NEWS UPDATE: June 12, 2016
Remember back in December I wrote a few paragraphs about quitting my job and starting a Jobby? Well, after all that hooplah, rah rah, and follow your dreams talk, I think you all deserve an update.
After I took the voluntary layoff I started to panic. The severance money was running out and since it’s hard to wean oneself off a regular paycheck plus benefits, I started looking for another job. A month later, I finally found one, at another school, doing the same darn thing! I hated every moment of it, so bad so, that every Monday morning I would wake up to a mini-panic attack. I completed the three weeks of training, and on the first Friday of my first week on the floor, I got called into the office and was handed a letter stating the company no longer wished to continue with my employment. My jaw dropped! I had never been fired before in my life. It was so surreal, but at the same time it was the best thing that ever happened to me. (Besides meeting my husband). I remember driving home feeling highly insulted, but at the same time, so relieved! Luckily, my husband arrived shortly after I did so I could cry on his shoulder, for a about full one and a half minutes, Hah!
I still had lingering regular paycheck withdrawals, but my loving and ever supportive husband told me every thing is going to be OK. These withdrawals kept me from moving forward aggressively with my Jobby and I actually took a part time job as an administrative assistant. I made significantly less money but I knew I never wanted to ever, no never go back to what I was dong before! That is when things started to change.
I had been talking about, doing research on, and trying to learn all I could about home staging and real estate photography for the last year so I had definitely put it out there in the Universe. I just couldn’t figure out where to begin. Then one day, I got a call from a friend who said she met a real estate agent who was looking for someone to stage his properties.
And that is how it all started. My friend Michelle and I decided we needed to jump on this opportunity right away. We had no inventory and no professional experience, but we quickly became the perfect example of the cliche’ “fake it till you make it”. We quickly put together a price sheet, while Michelle, who is now my business partner, started our website. We also told the real estate agent we could take the photos for him as well even though we had no camera and no photography experience. He loved that idea so I quickly ordered a Canon camera kit. Being the clever and thrifty person that I am, I acquired a tripod from Goodwill for five dollars.
Don’t judge, but Michelle and I created our inventory with the furniture and accessories we had in our own houses. Talk about winging it and flying by the seat of my pants! (I also have an extensive inventory of cliche’s). I don’t know if the real estate agent knew what novices we were, but after our first stage and photo shoot, he asked us to do it again. That’s when I realized we could really do this!
As Michelle and I continued to acquire more jobs from him, I took the time to really study and practice taking HDR pictures and using Photoshop to edit them. Each photo shoot gave me the opportunity to get better. I am still learning but have been receiving positive feedback so far. The staging part was easy, I had interest in interior decorating since I was a teenager. Most of my free time was spent looking at any thing that has to do with decor and design. It has been my life long passion. Now, all my “free time” consists of scouring ads for furniture and accessories. OfferUp is my new best friend. I have since acquired several pieces of furniture and decor to build my inventory so I can now”retire” my personal stuff and bring them home.
I have to give a shout out to my husband for being not only my Chief Motivator, Cheerleader, Suggestion Box, and Counselor, but now also, the Heavy Lifter. He has been so supportive and helpful all along the way with never a complaint or negative word. He also just so happens to own a truck with a trailer and big muscles so he helps us move the furniture from one house to the next. I could not do this without him and all of his support and encouragement. He believed in me and never questioned whether I was capable or not. If any thing, I was always the one questioning myself. I just love him!
So, to wrap this up, when the real estate agent sent us a link to his listing with Our photos on it, it finally hit me. I am now a professional real estate photographer and home stager. Wow, does that feel amazing to say that! Since then, I have received interest from other real estate agents and am now trying to find a nice way to tell my sweet wonderful boss that I am quitting my job as his assistant. Another bonus, I bought a new car so I can haul more stuff. Yay!
There is more than one formula for success, and for me I think the key things that helped me get to where I am are first, a good support system. Second, live, breath, and constantly think about what it is you love to do, put it out there so others know, and it will eventually come back to you. Third, risks have to be taken, but make them calculated and carefully planned. And finally, don’t be afraid of working long hours. It’s not as painful if it is something you love to do anyways. The first few set of photos I edited took me until the wee hours of the morning to finish but I enjoyed learning about many of the Photoshop tools. Lastly, I have another but oh so true cliche’: “Enjoy the Journey”