Holiday Wishes 2011

I’m not a big Christmas person. I like the food, spending time with loved ones and the spirit of the season, but by the time we get around to it, I’m usually just waiting for the jingle bells to stop and Santa to go back on vacation. I hope this doesn’t automatically classify me as Naughty.

2011 has been a stressful year for me to say the least. More precisely, I would call it my least favorite of the 35 years I have been alive. Marred by death and disease, dealing with Life became the main and often only focus point. I never got the traction I was hoping for to push Another Passion as far as it deserves.

When Christmas rolls around this year, my wife will be nearly done with her radiation treatments. That’s what I am looking forward to the most, not just because of her being Cancer free and finished with treatment, but because it also symbolizes that we’re finally heading for a fresh start and better times.

If I am allowed to wish for more than that, it would be for a busy 2012. I have so many things I would like to do, in terms of growing Another Passion, but also various other projects – from apps to video, photo shoots to writing – but I need the resources to get it all done; time and money both!

I can only do so much as a single individual and having had my own life turned upside down in recent months, it has become clear that help is needed to keep up productivity when Life throws you a curveball. So I’m wishing for an assistant and/or an intern to help out! I would have taken on an intern already, if I weren’t working out of my home with a sick wife and two insane cats.

Wonderfully unexpected and possibly best thing about 2011 for me, has been the outpour of support from friends, acquaintances and strangers all. The community support during the hardest weeks around Kelly’s surgery was absolutely amazing – and continues to help both her and I through dealing with healing, hospitals and everything in between. From notes and emails to flowers and cards, everyone who has reached out, has touched us.

If I may have one final wish this holiday, it will be for my fellow creative and artistic friends to have an inspired, productive and successful 2012.

Life, Business and Bad News

In the last few weeks it seems my world has gotten smaller in almost every sense. It started when my wife’s health took a hit and she was diagnosed with not one, but two serious conditions, one of which was cancer. This kind of news will make everything else seem unimportant, all of a sudden. The fact that I lost my mom to cancer in May is probably not helping any.

The good news is that they caught it super early, and that the doctors are expecting a full recovery from the cancer part. There’s still the other issue of course, which will require surgery and several weeks of recovery. The ugly kind, where they give you hardcore meds just to deal with it. Right now, we are both mentally and physically preparing for what’s ahead.

Since we are both independent businesses owners, this situation has another effect on us – neither one is working much, while the bills keep piling up. This is added stress that we really don’t need. We are not on the brink of starvation or anything like that, but we are definitely feeling the crunch. Which is what led me to write this post.

If you are a freelancer or a one-man band, do yourself this favor: cover your bases in case of an emergency. Get health insurance. Let me repeat that. Get. Health. Insurance. As an independent, insurance is expensive and if you’re bootstrapping it is easy to tell yourself you’ll add it later. Don’t. Bite the bullet and pay the man. Cancer doesn’t wait until you’re ready.

You’ll want a support network. We have had daily messages from friends and family, checking in and offering help and encouragement. This support is crucial, especially if you’d like to try and stay positive.

Anybody working for themselves will be used to being immersed in the work, and powering through to get the job done. You may even enjoy it. But when illness hits the household, that is taken away. Focus shifts, and staying on top of business quickly fades into the background. It has to. If you can, put a little aside for a rainy day. You might even look into getting a backup in place, if you have clients who need regular pampering or can’t be rescheduled.

Whatever you do, don’t just sit there thinking it will happen to someone else. It’s not a gamble worth taking.

Presenting PixMuse

PixMuse is an iPhone / iPod touch app I put together for all you stock and microstock photographers out there.

PixMuse generates a random photo shoot idea by presenting you with a theme, a subject and a mood. The three elements represent the overall concept, the central element and feel of the suggested photo. Simply hit the button or shake your device to generate a new photo concept.

PixMuse is made for inspiration and fun. There is no guarantee that the photo concepts generated by PixMuse will have any commercial value, though all the elements included were picked specifically because they rank among the most popular and widely used genres and concepts in stock photography. So even though it’s random and silly, there is a useful side to PixMuse as well.

Use PixMuse as a tool for brainstorming. Some of the combinations will fit any portfolio, and you will see elements combined in ways you hadn’t thought of before, which might just spark your imagination. And did I mention it’s free?

Link: Download PixMuse from the iTunes App Store – FREE!