Working in the big city, in the most busy, suit ridden place and financial hub of London. Suits and heels at the ready, my younger 21 year old self was very overwhelmed at this huge opportunity, so overwhelmed in fact that I put off accepting the job offer for 3 months!
It was something I never wanted to do – I never wanted to work in an office, a desk job, work for a corporate firm. I had known from a young age that I wanted to run my own business…at the time I didn’t know what, but I knew some day I would. But here I was, finding myself in a position where I was being offered a job that paid amazingly for my age, it was over double my salary from my previous job, it was high fly, a well sought after job at an amazing firm. I was good at what I did, I have always been a hard worker and wanted to make a good impression to my seniors. But this was scary, out of my comfort zone in every way possible.
And what scared me was I didn’t think I could do it!
But someone believed in me, believed in me and my work ethic enough to push me forward for this opportunity, a job that was highly targeted, and 65% didn’t make the cut within a 2 week period of starting. They expected you to hit the ground running, do a good job and exceed their expectations!
I was the youngest in my team by 15-20 years and I felt so out of place! But I kept my head down, I worked all the hours under the sun, in the most pressured environment I had EVER been in, because once I made the decision to go for it, I knew that it would give me the best foot to help build my business. It would enable me to buy the equipment I needed, to be able to invest in programmes and trainings to help me become a better photographer, to afford living in the city and give me and my boyfriend at the time a different life than what we had been living, to explore, experience new things.
When you need to make things work, you find it in you to do it. And I ended up exceeding my own expectations! I didn’t think I would make it a week, I didn’t think I was good enough. My manager hated me, made my life so incredibly difficult and I could tell wanted me out as soon as I started. But I kept going, kept trying my best, and the day I handed in my notice I had been there for over 3 years!
I’d be lying if I said I totally hated my job. Some of the people I worked with where lovely, I definitely had a close network of people there who made the job possible and without them I wouldn’t have been there for that long! The job I did involved helping people who felt that they had no where else to turn to, and from that stand point, it was amazing to help people who needed it.
But it was never my passion, it wasn’t a field I was called to work in, it was insurance based, it didn’t light me up, and doing it alongside my business I was trying to get off the ground, as a direct comparison…there was no comparison! I loved the idea of running my own business, I was working in a creative job photographing weddings, I was meeting and working with incredible people, I was making them happy and doing a really good job that they would then refer me to their friends. I started to build a network of suppliers who wanted to work with me, and it was lighting me up in some many ways, that I knew it was the right calling.
It got to a point where I could know longer balance the two.
My corporate job was sucking the life out of me, being in a place I didn’t want to be, I was working round the clock, working on my own business whilst I was commuting, in my lunch breaks, when I got home after dinner working till 1/2am some mornings, to then get a couple hours sleep to do it all over again. I didn’t have any days off as I would be shooting weddings and engagement shoots during the weekend. I was just exhausted, burnt out, and it made me hate my day job even more. I would sit in my office chair in the city staring out the window at the docklands, just dreaming of that day I could hand in my notice.
So I made an exit plan, 6 months, working so hard to make it possible, and I did! It clicked, I knew when it was the right time to be thinking of leaving my job and what I then needed to do to make that a reality.
If you are balancing your day job along with your side hustle, I just want to give you a hug! It’s tough going, I did it for 4 years. But the result does pay off I promise. I was always in my business for the long game. I wasn’t looking for quick wins or a get rich quick career. I took my time, built my foundation, made connections, really worked out the back bone of my business who I want to work with. Created a business and brand I am really proud of.
If I can do it, you can too!
Love, Charlotte x