I’ve had a friend staying with us for a week and a half that’s down here on a work trip and we’ve been having so much fun! I’ve taken her to all my favorite local restaurants and I’m finally getting the chance to go out and explore Hilton Head like a tourist for the first time in the 10 years I’ve lived here! I’ve also been working super hard to get this beach photography course ready for you! There are so many things that go into developing a course, but I’ve been hustling and excited to release it before summer! Just in time for you to learn how to take awesome beach pictures for yourselves!
As a thank you for tuning in to this episode I want to share a freebie with you! If you find yourself totally overwhelmed with your workload, you should consider outsourcing it. Outsourcing is when you delegate tasks to someone else or find ways to streamline tasks so you aren’t stressed to the max! I made an Outsourcing Guide with 4 things In my business that I let *other people handle* (I know, shocker because I’m such a control freak), in order to give myself more time.
I know I said my next episode was going to be about opening a photography studio, but I have been getting this question so much, so I wanted to answer it early on in this podcast! This episode will tie into my next one (unless I change my mind again ?) about owning your crap and being proud of yourself! This episode is for all the teachers out there who feel stuck or anyone else who feels stuck in a job that’s sucking the life out of them.
If you ask anyone from my childhood, they’ll all tell you that teaching is the only thing I ever wanted to do when I grew up. I had a 10-year plan about opening my own in-home Montessori preschool and I was already shopping for the furniture that would go inside it when I was 13. I had goals from a young age, okay?! Fast forward to my 20s when I graduated college and my dream of becoming a teacher finally came true. Only… It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Teaching is a tireless job. Sure you see those posts from the occasional parent that talks about how much they appreciate the teachers of the world, and everyone chimes in saying they couldn’t possibly do what we do every day. That doesn’t really make us feel any better. At least not for me anyway. I was making less than $500/week, and THEN I was putting about $100 of that back into my classroom, buying snacks for the kids who didn’t bring any from home. Paying off my kids’ lunch debts because their parents couldn’t afford to. Buying supplies, and other things to make the classroom more comfortable. I just couldn’t keep it up anymore. If you want to learn more about how I became a photographer at a young age, you can read about it here!
My mental health was declining – and fast. If you need a medication to be able to survive your job or need to add a second one because it just keeps getting worse, that’s no way to live. It was also taking a toll on my relationships. After talking and repeating myself all day long, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and have a conversation with my husband. It was hard. But I’m so glad he stuck it out with me. I kind of joke that I had two first days as a full-time photographer. My first was the last day of school, but since I was still technically being paid since we have our paychecks broken up year-round, I didn’t consider myself really full-time until August when everyone went back to school. I wrote a blog post about my first official week as a photographer and it’s been so amazing! I can’t even begin to explain the burden that was lifted off my shoulders, just by being able to wake up whenever I wanted without needing an alarm. Some days I’ll have a sunrise session so I still need to wake up at 5 am, but for the most part, I can wake up on my own, which has been so great for my mental health. Not to mention the fact that I can pretty much take a nap anytime I want during the day, and I don’t have to make sure I’m in bed by a certain time.
Sometimes I feel like I’m most productive between 10 pm and 1 am and I just get in this groove of working and before I know it midnight has come and gone 😂. So if you’re like me and your current job is draining you mentally, emotionally, and maybe even physically, you need to take a step back and ask yourself if it’s worth it. It’s really hard to pour into other people if you can’t pour into yourself first.
The second reason I knew it was time to quit teaching is when I didn’t have enough time to do all my photography tasks during my downtime at home so I found myself having to answer emails, planning shoots, etc during school hours. It’s probably not the best to admit, but I just couldn’t turn my brain off and I found that photography was creeping in to my teaching lane. It didn’t take away from my teaching focus at all or the quality of lessons I was giving my kids, but I could definitely feel my passion shifting and I just knew it was time for a change.
If you find yourself distracted at work, always thinking about what’s next for your photography – or whatever biz, try to make a decision before it’s too late and one of your jobs, coworkers, or clients start to really suffer.
