I can't imagine another career at this point in my life. I love my job. I used to only enjoy the photography part of my business, but I now truly enjoy it all. When Isaac and I moved to St Louis, he encouraged me to work on my business. I would mention looking for jobs as a statistician or a computer scientist and he would discourage me from it. Praise the Lord for my husband. I felt like I needed to be bringing in a grown-up income and my husband reminded me that God had called me to photography.
I was asked in the #askjb facebook group how I knew when I should go full time. This is easy to answer: the Lord just flat out told me that He was going to make me a wedding photographer and I was eager to get started. So with my husband's encouragement, we walked by faith as I put in 60+ hours each week on a business that had no clients.
Because of God's clear direction, Isaac and I could be confident that it was worthwhile to invest hours in the business. If you know the Lord, then I would encourage you to seek Him in all things. He says that He will make our paths straight and He most certainly made mine straight.
It's important for me to be clear that The Lord didn't say "go full time." So Isaac and I asked God for wisdom (James 1:5) and the Lord was faithful to give it to us. Below is a list of factors that weighed into the decision for me to go head first and full time with the business!
We didn't need my income
With Isaac earning a salary from Washington University, we didn't need my income to make ends meet. This meant that we didn't have to rely on anything from me. If we needed to supplement the income, then I would have most likely taken a job until the business was stable enough to help support our family.
Disciplined and driven
I have always been disciplined and driven. I started my first business when I was four. It involved coercing the neighborhood kids into picking up walnuts so that we could hopefully make a few dollars... and then split it. Managing my time, imagining new ideas, and taking action has never been a problem.
Thorough understanding of good customer service
If there is one thing my dad taught me, it was how to handle events with integrity and kindness. Even when you're not the one in the wrong. I think that every good business is supported by great customer service. Going full time meant that I needed to know how to support my clients full time too.
Evaluation of weaknesses
If you can't identify your possible weaknesses, then you probably aren't ready to go full time. I think that it's important to focus on strengths, but you need to know where your business might naturally fall behind so that you can make adjustments.
For me, this meant that I needed to set realistic goals, not be hard on myself, and remember to enjoy the process of building a business.
Commitment to the Job
You don't want to invest thousands of hours each year on a business that is going to dwindle away in another year. If you think that you might lose interest in running your own business after a few years, then reevaluate the full time decision in a few more years!
What I do is more than wedding photography. This is something that my clients understand when they book me and something they experience when I photograph them. I am focused on documenting love because I was first loved. So I'm only ready to leave this career when God says it's time to go. And yes, one day I want to be a full time grandma.
Making the decision to go full time is not something that should be decided on a whim! It's going to change everything so I hope these 5 factors help you to make a wise decision. If you know the Lord, then seek Him first! It's worth it.