Its fast approaching 3 years since I made the jump to become freelance. Not only is that scary and a true sign that time flies when you’re having fun, but I also feel an enormous amount of pride that I have been able to form a career out of my passion for photography. It has by no means been easy but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Today I thought I’d share with you the biggest lessons I have learnt from being freelance. So that if you’re planning on making the jump to freelance life to, these tips could help you, or could be some advice for the future, or a little help with the side-hustle you’re pursuing alongside your 9-5 job.
- Mastering being your own boss
People must think photographers spend the majority of their time shooting photos when in actual fact for me and all the other freelance photographers I know, taking photos is actually the thing I do least of. Running a business by yourself means I have added a lot of strings to my bow. I am a boss, photographer, negotiator, avid organiser, writer, along with managing my businesses marketing and social media all by myself. All this keeps me very busy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have learnt so much having to do all of these roles and I love having that control over what I do and what people see I do. So if you’re thinking of being your own boss I would say this is something you should really consider, you’re going to have to do lots of other things within your job/career which you may not love but could end up really paying off.
- Finding a balance is hard
Finding a working schedule that works for you. I don’t think I have completely nailed this yet but I do know my job doesn’t fall into the 9-5 category. This is becoming a more wide-spread piece of knowledge in creative industries and I am so glad of it. I know personally working between 9 and 5 isn’t always beneficial to me. For instance I’m writing this at 2pm and I am in a good creative flow right now. I have had a morning of admin and newsletter planning. Now I have gone out of the house and taken myself into a new environment to get some writing done. A piece of advice that I have read time and time again and something which I’m going to pass on to you now is, do what’s right for you. If you’re more of a morning person then power through your to-do list! If you’re not so productive until later in the day then have a lie in if you’ve got that luxury and give yourself an allotted time later in the day to check off what you need to get done. Another balance I find hard to get just right is the work/life balance, I mean does anyone really have this nailed? I think they might be lying if they said they did. We’re all faking it till we make it and trying to do our best. We are constantly learning and this is yet another reason I think finding a work/life balance is hard. One week you could feel like you totally have it nailed, then something changes and you’re all off kilter again. I know I should spend more time away from my phone, so I definitely need to take my own advice here. But friends and family would tell you I find it hard to switch off, a trait that has definitely come from my Dad. If I have an idea I’m passionate about I won’t rest until it’s in action or has come to fruition. One thing that does help me to unwind is watching an engaging movie or series, that’s definitely one way I enjoy switching off. Also reading is always good, but both of these things can lead to sparks of inspiration, so I usually have a notebook to hand to write ideas down. If anyone has a work/life balance that’s working well for them then please let me know I’d love to try what you’re doing out and see if it could work for me too.
- Get an accountant – my golden piece of advice
The peace of mind having an accountant has given me is priceless. I have never been very good with numbers, so knowing I have the help there when I need it means I can go about getting other jobs done and I don’t stress myself out and have sleepless nights worrying about my accounts. I know it’s in safe hands and will be done properly. The things that initially stressed me out if I was going to do my own accounts and taxes was what if I did something wrong. My accountant is so lovely and friendly, I can ask her for advice and check anything I need to know with her, its never a trouble and it gives me so much peace of mind.
- Book a holiday
It doesn’t have to be going somewhere that will break the bank and take years to save up for, although the Maldives and Disney World are on my dream holiday list right now, but I will have to save a lot more pennies. Taking some time out from work especially when you work for yourself is incredibly important. I’m actually taking the week off for a staycation with the family next week and I couldn’t be more excited! Having a holiday/getaway to look forward to helps you to implement deadlines for work and gives you something to work towards. It also allows you to remove yourself from everyday admin and gives you time to hit refresh.
I really hope the insights and lessons I have learnt from being freelance can help you in some way. I have found it really enjoyable to write this post so am planning to create some more posts/content similar to this, so as always I’d love to know your thoughts and if you found the post useful. This post ended up being quite long so I have split it in to two and you can see part two here next week (I will link it here when it’s live). These photos were all shot in the gardens on Kenwood House, aren’t the rhododendrons in bloom just incredible, such vibrant colours, like something from Alice in Wonderland or a tropical island. All of the portraits of myself were shot by Ollie.