This is when I really started to depend on Honeybook as my client manager and was using it to schedule out emails and keep all my projects organized. Honeybook has been theeeee biggest life saver for me and my business! I’m not overbooking myself or forgetting about sessions that I scheduled anymore! And i’m super embarrassed to admit that i USED to forget about sessions, but I haven’t since using Honeybook! If you’re curious whether honeybook can work for you or not, i’d love to give you 20% off your subscription! Just head over to the link at the bottom of the shownotes to sign up.
There was one point that I thought “ok honeybook is great, but there has to be something better right?” Wrong. I tried other CRMs like dubsado, sprout, and 17 hats, and they just didn’t compare! I liked the layout and aesthetic of honeybook and couldn’t imagine switching.
Theyve got me for life.
Once I started making more in a day and a half of photography than I made in an entire paycheck every 2 weeks it was just kind of a no-brainer. Making so much went hand in hand with raising my prices and charging a liveable salary though. Once I realized the importance of charging your worth is when I really started noticing a shift in my business. I owe a lot of that to Cassie Clayshulte who is the best newborn photographer in Bluffton. All the time she talks about how important it is to charge enough for you to make a liveable wage and not undercut the market. She even has a series on her blog with pricing excuses and she helps photographers to price profitably! You can read more from her blog here. There’s so many things that play in to charging what you’re worth. If you’re charging $150 for these sessions, you’re going to get those difficult clients that are impossible to please and want something for nothing… you’re also going to be working yourself to death because everyone wants the cheap photographer and you’ll end up getting burned out and hate what you do.
It didn’t take long last summer for me to realize that I needed to raise my prices so I could work less (while charging more), and wouldn’t you believe it, I started getting better clients! Sure I had some say I was out of their budget, and I appreciated their honesty, and while I really wished I could help them, I realized that it was important for me to stand my ground. I ended the summer on such a high note! I was still working almost every single night (after raising my prices 3 times 😱), but the clients that were finding me at the end of summer were so much better than the ones I was working with at the beginning of summer. There’s a lot that goes into pricing but you shouldn’t be intimidated by it!
I think that money is the biggest factor that played in to my decision to finally quit. Once I was able to consistently book clients and have a steady stream of income (thanks to raising my prices) I was finally able to make my decision final. If you aren’t sure whether you can confidently replace (and hopefully improve) on your current income before quitting, you may want to pump the breaks until you are sure. It does take a bit of budgeting, and being able to stretch your income from your good months to cover your lack of income during the slow months, but with determination, you’ll be able to get it!
The thing that kept me from quitting sooner was health insurance. My job was the only one that offered health insurance, Mat was going through this difficult medical scenario with expensive treatments, and I was worried what would happen if we lost the health insurance once I quit my job. But finding independent health insurance wasn’t that bad and it’s not as expensive as I thought.
Whatever you holdback might be, I would recommend researching and asking around to see if it’s really as much of a problem as you think it is. Find people who have been in a similar situation and find out what they did.
I wish there was a cut and dry time to tell you when and how to quit your job (even if it’s your dream job) but there’s no such thing. It takes a lot of hustle, and a lot of heart. But if you’re willing to stick it out through the good times and the bad, I think you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish!
I’m always here to answer any questions you have and I will be your biggest cheerleader!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. Keep in mind that I will only ever share about companies that I truly believe in.
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Becoming a legitimate photographer can be a little intimidating! Even if you don’t plan on going full time right away (or at all) these are the things you absolutely need to have in place when you start taking on real clients. Heck, these are things you should have in place even when you’re portfolio building! […]
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I’ve had a friend staying with us for a week and a half that’s down here on a work trip and we’ve been having so much fun! I’ve taken her to all my favorite local restaurants and I’m finally getting the chance to go out and explore Hilton Head like a tourist for the first […]
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... and everything in between! Fueled by equal parts coffee and chickfila, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. Your story, your love, is beautiful and I can't wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come.
I believe in real moments and heartfelt conversations on the front porch. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. Keep reading to see how I became the Hilton Head Photographer