Being a freelancer has plenty of perks, but there are inevitable downsides to making freelance photography your only source of income. Photographer Jeff Rojas has been a full-time freelancer for the past five years, and he has learned a lot in the process. In this video, he shares the lessons he’s learned and gives some tips to anyone thinking about switching to freelance work.
1. Be persistent
Freelancing is not easy: it can be stressful, inconsistent and uncertain. This is especially true in the beginning when you’re trying to break through. It takes a lot of work and you need to invest a lot of time and knowledge, and not just to your photography skills. Networking, emailing your clients, accounting, marketing, along with shooting and editing… those are only some of the tasks you’ll have to complete, and not many people you can discuss them with.
2. Look for business opportunities
Another point Jeff makes is that times are changing. You can look at this from a negative position, but also choose to see it as a good thing. In an ever-changing market there are always opportunities if you know how to look for them. Don’t be scared: adapt and look for opportunities, and do it every single day.
3. Create with purpose
As a freelancer, it’s important to have a goal. Jeff points out that you should create with the goal in mind and “create with a purpose,” not just for the sake of creating. If you have a goal and focus on it, it will help you to grow and reach your goals. If you have a dream, turn it into a goal and work hard to achieve it.
4. Learn from your mistakes
You will inevitably make mistakes as you work and learn. It sounds like a cliché but it’s good to be reminded from time to time: learn from your mistakes. Don’t feel bad and get depressed when you make a mistake. Instead, use it as a resource to learn something new, to grow, and to be better next time.
5. Don’t take no for an answer
If you decide to become a full-time freelancer, you will hear a lot of “no’s” from your friends and family (been there). But don’t let this discourage you. Jeff makes a great point that being a freelancer, an artist, and an entrepreneur is a lifestyle, not a job. And the best way to convince people that you can do it is to just do it. Focus on growing yourself, on learning, on being persistent and on always doing your best.
Being a freelancer is not easy, but if you really want it, it’s possible and it can be a great experience. Jeff’s story is an inspiring and positive one, and I’ve also had a great experience as a freelancer. It has its bad sides, but it’s exciting and rewarding.