Earlier this week, I was looking at my calendar to see my availability for a client, and it struck me that today, May 15, is the one year anniversary of being my own boss. I've had my business for almost 4 years now, but this was my first year running it full-time. I didn’t think about it much this week, but today, as I sat down in my home office, double shot of espresso in hand to check email, it hit me, I made it a year all on my own. I told myself that I was going to treat today like any other business day, but as I was checking my email, and getting ready to do some editing I couldn’t focus on those tasks, so I stopped what I was doing and decided to write up a little something about my first year as a full-time photographer.
The first few weeks after I left my job last May were amazing, I no longer had to set an alarm clock, I could have my espresso and breakfast out on the front porch vs. having to shovel it down in the kitchen before rushing out the door for work. The days of being told what I had to do at work were gone, and the dreaded performance reviews so many of use have to endure at our jobs, were long, long, gone. It was a freeing experience those first few weeks as my own boss. After about two weeks of getting up later, and working when I felt like it, I woke up one morning, and had my “oh shit” moment. The reality that I was really the boss, and everything was on my shoulders hit me like a ton of bricks. It was from that moment on, that I realized if I was going to make it to May 15, 2015 I was going to have to work my butt off, cause if I didn’t, my butt was going right back to the 9-5.
There’s no way to be fully prepared just how much work is involved with being your own boss. I wish I could explain how it really works, but all I can really say, is that you need to have your shit together. Working from home is not about sitting around all day in your pj’s, binging on House of Cards, and working when you want. No, it’s harder work then you can imagine, and until you’re in it for yourself, there is nothing I can say or do to explain the challenges that come with being your own boss.
I left my job with a handful of weddings booked, some money saved, and a business plan that I felt was strong. Last Summer went by fairly fast, I was busy shooting, and finally got to enjoy some much needed time with April and our families. Once the Fall came and air become cool I realized I had some issues with my business. I looked ahead to 2015 and realized that I didn’t have much work on the books, and then I looked at my bank accounts and became even more nervous! I spiraled into what I would consider three months of pure panic, but a much needed panic. Those three months were tough, I didn’t book any weddings, I barely shot anything, and was questioning my decision to be the boss. I knew something needed to change, so I tore down my whole business model and rebuilt it from the ground up. I won’t dive into the details, but I can say I turned things around, and in return 2015 and looking into 2016 already, things are looking great. One thing I can say about being your own boss, is to be successful you have to be able to make changes, even if they are hard to swallow. So enough about business, things are great and get better every day, let’s talk about what else has happened in my life this past year.
April and I have been together almost seven and half years, she has been with me for most if not all my adult life. She was one of the biggest supporters of leaving my job to do photography full-time (after explaining things to my parents, they fully supported my decision as well), and has been by my side at weddings, and photography jobs since day one. For about three years almost everyone has asked me, “when are you going to ask that girl to marry you?” Well, on an unusually mild, and rainy day last December I did ask her, and she said yes! When I asked April to marry me, I was just near the end of my three months of panic. I had no clue if I could turn things around, but there is business and there is life, and I was not going to let my own concerns about my business, keep me from asking the love of my life to marry me! As things would have it, by the end of December things turn around for business and we dived deep into the world of planning our wedding!
I know a lot about weddings, but planning our own has been an eye opening experience. I can finally relate to all my couples, and while it’s been stressful at times, remember to try and have a good time planning your wedding, it’s suppose to be fun! I will say, between helping plan our wedding, and working with my clients, my life seems like one big wedding…haha. That really has been this year for me, weddings, weddings, and more weddings, and I love it! What's even better than business being good? On July 17th, 2015 April and I will say I do, starting the next chapter in our own little love story….
Here’s to love, laughter, the unknown, being the boss, and enjoying the ride along the way!