This one’s for my fellow creatives turning passion into profit. It’s also for those sitting quietly on a big dream who feel afraid to voice it.
Big dreams & scary leaps come veiled in excuses. The “what ifs” instead of “why nots,” the “oh-but-I’ll-get-to-it-later” mantra we repeat over and over again. I get it, I’ve been there. And sometimes I still make those excuses, especially with house projects or anything that involves treating myself.
When I started this business fresh out of college four years ago, I didn’t have tons of experience, and I certainly didn’t know how to run a business. But I had heart, conviction, and solid instincts. I was hungry to learn and truly serve my tiny client base. I went above & beyond for those clients, and eventually word-of-mouth took over.
In the beginning, I had plenty of well-intended outsiders (and even family members) grilling me with questions. They’d say things like, “So, you know you won’t make much money doing this, right?” or “What about a job with benefits?” as if these factors hadn’t crossed my mind a thousand times already.
“How are you going to guarantee clients? Where is your next paycheck coming from? What if you don’t ‘make it?'”
Apart from being a total buzzkill, these questions hit below the belt a little. Yes, these are all valid points for anyone starting a business, and I firmly believe in thinking things through before diving in headfirst. A business plan is key. But with these questions, it always felt like insecurity talking. Maybe these folks had big dreams but were afraid to act. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone; there’s a reason many businesses fail within the first few years. I have so much respect for those thriving in the corporate world, because I would struggle there. Of the many ladders I can climb, corporate is not one of them.
Starting my business revealed a passion for entrepreneurship. I love trail-blazing. And although photography fires me up, I am perhaps more excited by the power to create change, deliver handcrafted client experiences, and inspire others to make big things happen. For me, nothing compares with writing my own job description — and tweaking as necessary. No one tells you how simple it is to secure health insurance independently, or how liberating it can be to create your own “benefits package.” It requires creativity, patience, and flexibility, but it’s hugely possible.
And here’s the biggie: Job security is an illusion. You have as much power to create your own job security as another employer does, if not more.
So if the nay-sayers come calling, don’t fret. Take these questions, these doubts, with a grain of salt. Work hard and stay humble. Have a solid plan, but be flexible. And if you discover the “be-your-own-boss” thing isn’t for you, that’s totally okay. Dreams can change, and your effort is not wasted. And if you ever need a pep talk (or a healthy reality check) I’m here.