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Keeping the Dream Alive After the Job

In 2015, Arnold Lan took off for Norway as DreamJobbing's Visit Norway Photojournalist recipient. He spent two weeks traversing Norway; capturing the vibrant cities, tiny towns, and stunning natural wonders for Visit Norway. Now, a few months later, we're checking in with Arnold to see how his life has changed. Here's what he had to say!


Getting an all-expenses paid trip to Norway to photograph some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen was definitely a highlight in my photography career. But was it also the peak? I certainly hope not!

Coming back to Toronto after such a whirlwind of a summer, the real challenge was figuring out where to take my career after that. My head was definitely in the clouds when I won that Norway trip, and I also got to go to L.A. afterwards for a film workshop, so I thought opportunities would be flying at me from every direction. Boy was I wrong about that! I continued to work my butt off for every single opportunity that came my way and I finally registered my own photography/videography company, Lantography, on January 6th, 2016. Now I'm an official boss, but barely making enough money to sustain myself.


Copyright Arnold Lan @2015

I want to be able to write that ever since I registered my company, jobs have just been flowing in and every day is super fun, but unfortunately it's so much harder than that.

All my friends around me, who are also fresh grads, are working full time jobs, and every time I hear about their financial security, it makes me wonder, "Was this the right choice to make?" But I have to keep shaking that thought off and reminding myself that this is ultimately what I want! I might not have financial stability right now, but I get to make my own hours, do work that I can be absolutely proud of every day, and no one can tell me otherwise! I can't put a down payment on a condo right now but I get to feel fulfilled every day, knowing that I'm taking actual strides towards growth and improvement. I know that if I hadn't taken this opportunity while I'm still young, I would never forgive myself when I'm in my forties wondering what could have happened if I had followed my dreams. Full time jobs will always be there, money will always come, but time is never going to flow backwards, so I need to take hold of my life now.

I believe these kinds of dreams will ALWAYS carry a ton of opposition, from parents, friends, and society, but if you're in a position where you have an opportunity to pursue your passion, then don't let ANYBODY tell you that you can't, because screw that, it's your life!

Copyright Arnold Lan @2015

There will always be ways for your business to grow. Before you get sad about not having any clients/gigs/sales, ask yourself if you've HONESTLY tried your hardest.

Have you utilized every contact you have (parents, friends, coworkers, teachers)? Have you learned how to use social media to promote yourself (Instagram, blogs, Twitter, learning SEO)? If you're selling a product, do you have an online shop? Have you been to a trade show? Have you learned about your own customer acquisition costs or margins? If you're selling a service, do you tell everyone you meet about it? Have you contacted every single event, restaurant, start-up company, etc, to see if they could use your services? And ultimately, do you have a goal? "Making a lot of money," or, "Getting my service out to everyone," are not tangible goals.

Set up milestones with realistic timeframes so that you have something to achieve every month.


Copyright Arnold Lan @2015


My photography/videography company is still in its infant stages, but each week I want to put a certain amount of hours into practicing, learning, and shooting to hone my craft. On top of that, I try to reach out to more potential clients to advertise and work on my own social media to promote myself, while still creating my own projects so that this remains a love of mine rather than pure work.

A recent project that I started with my friend is called “Dear Future Wife," a series of love letters in the form of photo-illustrations for our future spouses.

I have wanted to get married ever since I was a young boy. This project combines my love for travel and adventure with the yearning for my future spouse. I take photos, and my talented friend draws the wife character on my pictures as if she were traveling with me. I'm hoping that everyone who likes traveling, longs for the future, or is happy with their significant other can relate to these pictures.

Projects like this are what keep my passion alive as I strive to find ways to also profit from it.


Copyright Arnold Lan @2015

You can find all of my work including the Dear Future Wife project on my website www.lantography.com or find me on Instagram @arnoldlan.


Copyright Arnold Lan @2015


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