Yesterday marks a year since I took my photography business full time and I honestly, truly can't believe it's gone so quickly. I am overflowing with gratitude right now for each and every one of my clients and for everybody who has helped me along the way, and I am so excited to see how my second year will unfold.

Despite the fact I had been working part-time for a while beforehand, I still had some misconceptions and learnt more in this last 12 months than I ever could have imagined. So here we go: 12 things I have learnt in the last 12 months. This post has ended up being a little bit wordier than I envisioned, so it's going to be a two-parter. Scroll down to the bottom for a link to part two!


1. It's all about time management..
This is one of the first things I learnt, and one of the things I am still learning how to do more effectively! The pace at which you work defines how many clients you are able to take on, how quickly you are able to deliver work to those clients and ultimately how much free time you have left at the end of the day. It might be tempting to watch Netflix in the middle of the day as your workdays at home are so flexible, but I promise it will feel a whole lot better watching it in the evening having completed everything on your to do list!

2. ..but sometimes you will need to work evenings and weekends to get stuff done.
No matter how well you manage your time, there will always be instances where you will be working over and above normal working hours to get stuff done. For me, working for myself is a constant learning curve and I'm constantly learning how much work I can realistically fit in. I've worked the last two weekends in a row because I took on a bit more than usual, but I made promises to my clients and I will keep them no matter what.

3. Learn to love your admin
Like it or not, unless you are in a position to pay somebody else to do it, admin is a big part of working for yourself. Sending out invoices and writing up expenses might not feel like the most creative use of your time but try and think of it in a different light: every time you send an invoice, it means that somebody is paying you to do what you love!

4. You can't be precious about the work you take on when starting out
If you're busy enough to turn down work then this tip isn't relevant, but when you are starting out you may get asked to do stuff that you don't specialise in, and you may not be in a position to be precious about it. I've photographed jewellery, food, corporate portraiture, retouched others' images, and although I don't specialise in those things, if people think you are right for the job and are asking for your rates, give them! You may just find yourself discovering a new aspect of photography that you love.

5. Learn to say no to commitments
I still struggle with this one a lot - I want to do all the things but at some point you will end up reaching a limit where you can't do the best job at doing the things you want to commit to when busy. I might have a day spare to organise a fashion test in, but realistically can I finish the work in an acceptable timeframe when I have client shoots coming up? People will understand if you explain the position you are in, and will most likely be grateful for your honesty if you explain your time constraints and that you'd want to do the best job possible for them.

6. Value and recognise your worth
It's very easy to constantly feel as if you are not good enough - it's something everybody universally struggles with, regardless of profession. If a client has seen your work and trusts you to work for them, it means you ARE good enough. They have thought about it and made the decision that you have the skills necessary to do what they need. What a great thought!

I'm always a bit self-conscious about writing blog articles that aren't about shoots, but I think it's about time I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something a little different with my blog. Part two of this post is on its way soon and I'll be sure to put a link at the end of this post once it's finished :-)

Do you work for yourself? What has it taught you? Leave a comment below - I am so interested to hear your thoughts!



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