How my day job helps my startup

Working while you're starting up can actually have a lot of benefits for your startup - from improved cashflow, to teaching you how to manage your time better, to helping hone your awesome skills in areas that might not even seem related (who knew that random Excel course you did four years ago would come into its own?) And if your startup is in the same industry as your job, then all the better - you're constantly in that world, making connections and learning relevant things for your own venture.

Owen Porter is the founder of Owen Porter Photography, working with brands and artists to help bring their vision to life. Owen used to work in advertising and draws upon this experience when it comes to shooting and editing - and he also works part-time as a photography and studio assistant, where he can learn more about the industry as he goes. We spoke to him about how working in this industry has huge benefits for his own venture.

How do your day jobs and your startup connect?

They are both directly connected. I left advertising a couple of years ago to go freelance, as I wanted to be a photographer - so starting out as a photography and studio assistant was a logical step for me.

What key skills relevant to your startup has working taught you?

Too many to list! I would say operating from a ground level and seeing how a business is run at its roots has been invaluable in terms of knowing what I need to do to get my own business off the ground. Second to that is client relations. Seeing how photographers create working relationships with clients and then retaining their business has been really helpful.

Have any valuable connections for your startup come from your day jobs?

Definitely - being in and around the industry has given me access to so many talented individuals. If I haven’t got work from them directly, I have been recommended by them. I also ask the same people for constructive criticism and opinions on my own work.

Do you plan on going full time on your own business one day?

Yes. I do the studio work to have a steady income and the assistant work to further my skills and knowledge. One day soon I will have enough experience and clients to focus solely on my photography.

Do you feel you could have started your business without the skills and experience from your day job?

No. Any job, related or not, will give you some sort of experience - it also gets you used to long hours and having a routine, and keeps you motivated.

Is it difficult to juggle jobs and startup, or because they’re so closely connected has it been pretty painless?

Somewhere in between. It's difficult in the sense that sometimes dates for jobs can overlap, and juggling my own clients with working for studios and photographers can be stressful. I have a diary and calendar that I update daily, and I try to be as organised as possible.

Image credit: Owen Porter Photography

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