When life throws lemons at you…

Life Update

I’ve sat down to write this post three or four times already.

It hasn’t happened until now.

Life is hard sometimes, you guys! And it can be confusing. That’s where life’s road has taken me now… to a period of confusion, doubting, and questions. There’s been nothing tragic, devastating, or downright bad that’s happened (even though life has a way of throwing those problems at us when we least expect it). It’s just, well, confusing.

A little over a year ago, I quit my full-time job and celebrated being a full time photographer! I would work every day from my home with a cup of coffee and cozy slippers, and I absolutely loved it. Most working adults seem to loathe Sunday nights, those last few hours of “freedom” before “real life” starts again Monday morning. Not me; I loved Sunday nights. I would relax, watch a movie snuggled on the couch with my hubby, and dream of all the things I couldn’t wait to accomplish come Monday. It wasn’t a drag; it was an adventure!

Don’t get the wrong impression… working from home is still hard. I struggled with prioritizing, motivation, and discipline. Trust me, when there’s no boss telling you that no, you can’t take a four hour lunch break and watch The Office, you will likely find yourself doing just that. For me, the biggest struggle was housework. Sure, it would have been easy for me to take fifteen minutes to and wash the dishes and throw in a load of laundry. But since I was always home, it could always wait until later. Unfortunately, many times, later never came. But I was happy! My schedule was flexible to meet friends and brides for coffee dates, go to Target at the “off” times of day to avoid the crowds, and I hardly ever had to drive in rush hour traffic. I blogged fairly consistently, turned weddings around in record time, and could help out with certain church activities that took place during the day.

Fast forward another year. Josh dropped from full-time to part-time at his job, and we were headed into the winter. If you’re in the wedding industry and live in the midwest, you know that time of year means no weddings.

No weddings = no income. A month later, I ended up getting an amazing job offer from the same company I had worked at before. They wanted me back. So we looked at our bank account, we looked at our calendar, and made the decision. I took the job, and currently I’m in my third month back at work.

In this industry, there’s a huge stigma about your “day job.” Webinars, blog posts, Instagram accounts, all centered around creatives “quitting your day job” to “do what you love.” It felt like I had taken a huge step backwards. I had actually un-quit my day job! Did that make me a fraud? Was I a bad photographer? I was embarrassed to tell brides that I had another job, because I thought it would make me seem somehow unreliable or unprofessional. Then the time management struggle began to rear it’s ugly head. I was used to having forty hours a week to devote to my craft– editing, blogging, working on projects to help my business grow. Suddenly I was down to a two or three hours a few nights a week, and that was if I chose to work instead of rest or spend time with Josh. Social media and blogging went out the window, because just I didn’t have time for it. Projects I had been working on and planning to finish during the off-season were left untouched. And then the questions started rolling in…

Am I doing the right thing?

How can I give my brides the best experience possible when I’m so busy I can barely keep up with my inbox?

How can I keep booking if I don’t have time to blog or post consistently?

What will people think of me?

Those questions are real, and they hurt to think about sometimes. I don’t have all the answers just yet. But I know that yes, working a day job is the right decision for us right now. It’s allowing Josh the time and resources he needs to build his business, and you know what? I’ve booked more brides since I’ve been back at my “day job” then I did in the few months before. Having less time to work has forced me to become more efficient, to answer important questions about what I need to be spending my time doing, and explore new options for organization and automation. My time is more scarce and more precious than ever, so I’m learning to say no  to those extra little things that creep in without us noticingI’m planning to outsource, automate, and streamline the heck out of this business so Michelle Joy Photography can be the best it can be, whether I’m working a “day job” or not.

The bottom line? I care too much about my Michelle Joy brides and seniors to give them anything less than the best. I care too much about my husband to give him anything less than the best. So that’s what I’m going to give them!

If you’re “stuck in your day job,” take a breath. Count your blessings that you have a job in the first place! Then be strategic about where you put your time and effort. When I first started working again, I let the stress overtake me, like I was somehow surprised that I couldn’t do everything I did before. I became the victim, which I quickly learned benefited no one, especially myself.

Get yourself together. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee, a warm bath, or a long walk. Breathe.

Get organized. Set your priorities. Be realistic! Decide how much hustle you have in you for the day, and then…

Conquer. Chances are, you just have to get out of your own way. You can do this!

Go get ’em, girl. We’re here with you.

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