Vincent Pugliese didn’t plan on going down an entrepreneurial path.  He was a newspaper photographer for five years, and had moved up to where he was winning all sorts of awards and had become one of the top photographers in his field. A few months before his first child was born, Vincent  won Sports Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International contest. They flew him out to Washington D.C. for the award ceremony at National Geographic. It was huge. The next month, he went in for his annual review and received a 3% raise. “They told me that because I did so well, I got a raise. Everyone else, they said, didn’t get one. I knew at that moment that it was over. I knew my dream job couldn’t continue. With a baby on the way, I knew that if I stayed that no matter how hard I worked, I would always struggle”.

That day- during his lunch break- Vincent called his father to see if he could pick up some extra work in his business. Due to logistics, he wasn’t able to help. But he offered some valuable advice.  ““You have a skill,” he said. “But you aren’t using it correctly.” He advised me to start my own business. He walked me through how taking what I know and starting my own business, instead of using it for someone else’s business, would lead to success. So that day, my wife and I started Elizabeth Vincent Photography”.

Like many overnight successes, Vincent and Elizabeth’s was several years in the making.  Their business is largely based on relationships, but in the early years Vincent says he looked at relationships the wrong way.  “For too long, I looked at relationships transactionally. I was a score keeper. I hate to admit it, but I was always looking at what others did for me and based my “giving” on that. I don’t think that it was anything I did on purpose. I just think it was something that I thought was normal. Once I learned differently, everything changed.  I Started to develop deeper friendships, became happier, expected less, and gave more. I never saw giving as something that would make me feel better. I always heard that, but didn’t believe it”.

Less than four years later, Vincent and his wife paid off their mortgage, car payment, credit cards, student loans and were completely debt free when they both quit our jobs to go into a life of self employment and freedom!

Today Vincent and Elizabeth have the freedom to do the work that they truly want to do each and every day. Having financial freedom is great, but having time freedom is more valuable.  “For us, financial freedom leads to time freedom, which leads to mental freedom. When you have mental freedom, that’s when the great ideas really start happening. That’s when you can really dive deep into your craft and really do work that you are excited about”.

Not doing the work just for the money is liberating.  Vincent had a few years where he didn’t need to work much, and that became boring and mentally stagnant. It was then that he was really able to figure out the work that he really wanted to do.  And once he established that, Vincent was really able to dig in. “It was like I was given a do over in life. It was no longer about a “career path”, or “having to pay the bills”. It was about being able to decide what I really wanted to do each day. It wasn’t about retiring or not working. Because to me, that sounds so dull. I want to work- but I don’t want to work on things I don’t enjoy or things I don’t feel help others. And, I want control of my time!”

Today Vincent is working on a new book (Freelance to Freedom – due out in early 2018), a photography course and several other things.  But mainly he simply strives to be better than yesterday.  “That was a key factor that I had to learn. I would always get stressed out thinking about the future. And I realized that you will never live in the future. So the best I could do is the best I can today, and just be better than yesterday. If I can always be better than yesterday, things will keep improving, and the future will take care of itself.”


Catch up with Vincent and his projects at his website