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Hello folks. I'm 45 and live in LA. I currently have a photography business but unfortunately I'm hardly making money in it to sustain a decent living.

Heck, even my girlfriend dumped me just last week due to the fact that she thinks I'm a bum and not hustling enough, but I'm honestly doing my best but it's just not good enough. I suppose

I lost a lot of motivation and sorta stopped trying. I've paid for ads, gone B2B, created a website, facebook business page, yelp, youtube channel, but it's still not working.

I do have a couple repeat client, but pretty much I'm just getting like 1 or 2 clients a month. This is pitiful. I've lost all motivation to go on to be honest. I've been completely demoralized.

I always find myself so envious of successful people because I look at them and think "How the hell did they do it?"I guess this is why I'm struggling because I'm too negative or awful at being a business owner.

So I've been strongly considering just dropping this dream to have my own business and go into something else, perhaps working for someone, or to go get a certificate of some sort.

I dunno. Fyi, my work history is absolutely godawful. With my current work experience I don't think any decent company in their right mind would want to hire me.

I've always been sorta on my own, at least in the last 7 to 8 years. So ya, I'm just really, really desperate now and overwhelmed with grief. This is so awful, my god.

Any-hoot, any bit of advice would help or if you know any companies in Los Angeles willing to hire, please let me know. I know this is a long shot but worth asking.

 

Thank you and God bless.

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I decided to relocate to another state and leave an excellent job to do so when I was 44. I moved there with no job and only about $1000.00 in the bank. I found a decent job, then another one and then another one, then when I was 48 I moved back! Again, left a good job and was unemployed and pretty much broke and in a TON of debt with a credit score in the low 500's. It took me 3 months to find a minimum wage part time job, then I ended up getting hired on to the company I'm with currently. I literally started at the very bottom (again, I was 48 years old) as basically a laborer. All my years of administrative experience didn't do me a darn bit of good. I worked as hard as I could and did my best to convince management that while I wasn't the most physically efficient laborer I DID have leadership skills. Today I am a manager making $30,000.00 a year more than I was when I started.

 

I had to swallow my pride and forget about all my years of experience to just take what I could get. And it turned out to be a great move for me.

 

I'm currently on leave from my job due to some mental health issues (not caused by the company or my position in it) but I feel fortunate that I was able to start over at a pretty advanced age and make something of it.

 

I presume you are healthy and you are not old by any means. If you can envision yourself starting over but view it as an opportunity instead of as a failure, you never know what's in front of you.

 

Is there any way you can get a job as a photographer's assistant or as a staff photographer somewhere? At least get your foot in the door of a company so you can continue to pursue your dream?

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Maybe you could do photography part time or one the side while working somewhere else? It might not be ideal but if you really want to make your own business your primary source of income you must do just that. find a way to make money.

 

Do you take portraits, do events, landscapes? With covid it's hard to drum up business I'm sure. Anyone owning a business that is hoping to stay profitable during the pandemic, needs to find a new strategy. Even if it's not what you want. You gotta adapt.

 

What are some of things you've been thinking of?

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I'm sorry to hear this. You just have to get out of it. No strategy needed. Find a job that pays the bills and any outstanding debts, have the debts consolidated if you can.

 

Photography may have to take a backseat indefinitely or be paused for awhile. Know when it's time to pull back and cut your losses, at least for the time being. I think you know what you need to do.

 

I'm curious about the grief you were mentioning. Is that grief from the relationship or from things not going so well with your business? What's paused now doesn't mean it has to be paused forever. Hold onto that grief idea if possible because you may be lamenting something that is not dead or gone or mixing it up with the break up of your relationship.

 

Photography won't ever be gone. If you have the talent it's always with you and you'll be able to pick it up again. Try prioritizing what needs to be done first, get it out of the way and when you have the time and resources again, go back to what you love to do. The business can carry on part time also. Be flexible and you'll get through this. Good luck.

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I'm sorry to hear this. You just have to get out of it. No strategy needed. Find a job that pays the bills and any outstanding debts, have the debts consolidated if you can.

 

Photography may have to take a backseat indefinitely or be paused for awhile. Know when it's time to pull back and cut your losses, at least for the time being. I think you know what you need to do.

 

I'm curious about the grief you were mentioning. Is that grief from the relationship or from things not going so well with your business? What's paused now doesn't mean it has to be paused forever. Hold onto that grief idea if possible because you may be lamenting something that is not dead or gone or mixing it up with the break up of your relationship.

 

Photography won't ever be gone. If you have the talent it's always with you and you'll be able to pick it up again. Try prioritizing what needs to be done first, get it out of the way and when you have the time and resources again, go back to what you love to do. The business can carry on part time also. Be flexible and you'll get through this. Good luck.

