March 18, 2019
Being self-employed seems like a dream, right? The funniest thing people say to me on a wedding day is, “Wow! You must love your job. You just get to take pretty photos all day!” Or when people find out I am a photographer they ask, “Is that your full-time job?” Or they don’t even go in that subtly and instead ask something along the lines of, “What else do you do?” Or my favorite, “Oh, so your weekends must be pretty full. But what do you
You probably wouldn’t believe me if I said as a wedding and lifestyle photographer, sometimes I find myself working over 70 hours a week. My sister didn’t even believe me!
Choosing self-employment might seem like the easy way out, but ask any entrepreneur who works for themselves and I guarantee they’ll tell you differently.
Being a wedding and lifestyle photographer is more than just taking pretty photos or working weekends and having your hands free the rest of the week. Being self-employed doesn’t always mean you have another side gig. We are blessed in this day and age with the ability to actually start online businesses and grow them into profitable full-time jobs!
It’s no mean feat BUT it is a wonderful life. You can do what you love for a living and you can truly live to work, not work to live. And that is why we do it!
There are so many lessons I learned from being self-employed but for my fellow photographers and creative entrepreneurs out there I wanted to give at least 3 helpful
This might be an obvious one but without it I don’t know how I could run Hannah K. Photography. The beauty is that we can be flexible with these hours. So if you want to catch up with a friend mid-afternoon you can. Or if you need to make a doctors appointment, you don’t have to “get time off work”. You can go on holiday whenever you want, etc. But this also means the lines between your work and life can easily blur. It is important and healthy for us to set boundaries between work and life so we know when we need to be in rest mode and when we need to press on the gas and get into work mode. Set work hours help with goal-keeping, task management, efficiency, and overall home life.
I knew early on that I didn’t want to sacrifice home time with my husband, Joel. It was really hard to mentally put down my work when he got home, but the more I did it the more of a habit it became. We were on the same page and I allowed him to keep me in check. If I was checking my emails or my Instagram at 9 o’clock at night, he would tell me to put it down. It was annoying, but it kept me on track and therefore helped me give my husband undivided attention in the evenings which he deserved!
In my experience, people don’t automatically think being a photographer is a full-time job. Or, they think you only work weekends and do a bit of editing during the week. They don’t realize you could work 24 hours a day 7 days a week and still have more work to do. Even your most loving friends might not understand that asking you to drive them somewhere means you are taking precious hours out of your work day for them. They might assume because you’re self-employed you don’t have that much work to do or that you can do it another time. Sometimes you have to be strict with your friends, family, and partners even! If you want to meet up a friend, you might need to say you only have 1 hour (like a real work lunch break). The more you respect your time, the more others will.
No clue where to start when it comes to filing for self-employment tax or even to keep track of your accounts LET ALONE start thinking about a pension? Yeah, me neither. These things that overwhelm you, don’t HAVE to overwhelm you! I understand that you can’t always hire in help if you’re not financially stable yourself. But sometimes it pays off so much more, in the long run, to invest financially into something in the early days. Hire a financial adviser, hire someone to sign off your taxes. It will save you so much time and uncertainty and allow you to focus on the things you really love doing- like your actual job!
Shameless plug: My husband, Joel, is a licensed financial advisor and would love to chat with anyone who is struggling to manage their money or needs help setting up their pension. Drop me a message here and I’ll put you in touch if you need help!
I think the hardest thing about being self-employed has been working alone, hands down. I remember feeling like a fish out of water and completely alone when I started my photography business. I didn’t know anyone who was doing what I was doing. I didn’t know anyone ahead of me to look up to and aspire to be like. I felt like a lone ranger and it was hard going.
As soon as you can, join a community! Sign up to a networking event. Invest in a mentoring session or a workshop. Join a Facebook page. Literally be like a puppy wanting to be friends with anyone and everyone.
I started by joining a Facebook page of photographers in my area. This then
It’s not about getting something out of someone, in fact, it’s very much about giving of yourself. The most beautiful thing you can build in your industry is real life friendships. Everyone needs a support network to bounce ideas off, seek help and advice and encouragement and also a place where YOU can serve others. You have so much to give to your industry and when you give it, you’re strengthening the community around you. We really are better together!