Currently 21 years old and barely started to try to throw my name out there by any means. Spent over 10k on equiptment thus far (student loans). Shot a couple TV actors, one wedding, and a few musicians which has brought me SOME money. Living off student loans at the moment, so any money earned off shooting is like a luxury.
Yes, I go to photo school too. If I mess up really bad, I'm screwed ! But still giving 110%; handing out flyers tomorrow and have some Model Mayhem models lined up to get some decent portfolio work. After portfolio is solid, internship hunting!
In other words.... Ten-ish years to go!
Any pros out there, Advice would be wonderful, but the good kind.. No, "just give up and study accounting", because I'm not the quitting type
My advice is that the moment or soon after your pictures are worth every penny and more that you ask from your future clients you have work. It won't be ten-ish years if your 1. Believe in your self, 2. Have talent, 3. Develope that talent. I started photography about 5 years ago and i have been pro for 2 years now.
I often recieve job applications from photogs and i have not been happy with any of their photos, although they have been to photography schools and i haven't. I am still a "fresh/young" photographer but i am constantly improving.
Last thing: don't quit. (Like you said) Nothing will happen unless you make it happen.