 

Well, the breakup was a wake up call, to be honest. I was planning on riding this wave out until the beginning of next year with the hopes that I can somehow get more clients between that time.

But now with this whole Covid-19 resurgence that really dampened my plans. I got super busy couple weeks ago out of nowhere, but of course back then the lock-down wasn't in place.

My ex was an ex from 4 years ago and we were having issues but her seeing me not working for a couple weeks must've scared her because she was under the impression I was full time,

so ya, she caught on to it and broke up with me a few days ago. I'm just super, duper bummed. I really loved her, even though we were having issues.

I knew in the back of my head she was going to do this eventually because she always emphasized the importance of her companions have a career.

So I knew my days were numbered with her. Her breaking up with me really made me panic because I dream of falling in love, getting married,

buying a condo and just live the rest of my life in peace. This is all I want, nothing more. Please pray for me guys and I'll make sure to pray

for anyone out there who needs it because we really need to help each other out in these awful times.

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I decided to relocate to another state and leave an excellent job to do so when I was 44. I moved there with no job and only about $1000.00 in the bank. I found a decent job, then another one and then another one, then when I was 48 I moved back! Again, left a good job and was unemployed and pretty much broke and in a TON of debt with a credit score in the low 500's. It took me 3 months to find a minimum wage part time job, then I ended up getting hired on to the company I'm with currently. I literally started at the very bottom (again, I was 48 years old) as basically a laborer. All my years of administrative experience didn't do me a darn bit of good. I worked as hard as I could and did my best to convince management that while I wasn't the most physically efficient laborer I DID have leadership skills. Today I am a manager making $30,000.00 a year more than I was when I started.

 

I had to swallow my pride and forget about all my years of experience to just take what I could get. And it turned out to be a great move for me.

 

I'm currently on leave from my job due to some mental health issues (not caused by the company or my position in it) but I feel fortunate that I was able to start over at a pretty advanced age and make something of it.

 

I presume you are healthy and you are not old by any means. If you can envision yourself starting over but view it as an opportunity instead of as a failure, you never know what's in front of you.

 

Is there any way you can get a job as a photographer's assistant or as a staff photographer somewhere? At least get your foot in the door of a company so you can continue to pursue your dream?

 

That's really awesome that you turned things around for you. Congratulations. Gives me hope!

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I'm sorry to hear this. You just have to get out of it. No strategy needed. Find a job that pays the bills and any outstanding debts, have the debts consolidated if you can.

 

Photography may have to take a backseat indefinitely or be paused for awhile. Know when it's time to pull back and cut your losses, at least for the time being. I think you know what you need to do.

 

I'm curious about the grief you were mentioning. Is that grief from the relationship or from things not going so well with your business? What's paused now doesn't mean it has to be paused forever. Hold onto that grief idea if possible because you may be lamenting something that is not dead or gone or mixing it up with the break up of your relationship.

 

Photography won't ever be gone. If you have the talent it's always with you and you'll be able to pick it up again. Try prioritizing what needs to be done first, get it out of the way and when you have the time and resources again, go back to what you love to do. The business can carry on part time also. Be flexible and you'll get through this. Good luck.

 

I agree with what you said, which is why I'm searching for something new for the time being. Please pray for me and I'll pray for anything you've been in need of.

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Almost all public agencies I know (I work for one) has a Media Affairs department, or an External Affairs Department, in the private sector there is Marketing Graphics Department, where your skill is absolutey required! Try to sign up with a head hunter to explore opportunities while not completely abandoning your passion. Hunt for anything that will showcase your talent, specially in the online spectrum where WE all turn to these days. I am absolutely certain you will find one. On the interim, just get whatever is available to get you updated with your bills and stuff.

 

This may be hurtful but my Mom once told me, when there is no $, love flies out of the window. Having had an ex who simply did not want to keep a job and raising small kids, it happened..in my case. Love flew out and running. Financial independence empowers you. Try to be there, not only to be treated better by others, but also for you to feel good about you.

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I agree with what you said, which is why I'm searching for something new for the time being. Please pray for me and I'll pray for anything you've been in need of.

 

Yes, I will. Keep the faith, Justin. Wishing you good luck with the search. If you have questions also on companies and the interview process, I'm sure the forum can chip in on some ideas and insight.

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You're on my brother's poverty-stricken path, just 20 years behind him. He tried and tried for his entire life to wring out a buck as a photographer.

 

it never really panned out for him. His best gigs were school pictures and a wedding chapel.

