"Hold the phone! You mean I can do any job I want!?!?"
I sometimes get emails from people who read my blog and although most of them are photography related.. some are a bit more general and are maybe about bigger things. I received an email last month that got me thinking and I thought it might be nice to actually share it on the blog this time..
I really hope you don't mind me sending you this email. This is going to sound odd but I am at a bit of a crossroads at the moment and something keeps telling me it's your advice I should be asking?!
Since the husband to be and I first got together we have been steadily building our business. I am currently working 20 hrs in a part time job I hate and we're considering the possibility of going 'shit or bust' and throwing everything we've got at the self employed work.
My husband to be has been a self employed teacher for over 20 years but the idea of not having a 'wage' or knowing what's coming in each month scares the pants off me. See everyone in my life has a 'job' and so can't really help me break out of the fear of working for myself. How did you feel? Is it as scary as it feels? Is it worth it? I feel like I'm holding myself back by playing it safe and it's making me miserable. I know it's a different field (although still creative) but do you have any advice about starting out and how to give myself the confidence to back myself? Maybe just hearing your 'starting out' story could inspire me..
Funnily enough we tend to get asked this question quite a lot as there seems to be quite a few people in a similar situation.. with a career they don't love, a path they didn't really choose and now too much security to risk...
I'm not sure I can tell you exactly what the answer is as I don't know the ins and outs of your financial situation but for our situation, I'll be honest.. it wasn't too much of a sacrifice in the first place, Pete was in full time work (not really a career) and I was Acting.. so was self employed already, in and out of Acting work, used to finding in-between jobs and used to not having much money. So when the photography started.. yes it was extremely hard to start with nothing but at the same time I wasn't giving up a safety net.. I had nothing to lose.
Having said that.. the reason I had nothing to lose was because since the very beginning I have chosen my passion over that security. A job that I love over that decently paid, steady job. I just knew from the start that I couldn't just make do. I've had brief periods in my life where I have been employed.. 6 months, a year.. but it's just not in my make up. I had to take my own road.
So I can't really give advice on giving up a successful, safe career/job to do the thing you love.. BUT what I will say is that if you're unhappy now.. I am pretty sure that this will get worse not better. Realistically you could spend the next 6 months.. or even the next 3 years deliberating this decision and in that time you could have focused on saving a little to give yourself a buffer for when you both decide to take the leap. When you do you'll probably find yourself with too much work and wonder how you ever fitted any other job in ever. And when you work for yourself opportunities present themselves if you let them.. you network.. word of mouth.. social media.. all these things help to keep the work coming in..
As far as other people go.. it really doesn't matter if everyone around you has a 'job'.. actually what you'll probably find is that everyone will be really interested in the fact you work for yourself doing something creative and can often be quite envious that you're following your dream and making it work.
I'm not going to lie.. you'll work harder than you've ever worked. You'll care more than you've ever cared.. and some of the time you'll be making it up as you go along.... BUT what I can tell you is that this road we're on is an incredible one and worth it a million times over.