We were lucky to catch up with Stephen Martin recently and have shared our conversation below.
Stephen, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Let’s start with what makes profitability in your industry a challenge – what would you say is the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is simply asking for your worth from your clients and understanding when a client doesn’t get it and to move on. The joke of “what’s your rate vs whats your budget” and the first to answer loses can be all too true as a creative freelancer. But by undermining the industry standards you don’t just hurt your end dollar, but you hurt the culture and process for everyone else along the way. A hard challenge here is still demanding that worth when you are working with a middle man or woman to connect with a client. If that agency or marketing department is offering photography in a package to a client but is expecting you to take a cut on your cost so they can retain their profit margins isn’t fair across the board and is too common a practice that can wear you down.
Find your worth, work hard to keep increasing your value, and know when to just walk away from an opportunity, because you’ll have something better soon if you’re a creative that sticks to your guns.
Stephen, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am a 30 somethings outdoor photographer who over the years found a passion in creating commercial content for meaningful organizations. Through networking and connections, I found a path to doing impactful work for the city of Colorado Springs and other great businesses in Colorado and beyond.
While my passion began in photography, I have since grown my skills to offering full video production and design to meet my own and future clients needs.
I am most proud of the impact my work has had and the individuals it has reached during times of need, I am proud that I have created this business from the ground up, and am excited to see where I, alongside fellow creatives support, will reach to in the near future.
Have you ever had to pivot?
Specifically, the last few years have left a lot of doubt in the minds of creatives as to what to do to navigate the pandemic and industry changes. Before the pandemic, I was striving to work mostly with outdoor industry organizations with a goal of traveling often through adventure and tourism opportunities.
This changed so much due to our world changing but the adjustments I made truly made the difference for my path forward. I was able to focus on more local jobs, build new relationships with organizations like our Chamber & EDC, Downtown Partnership, and other non profit entities that needed to digitalize so much of their word to continue to reach those in need. Weathering the worst of it all, I was able to come out of the lockdown I was able focus on the work I had in front of me while still defining clear goals for what to do next.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
What truly helped me build a good reputation within my industry was and still is my work ethic coupled with my desire to be creative. While in the military, my creative avenues were stifled often, but at the time I was unaware of the lifelong skills and abilities I was learning that have now translated into key factors in how I run my business.
These core Army values are important to me in separating myself from others in my market through professionalism, determination, and my willingness to get the job done right. As said before, maintaining all of these helps me leave the logistics and business side of the work behind when its time to be creative and let that creativity flow in my photos and video. Having this background to fall back on really makes what I do for a job fun and rewarding, and overall successful.
- Website: www.explorewithmedia.com
- Instagram: @explorewithmedia
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-g-martin
All Images are mine // explorewithmedia