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Risk and courage of starting a photography business

Which route would you rather take: the stable paycheck, the five-day work week, but working under someone else’s thumb, making their dreams a reality? Or would you go for the riskier path of entrepreneurship, with its long hours and full accountability but the thrill of being your own boss and chasing your dreams? It’s the classic stability versus freedom dilemma. What’s your pick?

I spent a good chunk of time in the first scenario, worked “for someone else,” but it never quite sat right with me. Then, one day, I finally mustered the courage to pursue my passion and make photography my full-time career. 

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I want to Start A Photography Business

“I’m ready to chart my course, focus solely on photo art, and start my photography business!” I declared to my friend-colleague at the hotel. After months of mentally rehearsing this mantra, I finally left my stable job and dived into the world of starting my photography business. This pivotal moment in my life went down in the early fall of 2012, right after I ended the toxic relationship with my husband and divorced. Opting to go solo was a sign of my emotional comeback, proving that I was ready to carve out my own path.

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Back then, I was making some money from photo shoots, which excited me about the possibilities. But at the same time, I kept asking myself, “What if things don’t work out? Can I really support myself just by being a photographer? Will I be able to run my photography business?” Initially, those thoughts scared me. I mean, it was daunting to live solo in a bustling city like St. Petersburg, covering rent on my own, relying solely on my photography income. Before starting, I crunched the numbers and figured I’d be okay financially. But the fear of the unknown, mixed with self-doubt, crept in, casting a shadow over every move I made. Until then, I’d always worked at some organization, with photography as a side hustle. It gave me a false sense of stability, making me reluctant to take risks.

Simply put, I was too comfortable.

Looking back years later, I realized that comfort can stifle creativity, because it takes away the drive to act. When I finally decided to step out of my comfort zone and start a photography business, feeling scared was just a natural response.

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The decision was made, and I had to support myself, cover my basic expenses, and invest in growing my photography business. I simply had no other option! I was determined to work independently as a photographer, and I wasn’t about to give up. 

Being my own boss required courage, bravery, patience, and creativity.

I never received any formal training in running a photography business during my five years at university, where I focused solely on art and culture. I had to learn as I went, which became an exhilarating process. I was scared to begin, but I leaped! The first six months of working independently were quite successful. Still, I eventually had to return to work at a hotel for a while to save up for a new dream goal that required significant financial investment. In the fall of 2013, I embarked on a life-changing adventure—traveling solo around Spain, Mexico after which I settled in CancunThere, I could fully pursue my ambitions and goals while working exclusively as a photographer. 

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Now, drawing from personal experience, I can confidently say that running a successful photography business or being a freelance photographer is achievable! You don’t have to start out as a business expert. If you’re willing to learn and put in the effort to grow your photography business, success is within reach!

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Are you eager to start a photography business? That’s fantastic—it’s doable! Are you feeling scared and doubtful? That’s completely normal—anything new can be intimidating! Confidence develops over time as you navigate the journey of building your business and improving your life. If you have the desire, it means you are ready. And all those uncertainties you’re feeling are just stepping stones. Trust in yourself! You don’t need validation from others to pursue your dreams; your dreams are yours to chase, and all it takes is your decision to accept the next step forward.

Stay inspired,

Elena Sullivan 

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