June 22, 2017
A new section of LSS – welcome to Freelance Life.
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.
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.
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.
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.