Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with my friend, Elise Hodge, on her podcast Expert Status. I absolutely loved chatting with Elise about my photography career story, from my early beginnings working in the financial industry to where I am today as a business owner. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t a linear journey to get here!
Honestly, our conversation made me so nostalgic and proud of myself. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the everyday hustle and bustle of our lives that we forget to take moments to look back and acknowledge how far we’ve come. If you like, you can listen to the podcast here!
One of the main themes of our conversation is career pivoting. After our conversation, I felt truly inspired to write about how the concept of going with your gut and switching careers (even though it may be terrifying) might just be the best thing that ever happens to you! Of course, I only speak from my own personal experience, so I figured “Hey, maybe my story might inspire others to make that change they’ve always wanted to make”.
So, let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?
It all started when I was working in the financial industry. That’s right, I went to school for accounting and was convinced that a career in finance and numbers was going to be my future. After I finished school, I got a job in the industry and was one of those people that felt as though I was on track for a lifelong career.
The reality? I came home crying most days.
I’ll never forget that feeling of complete unhappiness with where I was at in my career, but my youthful stubbornness to stick with it. Sometimes I wonder if what happened next didn’t happen if I would still be stuck in that position feeling that way.
I started secretly (and I use that term lightly) applying for different admin jobs on my work computer, which my boss discovered. One day, he called me into his office and he fired me on the spot. It was a complete shock to my system, and even though I hated my job — I was devastated. Getting fired is never a good feeling. After firing me, he said I should go become a photographer, to which I replied “You can’t make money as a photographer!”
“Not with that mindset,” he said.
^^^ These words live in my mind to this day. *NOT WITH THAT MINDSET*
Shifting My Mindset + Shifting Gears to Wedding Photography
My former boss’ words hit me like a ton of bricks — he was right, my negative mindset might just be the thing getting in the way of me going for it and fulfilling my dreams. I came across the book, The Secret, and went full speed ahead with manifesting my pursuit of photography.
In the meantime, I found a mundane job that didn’t require a whole lot of creativity so that I could pay the bills while building my business. When I wasn’t working at my job or building my brand as a photographer, I was talking about it! I networked like crazy, talked to everyone in my circle and beyond, and found clients through referrals — anything to build my portfolio, I would do. What started as family photography then turned into my dream role: wedding photographer.
Suddenly, what seemed like in a blink of an eye, I was shooting all the time and was able to leave the mundane job. With a shift of mindset and a lot of determination, I was able to go from getting fired in January to getting my business license in March, to having a full roster of wedding photography clients in my third wedding season.
From Weddings to Interior Design to Branding to Education
After a few years of shooting weddings and (not gonna lie) kind of killing it, I met my boyfriend and ended up relocating to Alberta for love. A new city always feels like an opportunity to reinvent yourself a little bit, and once again, I felt the itch to pivot from wedding photography, which I once considered to be my dream job. When I got to Alberta, I set my sights on a new goal: Interior Design Photographer. So, being the take-matters-into-your-own-hands kind of gal that I am, I reached out to an interior designer on Instagram and asked to shoot with her free of charge.
A few months later, she agreed. After our first shoot got published on Apartment Therapy, she took me out for lunch and asked me to be her photographer for her lifestyle blog. We shot together for six months and I felt complete. I remember saying to her “I need more of this!” And I’ll admit it, I didn’t know exactly what “this” meant, since the idea of branding photography wasn’t really a concept yet.
Long story short, I put a story on Instagram asking if anyone would be interested in branding photography on a quarterly subscription basis (inspired by Netflix), and low and behold, four people reached out right away. Truth be told, I wasn’t ready for that kind of response — I had nothing prepared! That night, I stayed up until 4 in the morning creating contracts and building my systems.
Today, in addition to having a full roster of branding photography clients, I also work as a business and mindset coach. Becoming a coach had been on my heart for a while. This was partially inspired by my clients, who tended to look to me for advice when it came to their business’. So, getting into the education space was the natural next step for me. I found a coach who coached coaches (tongue twister, right?) who helped me move into the coaching space. In 2021, I launched my coaching business with my group program The Evolving Entrepreneur, and here we are! Somedays, when I’m feeling burnt out or down on myself (I’m human, it happens), I remember that girl who was crying at her job in the financial industry while searching for mundane jobs on her work computer. If she could see me now, I know she would be shocked, amazed, and endlessly proud of the person I’ve become; and none of it would have happened without listening to my intuition and gaining the courage to pivot in my career when I felt the need to do so.
Was it easy? Yes and no. Was it terrifying to make such big changes with no certainty of success? Yes! Was it easy to follow lean into doing what I love? Yes! I hope this story helps to inspire you to make a change; if you feel like you are in need of one. If you ever need guidance or advice on making the switch, I’m here to help! Reach out anytime and set up a discovery call, but in the meantime, just know that I believe in you.
Thank you to Elise for having me on your show to talk about career pivoting and inspiring this long-winded trip down memory lane!