If you were at WPPI this week, you're probably pretty tired right now. You're probably just finding your way back in to the real world. I know this is true, because I still see the tweets about the experience. I know this is true because I'm right there.
After wandering the trade-show, attending incredible platform sessions, and partying far too long into the morning, coming home can be both a relief - and even a let down in some ways.
As you process and de-compress, here are a few things I try to keep in mind. Hopefully they'll be helpful to you too!
1. STAY FOCUSED
"Sensory Overload," is probably the term that most describes the experience photographers share at WPPI. Whether it's your first time or not, there are more things to take in, than any human can possibly absorb. It's likely that you left exhausted and feeling a little like your head might explode. That's normal.
The key is, now that you're home, you have to stay focused. As you flip through the hundreds of flyers, and brochures, and promos, and notes you took - remember the point of it all: to be better. Hopefully, you went to WPPI with a goal. You went with something in mind that you needed to be better at. You went with something your business needed. You went with something in mind that would help you grow.
Whatever that one thing was - focus in on that. Maybe it was a goal of being better at lighting. Maybe it was to get help in better marketing your business in your area. Maybe you wanted to expand your business. Whatever it was, don't let the overload of information you brought home, keep you from focusing on the things that will actually help you move forward.
In fact, I recommend you throw everything else away. Seriously. It seems worthwhile to hold on to all the pretty booklets, and catalogues, etc. It's not. I promise. I literally came home with ONE thing. I came home with one brochure about one type of product. It was the only thing I really needed for our business, and I didn't even bring anything else home with me.
If you're going to do anything right - you have to stay focused.
2. STAY INTENTIONAL
Now that we've established that we're going to focus on just a few things that we really need to work on, it's important to set yourself up for success by being intentional about the decisions you make. If your goal was to develop new lighting skills, practice! If your goal was to create new marketing pieces, hire a designer.
Once you've narrowed your focus, it's important to start putting things into place to help you move forward - AND to stay accountable. Just saying you have a goal isn't enough - goals don't happen by accident.
Make wise decisions about the information you collected, and develop a plan that helps you move forward. Do things ON PURPOSE. Get a Goal, Get a Plan, Get Busy.
3. STAY CONNECTED
Finally, you probably met a few people at WPPI. These are your peers, and they can be one of your greatest assets in this industry. Most of us work alone, or with a very small group of people around us. Most of us are photographers AND the business owner/boss. Some people are fortunate to do this with a team - but the vast majority are in it alone. Alone can be a lonely place, so take advantage of the relationships you formed.
Keep in touch with the people you rubbed shoulders with, and reach out to the people that inspired you. The shared experiences we all have can make us stronger - but only when we stick together.
Since it's impossible to really connect with all 14,000 people at WPPI, I encourage you to reach out to a few of the people you most resonated with. I especially encourage you to reach out to people from your own area - because relationships only work when there is proximity. Sure, the virtual world is great - but nothing beats face to face time with people you can build a connection with.
You probably have a stack of business cards from people you met. Take 10 minutes and shoot everyone of them a nice note by email. You'll be surprised what that connection can mean. Even better - take 20 minutes and write a few handwritten notes. You'll make someone's day.
What would you add to the list?