Freelance to Freedom: From $30k a Year to $30k in a Day

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“You have a skill, but you’re not using it correctly.”

That the tough love advice Vincent Pugliese’s father gave him.

Vincent was working what he thought was his dream job as a photojournalist. He’d just won the most prestigious award in his industry (International Sports Photographer of the Year), and he and his wife Elizabeth had a baby on the way.

Yet the newspaper job didn’t pay well. With the impending arrival of their son, Vincent took a hard look at his financial picture: he was in his mid-30s, 6-figures in debt, and earning $15 an hour.

Not great.

Something had to change, and something did.

Four years later, the family was debt free and self-employed, thanks to the success of their freelance photography side hustle.

I met Vincent at Podcast Movement and invited him on the show to share his inspiring and relate-able story. With a growing trend toward freelance workers, his transition is one many people will need to make over the next few years.

With his newfound time freedom, Vincent has kept busy with a number of new projects including his upcoming book Freelance to Freedom, and an online course teaching parents how to take better sports pictures of their kids.

(Even though Vincent had no “audience” of his own to sell to, the course did over $30k on launch day, giving us the hook for this episode.)

Tune in to hear how he and his wife got it done and how you can apply the same strategies to the skills on your own resume.

Free Bonus: Download Vincent’s Top Tips For Creating Freedom Through Freelancing

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Inside you'll find all of Vincent's top tips for going from $30k a year to $30k in a day.



  • What Vincent’s “Ah-ha” moment was that made him persue freelancing.
  • How he and his wife secured their first freelance clients.
  • How their business grew from 4 bookings in 3 months to 25 the next year.
  • How they budgeted to pay off all their debt in just 3 and a half years.
  • How to find your FRUIT number and why it’s so important.
  • How he built up a network of contacts and clients before moving to a new city.
  • How he collaborated with another authority in his niche to reach a wider audience and release a course.
  • Vincent’s #1 tip for Side Hustle Nation.

Links and Resources

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Download the Free PDF Highlight Reel

Inside you'll find all of Vincent's top tips for going from $30k a year to $30k in a day.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

7 thoughts on “Freelance to Freedom: From $30k a Year to $30k in a Day”

  1. You should definitely have him back again to do an episode on relationship building and networking. Sounds like he has a lot of great insight!

  2. Some great takeaways from this episode. I can wholeheartedly confirm that the random calls to your network are very effective. My side gig is working with small construction companies working on Federal Government projects that are required by contract to develop and maintain a project schedule (usually using Primavera P6 Scheduling software). I’ve been at it for just under a year and have gotten several contracts simply from calling my network to catch up. I’ve not yet had to ask, the conversation usually goes, “Hey, are you still freelancing? We have a subcontractor that doesn’t have scheduling capability. Are you interested?” Your network is a very valuable asset.

  3. It’s been a while since I have listened to your podcast Nick. Today I randomly chose this one not knowing Vincent’s story and that he is a photographer. Vincent’s story is like us only I wish it about 10 years ago into our career. My husband & I have had a successful photo business in Texas and have been wanting to relocate out of Texas for so many years. Comfort have kept us here and now we have committed to moving to the east coast (northern VA, DC area) by the summer after our kids are out of school. Pretty crazy feeling like we are starting over middle aged. My husband has been a professional photographer for about 20 years shooting in the portrait/wedding industry as well as interiors and catalog commercially. He shoots all over the country but most of our clients come from our local market. Our clientele has been in the high-end/luxury world predominantly and we know this move will be financially tough. We are beginning the networking slowly to begin those connections on the east coast and we are hoping in the long run it works out to be an even more expansive market for us. Vincent’s comment about teaching made me crazy because my husband is a photographer for life but when you are as advanced and expert the marketing wife/business partner goes nuts because know we could have other streams of income from him teaching his craft. Or even us educating clients (from the wedding world, parents to commercial clients). We do everything time for money and work like crazy. I sent him this podcoast in hopes he gets some inspiration for more opportunities to help in our transition and eventually getting to where we want in our life which is more freedom and less stress. Great podcast! Thank you Nick and Vincent.

  4. Most people are quick to say stick to working a regular job and nevermind with entrepreneurship. I always begged to differ. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. While I can attest side hustle entrepreneurship requires more concentration, energy, and patience, I’ve been learning and mastering along the way with the intent of never going back to a rotten day job.


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