Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with photographer and author, Rick Sammon, about his latest book, "How to Make Money While You are Sleeping: A Photographer’s Guide to Passive Income – And Other Savvy Business Strategies." The book, which is Sammon's 43rd, covers a wide range of tactics for photographers and other creatives to create diverse income streams. In this interview, Sammon covers the main lessons from the book and shares some stories and business advice from his long photographic career.
Award-winning photographer Rick Sammon is one of the most active photographers on the planet – dividing his time between creating images, leading photo workshops, and making personal appearances. Rick is a man on a mission – a mission to make digital photography fun, creative, exciting, and rewarding for others.
The reason I’ve created Unfinished Business is because I’m passionate about business...
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Hosted and produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning
Erin Manning 0:02
Welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau.
Gary Pageau 0:10
The Dead Pixels Society podcast is brought to you by Mediaclip, Photo Finale, and Advertek Printing. Hello again, and welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. I'm your host, Gary Pageau. And today we're joined by author and photographer Rick Sammon, Rick's the author of 43 books and an accomplished bass player. And on the other end, he's also a Canon Explorer of Light. So he's got a few things to talk to us about today. Hi, Rick, how are you doing today? Well,
Rick Sammon 0:39
man, oh, man, it is great to see you. You know, you and I have been around a long time, you know, since the 80s. And it's an honor to be on the dead pixel society. And I'm glad we're not dead, right? I'm in my 70s. I met you. I mentioned my 40s You're at PMA and a man Oh, man. Has this industry changed so much? Right?
Gary Pageau 0:58
Oh, yeah, lots of changes, lots of changes. But what hasn't changed is how to grow your business. Everyone's looking for tips, tricks, and ways to grow your business. And that's the subject of your 43rd book, which we're going to talk about today. Which is how to make money while you're sleeping a photographer's guide, what made you decide that was the topic of your 43rd book,
Rick Sammon 1:23
actually two things. One I was on. I was on Twitter. And I see a quote by Warren Buffett, and Warren Buffett, this is one of his most famous quotes. And he says if you don't figure out a way to make money, when you're sleeping, you're going to work until you're dead.
Gary Pageau 1:38
So that gave me the that's actually the premise of the book. I see. You've got the quote there. Yeah. And
Rick Sammon 1:42
that's in the preface of the book. And then, several years ago, actually, when I knew you, you know, back in the in the mid 90s, I was scuba diving off the coast of Kenya. And we came up from a dive. And I was, you know, I was in my 30s then, and there was an older couple, the couple there who were like traveling the world. And I said, Man, it's so great at your age to be able to travel the world. And they said, let me give you some advice. They said your money can work harder for you can your money can work harder for you than you can. So I've always focused on my business and every professional photographer that I know. Everyone kept telling me all my friends had kelbyone All my other author friends, they're all excellent business people because we look at this as a business. Yes. You know, some of us want to save the world, save the dolphins, right? When we want to save trees. Well, all this is great. And we can use our photography to do that. But we have to be a business person to realize maybe the best way to do it like getting back to the dolphins. Many years ago, I met a girl met a woman Susan and I met her and we called her a dolphin hugger. Because she just loved dolphin so much. She wanted to protect the dolphins. So she we were talking about different ways. I said, Well, you know, one thing you could do because she was young as a become a lawyer and try to you know, you know, through through different laws tried to enact laws that are going to protect like the mangroves, which are important to the coral reef. So all this stuff is connected. So anyway, to answer your question, I would say it was really Warren Buffett with that quote, and at my age, I become skilled at making money when I'm sleeping. And also at my age, I like to sleep a lot.
Gary Pageau 3:27
So were you always business focused? Because like you said, You've been in the industry a lot of years you were as we were chatting before the call you were you actually graduate of the Berklee School of Music. We're really looking for a career in photography. You came into the industry under the mentorship of Rudy Mashiki, who is a legend in the industry in the publishing world. Can you talk a little bit about that and how that informs some of your business acumen over the years?
