Tomasz Wagner

“Learn to wear hats, many, many hats that don’t always fit properly—you’re a photographer developing your own style, a business person, maybe also a mother or father—a human. Learn, make those mistakes, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Burn out can happen easily with all of these hats weighing on you, so if you need a break, take it. Give yourself some space to pause—breathe.”

This is something that I cover in my book and it’s something that many potential freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners overlook: You end up taking on a lot of different roles outside of what you thought you’d be doing for a living. As a writer, I spend a lot of my day not writing. And as a professional photographer, Tomasz Wagner spends a lot of his days not taking pictures too.

The Vancouver-based wedding photographer (though he has shot in many other locations around the globe too; he’s actually quite the well-seasoned traveler) was recently featured as a top 30 under 30 photographer by Canada Photo Convention. Tomasz Wagner has a very keen eye and he’s unafraid to let his creativity run wild with fresh ideas. He also understands how much work goes into all the other stuff that comes along with running your own photography business.

The quote above was taken from his interview with Canada Photo Convention. It was his response when asked to provide the single greatest piece of advice he could give to another photographer who is just getting started. Indeed, when you go into business for yourself for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with invoicing, marketing, client acquisition, accounting, taxes and the rest of it. It’s easy to get burned out. It’s easy to get confused.

But you are not alone.

Every successful freelance writer, wedding photographer or website developer has gone through many of the same growing pains as you. We’ve all struggled with the same learning curve. We’ve been there. And yes, it’s absolutely true that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. For those of us who love what we do, though, it’s totally worth it. We just have to remember to take a breather now and then.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why Tomasz Wagner might sound familiar to you, that’s because he’s also the guy I hired to shoot my wedding. I keep forgetting how young he is!