Absolute Write : August Blog Chain Q&A — my answer

On August 14, 2009 by Aimee

Razib Ahmed just blogged his answer on where he finds inspiration and has asked one of me … if you’re a writer, these blog chains are a very fun way of learning more about those in your own industry and each other.

Razib’s question for me … What led you to leave your full time job and start your own business? What were the obstacles did you face at first?

My answer for him (and anyone else who’s reading) …

Let me first caveat the timeline. I started my photography business two years before I quit my full time job. So I did have some time to prepare before I jumped ship. Despite the two part-time years, there were considerable issues to going full time.

When you quit a tremendously high paying job (and no I’m not exaggerating — I’ve been asked NUMEROUS times how in the world I could give it up) — there must be a reason. My number one reason was “I wanted to.” I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to build an empire. Ok, not really. But, well … maybe.

After two years part-time, I realized I’d be much more successful if I could devote my whole attention to the task. With three kids to support and a husband too, a mortgage, car payments, a lease on a studio, etc … that also meant coming up with A LOT of money every month and guess what? I walked out on my job with no guarantees. I didn’t have a steady income. I didn’t have thousands of customers to rely on.

It was me. My business plan. My determination (I’m a very stubborn girl) and the desire to do my own thing. For the first four months, I contracted back to several former employers to keep the funds rolling in, but slowly that went by the wayside and photography did in fact fill the gap.

My kids were the impetus to start the business and my MBA and complete faith that it was a path on which I should be going got me running along it — winding and twisty it is some days.

One obstacle was certainly my family. Despite their utter belief in me, they worried. My parents worried. My in-laws worried. My husband worried. But he’s one of those that believes in me and my craziness and is generally my sounding board and my devil’s-advocate. If I come up with a crazy plan, he comes up with the opposite and somewhere along the middle we reach consensus (or he gives up and I dive in). After 15 years of marriage (literally yesterday), we’re a pretty darn good team.

Once I got through the “we’ll be fine” conversations with everyone related to me, it was time to market the business. That was tough. New business going into a saturated market. I met with all sorts of other business owners. Became regular customers to them and they in turn helped me. It took me three years to get my portraits into our local dance studio — THREE YEARS. In that time, two other photographers were in there. But guess what? Now? It’s just me. And I just took the owner’s baby photos. πŸ™‚

Next obstacle? Time. I move fast. So it has to move faster. If an idea comes to mind, I’ll implement it, often without really looking into all the possible problems. πŸ™‚ As long as it doesn’t have a significant outlay of $$ then I’ll try it. I’m a big risk taker. πŸ™‚ Plenty of ideas have fallen flat on their face … hard. But you have to try to learn (to an extent. I’m of the opinion that if I can learn from someone else’s failures I’m all for it.)

The economy has been a stumbling block of late, but the reality is that we’ve just had to get more creative. Think outside the box, be open to ideas we weren’t before. That doesn’t mean giving away the farm, packing up and quitting. Just the opposite. We keep pressing forward, finding avenues to try and in some cases, we’re back to the beginning. We’ll try, try and try again.

Sounds a lot like writing. Don’t you think? πŸ™‚

So my question to Benjamin Solah is this : Good guy or bad guy? Since you write horror, you must equate to both, right? Which fits your own personality best?