 

All fizzled despite he being a really talented photographer.

 

I would recommend getting a profession that pays decent wages and make your interest in photography to be an avocation or hobby.

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You're on my brother's poverty-stricken path, just 20 years behind him. He tried and tried for his entire life to wring out a buck as a photographer.

 

it never really panned out for him. His best gigs were school pictures and a wedding chapel.

 

All fizzled despite he being a really talented photographer.

 

I would recommend getting a profession that pays decent wages and make your interest in photography to be an avocation or hobby.

 

Unfortunately I've learned the hard way. I've already decided to give up on it or perhaps take whatever I can get until I find something else, which I have absolutely no idea what that "something else" is. This is so depressing:(

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The guys that I know that make a decent living tend to be very aggressive about applying to contract jobs, gigs, and even full time jobs. Who needs a photographer? Product companies, warehouses where products are, etc. You might just be the guy who takes good quality photos or they might want the full package - touch ups, white background, internet ready final product. In terms of paying bills, they make pretty good money doing that during the week and events and weddings on weekends.

 

Add additional skills like graphic design, video editing and you'll find yourself in demand. Keep in mind that it's a field where it's not so much about certificates or degrees as it is about skills and a good quality portfolio. Those looking to hire will literally put 90% weight on your portfolio and only 10% on your resume and only to the extent of can you use x, y, or z software to edit/create/etc. A lot of the jobs will take 3-4 best candidates they liked and ask them to do a mini project/presentation to prove their skills, speed, capacity to deliver what's needed, ability to meet deadlines, etc.

 

Also, chin up because most people in this field tend to do both - paid employee jobs as well as running their own deal. Again, those looking to hire are more interested in your portfolio, presentation, skills than a traditional resume/job history.

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The guys that I know that make a decent living tend to be very aggressive about applying to contract jobs, gigs, and even full time jobs. Who needs a photographer? Product companies, warehouses where products are, etc. You might just be the guy who takes good quality photos or they might want the full package - touch ups, white background, internet ready final product. In terms of paying bills, they make pretty good money doing that during the week and events and weddings on weekends.

 

Add additional skills like graphic design, video editing and you'll find yourself in demand. Keep in mind that it's a field where it's not so much about certificates or degrees as it is about skills and a good quality portfolio. Those looking to hire will literally put 90% weight on your portfolio and only 10% on your resume and only to the extent of can you use x, y, or z software to edit/create/etc. A lot of the jobs will take 3-4 best candidates they liked and ask them to do a mini project/presentation to prove their skills, speed, capacity to deliver what's needed, ability to meet deadlines, etc.

 

Also, chin up because most people in this field tend to do both - paid employee jobs as well as running their own deal. Again, those looking to hire are more interested in your portfolio, presentation, skills than a traditional resume/job history.

 

Hello. I appreciate your positive feedback. Honestly. I actually do have a pretty good portfolio through my website and just started applying to companies searching for photographers.

I'm a Real Estate photographer so what I do is very specific so jobs are much fewer in-between. I have the qualifications but I still get scared that I'm not good enough and get passed up on because

of someone who's probably more experienced or that I may say something stupid during the interview. I just wanna land somewhere, prove my worth and build a foundation. I know once I get in

I can build their trust and make something happen. It's just a matter of getting in. That's the hardest part for me thus far. I just applied for a company specific to what I do. I was a perfect match,

but again, nothing is set in stone and I don't get my hopes up. So, who knows, we'll see I guess. Again, thank you for your positive input.

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Hello. I appreciate your positive feedback. Honestly. I actually do have a pretty good portfolio through my website and just started applying to companies searching for photographers.

I'm a Real Estate photographer so what I do is very specific so jobs are much fewer in-between. I have the qualifications but I still get scared that I'm not good enough and get passed up on because

of someone who's probably more experienced or that I may say something stupid during the interview. I just wanna land somewhere, prove my worth and build a foundation. I know once I get in

I can build their trust and make something happen. It's just a matter of getting in. That's the hardest part for me thus far. I just applied for a company specific to what I do. I was a perfect match,

but again, nothing is set in stone and I don't get my hopes up. So, who knows, we'll see I guess. Again, thank you for your positive input.

 

Apply and keep on applying. Also check out gig sites like upwork and bid on projects. The more you do the better. Don't get too attached on the idea that you are the perfect candidate because when it comes to creative work, it's more about what the potential employers is looking for and that can be hard to target. You might look at their stuff and think you are the right candidate and they might be looking to move to something different style wise. So if you don't get that job, don't let that get you down or knock your confidence. There is literally no accounting for people's tastes and ideas.

