If you are a regular reader of my blog then you are probably aware that this week has been my first week of being a "full-time photographer".
Ok, well thats not quite true. When I set up my business it was out of necessity rather than having any grand plan. I was being asked to do more and more photography and then people started to want to pay me and so I set the business up to ensure that everything was done above board.
In those first few years there were times when I was "full-time". The first was when I was made redundant from my part-time job at the time but those early days were always a bit of a struggle. I had no idea how to promote myself and I relied on the occasional job and what little I had in my savings to keep me going. Before long, the savings had been depleted and I found myself resorting to temp jobs in order to pay the bills.
One of the temporary jobs that I had taken on eventually expanded to become permanent and before I knew it I was on payroll for 24 hours a week and spending more hours that I would have liked in the car commuting back and forth.
Well, this past week has seen me take a huge leap of faith and remove that safety net completely. Mind you, I haven't jumped in completely blindly. A number of things that I have been doing over the past few months (and years) has meant that I had an awful lot in place to make the transition as smooth as possible. I had already taken on an office space in Chippenham to ensure that I had a dedicated place to work and I have also spent the last year and half networking which has meant that I have a large support network to draw on.
So, how has my first week panned out? Well, I feel like I have drunk more coffee than has been absolutely necessary! Mainly through a combination of attending meetings and networking events as well as spending more time in the office and sitting at a desk! It's been great to have the time to meet up with people and have a proper catch-up without feeling that I needed to rush off immediately.
My main aim for this first week was to catch up on admin (i.e. emails and invoices) that had built up while I was ill. Having made rather a long list I'm happy to say that by the end of the week the list was full of ticks. A few of the invoices that I sent out were also paid up by the end of the week. In my head I have a basic daily average that I want to try and hit and this week, with the invoices that had piled up, I'm currently well above my target. My other aim was to make a dent in the editing of the various photoshoots that had also been put on the back-burner. This was a little less successful! A couple of shoots took me much longer to get through than I anticipated, including these photos of Elvis which I got rather carried away with! But I am happy to say that I am definitely making progress.
This week also saw me provide some one-to-one training. It's something that I really enjoy doing (in fact this week one of my office colleagues made a comment about how I would make a great teacher!) so I'm planning on expanding my packages and offers in the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled.
What I have loved most about this week is finally being able to work the hours that I decide. Most days I managed to get into the office by 7.30am which has been amazing! I'm always more productive in the mornings and I have found that getting a nice early start has set me up for the day ahead. The aim is to continue with these early starts but I have to admit that this may start to slide as the days get shorter! So after a rather productive first 5 days, I also had a pretty busy weekend. Being a photographer does mean that I sometimes end up working some funny hours and this week was rounded off by family photoshoots on both Saturday and Sunday. The first was a very damp shoot at Lydiard Park in Swindon. Thankfully we managed to dodge most of the rain and get some lovely autumnal shots. Afterwards I stuck around and managed to capture some stock images (whilst indulging my creative side) - I even came over a bit emotional thinking about my Dad and how proud he would be - but it was lovely to just have a bit of time to myself.
In contrast Sunday was sunny and warm without a cloud in the sky! I had travelled down to the south coast for a photoshoot in Paignton which seemed to go really well. As it was a bit of a drive (2.5 hours in fact) I had opted to stay overnight and I am so glad that I did. I don't often get the chance for a break and so I decided that spending a bit of time relaxing by the sea would do me the world of good. I wasn't wrong! My hotel is a stones throw from the beach (literally - and I can't even throw very well!) and I even managed to squeeze in a coastal walk and some fish and chips this afternoon!
So in conclusion, sitting here listening to the gentle waves just metres away, I feel like my first week has been pretty successful. My income has been high enough to make it worthwhile taking this huge leap into full-time photography (even with the expense of new business cards and general daily essentials) and having the freedom to set my own work hours has meant that I have felt a huge weight lift off of my shoulders this week. I am running around much less and am even managing to have a bit of time to relax in the evenings. That in itself has made it all worthwhile!