Over the years the most common question that I would be asked when meeting someone new has always been, “what do you do?” My answer usually consisted of these responses, “I am home raising my kids” or when I worked outside the home it was whatever occupation I held at that time, usually some Office Administrative position. In all these years, photography has been more of a side hustle. I was paid for my services but yet I never offered “portrait photographer” as an answer for “what do you do?”
Why didn’t I tell people I am a photographer? Is it being afraid of judgement? Do I lack confidence in my abilities? Do I even want to be known as a photographer? I have never really truly found the answer to any of these questions.
A year and a half ago I was faced with a decision on replacing my old 2006 trusty Nikon D200. It served me well and I loved it. I started looking at replacement cameras for my “side hustle”. In my search of my ideal camera, I had to decide what is the purpose of this huge purchase? If I am not going to BE a professional photographer, then why do I want to buy a professional camera? I wrestled with this and ultimately had to ask myself, Am I happy to have a hobby camera to use as a hobby, then no longer be able accept paid clients? I did not want to give up my little side hustle photography business. The problem is the side hustle income doesn’t pay for the expense of the new professional camera.
One weekend in October 2019, I stumbled onto a website with sources for photographers. It offered a lot of tips on building your business etc. It gave me a lot of new ideas and hope for the future of my business.
I binged watched this for days and the ideas started to revive my passion for photography and it occurred to me that I can make this passion of mine more than a side hustle and I can start rebranding, renewing and being more of a photography presence.
After that weekend, I put what I was learning to work. Started booking new clients and learning ALL the things about social media and posting regularly and it worked, I was busier than ever for the remainder of that fall.
One month later in November 2019 I purchased the Nikon D850.
(Maybe one day in future I will do a post on all the cameras I have owned what I liked or disliked, you can comment below and let me know if you want to know.)
Then Covid landed at our doorstep:
We all know that very early into 2020, we found ourselves in the amidst of a global pandemic. This affected my regular “day job” with reduced hours and ways of doing business and like a lot of you, it meant working from home.
Due to Covid a lot of my scheduled bookings were canceled, postponed or altered to adhere to the Covid restrictions and I know a lot of small businesses were hit hard.
Lock down was in affect, kids were home learning. I was working from home and we had no where to go. The term Netflix Binge Watching became a real thing around here along with TikTok! (which I don’t think I will ever really understand)
The art of Education…
We had to learn new ways. Learn to be adaptive to what is happening around us. I came across online educators that are also amazing photographers that have proven courses and the reviews were fantastic! I wanted to know more about all they had to teach. I could not get enough learning. I feel like I am now BFF’s with Katelyn James, and Amy & Jordon Demos! We have spent countless together since March!
Not only did I receive valuable education on photography itself, but also on being a successful business and all the things that come with running a business. It is like drinking out of a fire hose. I thought the amount of time shooting, and editing my sessions was a huge time commitment. What I was not prepared for was the amount of time needed to really get my business “out there”. I needed time to curate social media, time to book clients and answer emails and send contracts as well as maintaining my regular day job and somewhere in there be a wife, mom and homemaker!
The struggle is hard!
All the advice to get yourself blogging or Insta stories, curating your social media presence and be regular on Pinterest. I didn’t even understand what most of these terms meant. How does one even start that? It was so much and I wanted to learn and do it all.
I don’t think I had ever been so drained. I was on the computer either for my day job or my business up to 18 hrs per day. My head hurt, my body hurt and I knew I was failing.
I was failing at keeping my home clean and organized. Failing at being present for those around me. Not leaving time for my family, my friends or even for myself. The pressure and stress was wearing.
It was an endless cycle of frustration and exhaustion.
Something had to change…
One year after that weekend where I choose to pursue my business, with the support of my family and friends, I made the hardest decision ever. I was resigning from my office employment and leaving it all behind.
I was leaving the regular pay check and all the security that it brought with and stepping out into the unknown world of being self employed. Trusting in myself to be independent, successful and happy!
I had and still have lots of fears of not being sucessful or the worry of over saturated markets. I realized I could keep myself up all night thinking of all the what ifs and being trapped in that fear.
Or, I could start thinking… why not me? What are my strengths? What is my niche? What sets me apart from the rest?
Seriously you guys! If you only hear one thing today, hear this … whenever those doubts creep in, I go back to those exact questions and it reminds me to push forward, it gives me assurance that I do have something to offer. It’s going to be hard work but it’s going to be worth it all! Learning to believe in myself is as tough as it is rewarding!
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it is all roses and everything is perfect. But I will tell you this… it is the best decision I have made in a really long time. This blog post will go on for days if I tried to tell you ALL the ways it has improved my life, my mental health and my renewed JOY for life.
So… where do I go from here?
I will continue to learn to blog. I will be showing up on Instagram and Facebook regularly. I would love it if you followed me there, I will post the links below. Mastering Pinterest is my next goal along with Insta Stories and Reels.
Educating or mentoring new or young photographers is also on my bucket list. I feel that if I can help someone else learn what I have learned and make their journey a little easier and lighter, it will have all been worth it.
I really hope you will join me on this journey, as it is only beginning and I can’t wait to see where we will go!
Thanks for sticking around and reading this far!….. Stay tuned in for more new ideas for future posts! You don’t want to miss that! 🙂