Why, good day you creative bundle of joy!
People often ask me how I made the jump from working as an employee (at Starbucks!) to starting my own full-time business.
I started and worked my first business (a wedding photography business) from 2010 - 2016 and then transitioned into working my online business full-time in 2016.
Want the full back story?
But basically, I've transitioned jobs now. TWICE.
Once in 2010 when I started my wedding photography business and then again in 2016 when I started working my online business full-time.
So now let's talk about you! :-)
(Dammit I'm making myself hungry from my own photo! That cookie was a-mazing, incase you were wondering. And so was that fancy pants coffee drink!)
If you're wondering how to go from part-time to full-time in your business, here's 8 tips to take your business from part time to full-time!
1. Zero in on a niche.
When I first started my photography business, I shot anything and everything; weddings, babies, families, seniors, maternity ... you name it and I shot it!
However, I very quickly figured out that my passion was weddings and working with adults, so I scrapped everything else and decided to focus on JUST weddings.
Then as time went on, I narrowed it down even farther.
I didn't want to cater to just ANY bride, I wanted to work with a specific TYPE of bride. My brides are creative, appreciate art, fun, colorful, a little offbeat and are laid back.
So I then completely rebuilt my website to appeal specifically to this type of bride!
I've done the same thing with my online business.
Trust me when I say that the more focused you can be with exactly who you're trying to serve in your business, the better.
Because the more clear you are on EXACTLY who they are, the better you will be able to connect + resonate with them, serve them and market to them.
So. If you're not 100% clear on who you'er serving, what the heck do you DO?
Why, you should fill out my free workbook that will walk you through getting clarity on not only exactly who you want to serve, but on the focus of your business too!
Both things are super important and are the foundation of literally everything in your business. (All the content you create, your branding, your paid stuff etc.)
You can grab the free workbook below!
2. Cut back your expenses and save money.
Depending on what type of business you're starting or trying to run you may need a little or a lot of money to get started.
But as you're working on going full-time, you want to have as much money saved as possible!
Don't go into debt to start if you can.
When I started my photography business, I saved my money and bought equipment I could afford. Then I gradually added more equipment over the coming months/years as my business grew and made more money.
Make your starting expenses as LOW as possible, but DON'T skimp on certain things like your website. Get your website looking AWESOME and get it done right!
A crappy, cheap looking website will be baaaaad.
If you want people to take you seriously as a professional, then your website NEEDS to look professional.
After using Wordpress.org for 6 years, I now use and recommend Squarespace because of it's simplicity and user friendliness!
I introduced myself to a TON of other photographers and asked a TON of questions in the beginning. Like ... I was constantly asking questions!
Find people who are doing what you'd like to do (or something similar), and make friends with these people! Find a mentor. Get your work out there.
As an introvert, I have to work extra hard on the networking thing.
Focus on building relationships though and not just asking for favors from strangers, because that's a little awkward. Networking can lead to referrals, collaborations, future opportunities and new friends! (And new friends are always a good thing!)
Speaking of networking ...
I do live weekly broadcasts called 'Coffee Talks' in the group every single week covering topics to help people build a profitable online business, and they're loads of fun!
4. Create multiple streams of income (and make at least one of them passive income!)
Going through dry spells and putting all of your eggs into one money basket can be stressful!
Try to think of multiple ways that you can make income (preferably passive income), throughout the year, that way you aren't relying on just one thing.
Passive income is ideal because that way you're not trading dollars for time.
Because we only have so much time in the day, right?
5. Put yourself out there.
As I mentioned above, when I was starting my wedding photography business I booked all of my first clients half way across the country via Facebook.
I had literally NO wedding photos to show, so I shared my personal work instead.
No one is going to know what you're up to if you don't share your stuff!
Be careful not to OVER share though. For example, if you use Instagram to promote your business, don't just blast your followers with a ton of sales-pitchy stuff.
Try to remember the 9/10 rule; for every 1 promotional post you put out there, post 9 things that are beneficial to your followers.
6. Raise your prices.
If YOU don't value your time and talent, then why should anyone else?
With my wedding photography business, I gradually raised my prices over the first year of business with every single wedding that I shot.
I hate to break it to you, but you HAVE to pay yourself well for your time or you won't be in business for very long.
Pricing can be a total pain in the arse, but try to think about how much TIME you will put into what you're doing, figure out what you'd like to make per hour and charge accordingly.
Also don't forget that nearly 1/3 of what you make will be going to taxes!
(Yeah I know, a tad depressing.)
7. Come up with a business plan.
Yes, this is super important!
Figure out how much money you HAVE to make every month in order to survive and then break that down into exactly HOW and WHAT you need to do each month in order to make that happen.
Be realistic if you are just starting out, because you don't want to waaaaay overestimate during that first year and then end up super bummed when you don't reach your goal.
At the same time, don't be afraid to dream big! :-)
Speaking of coming up with a plan ...
8. Baby steps.
Did you ever see Bill Murray in 'What About Bob?'
Yes, that clip is packed with some great information!
(I love that movie, haha.)
But seriously, you can sit around with a million ideas buzzing through your brain wondering if you'll ever be able to make your business full-time and get NOTHING done, OR you can commit to tackling small, realistic, concrete steps towards building your business every day.
Take what feels overwhelming and break it down into SMALL STEPS.
You can do it!!!
Aaaaand now, if you found this blog post to be helpful then you'd totally make my day by sharing it on Pinterest! :-)
Sharing is caring!
Plus I'd really appreciate it. (Like as much as I appreciate my coffee in the morning.)
Which is a lot.
To share on Pinterest, just hover over the photo below and click on the little "P!"
I'm so passionate about entrepreneurship and for people being able to make a living doing what they love, so I hope you find my story and some of these tips helpful if you're trying to start your own full-time business!
And now ... time for chocolate.