For those of you that don't know, I am currently in a bit of a transition period. Although my photography business has been steadily growing, for the last few years I have also had a part-time job to ensure that I have enough money to pay my monthly bills. It was only ever meant to be for a few months but the uncertainly of being 100% self-employed meant that I have kept the part-time job going for 3 years!
Well, at the end of this week that will change - I have handed in my notice and will be taking the (scary yet exciting) plunge and becoming a full-time photographer!
Being completely honest, I haven't had the smoothest ride to get here. Trying to run a business whilst holding down a part-time job has not been easy. I often refer to it as one huge juggling act. It wasn't too bad when I only had two or three things to juggle but recently I've been juggling more and more and every now and then I seem to drop something. Unfortunately, over the last couple of weeks there have been times where I have dropped the lot!
I knew I was doing too much - I was constantly tired and often struggled to focus - but it seemed that for the time being that was the only way forward. I couldn't just stop going to my part-time job, I couldn't just stop editing photos, I couldn't just stop replying to queries, going food shopping, eating, sleeping!
A couple of weeks ago my back gave out. I should have taken it as a warning - and I did to a certain degree - I was doing too much and not sleeping enough. All of the running around had taken its toll on my body and it just went "whoa - slow down!". So I took a couple of days off of "work" to recover. Ironically, that didn't actually mean that I stopped working! Instead of going in to my part-time job where I am on my feet for hours on end I still ended up editing photos, replying to emails etc... at least I could sit down for these tasks so I reasoned that it wouldn't do me any extra harm. After a few days I was on the mend and I returned to my part-time job and threw myself back into all of my other endless tasks. By this time I had handed in my notice. Only a few more weeks to get through, I thought - must plough on.
But it seems my body had other plans. Last week I developed a sore throat but I still ventured in to work. In hindsight that wasn't the best of plans. I ended up leaving early, driving home in tears and finally collapsing into bed. And thats where I stayed! I've never felt anything like it - I would get up with the intention of doing some work only to burst into tears and crawl back into bed 15 minutes later. I felt pathetic! Apart from the sore throat there was nothing physically wrong with me. I kept berating myself for not being able to stay vertical for more than 15 minutes at a time. It's only now that I'm the other side of it that I can look back and realise that I was totally and utterly exhausted as well as rather stressed! In my head I was going over and over all of the photo-editing that I needed to do, all of the emails I needed to reply to, all of the admin, invoices, accounts etc... that have been piling up but my body was just not co-operating. Today is the first day that I am feeling back to anything that resembles normal which is absolutely fantastic! Unfortunately I have come back to 6 hours on my feet, a two-hour commute, an inbox full of emails, six outstanding edits (three of which need to be completed in the next couple of days) and a week packed with meetings, work-shifts, school pick-ups and a whole load of admin. Although I have a lot to do I am trying to be sensible and take things one step at a time - the last thing I need is to make myself ill again! I finish my part-time job on Friday which, although I will be sorry to leave, can't come quickly enough!!! Having one less item to juggle and a whole mountain of time back to dedicate to my photography is going to be amazing! I may even find a day or two to catch up on sleep. I think it's about time!
Oh, and if you've stumbled across this blog post and you're currently waiting for something from me (whatever it may be) please rest assured that it is on its way - I'll be in touch as soon as I can.
EDIT - Ok, so I wasn't quite so recovered as I thought! After writing this I was pummelled yet again and spent another week fighting exhaustion and sickness. It's been horrid and I feel so guilty for not being able to keep on top of work. Tomorrow is my first day back in the office and I'm determined to get back on top of things.