet.

The harsh reality is that there are no shortcuts to success. It’s all just pie-in-the-sky. Despite what some may promise, no hidden secrets or magic formulas will instantly make you rich. Bad advice is costly if it wastes your precious time. True success requires hard work, consistent marketing efforts, and battling your inner obstacles, regardless of industry.

Success doesn’t come overnight. It requires effort, persistence, and a willingness to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions; success is a personal journey that demands continuous learning and growth.

So, instead of falling for the pie-in-the-sky get-rich-quick schemes, focus on building a solid foundation for your business. Treat the following eight suggestions as starting points: add your unique touch and embrace the challenging yet rewarding path to achieving your goals.

Cease searching for that pie-in-the-sky: shortcuts, instant results, easy money, effortless sales tactics, and other gimmicks propagating the misconception that hard work is unnecessary and can be replaced by a single $49 product. Instead, seek out seasoned coaches and mentors, devour numerous books, jot down key points, establish your methodology, and seek assistance when necessary. 

Embracing the role of an artist today demands significant courage, unwavering perseverance, and a strong support network. Get ready for the long journey ahead. Gaining recognition in commercial media/art takes time, and most successful artists achieve recognition later rather than sooner. Plan to commit to this path for at least six years. While you will need a source of income during this time, rest assured that you will start to see significant progress around the five- to six-year mark.

Get to know the grind. Embrace the work ethic that empowers you to establish and operate a system. This system is your foundation. Develop a solid one, and handle your responsibilities by consistently putting in the effort daily.

Ensure you are clear about your goals. Being a full-time photographer entails much more intensity than a 40-hour work week. Weekends off will likely become a thing of the past. It often means working around 60 hours a week, taking time off whenever possible. You’ll be preparing for future projects when you’re not shooting for a client. In between, you are focused on promoting your work and creating new photographs. This doesn’t imply that you need to work around the clock. Your schedule may not be as structured as a traditional 9-5 job. Include portfolio shooting in your schedule and approach it with genuine passion. It’s important also to make time for activities that bring you joy, but this requires some planning. In an artist’s life, there is no room for lacking joy.

  • Just do it.

Taking action is more important than planning. Make a plan and take action. Evaluate, readjust, and take action again. You won’t know if something is effective until you try it yourself. Sometimes, you may need to try something multiple times. If we quit after the first failure, we will never achieve success. 

  • Measure

Performing tasks without measuring their effectiveness can lead to frustration. If you cannot quantify your desired outcomes, you won’t know if your efforts were successful. Establish metrics and use them to evaluate your performance. Use metrics or AI, which might assist you these days. Continuously test, adjust, and retest to optimise your strategies.

  • Choose your companions carefully.

Evaluate the people you surround yourself with the most. Are you part of a negative group that constantly complains about life’s difficulties, criticises others, and blames the system for everything? If so, your perspective reflects this mentality. The theory suggests that you become like the five individuals you spend the most time with.

  • Empower and nurture your support network.


Surround yourself with enthusiastic and positive individuals who grasp the challenges but are committed to overcoming them. Select your companions thoughtfully, considering how they will shape your future in the long run, as they play a significant role in it.

  • Master the art of play. 

Playing is the most efficient method to determine what is effective and what is not. Playing fosters exploration, which in turn leads to revelation. Revelations further fuel play. This play, exploration, and discovery cycle are integrated into our art, business, and lives. Incorporate play into your work to infuse it with a personal touch. The act of playing is inherently unique to each individual, shaping how we approach tasks and influencing our interactions with colleagues, customers, fellow artists, and loved ones. Embracing playfulness can catalyse new connections and a source of freedom in various aspects of our lives.

  • Question every Notion. 

Nobody holds all the solutions. It is crucial to question, dissect, analyse, and reconstruct ideas in a way that resonates with you. It is acceptable to arrive at a different conclusion for your framework. The key is to find a solution that suits you best.

  • Engage with creative concepts and ideas. 

Connect with communities eager to experiment, create, and push boundaries. Avoid individuals fixated on following strict regulations. Rules are not conducive to innovation, which is precisely why they exist. They stifle the pursuit of fresh perspectives and new opportunities. Share your adventures. Our experiences add spice to life, and sharing them, especially the ones where we learn or uncover something new can guide others along their path. Embrace your mistakes, overcome them, make things right, and keep moving forward. Sharing your experiences can be valuable for everyone. It’s common to keep knowledge to ourselves out of fear that others might steal our ideas or diminish our shine. However, the opposite is true. By assisting others in their success, you only radiate even more brightly.

  • Work with a Mentor. 

This could mean taking part in a course or program or finding a professional who you can assist or who might even be happy for you to job-shadow them. I am not talking about online courses. This should be something practical. 

As fun as they may seem, forgetting the pie-in-the-sky advice, paying $49 for pie-in-the-sky, and adhering to these eight fundamental principles can help you shine.

Focus on practical strategies that are proven to be effective rather than relying on trends or memberships. Build success through consistency and reliability, not on fantastical notions.

Kick that pie-in-the-sky to the curb!

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