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Ep. 9: Vincent Pugliese: How to take control of your time, your money & your life

He was a happy sports photographer. But he was broke. Now he's not.

Vincent Pugliese knew what he wanted to do when he was a kid: He wanted to become a famous sports photographer. By the time he was in his early 30s, he was winning top awards for his shots of famous football and hockey players, living a life only a few people even dream of. But he and his wife, Elizabeth, also a photographer, were both making about $15 an hour, and they had a baby on the way. They both wanted her to stay home; he had to figure out a solution. In desperation, they started a wedding photography business on the side -- and used every cent they made to get out of $140,000 of debt, including paying off the mortgage on their house. Eventually, Vincent went from making $32,000 a year to $32,000 in a day. His lessons apply no matter whether you're a photographer, a writer, a scientist or a chef. To Vincent, success depends on growth mindset, "not being normal," and a handful of other valuable lessons.

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Highlights: I talk with Vincent (who is refreshingly down to earth) about doing what everyone told him was impossible: living debt free, choosing when and where he wants to work, and taking as much time as they choose to home school their kids and travel with them, sometimes for months at a time. In his new book, Freelance to Freedom, Vincent offers lessons for how to become an entrepreneur; how he lives by a growth mindset, and the one thing he does every day if he gets overwhelmed.

2:56: How Vincent talked his way into an interview with the Associated Press, the pinnacle of organizations for photojournalists, with a combination of patience and persistence. Why patience and persistence are a winning combination but one without the other is a disaster.

25:22: How everyone he knew "told us we couldn't pay off debt; everyone's going to have debt." They did it anyway.

25:50: How living debt-free gives Vincent and Elizabeth a competitive advantage in business. What Golden Days are and how they help freelancers increase their rates.

32:59: Vincent's diehard belief in a growth mindset and a lesson from his mentor: "What does this [negative circumstance] make possible?"

34:21: The hilarious and painful saga of the last night of Seinfeld and losing $13,000 worth of camera gear, and why Vincent can look back on this cringe-worthy story happily.

36:21: How one of the biggest failures of Vincent's career landed him a feature in Sports Illustrated.

I mentioned Denise Soler Cox and her struggle to become a beginner again. Here's a link to that conversation, which was Episode 5.

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