Think you can get by on raw talent? Think your agent, rep, manager or business partner is going to take care of that fluffy customer-facing stuff so you can be a reclusive artist, camera-hider-behinder? Think again. Like it or not, the feeling you’ve been feeling all along is becoming more pronounced. Call it unfair, call it fake, call it whatever you want, but as the world becomes more connected socially, the bias toward socially connected individuals and groups is continuing to serve out the prophecy…social skillz help pay the billz.
While geographic location clearly means a lot for earning more, growing faster, and reaping the rewards of a larger network–ie. being a professional creative located in LA, NYC, London, etc–, recent article in The Atlantic by Richard Florida (author of Rise of the Creative Class) states in no uncertain terms that you’d be way better off having more than just technical skills:
Highly developed social skills … including persuasion, social perceptiveness, the capacity to bring the right people together on a project, the ability to help develop other people, and a keen sense of empathy…are quintessential leadership skills needed to innovate, mobilize resources, build effective organizations, and launch new firms. They are highly complementary to analytic skills [read: your technical abilities as a photographer]…and indeed, the very highest-paying jobs usually require exceptional skill in both realms.
So are you prepared to get a lot more social and heighten your chances at success?