I am over the hill excited to announce my new photography business is open and ready to go! Over the past several months I have been carefully building my portfolio, business, and website - please take a look around and enjoy!
For those of you who do not know me, I am a fierce adventurer, explorer, and homebody who loves wine, my cat, and warm weather (why do I live in Chicago again?!). I am also someone who has been on a career safari (yoga teacher, professor, consultant, sales advisor, photographer - all before 30), and determined to live my purpose, eager to expose social issues, teach, and make an important mark on the world.
For years I have known that I would one day be a business owner. I consider myself an extremely ambitious person, but not someone who ever had a clear path or a concrete plan for my career. The uncertainty made conversations with my parents challenging; they have a hard time understanding that some people have a windy career path. Some people have a straight path. Society does not make it too easy for those a little unsure of themselves, but it does test how risk averse or adventure inclined people are.
My uncle always tells me the story of when I was a child I would play tug of war with him using a towel and how I would fight with him until I won. I never let go and there was no way I would let him win even if my face turned blue. His point is that no one could ever truly tell me what to do - I do not like the feeling of being controlled. This pretty much summarizes my experience in the 9-5 world. I usually enjoy it for awhile but having people tell me what I can and cannot do irks the hell out of me and I end up resenting those "above me." Bottom line: working at big companies or in tightly-controlled structures where I am unable to use my potential is not for me. However, the experiences at these jobs have been invaluable and important parts of my growth and I wouldn't change any part of my early career. There is no way I would have gotten to this point had it not been for the work experiences and skills that led me here.
So how did I choose to become a photographer? Truthfully, I have always been a photographer - artistically and casually drawn to shoot places I visit or people I meet - but I never seriously considered it as a professional route. Until recently, I never considered a creative profession or anything of that sort. But then it dawned on me that I am a creative person, more so than I thought - and I needed my career to be one that allowed be to be creative and think outside the box. After months of personal and career development including seeing a psychic/spiritual coach, completing an 8-week career coaching program, taking professional photography courses, and a trip to NYC to visit the photography exhibit of Diane Arbus, an inspiration for me, I knew that this fit and was going to be my career path. I just was averse to the risk of it all. And then, after stumbling out of my car following a head-on collision on a Thursday in October, I realized the riskier play was not following this path before my time was up on this Earth. This is it, folks. Of course, it will evolve over time, but blending technical skills with the arts is extremely satisfying - and building this business has made me happier than even the feeling of watching Alec Baldwin impersonate Trump on SNL.
Thus, I share with you some of my insights as I made the decision to forge my own path. To some it seems risky, but for me, staying unhappy in a job is riskier business. My advice for anyone who feels similar to me, make a list of your career values (meaning what kind of work environment/setting will make you happy), the pros and cons of working a 9-5 vs. working for yourself, and begin to seek out and manifest your needs. Remember, everyone is different!
Four Exciting Perks of Being a Business Owner:
1. You can make your own hours and work when your brain works best.
If you want to work at 6am or 10pm, or Saturday and Sunday and sleep on Monday, you can choose what makes the most sense for you. If you are most productive at random hours, you can actually make smart decisions on when to work and when to rest.
2. There is no cap on your success.
They say your biggest barrier in life is yourself, but also that your biggest catalyst can be you too. You can push yourself to work as much as you want to then see the fruits of your labor. Your success is a product of the work that you put in and it's a great feeling when you contribute to something you truly believe in. Personally, having skills for which people seek me out for is extremely fulfilling. I also love not having a salary cap, and feeling the endless possibilities that await me.
3. You can travel wherever you want and whenever you want (mostly).
This may only work for certain types of businesses, but if you have remote work possibilities or a business that can sustain itself through technology, it could work for you. If you love to travel and do not want to be tied down, working for yourself enables you to live the life you want. For myself, the thought of having 15 days off a year felt strangling. How does America do this? I wanted to build a mobile business that could be located anywhere and allowed me freedom, especially if I want a family one day. Other than working with clients and being on shoots, my work is remote.
4. You will use your potential.
For some, this could be the most exciting perk. We all have so many gifts and talents; unfortunately certain careers pigeon hole us into using very few of the things we can offer and it creates disengagement and even depression. If you create a business for yourself, you become everything in a company and you are forced to wear every hat. It may seem scary, but it's truly fulfilling to push yourself in every way.
One of my biggest fears in life is not using my potential. I always found that at each job I had I wasn't utilized enough, that I was stuck doing the same tasks, not given enough responsibility, and I didn't want to wait until I was a VP to get there. Between all of my work experience, I have done a piece of basically everything: human resources, operations, sales, marketing, photography/videography, project management, client experience, presentations, training, and administrative work, so now that I get to be the jack of all trades, it's invigorating to blend all of my experiences and use my creativity to get things done exactly how I want them to be.
Thanks for reading my first post, y'all. I will also share soon some cons to being a business owner (yes it's scary too!).