Want to level up your photography?
Get exclusive weekly articles where I teach everything I know about Photographic vision, creativity, technical foundation, process, gear, editing, business, Instagram, everything!
Join my Patreon now and level up your photography today.
It’s 2014 and I’m sitting in my bedroom staring at the empty racks that occupied the walls in my room.
This was my makeshift storeroom, and the empty racks that were once filled with stock and hope were now empty and out of place.
It was the ending phase of my first real taste of business. My first real foray into earnestly attempting to create something from nothing. My second really big (and really expensive) life failure.
I like to think of my first business as my university degree; a tertiary education I was never fortunate enough to have. I never went to university. I never had the grades for it. I threw away my last few years of high school in exchange for years of hard partying, delinquency, and a final graduating score worthy of making my mother cry (I wish that was a joke). This was my first really big life failure, one I experienced after 12 years of schooling.
It’s not that I was stupid - if anything, I was bright enough to know exactly what I wasn’t doing, I just lacked the motivation and the reason to do the right things.
But as an adult peering into hindsight, eyes first into those empty racks in that empty room and that empty business, what she shows is that I’ve always been this way.
I learn on my own and I learn in my own way. I’ve always needed to find my own motivation rather than have someone tell me what it should be.
I chose this path. I chose this motivation. This was my decision to end it. I chose to start this business part time while working full time as a UX designer - a gamble of insane working hours lit by the hope of a decent return.
It’s funny how things don’t really change; I’ve been making this same gamble for the last 3 years with photography.
While my first business took place 5 years ago, my first real career started almost a decade ago.
So yesterday, I was a Product Designer. I solved hard problems for people like you, on the types of digital experiences you interact with every day.
I loved it. I still love it. It’s hard to leave.
But a decade is a long time to love something, and over the last couple of years, I’ve been quietly building my third business. A new passion and a new love - travel and photography.
It’s a funny feeling taking a leap like this. It’s hard not to feel like all my past experiences have really led me to this point - an omnipresent serendipity subsumed into my past years. It kinda feels like a cliché.
Over these years, I’ve learned to define and really hone-in on my strengths, understanding myself and my limits: what I’m good at and what I’m not.
I’ve learned to play at the intersection of these strengths and I’ve seen enough signals of success to direct me on what I assume to be the right path - not that we ever truly know if we’re on the correct one.
So today, I quit my job as a Product Designer to pursue a life of travel and creativity.
A life of discovery, of the world and of myself. A life filled with new people, new places, new cultures. A life devoted to the craft of creativity, the art of travel, but most of all, the feeling of freedom.
I’ll be building a business around what my own idea of personal freedom looks like. No, not a photography service business - I’m not freelancing. I’m not primarily dealing with clients, or brands, or other businesses.
Mostly (although I’m sure there will be some of it), I’m not trading my time for money. That wouldn’t really be freedom in my eyes. I’m taking considerate, deliberate steps to make sure I’m creating the world that I want for myself.
I can share more details of that later if you’re interested in learning about the differences between freelancing and business, but for now, this is a post looking at the future. My third go. The time that’s apparently a charm, I hear.
Before I wrap, although I hate writing clichés, I just wanted to say that this next step I’m about to take in my journey wouldn’t be possible without you.
This is a journey we started together just a few years ago, and it’ll be a journey that continues on with the both of us together until it doesn’t.
Until that time, I can say that from the depths of my heart, I’m so happy and grateful you’re here with me, and I can’t wait for what the future holds.
It’s gonna be one hell of a ride.