I am a 25 year old wedding photographer with 6 years of professional photographic experience. That sounds like an intro to a CV doesn’t it? For a long time I have been afraid of saying things out loud, for being proud of who I am. I was either thinking that I am too young or afraid of mentioning my profession because I thought that people wouldn’t take me seriously. Sounds a little bit silly alright.
I have been running my own full time business for over three years and only last month have I realised that I cannot do it all on my own. So in this conversation with you, I want to talk about sole traders. We don’t have to do it all alone and as creatives, we cannot bet our whole lives on one single thing to make us happy. Sit tight, this is going to get personal.
My all time favourite hero, Jasmine Star, worked as a wedding photographer for ten years before she decided to take a year off and plunge into social media marketing strategies. She didn’t stop being a photographer. She simply brought her new passion into life.
After ten years of running a successful business, my colleague, Bláithán - owner of The Wedding Expert - finished her career as a wedding planner and decided she wanted something else from life. She’s an author, a creative, an impeccable organiser, and even though she hasn’t yet decided what she wants to do (or maybe she has and it’s still a secret), the doors are always open to something new.
So suddenly something started happening in my realm of my reality. Why were people around me making these moves that were drastically changing their lives? And then I got it. I simply think that most of the creatives suffocate their art firstly by indulging in the game of comparisons, thinking that someone else is better than they are and secondly thinking that the career that they have chosen is the be all and end all. This way of thinking has made me more insecure than ever.
I understood that letting go of something I have been holding onto so tightly, was okay. It's okay to think differently, to allow some breathing space in my lungs for inspiration, for growth and for a future plan that can be completely different to what I am doing right now. Once I let go of it, everything became clearer.
In September 2017, I went to Portugal for a two week business training course. The course was more about the path of acknowledging where I’m going wrong in the way I run my business, answering questions such as; do I want to continue my career as a wedding photographer? Am I putting too much pressure on my career as a photographer to make me happy? Is there anything else at all that I can see myself becoming successful at? Trust me, these are horribly scary questions to answer.
I made a brave decision that terrified me. I enrolled for a short course in Griffith College. I never thought I would go back to the drawing board, back to where I started. This time it was a strategic plan to teach myself how to bring a team of people into my life, to learn how to grow my business without doing it all on my own.
Our lives are so much more than what we often limit ourselves to, or at least mine is. When I was so concentrated on my job I forgot that I can become someone else. I now know that I don’t have to put everything in one basket. I can acquire new skills, become a specialist in a different area and I know that it is possible because everyone around me is proving me right. That thought itself was like breathing new life into my photography career.
I never thought I was going to share these thoughts with anyone but I think they could help a lot of sole traders out there. To stay inspired and create original work we need time and space. We can’t suffocate our art by obliging it to make us happy. The world is a big place and we were all born with more than one passion.
Our inspiration comes from experience. Experience is the core of all art creations whether it's photography, songs, books, paintings or poems (although I think that every single one of us is a creative no matter what job we have). We can't depend on our art to make us happy, what really does make us happy is opening up to new experience. The world is a big place and we were all born with more than one passion.