When you grew up, what did you foresee doing as a career? I doubt you popped out of your mother’s womb and declared interest in photography. At least, I did not.

In fact, I have tried my hand in a number of trades and continue to explore new ones. I find it not only fun, but important to grow as a person … to build human capital.

Human capital is the stock of competences, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. It is the attributes gained by a worker through education and experience.

Essentially, building human capital is educating oneself. And I encourage learning all types of things (knowledge for your business and outside of your business).

matthew morrison

It is important to build the stage before you even have a voice…

Chicken or the Egg

Most small photography businesses are created like this:

  • I have been shooting for a while.
  • I am pretty good at photography. At least, that’s what others tell me.
  • What? I could get paid doing this?
  • Let me get some business cards and get this ball rolling.

There wasn’t one thing that triggered the action of another. It’s unlikely that you woke up wanting to start a photography business with no photography experience whatsoever. The process was not cyclical like the debate of whether the chicken preceded the egg.

Rather, it was progressive. Imagine that practicing photography for fun was building the stage. Validating your style with paying clients through the business was your voice.

Just as how a photography business could have evolved from learned experiences, imagine what other opportunities are out there if you exposed yourself to them (through the building of human capital). Who knows what else is out there?

Fastest Ways to Build Human Capital

Learn. I love books, magazines, blogs and etc. I observe. And I don’t learn with the intention of building a business with it. I study anything that piques my immediate interest – even Las Vegas casino decor, restaurant service, prices … everything.

Experiment. For fun, I experiment what I have learned at seminars, conventions and even on this blog (tee hee). And if the experiment fails, I reflect.

Risk. When the stage is set, that means an opportunity is ripe for the picking. Alas, it’s usually out of our comfort zones. So, build the courage and just do it.

To risk is to open up chances for failure. And failure is something we all try to avoid. What’s the worst that can happen? Lose time and financial capital?

And if so, who cares? You have one thing that no one can take away, which is your human capital. You can always start over.


Opportunities have a short shelf life. But before you can even see opportunities, you must first expose yourself by constantly learning.

Learn for fun and share with friends! If you want to share this article, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons are below and a click away! xo

Next, comment one thing you started doing because the stage was built through knowledge and experience.


Lawrence Chan

P.S. I’m leaving for Australia this Sunday. Excited for some meat pies!

On July 28th, I’m going to an event called, “Thursday Throwdown,” which is a free networking event for wedding vendors hosted by Girl Friday Weddings. Come hang out!

July 28, 2011 at 6:30PM
271 Pacific Hwy
Crows Nest, Australia 2065

A warm thank you to Milton Gan for graciously inviting me.

P.P.S. I got this lovely email from Brandon Bartee about my pricing ebook.

I just wanted to say thank you for writing the pricing ebook! Since reading it, I have actually tripled the income from my portrait business almost over night!