We all dream of designing our own business cards, decorating the cutest office, and much much more! Nowadays, it seems like the new version of living that “American dream” is starting your own small business. Making your own decisions, running your own schedule…super easy, right?! Er…maybe not. Here to tell us that the struggle IS real is phenomenal wedding photographer and shop owner, Shelby Steckbauer. Read on for her list of what she wish she had known before taking the big jump!

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“When people talk about being their own boss, I think we cover up a lot of the downsides. Of course, you want to tell everyone it’s amazing and it’s the best job ever (which it is!), but there are also pitfalls that I think we don’t ever mention. Before I became my own full-time boss as a wedding and portrait photographer, and owner of an online shop called ShelbyRae Coffee Shop, I’d NEVER heard of the seven things below that I’m going to share with you today. Becoming a business owner and your own boss is a huge transition and these are a few facts I wish I had known beforehand! So here goes nothing…. my truthful list of taking that leap of faith and joining the entrepreneurial life!

You Work In Your Pajamas & Bed

I have no one telling me when I have to be in the office (aka my bed) and what type of outfits I need to be wearing. I wake up in the morning and stay in my pajamas until I have to have to actually leave the house for a meeting or photo shoot! Currently, it is 1PM and I have my glasses on. I am still in my pajamas, my hair is in a crazy side bun & I am sitting in bed with my Goldendoodle next to me. In other words, IT ROCKS! I originally thought I would work in my studio that is attached to my home but WHY would I when I have a comfy bed screaming my name?!

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Sunday’s Are Your Best Friends

Sundays, Sundays, Sundays….don’t you remember when you were younger and you just were so sad when Sunday rolled around because you knew you had to go back to school the next day? It is now my FAVORITE day of the week. CRAZY… I know. It is the one day of the week I try to not book anything to shoot or edit. Saturdays are my busy wedding days and then it’s the weekend! HORRAY!

Gaining A “Few” Pounds

A lot of stress comes with the weight (no pun intended) of the world on your shoulders and not wanting to fail at your dream job. You see yourself standing at the kitchen counter, reading an email on your phone and munching on a bag of chips (or donuts, in my case). You sit in bed with your pajamas on ALL DAY. Or the only time you get up is to let your dog out or to grab some more food. Go out and take a walk…even just for 15 or 30 minutes. You will thank me later! I promise.

You Become Your Own Best Friend

It gets lonely when you are your own boss and work from home…very lonely. It always sounds like so much fun to work from home, but you miss the social life that you once had in an office setting with other employees. You learn to eat lunch by yourself, laugh at your own jokes & celebrate the highs alone when something awesome happens (or with your dog, in my case).


Saying No To Friends In Order To Tackle Being A Girl Boss

Being your own boss means you can make your own schedule no matter what, right? NOPE! Not always! Once your business gets bigger, you have to wisely pick and choose on when you have your free time. Of course, take time for yourself and to relax. But when you have a massive to-do list and need to get it all done in time, sometimes you have to stay in your office until 2AM while thinking about how much fun your friends were having out at dinner.

You Will Have A Breakdown

At some point you will want to throw in the towel and question everything you are doing with all your “crazy” dreams and the goals you have set out to conquer. You will cry on the phone to your mom in the middle of the night, in the pajamas you’ve been wearing for two days straight. You will want to go work for someone else knowing you have little responsibility and less to lose. But then you will snap out of it and remember you are doing what YOU love and it’s all worth it.

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BUT…. It Will Be The Best Job Ever

The days when I officially woke up excited to take on the day is when I knew this is where God wanted me to be. I fall in love with my job and clients more and more every day. I appreciate the days I have off with my family and friends. I enjoy the little things A LOT more then I ever used to. I don’t think I would have realized it if I were not my own boss. Even though there are LONG 12 hour days, headaches from looking at your computer for too long, feeling like you’re not going to make it in your industry, emails that are a mile long, breakdowns late at night, and missing gatherings with your friends…it truly is the BEST JOB EVER.


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