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Day: February 9, 2019

Money in Photography – Up Close and Personal

Like most people I know, I like taking pictures of nature; waterfall, rocks, and flowers. However; also like most people I know, I have made very little money from those pictures. Can you make great money from nature shots? Yes. Is it extremely competitive and very hard to get into? Yes. Is there an easier way? Yes.

For most of us, the best way to make money is to get up close and personal. Usually this means people shots; although sometimes, pets also qualify for this type of shooting. What I'm talking about is shooting events.

Events can be broken down into two categories; A) Things that happened once in a lifetime, and B) Things that happen over and over again. The things in Category "A" can usually bring more money to begin with; however there is also a lot more pressure. The things in Category "B" usually make less money per job; but tend to lead to multiple jobs.

Category "A" could include: Weddings, Sweet 16 Parties, Births, Graduation, and even death. Sound strange? Think about it; at a funeral, you have family and friends who may not have seen each other in years. Death is rarely expected, so often the subject has not had pictures in years. This is the last chance to get photos or memories. It's not an area people often think about; you have to sell them on the idea.

Category "B" could include: Drama Events, Sporting Events, Family Reunions, and Portraits. This category usually gets less money for the individual event, but not always. I have shot Family Reunions (for example) where I made more money in half an hour of shooting, than I make doing a wedding (five to six hours of shooting).

Always remember to shoot more than what you are asked for, or even more than you might think is enough. Especially with one time events, it is often impossible to go back and do it again. A person called me once and said they had a bunch of family coming over for Mothers Day, and asked if I could take a group shot. The longer we talked the more this sounded like a family reunion. My response was: "I can shoot the main group shot, but I will take other shots too. I make it a policy to never to only develop one or two shots on a roll."

I actually shot: The mother (with and without husband), the main Family Group, a four generation shot of Daughters, five individual family groups (with and without Mom), all the kids for the main family, all the kids of the individual families, all the couples from the individual families, all the grandchildren, and all the great grandchildren. Always shooting two or three shots, to make sure no one blinked.

They only asked for one shot, and I might have sold that one shot five or six times. But with what I offered, I got 24 individual orders, and many of those orders …

What is the Best Way to Invest Money?

What is the best way to invest money for you and for your children? Is it best to buy stocks, bonds or mutual funds? Considering the economic environment we're in, you might be thinking that it might be safer to hide your money under the mattress like grandma used to do!

What is the real secret that wealthy people know that keeps their money growing?

Everyone dreams of having a financially secure life. I personally do not know of anyone who actually wants or plans on being poor, do you? It's just poor money habits, a lack of basic money skills and having no set goals that makes and keeps people in a poor financial state. You'll have a huge advantage of building a substantial nest egg if you become financially intelligent. All you need to do is learn and practice a few wealth-building techniques. Make sure to pass these on to your children. It will mean the world of difference to your children's future if you teach them the following principles as early as possible:

THE BEST WAY TO INVEST MONEY – TECHNIQUE # 1 YOU MUST THINK LONG TERM

Look at a twenty or thirty year chart of the stock market, for example the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average). You will not see the price of the stock going straight up nor will you see the price of the stock going straight down. The line on the graph zigzags up and down, meaning that there are some money making days and some money losing days.

From 1970 up until present, the DJIA has moved up, going from about $ 750.00 per share in 1970 to about $ 11,000.00 as I'm looking at it today. If you had invested in the DJIA back in the 70's, you'd have a fairly good return on your money today, despite all the down days and years in between. Historically, the stock market has moved up (about 13 percent a year over the long term). If you look at the chart, you will see corrections from time to time. These corrections are when stock prices go down, sometimes by five to twenty percent. Sometimes you will hear people say that we are in a "bear market". This is when the stock market declines by twenty or more percent. Ouch!

These bear markets happen every three or four years, and long-term investors do not get too bent out of shape when this occurs. This is a normal part of investing and is just part of the cycle of the stock market. It's not necessary to watch the stock market on a daily basis when you know you'll be holding your stocks for the long run. These corrections provide an excellent opportunity to buy more of your favorite stocks at a discounted price. The longer you invest, the more all the ups and downs even out. These ups and downs are referred to as "volatility", which is another word for risk. It's safe to say …

The 7 MUST Do's When Pitching Your Company for Funding

  1. Be prepared. In the initial pitch you have a limited amount of time to cover all aspects of your deal. Highlight all essential elements, preferably in a structured sequence. The more solid the framework, the more it appeals to seasoned and professional investors. No need to re-invent the wheel, you can use a proven pitch structure. I personally always hawk pitches for covering the 4 pillars of their foundation. These are Team, Market, Financial and Corporate structure and governance. If you clearly 'miss' one of them – I'm OUT.
  2. Raising funds for your company and managing the process is (almost) a full-time job. Help yourself and the prospective investors by professionalizing this. Use a streamlined flow of information through various stages of the due diligence. You must have a Data Room where you can direct, manage and interact with stakeholders. Just by raising the level of professionalism, you increase the chances of receiving funding. Money likes to follow professional, meticulous and prepared CEO's. Do not tell me, show me.
  3. Even the concept of bringing in outside shareholders changes the game. Many entrepreneurs, especially start-ups, do not clearly understand the ongoing implications. It's okay to be inexperienced, but I will pass when I sense ignorance in this department. Because ultimately, my fate as a shareholder is directly related to the CEO's understanding of this. Please address this as it is important to (prospective) shareholders you're asking for funding.
  4. Understand it's a numbers game for you. One of the largest miscalculations I've witnessed over and over again is that entrepreneurs overestimate the ability to raise funds. Lots of competition as we said earlier. No matter how GREAT your opportunity, you will be returned by at least 90{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc} of the prospective investors. One of the best tips I can give to the CEO's I working with, is to generate a PIP-list (Professional Investor Prospect List). I recommend you spend a reasonable amount of time here. Categorize by geography, size, and their investment focus, stage. This becomes your central working document. Secondly, please budget for your fund raising round. Invest some dollars, even if you do not have many, in order to set yourself up for success in completing the financing. As a rule of thumb, budget for 2-3{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc} upfront and 7-10{4917788a0bd7aa7369c2a945027b4fe6c9853cda4150a24fe1255b18ce3083dc} at the back end of your round (depending on the size of the round of course).
  5. Avoid the Biggest Turn-Off pitfall. One of the hardest parts in Direct Investments is VALUATION. Countless entrepreneurs have (in my eyes) ridiculous expectations in regards to their company valuation. Often solidified by sharp 'hockey-stick' financial projections (always in the future). It's perfectly fine to be optimistic and somewhat opportunistic when evaluating your equity. As a professional investor, I always assess for risk-adjusted calculations. Your valuation should be a fair and realistic derivative from your plan and numbers. Not an arbitrary number.
  6. Every beginning has an end. You're asking me to invest along with you to make your venture a success. Not the operational success is what