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When to Go FULL TIME with Your Photography Business

the question I get asked most as a full time photographer

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I'm Katelyn James Alsop, a photographer, educator and momma who believes any photographer can have a profitable AND purposeful business.


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when to go full time in your business katelyn james

If I could give you a peek inside my Inbox, you will see that this is one of the most common questions I get asked all the time! : 

“Am I ready to go FULL TIME with my photography business?”

That question might scare you or stop you in your tracks because there is so much to consider and SO much at risk….but there is also SO much reward!! If you are in a season of making this decision, I have a very helpful Youtube video that shares my thoughts on whether it’s time to consider going full time! 


I am breaking down the thoughts, risks and motivations for going full time into 3 categories:

  • Financial

  • Time

  • Mental

Financially, it is time to start breaking down your finances to see how much it costs you to travel up to DC for that engagement session, how much you paid for your camera equipment, how much that meal cost you while on the road, etc. It’s time to be realistic about your side hustle money and not just say, “I love this, can I live off of it?” My biggest piece of advice would be…if you have a full time job and you are making side hustle money from this thing that you love, ask yourself if your side hustle can produce a back up fund of your living expenses for 6 months!


The next category is TIME! This category is fun and stressful! It is fun because you are not clocking in and out of a 9-5 job where it’s sucking the life out of you but you also have to have a lot of self discipline to run a full time business and not let it suck more of your time! The most successful people I have ever coached that are ready to go full time have been in a place where they are about to crack because they are so busy with their side hustle. There is so much opportunity in front of them that they are barely hanging on! That is a great place to be to make the leap to full time!


Our last category is the one I enjoy talking about the most. When I used to sit down and do one on one coaching with people who were ready to make the leap to full time, they would tell me how MISERABLE they were in their 9-5 job. It was costing them something GREAT to continue to live in the misery of getting up everyday going to a soul sucking job that they don’t love. Some people stay in the side hustle phase so long that they get so comfortable and so miserable in their full time job that they never pull the switch to go full time. There is a quote by Soren Kierkegaard that says, “People settle for a level of despair then can tolerate and call it happiness.” I have seen too many creatives sit in the comfort of the side hustle and misery of their 9-5 for too long that they just settle for what they don’t love and it costs them peace, love, joy. So, my encouragement to you is to recognize that sitting in the side hustle and not making the switch to full time IS costing you something!


So, where do you start? I would start with this question…“Why do you want to go full time as a photographer or small business owner? Is it for financial reasons, freedom of time, is it because you are truly miserable doing what you are doing!?” Asking yourself “why” will help you get clear about your priorities and which parts of this you are going to sacrifice to make your dreams happen. So, whether you are ready to go full time or you are thinking of going full time in the future, this video is for you…you can head on over to my Youtube channel to watch the full video!



P.s. – If you are feeling like you need to have more conversation about this and want to talk to other people who are in your similar season of life, we have a place where you can connect with them! KJ All Access is what I like to call the “home base” of my business where you can learn from me, have access to me and see me photograph behind the scenes while also connecting with other photographers in your similar season!


Have you seen some of our most popular youtube episodes?

We release brand new Youtube episodes each week ranging from business topics, personal episodes, gear reviews, technical training and behind the scenes education! If you’ve never explored this part of our photography education, dive in now! It’s free!! Enjoy!

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Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

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