We had the good fortune of connecting with Bradley Schweit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bradley, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I remember when I was first making the leap into self-employment, and my father gave me a card to congratulate me. In it he wrote, “Congrats on your ‘early retirement.'” Sure, it was intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but I feel as though a majority of people tend to view self-employment through that same lens: the easy road. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve had a lot of jobs throughout the years, and they all paled in comparison to the difficulty of owning and running one’s own business. First of all, your work never leaves you. It’s not as if you punch out and don’t have to think about or do anything work-related until the following morning. No… it’s ceaseless. There is always something to tend to/address. Always. Secondly, there is no guaranteed paycheck. When work is slow, you’re not making money. Fortunately, when work is plentiful, you are. There is no limit on how much you can make, and that is one of the most appealing aspects of self-employment. There are countless other pros and cons of working for oneself, but the point is this: for as amazing and prolific as self-employment can be, it can be equally difficult and frustrating. And it’s far from any sort of “retirement.”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve long prided myself on my ability to excel in not one specific photographic genre, but a multitude of photography styles. From food to festivals, and product to pet, I’ve spent the last almost 15 years honing and perfecting my craft. That said, I still constantly strive to learn and innovate in the photographic realm. I’ve found it to be immensely important to never consider oneself “complete” in any aspect of life, especially business. The key to success and happiness, in my opinion, is to be perpetually learning and adapting. Always seek to surround yourself with those who know more than you. I’ve always attempted to take a personalized approach to my photography. I interact with my subjects on a deeper level. I find that it benefits the images because it brings a level of comfort to the shoot that wouldn’t otherwise be there. I’ve heard from countless clients and individuals that most photographers tend to be quiet and uninvolved in most shoots. I’m far from that guy. By the end of my shoots, I’m usually friends with my subjects. And I try to bring that dynamic to each and every shoot and subject. Your reputation is priceless. That’s the number-one factor of being successfully self-employed. Treat everyone you meet as if they’re absolutely priceless in both a business and life sense… because oftentimes they are. You never know who or what may bring you to that next level of success.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Balboa Park is always a must-see in my opinion. The scenery is exceptional and the museums are an entertaining way to spend an afternoon, or even multiple afternoons. San Diego has a little bit of something for everyone, so it honestly depends on what sort of “vibe” you’re going for. If it’s the laid-back beach scene that happens to be your brand o’ whiskey, you can’t beat Pacific Beach (PB) or Ocean Beach (OB). Both have ample beaches, dining and nightlife. If nightlife specifically appeals to you, downtown is the area you’re after. Though most of that area is currently not operating due to Covid, there are a vast array of restaurants and nightclubs for you to partake of when we aren’t in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. And for a change of pace from the typical SoCal beach and city scene, San Diego also offers a mountain getaway (for a day or even longer) in the historic town of Julian. What was once a small mining town has now become a winter wonderland for those who aren’t interested in making the longer drive to Big Bear, Arrowhead or even farther north to Mammoth. And yes, it does snow in San Diego County.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I literally owe every bit of success in my business to my dear friend, Mike Newton. If it weren’t for him, I honestly don’t know where I, or my business, would be today. I truly don’t.