September 27, 2017
One year ago I was sitting in my cubicle for the last time. I was moving my jobs around to other owners in Workamajig. I was writing thank you cards. And I was saying goodbyes. My last day at work was so surreal. I was filled with so much excitement and so, so much fear. But one year later, here I am, literally living my dream. I wanted to fill you all in on what it has been like following my passion and working from home, as the transition was definitely a strange one that you can’t really prepare for.
The First Few Months
At the beginning everything was so new and exciting. The freedom felt incredible and I managed to jam pack my schedule with everything that I hadn’t been able to do with a full time job for the last few years. Hair appointments during the week – venue visits – styled shoots – meeting with planners and other vendor friends – week day weddings. My schedule was packed (so much so that I couldn’t even enjoy “yoga pants days”). I was learning how to adjust to this freedom and I dove right into running around every day. Thomas and I only had one car for the first few months of this adjustment and we quickly learned that we would each need one even though I was working from home.
The Last Few Months
Around the beginning of 2017 I found my groove. I purchased a new desktop that was so much more powerful and faster than my previous computer. I started outsourcing some of my digital editing (which was a game changer – if you’re considering it – go for it! Your time is better spent growing your business than maintaining it!). I started having biweekly calls and meet ups with “friendors” that allowed me to have consistency on my calendar. I was finally able to work on projects that had been sitting on my back burner for ages! It felt good!
What I Miss about the Corporate World
Even though everything sounds hunky dory – there are a lot of elements of the corporate world that I miss. And I knew that I would miss them, but I didn’t realize how much.
- I miss the transition from “home” and “work.” No, I don’t miss the commute! But I do miss the fact that they were physically different spaces. Work wasn’t always lingering in the corner – visible to my sight – even though it was way past work hours.
- As much as I hate to say this, I miss meetings. I miss getting up from my desk and interacting with groups from all across the firm. Those meetings would break up my day in a way that I really don’t have any more.
- Most of all, I miss my friends. Yes, we still keep in touch, but not in the same way. I miss starting and ending every day with them. I miss having someone to talk to about whatever happened last night and having someone to talk to about what was happening that day – in that moment. Those little conversations add up to something more meaningful. And a daily morning instagram post can’t really replace it.
What I Love about Being a Small Business Owner
- Well, the first obvious answer is being home with the dogs all day! Ha! I love being able to cuddle with them and I love when they have puppy dreams on my feet while I work (it’s the little things!). I also love being able to wear gym clothes. I didn’t think I would “be one of those” but I most definitely am.
- I love having the opportunity to spend time with people and experiences during the week that I didn’t have the opportunity to before. I’ve enjoyed participating in Mastermind Calls and I am so grateful that I’ve been able to photograph a few weekday weddings without soaking up the vacation time. I’ve even been able to attend a few workshops and I’m going to two more this fall. That is definitely a highlight!
- One of my favorite elements of running my own business is that I have the opportunity to spend most of the day doing what I love and following my passion! I’m able to spend my time growing my business or exploring new marketing techniques. I feel that every minute of my day is spent the way that it should be and that almost everything that I’m doing is making an impact – and that feels so darn good.
What I Didn’t Realize About Working from Home and Being a Small Business Owner
- The weird thing about being a small business owner is that most of us work for ourselves so that we have freedom. So that we can live life the way we want to. What you don’t realize is that you end up working even more hours a week than you did previously at your 9-5. Especially in the wedding industry. A 12 hour wedding on a Saturday doesn’t mean that I take a day and a half off during the week. I’m finally getting better about not answering emails on the weekends – at least not the ones that can wait until Monday. Continuing on that, I turn on my computer as soon as I’m eating breakfast and don’t shut down until Thomas goes home. I rarely take “breaks” during the day to chat with coworkers or run errands, so what used to be a 9-5 is now a 7-6:30. They’re long days – and there is always more to be done.
- I have a love/hate relationship with leaving the house. Actually “getting completely ready” is a chore now (I literally don’t think I’ve used a hair dryer in 3 or 4 months and I used to religiously curl my hair). But on weeks that I don’t get out of the house at least 3 days a week I start going batty!
- I overthink things a lot. While photography was always going on in the background of my mind during my corporate job, it didn’t consume me the way it does now. We would get inquiries or rejections, and I would accept it and move on. I had other, big projects on my plate. But now that this is my day to day, I spend a lot of time thinking about this business. What could be done better. Where efficiencies could be created. How we could change up our contact form. If our pricing should be listed on the website. Why this inquiry went with another photographer. If this content could be featured on a blog. It is really hard to stop my brain from overthinking things.
Overall, working for yourself and running a small business is hard – for so many reasons. It can be lonely. It can be overwhelming. It can feel like your to do list never ends. But it is also so rewarding! I’m so grateful that I took the leap to pursue this passion and that I had a husband to support me in making that decision.
Are you a small business owner and need someone to talk to when you’re feeling lonely or overthinking an email? Shoot me an email and let’s hop on the phone! Are you considering taking the leap to full time and need some encouragement? I’d love to help you through that!