New adventure time! I left my job at Wacom so that I can focus all of my efforts in re-growing my own business, Matiash Inc. Oh, and Nicole and I are selling our house in Portland, OR and are moving to Lincoln, NE. So there’s that, too. 🤗
And you can read Nicole’s take on all of this on her blog.
I strongly believe that the only constant is change and my adult life has been quite rich with it. While change is mostly unavoidable, the real challenge—and growth—lies in how you respond to it. On January 1st, 2015, I formed an S-Corp for my photography business, simply named Matiash, Inc. As any good business owner does, I poured all of my energy and effort into growing it. And as any business owner can empathize, I experienced the manic ebbs and flows of being self-employed.
While I don’t consider myself risk-averse, there did come a prolonged “moment of panic” with these aforementioned ebbs and flows and in an effort to quell my concerns, I accepted a full-time role at Wacom Technology Corporation in June of 2016. At the time, the promises of the role were very compelling and it seemed like a good fit considering how integral my Wacom Intuos Pro tablet is as part of my post-processing workflow. On one hand, I now had a consistent income with all the benefits that often come with a full-time position. On the other hand, my creative bandwidth to manage the growth of Matiash, Inc. had been severely constrained. All of this was anticipated and I was fine with it. That’s the price you pay for “predictable” income.
For a while, things at Wacom were going well. I found my role to be challenging and rewarding, especially because it exposed me to entirely new types of creatives beyond just photographers and videographers. I was now ensconced in illustrators, graphic designers, animators, 3D artists, etc. In some ways, it was a creative renaissance for me as it broadened my worldview of what pure creativity looks like. All was well for about six or seven months and then things began sliding to becoming not so well.
I have no interest in discussing the nitty gritty details about what happened during the latter half of my employment with Wacom but suffice it to say that the outcome crystalized a new dogma for how I now view my business affairs:
I am better suited to work with another organization than to work for one.
Ultimately, the factors that contributed to my decision to leave Wacom also benefited me by bolstering my resolve to return to self-employment—with all its associated risks and rewards—and double down on growing Matiash, Inc.
The Cornhusker State
I’m lucky to have a wife who is as supportive as Nicole. It also helps that she is an exceptionally successful professional photographer and business owner. The last few months have been especially challenging as I’d often come home from work feeling stressed and anxious about specific people and circumstances. That sort of stress only compounds over time and after a while, the dam breaks. Nicole understood that me staying at Wacom was not sustainable and she knew that I truly needed to return to rebuilding my own business. The main problem was that it would be financially irresponsible for me to just quit my job at Wacom as it would put an acute strain on our ability to afford our current cost of living. It was clear that some major “outside of the box” thinking was required.
We both agreed that I needed to leave Wacom as it was proving to be toxic for me. We also agreed that I needed to rebuild Matiash, Inc. Finally, we agreed that we could not responsibly do so while living in Portland. On a whim, Nicole suggested that we move to Lincoln, Nebraska (NE). The cost of living out there is significantly less than here, it’s centrally located within the US, and—most importantly—Nicole’s family is there. Specifically, Nicole’s brother, sister-in-law, and our four adorable nieces and nephews live there. Nicole and I decided long ago that kids aren’t in our future, so being so close to these guys (who are still very young) will be great.
So, we found a wonderful new house in Lincoln and, as I type this post, packers are loading our earthly possessions onto a truck bound for NE. One of the most important byproducts of reducing our cost of living is that it allows us to aggressively save more money for regular travel around the country and world. As self-employed photographers, traveling is probably the most critical expense as it directly impacts our ability to create new photos and videos, which we use to generate new content to share and sell in our eStores. Ultimately, this was the most financially and professionally responsible decision we could make and I am terribly excited to get things rolling again.
So… what now?
Well, the first item on the list is to get ourselves, our dogs, and our “stuff” moved into our new house. That will be followed by a week or two of frantic unpacking, setting up our cameras and computers, and getting the lay of the land. After that, you should expect to see a notable increase in new content being created and shared via Social Media but more notably via my newsletter, Inbox Inspiration. Growing that newsletter (I already have over 30,000 subscribers!) is one of my top priorities.
Reinforcing the relationships I have with existing partners is right up there, as well. I’m so proud to be a Zeiss Global Lens Ambassador and a member of G-Technology’s G-Team, and I’m excited to say that we’ve got some cool projects already in the works. I’ve also been a regular contributor to Digital Photo Magazine and have even scored the cover image of the current issue!
And that’s just the beginning. Obviously, the name of the game is to just do. More stories, more photos, and more videos… all wrapped around a bunch of new road trips and intercontinental travel. I know that all of those ebbs and flows that I mentioned earlier will certainly be waiting for me but I truly believe that things are different now. To quote Michael Caine’s character, Professor Brand, in one of my all-time favorite movies, Interstellar, I’m “a little older, a little wiser” and I’ve never felt more empowered and excited for this new chapter.
Won’t you come along for the ride?