Going Full Time Month 23

In November of 2018, I left my full time job to pursue photography full time. Every month since then I’ve blogged what I learned from the previous month. This is month 23.

For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite things has always been to watch someone I know sparkle and shine in whatever area they’re best at. I’m not someone who is incredibly adept in the realm of Government and Politics, so this year I’ve been soaking in every word from my friends who are. I have another friend who can talk for days about Women’s Studies, and every time we tap into the subject, I learn about history, feminism and activism. I’ve always felt especially drawn to these types of friendships; one’s that can help each other grow, learn and feel inspired.

My relationship with this full time journey is a lot like that. Every day it teaches me something new and different, and when I feel like I’ve reached a corner, I turn and find new spaces to explore. In the last 23 months, I’ve gone from branding photography to adding Click Bloom as a sister company, to expanding my catalog, and most recently, exploring illustration. I don’t know how or if it’s going to incorporate into my business or what shape it’s going to take, but I know that I love it, and I know that for a long time I’ve wanted to illustrate a story of my mother’s whose writing is far too beautiful to be left unread. I’m still not sure if illustrating a book for my mom is a door I’m going to open, but it is fun to think about.

This brings on a whole host of problems however, because if you know about growing a business and making money, you know it’s all about focus and living in your niche. It’s about branding and living in those five specific colors and two specific fonts you’ve chosen until everyone on Instagram can recognize it at a glance. It’s about speaking to one specific client, one specific audience, and creating a business that’s irresistible to that demographic.

My struggle for these last two years has been just that. I feel pulled to everything new knowing that following these new paths will not only delay my goals, but perhaps silence them permanently. Following these new paths also makes me incredibly happy and excited to start each new day. So now, just shy of two years of “Going Full Time”, I am wondering, are those my two choices? Stay on one path and find success and prosperity, or skip along different roads to live where I’m most happy? And is there a third option where I can have both?

This thread isn’t a guidebook or a map to show you the right way. It’s just a journal. A place to document thoughts and lessons and dilemmas and see how they change from month to month, and year to year. So that maybe if I fall flat on my face, I can pick back through and see where I went wrong. Or maybe, if I’m lucky, a place to pick through and find where I went right if I find myself shoulder deep in success.

Maybe this month is the month I get to find that third option because (call me greedy, but…) I really want both.

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris