How To Succeed Without the Best Tools

When you’re a beginner, with a very small budget, you don’t need to have the best tools. You just need to focus on your skills.

I fell into the trap, years ago, of thinking that I need to invest tens of thousands of Pounds / Dollars on the very best equipment. It was so much money that it then became a huge obstacle to me actually continuing my craft in photography.

I had a shopping list of backgrounds, high-end Nikon cameras and lenses, awesome studio lights, flash guns, iMacs, et cetera. And I had no money. I’d have to beg for a business loan, with no capital to invest in the business. My shopping list turned into the biggest barrier to entry.

So, I had to rethink. I’d spent the five years before that point learning my craft on non-professional standard cameras that had a host of limitations, some of them so bad that I would see it as highly frustrating to use them now. But, you know what, those cameras allowed me to take images that were commented on by a photography lecturer as better than the images his graduates had presented for their projects the year before, and they had the best kit.

So I bought a low end, semi-professional camera with only one lens, a low end lighting set, and a background. I shot weddings, portraits, events and citscapes with that exact setup, for years.

I’m not in the photography game now, the market is too saturated for my liking. But the point I’m making is that the tools I had were not the most important factor to my achievements, it was my skills and craft.

Get yourself the minimum necessary tool, whether it’s a hammer, saw, screwdriver, laptop, camera. Those tools are probably going to have a whole host of limitations, because they are not the very best, but you can use those limitations to your advantage. Through exploring how to work around those limitations, you’ll find some new abilities, or solutions, you would not have done without those limitations.

You will be surprised how useful those solutions you discovered will come for the future. What if that feature on your tool that makes it so easy suddenly fails, but you still need to meet that deadline. Or what if you left your ideal tool at home, and someone hands you the next best thing, which is rusted, half-broken, or made from sub-par materials. You can’t say it can’t be done, you need to get stuck in.

I got myself a nice little setup with an iPad Mini in a Logitech keyboard case so I can write more flexibly on the go. But none of my Your Turn Challenge posts were written on this setup. It was my best, mobile tool, but it didn’t matter. It was my skills that made those posts possible, typing with my thumbs on an iPhone.

When I put together the podcast trailer, I didn’t have studio level equipment. I can’t invest that much right now. I just had a laptop, GarageBand, and a Blue Snowball Ice Microphone. I had to learn the skills of mic techniques, settings and editing to make that possible. These aren’t the best tools, but they are plenty good enough given enough effort.

If you’re barriers to achieving what you want are the tools you feel you have to buy, have another look, could you afford to buy lesser quality equipment that will allow you to improve your skills all the same, and ship your product in a little extra time?

The answer is very likely yes.

Published by

KG Heath

Digital Health professional, author, and lifestyle blogger.

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