As a preface to my talk at Tokyo Photo (see below) I articulated four rules that I thought were essential for any young photographer trying to survive.
Here are the rules:
1. Have talent. (Talent is not when your friends tell you they love your work, but when people who don't like you have to admit it's good.)
2. Understand how the world works. (Not just globally, but on a macro level. Understand what people need and don't need. Understand when to approach people and when not to. Develop social skills.)
3. Choose good friends. (There's nothing like an effective network.)
4. Be modern. (Don't do anything that looks like it's someone else's work. Stay on top of technology. Engage on multiple platforms.)