The Miracle Is That I Had The Courage To Start

I am a slow runner.  No, seriously, I am very slow.  I finished my last two races almost dead last.  In my first triathlon, I was fourth from the bottom out of over 400 finishers but as I was racing I saw this sign:
Should I choose to focus on where I finished in comparison with the other racers that day, I might become discouraged but it’s also true that I finished faster faster than every single person who did not finish or did not start the race that day.  So basically that puts me in the top 1% based on how I choose to measure myself.  I am in an elite category of people who actually showed up to run the race!
Many people like the idea of owning their own business or running a half marathon buthow many people actually get out and turn their good ideas into a reality?  How many actually make it to the starting line?  There are many similarities between getting to the starting line of running a race and running our national virtual tour company using RTV, Inc’s virtual tour technology.
Tools —

Endurance running is not as simple as lacing up any old pair of shoes and hitting the street.  To run injury free takes the right shoes, the right clothing, the right nutrition and hydration, the right training plan.  As a beginning runner, I have had to research these things on my own by reading reviews and articles by veteran runners.  The salesman at a local shoe store may not be an expert on running so though it costs more, I prefer to buy my shoes and other equipment at a specialty running store.
RTV provided us with the some of the tools we need to create a successful virtual tour business and suggestions on the others.  They provided us with the equipment and software to turn our current photography equipment into a turnkey virtual tour machine.  On top of that though, because they support a network of thousands of virtual tour photographers they have found out what works and what does not.  Whether it is a new piece of equipment or a new software program, we turn to them for suggestions and this saves us an inordinate amount of time and money.
Training —

I started running with an iPhone Couch to 5k program and progressed from there to my current half marathon training plan but the key was that I had a program and I followed it.  This program was designed by people who had gone before me and already successfully done what I want to do.
Greg is a seasoned photographer with a degree in Commercial Photography but photographing virtual tours is different than shooting portraits, weddings and sporting events.  The training RTV has provided via webinars and their website was invaluable in getting us up to speed.  Every time we watch a webinar, we pick up something new.  Because all of the webinars are archived, a new person with RTV has a training program ready for them on day 1.
Competition and Camraderie —

Sure they keep score in a race but the only real competition that I have when I run a race is my self, my mind and my body.  It’s the same way when you are an independent business owner who is part of a network of other professionals.  I like to say that because of RTV, we are independent but not alone. 
The other virtual tour photographers that we have met through Facebook, on our travels and at the RTV national conference are like an extended family.  There are people whom I speak to regularly via the Facebook group or on the phone who I have never and may never meet but we share in each other’s successes and struggles. 
Support —

When I crossed the finish line of my triathlon, the seasoned athletes had collected their medals, had eaten lunch and were heading home but they stopped along the side of the road to cheer me on and encourage me.  While I was intimidated by these same athletes at the starting line, their cheers and support drove me at the finish line. 
This week a new virtual tour photographer in our Facebook network posted that she had just sold her first virtual tour.  Those of us in the group who are more seasoned all congratulated her because we can each remember what it was like to start our virtual tour business and shoot that first tour.  She was excited but it’s possible that the rest of us were even more excited for her because we know that getting to the starting line is the hardest part of ANY race.

Vision Quest Virtual Tours is a national virtual tour provider specializing in virtual tours for healthcare, hospitality and education.  Owned by Greg and Paige Mitts, Vision Quest is headquartered in Quincy, IL but we have photographed virtual tours in over 30 states.  Paige is currently training to run her first half marathon!