How do you balance a day job and a business on the side?

I’ve not been doing this wedding photography malarky long. I have a few weddings under my belt now but my fledgling business is in its infancy and I’m still learning and developing.

In fact if I ever stop learning, or think I have stopped learning, it’ll probably mean the death of my creativity so I guess the fact that I feel there’s always more to do/learn/find out/try is a good thing on one hand.

On the other hand it’s a lot of pressure. I have a (pretty stressful but fairly well paid) day job too and for the last two weeks I’ve arrived home from work only to spend another few hours working on photography stuff.

If I’m not editing photos I’m looking at other photographers’ work or emailing clients or worrying about how to get more exposure or how to be better or how to attract clients. It’s pretty exhausting.

I guess at some point I’ll have to choose one path and one path only. While I’m walking two paths I can’t ever really give either thing the attention it deserves. My day job is less of a priority now (although I’m still doing everything I should be doing!) because I have found The Thing That I Want To Do and the photography doesn’t always get the attention it deserves because I’m sometimes too knackered from the day job.

I’m unlikely to earn as much from photography as I do from my 9 – 5 but I’ll be a million times happier. I just need to make the leap. I’m not quite ready for it yet – I still need to build my client base and I have a wedding to pay for next year – but I will make the jump at some point. And that thought keeps me going when I feel as exhausted as I do today as I prepare to shoot a wedding and two family portraits this weekend.

I’m not moaning. Please don’t think I’m moaning! Are you in the same boat? How do you balance all of the things that you have going on?

8 thoughts on “How do you balance a day job and a business on the side?

  1. I was reading this surey yesterday (maybe on Mashable) about what happened to people after they started freelancing. Some earned as much (or more) than their old day job, but an equal amount earned less. However, what was striking was how many people were happier since doing it and how many people wouldn’t even consider going back.

  2. Hi Laura, I am in the same boat. I am an ESL teacher, an MA student at a university, a wife, and I would love to call myself a professional photographer but I am still not sure if I am one. I understand how you feel and at times I am scared to take the leap and focus on my photography, especially in such an oversaturated market. I guess the main reason is I don’t want to be known as a budget photographer and I still haven’t figured out what I need to do to market my business and get more exposures. After being rejected by different blogs for my photo submissions, I am feeling kinda rejected and unsure if I will ever be a good photographer. Sorry, I am not trying to complain to you, I just want to let you know that I understand and I hope that we can eventually do great in something that we love.
    Sincerely, Sharon

    • Hi Sharon

      Wow, you have loads on your plate with a job, uni and a photography business. I take my hat off to you.

      I think you’re exactly right, the market is saturated and how on earth do we make ourselves stand out from the crowd? The marketing side of things is a mystery to me too and it’s something I need to work on as most of my referrals to date have been word of mouth.

      I also have a well paid day job and until I am more experienced and in demand photography wise I can’t put my prices up to a level that will give me anywhere near the income I have now. When my wedding is out of the way I’ll take the leap but for now I have to keep juggling the balls!

      You shouldn’t feel unsure. The work on your blog is beautiful. Keep plugging away at it (and it does feel like a grind sometimes, I know). Remember it’s 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Good luck and keep in touch. I’d love to hear how things develop for you. xx

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