Starting off as a freelancer in video and photography can be scary. As a beginner myself, here are my top tips for starting as a freelancer.
By no means am I an expert. I'm new in this field. If I had been aware of these things when I began, it would have been much easier. Many of these may seem obvious but sometimes it's helpful to be reminded of the obvious. If this seems right for you, I hope you will be inspired to take a stab at this as your career.
1. Consistency is Key
This is not an easy task, but consistency can go along way. No matter what field. Results won't come without some level of consistent work. For me, I've had solid results so far just by regularly sharing content on social media. Recently, my primary focus has been my Instagram and YouTube pages. I've attempted to post every morning on Instagram, which has not been easy. By doing so, I've significantly grown my following and have generated quite a bit more engagement than even a few months back.
With my YouTube channel, I've really tried to kick into high gear, because I think that it's one of the most challenging social media outlets to see real growth. I'm playing the long game with this, and I think it will be worth the effort, especially since I'm a filmmaker. For the last few weeks, I've managed to upload twice a week. If I can maintain this level of consistency, I know big results will come my way.
Aside from social media, it's also important to constantly get your name and services out there when talking with people in person. Networking. Networking. Networking. Yes, social media is big these days, but you can't neglect word of mouth. Having business cards is definitely helpful with this one.
Maybe I should take my own advice and be more consistent with blog posting!
All joking aside, be consistent. Thing will happen.
2. Nobody Will Do it for You
With freelancing, you're not answering to anyone. This is awesome, BUT that means you need to have a high level of self-motivation and discipline. Not easy. It's definitely something I'm constantly trying to improve upon. Just by showing up to work (for yourself) by being prepared every day will get you going in the right direction.
It's scary to know it's all on you, but it's funny when you realize that this pressure can actually fuel the passion, taking it to the level that is necessary to succeed in this space.
3. Time/Money Management
This one, more than anything, is probably just a general rule for being an adult. I guess I'm an adult. Still not too sure on that one. Honestly though, I'm probably the last person that should be giving advice on time or financial management. What I've learned so far as a freelancer, is that I need to greatly improve in both of these areas. The money part of this is especially important when you don't have a fixed income.
So how do you go about improving at these, you ask?
Like most things in life, I would say baby steps are essential. For time management, setting a limit on the time allotted for a specific task or project that you're working on is one way to start. Site like Toggl are also a great tool for tracking time on specific gigs or projects. As hard as it can be in this world inundated by media and digital information, putting down your phone and closing all those tabs out on your laptop can be a great way to actually focus on something for a change.
A few things that have worked for me in terms of money management is keeping track of my expenses with an app like CoinKeeper and logging all my driving records and business purchases in a spreadsheet document. It's important to keep track of all of this since it can be written off in taxes. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
I still haven't even come close to mastering the art of maximizing time, hyper-focusing or money handling, but baby steps, right?
4. Trust Your Path
Confronting doubts is a big part of life. So it's no surprise that it will be a major part of the freelance journey. At my moments of doubt about finances and direction, I decided to trust my ability and the path that I've chosen for myself. I'm committed to the cause, and that's a powerful feeling. These moments are actually vital to the process. It allows you to persevere and keep grinding regardless of external factors or internal struggle. In this game, having a vision of where you want to go is more important than anything else.
Trust the path, but more importantly, trust yourself.
5. Create Opportunities
This one is HUGE. This advice was given to me by a good friend who actually runs his own production company called 41stCasanova. You can't just sit around looking or waiting for opportunities to come your way. You have to be take an active role in your pursuit by creating your own opportunities. I'm a firm believer in this concept.
Yes, you may have something unexpectedly come your way, but typically this will only happen after you have created and and manifested the opportunity. A proactive approach is vital.
Here's the video that accompanies this blog post:
If you're brave enough to go down this freelance route, I applaud you and wish you much success. It's not easy, but it's worth it to work for yourself. Hopefully you can get something valuable from this post.
Don't look for a chance. Don't wait for it. Create it.
Break Your Boundaries.