My Goals for 2013 / by Neil Alexander

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District

WIth the flipping over of a new year on the calendar, I've spent a little time reflecting on how 2012 was for me, and where I'd like to be this time next year. I was brave enough to knock out a post in January last year sharing with you what my goals were for the year ahead. So before I share my plans for the forthcoming year, I'll briefly re-visit 2012 - you can find the original post here. (I'll be posting my best images from the year in a future post).

In no particular order, they were:

  • Attain further accreditations. Didn't fare too well here, though I did try. After my failed LRPS panel, I spent more time focusing on my business than attempting to obtain further credentials.
  • Put on an exhibition. Faired slightly better here. I've had half a dozen pieces up in the Double Tree by Hilton in Piccadilly as part of the Manchester In Art exhibition. And partly due to the popularity, an extension is pending. No sales mind.
  • Get a magazine cover. Not even really tried here.
  • More networking. Networking is one of the essential aspects of being a freelancer, and I've put a great deal of effort in here. Primarily through BNI but also through other events, and it has served me well. Don't get me wrong, it's not something that I particularly enjoy doing but I'm getting much better and more confident at it. Though lately my social networking has noticeably taken a nose dive.
  • Plan more. Yeah yeah. Who doesn't need to plan more, and to be quite frank I've completely fallen on my rear here. 
  • Publish a book. On return from my latest trip to Portugal, I did put together another Blurb book. It's progress, but not quite what I'd envisaged.
  • Work on my travel writing. Another complete fail.
  • Charity work. I had hoped to get involved in Help Portrait in 2012, but I then cancelled as I was scheduled to be out of the country. The trip never came off.
  • Gym...… Hmmm, I've lost 8kg. That's about all I can say on that one.

And so with that litany of failures behind me, here's what I would like  to achieve in 2013:

  • Travel writing. I've put a great deal of thought over recent months into what I want to shoot, how I want to brand be perceived, who I'd like to work with and how I can strengthen my business. Being able to skilfully craft even a short travel story, I feel would hugely benefit not only me as a photographer but more importantly my business. 
  • Magazine Front cover & magazine submissions. All part of the grand plan for this year that I'm currently in the process of putting together. I'd love to get some top quality magazine covers under my belt.
  • Mentored. Over the years I've done courses, attended numerous workshops and generally worked very hard in my own little bubble on my craft and I'm confident that I can perform well in most situations. So now I feel that it's time to get someone far more advanced than myself to help me get that 'edge' to my work in an attempt to rise above the competition.
  • Agent representation. If I'm to move more into the advertising, PR and marketing fields, which is the way I seem to be heading, I believe that in order to get the big clients I need to seek out an agent to represent me. Often the big clients won't pursue photographers directly but will use intermediaries such as agents in order to sift the wheat from the chaff. I want to be up there with the wheat!
  • Shoot more personal - shooting more really isn't a problem, it's the editing time I have issues with.
  • Learn video? Still undecided with this one. I've been spending more and more time shooting short clips on my phone and sequencing them, adding soundtracks etc but professional quality video is a whole different ballgame. It's going to cost me, in time and in gear and I'm not entirely convinced that I need to add video to my arsenal but I love to learn new things. So this is a maybe.
  • Structured marketing campaign. I'm working on this at the moment, and have been since the turn of the year but it's no small task. All too often life and business gets in the way of proper planning, so I've been tending to find that this is easier to focus on out of hours. But "out of hours" doesn't really provide me with all that much time. 

And that's pretty much. I've tried to reign in my tasks for the year ahead. I find it all too easy to spread myself too thin and then never actually achieve anything. So I've taken the philosophy this year that less is more. Let's see how far I get.

Would love to hear yours. Feel free to comment below.