Rick Sammon 3:53
Well, I think it just think being you know, my father was a good business person. And my wife's father was a good business person. And they always my father had a great expression. He kind of inspired the book too. And this is up front he had his expression was it takes a lot of peanuts to feed an elephant. And what he was saying is watch every you know, he grew up during the Depression. So he's saying to me watch every penny, watch every nickel because all those pennies and nickels can add up, right? So you know, he was always telling me because as a musician, he said, Yeah, you want to be a musician. You still have to be a good businessman, a good business person. You have to be a good manager and we were talking about Santana before we came on. He's one of the best music business people you go on his website. He sells hats. He sells this. He says that. He says that he sells everything Joe Bonamassa his site he sells guitar picks, clothes, everything. So all these creative people or creatives that I know who are successful, are good business people. I think we really have to look at that. That when we're making this visions, you know, do we want do I want to go to Africa on a safari and just have some fun which, which is a good idea? Or do I want to go to maybe you know, some other place and do something that might generate some more income. So I'm always looking, I asked my wife handles all the all the income, all the finances, she does an excellent job. I'm sure a lot of people listening have a spouse who does that. So anyway, she's, we're always talking about the best business decision.
Gary Pageau 5:27
One of the things that I find interesting is when you talk about, like product line diversification like Carlos Santana, selling hats and whatever, some people would have argued back in the day, well, that's too much of a focus off his music, right? You shouldn't be selling knickknacks and doodads like that. But on the other hand, having to diversify your product portfolio is necessary in today's be in today's age, because guess what, Carlos isn't selling CDs anymore? That's right. LPS. Right. He's got a very different business model today. I think photographers Heron having the same challenge today.
Rick Sammon 6:03
I think you're right. That's why, you know, I tell people when they talk, you know, I tell people that my specialty is not specializing. You know, it sounds kind of funny because people say, Rick, What's your specialty specialty portraits, you know, wildlife, you know, whatever. I say my specialty is not specializing because I like to diversify. And that's the same thing that my father same advice my father gave me with my investments, you know, diversify, don't have all your eggs in one basket.
Gary Pageau 6:29
And what was your father's business?
Rick Sammon 6:31
Well, actually, he it's kind of interesting. He was the Technical Director of the show in the 50s, the first live television show called person a person with Edward R. Murrow. I'm sure a lot of the young listeners never heard of this. But Edward R. Murrow was, was a super famous war correspondent during World War Two in London when it was being bombed, he came back. My father was the Technical Director of that. But here's the cool thing about that. My father would take his Linhof four by five inch camera, right film camera for what this is in the 50s and the 60s, this was in the 60s, sorry. And he would go to Marilyn Monroe's house, Joe DiMaggio, his house, Humphrey Bogart has all these famous people's houses and take pictures of the houses and then bring it back and develop him in our basement, black and white pictures. Wow. So he could bring them to the studio so they could decide, okay, when they get there, here's where we're gonna put the lights and everything. So I learned about photography, not only the business from him, I learned about processing from him. And then my mother would hand color the pictures with pencils. So, you know, I, I've been in, in photography for for a long time. So I love photography, but I also Gary, I really love the business side of photography, it's very rewarding.
Gary Pageau 7:49
There's always a balance there with people who get into photography, because they love photography, but they may not be so great in the business side. And, you know, had several guests on the show where they've talked about that. And a friend of mine who actually owns our local retail store made the comment once I bought it No, I always think about this. He says nothing kills the joy of photography faster than a an owning photography business.
Rick Sammon 8:13
Well, that's like never making never never make your hobby your business right. There you go. There you go. But you know, like today's social, you know, the the expression used to be publish or perish. Right, right. But now it's really social, I say is I've changed it to socialize or succumb, you have to be on social media. And, you know, yes, it takes a lot of time. And you have to listen to people just not talking. I took the Dale Carnegie course a long time ago, and one of the things I learned about having a good conversation is that you have to be a good listener. But when I post on social media, I've a ratio of like four to one I do for fun stuff and then I do that one where I'm promoting something and I add an affiliate link and actually in the book, you know, Chapter Four is the advantage of affiliate links and this right this is a great way to make money while you're sleeping now Chapter Chapter One is what you have to do to before you doze off, but in chapter four, the affiliate links a lot of people don't know, you know, bnh at around kelbyone, Adobe Westcott and these are just some of the photography companies we all they all have affiliate programs, but Amazon's affiliate program is really interesting. Because if someone buys something from your link, and they leave that link open whatever they buy, you get a commission on so I've gotten Commission's on radiator hoses for the car. I got a commission. I've got a commission on it. Believe it or not, this is the best one a rubber ducky nativity set nine and a flat screen TV.
