Tuesday, 30 June 2015

[Blogging Challenge] How did I get here?

Have you ever had a job where you've felt stifled, that you aren't achieving your full potential and are losing love for the job you are doing? What did you do in the situation? Stick with it - or move on?

I never set out on my journey in life to be self-employed, to be running my own business or to be a photographer, and now? I cannot imagine anything else.

It all started back in 2007 - a cancelled Mediterranean cruise and a dad who'd just had a heart attack. And now, 8 years on? I've still not been on the Mediterranean cruise - and my dad is fine.

Within a few months, I was working with someone else as a photographer / assistant / trainee / dogsbody whatever you want to call it. But June 2008 I had left my full-time assistant manager position to focus more on the photography and work part time. Come October 2009 - I was on my own in the big scary world of photography.

I felt stifled like I couldn't grow and develop. And I had friends who were wanting me to photograph their Wedding, not the person I was working for.

I remember discussing it with Mum and Grandad, whether or not I should go on my own. At the time I was living at home with my parents, working part-time, had a car - I didn't have as much risk. I loved my job taking photos, creating memories and sharing special days. It really was now or never. It had not even been a year since we had lost my Nan, and she would have told me to go for it without even thinking about it - and so I did.

One of the things I found setting up at the age of 25, is that there is little time. Every spare minute when you are trying to grow a business is put back into the business. Even now, almost 6 years on, if I have a spare minute I sometimes wonder what I can do to fill it rather than relaxing - because who really relaxes in business?

The saying "you get out of it what you put into it" is so very true. If you don't have the time to invest in your business, or you would rather be doing something else - then it's not always the right time. When you run a business, you have to force yourself to prioritise and do things. You have contingency plans and know that things can wait if there is family or friend emergencies - but in the beginning you eat sleep and breathe setting up your business.
And this brings me onto something that most people don't tell you - you lose friends.

I don't mean the loyal friends - I mean the fake-flakey friends - the takers, not the givers - the ones that you would jump for if they need you, but then wouldn't return the same way. 

Because, unfortunately, not everyone is supportive. You just have to decide, do I want a successful business - or do I want friends who drag me down. 
Number one rule for a positive mind - get rid of the negative influences.

Its not quite so simple, and its taken me 6 years to get to the point that I am now. And I cried many tears over the friends I lost, who left me out of things, and who didn't support my journey.

But here I am.

When I set up on my own, I knew that I couldn't work from home. I needed a space. I needed to go to work. I had an office I shared with a friend who also had her own business! (Hello Nikki!) before moving into my own office when Nikki moved on. I then opened Studio Number 1 which I was at for 2 years. Moved then to studio number 2 where I was for 18 months before I moved and got the keys for Studio Number 3. 

My studio now is amazing. Shop front, and exactly how I wanted it. I've been shooting here almost a year, and I blooming love it. I have a 5-year lease, and I don't plan on looking anywhere else - unless I was to buy - and that isn't anything that is in the forefront of my mind.

Don't be scared to grow your business. Make decisions and take side steps, back steps and leaps of faith forward. If it seems like a good idea, on paper it works money wise as a good idea, and your gut feeling says go for it.

Then go for it. What is stopping you if only yourself?

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