From Side Hustle to Full-Time Photographer and Food Blogger
Holy crap I quit my job…
… and will be blogging and running my photography business full-time.
Grab your cup of cold brew guys. Let’s chat.
I have started writing this post about 50 times and each time it never really seems to truly encapsulate how I am feeling. I don’t know if I can put into words how crazy it is that this actually happened. It is like when you picture your wedding or having a baby …. it’ something you think about for so long and then when it actually happens — it’s hard to truly process. As many of you know, I am a lawyer and have been practicing law for 7 years – a couple weeks ago I put in my notice and am now officially a full-time photographer and content creator here on The Wooden Skillet!
In some ways I have been waiting for this day forever, but I just didn’t know the specifics of it. I have always wanted to run my own business, since I was really little and tried to start a bank out of my jewelry box. Later it was running a bracelet business on the side of the road with my childhood best friend or creating receipts for my Mom as I did chores and filing them away in my file folder. I have always loved it – the idea of creating something from the ground up and being able to manipulate it and make changes, to grow it and turn a profit, to be creative and just be in charge. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. And now I get to be one every day….
I have learned SO much over this journey (a journey that is really only just beginning), I have grown and I have honestly just worked my butt off. And to actually reach my goal is still somewhat unbelievable. I actually did this. I created something out of absolutely nothing. I knew nothing about blogging, photography, SEO or coding or …. any of it. Literally piece by piece I put my blog together. I started out without a specific focus or brand and found my niche and created a recognizable brand. I remember getting excited when I hit 100 page view in one day and I now have well over 100,000 per month. It’s crazy. Clearly I can’t really believe this is happening, so bear with me as I process this!
Bottom line is that I am proof that if you put your mind to something and really commit to it, you can make it happen.
Trust your Path:
I always LOVED cooking. It’s why I started this blog. I loved planning dinners with my mom when I was little and thought it was SO cool when she would let me plan my own meal. Whenever my husband and I were dating (you know, before kids) I would plan out 3 course meals for him (and even print out the menu for him). I used to pick out random recipes to cook on the weekend – just for fun – the more complicated the better. But, somehow I found myself in law school and then business school where I earned my MBA. Naturally, I ended up at a law firm – for the last 7 years. My oldest daughter was 5 months old when I started there and she is now 7.5 years old.
But 3.5 years ago, inspired by the blog Oh She Glows, I bought a second-hand DSLR camera and lens and built my own blog from the ground up (you can basically google your way through just about anything). I started staying up until midnight or 1:00 after my kids went to bed … and it was fun. I loved it. I loved learning and creating. I fell in love with photography and found out I had a knack for it. Slowly. Ever so slowly. It all grew.
You know how some people have e-books out there called How I Earned $50,000 My First Year of Blogging … yeah thats not me. It took blood, sweat, tears, fights with my husband, sleepless nights and SO. MUCH. WORK. But finally in my third year, I turned a profit.
So there I was with a J.D., MBA and a growing blog ….. as my husband and I started talking about the possibility of me going full-time I took a step back and realized I was actually perfectly poised to run this business on my own. I was my own in-house counsel who could review and draft contracts and negotiate with the best of them, I understood the legalities of running a business, how to set up a business, and I was my own CEO who understood the financials and project management. It actually made complete sense … as scary as it was. My point here is that while it might be nice to not have the student loans that I do (ugh) I am also perfectly poised to take this jump and positioned to take this little company and blog to amazing places. So if you are feeling lost in your path or wishing it was taking a different course … don’t forget to trust it. Everyone’s path is completely different and no one path is “right” or “wrong.” This is my path and I am totally appreciating it.
Design Your Own Life:
I highly suggest you pick up a copy of You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. I read it about a year and a half ago and it has changed my life in so many ways. It is in the “self-help” genre, but it is really a “life your best life” type of book. For whatever reason it just resonated with me on a million different levels and was written in a way that clicks with me.
It has helped me stay confident in my ultimate decision to make this my full-time job, as scary as it is. You only live once – why not make it an amazing, breathtaking experience. I love Jen’s approach to going after what you want, in creating and asking for a life that you design through a combination of hard work, meditation, affirmations, gratitude and just plain asking for what you want and putting it out there in the universe. As hokey has it sounds it helped get me where I am today.
It is a topic I am really passionate about and am excited to share more about my experience in the coming months!!
Now to answer a few questions you might have!
Why Are You Leaving Your Job When You Could Do Both?
For a couple reasons:
- I am my own boss and that is so, so attractive. I can take time off whenever I need to without getting permission. I am in charge of my own schedule. I don’t have get ideas approved. I can take whatever clients I want. The buck stops with me. This summer I plan on getting photo shoots done in bulk at home and then spending weeks (or more) at our family cabin or up on Lake Superior where I can edit and write in between hanging out with family. How amazing is that.
- My “success,” as defined by me, is totally in my control. How much I earn is in direct relation to how hard I work. My pay has no ceiling.
- I am flipping tired of doing it ALL. If you guys remember my Side Hustle Survival Guide you know I have been seriously busting my butt for some time now and as the blog got bigger and I got busier, it was really hard to do both jobs to the best of my ability. I want to focus on one job and excel at it.
- I seriously love what I do here … it doesn’t feel like work. If I can wake up every day and be excited to go to work – I am there.
- The number one reason – these guys:
They are my whole heart and soul and if I can build a business that allows me to be with them more, to be home after school, to not have them in daycare (as much anyway … I still do have to work 😊) then sign me up. They drive me to work harder, smarter and build a freakin amazing business that, hopefully one day soon, brings in more and more passive income so I can work less and make more.
How are you feeling? Are you sad to be leaving your job as a lawyer?
I feel … excited :). Yes, I am a little sad to be leaving my job. I will miss so many of the people I worked with that became like family to me, but being a lawyer is incredibly stressful and emotionally draining. After doing it for 7 years, I am ready to switch gears. Who knows were this path will ultimately take me. I am keeping my license active and may even combine blogging/legal in the future!
Other than that I feel a tad overwhelmed. As many of you know I recently gave birth (I now have three daughters) so I am trying to balance working on building this company, enjoying my time with my newborn and hanging out with my husband and other two girls. Some days it is pretty overwhelming, but only in the best way possible because I LOVE working on my blog. I am finding my rhythm and getting lots of help from family!
So many goals, you guys.
- Bringing you guys even MORE amazing content, including a lot more newsletter-only goodies! (Click here to sign up or sign up below!)
- More photography for both brands and other bloggers.
- Creating more passive income so I can work less, but make more
- Continue working with amazing brands that share the same vision and ideals as me
- Create recipe videos
- Create more lifestyle content (including some kitchen and home design content!)
- Create more green-living content
- Photography resources: workshops (in-person and on-line), e-books, etc.
- More meal plans
I could go on and on and on. And that is part of the beauty – I get to be creative every single day.
Oh my gosh last but not least I have to thank YOU GUYS for being here – without you this wouldn’t be my full-time job! So thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love connecting with you all, I love giving you recipes and I am so excited to bring you even more in the future!
And thank you to my friends and family that have supported me on this incredible journey. You all know who you are. And an especially big thank you to my husband who has put up with my craziness over the last several years. Literally couldn’t have done this without you.
I cannot wait to see where it goes next. But for now, I am just enjoying this sweet moment.