photography success millionaires library

Build Yourself a Millionaire’s Library

photography success millionaires library What do you picture when you think of a millionaire’s library?

Maybe an oak paneled room with bookcases that line the walls, countless shelves displaying impressive leather bound books. A gigantic wooden desk in the center of the room with a serving cart next to, a crystal decanter of brandy with matching glasses sitting on top.

That would be a great room, but it’s not what I have in mind.

Big TV’s vs Big Libraries

Famed salesman and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said “Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.”

Now I have to admit, I love my big TV. You can have a big TV AND a big library. However, this quote is a testament to how spending your time can affect your success.

Do you spend the majority of your free time watching reality TV, or do you enjoy educating yourself on and practicing your passions?

Since you are here on the Hobby to Pro site, you’re part of the minority that realizes that running a successful photography business requires a lot more than just taking pretty pictures. (Congrats!) How you educate yourself can greatly increase your chances of success.

Now, think about that millionaire’s library again. What kind of books do you think he has on his shelf?

IMG_0252I have stacks of books on the technical aspects of photography; taking better pictures, composition, lighting, posing your subjects, color harmony, etc.

All very important and helpful, but I also have many books on marketing, selling, how to make sales calls, goal setting, positive thinking, how to provide outstanding customer service, and other business subjects.

These are the types books that are going to take you from photographer to successful business owner.

Even if you pick out only one great piece of advice from an entire book (you’ll probably get more than one,) that’s one more tool in your toolbox that will help you grow your business and stand out from the crowd.

Learn from others’ mistakes

It’s foolish to try and recreate the wheel when you can learn from other successful people who have already blazed a trail.

Most of the time these days, I will download books directly to my Kindle. Just think – an entire millionaire’s library inside one portable device.

Don’t want to purchase a library worth of books? Head to your local library and take books out for free.

“But I hate to read.”

Check out the audio version of the book! Not only does it save you from having to actually read the books, it’s a great way to improve your business knowledge while doing other daily activities. Why not plug in an audio book while you’re alone driving instead of listening to the same 12 songs on the radio, or while you’re working out?

Even if you like to read, the audio versions are often read by the authors themselves, which helps bring some of the lessons to life and drive home points that you may overlook when reading on your own.

Take notes

It doesn’t matter which method works best for you – just be sure to take notes on any ideas that inspire you.

Just one great idea can make a huge difference for your business. By making it a habit to always be on the lookout to increase your knowledge, you’ll instantly be ahead of the majority of your competitors.

Most self-made millionaires in the world are not geniuses like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. They simply make the sacrifices necessary and do the hard work required to grow and learn that most people simply aren’t willing to do.

Put your new knowledge to work for you

Now it’s time to take something you’ve learned and put it to the test!

Francis Bacon famously said in the 16th century, “knowledge is power,” which is true. However, just knowing means nothing if you don’t act on that knowledge!

My challenge to you today is this:

  • Choose one book that interests you (see below for my personal suggestions!) and read the first chapter.
  • Pick out one idea from the book that excites you, and break it down into small steps that you can accomplish and measure.
  • Finally, after you’ve implemented this new idea, test it! If it worked for your business, think about how you can make this idea work even better for you. If it didn’t work, simply allow yourself to let go and try a new idea.

As Tony Robbins said “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” Allow these small steps to accumulate into that massive action.

A few books from my shelf

Here’s a few suggestions from my own library, broken down by categories. I couldn’t help myself, so I also threw in one of my favorite photography books!

[Disclosure: Please note that some links on this page are affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase from the links below. The money earned goes towards growing Hobby to Pro, and I only suggests products that I know to be truly helpful and useful for growing your business. Thank you for your support!]


IMG_0255Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D

These are two great books that will challenge how you think and help improve your self confidence and your response to things that happen to you.

I know when I started my business there were many times that fear and doubt would creep into my mind in the middle of a sleepless night. It’s perfectly natural to have fears but unless we overcome them it’s impossible to move forward.

If you are having any doubts, these books are a great place to start before you get into other strictly business related books. You need to have faith in your vision before you begin this journey to becoming a photography entrepreneur.


Motivational Marketing by Robert Imbriale

The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner

Motivational Marketing will give you some insight into what moves people to make a purchase and how to best appeal to their interests. The Irresistible Offer gives you insight on famous businesses and their offers that cut through the clutter to grab people’s imagination and attention.


IMG_0254Ziglar on Selling by Zig Ziglar

How to Close Every Sale by Joe Girard

Sales is an area that scares and confuses a lot of people. When they think of selling, many people think of a sleazy, underhanded, fast talking salesman talking someone into something they don’t won’t and probably can’t afford.

But that is not how sales should be. As Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life that you want if you just give enough other people what they want.” Sales is about helping people get exactly what they want.

Between these two books, just about every aspect of sales is covered. Topics include how to know what type of client you are dealing with, asking for the sale, dealing with objections and truly listening to what your client is telling you.


IMG_0258The Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally

If you haven’t heard of Joe McNally you are in for a treat! Joe is a famous photographer and instructor. He was a staff photographer for Life magazine, and has done work for countless other well-known magazines. He’s also pretty funny, and the book is written in an entertaining style.

This book is all about using small flashes. It is loaded with great pictures and instructions so that you can go out and experiment with adding speed lights to your work. A must have for learning new techniques and taking your work to a new level!

Your turn!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments: what books would you suggest to the community that have helped you get to where you are today?