How to Juggle Photography & a "Full-Time Job"
Full-Time job is in quotes because I believe and will tell you that I have 2 full time jobs. I don't half ass any one thing. Day job is more appropriate, and I work medical IT from 8-4 Monday through Friday and I meet with clients after work, I edit, I work on my website, I send invoices, I set up phone calls. Saturday and Sunday I am photographing clients and catching up on anything that took too long during the week. I am writing blog posts in between important phone calls at my day job and it. is. not. easy.
Here’s some tips that may be helpful. Everyone is different.
Make time for yourself. I attended a wedding for the first time in 5+ years a few weeks ago. My dear friends Sam & Mayra were married in one of the cutest venues I’ve ever seen. A few weeks before, I’d had their date open up. I told myself there was no freaking way I was going to book something else and I was going to attend a wedding for once. It felt super good. I got to party, I put down my camera, and there was a freaking mariachi band. 10/10 would recommend.
Don’t wait five years to do a thing because you’re wrapped up in working all the damn time. Take care of yourself and do something you’ve wanted to do but have been putting off for ages.
2. Be ok with failing sometimes. I keep a million calendars, I am over communicative, I set attainable (for me) deadlines. However, I fail sometimes. This is something I’m still learning as I give myself wiggle room, but here’s a fact about me. I hate crying. I hate it. I feel stupid and when I cry I cry more because I’m so angry that I’m crying. I’m going to forget a friend’s birthday. I’m going to look up and it has been 2 weeks since I’ve kissed my grandma. I hate it, but that’s life and I work a million hours a week. Pick up a phone, call your grandma and send your friend a $50 target gift card for sucking that day. It’s ok.
3. Set goals. Don’t set wild ones that will frustrate you when you can’t reach them. It’s fine to make a goal “get out of bed”. Being an entrepreneur is freaking hard. I was going to upload my crappy handwriting, but here’s just an example of what goals look like for me weekly:
New Blog Post - Every Tuesday at least
Edit and Deliver Galleries within 1 week
If photographing a wedding, have a slideshow up within 3-4 days
Send Confirmation e-mails/texts to clients 5-7 days before portrait session
Post 5x on social media
These are attainable but meaningful. I also have contracted that photos take way longer than 1 week because it’s okay to fail. Set proper expectations and you’ll be golden. Every time I deliver early, it excites people.
4. Lean on people. Surprise, another one I’m not great at but I’m learning. My partner knows when I need time off and doesn’t pressure me to say yes to doing things or he’ll do a little extra around the house. My best friend constantly nags me if she sees me post something offering sessions for a day that just opened up but would give me areal break if I' didn’t fill it. My other people keep me sane. They remind me to leave my 8-4 from 8-4 because that’s what it is. It shouldn’t extend outside those hours. Your mental health is not worth it.
Also, unpopular opinion that I feel like belongs here. If you can photograph your friends weddings and want to, do it. *inserts photos of said friends peer pressuring me to get engaged and another of me in my best friend’s wedding as her photographer and her bridesmaid* Was I a little stressed out because I wanted to do great? Hell yeah. Was it worth it? Hell-er yeah. These are my people and how I choose to spend time with them is my decision.
5. Outsource - You don’t have to do everything alone. I like it, it works for me. HOWEVER, you can hire virtual assistants online, you can hire social media managers, you can even hire someone to do all your culling and editing for you. (I’ll even cull for you, I’m a master culler, ask Kelsey.) If you are falling behind and need help, pay someone to do it. It’s something that people never figure into their pricing but this is common practice for so many.
Work it into your cost of doing business. If you are a high-volume photographer who struggles to deliver on time, that’s fine. However, your customers are going to be waiting and wanting. Find the area in which you are lacking in your life and pay someone else to take care of it. It’s more affordable for you think and honestly there is no price for your sanity.
Hopefully this helped. Please leave your own tips below for other people running this rat race with us. I also recommend these whether you are looking to have photography as your main income or if you’re looking to do both. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Finding a work/life balance can be extremely hard though.
Keep at it, we’re here with you and my inbox is always open.