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GOING FULL TIME : 4 Questions & Answers After 1 Year of Business


The past few months have seen a lot of travel, a lot of personal growth, and a lot of forward-thinking business ideas. Friends, I cannot wait to share more with you of what’s coming next for Pattengale Photography!!! There are local artisans coming on board, relationship focused services, and a BRAND relaunch….but I’m getting ahead of myself. Eep!

As many of you know by now, this weekend is the one year mark for my business. One year since I had a website to direct people to. One year of not having another means of income. One year of calling myself an entrepreneur, creativepreneur, or solopreneur.  There have been four main questions that I’ve heard other creatives ask – heck, questions I even ask myself on a weekly basis sometimes: How did you know you were ready? Has it been worth it? Is it financially doable? and Weren’t you scared? And while my answers aren’t revolutionary or particularly deep, I thought I would take a few moments to address them. If for nothing else, for my own sake when the going gets tough.

How did you know you were ready?

I’ll be totally frank – I had no idea if I was ready. I just knew that I couldn’t keep sustaining a life of 9-5 at a job that zapped my quality of life and health. I was in a very stressful work environment and as a result was consistently losing weight (not a good thing) and, at 21 years old, found several gray hairs. And more than any set of accomplishments or degrees that granted me a quote on quote “rite of passage,” I knew I had a will to try. I didn’t know so many things but I knew that I could learn. God gave me a mind and man created the internet. I had, and still have, no excuse. Really, I just wanted to know if I could do it. If I fell flat on my face, went through all of my savings, and never gained new clients, then at least I had tried. I still don’t feel like I’ve “made it,” or that I am “ready.” But my fear of failure has been trumped by my hope for success.

Has it been worth it?

Some people say I’ll do something for the sake of a good story. And perhaps that’s true (minus sky diving…). But all I can say is that starting my own business has been one of the most defining experiences of my life. Success is not about the number of weddings I book (though it is a goal worth striving for) but rather, success is about staying true to who I am and the gifts and talents I’ve been given. There have been long nights and short days. There have been tears and disappointments galore. But the peace that supersedes it all is evident in my daily life and, yes, worth it.

Is it financially doable?

There are many helpful books and posts on how to wisely quit your day job and go full time with another job – see Jon Acuff’s Quitter . And while I’ll always continue to read and learn from others, I also know that I’m just a full-fledged frugal person. I’m okay denying myself a new cardigan or a latte. Drip coffee is great and waiting for a sale is good too. Did I map out how long I could go without $1 of income? Yes. Did I have a base I started out with? Yes. Did I grapple with the idea of babysitting, house cleaning, or using my sewing skills in mending for extra income if need be? Yes and I have. I had to come to grips with my cost of living and decide to sacrifice things I like (for a time) accordingly. I dared to prioritize. More importantly, I dared to dream.

  • Temptation: Buy this and that = instantly rise to the top of the industry.
  • Truth: Live within your means, set goals, use what you have, and grow everyday.

Weren’t you scared?

If you were with me right now, you’d probably see the sudden determination to not spew the coffee out of my mouth and laugh with you. OF COURSE I WAS SCARED. I was scared silly. I’ve had nightmares, moments of paralyzing comparison, and real “I don’t think I can do this..” conversations. The game changer? Community and people who believe in me (beside my parents…love you, mom) and faith that everything will be okay. There is risk but there’s also the chance of reward. There is fear but there’s also abundant peace – it’s just a matter of perspective. At the end of my life, I don’t want to look back and see how I let fear, and fear of what other people think of me, deter me from chasing something big.

(Thanks to Jessi for the above photo)

Again, I don’t feel like these are world-changing thoughts. And if you made it through this entire post, bravo and thank you. I hope it gave you some insights into lessons learned and, if you are considering going full-time into whatever field of work, feel encouraged. Please let me know your current dreams – I’d love to be your personal cheerleader! Happy Friday friends!

OH AND ONE MORE THING: Tonight at MIDNIGHT, the website gets a face lift with fresh galleries, new details on photography services , and helpful links to celebrate 1 year!!!! Keep your eyes peeled. 🙂


–Tara M.



  • I’m so very happy for you and proud to see you pursuing your dreams. Love you!

  • You are a brave, inspiring, God-loving woman. You are not only a wonderful daughter but my friend. I’m so thankful for all the lessons you have learned, and the ones you have taught me. Keep pursuing. Keep dreaming. Keep loving others and endeavoring to let that love of life show through in all that you do.

    • Aw, Momma!!!! Thank you for your kind words and always being a phone call away. Love youuuu!

    • Thanks so much, Lo! I’m glad you could relate – makes me feel not so crazy. 😉


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I’m Tara


As a young girl, I kept a journal and then when Stephen and I got married, we wrote our vows into a journal we shared as a couple. On this lil’ corner of the internet, I want to invite you into our virtual journal’s stories and musings.  I hope you’ll find encouragement and inspiration along the way. You can expect a mixture of our recent photography work & adventures, lifestyle tips, current obsessions, and personal stories of us behind the scenes too! I’m so glad you’re here!

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