In January, I launched a new portrait series called “A Mother’s Work” which features female entrepreneurs who are also mothers. The idea for this series quite literally came to me in a dream one night a few years ago and I’m so excited to finally be devoting energy to making this dream a reality in 2019. In the last two months, I have already met so many wonderful inspiring women and look forward to those I will be meeting in the future. The positive feedback I have received about this project has been amazing and I can’t wait to share more!
One thing I did not expect when I started the series, however, was the amount of comments and questions people would send me about my OWN journey to becoming a photographer. You may or may not know that I used to have a career as an analyst in investment management. I worked in the corporate world for 15 years before making the leap to full time photography! So many people have asked me questions about this switch: Was it scary? How’d you plan for it? What are the things that have helped you succeed the most? Do you wish you had done anything differently?
Career Change to Boston Newborn & Family Photographer
Because I’m on the other side of this big life/career change, I thought it might be helpful to jot down some things down that I think were most helpful in achieving my goal of becoming a full time photographer. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but having owned my own business for almost 9 years now I do have a few solid ideas about things that are helpful in achieving your goals
1. Talk about it. A lot.
I think this is the single biggest way to start making your dreams come true. At first it might feel weird to speak out loud about your secret dreams, but I promise you the more you talk about it, the closer it will come to reality. Even if you are still a little hesitant, you have to do it. Just start with a close fried. Or your Mom. The more you talk about it, the more you will start to feel comfortable with your ideas and eventually you will start to be more confident in your dream coming true. AND the best part? When people know what you’re working toward, opportunities will start to appear!
I remember when I first started thinking I wanted to be a photographer, I mentioned it my friends and family first. Soon I was photographing their babies and kids for practice. I did pro bono work for a friend’s nonprofit because she knew I was interested in expanding my portfolio. I learned so many valuable lessons during that time about photography, but also about working with people, editing images, being organized, etc. None of this would have happened if I kept my big dream a secret.
2. Make a plan and write it down everywhere
There are number of different ways you can make a plan to achieve your goal, but one thing is for sure — if you only talk about it and don’t actually do anything, you are not going to meet your goal! duh!
- To start, sit down at the computer (or if you’re like me, at the desk with pen and paper!) and just start writing. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or being too organized with your thoughts. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write. This is called ‘free-flow writing’ and a highly effective way to brainstorm your ideas. Don’t stop until the timer goes off. Write about your dream, with details big and small, write about what it looks feels like to achieve your goal, write about what you want your life to look like in 1, 5 or 10 years when you’ve achieved your goals, make a list of steps you could take to get there.
- If you are a highly visual person, it might be helpful to make a ‘vision board‘ that is a collage of all the things that you goal looks like. Hang it somewhere prominent where you will see it every single day!
- Hang up sticky notes everywhere to remind you of your goals! Motivational quotes on the bathroom mirror are acceptable and encouraged!
- Once you have written down your goal and a rough plan for reaching that goal, break it up into smaller goals. Keep breaking it up until you have at least one action item for each week.
3. Seek Inspiration and Advice
One big thing I have realized in the last two decades of soul searching and dream chasing is that most people are more than willing to help you out; all you have to do is ASK. If you are thinking about a new career, find someone in that career and ask them to have a phone call with you or to meet up for coffee! Pick their brain and ask tons of questions. Dedicate a journal where you take copious notes on things you notice and learn. Even better, go on a job shadow with someone. This is really the best way to figure out what how it feels to do this job!
I know podcasts are certainly not a new thing, but I personally just started getting into them about 2 years ago and they have introduced me to so many amazing people that have literally changed my life! The best part about podcasts ( besides the information and inspiration they provide ) is that you can listen to them almost anywhere ( unlike a book where you read three pages and then fall asleep or are interrupted by your kids!). Podcasts in the car, podcasts while out for a walk, podcasts while cooking dinner, podcasts while doing laundry, the options are endless. A few of my favorites right now: (more…)