mentorship

AIBP - Creating a Sense of Community - Membership Has Its Privileges

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As some of you may or may not know, I belong to an esteemed group of Boudoir Photographers. Collectively, we are known as the Association of International Boudoir Photographers (AIBP). Erin Zahradka, founded the organization in 2009 along with the help of Cate Scaglione, Jennifer Tallerico and Jesus Bernardo the AIBP community was born.

 We proudly boast having members who hail from 6 continents around the globe. We are 676 members strong and constantly growing. Our message and mission is clear and centers on the empowerment of women through photography.   Additionally, our focus is to elevate the standards of boudoir photography through education and connections in order to enhance the experience of our clients.

Not only do we set the highest professional standard when it comes to boudoir photography but we also raise the bar for the boudoir-photography industry. The sense of community that has been created over the years since the group was founded is just incredible to me. It feels like a family where we can all rely on one another, reach out to one another and get the support that is needed whenever it is needed and that doesn’t just go as far as photography needs. The members of the group are always willing to help out its members should a member be in need for a personal matter as well. We are there for each other plain and simple and it’s such a wonderful community to be a part of.

This is not just a collection of hobbyist or enthusiast photographers. It is a group of working professional, knowledgeable and talented boudoir photographers from around the world.

I should add…we aren’t ALL WORK and no play! There are weekly contests, workshops, retreats and mentorship programs. Hell we even have our own magazine, Philsophie, which provides opportunities for members of the group to submit their work for publication. There are shooting tips, daily discussions around boudoir photography and we are constantly striving to get the boudoir photography industry the recognition this niche of so rightly deserves.

I have been a member of AIBP for 3 years now and this is one of the best organizations I have ever been involved with. It’s not just a FB group, or an online community. It truly is a community where lifelong friendships are forged and a sense of family created. It’s inclusive, helpful, encouraging and a place I feel welcome. I honestly cannot even count the amount of times this collective of amazing photographers AND people have helped me out. If you as a photographer are reading this blog post right now and perhaps on the fence about joining the group, DO NOT even give it a second thought, JOIN TODAY! I promise you will NOT be disappointed. The AIBP community’s value is far beyond measure. Special thank you Erin Zahradka and ALL the AIBP Members for EVERYTHING you do EVERY DAY!

Giving Back To The Community - Everybody Wins

As a business owner, giving back to your community is such an integral part of who we are and who we should be as entrepreneurs. It’s almost as though there should be an unwritten rule about giving back in the entrepreneur handbook (of course there is no such book). Although, I believe it really shouldn’t be “unwritten” and there really should be a handbook or guide of do’s and don’ts but that’s a whole other topic.
A couple of nights ago I had the esteemed pleasure of attending an incredible event. The event was put on by a woman named Katia Millar, a woman to whom I was informally introduced by a mutual friend a few months ago. She started a meet up group called Positive Fabulous Women in 2008 and let me tell you, she is positive AND nothing short of fabulous. What this woman has done for thousands of women across the GTA and her community is astounding. Her network of female members, followers and fans is 8000 plus and continually growing. She organizes monthly events with guest speakers, live twitter chats and webinars for her members. These members donate door prizes from their business, whether it be tangible prizes or one on one mentoring sessions from their individual businesses.
These events are held with the purpose of women getting together to network, discuss their businesses, goals, aspirations and most importantly build each other up, support and empower one another. Not only are they members of this network but they all give back to the community in one way or another, whether it be through mentorship or simply what they do as entrepreneurs on a daily basis. It truly is inspiring to be in their presence.
As an attendee and being one of the only men in the entire room, I have to say it was a little intimidating but the experience was without a doubt, three of the most inspiring hours of my life. What an incredible experience, listening to some of these women share their stories of building their businesses from the ground up. Sharing their successes as well as some of their failures because we all know, without failure there is no success. It was truly a magical evening. If any of my female readers are thinking about going into business or may already be a seasoned entrepreneur, I highly recommend you go to one of the Positive Fabulous Women events, I can guarantee you will walk away filled with inspiration! It will be 3 of the most valuable hours of your career. I honestly wish I could attend these sessions but sadly they are restricted to women only.

I strongly encourage all business owners to donate their time to some community cause or event, it will leave you feeling fulfilled. I know for me personally donating my time as a photographer for the event the other night, it did exactly that for me and I will definitely be doing more of that in the future.
I would just like to say thank you to Katia Millar for allowing me to be part of and the brief glimpse into her incredible world that is Positive Fabulous Women.

New Paths - On The Journey to Success

Have you ever had an idea or vision in your head of how things should go exactly and then realize it was very different from how things were actually progressing in the real world? Well that’s where I am right now with my photography business. I am sure there are a ton of people out there who have struggled with or gone through the same thing. I am stuck at the proverbial fork in the road, one path will lead me down the same route I am on right now with little to no progress and the other will lead me to progression in my career with some help.

I am anticipating my photography career to be a long and winding road. Soon I will embark on a new and exciting path and I am so excited and open to all the challenges and possibilities which I am sure will come with this new adventure. I am ready for a change in paths and ready to embrace the unknown of where this is going to take me.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help from people, if you ask, you will find that most of the time people are more than willing to help out with your journey. I am speaking of mentorship! I have decided to try mentorship and I couldn’t be more excited, nervous and scared for this new path and change. As I mentioned in my previous post, change is a good thing and we need to embrace that change and take the opportunities that come our way with vigor and enthusiasm.

Mentorship can only be a very positive thing, when you think about it, this is someone else who has been in the same or similar position you are now and they are willing to bestow their knowledge and life experience upon you, giving you the guidance you need to help you succeed. Your mind will be opened to new possibilities, thought processes and approaches to work and business. How can this be anything but a positive experience? I am looking forward to it and all the possibilities that could come my way on this new path.

Image courtesy of thepottershandacademy.com

Mentorship - It Has It's Priveleges

Mentorship has got to be one of the greatest things ever. What else allows you to pick the brains of experts in your particular field of work or interest for FREE?

I mean first things first, you have to find someone willing to mentor you and secondly someone that has the time. The latter is probably the most difficult part as it would seem to me that everyone appears to be getting busier and busier in their lives which doesn’t allow for much time to mentor someone. That being said, it’s not a free ride, you have to work at it just like anything else you want to succeed at in life. It certainly is great, not to mention incredibly helpful to have someone to turn to with questions, inquiries or advice.

I have had a little bit of experience in this particular area with regards to my own photography career in the past year. It has been great having a couple of different people that I can reach out to in order to obtain knowledge through their expertise. Now I wouldn’t call it full on mentorship by these two gentlemen but they have given me access to their individual wealth of knowledge on photography and business when they are able to make the time for me. Believe me, I appreciate this help more than any words could ever express. The knowledge I have gained from these mentor sessions has been extremely invaluable to me.

With regards to my particular situation when it comes to mentorship, well, let’s just say it is a little unorthodox. In describing it that way, I mean we usually do quarterly phone calls or skype meetings because that is what works for my mentors and me. Not ideal by any means yet still effective and it works for all involved parties so it’s a win win for everyone.

Whatever your career choice, interest, hobbies or aspirations may be, if the opportunity should present itself or you wish to seek out a mentor, I highly recommend and advise it. You will be that much wiser for making that choice and to be honest, it doesn’t cost you a dime for mentorship!

Image courtesy of cepvancouver.org