Alright. *cracks knuckles* We are getting into it today, my friends! In case you didn’t know, in addition to being a lifestyle and brand photographer for small businesses, I am also a full-time software engineer. If you’re interested in learning more about how I landed in brand photography, you can read this blog post. But, in today’s blog post, we’re debunking the 3 most common myths about side hustling, and we’re also chatting about why it’s absolutely okay to have a side business and work a 9-5 job.
Ready? Let’s go!
Myth #1 — You can’t run a successful side business while you’re still working a full-time job
Need proof that you can side hustle AND work a full-time job? Hello, it me! I do both. In fact, you can do something in a corporate setting that is so wildly different from your own business, that people do a double take when they find out what it is.
When I first started my business, I was SO scared that my clients and peers might not take me seriously because I’m not a full-time photographer. I’m happy to report that worrying about this was a waste of my time. 😉 Sure, some people might think this way, but I don’t want them as clients, anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In my own experience, I’ve found that doing both makes me better at both. I’ve encountered situations at my corporate job that have helped me in my photography business, and vice versa. I know for a fact that neither my photography business nor my corporate job would be as successful as they are if I didn’t have one or the other.
And by success, I don’t mean just financial. Even though that is a part of it, both bring me a lot of joy! I love my coworkers, clients, and creative community.
Myth #2 — If you have a side hustle, you’re clearly trying to leave your full-time job
I will admit that this is a valid assumption and concern on the corporate side. I used to avoid chatting about my photography business at my corporate job to avoid getting asked questions like:
- “Wait, why do you do this? You charge people money?”
- “Why don’t you just take photos for free? You already have a job.”
- “How do you have enough time to do this?”
Well, first, let me just say I don’t like to do things. I don’t like to go to bars, I don’t like to work out, and I don’t like going to big social gatherings. I just like taking photos and hanging out with my dog, OKAY? In addition, I really like running a business.
Others might enjoy spending time at a bar or doing athletic things like training to run a marathon. However, I like to take photos of my clients. Furthermore, I like all of the little things you have to do when you run a business.
On the flip side, the common entrepreneurial story goes like this: you graduate college, you start a corporate job, you hate your boss, so you pick up a side gig, you take it full-time, and BANG! You’re a full-time entrepreneur!
Personally, I find that this story is glorified a liiiiittle too much. I’ll just say this — it’s absolutely okay to enjoy working your full-time job, even though your entrepreneurial peers might think otherwise.
Being a full-time entrepreneur is TOUGH. If you like your corporate job, why not take advantage of it and have the best of both worlds?
Myth #3 – If you work a full-time job, you shouldn’t be charging high prices in your side business
Oof. I saved the best myth for last. 😏 There are two sides to this coin. On one side, at your corporate job, people might ask: “Isn’t this a hobby? Why are you charging money?”
On the other side, in the entrepreneurial community, people might say: “Why should I pay you these high prices? You have another job.”
No, no, and no. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when they ask questions like this, because they might be genuinely curious. Nevertheless, let’s start with why you shouldn’t let these questions get under your skin.
Your financial situation is nobody else’s business
I can’t believe that I have to say this, but I’m saying it again:
Your financial situation is NOBODY else’s business.
It doesn’t matter that you work a full-time job. It doesn’t matter that you run a side business. Maybe you do need the money, maybe you don’t. You can charge whatever you want. You do you, honey. 🐝
Your work and value justify your prices
I provide high quality work, which means I need to charge rates that account for that high quality. It doesn’t matter what else I do outside of my business. The same goes for you!
If I didn’t charge the rates that I do, a few things would happen as a side effect:
- I would be devaluing the brand photography industry.
- I would be taking a financial loss by absorbing the cost of running my business.
- I would not attract the clients that I want to serve.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation
Now, I have respectful coworkers and clients, so I’ve never had to deal with the situation where someone decides to keep prying. I know that’s not the case for everyone. Finally, in the event that someone decides to push and pry about why you’re charging the rates that you are… Remember that you can just say: “Thanks for your thoughts!” and MOVE ALONG.
*cue The All-American Rejects*
If you’re a side hustler that enjoys their corporate job, tell me what you do in the comments below! I’d love to connect with you over on Instagram, too.
About the writer
Hi there! I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who want to stand out online as local industry leaders.
I, my (dog) daughter, and my fiancé are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here at Emily Kim Photography, I provide creative, strategic marketing imagery that are in line with your business goals.
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