I’ve been a professional photographer for 10 years. It was always a side hustle and so much fun. I photographed couples, actors and families; then food, events and architecture.
My 9 to 5 job was always in the marketing industry. And the more I learned, the more I wanted to combine them into one focused business, my business.
After being let go from a 9 to 5 job, I decided I’d take the plunge and commit to building my own business – Bella Carolina Creative. It has been a year of lessons. Here are the top three:
It's OK to say “no”
In order not to appear inflexible and with the mindset that I never wanted to lose a client, I wasn’t as good at guiding client behavior. And maybe I wasn’t really sure of what was truly unacceptable to me until I was in a situation that I didn’t like.
I found myself in this situation when getting paid and while working for friends. You can’t expect a person to respect you and your time, if you don’t. I believe that most people genuinely try to be good but if advantage can be taken, it will be.
So, be true to what you want. Express yourself firmly and kindly. And be comfortable with your decisions.
It is so easy to get bogged down in the day to day of managing money, paying bills and marketing the new business. Without meaning to, I set my craft aside.
It was sitting in the corner watching me pull my hair to make things happen. Patiently it waited till I remembered it was my joy. If there’s no practicing, there’s no progress . . . nothing new is learned.
Practice your craft. Use your tools with the goal of not working but exploring! Each time I do this, I light my fire again.
Take time for yourself
My 9 to 5 was a 9 hour day with commute. My days now are easily 12 hours with weekends thrown in more often than not. Dang! I enjoy it more, for sure. But now, instead of multiple things happening simultaneously, there is just me doing one thing at a time. Ha!
So my time has disappeared – walking with the dog, pilates class, dinner with my guy . . . the list is surprisingly long.
But I’ve taken my days back. And only I can keep it up. It’s hard to let go of work and relax into free time. But it’s so important. Because without it, the stress has nowhere to go.
Year 2, here I come!