Thinking Around

With a lot of ideas floating around, there seems to always be space to network / chat / organize / and take time to think. I have to say that this has been a good week thus far and it continues. Though my networking hasn’t been moving forward as quickly as I like but at least I am getting responses from people like Bill Gates. Yes, I am aiming for anyone to network with, here is the latest response from Bill Gates’ Foundation. Any other ideas on how to just have coffee with these types of people? Anyone want to network now?

Here is the latest response from the Gates Foundation:

Dear Mr. Elliott,

Thank you for contacting the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

We appreciate your request to meet Mr. Gates. Unfortunately, due to his current level of commitments and the number of requests he receives, he is unavailable and must respectfully decline.

On behalf of the foundation, we wish you the best.


Sincerely,

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Grantee & Public Communications
www.gatesfoundation.org

Thought you would find it interesting…. Anyone want to chat about a few ideas in Augmented Reality / Entrepreneurship / Start-Ups / Artists / Ideas? My goal is simple, to creatively execute ideas.

Taking another Step

There have been many posts about topics along the lines of brainstorming and focusing but I come ashamedly to share that my mind has been working on a few tangents and ideas.

In essence, I need to join a ‘think tank’ and/or sell my ideas to fortune 500 companies that are in need of them. No matter what, I will keep these ideas rolling and I am here to share with you the latest and dorkiest idea that I’ve had in a few months.

Everyone wants to become wealthy and make a name for themselves. In essence, it is time to give the opportunity to those individuals and I think I found a way that feeds to a network on Fiverr.com through advertising. The idea is simple and called Deliberately Rich and gives an individual and/or business a full day of advertising on this site and on it’s following networks like twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

I truly wanted an idea that took around 15 minutes max, brought return visitors, and allowed the money to flow on two levels (those who buy the opportunity to be there and the advertisements that will be on the site as a whole through AdSense).  The idea is an easy opportunity to pull off with the availability of websites like Fiverr.com who focus on these such things.

Now, with the uniqueness of the idea there is a short span for the life of the business. And I am completely okay with that. I’ve spent about two hours total on the idea and the backend. I will probably work for another hour or so finishing up the touches. Then, it is time to launch and that is where you come in.

There seems to be a question that boggles my mind on how I ‘approved’ this quick idea when I have other ideas that need to be finished. This for me personally was the way I went about it:

  • Does this cause me to relax and/or be stressed?
  • Can I pull this off in less then two nights?
  • Will it profit me in a fun way?
  • Can I pull the plug at any moment with no loss?

So, if you are like me and have a lot of ideas all at once, ask yourself these questions and see if it can fit for fun. Knowing the answers to these gave me the approval I needed to go ahead with the idea and just have a little fun relaxing while building a random idea. Check it out, join in and get famous and/or truly deliberately rich.

KGG Music Video

If you have a moment, check out the youtube video that I did for Katie’s Got Guts! below… And, send your friends that direction as well. We shot this with the 5D Mark II a few months ago and then had a fun time editing it. We shot for about an hour or so just for fun and then editing over a few hours. If you want more details, lets start a conversation about it below…

Shot with the Canon 5D Mark II
Song Title: Odd Man’s World
Song Writer: Jacob Ashley

Photography at the Core

When I say that photography is my life, I mean that quite literally. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do, but it seriously takes up the majority of my time. Starting out (and standing out for that matter) in a market that is already filled to capacity with photographers of all skill levels takes a lot of time, networking, and unfortunately, working for free (however, in this industry, it’s normally called “TF” (trade for) or “pro bono.”) All of that is necessary to build your portfolio and get your name out there in hopes of one day being able to quit your day job, and making photography your full-time career, or getting signed by an agency (the latter of which I am trying to do right now.)

If you’re a new photographer, you may be asking, “What are ways of marketing yourself?” First of all, don’t just be a carbon copy of every other photographer in your area. In this industry, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, but it is the quickest way to make a lot of enemies in a short amount of time. When you’re just starting out, you may need help with ideas, but add your own twist to them. I found my “niche” in photography by mixing fashion photography and conceptual photography by using it to address issues/topics in culture/the media. Now, that’s not all I do, but that’s what I’m now known for in my area.

