19 May 2008 Ask a Guru Challenge
But sending five emails or making five phone calls isn’t difficult. The challenge is in creating a question that derives a response, and that the response enables you to significantly improve your microstock portfolio, workflow or strategy.
Since starting this blog I’ve received more advice from industry leaders than I can recall, so thankfully much of it has gone into blog posts. The requests for this information all had three things in common: they come from industry gurus, masters and leaders; they asked something useful; and, the questions were asked respectfully. Here’s some more information on those three things to help you meet the challenge of receiving five pieces of advice that make a meaningful difference to your microstock career by the end of the week.
Where to Find Microstock Gurus
To get the most out of this challenge you need to aim high, so pick ‘gurus’ and notice if you find yourself picking safe options.
You may already have people in mind whose work you admire. If not, simply find out who possesses a skill or characteristic that you wish to develop. It might be photographic skill, knowledge of the market, or a personal characteristic such as dedication or attention to detail.
Other sources of inspiration are my series of Microstock Celebrity profiles and the lists of top microstock contributors which can be found at some microstock agencies.
While microstock contributors are an obvious choice, don’t overlook the wealth of information to be found among microstock agency executives and industry commentators.
It’s usually easy to contact such people via sitemail on a microstock agency website or via details on a website contact page. If you’re having difficulty contacting a particular person and you think it might be someone I know, send it to me and I’ll forward it on if I can or let you know if I can’t.
Ask Something Useful
In my experience gurus are both generous and busy. I recommend thinking carefully about your question so that you can maximize the benefit you derive from the response without requiring too much of the guru.
Some suggested topics are workflow technique, preferred metrics, management issues, what it takes to succeed, and opinions on the industry.
Honor and Respect
This is the most important part. Gurus become gurus through working hard and working smart. To honor their achievements and improve your chances of getting a helpful response you need to be respectful. Some simple guidelines to respectfully asking a question of a guru:
- Avoid asking personal questions, questions about earnings, or anything that would divulge a competitive advantage
- Ask just one short question but make it a good one
- Read their website/blog/profile first as they’re less likely to respond to requests for information that is already publicly available
- Make it as easy as possible for the guru to give you a meaningful answer by preparing and checking your question, providing your contact information, and avoiding requests which take time (such as “can you review my portfolio?”)
I’ll share my outcomes at the end of the week, but I’m interested to see what others will be asking. Leave any suggestions of gurus, topics and questions in the comments.