4 astute moves for smooth career changes

Milton Gan

Milton Gan always knew he’d run his own business. While he wasn’t sure about the ‘what’ or the ‘when’, Milton was clear about ‘how’ he’d become his own boss.

In 2012, this thirty something ad man swapped a seventeen-year career in media and marketing for his flourishing full time business as a wedding photographer.

A passionate self-taught photographer, Milton began shooting events in his spare time soon after moving from London to Bondi in 2006.

Stumbling across a wedding blog sealed Milton’s fate. “Blown away” by what he saw, he knew instantly where his future lay. A colleague gave him his first job, referring him to recently engaged friends.  While chance encounters set Milton on his way, patience and careful planning smoothed his career transition.

Milton Gan Photographer
Milton Gan Photographer

4 ways to calm your fears and dreads

Milton offered this advice on reducing the anxiety around changing careers.

1. Run the numbers

Being “all about calculated risk” and keen to keep his Bondi base, Milton ran the numbers. He calculated how many weddings he’d need to book per year to maintain his lifestyle. He gave himself a year to generate this sizable quota.

2. Dive deep into the industry

Milton immersed himself in all things wedding photography. He checked out his competitors, researched survival rates and ‘got a feel for the landscape’.

3. Stage your move

Despite the scary prospect of being shown the door on the day, Milton arranged a meeting with his manager and CEO and proposed a yearlong exit plan. In fact his bosses were as gracious and supportive of his plans as they were keen to keep him on while he made the move.

4. Work long hours

Managing the logistics of transitioning was tricky. Working four days a week at his agency job and almost every other waking hour building his business needed energy and endurance.

Has it worked?

Absolutely! Milton now works twice as many hours a week as he did before and he loves every minute. An accomplished wedding day storyteller, Milton now mentors emerging photographers in the business of changing careers as well as the art and science of capturing beautiful images.

Reflecting his career change experience - Milton wouldn’t change a thing.

Although he occasionally misses the swanky lunches that were part of his former life, he thrives on the freedom and flexibility of running his own show.


Milton’s 3 top tips

Milton Gan

“When you realise what it is you really want to do, go for it! There’s never been a better time to start your own business.”

“Plan your transition and calculate your risks. This lets you look forward to your new life rather than dreading it, which is the last thing you want from a dream career!”

“Do your research during your transition so when you start full time you can hit the ground running.”

To see more of Milton's beautiful photos visit miltongan.com

Keen to calculate your career change risks? I can help.

By Jo Green, Career Change Coach

I know how it feels to be lost in your career. That’s why I coach, to create learnings, action and help others get stuff done! Changing your career can be lonely and confusing so I'll walk alongside you, be your cheerleader and help you figure out what meaningful work is for you.

Drop me a note to organise a free 20 minute consultation to chat about your career change and how coaching could help.