Thankful for All of My Work Experience
Being thankful. This seems like an easy topic for November, right? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth writing about. Sometimes you need distance from a situation to get clarity. In my professional career, I’ve transitioned from one administrative position to another. All basically lateral moves to a new area. For instance, I’ve worked in a variety of departments such as marketing, attorney recruiting, and as an executive assistant/coordinator. To say I’ve learned a lot about a wide variety would be accurate. To say I’ve mastered any of these positions would be inaccurate. Don’t get me wrong, I was very good at all of these jobs. But at the end of the day, I’m a Jill of All Trades and Master of None. That didn’t bother me for a long time because I enjoy learning new things. But recently I’ve felt that it has hampered my long-term career growth. It’s great to pick up new skills, but if you always go with the flow of where you are needed you are not taking control of your own career.
But you are a photographer you say. Well yes, I’ve pivoted in that direction and all of my office skills are coming into play for running my business. I still have so much to learn but it is on my own terms. I’m driving my career boat and not floating downstream. There are many talented photographers out in the world and my skill level isn’t the same as those who have been shooting for many years. (Yet!) Is it risky to try this path–yes! Am I excited, and maybe a little nervous, about taking control of my own path–absolutely! For now, I still do freelance office work but again it is on my terms, doing the type of work that I enjoy and find to be challenging and stimulating.
Know Your Limits and Pay the Experts
I see a lot of new photographers asking in social media groups about taxes and if they should form and LLC or do sole proprietorship for their business, etc. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know your limits and to pay the experts! When I decided to go down the path of starting a photography business, I knew that I did not want to take chances of messing up any paperwork. So, I hired an attorney (Horenstein Law Group) to help me with my LLC formation and it was worth the price for the peace of mind to know it was done correctly. I also have an accountant (Shields Tax). My husband and I have used them for years for our personal taxes. Before forming my business, I met with our accountant to go over all of my tax questions. Everyone’s situation is unique and each state has different laws. Trust the experts and pay their fees. Welcome to business ownership – it takes a village.
Many photographers struggle with their own pricing and will seek input from peers. The community responds with ‘know your worth and charge for your expertise’ I say the same for taxes and legal questions! We need to support experts in their field and be willing to pay for their expertise, just as we ask our own clients to pay for our expertise. And, it is also a great networking opportunity.
How Has Networking Helped Me
So many people believe the sole goal of networking is to get clients and future work. In my opinion, that couldn’t be more wrong. Networking is meant to be an opportunity for people to meet and become referral sources for each other. That may look like paid client work or helping to spread the word about a job opening at an organization, or an opportunity to volunteer in the community. It is a two-way street.
This pivot of mine into photography has been helped tremendously by my network. I’m finding other like-minded individuals who want to support each other on their journey. I’m so lucky. I will be the first to admit I have a lot to learn in the photography business but I know I also have a lot to offer. There are many who see other photographers as competitors and do not want to help them grow. I’ve found an amazing group of ladies (Viewpoint Collaborative) who are all about lifting each other up, helping them grow, and supporting each other’s journey. It’s nice to have this group not to mention that it is great to be able to refer clients. Interested in scheduling a photo session with your newborn or do a boudoir session? I know some great ladies who specialize in those areas and have no problem referring them. Networks are important. Always be authentic and open.
At the end of the day, I’m so thankful for the road that led me here. Where will this new path take me? I’m not sure but I’m really excited for the journey!
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I'm a Vancouver, WA photographer focusing on portraits and have a love of travel!