Gary Pageau 9:47
There you go. I didn't know that. The thing
Rick Sammon 9:49
is this Amazon doesn't tell you who did it because they don't share that information but they show you what people buy. And I've gotten lots of products, beauty products, lipstick, hairspray and All this other stuff. So if you
Gary Pageau 10:02
as long as possible if people are looking for, you know, portrait tips or whatever they're on the market for some of those type products that kind of makes sense. I'm not sure where the radiator hoses come
Rick Sammon 10:10
in, well, it's just some something else. And it's just a random thing you know, people are on. And actually, if they keep it open, you could get a commission for up to 90 days, if they keep that if they put it in there, if they put it in their cart, if they put your book in the cart, and don't buy it, and everything else that goes in the cart, you get a commission for I mean, it is really a great way to make money while you're sleeping is probably the number one why actually some guy wrote a book, just on affiliate programs.
Gary Pageau 10:42
So let's go through some of the highlights of the book since you've kind of teased that right now. What is the before you doze off chapter about?
Rick Sammon 10:50
Well, this is really, this is really all the work all the work you have to do before you follow Warren Buffett's advice about making money while you're sleeping. So, you know, I spend a lot of time you know, writing books. So you spend the time writing the book. And there's an expression, you know, a writer lives forever. So no, actually, the title of the book is, you know, how to make money when you're sleeping, I could do another book, How to make money when you're dead? Because you actually, I'm serious, because you could get still keep generating income. So you spend the time writing well,
Gary Pageau 11:23
well, you mentioned Marilyn Monroe earlier, how much income is being generated by the licensing of her image? Exactly, exactly.
Rick Sammon 11:31
She's been gone for a while. So anyway, and people could start out just you know, doing an e book, writing an e book, and publishing an e book on Amazon, or I know a lot of friends who just published in themselves. So you spend the time to it, you put it on your website, you wake up, and you see you wake up from your nap. Or, you know, you wake up in the morning, whatever, wake up from jetlag, which I do a lot. And you see how much income you make. And one of the cool things about self publishing books on Amazon, which I've done, actually have four books, which I've done, because it's, it's very profitable. If you do this yourself, you can do it right. And if you have a following, you could check. You could check actually, every minute. If someone buys a book, it's that instant. And they pay two months after a book is released. So and the advantage of that is, you know, you work with a regular publisher, you may not know for six months, so if you're not selling books, or if I'm not selling books, I can go and I have example in the book was the day before Father's Day. And book sales weren't too great. So I go on Twitter, I put the affiliate link to my book, and I sell I sell a bunch of books. So tracking your sales is important. I have a friend who owns six McDonald's, who makes more money when he's sleeping than I make. Right? He has an app and he's seen every day how much he makes, you know from he's just he just on some how much he makes from the from each mcdonnell's.
Gary Pageau 13:02
So you mentioned having a website, I don't think we need to get into that specifically because I think most people have a website of some sort. But I was interested in the socializer succumb chapter. Can you talk a little bit about what you mean by that?
Rick Sammon 13:16
Well, there's a lot of things. We have to be on social media. And I'm on so I probably spent two probably two to three hours a day on social media. And I'm looking what other people are doing. I'm looking what my competition is doing. Although all my friends we really feel we have no competition. Sounds egotistical. But we've all you know, we're all doing something different people going to go to Scott Kelby for a reason people are gonna come to me, people are gonna go to art wolf for for something. But anyway, I watch what other people are doing. And you really need like I gave that Father's Day example, you really need to promote your stuff. But I also talked in that chapter, or in another chapter, about the buying ads on Twitter and Facebook, if you're selling yes or no on that, well, I have a T shirt and the t shirt says it depends. And I wear it on my photo workshops because people say what lens should I use? It depends what's shutter speed? You know, it depends, you know, so they use a tripod, you know, it depends. But as far as buying the ads go, I have I know someone who runs workshops and the workshops cost between around the world between eight and $15,000. So for him to spend a few bucks on Facebook on ads, it's worth because it gets people for someone like me, who's selling books for you know, $10 or $15. It's not worth it. I've tried it. It's it's not worth the effort, you will get more people. But what's really important I talked about this in the in the book, the importance of building a mailing list. Some people don't realize how important that mailing list is because you know I put something on Twitter, if I put something on Twitter, the when we started talking, when we started recording. And if I want to, if I go on afterwards, it's gonna be so far down, I'll probably never even see it because so many people you know are tweeting, but you have that mailing list, you're going to get your message right to the person. One of the contributors to the book, actually the sub the, the credit for the book is Rick Sammon and the all star photo coaches. So I have a series of I have about a dozen, all star photo coaches, and one is in plant. And he talks about, he talks about the importance of building that mailing list, because everywhere he goes, he said he gives out a little card. And so offering something, but the idea is to get get someone's name so he could build that list. Yeah, that
Gary Pageau 15:45
is one of the things on the book here. You do go through the list of the luminaries here, which I recognize quite a few of these names, skip combs been on the podcast before, and just got born very well. So it's a good it's a good group you don't that's a good guy, if you're gonna have coaches, those are some good ones.
