How I Stay Motivated and Balenced. The Crazy Life of a Photographer

As I write this I currently have a full-time job, and I do my photography business on the side. I have three kids, two crazy boys and a precious little girl, a beautiful wife that I do not deserve and a 10-acre farm full of hungry animals.

Last year I took on a side job for 9 months so I was technically working three jobs at one time!

Most people assume that I do photography full time because I basically do. The thing is, I am a very motivated person. It’s not that I don’t have my moments of failure or despair, but with the help of good people around me, I am able to get out of those funks and keep plowing ahead.

A lot of people think that I just have a streak of good luck and that this whole photography thing just dropped into my lap with no work or effort, but that could not be farther from the truth! 

This article is about how I stay motivated and balance all of these balls in my life and still stay sain. 

Do the Hard Work

Most people can’t wait to get home from work so they can grab a beer and prop up their feet and watch the game. If you really think about it, the day is only about half over by the time you get home.

When I first picked up the camera, this is what I spent my evenings doing. I would come home grab the kids and go out and start practicing taking photos.

When I first picked up the camera, this is what I spent my evenings doing. I would come home grab the kids and go out and start practicing taking photos.

After we put the kids to bed I would get on the internet and watch YouTube videos on editing and photography. Anything I could find to learn.

When I started posting my photos of the kids on my Facebook page I started to have people ask me if I could do their photos. I was not very good at all but I was determined to do a good job if I was going to start taking other peoples photos.

When I started running this as a side business, I would come home after work, spend some time with the family and then head out to a session. That worked out pretty good since the evening is the best time to shoot.

Then depending on what time I would get back from the session, I spend the rest of the evening with my family and then after putting the kids to bed, I would go work on photos for a couple of hours. My wife hangs out with me in the studio so we can catch up on the day.

Then, at 4 am every morning 7 days a week, I get up and work on photos for an hour and a half before I head off to work. 

I’ve been doing this for 3 years now. Also, now that I feel like I’m at the point to teach. On the days that I don’t have sessions, I work on training videos and courses for my website. I also write this weekly blog.

My goal is to eventually do this full time, but I am not there yet. So in the meantime, I will just keep doing what I’m doing and keep learning and improving my work. 

Staying Motivated

It can be hard to stay motivated when you’re juggling so many balls. It would be SO much easier to say to myself when I wake up at 4:00 am after only getting a couple of hours of sleep “It’s not important to work on photos today. Just sleep for a couple more hours.” Than it is to drag myself out of bed to do the work that needs to be done.

So I tell myself instead “get up and get to work. If you get up and work today, you will be one day closer to becoming free from the corporate world and do what you love for a living!”.

My wife is also very good at helping me to get up each morning. She always gets up with me and makes sure I have coffee and food for the day.

Have no Fear

I am a very introverted person. I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid people. So doing other peoples photos SCARS ME TO DEATH!!! I’m always afraid of saying the wrong thing or messing up someone’s photos or offending someone somehow. I would just much rather not have to deal with people. 

But as a photographer, you have to be good with people. So I had a choice to make. Believe me when I say this was not and still is not easy for me. When I first started doing this, I felt like I was going to puke my guts out and become physically ill just before each session. Even after doing this for 3 years I still get very nervous.

However, instead of quitting or finding a very easy excuse for not doing it, I force myself to do it. I ask myself “What is the worst thing that could happen?”, and in all reality, the worst is not as bad as you might think. If something embarrassing or awkward happens during a session, just forget about it and move on. 

I get so many positive messages from my clients telling me thank you and how happy I made them. That makes it all worth it.

Stay Balanced

When juggling so many balls, it’s easy to get out of balance. You can feel frustrated trying to complete everything but instead start neglecting things that are important, like family time, for things that are not that important.

It’s helpful to have the most important things planned out and wrote down for each day. I find that if I just try to keep a mental idea of what needs to be done, I get distracted and overwhelmed. Write down what needs to be done from most important to least important.

That leads me to my next topic, sacrifice, or giving up the not as important things in other words, to make it all work and stay balanced.

Sacrifice

I have WAY too many interests and fascinations! One of my biggest passions is music. I used to write film scores and soundtracks for short films and documentaries. I also enjoy 3d graphics, filmmaking, woodworking, and many other things. But I had to let all of those things go for now because they didn’t fit into my plan right now and they were taking away family time and productivity time. I just couldn’t do them all.

I would like to get back into those things eventually, especially the music, but for now, they’re on the back burner.  

Again, do the Work

I’ve pretty much touched on this already, but I can’t stress it enough. If you are working a full-time job, you are expected to be at work on time every time and to complete the day’s responsibilities. If not, there are major consequences. When you are working for yourself, there is nobody there to motivate you to do the work and therefore no immediate consequences. Unfortunately, the long-term consequence is failure and irresponsibility.

Only you can force yourself to do the work, no one will do it for you. You have to treat it like a regular job and get the work done. You have to show up on time every day. If you want your dreams to come true, you have to work for it. 

Conclusion

This crazy life of a photographer can get messy sometimes, but it can also be very rewarding. It’s something that I love doing, and even though I don’t particularly enjoy the business side of it, I do love what I do and it makes others happy, and that makes it totally worth it.

I hope this article was helpful to you in some way. I would love to know in the comments below.

If you are just starting photography and would like a jump start. Sign up for my free photography course. You will also be added to my mailing list where I send out photography tips and tricks each week.

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