As for the vision for the blog, I have decided to focus more on what I am good at: Adventure and trying new things. After talking to many people about my passions and things I have already accomplished, I have been told that turning myself from a shy conserved person into a thrill seeking, world traveling, throw myself into uncomfortable situations kind of person is what interests people the most. They also ask me how I did it which made me realize other people like me are out there and looking for help to get more adventure into their lives. That’s where I come in and that’s where A World of Inspiration comes in. I changed the “About” section to reflect this. I hope you all still enjoy it and follow me. The type of posts will still be inspirational and won’t differ to much from what they have been.
So on we go!
A few months ago, I came across a site called www.mattkoenigphotography.com. After contacting him, I found out that he is working a work time job but trying to turn his passion for photography into a full-time business. Matt has some great values and I love that he is trying to make a go out of his passion rather than conforming to daily job routine. He also has a wife and kids which makes it even more challenging. That’s what life is about though. Challenging yourselves to constantly improve your situation whether increasing cash flow, quality of life, or anything else you feel needs to be improved.
Matt and I did an interview about his quest for a location independent lifestyle developed around his passion. Check it out!
How long have you been running an online business?I’ve been interested in photography since the early 80’s but haven’t really started working to create a lifestyle that allowed me to do it full time until recently. Right now I am trying to decide what my business really is. I enjoy photography and I’ve been told that other people enjoy my photos as well which is really what I am shooting for. If through my photography I can bring a smile to a person’s face or spark an emotional response then that makes me happy.
Currently I sell prints through RedBubble but I haven’t really kicked that up to the level I would like. The main issue right now is that I work a full time job and creating my own photography business is done in my free time which with working and raising a family is very limited. But there are quite a few people that started out this way so I tend to think that with the right amount of passion and perseverance anything is possible
Right now I am designing a series of motivational/inspirational posters and greeting cards using my photos. I should have those done and start marketing them in late August. I’m also working on a weekly series aimed at teaching people how to use many of the features of their dSLR complete with real world examples. I also have ideas for getting into food photography so I’ve got lots of pans in the fire so to speak and will just see which ones seem to generate the most interest.
What made you decide to turn your passion into an online business/blog?
I find I am the happiest when I am doing something that relates to photography be it taking photos, editing images or talking to people about photography. So I figured why not try and create a lifestyle that allows me to do what I love to do full time. One of my dreams is to live in Indonesia. My wife is Indonesian and I’d like to give my kids a taste of the other half of their culture. So this has been the incentive to create a business that would allow me to work from anywhere in the world and be virtually location independent. I’ve connected with quite a few people who are doing this however; most of them are young and single so I need to figure out how to do the same with the added complexity of a family. So I guess you would say the incentive has always been to ultimately work for myself rather than for someone else.
Is your site your full time business now?
No, I have a full time 40 hour a week job that is my sole source of income currently. My goal is to build up my business to the point where I can transition to doing what I love full time. I suppose I could make a go of it and try and jump in with both feet and either sink or swim but I’ve got a family to support as well so I’m playing it a bit safe right now and testing the waters first. I guess you could say I am just trying to figure it all out as I go.
What were some of the struggles you faced when opening up an online business?
I don’t really feel that I have opened the doors yet but I can speak a bit about the struggles I have faced so far. The largest struggle by far has been dedicating the time to put into the business. As I mentioned above I work full time with my primary job and am also a father and husband so my time is really limited. I work on the business early in the morning before heading off to my job, during my lunch breaks, in the evenings and on the weekends. And yet I still find that I need more time to develop some ideas that I have. It’s been a challenge to prioritize my life so that I’m not spread too thin.
I’ve also struggled with how to market the products that I have been developing. How do I drive traffic to my site and not just any traffic but highly focused traffic of people that would be most interested in purchasing what I have to offer? I could have the greatest site in the world but if no one can find it what good does it do me? So I’ve really struggled with learning more about SEO and marketing and then applying that to my sites.
Another issue I’ve had to deal with is where to sell? Should I open my own online store and process orders myself or use a service like RedBubble or Etsy? While I currently sell through RedBubble I am on the fence with this one. I think eventually I will sell and process orders with my own shopping cart system and own fulfillment center because I like the control over the final product this affords me.
Did you have any mentors/role models along the way or to this day?
I’m a huge fan of Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-conformity. I love his approach to life and his blog has been instrumental in focusing my energy to creating the lifestyle I really want to live. I’m currently going through his Empire Building Kit which I have found extremely valuable in providing information I need to build my business.
I also like Sean Ogle of Location 180 who quit his day job and moved to Thailand where he lives a location independent lifestyle and helps others overcome the fear of doing something similar with their own lives.
What types of marketing have you done to promote your site/products?
Currently I have not done any marketing to promote my site. I’ve done a guest post over at Location 180 on dealing with fear and I’ve tried to connect and reach out to people across my niche. One thing I never lose sight of is to help people every chance I get. To me this is truly what life is all about. Sure it’s nice to make a few bucks but ultimately being able to help others and make a difference in lives is so much more important and goes a long way to changing the world we live in.
Any tips for the aspiring online entrepreneur?
If you have any good tips I’m all ears! Seriously though, I don’t really consider myself qualified to answer this question. I guess where I am currently at I would encourage those like myself who are just starting out to reach out to people online who are in a similar niche. First see how you can help others and through that process you will make connections and people will be more willing to help you in return. It’s the whole give and you will receive mentality which I firmly believe in.
Favorite inspiring quote or story you would like to share?
One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” This quote really sings to me when I think about what I want to do with my life. I could play it safe and continue to march along the safe and secure path and always wonder “what if?” Or I could take a risk, bulldoze my way through the wall of fear and see what happens. This is what inspires me to continue putting time and effort into my passion of photography and work even harder to create a life from it. And I think this is really what life should be about…traveling from one adventure to the next.
You can follow Matt Koenig by visiting www.mattkoenigphotography.com
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