I was a little vague on yesterday’s post/question about doing the right thing or the profitable thing. It wasn’t necessarily on purpose, just how it came out. Some people speculated that I was talking about not charging enough or making photography more affordable, or possibly talking about doing immoral or unethical things for profit. Neither was really on my mind.
I was more concerned with the idea that the “right” thing to do rarely seems like the best course of action from a business perspective. For instance, if I really wanted to grow this site and monetize the shit out of it I’d do a lot of gear reviews. I’d post more inspirational stuff and tell people to follow their dreams. I’d whore out every affiliate product out there. The audience would grow much faster and I’d make money from this site. That isn’t what I think would be “right” for this site (but it certainly isn’t unethical) but it would sure be a great business move.
In photography I know that things would be better if I edited every image by hand and perfected everything before delivering to the client. But most of us don’t do that because it isn’t profitable. We know that our album designs are tasteful and that the client wants to cram as many onto the page as possible. We know that clients don’t use the digital files and yet in many cases we settle for them as a primary deliverable.
I suppose what I’m wondering about is degrees of “rightness” and where on the scale we draw the line? Most of us to the right thing, but do we always commit to doing the “rightest” thing? Is there a measurable benefit to doing the rightest thing instead of just the easiest right thing? Can you quantify and sell the “rightest” or are clients just looking for “good enough”?
I’ve just sort of been ruminating on this issue for a while. I have a record number of people coming to me asking for help because they aren’t booking as much as they would like. I struggle sometimes because the biggest part of me wants to suggest building a crazy-committed brand that only does the rightest of right things. But I’m seeing evidence that taking the easiest, showiest, oftentimes least committed way out seems to be more salable.
The easy thing to do is to tell you all that everything will be OK, and that the rightest thing always wins out in the end. I’m not sure if that is the rightest thing to tell you?