Lights. Camera. Therapy.

Have you ever met a photographer who can also be a psycho-therapist? Or maybe a plastic surgeon who is also a fitness model? What makes you special and different at your job? Can you charge extra for that? 

It was never easy to be the best in your profession or area of expertise. Everyone would do it if it were easy. 

In showbiz, we see very often how demands can be set high, and how unfair the industry is. Mostly because it’s a cruel industry, but also because performers are exposed to the public in every possible way due to the nature of their job. Often it’s not enough that someone is a good actor or a good singer. We see that most of the top performers are at the same time fantastic actors, amazing singers, charismatic TV personalities, they look fantastic (some with, but some without the help of nip and tuck). On top of this, some of them can also direct or write, compose music, or dance like a pro dancer. Even with all listed above, success is not guaranteed and very often you will hear that what is needed on top is some kind of X factor. Something special, authentic, and unique that will make you stand out in the crowd of other amazing and almost perfect people. 

What does this look like in “normal” jobs? Is it enough to be a good buyer? Good communications manager? Good dentist? Is it required to multitask too much? Are we now asked to be at the same time subject experts and exceptional leaders? Goal-oriented but mindful of the wellbeing of our associates? Or in the small and medium business zone – innovators and communicators? Micro-influencers and delivery guys? Chefs and accountants? Was it always like that? Or is it exposure to the public view, that we experience every day if we are active participants of the social media arena, something that changed the game in the last 10 years?

A while ago, an unusually high price for a photo session attracted my attention. I’m always happy when I see people who know how to earn good money with non-essential services. I do not appreciate expensive services when people are in need and when their health or lives are compromised. But I was also intrigued as to why a not-so-famous photographer with modest references can charge five times the average price for a portrait photo session? I started reading some reviews and details of the offer and talking to some customers, and I realized that this photographer is offering a therapy session. Photographs are just the convenient end product, but what is expected from the model to do and what the photographer is offering is much closer to counseling. Not the real psycho-therapy, but counseling and coaching session where therapartist (a new word that I have just invented) and client are working on anxiety, self-esteem, and self-respect. Boosting confidence in the best possible way. In years behind us, maybe it would be enough that you do a fresh haircut and put a nice new item of clothing on, and you could fix some minor issues that you have. Also, in the past, you would hire a photographer only for a very special event. But today, when we are broadcasting our lives 24/7 and we have to do many things in parallel to keep our complicated lives on track – your photos must step-up and at the same time, you must do something for your wellbeing. When it comes to a smart photographer – I applaud their amazing skill to understand clients’ needs and to create new, premium service at a time when it’s questionable if photographers can survive if they are doing just regular photography. Instead of offering more services for free, they are offering new, combo service for more money. Brilliant! 

While I can say that everyone is (or trying to be) a photographer, not everyone can be a plastic surgeon. But never the less, not all plastic surgeons are successful even with the increasing demand. I was reading the article about a guy who is a plastic surgeon and at the same time – a model. Male, fitness model. He looks quite close to perfection. I checked his Instagram profile and his clients, mostly women but also some men, are impressed with every photo he posted. And he is posting surgery pics and results, but also his shirtless photos, wet T-shirt photos, and gym sessions. And clients are all asking for a booking but he is full until late 2022. My first thought was – I would prefer that my surgeon (of any kind) spends more time reading about developments in modern medicine and practicing his skills, instead of lifting weights in the gym. But, a few hours at the gym are making this guy a full package and unique offer on the market. Also, for him, instead of spending more hours in surgery, he is charging more per client and spending the rest of his time in the gym. Again – brilliant! Clients are not buying just a new younger face or bigger breasts or penis, they are buying an idea that they can be his partners or maybe copy his lifestyle and success. He represents the perfection that they are all coming to buy when they are buying a surgery. We are paying a premium for the service if we believe that we are buying more than just this service. That we are buying a lifestyle and love or erotic fantasy. Old news, but getting new shapes and opening new opportunities. 

Personally, on purpose or just by accident, I have been selling for a while now a concept of a writer in a corporation. Am I the best writer? Not even close. Am I the best public affairs executive? Nope. But combined, I was (at least until now) and I am good enough and interesting enough to my “customers” to make career progress. 

For many years I was obsessed with the idea that you have to master everything that you do and to be the best in what you are doing, or there is no point in doing it. Today, I think that whoever taught me this was a good person with the wrong ideas. Or maybe this was simply in my DNA. 

I’m working with a group of young, bright, and talented people at the moment. A real pleasure. And they often ask me for advice on how to progress in their careers. I always say, there are a couple of paths that you can take. You can simply be by far the best in what you are doing. Also, you can be a ruthless, manipulative, backstabber. But what you can also do – you can create your point of differentiation and the unique service that will earn a premium for your company, but also yourself. It’s a shame to restrict yourself only to one interest and one career. 

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