Rick Sammon 16:02
Well, you know, Gary, you mentioned Scott born, he wrote a chapter in there. It's called buy me buy me a coffee. And this is a website that's been around, I think only about a year, I could be wrong, but I've only known about it for a year. And what buy me a coffee is you write an article, and at the end is the people to buy a coffee, you know, and talking about, you know, takes a lot of peanuts to feed an elephant. You know, you may only get you know, three or $5 for some from someone who reads the article. But he has a following of you know, 10s of 1000s. Now it can it can add up. So buy me a coffee is really a cool new thing. So again, wait, yeah, that's
Gary Pageau 16:40
like, that's like, not crowdfunding, but like a user sponsored content, right? It's like a tip jar?
Rick Sammon 16:47
Yes. It's definitely like a tip jar for sure.
Gary Pageau 16:50
So one of the things I've noticed as you go through this is you're not really relying on one type of income stream, you may have a theme, or a subject area that you're expert in, that you're talking about, but you're not relying on the tip from the from the tip jar, or the affiliate links or anything else to do everything. It's really like almost like a hub, where your content is your hub, and spoking out from that are all the ways that people can pay you. Oh, yeah,
Rick Sammon 17:21
absolutely. And recently, you know, during the pandemic, I started a Facebook group. And it's called a phototherapy motivation in the wisdom, which is based after one of my my first book that I did with Amazon phototherapy. And this is a safe place where people can publish their pictures. There's no politics there. We have six moderators, if someone published anything political, we take it down, like, immediately, but it's a starting to Facebook group, I saw an ad on TV. I said, Okay, I'll do it. And today, we have like more than 5000 members. So I don't make money from the Facebook group, but it's really helped me build my brand. So indirectly, I'm generating income. So I would suggest if if a listener, you know, loves photographing, say horses, start a Facebook group on horses, and if you have like a calendar, or cards or something to sell, this will help you, this will help you build your brand. It's really, it's really a cool.
Gary Pageau 18:23
I kind of think that's interesting, cuz you're you're not talking about don't start a group about how to take pictures of horses. It's more about horses as the subject. So let's say for example, someone has a local photographer in your Croton on Hudson, right York, right? You don't maybe would have started a group for photographing that area, it would be about local points of interest, things of interest, local events, community things that people can interact with. And maybe along the line, a few of those Facebook folks will by a large print of something you might have. Right on, right.
Rick Sammon 19:01
So yeah, well, building that community is so important. And yeah, we talked briefly about a website and just the only tip that I would give on having a website is this that when you're designing your website, think of it like you're designing like a bakery. You know, a really nice bakery with the great smells in your neighborhood or a coffee house, and everyone who comes into that bakery or that coffee house, you want to treat with respect, you want to be happy to see them and you want them to come back. And of course you want to buy something. So when you're doing a website again, getting back to the dolphin person, rather than having just pictures of dolphins around you know this and that, you know, think about how you can construct that website. So people are going to come back, come back feel welcome. You have to answer all their questions and and how they're going to, you know, buy something from you. You know, I figure if I'm going to put the time, you know, into building a website or doing it Social media thing, event, you know, I think I should get I think the president should get paid for it
Gary Pageau 20:06
don't work for free. That's always one of the big bugaboos in the photography industry, right? Is everyone says, hey, my daughter's curating Mary, can you photograph that? It's like, well, I have a very creative should never do a live event.
Rick Sammon 20:20
I agree. 100% 100%. But a slight variation on this. And I heard this from one of my fellow can explorers of light, Michelle, travel cough. Let me see if I could get it. Right. He said, he said, If I'm going to talk about a job, he said, If I'm going to make a lot, if I'm not going to have a lot of fun, if I'm not going to have a lot of fun, I'm going to charge a lot a lot of money. If I am going to have a lot of fun, I might not charge a lot of money. Right? So in other words, like I lead private workshops around the world. And, you know, if someone wants me to do a workshop, you know, in Hoboken, New Jersey, which is a beautiful place, great view of New York City, it's not really a place I want to go, I'll charge a lot, right? But if someone says, Hey, Rick, I want to do a private workshop to with you to Mongolia, which I've done, I'm not going to charge a lot. So I think that whole people ask me all the time, how much should I charge for a print? How many? How much should I charge for a private session? And I say,
Gary Pageau 21:15
depends, it depends.
