We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Bliss and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, how do you think about risk?
I think risk taking is necessary when you are making the leap to work for yourself. When I started my career in 2018 I booked a one way ticket to New York City to start my video company even though I had no clients at the time. I view risk as a calculated tool you can use to advance and keep pushing yourself to level up. You almost have to intentionally back yourself into a corner that feels a little scary but that you know you can get out of. I knew I wanted to start a company so I booked the ticket to move to New York and then once that was booked that became my reality and I had to work backwards to figure it out. I ended up building my client base and growing a successful video business because of that decision and that risk.
Similarly, last October, after almost 4 years of living in New York, I felt like I needed to move on to a new challenge again and spend more time with my landscape photography work. So I decided to move out of my apartment, buy a car, and live on the road full time. This was even scarier to me but I took it step by step – I told my landlord I was leaving, and bought the car, which meant there was no turning back. Everything else I knew I could figure out along the way. Almost a year since then, I am still living on the road full time, and my photo/video business is doing better than ever. I feel extremely grateful to be able to do what I do but it all comes from those initial decisions to take calculated risks.
I think a lot of people don’t make it past that initial step of committing to something that might scare them. As humans, we are naturally setup to seek comfort but this process of committing to one thing that forces you to follow the rest of your plan is an excellent tool to break that cycle of complacency and force you to push forward to achieve the things you really want to do.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am still very much growing as an artist, and I think my work is evolving constantly. While I love my landscape photography, I think something that sets me apart is my videography. I’ve always felt video has an amazing way of telling stories and evoking emotion in an audience. I am always thinking about video ideas and I am working on finding a my niche for videos in the outdoor and landscape photography space, so that is something I am really looking forward to in the future.
To get to where I am today was definitely not an easy road, but one I think anyone is capable of if they believe in themselves enough. When I moved to New York to start my career I had almost no money, and no clients. But I had a blind belief that I could figure it out, and sure enough I slowly built my client base by working hard every day and now 4 years later I have been able to grow a very sustainable business from all that effort.
One thing I always want to tell people is that I truly believe anyone can make a living out of what they love to do. Especially with all the technology we have today, it’s more possible than ever. It’s not easy, but if you truly are passionate about something, you can find a way to turn that into a sustainable business and ultimately, your career.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If we are talking about LA I think I would actually be the one visiting and asking them for references! I am currently living on the road full time so my favorite spots tend to be on the coast by the ocean. As I’m sure is the same with lots of people I really enjoy the drive up highway 1 and the whole Big Sur area north of LA. When I do venture into the city I love to meet my friends and go to their favorite spots. I have spent a lot of time in California recently, but not enough to have my go to spots yet, hopefully soon!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes! I owe so much of my success to my family and great friends I’ve met along the way. In particular my friend Daniel Dennehy was the only person I knew when I moved to New York and he helped me so much along the way whether it was meeting amazing people in the city or mentorship and advice on many different situations that came up while I was figuring out how to run my own business. There are honestly too many people I’d like to pick out but if I have to choose just one it has to be Daniel because he played a huge part in my story.
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/michaeldbliss (Channel Name is: Michael Bliss)
Other: TikTok @michaeldbliss