How to Run a Business in College For Photographers


My life looks very different from a lot of people I know.  I was eighteen years old when I started this passion turned business, and at nineteen, I married my high school sweetheart.  I was also a full time college student and by the time I graduated last May, I had attended three different universities, transferring twice in order to pursue my dreams.  I also spent a lot of time serving at our church and have small groups I attend and lead.  My business started in 2012,  during my sophomore year!  I’ve been juggling a lot of things while I’ve been a small business owner, and I love that when I asked for questions from people, someone asked about this. (Note: I don’t say all of these things to brag, but rather to give you a real picture of what college life looked like for me… perhaps it’s different from yours, but the demands of schedules might look similar!)

The truth is, I never shared a lot about working while being in college, because I didn’t really want to be there.  I was not your typical college student, if I haven’t made that clear already (hello, married at 19!), and I only lived on campus for one semester of my four years of school.  I had a dream to be a small business owner, and I felt like college was getting in the way of that. At the same time, I knew I wanted to finish what I had started no matter how reluctant I was.

Pursuing your dream while teachers are demanding papers, friends are wishing for your time, and having to work your way towards making money, it’s difficult but I think it can be achievable.  Here are the top 3 things that I did to make sure that I could a) run my business, b) pass college, and c) actually have time to spend with my husband and friends.

1) Say no.

One thing that I definitely learned in college was the art of balancing and setting boundaries on my time.  If I felt like I should be spending time with friends that night instead of staying up late prepping the blog post for the next day, then I said no to work and yes to friends!  If I had a couple who wanted to schedule an engagement session during my classes (that always seemed to inconveniently fall right during golden hour) I just told them that I wasn’t available that day but here were two other days that I was! I think for me, during college I thought that I had to have it all together.  Because I was trying to start this business while I was still in school, it’s almost like I didn’t think I was good enough, and to prove myself I had to say yes to every opportunity.  There are things that I said yes to in business, social life, and college that I wish I hadn’t.  There are also things that I wish I had said yes to, but didn’t.

2) Schedule everything.

In college I purchased Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner and it was a serious game changer! It was the perfect way for me to keep track of all my homework, to-do lists, meals, social events, and more.  I literally wrote out every class period into my planner to make sure that I didn’t miss anything!  This also allowed me to schedule out breaks throughout the day for emails, writing blog posts, etc.!  Scheduling was also super important for me because I tried to schedule all of my classes on as few of days as possible.  This allowed for larger chunks of time for me to get some work done.  I definitely utilized the free WiFi on campus, too in between classes!

3) Create a workflow that works.

When you’re first starting off in business, figuring out how long it takes you to accomplish certain tasks and how you are going get through the process of scheduling a session all the way through blogging and image delivery is something that’s super important! I spent a lot of time making my workflow something that was achievable for me but also something that was efficient.  I cull, edit, and blog sessions very quickly and actually built that time in to the evening after the session itself.  That way I could be working as quickly and efficiently as possible while still creating work that allowed me to be creative too!  One thing that really helped was to make sure that I was working hard to get my images as close as I could straight out of camera! By taking extra steps and caution during the session, I had the opportunity to work faster, not harder!


The bottom line is that when it comes to running a business during college, or for that matter any super busy and demanding time in your life, the key is finding balance.


In order to do that, scheduling things and creating an efficient workflow are tools to help you along the way!  I hope this answered today’s Thursday’s Tutorials question.  If you want more information or have any other questions please feel free to email me or comment below!  Happy Thursday!



December 10, 2015

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Wife, mama, wielder of light & joy, and capturer of moments.  I thrive off of conversation and genuine connection.  In between wrangling our kiddos, and hanging my husband, you'll find me dreaming up my next idea or creative endeavour.  It's these things that culminate to give my imagery a warmth and joy to them - the greatest compliment I could receive.







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