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How One Working Mom Quit Her Job to Turn Her Passion Into a Business

by Mehera Bonner
featured, student stories

Jennifer Togal Holds DaughterHave you ever wanted to take a leap of faith and dive head first into pursuing your passion? Wedding photographer and creativeLIVE student Jennifer Togal did just that when she gave up her job at a national bank in exchange for picking up a camera and doing exactly what she loves — photography. Jen’s decision to wipe the slate clean and jump into photography came about after her family moved to Minnesota. She had two options: go back to a desk job with financial security, or take a risk and turn her passion into a profitable business.

Jen took the risk, and with the help of CreativeLive courses, she launched her business and started earning a lucrative income. We recently had a chance to chat with Jen about her bold decision to begin a new chapter in her career, and how she taught herself the business skills needed with the help of the village she calls “Me, myself, and CreativeLive.”

“I had a chance to do something different in life and go against my grain of ‘normal,'” Jen told us. “I always had this dream way of ‘Oh, one day I’ll quit my real job and I’ll become a photographer.'”

Jennifer Togal and Family

Photo of Jen, her daughter, and husband courtesy Gianna’s Photography.

It’s becoming more and more common for Americans to ditch their 9-5s in favor of creative pursuits, but Jen knew that, in doing so, she would have to ensure she could earn a steady income to support her family. “When I decided I was going to quit my job and I was going to have to support my family based off of this, that was just the key driver,” Jen, who is married to her high school sweetheart and mom to a 2-year-old daughter, said. “It was just like, this is the next chapter of my life and this is the plan for how I’m going to do it.”

Jen quit her job on a Monday and filed her business the following Tuesday. She had insurance, but had no idea how to run a successful wedding photography business — in other words, she was at a dead end. That’s when she discovered creativeLIVE. “I was sucked in. I watched hours and hours on end, scavenged YouTube for things I could do,” Jen explained. “I would watch anything possible oriented towards editing, business, towards how to de-stress on a wedding day, you name it.”

Jennifer Togal at Desk With ChildThanks to her dedication for learning, paired with access to CreativeLive’s deep catalog of photography and business courses, Jen was able to build a profitable business doing what she loves. “I never looked back,” she said, referring to her former profession. “I have had such great clients and [an] amazing time learning the business side of the industry.”

Jen’s story is one that we’re seeing more and more often. She has repeatedly turned to online education as both a catalyst and tool for chasing her dreams — and, in doing so, she now makes a living doing what she loves, has a better overall quality of life, and is able to spend more time with her husband and daughter.

To see Jen’s photography and follow her story, check out her website and follow her on Twitter @JTogalPHOTO.

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Mehera Bonner

Mehera Bonner is a freelance lifestyle and entertainment writer. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and two children.