Episode 39

Turn Your Passion Into Profit with Nick Onken


Are you looking for advice on how to do what you love and be successful at it? If so, then today’s episode is for you! Today I’m joined by Nick Onken, a world renowned photographer and creative entrepreneur who has worked across continents and with numerous celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson, and Usher, just to name a few. Nick shares with us insights into his career as a photographer and the importance of being persistent when it comes to combining art with business and turning a passion into profit. 

You have to be willing to keep grinding and refining your work in order to build a solid portfolio.

Nick begins our discussion by explaining how his career began in graphic design but changed once he discovered his passion for photography. Realizing that photography was where he wanted to focus his career, he then spent years and thousands of hours practicing and honing his craft, insisting that for anyone looking to build a career in the arts, you have to be willing to keep grinding and refining your work in order to build a solid portfolio.

Nick’s advice is to recognize that success is not a straightforward path but instead requires constant persistence and the willingness to adapt with the shifting market. 

While Nick’s favorite part of his career is the freedom it gives him to be his own boss, he talks about the uncertainties that can come from running your own business, citing his own highs and lows as examples and sharing how one big break might be followed by years of smaller jobs. Nick’s advice is to recognize that success is not a straightforward path but instead requires constant persistence and the willingness to adapt with the shifting market. 

Nick emphasizes the benefits that can come from working with a good team of people with whom you can build a creative camaraderie. 

In addition to discussing his career as a whole, Nick also provides listeners insights into the different aspects of working as a photographer, discussing the more logistical demands of his work such as the accounting, negotiating, networking, and self-marketing it involves. In particular, Nick emphasizes the benefits that can come from working with a good team of people with whom you can build a creative camaraderie. 

Being able to shift your beliefs can help you and your work continually grow and expand.

As we begin wrapping up our conversation, Nick reiterates to listeners how important it is for entrepreneurs to continually work on their personal development and emotional navigation. He explains that because emotions and beliefs are often what dictate a person’s capabilities, being able to shift your beliefs can help you and your work continually grow and expand, noting that such a mindset is especially important amongst the conditions of a global pandemic. 

To get Nick’s full advice for artists and hear more about his exciting work and upcoming projects, be sure to listen in to today’s episode! 

“Persistence is the key, and I think that’s a big piece of the personality that you need to cultivate in order to create a long-lasting profit and business in the arts.” – Nick Onken
OTHER TOP QUOTES FROM THIS EPISODE

“It’s not always going to be like this straight shot once you hit the big leagues. Your business is always going to be up and down.”

“We’re all creators, and I believe that everyone can unleash that.” 

“There’s always a gap between what you envision and what you produce, and the whole process is to close that gap – is to be able to end up producing what you see.”

Find Nick on Instagram: @photographsbynickonken AND @nickonken
Check out Nick’s website at: https://photographsbynickonken.com/

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