To Entrepreneur Or Not to Entrepreneur

I’ve just returned from a destination wedding in Nashville. I truly love shooting in places outside NJ and the adventure that comes with it. Every place has a different vibe, every couple has their own unique story. To me it’s exhilarating! While there I was chatting over breakfast with some other event industry professionals and we were debating the pros and cons of entrepreneurship.

I have been working for myself for 20 years now. Only two of those years I was staffed at a local newspaper as a photographer, and even still, my hours were varied, my locations were always somewhere different so my experiences were never the same to bore me. Even though I wasn’t working for myself, I didn’t have an editor breathing down my neck and was still pretty independent and was able to be creative in my shooting. I loved my time as a photojournalist.

I’ve never worked 9-5 in my life and I don’t really think I could. I always say it would just suck the soul out of me. A cubicle terrifies me.

Time and the decision to be an entrepreneur

One of the women I was chatting with used to have her own business but took a “regular” job for more stability and it enabled her to take on freelance work and be more selective with her clients yet still bring in the income she needed. We were discussing how great it is to work for yourself but when you do that, somehow you never seem to not be working. Even days off are spent answering emails or doing some marketing; always out there selling yourself. A 9-5er goes to work, does their job and comes home and rarely focuses on that job in the off time. They usually have weekends free for family time. And most importantly, a steady paycheck so they can budget.

Our conversation really got me thinking about all of the changes coming in my life and how often I do work and hustle to find clients, maintain the ones I have and find new ways to be different in my business so I can stand out from the competition. I have to admit, it’s exhausting!

For the first time, this notion of a “regular” job seems appealing. I could never work something else full-time, but something part-time, might be refreshing. I would love to rely on steady income to pay the bills, I would certainly love more family time on the weekends now that I’m getting married and will have more children and a husband at home that I’d like to do things with, or go to their sporting events that I often miss because of work. Somehow that thought isn’t leaving a bad taste in my mouth anymore.

So let me play out this scenario. Can I conceivably work a part-time day job a few days a week that offers me income that pays most of my household bills, so that I can have an easier time declining jobs so I can spend more time with my family? Is that even possible to find and what on earth would I even be qualified to do since I have never worked a “regular” job before?

I could never give up photography and I would love the opportunity to actually not feel like I have to take on a job I’d prefer not to just because it would pay the bills. I think somehow, knowing I have definite income that would be reliable would certainly allow me to breathe a little easier and then I wouldn’t be as stressed.

Being a single parent living in North Jersey on one income the past 6 years has been a challenge, but one that I truly loved. When my ex and I separated I was still only working part-time as my daughter was still in preschool and I had to figure out how to double my income ASAP as I was now solely responsible for the household bills. I hired a business coach and in 3 years I almost tripled my income!!! It was a great challenge, success, but it was a TON of work!

I know so many people dream to have their own photography business full-time as I do, but as I get older, and now my family situation is changing, I think the folks who work a “regular” job and do photography “on the side” are really the ones in the best position. They know their bills are paid and they don’t have to underprice themselves for their time and talent. They will typically attract clients that really want to work with them so it’s a better experience and the extra income is wonderful.

To entrepreneur or not….not an easy decision. I think I’m going to strive to be a mixture of both this year. At the end of the day, more family time is what I want so I have to find of mix that allows me to do just that. I’d love to keep one weekend day available for BBQ’s, day trips and relaxation. Now to create a resume…YIKES!

Veronica Yankowski

Veronica L. Yankowski is an award-winning celebrity photographer, author and photography educator. During her extensive career she has had the privilege of working with many celebrity clients such as Dina Manzo from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Signy Coleman from The Young and the Restless, Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC, Jon Bon Jovi, and many others . Her photographs have graced the covers of magazines and last summer her boudoir photography was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Veronica is an accomplished author and her first book "Dialogue 3" was published in 2002 and showcases her photographs of people and places and the tragedy of 911. She is currently a continuing education photography teacher at Brookdale Community College instructing courses from beginner DSLR to more advanced portraiture courses and also hosts workshops around the state to amateur and hobbyist photographers.

She has been interviewed on several radio talk shows, featured on blogs and her work has been on several reality TV shows such as TLC's Four Weddings, Bravo's Cake Boss, HGTV's Dina's Party and The Real Housewives of NJ.

Veronica is currently speaking in the tri-state area on photography and how women can build their confidence in photographs. She instructs women how to pose better, and sell their brand with a perfect head shot.

Since beginning her professional career in 1996 as a photojournalist, Veronica has won many awards for her portraiture work. She worked for some of the top media outlets in the tri-state area such as The Star Ledger, The New York Times and the Associated Press.