Caroline Maryan writing on creating a second career..
It came as a surprise to me that I could create a second career doing something I really love. My first career was in software development. Taking photographs was something I did has a hobby…on my travels and with my family.
In fact, it took me a while to call myself a professional photographer.
But when my youngest child left for college, I was free to turn the hobby into an income. I took an online photography program and suddenly, the buttons and dials on my camera started making sense. My photos improved dramatically. With my newfound confidence, I started submitting photos to online stock agencies, and they were accepted. I’m not sure which felt better…the acceptance or the income!
In my first year of making money from my photography, I earned over $5,000. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to create an income doing something I loved.
Next, I decided to try my hand at leading a photography workshop of my own and had 25 people sign up. When we held a group exhibition, I sold three photos at an exhibition and made $1,500.
I set up a website and created an online portfolio. Assignments started rolling in. A British television production company found me and assigned me to photograph a bunch of old letters. They had located the 200-year-old letters in my home town in Virginia during their research for a history documentary series and needed a photographer to shoot them.
Sometimes a single image sells over and over again online…appearing in travel agencies material, airline websites, and online news organizations such as US News and World Report and Yahoo News. I’m still earning money from photos I took back in 2010.
I’ve continued to hold workshops and have even developed a training manual.
My overhead has been low. My website and social media accounts bring in students for my classes and inquiries for freelance assignments.
The best part about this second career is that I take on only the work that interests me. I get to say “no” to assignments that don’t suit my timetable and I schedule my classes and assignments around my travels. In fact, I was able to travel for more than four months this year.
Being a photographer is the perfect way to be self-employed, and this is the perfect time to try it as a second job or even a full-time career.
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