I'm trying to embrace being in front of the camera, as well as behind it.
The photo of me doing what I love was captured by the wonderful Photography By Melissa NI.
So I’ve made no secret of the fact I’ve become self employed. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you are probably sick hearing about it. But I honestly can’t stop myself talking about it because it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
So I gave a month’s notice in my job because I properly freaked out after I made the decision. I mean I had visions of my kids not eating for a month, and counting pennies. I’ve been on the breadline before. When I fell pregnant with Tyler I was 21 and in university. I took a year out and got a minimum wage job, but there were weeks where I had £15 to do the weekly shop, and that was all I had to eat for that week. I kid you not, I remember not even having 20p for a cup of tea when I started the job.
The same thing happened when I dropped out of my postgraduate degree when Tyler was diagnosed. That feeling walking around the supermarket trying to do the mental maths, and panicking when you get to the checkout incase you’ve added things up wrong, is one that will live with me forever.
I’m telling you this so you can understand just how scary this jump has been for me. The thought of ever having to worry about money and not being able to give my kids the life I want for them is unbelievably scary.
Whilst I’ve been incredibly scared, I couldn’t ignore the fact that opportunities started presenting themselves the minute I handed in my notice and created the space in my life for more.
The last year or so has been hectic so to take on anything other than weddings or the odd family session was impossible. But all of a sudden I could see the time and ideas started flowing. So much so, I couldn’t sleep. It was a bit overwhelming if I’m honest. Where do you start? What do you focus on?
This incredible book, which I listened to on Audible, had come into my life at exactly the right time. It helped me stay focused on why I was doing what I was doing. What are my core values? Why do I do what I do? Why do I love photography? What do I want out of life? It gave me the reassurance to know that if I stay true to myself, the rest will follow.
Start With Why
Before I left my job I had spent months figuring out WHO I was; learning to see who I really am, not who I have pretended or tried to be. But the last month has been about figuring out WHY I am, and why I do what I do. Its enlightening, and draining, but overhauling your life never is going to be easy.
So to cut a long story short, I take photos because I’m good at it. That’s the honest answer. It has come very naturally to me, and it’s the first thing ever in my life that I’ve felt naturally good at. Nothing else ever has, not even motherhood. But I also love improving and learning, and with photography the possibilities are endless. That excites me.
Why else do I do what I do? Because it allows me to be completely, unapologetically myself. All the quirks that I used to hide or be embarrassed about are what make me good at my job. I can act like an eejit and get kids laughing. I’m enough of a dork that people rarely feel awkward in my company. I feel emotions, and beauty much more strongly than most, which I can put into my photos, and help draw out of others.
One thing I realised that photography doesn’t allow me to do though is directly help people. I get to give people beautiful, precious memories to cherish forever, but it’s not really life changing or empowering. And that’s one thing I love to do, empower others. I am a firm believer that I have had such a turbulent journey for a reason, to help someone else.
I’m incredibly empathetic, which made my last job pretty difficult because when I couldn’t help someone solve a problem, it really bothered me. But leaving that job and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to help others to the same extent really upset me. I was lucky to leave on a really high note with success in some cases that really meant a lot, but that was almost bittersweet.
So I’m going to channel that desire into my support group, and am excited to be working with a group of parents in a local school. And then I came up with the idea for Capture Love. I’ve always said I want to help other mums take better photos of their kids, and feel confident doing it. When Anna from Blossomingbirds kindly asked me to come to her workshop and chat about photography, it really inspired me to do more.
I met the best bunch of women, who I can say with confidence, have become friends and just being in the same room as them inspired me. I left buzzing. What better way to empower other women than by helping them do something they love too.
So here I find myself at the end of my first week of self employment. This week I went on another workshop with wonderful women hosted by the very talented Carla Blain. I got to learn and shoot with epic women in the unbelievable Mourne Mountains. I then got to take my daughter to nursery and have a coffee date with my son in the sunshine. I got to do washing and sort my house out, all whilst launching the second date of my workshop. I met clients that made my face hurt from laughing, and confirmed 3 wedding bookings. I captured a wonderful family at the stunning Murlough Bay, another incredible location I’d never been to. I got to go to my first blogger event at The Merchant Hotel, where I was completely spoiled by Kiss Products and Alex Silver PR, whilst meeting more class women.
And in one week, I made more than I made in a month in my old job. Not that it’s about money, because it’s not, but I do have to feed my kids and it’s nice to end the week knowing they’ll be ok for another month.
So now that I’ve come to the end of my first week of self employment and can conclude it was a success, I’m hoping the nightmares that have been plaguing me will go, but I’m not sure they will. That’s the thing about happiness isn’t it, it’s fragile, which makes it scary for most of us who have had to work hard to get where we are. My nightmares have been all based on me losing the people I love and my world crashing around me. I know it’s just my subconscious trying to keep me in my comfort zone, but it’s not going to work. I’m living my best life, creating space for every opportunity and I’m going to cherish every moment of this time.
I’d love to hear your stories of overcoming your fears and making a big leap in your life. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by so many inspirational people who have helped me make this jump, so thankyou for being part of my LITtle tribe (see what I did there) 😉 Lx