BTSxJM Issue_002: The truth about freelancing in 2018
I want to be very honest with you, freelancing isn’t for everyone and I definitely don’t want to do it for the rest of my life. Everything I write here is obviously from my point of view, that doesn’t mean it’s correct, it’s a point of view or in my case, it’s a photographer’s point of view. To sum up, freelancing it’s basically a person who works for multiple employers (clients) and doesn’t have a set “full-time” salary. They usually sell services. For me that’s obvious, I sell my photographic services.
Alright, let’s weigh out the pros and cons of being a freelance photographer. These are off the top of my head, so if there is more to either list let me know in the comments.
* You work whenever you want, you set your time schedule and you quote that to your clients.
* You set your rates. Within reason though, you still need to set them accordingly for your client and the value of your work otherwise you won’t get any work
* Living the dream, if you create your life you want whether that be flying around the world by major companies or working 9-5 as a local photographer. This idea is definitely achievable.
* Potential for anything and everything. The only thing that will ever hold you back from living the life you want is you.
* Income can be hit and miss, one month you might be racking in the bucks, then the next month might be nothing. Or if you’re like me and forgot to send a bunch of invoices and only realize at the end of the month then this can potentially be a major issue - I learned this the hard way.
* You do absolutely everything, this can be a pro and a con. You may not want other people doing certain things for you, but sometimes it can certainly help to have someone run certain aspects of your business.
* 9-5 pffttt….I said earlier that setting your own schedule is a pro, but really it’s a pretty big con. Simply because setting a 9-5 doesn’t work, you end up working all the time, you will always be on call, it doesn’t end even if you say you only work 9-5.
* It gets really expensive, pro photography equipment is really really expensive. I think the cheapest Canon L series lens is about $1000AUD retail.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper, when you’re starting out you basically have no work, you have no money coming in and it feels like you’re paddling in water but staying stationary, or worse, drowning. At this point you have no other option other than to contact people to see if they need a photographer to get yourself some experience, you can also work as an assistant but most importantly you’ll need to practice and this is something a lot of us forget to do once we’re shooting regularly.
After you start working regally and have a handful of clients you soon to build up a name for yourself, the issue is you may not be bringing in enough money or work to make this full time or part time, and it still may be a bit of a side hustle. At this stage, you might question why you’re doing this and you may start to question if you’re ever going to be able to make this a full-time career.
What’s next, you need to continue to bring in clients, there will be a point where you feel as though you’ve made absolutely zero progress. This means you probably need to take a break, a step back - so you can actually see your progress and identify where you need to go next.
So why am I telling you this? I believe it's really important to tell people the journey so they can expect it or at least try not to make the same mistakes as myself.
For me, I kept trying to get clients and shooting and repeated that and as a freelancer, you'll always be doing this.
What're the real benefits that I've found from freelancing?
It doesn't get boring, every day or job is different. If you sat in an office five days a week it'll feel as though you're on a constant loop of doing the same thing, to me that sounds terribly boring. Whereas as a freelancer you set your own hours, your holiday period and pretty much everything, you're very much in control of your work life. With that said you need to be very controlled and focused, what I mean if you can't take 6 months off, you need to be in restrained and balanced, which for myself (and many others) is very hard. For me I struggle to have boundaries when working, I could easily work 12 hour days but in no time I'd be burnt out and would most likely have a mental break down.
The key to success in freelancing is you gotta work your butt off to start and continue but the benefits and freedom once you're in a secure place are incredible.
To wrap up this month’s issue of BTS I want to provide some insight on what I’ve been up to.
As I’m writing this (18.07.18) I am about to board a flight back to Canberra from Brisbane. I spent the last few days up here taking a break from working and doing a bit of personal shooting as well as experiencing the sunny state of QLD. I had three days out bush camping with my uncle. Originally I wanted to create a QLD landscape series but I found the trip more beneficial for me to have a break from work and to get my head in the game for uni. Hence why there wasn’t a huge library of images that I posted on social media.
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