Working a Full-Time Corporate Office Job While Owning a Creative Business

Personal

I went back to working in a 9-5 corporate office job. Yep. “Every creative entrepreneur’s dream is to work a corporate office job while keeping their passion as a side hustle,” said no one, ever. 

I had a 9-5 office job for four years

Let me back up. If you’ve been following me for a while then you know I worked in a corporate office 9-5 job for four years. I started as an intern for that company and they quickly hired me as a full-time employee and I climbed the ladder quicker than I imagined. They gave me more and more responsibility, I traveled more frequently and at the very end was in a leadership role. 

I felt great about how much I grew. I learned a lot about myself and about my work ethic in those four years. I became a subject matter expert in the technology we used; in our systems and workflows, created templates to be used across multiple programs and even trained other members. What I learned in my day job I applied in a similar way to my side hustle (aka my photography business). 

When they hired me; my boss and her boss, knew that photography was my passion. I mean I did go to school for it and worked for Sports Illustrated just before them, so it was on my resume. After a couple of years there, it became a stronger passion which eventually sparked my dream of going full-time with my business. I knew I had to be financially prepared for that before I made the official decision. 

My passion took over my soul, heart, energy, and attention quicker and quicker. I’ll admit I probably wasn’t the most timely employee with deadlines because of the simple fact that my focus was elsewhere. 

July 2019 – I was fired. 

They fired me a month after giving me a raise and putting me in a leadership role. They fired me 2 days after arriving home from a work trip in Florida (where I was stuck overnight because of a hurricane). They fired me 1 day after I asked for PTO because I was battling major anxiety around my life, relationships, and career. When I was fired, I wasn’t given a real reason. It was completely out of nowhere because I wasn’t reprimanded, I didn’t have a “come to Jesus meeting” with my boss, I wasn’t given a chance to be the leader I know I could have been. 

I wasn’t given the chance to prepare for being unemployed or as a full-time small business owner. My finances weren’t ready. I have bills to pay. I need health insurance. I have to feed myself. I. WAS. STRUCK. WITH. ANXIETY. WORSE. THAN. BEFORE. I didn’t know what to do. 

Now I’m not writing this blog to bash the company in the way they fired me. Though it wasn’t fair and there’s probably a law that could be changed about that. That’s not why I’m sharing this. 

After all the anger (and major panic) passed, I clearly saw and felt God’s hand in the process. It was a blessing and a way for God to push me into my passion. He pushed me where He wanted me. I’m grateful for the change just not grateful for how it happened. 

I took a couple of weeks to just be with myself and my family to really pray and focus on the next steps. I had to decide if I wanted to search for another job or really push myself as an entrepreneur and full-time wedding photographer. I decided to follow my heart and stay full-time. 

I went back to working a 9-5 corporate office job 

A few months later; now the beginning of 2020, an amazing job opportunity came up and I applied for a full-time position. I will work for a sweet lady (who had in the past hired me to take senior portraits for both of her daughters), a team of ladies who I had worked briefly with in the past (this company was a client of my previous employer so I worked directly with them- I know, a bit confusing).  

I knew I would feel valued, respected and I would enjoy waking up and working for/with those people. I would be able to pay my bills, have health insurance and feed myself. While I did work through my business finances and had money saved out per month and especially for those slow months of winter, I did miss the consistency of that 9-5 income. It felt stable. 

Y’all being a small business entrepreneur is HARD. LIKE SO HARD. Like, stay up past midnight to finish working on something for a client, or writing a blog at 1 am because it finally hit you what you wanted to say (like I’m doing right now). You feel alone. Sometimes you feel depressed. Yes, there’s a community out there who are like-minded boss babes and you can have accountability partners but it’s still so so lonely. 

Through the months where I controlled my schedule, I realized that I actually work better and faster when I’m on a deadline crunch (thank you sports journalism world). When I have all the time in the world I tend to not work on my dreams and ideas right away, I think I have all the time in the world. When it was my side hustle for four years, I only had nights and weekends to work on my business, so things got done. 

I’ll be completely honest, my photography business is down. I don’t have as many weddings on the books as I would like. I don’t see the stability of my income for this year. I’m terrified of going bankrupt, losing my house, not being able to afford the wedding of my dreams, not being able to afford my own groceries. That life scares the living crap out of me.  

So I went back to working a 9-5 corporate office job. It wasn’t a part of my plan when I first decided I would push myself to be a full-time wedding photographer and creative entrepreneur but it’s the decision I have to make to ease my anxiety around money. Right now that’s what I need most. 

I share my heart and soul because I have felt like a fraud. So much has changed in my life in the last 8-10 months and I need control. I’m not an Enneagram 1 if I don’t yearn to have control over something in my life. Maybe when I’m closer to having children, I’ll want more time to be home and spend time with my family, I’ll probably rethink everything and go back to being full-time. Right now it’s just me and my boyfriend…and we have to pay the bills.

So, if you’re struggling with anxiety over money, know you’re not alone. 

If you feel like a fraud, you’re not alone. 

If you feel like you’re a failure because you have a 9-5 day job while it seems like everybody else is living the dream as a full-time entrepreneur, you’re not alone. 

If you liked this post, then you’ll love:
Defining my story and “my why”
Finding Your Perfect Wedding Photographer
Three reasons to hire a wedding videographer

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Find Me on instagram @theheatheryvonne

where sweet Southern charm + classic taste
come together as one

A born and raised southern sass. I’m obsessed with shopping, traveling and all things sweet and salty. Oh and Sprite!

Destination Wedding + Portrait Photography