Ep 34: Nick Onken

34: Nick Onken – How to Transition Into a Creative Entrepreneur

Tune in:

by Nick Onken

“The end goal in mind isn’t going to work unless you’re fueled by passion.”

I was a graphic designer in Seattle. As a career, it was great. I had clients I loved and the work was fulfilling.

Photography slowly grew into something I learned to love. Then I became passionate about it.

This is the story of how I transitioned from a freelance designer into a full time photographer. It’s not all glamor and fashion. Living with a hyper low rent and a dodgy freelance work situation, I put all my intention and energy into my passion. That passion was what gave me the extra gas to get me to a career in photography.

I don’t have all the answers, but this is the story of what it took from me to get from where I was then to where I am now. Take what you will. But more than anything, thank you for listening.

“What is going to drive you is your passion. It’s knowing what you want and wanting it bad enough to do whatever it takes.”


Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • Shout out to Jeremiah Waters who asked the question:

“Many people, including myself, have a dream of quitting their day job and following their passion as a full time career. You are a shining example of someone who was able to take action and turn that dream into a reality. Could you share some insight into your path?”

  • How Nick was able to develop his portfolio while still taking design jobs to keep the money flowing
  • The importance of adding value when connecting with influencers
  • How to develop a portfolio
  • How to break through the noise and stand out above the creative crowds
  • On sacrifice while building a creative, entrepreneurial career
  • Risk and how it plays into rewards when


Links mentioned:

Connect with Nick Instagram | Twitter | Website

Subscribe in Stitcher, Soundcloud, or iTunes.


If you like the podcast and want to share it through Instagram or Facebook, feel free to download the artwork below and upload it into either place. Tag us with #SHOPTALKradio #LiveInspiration and @nickonken.
Leave a review in iTunes to help get us to the top so we can bring you more guests!

You may also be interested in...

Posted by Nick Onken | September 13, 2017
131: Nick Onken – 8 Must Reads for Creative Entrepreneurs
Real artists will take the time to create a business around what their craft. Today I’m sharing with you some of the books that have helped me along my creative and entrepreneurial journey. Some of these books are what got me started down this path of art and commerce, and others are ones I have...
Posted by Nick Onken | August 30, 2017
130: Nick Onken – 5 Tips to Travel the World Like a Pro
It’s great to be able to communicate with people and to be able to get ahold of people as you’re getting through a country and making plans. I travel a lot, probably logging 75,000 - 100,000 miles flown every year. The majority of those miles are international, and I’ve learned a lot from traveling so...
Posted by Nick Onken | August 23, 2017
129: Connor Beaton – How Personal Growth Catalyzes Your Creativity
  If you want to take off, build your runway. Connor Beaton has taken a unique path. After graduating from college not really feeling passionate about his major in technical engineering, he became an opera singer. Normal, right? Connor’s path is unique, as is his message. His organization ManTalks aims to encourage men to develop...

Access the secrets to master your creativity, business and life.