Thinking of Going Self-Employed? DO IT | Confessions of a Sheffield Wedding Photographer

December 07, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

HOORAAAYYYYY!!! I can't believe it, it's been a whole year since I quit my job and became officially self-employed. OH MY!! Best decision of my life.

Okay I'll let you in to a little secret, it wasn't really a decision, it was more a necessity.

There was a huge risk of another breakdown and my mental health was massively at stake this time last year, I had been building my business for a year and doing this all whilst working 35 hours a week. Trying to even pretend that I cared about my job in retail was dragging me down so far that I felt I was close to breaking.

In reality I was working roughly 70 hours a week and half of that was spent in a job that I absolutely did NOT care about but found myself caring enough to get stressed about things not getting done, or upset when things went wrong. I reached breaking point when it was clear that I was effectively being bullied out, there was just no care for my mental health and no care for my life, if you didn't put in 100% you were considered a burden so even though I was putting in 98%, I was a burden.

The day I made my decision I rang my dad expecting him to say "no, you need the money and the stability", he replied to my cries down the phone with, "yeah, do it!" SO the next day I handed my notice in and the count down began.

On my last day I received a hamper filled with food and gin (of course), my wonderful colleagues who I respected so much and still do to this day, all chipped in and provided me with a survival kit, at the time I definitely needed it. To mark this joyous occasion I was greeted from my final shift by a chorus of cheers and an explosion of party poppers from my friends.

What happened next over the last 365 days was completely unimaginable and to be honest I'm surprised I've not fallen off my chair!

For my first week of self-employment I set out to look for a part-time job, maybe even a full-time job, but anything that would help me pay rent and that WASN'T RETAIL!!

I honestly don't know what happened next, but I started running out of time to look for jobs as I was too busy taking photos, or replying to emails, or working on website stuff, or basically anything to do with my business! Before I knew it, it was April and wedding season was just 2 months away, with 19 weddings to photograph I finally realised that this was it... this was my full-time job.

On the day I handed my notice in I had an idea to document and photograph small local businesses and blog about them. I did my first one the first week of being retail jobless and the SAME DAY I blogged it, Exposed, a Sheffield magazine, approached me about becoming a photoblogger for them. Talk about things just falling into place or what? 

By May I was starting to go stir crazy working from home. Being in a shared house, my bedroom was my office and my office was my bedroom. I would end up working 9am until 10pm because I just had no cut off point. Yes I got lots done but I was starting to resemble a Jim Carey type character from Liar Liar... without the lying. Then out of nowhere an opportunity to have a shared office space in the city centre popped up and it just would have been ridiculous to miss out on it and I am SO glad I did.

Every little thing has changed my life completely and it just seems to have been a complete snowball effect after quitting my job. I realise that this isn't the case for everyone but without that push I would never have found out what could have happened, what HAS happened. Simply just having the time to focus and not wasting energy on other things, gave me this wonderful opportunity to succeed. I was lucky enough to not have any "real" commitments like children, or even a house, but it was still scary as hell. Still is scary as hell! But now I know I can do it, I have done it and I will continue to do it.

Here's a link to my Sheffield: Through the Lens blog with Exposed if you fancy checking it out. I'll probably do a happy 1st birthday post for that too seeing as it's the year of 1st birthday's!

No blog of mine would be complete without photos of course, so here's a collection of wedding photos that are just plain celebration.


Now let's PARTY!!


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