Information Overload: How Much Is Too Much?

Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, addressed the attendees of the World Bank Conference ‘Global Knowledge’ in 1997 saying: “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” In the following decade and a half we have seen how the internet has made information available to anyone with a device capable of connecting to the web. If these days you want to find out about something, the answer is just one click away. But with so much information at our disposal, when does so much become too much?

When I decided to start my photography business, I literally had no idea of what I was getting into. I knew that I wanted to take photos for a living, but I had never been self-employed before and I just didn’t know where to start. My solution was to go online and google keywords like “photography business”, “freelancing in London” or “taxes in the UK”. I found hundreds of thousands of resources to research from and it was frankly very overwhelming. I was on my own and all of the sudden I felt like I needed a whole team of people to take care of my accounting, my marketing and my sales while I was out there taking photos. It was just too much for a person to take in. And sometimes one information contradicted the other.

That’s when I realised that I needed an action plan, part of which I talk about in my previous post ”The Man With A Plan”. I took all this ocean of information and divided it in little pieces to set myself attainable learning goals. And I started studying and learning bit by bit all the different aspects of the business to help me devise a coherent business plan.

One of the first things that I did was to decide which were going to be my trustable sources. I figured that the information needed to come from somewhere closest to the origin. So I did my research on taxes at the HMRC website and read everything about the business on the book ”Beyond the Lens” by the Association of Photographers of the UK.

Then I thought that if I wanted to learn about other aspects of the business, I needed to learn it from people who were actually working on those parts of the field. So I contacted the people from The Freelancer Club for mentoring and advice, started following Crunch’s blog for everything accounting and trusted my marketing learning to experts like Ilise Benun.

So by narrowing down my sources to fewer experts I was able to take all that information and turn it into digestible pieces. And by subsequently creating a business plan for myself with realistic goals I was able to put the fears aside and worry less about the business side of the craft.

In future posts I will talk about the goals and the timeline that I set myself as part of my plan.

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