I’m sitting in my office this morning sipping on a celebratory cup of coffee…why am I celebrating? As of today,full time it’s been SIX years since I took the leap and left my full full-time job, to begin running my business as my sole gig. This was one of the defining moments of my twenties (or really, of my entire life, for that matter) so I never let this day go by without remembering it and gratefully thanking the universe for allowing me to be so lucky.
When I started my business (just over 7 years ago!), I was living paycheck to paycheck and working at a job that I really didn’t love. I desperately yearned for a life outside of my stuffy, windowless office and wanted more than anything to be able to create my own schedule and live on my own terms. I craved a life where I made my own rules based on what was most important to me. I really wanted a career, not just a job.
I had no idea what I could do that would allow me to live this more flexible lifestyle I’d dreamed up, but also, even more importantly, allow me to provide for myself financially. It was also important to me to find something for myself that would be fulfilling both creatively and intellectually…it was kind of tricky considering I didn’t have a degree and I didn’t have any real skills, either. Picking up my first camera (a Canon Rebel…a used base model DSLR I bought off of Craigslist for $200) gave me hope for the future and sparked something that I knew could become something really big for me.
It turned out I was right! Business has been pretty good to me over the past six years since I nervously packed up the contents of my desk and drove away from my old office for the very last time. In addition to photographing weddings as my sole source of income, I havefull time also been able to host several workshops where I taught other professional photographers what I did to grow my little business into something bigger. I’ve been published in magazines several times and I’ve photographed a wedding in a foreign country (Mexico, almost a year ago!). So many of these things were bucket list items for me as a new photographer and it’s hard to believe that they have happened!
Despite all of these successes I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy, I never want to forget the hunger and drive that I felt when I left my full-time job six years ago. I remember anxiously turning in my notice at work thinking “I will literally do whatever I have to do in order to make this work…I will hustle and bust my ass and I will make it happen”. I still remember that knot in the pit of my stomach and that fear that also tasted a little bit like excitement and freedom. That’s ultimately what propelled me through the tougher times in the beginning and I know it’s that determination that helped set me apart in an oversaturated market and has helped my business last as long as it has. I hope I never lose that fire and that I always remember how it felt to embark on this journey six years ago, not knowing what lies ahead.
I can’t end this post without a giant thank you to every single person who has supported my business in any way over the past 7 years since the start, but especially since I went full time six years ago! I appreciate every little bit of support (and I know Lucy thanks you for keeping her mom employed and her kibble bowl full!). It doesn’t go unnoticed by me and I’m grateful for you every single day. Thank you for being a part of this story and allowing me to get to do something that brings me so much joy!