Alistair Jones

Another Christmas over and done with, another year dawning and with it another bout of pinching myself!

You see, whilst on the walk to school this morning I was telling Nicola, my wife, all about my day yesterday when it suddenly struck me how different the start of a new year is for me these days compared to a few years ago.

To put it into context, up until nearly 4 years ago I was a full time finance guy (code for Accountant!), slaving my way through corporate life. Therefore the start of January meant having to wade my way through year end accounts, deal with Auditors, complete staff performance reviews, budgets and forecasts. In fact the dread of it all would start to occupy my thoughts as soon as I’d consumed my last mouthful of Christmas pud. A walk to school with my family was certainly beyond my wildest dreams.

Contrast this with what I did yesterday: putting the finishing touches to my travel arrangements for a photographic trip to Venice in a couple of weeks, taking a couple of new wedding bookings, editing a recent photo shoot, drooling over some lovely words just received from a recent wedding client & booking my place on a photographic convention taking place in London next week. Oh, and completing my VAT return! So apart from the latter (well, the process itself isn’t so bad – it’s more the thought of paying over lots of hard earned cash that’s the horrible bit!) my day was filled with lots of good stuff. Stuff that leaves me hugely motivated and excited about the year ahead.

So there you have it…4 years and a whole world apart.

I don’t want to protest at (or worse still be accused of!) being ‘lucky’. The decision to wave goodbye to my hard-earned finance career (and monthly pay cheques!) and forge ahead with life as a pro-photographer was more about circumstances and making the most of them. A couple of ‘life’s too short’ moments, a very supportive family and a well timed redundancy were the catalysts.

But there were a couple of other very important factors.

Firstly I grew up with my Dad having been self-employed and more poignantly a craftsman – someone who would regularly get adulation from his clients and no doubt with it a huge sense of pride and self worth. So I knew I wanted to not only be my own boss but also to be some sort of creative.

Secondly, my photographic journey had already started long before I handed my corporate security pass in. For 3 or 4 years I had already been learning my trade, building a website and completing a few wedding and portrait assignments. In fact my first ‘Ideal Imaging’ business card is well over 6 years old! Agonisingly the only time I got to work on my photography was between 5 and 7am in the morning and 8 and 11 at night (seriously!) whilst the bulk of my day was ‘given-up’ to Virgin Media. But I knew I wanted to take up Ideal Imaging full time…one day. The question was when, not if, and I just didn’t want to wake up in 5 years time and say ‘if only’ or ‘what if?’

I love what I do and I have a lot of people to thank. Whereas Januarys used to be one long Monday they are now like a nice long weekend. A time to breath again, to play a little, to tie up loose ends, reflect on the year just gone and put lots of plans in place for the year ahead.

Whilst I wouldn’t wish you the same circumstances I would wish you the same sheer bloody mindedness to go and grab whatever it is you want…and the same support along the way.