We had the good fortune of connecting with Erik Baldwin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erik, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Time and money are equally valuable. Thats where the balance is. Time doesnt get enough perceived value because we (as a society) are trapped in a race against time. Time to pay bills, time to finish deadline for work. Time to take care of chores and responsibilities. The only time we have left, it usually spend either sleeping or thinking about how we are goin to do it all over again. I was lucky enough to find a way to break that cycle. It was a pair of unfortunate events, as well as a beautiful event that made me see the value of time / work balance and how to achieve it. Back in 2015 was working for other people, i loved my job, but i was tied to it and there was no growth opportunity. My 19yr old brother, who was living with my wife and i, worked with me as well. One day we were surfing after work and he drowned suddenly. It was devastating. Two months later, my wife gave birth to out first child. It was a rollercoaster of emotion and changes. Unfortunately 3 months after that, my father passed away in my arms in our home. He had come to live with us after my brother passed. The changing perception value of time began 10 days before my wife gave birth. I basically walked away from my job. I had bigger things to figure out. My brother, my father, and my child on the way. I was tired of working full time for someone else, making money that didnt fulfill who i was and wanted to be. At the same time, I had been scared to do my own thing full time. Fear of failure kept me from taking that risk. I took time off to establish as much sanity as i could after losing two of the closest people in my life. I had alot of PTSD to process and life became surreal. There were alot of dark times, blended with magical moments and blissful emotions that come along with having a child. The leap i took happened when i decided to go full time with my photography. I also named my company after my brother Chase…. Chase Life Photography became the name that i started marketing. It was a two fold meaning, to “chase life” as an action and inspiration to live life to the fullest. And Chase Life as an homage to my brother. By this point, my perception of life was a million miles from where it was 6-8 months prior. I didnt care about things the way i used to and had a whole different reason to live and perspective. I knew it wouldnt be easy, and i was quite nervous. but i was also knew i was a life long surviver of many things prior to this chain of events. I was also a very resourceful person and had a few ways to make money with side hustles that were also in areas that i was passionate about. That mindset allowed me to find the confidence and motivation to make big changes that lead to a time / money balance. I now work less than half as much, make more money and make my own schedule. It is NOT easy, but it is worth it. It comes with stress, inconsistencies, hard lessons learned, but it also comes with a new way to look at life. Free from the prescribed rat race, i found a way out of the 9-5 grind making someone else rich. Find a passion. Get good at it. Think about how to monetize it. Back it up with structure and a sprinkle of biz management understanding. One way or another, the money will come. Most important. DONT STOP. The ones who have succeeded are the ones who never stopped.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a photographer & Videographer with a deep background in the gourmet culinary industry. I love to shoot food, but it isnt always what pays the bills. Because i love all aspects of working with my camera, i have been able to find ways to create income in other areas. Product photography, business events, lifestyle, fashion, my wife and i also shoot weddings. I am blessed to also be able to have time for other ventures as well. Private Chef opportunities have been keeping me in the kitchen with my passions as well. High end private dinners in amazing venues fill my need for culinaty expression as well- On top of that, I own a 30yr old comapny that repairs optical instruments from WW1 & WW2 as well as modern optics. I know its alot. But again, it comes down to time management. Im never tied to obligations or schedules that i dont set. Money comes when passion and perseverance come together. Im not rich with money, but i am rich with passion, living life and time with my family-
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I dunno, this is hard to answer… The beach for sure, then to a few cool secret spots for food and beers… Im not a really social person, so going out isn’t something i relish or look forward to. I like to spend my money and time on things that are more meaningful… call me silly i guess.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My long time friend, Davin Waite. I am completely inspired by his journey. We cooked together 20yrs ago at Cafe Japengo in la jolla and became friends since then. I have watched him and his brother grow and overcome in the industry and in life. The whole time, his passion for food and evolving his craft never faded. Not even a bit. Now he owns 3 awesome restaurants and i am honored to call him a brother. His passion has never burned hotter and his creativity is mind-blowing!! Too say the least, he as always remained a great human with a heart of gold and enough talent to fill a stadium. I shoot with him quite often and we get to synergize our creativities together. I am dearly grateful to have a friend like this, as well as the opportunity to witness all the success and inspiration.
chase life photography