One of the biggest things people strive for is to find a career path doing what they love. In fact, there are a ton of quotes that help you buy into this belief.
“Do what you love and the money will follow.”
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
“If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.”
Yet that concept isn’t always easy in today’s world. Ask anybody around you and you will probably hear about their two different types of work; the kind that pays the bills and the kind they wrap their heart around.
Because you are here, photography is probably your dream career. It’s the one thing that feeds your heart and soul. And because you already know photography would be your dream career, you’ve already moved past one of the most difficult tasks: coming up with the idea that will let your passion fly.
Your next step is to choose to follow your dream job. You may decide to start out small, bringing in a little extra income here and there. Or you may go in head first, knowing there are no guarantees, yet understanding the rewards could be tremendous.
Which ever way you choose to approach your dream of making photography an income generator in your life, there are many obstacles you’ll face in the road ahead. In order to stick with it and not become frustrated down your chosen path is to remember the most important thing in the next few months is balance. You’ll face great days … and not so great ones. You’ll have major leaps forward … and giant steps back. Yet balance will always keep you in the position to move forward with your dreams.
1. Keep your approach flexible.
The more you predefine your direction, the more problems you are likely to encounter. The key to finding success with your new photography career is to take action on it every day, yet also understand that its hard to predefine in many cases what that action will be.
For example, at one point we made the decision to move our business into the world of boudoir photography. We gained a few clients and loved the results we were getting. Yet the work was hard to come by. Yet the weddings started flowing in. When we really looked at what we loved, what we were good at, and what was working for us, wedding photography kept moving up the list. We adjusted and never looked back.
For you, it could be as small as finding some time to work on your new career. Maybe you’ve decided to work three hours per night during the week. Then your child comes home with an invitation to her band concert on Wednesday night from 7 to 9.
Don’t beat yourself up over having to put your dream aside. Instead, be flexible and fit it in at another point during the week. Maybe you get up early Saturday morning to fit it all in. Maybe you give up Saturday night’s poker game. You can do it if you realize what is important to you.
2. Define your have’s and have not’s.
Some things are important to you. And some things you may not miss. Your afternoon workouts are a must to help you stay healthy and focused. Yet coffee with the girls three days a week really are just a gossip session anyway. One you would never give up. The other you would be comfortable giving up.
Define your must have’s and must do’s in your life. These are the things you will not sacrifice, no matter what.
Then define your daily tasks that really aren’t that important to you. They have filled your time in the past, yet you could just as easily live without them.
You may have a list of several things you would be willing to give up. Yet if you give them all up at once, you may quickly fall back into them over time. Instead, give up one at a time, and fill that time period with something that you can wrap your head around until you find success.
Maybe its building your website. When you see the results, you’ll feel good about it.
Or maybe it’s filling it with a networking group. You’ll still be out and talking with people, only the setting and attendees will change.
Once you are comfortable with one replacement, move to the next until all of your “have not’s” are filled to more productive tasks.
3. Learn from the chaos.
There are some days when you’ll be thrown so many new things, you’ll wonder if you’ll ever get through it all.
Trust me, you will.
Even in bad times, there are things you can learn. For instance, I had a really good friend go through a terrible audit from our local city government. They demanded she charged tax incorrectly on over five years of her services, meaning she owed the government tens of thousands of dollars. She had letters from people right there in the city office explaining how she should set up her business – they didn’t care, that person no longer worked for them. In the end, she paid the back taxes and moved on.
Many would have chosen to shut down the business. She didn’t. She smiled and moved on. And boy did she learn.
Everything you encounter makes you stronger as a person. Use it to help you make everything you do in the future a little stronger.
4. Let the little things go.
There will be days when someone annoys you, nothing goes right, and you’re wondering why you ever decided to pursue this path at all.
We all have days like that.
A long time ago I learned to look at every frustration in terms of impact. Will this be a concern to me a week from now? A month from now? A year from now?
When you find the things that truly matter to your success and to you as a person, pursue them. If its something minor, allow yourself the chance to be unhappy about it – then let it go. It truly isn’t worth thinking about or obsessing over.
5. Appreciate the journey.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
The reason we are never content is there is always something else to do, something else to accomplish.
No matter what you learn today, it will help you grow and change from it for tomorrow. Take notes. Have fun. And use it to become who you truly desire to be.