Lizzy Bell changed from an unrewarding life as an accountant to her dream job as a photographer and was interviewed recently by coach and journalist Suzy Greaves (during a bike ride from Lands End to John O’Groats!).
Lizzy’s story is such a great one for anyone stuck in a rut and wondering what business to start, I wanted to blog about it. Especially following a recent survey that said being a photographer is No. 4 on the top 10 list of dream jobs.
So how did she do it?
Lizzy originally trained as an accountant and got a ‘proper job.’ “I’m not even that good at maths’ she laughs. “Like many people you end up in a career, you earn this money and you get channelled and things don’t maybe feel quite right and you just keep going and going. I got to my mid to late 30s and thought this is not enough.”
Her ‘epiphany’ came after having to go to work on a Saturday. “I was in the office and I did some work. And then I was driving to a friend’s house, it was her little boy’s birthday party and I was in floods of tears and thought I can’t go on. I don’t know if it was about working at the weekend but something just triggered and I knew this is enough, I can’t carry on like this. I’m in this rut and I just need to get out and do something completely different.”
Over the years, Lizzy had heard about a charity called Raleigh that does development work overseas. “I looked it up and just thought, I have to carry on with my career. But I downloaded the application form, completed it and sent it off.
I was scared. When you leave the corporate world you have all these other people saying ‘why would you want to do that?’ But I knew I had to get out. The hardest step was to pick something and to sign up for it. Once you’ve done that things start to happen.”
Lizzy had planned to return and come back to do a PGCE. But on her return she discovered she was unwell. She had already accepted to do some contract work with her old company whilst applying for teacher training.
During this period she underwent treatment and worked for her old company part-time to support herself. Lizzy recovered and mulled things over. Would a potentially stressful teaching job be right for her at this time?
Her other big passion was photography which she practised alot during her trip with Raleigh.
“But I wasn’t sure how I could make money out of it. I thought this could be the ideal solution to set up a business and do it part-time. I got all my friends and their lovely children and started doing family portraits for them…and people just loved what I was doing. That snowballed and I used my accountancy skills and decided it’s now time to make the leap and do it full-time. It’s alot about having a good laugh with the children. It just works. And with word of mouth and a bit of local advertising it’s become something I’m very proud of.”
Advice to anyone stuck in a rut: “I wrote down I wanted to be with a guy like this, want to be working with children. There was alot of detail putting it down on the page and allowing yourself no judgement on your dreams and ideas. It’s incredible what can happen. Join something. If you make that small step weird things happen, you meet likeminded people and things start to move.”
Hear the full interview with Suzy Greaves.
And see Lizzy’s beautiful photographs: Lizzybellphotography.com
Thanks both to Lizzy Bell and Suzy Greaves.