Entrepreneurship – Expectations Vs Reality

As well as being the BSEEN Project Coordinator, you may not know that my husband Phillip and I have been running our own photography business Phillip Parnell Photography since 2014. We specialise in weddings and corporate event photography.

When we first started, I thought that the majority of the time we will be taking pictures of beautiful weddings around the UK. Well, I was wrong… In addition to taking pictures at beautiful weddings, we also had to:

  • create our first website (we are now on version number 3)
  • run our finances
  • promote our business online and offline
  • design and print promotional materials
  • attend networking events
  • create collaborations with other wedding suppliers
  • learn how to write blogs
  • exhibit at wedding fairs and loads more!

I have a university business degree which gave me a flavour of business as a whole but having created and ran my own business in the last five years, I can definitely say that learning about and actually working on your own business are two very, very different things.

I have so far juggled a full time job and ran my business during evenings and weekends. Phillip and I have recently set up a second business called Grace Pods Ltd which is a property management company. We will use this business as a vehicle to help us eventually focus on working what we are deeply passionate about which is charitable work.

However, I do recommend having a job to start with or at least for a while when you first set up your business. I have learned a lot from my full time employment. I learned how to network effectively which helped me gain confidence; I became very efficient in accomplishing the mundane but much needed admin tasks; I learned marketing strategies which I have applied in my own business; I learned how to do my own finances and all this time I’ve had the security of a constant monthly income.

You might think that the downside is that you have to potentially turn down jobs if they are during normal working hours and you also have to work double-hard almost 7 days a week – that’s true. What I choose to focus on however, is that this kind of lifestyle can be extremely motivating too.

One way to avoid overload and still have some time to yourself is finding a partner you can trust and align your work ethic with. All the work would be split, much more easily achievable and you would keep each other accountable. This is what I call having a ‘dream team’!

Final misconception is that once you have your own business and work full time in it, there will be less work as the business grows or at least more of a chance for you to have those amazing holidays to exotic destinations that you have always dreamed of. This is definitely not the case with me for now. The more both of our businesses grow, the more involved we become, the more challenges we want to take on and the less free time we have. We have consciously made this choice because our focus is on the end goal, our eyes are fixed on the Why. My advice is to constantly remind yourself of the Why! Why are you doing this? Our Why is because we want to help people in need with both our time and money. Your Why doesn`t have to be humanistic in order to be as valid and important as ours. Your why will be unique to you because you, your experiences, your background, your beliefs, your personality and of course your business are unique and this is a good enough reason!

I’ll leave you with this: if you are a creative person of any kind and want to know how you can work in the creative industry, the property industry or anywhere for that matter, then be brave and ask questions; find a mentor; invest in your learning; go out of your comfort zone again and again, focus on your Why and simply enjoy the journey!

You can follow Phillip Parnell Photography on Instagram.

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