JS: The nice thing about mistakes is that yield information so it’s really a good opportunity to learn something. With that said, I made a lot of mistakes earlier on…lol
One in particular, at the early stage of my career, I was in a rush to meet with editors to show them that I “existed.” The meetings that I had set up really didn’t have a purpose other than “oh hey, look at my work and please hire me” so the conversations weren’t that deep. I noticed that the meetings ended up being pretty short because I wasn’t able to offer anything substantial. Now, I am more intentional in terms of who I am contacting for meetings and I make sure that there is a clear reason for me to show up at the office. I’m either coming in with a project proposal or presentation. Also, making sure the work that I’m going to share is ready to be seen by the world.
EG: I’ve accepted several jobs over the years that I probably should have passed on. Earlier in my career, getting a call felt like a victory, so I said yes to any job that I was asked to do. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t worth the few hundred bucks. Nowadays, I’m more conscious of what I say yes to. We all have a finite amount of energy, and sinking that energy into projects that don’t fulfill you is a great way to burn yourself out.
CC: Same as Emiliano, I wasn’t comfortable with saying no. I was just excited that someone was willing to pay me to make photographs. While I had to make a living, I wonder if I had instead spent time on personal projects if I’d be more strongly aligned with the exact type of projects I wanted to work on sooner. Secondly, something I had to learn from and still make the mistake from time to time is not being hyper-specific about the scope of a job so that the client and I are on the same page. For example, creating a deliverables timeline is so that if they ask for something earlier then you can remind them that you agreed upon X date so any earlier would require a rush fee. If you agreed on 10 images then each additional image will cost $XX. Same with usage, retouching, etc. The more specific you can be, the better you protect your time and energy.