Rick Sammon 21:16
And think about the long term. Again, getting back to the bakery, getting back to the bakery in the coffee house, you want you want to build a relationship, I, you know, I know people are going to go into the Big Bang, I'm going to they know this company makes a lot of money, I'm gonna bang them. Not me.
Gary Pageau 21:32
Well, that's, that is one of the things when you're talking about building the kind of content business that you're talking about, you know, you know, there's a lot of people very successful in the content business today who they're not doing hits in the homerun category. They're doing, you know, singles and doubles, maybe they do a triple every now and then there's very few home runs. But you know, if you see what how people are monetizing the internet these days, it is a lot of that, where it's, you know, they build an audience, and they do very well with it. And it takes a long time, and they have to respect the audience, right? You mentioned email earlier, that means, you know, if somebody trusts you with their email, you shouldn't be spamming them every few days. Right? That's that it's part of the nurturing the community, which I don't think a lot of people get, they think, Boy, once I got that email, I've got you. And I'm gonna, you know, I just had one where I signed up for a downloaded an e book, and God was a golf thing. And I swear I got not only did they give out my email to other companies, so I'm getting other golf related emails all the time, but then they're emailing me every third day to try to upsell me on things. And so, you know, luckily, there's the unsubscribe law. Yeah, they lost me forever on that. Yeah, you talked about Facebook groups, you know, writing and narrating books, I'm not everyone's got the capability to do that. Is there a way that somebody who may have some great idea for some content in finding maybe local resources to help them
Rick Sammon 23:04
sure, but I do think everyone can write a book. Like I mentioned, all of my, all of my picture books are basically pictures and pictures and captions. And that's how I, it's an introduction to a chapter and then it's pictures and captions. So if I, Susan, I did a book on route 66. So we have a picture of the blue swallow motel, which is a fact one of the most famous hotels, if not the most famous hotel on route 66. So I have a caption, and then that's an a place called Tucumcari, New Mexico, then I'll go to the next place, I have a caption. But But I think if you I used to write when I knew you. Or maybe this was before I used to write the weekly column for the Associated Press was 500 words in one picture. And in the fax machine, I don't even have one I used to fax in the column and said the pic the black and white print, you know, by mail into New York City. But someone said to me, after I had like, you know, 75 columns, they said, why don't you put those columns together in a book. So I found a publisher to do that.
Unknown Speaker 24:07
Was that your first book? That was not
Rick Sammon 24:09
my first book, actually wrote some camera manuals before that. I don't know if you remember herb Taylor, he was at an photo. Anyway, I did some camera manuals for him. But but as far as advice goes, I would say this start. If you love something, I always say you're going to get good pictures of something if you photograph what you love. You know, like I love bass guitar. I love guitar. So I love photographing my you mentioned Scott born before he played he plays bass guitar very well. He photographs, bass guitars, and he did it for like about a year he was taking all these pictures of bass guitars. So I said Scott, why don't you just put together a caption under each one of them and put together a book so he's considering that. So I would say start with a photo. Start with a caption of something you love, and maybe put together and ebook. And this is like the easiest thing to do you go online, create an e book, you know, for free or whatever, or just, you know, a few bucks.
