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Check Out Dauss Miller’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dauss Miller.

Hi Dauss, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Photography is absolutely a passion and I’ve been at it for most of my life, traveling wherever the art calls me. I feel like I’ve always been a photographer, having a camera in my hands passed down from my father as young as ten. I had my own darkroom in high school. There were always cameras and art around me growing up so it just makes sense. I’m an artist first, and I believe that shows through in my work, I’m where I am today because I made a commitment not to allow myself to stay complacent. I set short and long-term goals based on my strengths and hold each goal as a tangible reality the create the most efficient pathway possible. I realized, with focus on my goals, and making the conscious choice every morning to move into action with integrity, intention, and strategy, was absolutely the way. I concentrate on my strengths and offload thoughts, habits, and tasks that don’t serve me or my path through to my goals. If there’s an item in business that can be done by someone more skilled, I outsource, that affords me more time and energy to devote to my strengths. I have my zone of genius, that’s what makes me unique, that’s what gets my time. Though I haven’t quite “arrived”, this mindset is what keeps me moving steadily along my path to greatness. Where I am today is a blip through my journey to reach and enrich as many lives as I can. And that feels good every day!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Challenges present themselves often, none of us are strangers to that, how we choose to manage these indubitable gems though, is what MAKES us!

I lost my wallet the summer of 1998 in Sarasota, Florida…

I spent most of my early adult life believing some people were lucky, and I just wasn’t one of them. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why I had such “bad luck”, or why everything seemed so insurmountably difficult.

Flash to 2004. I had developed a solid weekend warrior reputation as a wedding and portrait photographer while working my “perfect for me” career job most of my remaining wake hours. I was up for a big promotion, a 10k salary increase, and a shiny new title. Life was feeling pretty decent. As the days grew closer to my official transition into my new role, my corporate contact states away stopped responding.

This marked the soft start to my “compression years”… It felt like four years being pressed through a bottleneck of sandpaper…COMPRESSED FRICTION HELL!

I lost that job, was given three days notice then off payroll, completely. No one would hire me, my confidence and self-worth plummeted. I lost my house, my car…photo equipment was stolen as I was forced to live in cheaper apartments in shadier parts of town. I didn’t know what was going on. This spiraling free fall was my new reality. Four years of chaos and barely scraping by. Such my luck!

It wasn’t until 2008 after being jailed for three days over a bogus suspended license and a “failure to appear” that I realized I had been victim of identity theft. I was told, as they booked me into cell block C and signing my name on the line marked “inmate”, that I had done this before… Nearly in tears, I said, “I’ve never done this before! I don’t belong here!” On the screen in front of me showing my gifted criminal record, garnering offenses like criminal trespass, grand larceny, and sexual misconduct with a minor. No wonder I lost my job. No wonder no one would hire me!

…I lost my wallet the summer of 1998 in Sarasota, Florida.

Allow me to make one thing very clear: I now realize people aren’t born lucky. I was made this way after grinding to keep my life together, working hard, never sleeping, standing after I’d been shoved down.

In my compression years, I learned to be a bodybuilder, a strength coach and personal trainer, a massage therapist, a handyman. There isn’t much I can’t do with my hands. I couldn’t quit, knocking–again–after doors were slammed in my face. I was made lucky for working while they ridiculed and studying while they slept. I learned to be a businessman. I rebranded my business in 2010 with newfound confidence and I’ve never looked back.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am an international lifestyle editorial & advertising photographer and director in LA, NY & Chicago. I’m passionate about helping people realize their worth, beauty, and potential. I’m an artist and entrepreneur focused on commercial ad photography, branding lifestyle and portrait photography, and photography/business education. I have a way of connecting with people through calm unassuming energy, authentic relatability, and real heart-centered action. It’s my passion, the heart of what I do.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Connecting and networking is the name of the game. Your base network, the people, and businesses that know you best and have experienced the value of what you offer first hand are invaluable as a foundation to any marketing you’ll launch for your business. Not only is networking an effective way to build a loyal network, it’s also a great way to connect with potential mentors.

A good mentor can make all the difference for the success of your business. Mentored entrepreneurs statistically last longer than the milestone five-year mark, notable because, in general, most new businesses don’t survive much more than a year. So, if you’ve made it that far, KUDOS! Having a solid mentor increases your chances of success and helps avoid the expensive and time-evaporating mistakes of entrepreneurship. I always offer my potential mentees this, saying first, “My journey has been LOOOOONG and expensive”. The right mentor can fast-track success and help efficiently reach goals throughout your journey. Diminish the uncertainty and get straight to confident action.

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Dauss Miller

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