This is Nick, and I’m not sure how you got to this page today. Maybe you heard about it on a news site, saw one of my game changer guests posting about it, or were sent here by a trusted friend.
Either way, I want to welcome you. If you’re interested in finding out how to make a great living doing what you love, you have come to the right place.
I’m very fortunate that these days I get to work with some of the most successful and inspirational people in the entire world. It’s still feels crazy to me that I get PAID to do what I do!
However, things were not always this way. If you’ve ever felt yourself feeling lost, stuck, and unsure of what to do with your life, I can relate.
It wasn’t all too long ago that I was living in a tiny basement room of a house in Seattle.
I was scraping by, never knowing where the next paycheck would come from… or if it was coming at all.
I called those the ramen days. A pack of ramen was a typical meal for me. When I felt like splurging, I would make a dinner of pasta and see how many meals I could get out of the leftovers. I was arranging my own portfolio shoots to learn how use this apparatus called a camera, and I was shooting head shots, weddings… anything that would get me a small check… no matter how much I hated it.
I remember one day thinking that “this is what a hamster must feel like. Stuck on a wheel. And going no where.”
Then one day, I made a discovery.
What was it?
Actually, it was a book.
It was by a guy named Tim Ferriss, and it was called, “The Four Hour Work Week”.
If you haven’t read it, the book is all about how to create the life you want. This was a big “ah ha” for me – for the first time, I felt like I could control my destiny!
But – I would have to start now.
Approaching my life with the bigger picture in mind, I started to seek out the photographers who’s work I admired, and began hacking my way through the industry.
I tried being an assistant to a couple of them, but that didn’t last long – mainly because I sucked. I was in my basement sweatbox of a room grinding 12 hours a day in between my own shoots. Figuring out Photo Shop. Studying different lighting methods. Truthfully, I wasn’t even sure if I was studying the right stuff! But I wanted to be ready, in case opportunity finally did come a knockin’..
Then one day, I got a call. From Nike. Yes, that Nike! And they wanted me to shoot Ben Roethlisberger, Albert Pujols, and a couple of other famous sports players.
Needless to say, I was shocked!
I didn’t know what to do, as really when it came to shooting photos, I barely knew what I was doing – I was just sort of hacking my way through. I remember thinking to myself, “What if I can’t do this? I’ve never done studio type work before.” But I winged it. And somehow, some way, the job came out GREAT.
I was stoked! I had finally “made it”! I knew from that point on, people would see that shoot and I would be IN. The ball was rolling, and these jobs would snowball from here. I moved to Paris, and lived off the Nike money; however, on the contrary, I didn’t see another job like that for two years.
That was really tough on me. Mentally, and financially. I realized a career in art takes time. It wasn’t until about 4 years later that I finally began to make enough to support a decent lifestyle.
Finally, in 2009, I moved to New York. I started shooting advertising campaigns for brands like Coca-cola, Chevy, Adidas, etc. I began working with a charity, called Pencils of Promise which also led to shooting celebrities like Justin Bieber, Jessica Alba and Usher. Before I knew it, I was getting paid a lot of money to travel around the world and photograph amazing people. Some of them became close personal friends.
But I still remember those ramen days. I remember grinding in that basement, not knowing when that next check was going to come.
And as my career has grown the last few years, people have been reaching out to me. People who are in that same position I was, not too long ago.
And it got me thinking – now, I can help.
My journey here was NOT easy… however, I discovered a few “tricks” along the way that I know could make it a whole lot easier for YOU.
And that brings us to here and NOW.
NIONRadio(formerly SHOPTALKradio) was born to share the secrets I’ve discovered after 15 years of grinding in this business. Secrets that can be applied to any creative career, whether your dream is to be behind a camera, a keyboard, or a paint brush.
I want to share with you my secrets for networking – meeting and befriending influential people that send the biggest jobs your way. How to demand the highest fees in your niche – and get them. How to position yourself as the LEADER in your field – the first person people think about when they look for someone in your craft.
I’ve discovered all of these things, and I can’t wait to share them with you. However, another thing I still know, is that I am still a student myself.
NIONradio was born out of my curiosity for how other successful people have created a life and career of greatness. People like Usher weren’t born with silver microphones in their hand. In NIONradio, I track down people who are living their passion and getting paid to do it. Those who get to travel when they want, wherever they want. Those who don’t have to answer to a boss. People that choose to create every moment of their life.
I created NION because I want you to join me as one of those people. It’s my hope that you yourself will be joining me on an episode one day, sharing your story of how you became a superstar.
I’m living proof that you really can achieve a lifestyle of passion and freedom… and get paid to do it. It’s not going to happen overnight, however I can show you some shortcuts that are going to dramatically cut down on your learning curve.
And when you hear what some of my guests have to say – watch out!
I didn’t just grab random artists or celebrities for these episodes. In fact, I’ve turned down more than a few people who’ve asked to be on the show. Why? Simple: I insist on only interviewing those who can provide actionable content – specific things you can go out and use right away to raise your income, raise your profile, or simply become a better you.
I’m getting excited just talking about it – and I hope you are excited too! Because as you listen to these episodes, you are going to feel a shift, in your mind, and in your heart. As the knowledge we drop populates the neurons in your mind… as the strategies we share give you action steps to make each of your days greater… you are going to feel yourself climbing. Up up up and up… straight to the freakin’ top.
Enter your email here, and I’m going to send you something very special, to get you started. It’s a guide I’ve compiled of the top 7 lessons I’ve discovered after doing ALL of the episodes of NION. The creme de la crème. I want to give you this NOW, to get you moving and on your way.
I’ll also drop you a line about once a week to let you know when a new episode is dropping, so you can be the first to know.
So enter your email, and let’s do this.
I hope you enjoy NION, as much as I enjoy making these episodes for you.
Your friend in creating your own success,
P.S. If this story resonated with you please drop me a comment below and let me know. I’d also really appreciate you sharing this on your Facebook page, Snapchat or Twitter. Sharing this is a good way to find out who in your network is aligned on this same path you and I are on. Going where? Straight to the top!
Nick Onken is a photographer, podcast host, and creative entrepreneur devoted to inspiring the world to create their moments and create their life. A former graphic designer hailing from the soggy city of Seattle, now residing in the concrete jungle of New York, Nick has photographed personalities such as Justin Bieber, Usher, and Jessica Alba. He has photographed print campaigns for international brands such as Nike, Coca Cola and Adidas and his work has been published in magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler, Cosmopolitan, and Marie Claire. On his podcast, he’s interviewed celebrities such as Usher, Scooter Braun, Stacy London and others. He photographs for the charity, Pencils of Promise as he believes that education is the root problem solver of our world.