One year ago this week, I made one of the biggest and scariest decisions of my life. I took a leap of faith in myself and in my future. I chose quality over quantity, family over security, passion over boredom. One year ago I left my safe well-paying corporate career to pursue my wedding photography business full time.
Even a year later, it still doesn’t feel real. It just feels like a really long summer break that is eventually going to end and I’ll have to go back to that job that took me away from my real passion. Now I certainly don’t want to complain about the job I had before. I am extremely grateful for my 4 years as a Software Developer. It was a great job that allowed me to support my family and put my husband through medical school. In this economy, I know I was really lucky to have the job that I did. But once I started my photography business, that’s when I discovered what passion really looked like.
I never had a vision for what my dream career would be or look like. I was never particularly passionate about a specific subject or job field. I chose my career path based on logic and what made sense. I was good at math and logic, wanted a stable job and wanted to be in a career field that had a lot of job opportunities. And I found just that in the Computer Science field. But what I didn’t find was passion. I enjoyed the challenge of solving a puzzle or debugging a program, but I wouldn’t say that I was passionate about it.
One of my concerns about leaving this job behind was that I would no longer be treated or seen as a smart and professional woman. My previous job title demanded instant respect. My resume and college grades impressed employers and colleagues. But now I am doing something that didn’t require a formal education and is something that basically anyone with a camera can do. So I feared that I would be wasting my knowledge and no longer be respected once I didn’t have a ‘real job’ anymore. But one year later, I can say that that is not the case at all.
In this past year of business, I have worked harder than I ever had at any other job. I would honestly say that I consider myself a business woman first, photographer second. It’s one thing to master your craft, but it’s another to know how to create a successful business that allows you to do it! Marketing, branding, online presence, bookkeeping, budgeting- these were all things that were completely new to me when I started this business! And these were the things that I had to work my butt off to learn and master in order to create a business that could make ends meet.
So as I reflect on 1 year since I made that decision to go down that uncertain and scary road of entrepreneurship, I would say that there are two feelings that stand out to me. Proud and blessed. Proud of myself for the business that I have created. For sticking with it when things got hard, never cutting corners or phoning it in and for working harder than I ever have for anything. I would say that I am more proud of my accomplishments in this business than I am for any grade I got in college or any complex piece of software that I created.
And secondly, I feel blessed. Words can’t describe how lucky I am to be in a career that I am truly passionate about. I never thought I would be someone that got to say they are doing what they love for a living. I am so grateful that photography came into my life and made that a reality for me. And I am lucky to be in a career that gives me the flexibility to always put family first. When my husband is working the night shift, I can shift my ‘office hours’ so that I can spend time with him while he is home in the middle of the day. I can go to my brother’s soccer or basketball game that is on a weekday afternoon. I can keep my dogs at home with me instead of putting them in doggie day care or leaving them in their crates for 9 hours a day, because let’s be honest, they’re family too!
So if you are in a position where you are desperately wanting to make your passion your full time job, my cliche advice is to not give up! Let that passion light a fire that can propel you to that goal! Put your head down and make it happen! Crunch the numbers, make the sacrifices, save your pennies so that one day that dream can become a reality!
Want to learn all my tricks and secrets that allowed me to take my business full time after just 2 years in business? Join us on August 1st for the Audrey Rose Workshop! We’re covering every single aspect of running a successful photography business! CLICK HERE to learn more about the workshop and CLICK HERE to register! Use code ‘earlybird’ for $100 off your ticket!
Want to see a recap of the last workshop? Check out THIS POST!
To get photography and small business tips delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the email newsletter!