DISCLAIMER: This isn’t a feel good blog post. It’s about how I feel about people staying in their full-time jobs and not going all-in with what they love.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear the following: “I want to go full time in photography, but I’m scared to leave my job.”
It’s scary. Your full-time job is a dependable source of income, you have benefits, you have co-workers, etc. There are so many advantages to having a full-time job. It’s comfortable.
Leaving your job to go full-time in photography isn’t comfortable. You’re going to feel stressed. It’s going to be long hours. You’re going to have to make sacrifices.
But you know what is even scarier? Knowing that you had the chance to do what you love and not taking that chance. And that’s exactly where I was at.
I Want To Give You A Little Bit Of Background About Myself
I’m young, so I know I haven’t had the same experiences that you have. I understand that, but I want you to stick with me because I feel like this is really important. Even though I’m young, I truly believe that all humans are rooted in the same wants and desires. Humans are hardwired in certain ways and fulfilling their goals or achieving their dreams is part of human nature.
Ever since I was young, I thought that I was going to be a doctor. I studied hard in high school, was admitted to a great college with access to top-notch scientific programs and access to one of the nation’s top medical schools if I wanted to participate in research and took part in extracurricular activities that I knew would set me up for success in the future.
My junior year of college, I threw it all away. I went on cruise control and focused all of my effort into building my photography business. I graduated, but the whole intent for the last two years was to build up my photography business to the point that when I graduated, I would be ready to step into it as my full time job.
It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could be a doctor; I believe that I would have been a great doctor. It was that I knew that I would fully regret if I didn’t go all-in with my photography.
Was it scary? Hell yeah it was! Going from knowing I would have a well paying, stable income to not knowing if I was going to book 4 clients or 40 clients this year was frightening.
You know what it did do though? It gave me the drive to make sure that I was getting it done.
Don’t Give Up Your Full-Time Job Quite Yet
Now I’m not saying that you have to quit your 9am-5pm. In fact, that would be foolish. But I bet there are a lot of hours in the day that you’re using for other things that you can be putting towards your photography business. If you truly want to do this, you’re going to have to make sacrifices.
I can’t tell you how many weekends I gave up going out with friends or heading back home to build my clientele base during college. There were times where I would spend 18 hours a day working between school and building my business. In the end, I knew that this was what I needed to do because if I didn’t, I would look back and regret not giving my all.
My advice to you: figure out what you can do to build your photography business while still having the ability of working your full-time job. Maybe it’s working extra hours after your kids are in bed or spending some weekends working. While it may not sound fun, putting in the work is the only way to actually grow your business.
Only once you build your business to the point that you can step away from your full-time job do I think you should go all-in. I believe that taking risks is essential, but don’t let it be to the extent that you’re doing it in a foolish manner.
Going Full-Time Lights a Fire Under You
I’m not going to lie, there’s something about going all-in that really lights a fire under you. Having the stability can sometimes not allow people to do what they need to and take their business to the next level.
Comfort = Complacency.
Whether or not you’re going all-in quite yet, no matter what, don’t get complacent. If you’re comfortable, it’s easy to think that you have more time than you do to actually get things done.
Things move quickly in a digital world and something that you’re planning one day may not work the next. If you’re sitting and dwelling on what to do next, this may lead you to not moving forward.
While it may not be the easiest to do, leaving your full-time job can also be the best thing you do. It can be freeing, force you to go all-in and allow you to do what you love. I know that drive that you have in you and I hope that this blog post brings you one step further towards accomplishing that. Sure you might not be making as much as you did at your daytime job, but what if making $10k less per year actually brings you that much more happiness in your life? Stop measuring your life in what you have monetarily, but how fulfilled you feel in terms of seeking our your dreams and freedom it brings you.
Sean Brown is a senior portrait photographer based out of Vancouver Washington and Portland Oregon. His goal is to bring out every senior’s personality in their images and is dedicated to making sure that every senior session is different so that no two senior images are alike. Sean is now booking the Class of 2020. To learn more about being an SBP Senior, click here.