“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” // Arthur Ashe
I’ve spent many weeks trying to write other blog posts that I’ve been wanting to release and every time I sit at the keyboard my fingers grace the keys but do not move. The truth is, my mind has just not been on the subjects I know I need to write about. When I decided to write about those subjects, they were 100% all I could think about. But lately my mind has been elsewhere. It’s said you’re supposed to write what you’re passionate about, whats on your mind, and write from the heart. So here it goes.
I am going back to work full-time.
Yes, you’ve read correctly.
Yes, full-time, 40 hours per week.
Yes, outside of my home, in an office.
Yes, I am leaving my part-time job of almost 5 years.
Yes, I still plan to 100% run my photography business.
This big change in my life has been weighing heavy on my heart and soul lately. I’ve thought about keeping this a secret from my local industry friends, my clients, pretty much everyone that I didn’t have to tell. But I’ve decided secrecy is not my style. I don’t like hiding things. And I DON’T like lying. (I’m actually extremely terrible at it.) I kept asking myself,
“But what will people think?”
“Will people think my business is a failure?”
“Will people think I’M a failure?”
I’ve been beating myself up over wondering what others would think. And I realized the root of it all was the illusion of failure. More on that in a minute, first let me just give you a timeline of my career life since I started my business:
Started my business
Left Panera Bread to work for Lifetouch
Left Lifetouch to work for Cooper’s Hawk Winery-Restaurant
Left Cooper’s Hawk to work for Outside the Box
Beckett was born, off work for 8 weeks from OTB, got a taste for working for myself
Realized I had booked a lot of weddings for fall, thought I would go half-time in September to accommodate for said bookings
MY Mom diagnosed with cancer, had to have a full hysterectomy. (She’s doing well now!) Decided I needed to go half-time sooner.
Went half-time at Outside the Box and go to spend more time with my son and on my photography! Yay! All is awesome! I’m on my way!
But this past fall and winter hit our family hard. The slow season for photography was not kind to us. Honestly, all of 2016 was an up and down struggle of “which bills are we going to be able to pay this month and which ones can wait until the next?” After having bill collectors call us most of the winter I made the decision I knew was coming for a long time.
My decision for a company was made extremely easy by my husband. For the last five years he’s worked for a wonderful company called Allied Solutions and he constantly tells me how much he loves it there. So, when a position that fit my skill set popped up he told me to apply. After about a month of going back and forth I finally secured an interview and I recently found out I got the job. I start on April 3rd.
Now, I want to put this out there for all of my clients who may be reading this. Your current contracts and everything still stands as they do before. Honestly, not much of this will affect your current care and this will not affect your big day. I am not cancelling any weddings. The only things you may notice are my “office” hours will be changing. Since I will be at my day job Monday through Friday from 8:30am - 5pm I will no longer be able to do daytime meetings during the week or be able to tend to emails and such during the work day. I plan to eat my lunch at my desk so I can respond to and write emails to clients if necessary throughout the day. I will, hopefully, be spending Monday and Wednesday evenings from 9:30pm to 11:30pm and Friday’s (without a wedding the next day) until 1:30am in my “photography office” tending to editing, blogging, timelines, album design, and general client care. All meetings will be held on weeknights after 5pm. And I will still be able to take weeknight sessions after 5pm as long as we have sunlight. So in case you were worried, please do not be. I will definitely make sure you’re taken care of.
So now that I’ve gotten all of that off of my chest, I really want to address something in this blog post and that is my own inner turmoil with the illusion of failure. I’ve spent the last 7 years working extremely hard to quit my full-time job and just pursue my photography career. And when I had gotten to start working half-time I felt like I was almost there. But when the weddings weren’t coming in as much as I thought they would and more and more bills started piling up; I knew what had to be done. But for me, going back to work felt like I was a failure. I constantly listen to podcasts, read blog posts, and watch webinars of these industry professionals and their story of how they “left their corporate job to pursue their passion.” Or how they were now “only taking 8 weddings a year so they can spend more time with their family.” Or are “hiring and outsourcing so they can only do what they’re truly passionate about.” And while making this decision that was constantly eating me up because not only did I not feel like feel like I was close to that as it was… but I was going backwards!
I kept telling myself,
“Just one more month, that will be it. I’ll hit the Facebook ads hard and that will fill my calendar more than ever before. Then I won’t have to get a job!”
And when that didn’t fill my calendar I’d say,
“Just one more month, I’ll do a bridal show and that will definitely fill my calendar.”
And when that didn’t work I thought,
“Blogging!! I’ll start blogging all of the content I want to blog and then push with Facebook ads and run a special!”
And when that didn’t work it was finally time to say,
“Okay, I’ll start applying for jobs.”
Truth is I dragged my feet for months because I didn’t want to admit defeat. That I failed to get this business where I needed it to be. And that I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be for my family. But that is what ultimately drew me to my decision. Because it was the best decision for our family. Taking care of the people I love most and providing for them is the only thing I want to do as much as photograph couples in love. And if that means I have to work full-time then so be it.
This illusion of failure is something that I tormented myself with for months. But you see, I’m not failing. I’m succeeding in a different way. What is the ultimate goal? To take care of my family and run a photography business. The photography business alone was not taking care of my family. This will take care of my family. Having this job will allow us to pay our bills on time, provide a better lifestyle for our family, and possibly even take our kids on vacation once a year.
This is not failing.
Failing would be getting evicted from our home. Failing would be having our heat/electricity shut off… AGAIN. Failing would be not being able to provide dinner for our kids because we can’t afford to buy food.
This is not failing. It is succeeding in a different way.
Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So I’m breaking the cycle to get different results. We need another income. And this is how we’re going to get it.
So for those of you out there that work a full-time job while running some sort of creative small business. Be it photography, florist, painter, event planner, etc. Please know. Your full-time job is not your failure. It is your catalyst. It is what allows you to do what you LOVE. And maybe someday you will be able to quit that full-time job and only run your small business. But in the meantime, don’t beat yourself up over not being there yet. Don’t let the industry tell you that having a business and working full-time is a bad thing. I hear so often these magical stories of people who are quitting their full-time jobs but no one ever talks about having to keep working or having to go back to work. So here’s your story of going back to work. Me. I’m doing it. And no, it’s NOT glamourous. And it’s NOT Instagram worthy. But this is real life. And real life has zits, messy bedrooms, dishes in the sink, and even… sometimes… full-time jobs.
Stay strong my friends. I know I’m going to.
These are my people. And they're why I do what I do.