Next, you must get out and meet people. Go out and photograph fashion shows, get an account on modelmayhem.com, and always bring your business cards with you! Yes, you will have to work free for a while until you have a “good-enough” portfolio, but soon enough, people will be coming to you asking you to shoot.

Now, this next step, I don’t necessarily recommend, but it’s worked incredibly well for me. Find a person on facebook who you know is very well-known in your area, go to their friends page, and add a ton of people. Then, for whoever accepts you, “suggest” your photography page to them. Yes, I have to admit, facebook doesn’t like this, and probably at one point or another, will block you from adding anyone for a certain period of time, but I’ve found this tactic to work amazingly. (I went from about 100 “likes” on my page to nearly 700 in a few months.) Another thing you can do on facebook is to create an ad. I did this for a while, and only paid $1 a day to advertise my business. I highly recommend this.

Once you’ve done this, start marketing yourself. Upload your photos, get feedback, ask for reviews on your page, but most of all, always be gracious and thankful to people. If you’re good, people will tell you so. There are enough egos in this industry already. To go along with that, and this should go without saying, but don’t talk badly about people! I don’t care what they’ve done or not done-it will get back around to them, and the last thing that you need is to have a bad reputation.

Like I said earlier, once you start getting yourself out there, people will start coming to you for shoots. Here’s the part that I’ve struggled with, and am just recently starting to do more. Respect yourself and your pricing. If you don’t, no one else will. Along with that, even after finally developing a great and diverse portfolio, learn who is still worth working with for TF. For example, the models that helped you start out, or models that would significantly improve your body of work. Along with this, learning to frequently follow up with prospective clients is crucial.

The last tip I can give is to keep shooting. I can not emphasize this enough. Experiment, find inspiration through other photographers, magazines, whatever. Don’t ever think that you are done learning.

It can be a tough business, but if you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, it’s well worth it.

Remembering How

There are many times that I realize that I need to “clear the fog” and focus. I think this is a component of aiming for excellence and making a competitive edge for yourself. In essence, to succeed, we have a few things that we always need to do and are key components of success. These eight ideas come from TED.com and have started to influence me on many levels.

In short, being a digital artist at this moment at Carney means I like making graphics and I needed a way to ‘refocus’ my thought process for success and did that by creating this computer screen background. And, I thought I would offer it out for anyone who wanted it. Hope you enjoy and that it helps you focus for success, a daily activity of clearing the fog.

Click Here to Download

The Hardest Part, Execution

As you watch companies like Facebook or its now underdog MySpace, there seems to be this ‘aw’ and ‘astonishment’ to these brilliant ideas that Mark Zuckenberg and others came up with. I don’t mean to be little their ideas but so often we see the outside finished product and just think that it took a brilliant person to come up with such a grand idea.

Well, I am here to switch that thinking. I am positive that Mark Zuckenberg wasn’t the first person to think of an idea like Facebook. The truth is, we should be truly astonished by the fact that Zuckenberg executed this idea and made it truly happen, even if he wasn’t the first.

In a slow process, I’ve started to learn that the process of coming up with ideas isn’t the only hard part of building a business. Executing these dreams take the time and effort. In essence my personal tag line says “creatively – executing – ideas.” The more I read this tag the more I realize the depth of it. It isn’t simply about ideas but also the execution and creative problem solving that makes a brilliant idea.

It seems that there are three things you have to do to get a brilliant idea into a company that grows and astonishes others. Those simple three steps I think will build companies that are grand in nature for us “internet entrepreneurs”. Simply put:

  1. Lay the Ideas Out
  2. Problem Solve Creatively
  3. Understand how to Execute

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn, all took time and accomplished this while continuing this mindset throughout the grand growth of their companies. They, in their own business mindsets, creatively executed ideas and brought up the social networking world in a whole new realm that was unreached till they took the time to execute their creative ideas.

