Emma Hoareau

Emma Hoareau
June 22, 2017



freelance life

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A new section of LSS – welcome to Freelance Life.

I’ve decided to create a new section of the site where I’ll talk about working as a freelancer, in the aim to create a community of sorts that can all share tips and tricks (or horror stories) about the realities of it all. It’s becoming more and more of a viable option to work for yourself these days, and I’d love to talk more about it. I know a lot of people already do, or a lot of my friends in full time jobs have it on their wish-list too.
So… wondering how to go freelance? Or just made the jump and freaking out? Well then you’re in the right place. This is the first in a series of post I’ll be doing on the subject.
my story
I made the jump from editorial writing for magazines to working as a photographer and blogger. I loved writing but was tiring of it and wanted to do something more visual. I had known for a while that writing wasn’t making me feel fulfilled but was afraid no one would take me seriously if I suddenly became a photographer, something which I had no experience in. The way I actually started being more sure of myself was shooting odd jobs for yoga teachers headshots (this was Bondi, guys) or a new shop opening and the fact that people were prepared to even offer me ANY money for shooting made me realise I had something to offer and could work up from there. So I did. I worked at a cafe on the side for the beginning, and worked on growing my blog, too.
The funny thing is, once you start telling people I’m a X” (in my case, a photographer but this could be applied to whatever you’d like to go into) not only do you believe it more too but you’d be surprised as to how everyone immediately wants to help you find work. By having my blog, I had a great range of contacts in media – from PR, marketing teams and even other bloggers who were all so happy to champion me to their clients and even hire me themselves. This was 2 years ago and I never looked back. It’s stressful at times, yes, but I’d rather create amazing things with that fear than have to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day regretting my decisions.

People often tell me I’m so lucky to be able to work on a freelance basis, but I made it that way. And it’s not just luck, it’s hard work. I think that’s why some people often tell themselves they can’t do it – whatever ‘it’ their passion might be – because they’ve told themselves they’re not lucky enough and they wouldn’t know how to do it. But I think ‘luck’ starts coming your way when you put yourself out there and (as cheesy as this sounds) start following your dreams. And no one really knows how to do it, you just do it and make it work because you have no other choice. Sure, there are things you can plan in advance, but taking the leap is just that – taking a leap of faith in yourself.I’m in no way saying I have everything under control and am the perfect example of freelance work, but over the last few years I’ve definitely learned some valuable lessons so thought I’d share them with you.

check everything
I’ve had clients act quite blasé about work and say they’re totally open to your ‘creative direction’. But always check what they mean by that. It’s not that they’re lying, it’s just that they might forget to mention things that they don’t want. For example I once shot a campaign for beauty brand based around flowers… to then be told once I sent the images to them that the owner of the brand ‘hates flowers’. Needless to say, I had to reshoot. It wasn’t that they were trying to catch me out but rather they didn’t even think of this being an issue. Since then I’ve always checked whether they have any props they don’t like used and been very strict with having a checklist of dos and  don’ts for a client to tick off for me if I’m shooting in my own space rather than with the team on location. All this saves the frustration of wasting time and also feeling like you should blame yourself for a mistake which is no ones fault.

stay inspired
once paid jobs start happening it’s easy to just work on those and on getting more of those. but don’t forget your own projects! I’ve found that by keeping inspired on my own projects (at the moment it’s collage) I feel much more creative when it comes to client briefs and that keeps me doing my best work for them, too, rather than just reproducing the same thing for client after client. Keeping the creative juices flowing is so important and in the long run can lead to a new skill which you can offer to your clients, too. I put aside 1 day a week to work on my own projects. I’ll answer emails once in the morning, and once at the end of day but in between the time is all for me and reading interesting articles, looking a great photography books, painting and drawing or whatever else I like to do (even if I’m not that great at it).

hit the target
as great as it is to not have anyone telling you what to do all day… you also need to learn to tell yourself what to do. Be strict on making monthly goals and hitting them. This ranges from how many pitches I need to be making per week to how much money I want to put away and even extra curricular activities like doing a short course for myself.

getting overwhelmed
whether it’s because you can’t believe quite how well things are going or you can’t quite believe just how many things you need to do and look after, freelance life brings with it a certain amount of self doubt. At moments like this (I learned it the hard way, sadly) I’ve found that just taking a 20 minute break to do something you love (go and get a coffee, read a magazine article, paint your nails, take a bath…) will help you clear your head rather than make your mind think of all the ways things could go so awfully wrong. It’ll be fine in the end, trust me. Even if things do go wrong (which they will) it’s a great way to learn and plan better for the next job.


I would absolutely love your feedback on this so let me know your thoughts on twitter or instagram.

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