1 Year and counting, Life After Quitting the Corporate World, St. Petersburg Photographer

It hasn’t sunk in quite yet.

These tiny pieces of metal (which cost less than a buck to make) were placed into my hand only a few hours ago. These keys are the start of something new. Esther (a fabulous St. Pete photographer and my dear friend) and I looked at each other with complete happiness!! A space for us to share as we embark on this unreal, crazy adventure!  A space for us to grow and meet clients. It’s ours!! Really?! Did this just happen.

It hasn’t quite sunk in.

As I woke up this morning, I realized the date – Nov 1. It’s more than my birthday month (yay), but it’s one year ago to the day that I spent my last day in the corporate world. The last time I’d have sit behind a cubicle. Be just another number in the sea of faces. The last time I’d have to work for anyone else.

It’s slowly sinking in.

Not only have I thought about this last year, I’ve thought about every single decision that led me to this place. Before I started writing this post, I thought, “What do I want to share with everyone?? Do I want to tell them about my year? Inspire them to follow their dreams? Tell them the lows and highs of working for yourself?” And I realized I wanted to share it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. The tears, the ‘ah ha’ moments, the times I wanted to throw in the towel and the infinite times I felt like this was the best decision I ever made.

I realize I may be all over the place with this post; so bear with me. I tend to write how I speak; with emotion and lots of smiley faces and exclamation points;)

9-5 no more

I knew starting my own business would be hard. But had no idea how hard. There’s no such thing as working a 9-5. It’s more like ‘Oh… Guess I should take a break because I’ve had my head in the computer for 10 hours!!” Your life is your job and vice versa. But it never feels like it… Because you’re doing what you love. I don’t remember ever being this happy. Both in my career and in my personal life.

We’re not rock star photographers and we don’t make a rock star salary

We don’t just take the photos, then go lay out by the pool. We spend hours editing, working with social media, blogging, meeting with clients, answering emails (and making sure everyone is happy:) balancing our finances and dealing with taxes.

On that note…. Taxes suck. Period. One downfall of being an entrepreneur.

Weekends don’t exist. If they do, it’s a rare miracle. Everyday is a “workday”. And I love every minute of it.

Support (we’re talking the spanx kind) is a must. 

Okay we’re not talking intimate wear here. I’m talking about a support system of family, friends and loved ones. Before I quit my job, I knew I’d have the support of my family and friends. Even though they were worried (we all know times are tough), they gave me their blessing. Then there was Danny. my handsome, fabulous fiancé.  I think back to November of 2011. I’d spent the last 9 months with this amazing, caring, sports-loving guy. We were an item, and I was smitten. But we were ONLY dating at the time. We all know, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Well this time it did J We had casually spoken about me quitting my job. I was terrified!! Thank God for Danny. He supported me every step of the way. I didn’t expect anything from him. I mean, he was JUST my boyfriend. But to him, we were already a team. His love and encouragement were what I needed to take that leap.

Surround yourself with goodness.

 I’ve learned in the past few years that negative people have no place in my life. They bring you waaaay down to their level; and I honestly have no time for that. I had a “social” cleanup of my life – got rid of the bad, kept the amazing and found some unbelievable new friendships along the way. I’ve learned that if you surround yourself with likeminded people, that only good things can happen. I can’t begin to express how blessed I feel for having the friends I have. And on top of it, I’m also surrounded by clients I love. They are more than clients… they are my friends J

Yes, dreams DO come true

Okay…I get that this line is a bit overused. But you know what, it’s SOOOO true. They just have to add that “with hard work” dreams come true. If you want something, anything… you can have it! It takes determination, hard work and understanding that sometimes you may fail. And failure is SO okay. I was scared of failure. I think about how many times this last year I wanted to give up on myself. I wasn’t as good as this person, or I didn’t capture an emotion like that person. I let my fear get to me. Now I get that it’s okay to be scared, to fail. You just have to pick yourself up and start again. If you can dream it, you can TOTALLY have it!!!

I could write pages upon pages about what I feel right now. I am completely and utterly happy. And at the same time, scared as hell. You never know what tomorrow brings…. But don’t waste time waiting for it. Go after it. Give it all you’ve got and never turn back.