Contemplation is Key

Often when it comes to brainstorming, I’ve realized that I don’t contemplate the ideas for a extensive period of time. Simple as that, I don’t sit down and think over a concept after it has come into existence. There are moments on a regular basis that need simple time and contemplation rather then quick decisions.

Normally, I live by a statue of hurry and wait but I am starting to think that in moments of brainstorming and problem solving it revolves around waiting a bit and fully contemplating each idea.

I know for a fact that this is the cause of my father, Dr. Elliott. He has always encouraged me to contemplate specifically my business ideas from Randomly Famous to Living Hope, and now Random Rental.

So to the painless point of this, take time to think and understand. We live rushed lives and yet thinking is the power we control that can be slowed down. And personally, I want to control what I have control over and slow it down to contemplate ideas fully and “creatively – execute – ideas.”

True Discipline

Often I’ve been realizing that the most successful people are those who are truly disciplined. And, after watching myself for the last few weeks and trying to find out more about myself, I found a sad realization… I need to be more disciplined.

It is a simple fact for me but one that so far I’ve taken light heartedly until this morning when I thought about my day thus far. I realized that I pushed the snooze button three times, ate my breakfast quickly, rushed out the door, didn’t accomplish what I had planned for the morning, and now will have to make it up during lunch.

First off, discipline has a few different meanings depending on how you are looking at the word. The three points that I pulled from my glorious Apple Dictionary are below:

  • the controlled behavior resulting from such training
  • activity or experience that provides mental or physical training
  • a system of rules of conduct

So why do I share? This is the question that usually comes up in all of my posts on this blog. To “creatively – execute – ideas” I need to have discipline, a system of rules of conduct for my daily life. And, after talking to a few people I assume that this is something many of us are in need of for the race to success.

I don’t know if there are “seven steps to discipline” or “a four hour discipline regiment” but if there is, I don’t want to read it, I want to hear about it. I want your input, your thoughts, and your area of expertise in this. Two things that I really believe will help me and everyone else perform in a way that “creatively – executes – ideas.”

Plus, lets be honest, if we were to find the key to being disciplined, we would of found the key to success and that is something I am wanting to learn all about.

Continual Ideas

For a little while I’ve tried to figure out why my mind comes up with random ideas on a regular basis. I am not just talking about new entrepreneurial ideas but also business solutions, inventions, systems, and performance styles.

So, how and why does this occur a lot of the time for me? I think it is because my mind is set in a continual circle and debate aligned with the idea of brainstorming. No, I am not saying that my ideas are amazing or the next potential ‘big hit’. I see myself as attempting a million, failing a billion, and succeeding at a few. The ride is the part that I enjoy, the completion and success is what I drive for.

The tag line I live by came from this theory, “creatively – executing – ideas”. I come up with creative (not always great) ideas. I try to continually execute each one, even if that means I run them into the ground. And, both of these things occur because of a continuous soup bowl of ideas venturing in and out of my mind.

In simple form, that is how Random Rental came about. I was chatting on the phone with a friend in California who started WebConnect, realized that I wish I could rent out the things I don’t use on a regular basis, wrote it down and left it there. Then, as the day went on I listened to conversations, probed the idea into people’s minds, listened to responses, and heard about hundreds of things that lay around a house wasting away.

Aletheia pointed out many ways that we could use it for our home life from the lawnmower to the rake… The GPS unit to our books. And, my mind continued to go into a realm of brainstorming by labeling the problem I saw, adding in the solution I wanted to see, knowing what I personally wanted to add to the business idea and get out of the venture as a whole.

Random Rental will open its doors in the near future, less then a few months for the best and/or for the worst. Depending on the use we will find out if it is a amazing idea or a failing idea. Though, no matter what I’ve stuck to my tag line of “creatively – executing – ideas”. And, my theory is that everyone comes up with ideas on a regular basis but we don’t stick with them long enough and/or remember them. My solution…

Write down every thought and remember, you may have the next Facebook/ExemplaryPerformance/Apple/Google idea!

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