When I made the decision to leave my corporate job in insurance claims to pursue wedding photography, I’ll admit I was excited and terrified at the same time. I had spent 7 years with my previous employer and felt almost as though I was just abandoning my life plan.
I started my corporate career with ambitions of management, power suits and high level meetings. After changing departments, going through promotions and then starting a family I began to realize my aspirations had changed. I stressed hearing my work phone ring, struggled to balance social time in my office and constant stories full of negatives took over my home and work life.
I started taking photos in high school after observing my grandfather and mother constantly capturing our moments at home. For my 15th birthday my brother purchased me photoshop and my first digital camera. ‘It’s this or drivers-ed,’ he said to me. From then on, I depended on friends and public transportation for rides a lot more but the creative in me flourished. After giving birth to my son 10 years later I upgraded my equipment again and people began asking me for photos of their families as well. I came to love weddings through natural progression and never looked back.
So here are the five things to consider before working from home:
1. It’s insanely lonely | I spend my days listening to podcasts or with Netflix streaming because the silence is almost deafening. I loved talking to coworkers (ok, maybe too much) and trips to get coffee or donuts in the break room just cannot be replaced.
2. You really become part of a unique community | How often do you and your coworkers get together now? Every week, month? Quarterly? The beauty of creatives is there are always events to attend, masterminds to delve into, groups to engage with and marketing lunches. I was intimidated to list “photographer” as my job description (hello - just updated my LinkedIn like a week ago) until I realized the massive community that thrives being just that, and so much more!
3. Your family life and personal relationships change | I just planned a trip to Wisconsin with no worries as to putting in for time off or letting several people know I won’t be in the office. I make my own schedule and can accommodate any work needed on the road - or just put up an away message and disconnect for the weekend. After my son was struck with an illness I didn’t need to worry about being written up for having used too much sick time, I was simply able to make adjustments to my schedule and devote my time to making him better.
On the opposite end of this spectrum however, you are responsible for your schedule and sometimes that means working from 11pm to 1am so you can spend extra time during the day with your little ones or turning down those ladies nights for events you’re either working or attending.
4. Your creative path may change - and that’s ok | When I quit my corporate job I had a clear and concise plan of what I wanted to do and where I saw my business in a year. Then things changed. When you’re running your own business there are more influences than just the occasional schedule change or flight for a work training. Having structure is crucial to success but you’ll soon realize your initial path isn’t working, fulfilling you, or heck, even paying your bills. You’ll need to know how to be flexible and reevaluate.
5. Taxes, insurance, cost of doing business, personal finances, life insurance and disability insurance | I was lucky enough to have a financial advisor husband who helped exponentially prior to me leaving my job but I hear about entrepreneurs and business owners struggling with this almost weekly. Setting up insurance, a savings plan and having a realistic idea of what taxes and your business will cost to run is crucial to - how do I put this lightly - not fall flat on your face in your first year of business independently.
So, is the transition to creative the right path for you? If you read this list and were like - well that sounds like the worst thing, ever. Maybe it isn’t - for now. For those of you who literally end this with the thought ‘shut up and take my money,’ well then, I’ll see you at the next creative meet up.
Want to see some of my wedding work? Click here for all my wedding blogs. Or better yet, like what you see and maybe - kind of - sorta want to work together? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out my contact form here!