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Last Update: Monday June 14, 2021

Key Idea: Knock On Doors (forget the beach!)

Nothing happens until something's sold.  Period.  Business is about creating and maintaining customers and that means plenty of people have to give you money for the product or service you offer. Ken wasn't afraid to sell his photos by going from door to door.     More...

Key Question:


Reach out to people.  You can go in person, use the telephone or the Internet to beat the bushes for customers.

Q:  What did Ken and Pam do that most artists are not willing to do?

A:  They sold Ken's work themselves and learned how to build a strong, sustainable company. Several months after Ken told the New York agency to get lost, he went back to the bush of Australia to take more pictures. To fund this second trip, he sold his house. He put every penny and then some into developing a product line. Next, he and Pam convinced an upscale hotel to allow them to run an exhibit in their lobby.

Ken's enthusiasm for the project won over the hotel management. They gave Ken and Pam a room to stay in and complete access to the hotel lobby for the show. The hotel took no money for the space and took no sales commission. They figured the people to coming the exhibition would spend money in their restaurant and bar and maybe even come and spend the night in the hotel.

The "overnight" success of this exhibition emboldened the couple and they have not looked back. They have become fine business people who know how to hire and keep great employees. They know how to manage cash and when to invest. They divide and conquer the tasks and they love and respect each other.

Q:  What can passion and enthusiasm do for your ideas?

A:  To grow your business, try Ken's passion on for size. You can see in his face today what the hotel managers saw back in 1981. He has something to share. He is convinced that people need the beauty of God's creation in their lives and he is going to give it to them. Ken reminds us that we will all hear many people tell us, "No." This he says is normal and you can't take it personally. Passion for what you are selling will overcome any feelings of failure and serve as the match to start your fire everyday.

Questions for this clip: 1 | 2

Think about it

When was the last time you closed a sale?

Clip from: Ken Duncan Photography

Siesta Beach, Florida, a picture from America Wide: In God We Trust

Sydney, Australia:   Meet a man whose goal in life is to capture perfect moments and translate them into some of the most beautiful photography you'll ever see.

He carved out a niche by automating his art. Meet Ken Duncan; he truly sees the magnificence of all of creation around us and he would like us all to stop  and take it in.  Art is life, and art has staying power.  Perhaps if we do, we might also make our business as a work of art as well.

If you want to create a great business, focus on perfecting the products and services. In the struggle to make the processes just a little better, you will be creating something of even greater value. You can do it. Yes, you can.  And, as you do, you'll make our world a better place.   Ken should inspire you on your way.

Ken Duncan Galleries

Ken Duncan, Founder

Shop 14, Hunter Valley Gardens Village
Broke Rd

61 2 4367 7744

Visit our web site:

Office: 61 2 4367 7744

Business Classification:
Photography, retail

Year Founded: 1988

Knock On Doors (forget the beach!)

KEN: I said, `Well, I know. You know, thank you. I'm really appreciative, but I just want to go bush again and do what I was doing.' To finance this, I had one last thing; I had my house.

And I thought, `I've got to sell that, too,' you know, because I think with any journey, often we're going to give more than 100 percent. You can't just give 50 percent.

And often that's what we do; we put in 50 percent and it doesn't work. We think, `Oh, that's it, I'm out of here. I can't lose my other 50 percent.' But it's that 50 percent that can make the whole project work, you know. It's that extra 50 percent. And for me, I actually put in more than my 100 percent, because in the end, that whole project took me all my money and I had to borrow some more.

But I started with me having a portfolio and a bag of prints, and I'd knock on doors. And, you know, people often say, `Well, how do you start?' And I say, `That's how you start. You just knock on doors.' And the thing is, out of those doors, you've got to realize it's all about numbers. One out of 10 is going to say yes, and the other nine are going to say things like, `For a photograph? Oh, you've got to be kidding.'

But you can't take it personally. And I believe God gives you an idea because he wants you to do it, you know, not to palm it off to someone else because, you know, when you do that, you're passing away the profit. So it's very important to take control of your destiny in that way and believe that, you know, God has given you that vision for a purpose for you to fulfill it.

Now when we did our first exhibition, no one had ever done these exhibitions in Australia before. So we booked out a five-star hotel and it cost us every bit of money; we had to borrow money to do this thing. And so if it hadn't have succeeded, we would have been bankrupt right there.

But we just really believed it would work.

Well, I actually went to this hotel, and because they could see I was passionate about what I'm doing -- and I believe passion is the key -- they actually gave us all their main foyer area where we put the exhibition. And that exhibition was hugely successful. I've sold over a hundred prints, or something like that, and a thousand books or something like this.

And we're going, `Wow!' So that's how it all started.

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