Gary Pageau 25:09
I know Pete Now that may sound easy for you, someone who's published 43 books. But you know, for someone who doesn't have a lot of publishing publishing experience, what do you mean by like, is it as easy as doing like an export out of a word processor? Or is there online resources people can go to,
Rick Sammon 25:27
I'll tell you the easiest way to do it. I have a book. And actually, if people go on my website, RickSammon.com and go on latest books, latest books on the left. In there, you'll find a book. Cool. It's an e book, it's called life lessons we can learn from Mother Nature. And what I have in this book Life lessons we can learn from Mother Nature, it's I paired pictures, my pictures with famous quotes, I have a picture of a leopard seal and Antarctica and the quote is, you don't drown by falling in water, you only drown if you stay there. So, right sounds kind of funny, but it's a philosophical book. That's half the book. And then for the same picture, in the back, I have the technical information. So this book started out as a keynote slideshow, which is the same as at PowerPoint as same as same as PowerPoint, use PowerPoint is so long, so you can export those shows as a PDF. And that's what this book is. So I had a slideshow, I used to give this slide presentation. So and I made it a PDF. So some of your listeners, give presentations to the local can camera club about horses, about you know, landscape photography, whatever. Put the put the picture in there, type in the caption, right, and export as a PDF and call it an e book. And that's what I have. Now, I happened to give away this book for free. And it was a lot of work, but I give it away for free. Be cool. And when I promote it, I say hey, get this book for free. It's on my latest Books page, right? So when people go to this page, they usually buy, like another book, right? I'm thinking Yeah, cuz there's a lot there to choose. So so if I'm, I figure if I'm giving away a book that I would have sold for, you know, 10 to 15 bucks, you know, why not have offered people some some of the books, but that's the easiest way to, I think, make an e book. That way. You don't need a template importing pictures and all this stuff,
Gary Pageau 27:24
right? And one of the other chapters chapter nine, you're talking about crowdfunding and crowdfunding used to be kind of a hotter topic a couple years ago than it is now. What is your advice on looking at crowdfunding as a possible revenue stream?
Rick Sammon 27:37
I think if you have a good idea, I think it's a it's a great idea. I have some contributors for that. Chapter one is Dom kama Raschka. I don't know if you know him. And even if you know him, it's probably hard to say his name. To him. He has. He's known as a snowflake guy. But he has a book on on closer photography, macro photography called the wonders at your feet. It's a $70 book. It's a it's a heavy, heavy book, right. And because he has a following, he was able to raise enough money to pay for this, pay for this book and make it and make more than a few bucks. I have two friends in Africa, Jonathan and Angela Scott, known as the big cat people. Some of your listeners may have seen the big cat diaries, which is on TV here for a long time. They wanted to do a book on sacred nature, and how important it is to protect the wildlife and the and the habitats. So they use crowdfunding to fund that book. And it's they wanted the best printing and they got enough money and they're making a few bucks out of it. You know, the platter pod, right? Yeah. Yeah. It's like a flat tripod, which doesn't make sense a flat. But it's a flat Camera Camera support. Anyway, Larry T the inventor, he's crowdfunding and man Oh, man. It's it's it was a you know, off the charts. So what if you have an invention, if you have an idea for a book, if you have an invention, or service, I think crowdfunding is is a great way to go. And I would hire someone to help you with that. Because I don't know too much about it. So I'm not the person to ask. Yeah, there
Gary Pageau 29:17
is a process for that, that I've seen because I've know some inventors in real life. And they've talked about the crowdfunding and there is like a whole process, you know, expectations people have with funding levels. Yep. And with bonus products and everything else then you know, videos, how to shoot a video and all that. So, yeah, it's more it's more than just doing a social media post and hoping someone downloads it. Well, it's
Rick Sammon 29:41
that it's having the mailing list, right. It's getting support. It's it's a well getting back to Larry t he goes to every single trade show every every single event and people are buying from him. Right. Right. And I think if he was selling you know, bass guitars people would buy a bass guitar from him.
Gary Pageau 29:59
What do you think? As you mentioned, you know, he kind of just kind of going through the list here. And we got to watch our time a little bit. But you talk about a lot of this creation of content. One of them is start a podcast now, I've been podcasting off and on for over 10 years and have now this one and over a year and a half. One of the challenges I see with podcasts is it's almost like writing a blog, right? Where everyone has an idea for one blog post, but it's always two or three or four. Now, my formats a little different in the sense that I have guests on and I can mine there now. And so I don't have to be the focal point, which is, which is a good thing. So what do you recommend to somebody who may or may not be not in that position of having, being able to have guests or whatnot? How do you do that? I mean, no, I agree that podcasting is a great promotional vehicle. It's certainly one of the reasons why we do it here. But it's a challenge. It sounds like a great idea until you until you you have three or 456789 episodes, you start running out of topic,
Rick Sammon 30:59
right? Well, when I had the my last podcast, and it was called a picturing success podcast that was with the Larry Becker, one of the Kelby one community members. And we had one at the at the end there, we had six sponsors. We had six sponsors that paid us every month, and we were making some good bucks out of it. But after 200 episodes, you know, like you're saying, I said, what else can we talk about? But we had get right, and I think having guests, that's what people love people, you know, people want to hear the guest. And if so you have to learn how to be a good interview, you have to learn how to be a good, good listener. But as you know, it's easy to start a podcast, but I think unless you're a wealth of information, men can just like Santana, we were talking about before, and just you know, go on and on and on. I think it might get a little repetitive but getting spots is is the key. But as you know, getting back to before you before you doze off chapter Gary, this this 45 minute podcast, we did probably each week took six hours. As you know, yeah. It's the prep, it's first of all, it's the emails, it's setting up, then it's changing, right? It's changing, like I had to change because of the see a doctor, then it's then it's recording, then it's editing. Right? Then it's posting, then it's the show notes, then it's this and then it's answering all the questions and it's built into sponsors. So for six hours, it I wanted to do all the things and to be honest play bass, guitar. Bass,
Gary Pageau 32:34
it's all it always goes back to the bass guitar, which is good. So one of the other chapters you have here is strive for sponsors. Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I think that is the dream of a lot of podcasters since Pacific and I'm in a lot of podcaster groups on Facebook. And some of the people are like, oh, I need to get a sponsor, I need to get sponsors, right. I mean, that's, you know, it's almost like putting the cart before the horse.
