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How do I go about combining my different career paths?

I am planning on owning a cafe but I also want to write and have a minor in photography so I was wondering how I could combine them. The tips I got for each individual path was wonderful but I can't seem to fit them together with my goal. It would be nice for some pointers in that department.

Thank you comment icon Hello Raven, having cafe and being professional photographer is a blessing. Probably, we can see you soon as famous business owner with amazing photos. Good luck and have no fears! Lana Svitlana Samko, MBA

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Subject: Career question for you

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Alan’s Answer

What a GREAT question! I have multiple passions myself and if you want to enjoy making a career out of all the things you love, it will take dedicated effort.

First, let's discuss writing and photography. When you say writing, what do you want to focus on? Journalism, writing books, advertising? And what about photography do you want to focus on? Photojournalism, fine art, commercial photography? There are very many avenues. All of these will take formal education, like, in the form of a college degree in journalism. Photography can possibly be done through trade schools and certifications, although there are colleges that award degrees in these careers as well. So, you will want to consider college for at least one of these. Also, this is not a dual major, so you will need to consider paying for two separate degrees/certificates to get the education you need.

Now that you have the education and degree, you will need to get experience. Work in a field where you can write and/or use your photography skills so that you get better. Jobs have resources that you can use to support growth, including being around others in the industry that you can learn from. Education is just the start, so get experience. It takes 1 year to get comfortable doing the work in a new job, about 3 years to really be good at it, and about 5 years of experience to be great at it.

So, at this point, let's say you have achieved some decent experience with writing and photography and you are ready to start looking into opening a cafe. Running a business is nothing like what you have been trained for so far. It takes business skills to operate a successful business, even if you have worked in cafes in the past. Knowing how to manage inventory, payroll, human resources, profit and loss, advertising, and customer retention are just some of the things a business owner needs to know. Also, the startup costs for opening a cafe can be expensive, usually greater the $100K. You need to have cash set aside or be in a good position to get bank financing (good credit and collateral). Then you need to find the right location to purchase an existing building or to construct a new one, but you'll need permits, licenses, and everything the city government requires before you can open the doors. This is an additional expense.

Let's say you have everything you need to open a cafe. Part of being an entrepreneur, which is what you will be if you go into business for yourself, is having a theme and a targeted market (the type of clientele) that you will want to cater to. Your skills as a writer and photographer can be used to decorate the business, advertise, come up with creative and beautifully written menus, etc. Once open and established, you can even host events centered around writing and photography at your cafe. You would have so many options.

In short, all of your education and work experience have led you down the path of opening that cafe, and instead of paying others to decorate, create art, and advertising, you can do it all yourself and with your vision. This could be the makings of a beautifully made business, but don't forget about that business experience. You may need to consider a business degree if your goal is to get a cafe up in running before becoming a skilled writer and photographer.

These are ambitious goals, but people do this every day. It takes dedicated effort which means never giving up on the dream, no matter the pitfalls that come along the way. If you are thinking this is way too much, then focus on one of these careers and become good at it. As long as you are doing something that you enjoy for work, you will be successful.

Best of luck to you!
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Archived’s Answer

One thought is to start a blog or other online venue where you do restaurant reviews. This would combine writing and your interest in owning a café. Perhaps the photography aspect is less dominate with this idea, but you could at least take photos of various dishes that you order. After you do a few reviews, you might want to take some initiative and approach restaurants concerning a review of their menu. It is also possible to post reviews along with pictures on web sites such as Google Maps.
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Dana’s Answer

What's going to make your café stand out?
Use your photography skills to showcase different food, cafes, coffee shops, décor and post them on Pinterest and Instagram. Highlight the things that impress you and you can improve your photography skills as well as gather different themes, décor ideas and food ideas once you're ready to open your own café. Whatever write ups you do to associate with each photo will help you hone your writing skills. Look at posters, flyers, websites for existing cafes. What would you do differently? How could you improve upon what they've already done? Use all of the photos you like for your own café to mock up written and digital marketing content. Don't recreate the wheel. Repurpose styles, themes, color schemes that are already commonly used with your own writing and photos.
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Megan’s Answer

Hi Raven,

I love that you have multiple passions! The way I would go about this is to look first at your financial situation. Do you have the capital now to open the cafe? What does your business plan look like with that and when do you expect to turn a profit.

If you don't have the capital now, I would start with using your photography as a way to start earning money to save for the cafe.

Once the cafe is open, you could use your photography skills to photograph and run social media accounts for the cafe or have different events at the cafe that you can share your writing- which may be a good hobby for you outside of the other 2 streams of income (photography/cafe)

The reality is you may not use all of those dreams at once and they may not all be a part of a "traditional career" but you can use each skill to help the other.

Best of luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Raven
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Raven,

Owning a cafe, writing and photography are great goals and ambitions. With the cafe, the writing can be utilized in the menu - front and rear covers and in the descriptions of items on the menu - specials, appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and desserts. Photography can show what each of the menu items look like to reinforce the descriptions. This can also be done for the wine, beer and cocktail lists.

On the walls, framed pictures can be located around the cafe. The pictures can display areas of where you travelled, favorite wines or foods, people who visited your cafe, etc. On the outside of the cafe or by the host/hostess stand, there can be a picture of your cafe with a story underneath that tells the patrons how your cafe came about in existence.

All of above can be shared via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Search sites like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor can have a synopsis of your cafe with its story background and pictures. The cafe's website can reveal your story, wait staff, bartenders, kitchen chefs, etc.

As one can see, there are limitless opportunities to incorporate all three goals and ambitions to benefit your interests. Your cafe is you and how you share your story with others. Best wishes for your future cafe ... I'll be looking forward to visiting it!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Raven
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear that you have many interest. It might be difficult to have a careers that combining all 3 interests.
Would you consider to be a journalist? This requires the writing and photography skills at the same. You can consider to take journalism as your major in the college.
On the other hand, you can explore whether you have ant friends who would like to run a cafe. You can run a cafe with your friends as partner and on part time basis.
Nowadays, many people so multiple careers at the same time.
Hope this helps!Good Luck!
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