 

In between applying, work on expanding your skills or adding different areas of photography to your portfolio. You are in a field where you can never stop learning and that's kind of the cool part of that.

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I've signed up with two.

 

Keep going. Make appointments with one agency per morning, at least 3 per week, starting in a radius closest to you and working outward. (Not every agency supports the same clients.)

 

Make your applications actual or virtual ~meetings~ rather than online applications. Otherwise, you're just in the e-black-hole and not exactly on anyone's 'active' roster for shoots. Reward yourself after each meeting with a good meal or some play time.

 

If you have styling, masking or retouch skills, elevate those in your resume and offer those to these agencies as availability to work on photos from someone else's shoot.

 

There are only so many shoots available, so do whatever you can to make sure that you're involved of one of those. If it means stylizing, do that. If it means working backfill, do that.

 

You have a skill! One which you've worked long and hard to attain. So do the work of promoting it so that you can use it. Otherwise, apply at temp agencies to do other kinds of work to keep food on your plate and your rent paid. Same deal: skip e-applications in favor of actual interviews--virtual or in person.

 

As for the ex who ditched you, you get to decide whether it's her loss and you'll be better off without her, OR, whether she observed a defeatist attitude that you can wake up to and change. It may not get her back, but then, she's taught you about the importance of not giving up.

 

Head high, and exploit any skill that most people do NOT have.

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Keep going. Make appointments with one agency per morning, at least 3 per week, starting in a radius closest to you and working outward. (Not every agency supports the same clients.)

 

Make your applications actual or virtual ~meetings~ rather than online applications. Otherwise, you're just in the e-black-hole and not exactly on anyone's 'active' roster for shoots. Reward yourself after each meeting with a good meal or some play time.

 

If you have styling, masking or retouch skills, elevate those in your resume and offer those to these agencies as availability to work on photos from someone else's shoot.

 

There are only so many shoots available, so do whatever you can to make sure that you're involved of one of those. If it means stylizing, do that. If it means working backfill, do that.

 

You have a skill! One which you've worked long and hard to attain. So do the work of promoting it so that you can use it. Otherwise, apply at temp agencies to do other kinds of work to keep food on your plate and your rent paid. Same deal: skip e-applications in favor of actual interviews--virtual or in person.

 

As for the ex who ditched you, you get to decide whether it's her loss and you'll be better off without her, OR, whether she observed a defeatist attitude that you can wake up to and change. It may not get her back, but then, she's taught you about the importance of not giving up.

 

Head high, and exploit any skill that most people do NOT have.

 

I appreciate your constructive response. It was very kind of you. I went a step further and hired a professional resume builder to build my resume and cover letter.

I've applied to a couple of places but realized I wasn't getting call-backs. I think it was due to my resume not being up to snuff.

I had a resume reviewer check it out and let me know my resume need work. Once I receive my new resume and cover letter

I'm going to go all out and start applying like crazy.

 

As far as my ex was concern, she did end up contacting me and apologized for her poor choice of words. She professed her feelings for me but unfortunately she's

the type that'll apologize and the very next day she'll be back to her comfortable combative self and start to play these mind games with me. Last night I had a major

blowout with her. She disrespected me once again saying how if the guy she was dating before me, a few months back, hadn't been married that she would've 100% been

with him today. Then she proceeded to list off all the positive traits he possessed and what a "hard worker" he was as-if to tell me in the most passive-aggressive way that I lack

those traits. Any hoot, I just about had enough and went off on her and called her a B for the first time and proceeded to block her on my phone and social media.

 

So ya, today I made some positive stride. I think I picked up a couple of jobs so we'll see how those go. Fingers crossed.

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Been following this thread, wondering how much all this is connected to work vs the recent breakup. Your update is, to my eyes, somewhat clarifying.

 

All relationships have their own unique dynamics, I know, and even good ones can get nasty when they unravel. Still, I'm just not sure how much of your identity—past, present, and future—you want to stake on the opinions of someone who is holding onto an affair partner as some kind of ideal of a man. I'd maybe try to put all that in one corridor of reflection, away from work, so the two don't feed off each other in negative ways, pulling and pushing you in weird directions to the point where you're all knotted up. Sounds like there's been a fair amount of that already.

 

As for work? It's kind of up to you, in the end, to decide if you're doing well, doing enough, all that. Creative industries are inherently up and down, unsteady, a different version of stability. Am just a bit younger than you—and a resident of the same city, as of semi-recently—and have kind of seen it all in my fragile profession. Have had stretches where I've done quite well, others where I haven't, and have learned to take it all in stride because, in the end, I get to do and pursue and wild craft that fills me up in profound ways. Whatever anyone else thinks of that? Honesty, I couldn't care less.