Rick Sammon 32:58
Well, as far as individual sponsors go, people ask me, I've been a can explore of lights since 2003. I think I'm one of the oldest, counted explorers of light. And it is an honor to be an explorer of light. But so a few years into it, when I had written, I think about 30 books. Someone said, Rick, how do you get to be a camera explorer of light? I said, Write 30 books, you know, tell people tell people the the equipment you use, and they're gonna go and they might invite you into the program. Yeah, you have to use you have to use and believe in the products. And the and this is one of the this, this gets by all these chapters are kind of tied in together like socializer to come you know, some companies, they won't even think about sponsoring you if you don't have 100,000 followers. That's really that's really the thing today. So the more followers the better. But the sponsorship Yeah, I would tell my son, I used to have a camera, big sponsor. And every few months, you know, camera bags would show up here. And my son said, Dad, another free camera bag. It said Marco said Martha, there's no such thing as a free lunch, that's just not going to send you a camera bag or sponsors just not going to send you a check or whatever. They're going to expect something back to promote it on social media to do this to mention it in your, in your on your podcasts and blogs, or whatever and workshops, seminars. So it's really important to remember that there's no such thing as a free lunch
Gary Pageau 34:27
father's just don't write a check and not expect anything out of it. So now and it's getting tougher and tougher. And thank you very much for the for the sponsors of the dead pick society podcast. So thank you so much. I hope you're getting what you need out of it. Yeah, you get into some of the things here that I think is interesting when you talk about YouTube channel webinars. And some of these things, I think are repurposing content, which is something we haven't yet talked about, but I think that's important, where you can take a subject like a presentation, turn it into an e book and then you can turn it into Have a YouTube video, then you can turn it into an online class. So when you're looking at doing projects that will make money while you sleep, I think repurposing is a key part of that.
Rick Sammon 35:12
I wish we had talked about this before, because I only have 21 chapters in it. That would have been chapter 22.
Gary Pageau 35:19
Whatever kind of a theme of the whole book,
Rick Sammon 35:21
I guess it is without saying it. But yeah, if I want to do a reprint, I'll do it. I'll give you credit. I'll make you one of the old star photo coaches. But, but seriously, my wife calls me the king, the king of repurposing. She uses another word that begins with our resume the king of repurposing because, yeah, what's in a book is usually you know, used to be an article now it's a blog post, or I could cut it into, you know, different classes, but you have to be careful. So if I write a book, you know, like, I have this book, you know, photo quest, which is like, kinda like my memoir. And if I did an online class photo quest with the same stuff in there, the book publisher is not going to be happy in the online class person's not going to be happy. So Right. Even if it's not in the contract, you want you want to be careful and you don't want to really fight against just yourself. But repurposing repurposing is. is very, very, yeah, that's gonna be that's gonna be the next one. Thank you.
