The moment I realised I had enough work from my own business to take up all my time I was stunned! I always wondered when small business owners, creatives or anyone got to that point and what it would feel like. Luckily, the security of my then fiancé’s job and our circumstances of moving interstate forced me to quit my casual job (as a waitress, blurgh). It wasn’t a moment where I took a giant leap with crossed fingers, hoping my business would survive, it wasn’t that scary at all. I just did it and we decided we could make it work.
At the beginning, after our move from Brisbane to my original home, Adelaide, I honestly thought I was unemployed and just made pretty videos on my computer in my living room. My sweetheart of a man had to constantly remind me that I did have a job, even if I often did it in my pyjamas! It took a while to realise that and even now several years in, I need to remind myself that I actually have important work to do for beautiful clients… Even if I don’t have to sit in peak hour traffic to do it and can easily sneak out for a coffee date on a Tuesday afternoon.
THINGS I LEARNED
1. IT IS A JOB.
What I have learned from running ‘The Film Room’ is that it’s my baby and it deserves my full-time attention if I want to keep it alive! But just keeping my small business afloat is not enough. I need to work hard to improve everyday; keep being creative, learn new skills, be more confident in my craft, liaise constantly with my lovely clients and manage social media (thankfully hubby is the expert here). Plus all the boring stuff like admin and driving to the post office (again, burgh).
Honestly, being in charge can be hard; having to make all of the decisions and not being able to palm tasks off to anyone else is a struggle some days. But the times when you realise you can make those decisions confidently are the golden moments which give you pride and the feeling of creative control, allowing you to take your business anywhere!
At the beginning you need to keep your business alive, but then you need to help it thrive, grow and succeed so you can look back on how far you’ve come and be super proud!
2. IT IS A DREAM JOB.
Don’t let the trackies and uggboots fool you, I do actual work! But it really is a dream being able to work the way that I do.
I have never had a 9-5 office job, but now I have a full-time/anytime job! It’s not always 9-5; it’s as early as I can get to my computer to get stuck in until I get burned out, plus most Saturdays during the wedding season and I am actually excited about it.
I’m going to say it, I LOVE MONDAYS!!!*
I look forward to what I will create that day, what I might send to a client and what questions or opportunities might pop up. It actually gets me out of bed in the morning! Knowing I can rug up in a cosy knit in winter and wear denim shorts to the “office” on hot, summer days (on most occasions not doing my hair OR make-up) is simply a bonus!
You’ll hear from any creative and especially photographers and videographers that being able to turn your passion into a job doesn’t feel like work at all! Those of us doing so are honestly blessed that we are able to!
*I tried to find positive memes about how Monday was a fresh start and you can do anything, sadly couldn’t find any – we should change this!
3. CONVINCING YOURSELF IS THE FIRST STEP
It can be both a blessing and a burden having a dream job that is also in fact, a job! The working from home stigma is that you are free to do whatever you want whenever you want. While honestly this is true, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we have paying customers and deadlines (even if we set them ourselves). My Father-in-Law refers to my work as “results based”; we choose how we get to the result, whether we went hell for leather or fit it in around a lunch date.
Explaining this to family and friends can be tricky. Flexibility appears as availability to some, you just have to prove that those days you need to knuckle down to get it done, you really, really do! (Just don’t let them catch you on Instagram…) Luckily, my amazing family respect what I do and how I work, I definitely make time for them, but I push myself so I don’t fall behind.
4. YOU CAN BE SUCCESSFUL IF YOU’RE HAPPY
I have seen so much success come from people who have made the leap from working to working for themselves. The ones who support their families with their passion are serious inspiration. Seriously though, if you love your job, that is success, but if you don’t, think about a job you would love and if you can’t, create one!
If I wasn’t happy with what I am doing, I would need to change something, but how could I not be? That’s where I think we all should be.
And props to those who really did take that big scary leap, and high five if you made it work!!