 

For whatever it's worth? About ten years ago, when I was 30, I started Airbnb'ing my apartment and crashing on friends' couches for a few days when money was tight. Was a small revelation, that passive income stream, even if the initial means of getting it were a touch, to put it generously, bohemian. A bit later, when I was in a relationship, we spent a year living together between two apartments, each of us renting the other out for profit while we were away, in order to generate a bit more scratch than our "cool" jobs did. Then I bought an apartment with some of that scratch. Then I moved to a smaller city for a bit, bought a multi-unit building and fixed it up so it could spit out a bit more. Was a hustle, all that, running parallel to the creative one, but the idea was that it would create a secondary, more stable income stream that allowed me to keep going with my creative whims, which sometimes rake in a little money, sometimes a lot, often none for long periods.

 

Weird time to consider something like that, for obvious doomsday reasons, but maybe something to put in your back pocket or let simmer to trigger some kind of inspiration that resonates with you and your circumstances.

 

Back to the earlier points? Do give yourself time to just process and go through this breakup, without thinking you need to react to whatever feelings that kicks up in the immediate. Sounds awfully fraught and, who knows, perhaps in a few weeks or months you'll be less interested in morphing yourself into someone who can knock a married cheater off a pedestal and more interested in just being you and finding someone who digs that and believes in it.

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Been following this thread, wondering how much all this is connected to work vs the recent breakup. Your update is, to my eyes, somewhat clarifying.

 

All relationships have their own unique dynamics, I know, and even good ones can get nasty when they unravel. Still, I'm just not sure how much of your identity—past, present, and future—you want to stake on the opinions of someone who is holding onto an affair partner as some kind of ideal of a man. I'd maybe try to put all that in one corridor of reflection, away from work, so the two don't feed off each other in negative ways, pulling and pushing you in weird directions to the point where you're all knotted up. Sounds like there's been a fair amount of that already.

 

As for work? It's kind of up to you, in the end, to decide if you're doing well, doing enough, all that. Creative industries are inherently up and down, unsteady, a different version of stability. Am just a bit younger than you—and a resident of the same city, as of semi-recently—and have kind of seen it all in my fragile profession. Have had stretches where I've done quite well, others where I haven't, and have learned to take it all in stride because, in the end, I get to do and pursue and wild craft that fills me up in profound ways. Whatever anyone else thinks of that? Honesty, I couldn't care less.

 

For whatever it's worth? About ten years ago, when I was 30, I started Airbnb'ing my apartment and crashing on friends' couches for a few days when money was tight. Was a small revelation, that passive income stream, even if the initial means of getting it were a touch, to put it generously, bohemian. A bit later, when I was in a relationship, we spent a year living together between two apartments, each of us renting the other out for profit while we were away, in order to generate a bit more scratch than our "cool" jobs did. Then I bought an apartment with some of that scratch. Then I moved to a smaller city for a bit, bought a multi-unit building and fixed it up so it could spit out a bit more. Was a hustle, all that, running parallel to the creative one, but the idea was that it would create a secondary, more stable income stream that allowed me to keep going with my creative whims, which sometimes rake in a little money, sometimes a lot, often none for long periods.

 

Weird time to consider something like that, for obvious doomsday reasons, but maybe something to put in your back pocket or let simmer to trigger some kind of inspiration that resonates with you and your circumstances.

 

Back to the earlier points? Do give yourself time to just process and go through this breakup, without thinking you need to react to whatever feelings that kicks up in the immediate. Sounds awfully fraught and, who knows, perhaps in a few weeks or months you'll be less interested in morphing yourself into someone who can knock a married cheater off a pedestal and more interested in just being you and finding someone who digs that and believes in it.

 

I appreciate your detailed response. It's truly helpful. Me and my ex is a whole, drawn out story not worth going over man so I'll spare you the drama.

But I can tell you even though my relationship has been mostly negative, as of late, I've been learning a lot more about myself, so I can't take only bad from it.

I'm taking my job hunt day by day. I pray to God that I can start working full time soon, despite this horrible lock-down. If not

then I'm going to have to make a complete career change. I dunno, to be honest. At this moment all I want now out of life,

next to me and my family's health, is to just work full time. I just want to feel a sense of contribution to society and not always have to worry about

my future and mooching off of the Government. So I dunno bluecastle, like I said, day by day.

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What does it mean to you to contribute to society? My strong suggestion is to get very specific about this. It is a goal of mine too and over the decades i've had very specific ways of implementing that goal.

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