Gary Pageau 36:26
Well, that's a whole nother a whole nother so as your business because I want to talk to you about make your money work harder than you Yeah. to kind of bring this to a client, what are your what's your main tips there,
Rick Sammon 36:38
invest. People say, you know, just invest, invest as save as much money as you can along the way, and then invest as much money as you and just invest as much money as you can actually, I have a financial advisor, who who wrote that chapter, your money can work harder for you than you can, but because of his situation, the company that he was the company can't be they didn't want to be identified in there. But he gives excellent advice. Basically, it's diversifying it's investing is watching those investments. And watching the stock market like some people have wall stocks, which thinks a good idea. And some other people, you know, have bonds and stocks. And right, so all this money, you have to be in it for the long term. And you know, I don't know when we're gonna have to stop but I just want to just throw this in. I'd love photography, you know, as much as as ever. You know, I've been shooting with the new Canon EOS R three, I got some great bird pictures, I'm going to Bosque del Apache where they have birds. In December, we're going to Florida photograph horses. If so many things planned. I don't want people to think oh, you know, Sammon is just, you know, you know, a business person solely focuses on I have a lot of energy. So I focus on the business, but I keep up with photography, the equipment, you know, the lenses, the folk, the new Photoshop on Lightroom is amazing. So I learned that so I'm still as much a photographer as as a business person as a bass player.
Gary Pageau 38:05
Well, you know, it's funny, she said, because that is one of the comments I was talking to an industry person there's a few years ago is one of the major manufacturers. And it was when smartphones was starting to encroach into the camera business and print sales were going down. And this person said, Look, photography is more popular than our why are we also miserable. Because like industry, people were very discouraged for a lot of years, right. And what happened is digital photography, and now smartphones have made photography more popular than ever. There's trillions of pictures taken every year. And yeah, we're not capturing all of the revenue from that, but that's okay. We've got you know, photography as a, as a way of life as a hobby, as a way of inspiring people as a way of communicating has grown exponentially. So there's is a lot a lot to be excited about.
Rick Sammon 39:00
I think there is well I'm excited about life. You know, I'm very grateful for a lot of things I haven't grateful to be alive. Grateful for the friends I have. So and I think having a good attitude is really important. You know, in all you do,
Gary Pageau 39:18
you have to be an optimist. So if someone wants to check out the vast array of Rick Sammon educational materials, where would they go?
Rick Sammon 39:28
Well, they just go to RickSammon.com and it's sa m m o n it sounds like the fish. I had so many fish jokes when I was gone growing up, but it's it's RickSammon.com Everything's there, Gary, including on the top left. It's called Rick's music room. Very okay. And I have free lessons including a free baseless. No,
Gary Pageau 39:48
I will definitely check this good when I get my
Rick Sammon 39:50
guitar lessons and there's there's piano lessons. But you know, Ancel Adams was, I don't know if you know Lewis Kemper. He was one of Ansel Adams assistants. He actually heard Ansel Adams will play the piano. He said he would play the piano a lot at Christmas time. Hey, do I have time to tell a very quick answer a lot of story? Yeah, absolutely. It's very quick. I'm teaching a seminar with John Sexton, who was one of the Ancel atoms assistants. And John Sexton is telling all these answer stories. So here's one of the stories. This is in the 60s before computers. So in the 60s, someone on the East Coast, writes ansal, Adams a letter on the West Coast, and says he's a little unhappy with the Ansel Adams. Like, could you imagine being unhappy with the Ansel Adams? He says, Dear Mr. Adams, you know, I have your books. I have your posters. I have one of your original prints. Guys on the East Coast. Right, right. And salons on the West Coast. I have your books, I have your posters, I've your one of your original prints, you inspired me to go to Yosemite. And when I got there, it didn't look like that. So it's funny, right? It doesn't look like that. Right? This is Adams interpretation. So getting back to my love of photography and photography, you know, today, and even back then we can create our own reality with Photoshop and Lightroom. And even by cropping we can create reality, right? You know, you could take a headshot of me here in my office who wouldn't know is in my office. But I love that story. Because it did for this person. Yosemite didn't look like that. Because it just looks so magical. So if we think about that, you know, when people criticize, oh, yeah, overdoing it, you know, you put in the sky, who cares? If it makes you happy? I think I think it's okay.
Gary Pageau 41:29
Well, thank you, Rick. Once again, what's the title of the new book title of the new
Rick Sammon 41:32
book is how to make money while you're sleeping a photographer's guide to passive income and other business strategies.
Gary Pageau 41:39
This has been an energetic conversation, and I'm ready for my nap. Me too. So thank you much for your time and look forward to catching up with you, hopefully at an industry event somewhere saying Well, thank you
Rick Sammon 41:51
so much, my friend and it's great seeing you again after decades, and it's been decades.
Gary Pageau 41:56
It has been a long time. Good to see you.
Erin Manning 42:01
Thank you for listening to the dead pixel society podcast. Read more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at www the dead pixels society.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai