Monday, August 25, 2008

The Grass is Always Greener

It took two years and a swift quick in the behind for me to loose the "day job" that I'd had gotten comfortable with.

Now I'm living the dream-life immersed in all the things I LOVE (photography, teaching, wedding stuff galore, lots and lots of travel to exotic locals, etc)... but I must say the saying "the grass is always greener" really does have some truth to it.

While my life may seem all wonderful, luxurious, and dream-like to some... the honest truth is there are sacrifices on both sides of the spectrum whether you're working for yourself or trudging through the 9-5 corporate America job.

Thanks to numerous recent emails about wanting to help me fulfill my #56 of my 101 to do in 1001 list.... I'm going to soon share my $0.02 on what an aspiring pro photographer should do to get started. Before I go there, today I'll share some of my pros and cons since I've been on both sides of the spectrum already...

The 9-5 Corporate America Job


1. You actually know what your salary is going to be and can budget accordingly
2. You usually have a job description and know what is expected of you
3. Free training and education!!
4. Benefits, benefits, benefits!!
5. 9-5. Exactly. Generally speaking, you're not working 15-hour days. You can go home and NOT think about work for a while. No weekend work usually.
6. You have a team and infrastructure to lean on when you need guidance, education, and help.

1. The Silly Politics
2. Generally, these jobs are NOT for the creative, free-spirited types. Things are pretty cut and dry.
3. The feeling that someone "owns" you for the 9-5 period and for most jobs your expected to sit at a desk and BE THERE for that time even if you're an efficient worker and have completed everything you can for that time.
4. Only having 1-4 weeks vacation time.
5. Boringgggg. Yes, the routine tasks get old after 150 times. It's rare to find a Corporate America job that doesn't have the mundane routine stuff as part of your job description.
6. Job security is a thing of the past. With the economy as it is... it's easy to feel like you're walking on egg shells to keep in good favor with the big bosses and NOT be the first one to be cut when things turn bad.

The Wedding Industry Small Business Owner

1. It can be lots of fun!
2. Infinite room for creativity
3. You can have as much or as little vacation time as you want!
4. You're your own boss!
5. While the rest of the world is locked down to working 9-5, we get to make our own hours!
6. You have more opportunities to make more money and produce passive income
7. If you hire a good accountant and make smart financial decisions, you get taxed less!

1. No benefits or free education/training. Expect to pay $100-500+ per month for lesser benefits than you'd get at the Corporate job and pay $800-1500+ per each 2-3 day training.
2. Most small business owners work MORE than 40 hours per week. Forget 9 hour workdays... try 16 hr days for the first few years while you get your business up and running.
3. The market is SUPER saturated and the profit margins are not huge. Don't expect to make a lot of $$ in this industry. The average photographer makes less than a school teacher (PPA Studio Benchmark Survey Report, 2005)
4. No infrastructure. While it's great you get to be your own boss and hire who you want, it's difficult to do everything yourself and find good help.
5. Booooring. Yes, even the self-employed small business owners get stuck with the mundane every-day tasks. You can hire someone to do them for you but even the creative tasks may seem mundane when done repeatedly over time.
6. You still end up spending most of your time behind a computer.
7. We work weekends while the rest of the world relaxes... plus most workdays!

Now those are just a few.... I'd love to hear from those of you who can add in their experience on one side or another. Comment away!

Next up: 10 Things To Do BEFORE You Quit Your Day Job


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