3 things I wish I knew when I first started freelancing...
Yeah, it’s trendy to be doing your own thing…
On social media everywhere you see people working to be their own boss…
You see “entrepreneur” placed in bios… you see people highlighting their hustle (me included #guilty)…
We aspire freedom, right?
We want our own schedules...
We don’t want to be locked in an office for 8 hours everyday doing the same thing over and over again… especially when it’s something you don’t care about.
When I quit my first full-time job... in 2016 to pursue videography full-time it was for two reasons…
- What I was doing wasn’t aligned with what I wanted to do. I was working at a tech startup doing office stuff I didn’t want to do… and wanted to do video production full-time
- I was hustling enough on the side building a client base... that I could take the leap because the income I was making from the full-time was replaceable
I now earn 2x the amount I was making at my first full-time job, live in my own apartment, have a steady work from my client base and work on my own schedule… sounds cool right?
Let me be the first to tell you… it is not that easy.
All the stuff we see on social media are the highlights… not the work that happens between those posts.
It takes work, it takes persistence, it takes doing the little things every single day when nobody is watching.
Now approaching 2 years as a full-time videographer/editor/producer here are the 3 things I wish I knew when I first started freelancing…
You’re life isn’t immediately better. You gotta put in the time.
After leaving my safe job to go out on my own, I found myself working from 7am to 11pm everyday. Why? Well, it’s because I’m wearing multiple hats.
In my previous job I was doing one thing. When you start freelancing you have to be the sales team, marketing team, design team, product/service team… you’re all of it.
In the beginning, a typical day would start with filming/editing which might take 4-5 hours, then prospecting for new clients, then working on websites, then learning strategies online, then following up with current clients, then working out, then wrapping up more work. If it were easy everyone would do it right?
Why or how did I keep going?
When I think back to why I did all this and pushed through, it’s because I was discovering. I was discovering more about myself, I was discovering what works and doesn’t work when reaching out to clients, I was learning every single day.
In my eyes, I find that when growth, discovery and learning exist in the same day… happiness and fulfillment shows up in your life.
Say yes to a lot of things.
When I first started, I was doing everything from weddings, to sports, to business, to even podcast production. I didn’t know what I wanted to specialize in… and a lot of this takes trial and error. You have to try multiple things out to find what you love to do. Also, you have to pay your bills, so sometimes it won’t be fun, but paying bills is a reality.
It isn’t until recently that I have more clarity on what I want to be doing. That’s coming from experiences good and bad from past projects.
You learn from every single project. Everything compounds. From the bad projects, you gotta extract that experience and think about why it was bad… and same with the good.
Your clients are everything, but know your limits.
It’s never about you. To think that your work is “good enough” is weak. It’s a weak mentality. You have to think about how your work helps your clients reach their objectives. ‘Nuff said.
Don’t make your work about you. Early on I thought people would come knocking because I had a website and some work in the “portfolio” section of my page. Nope… people come knocking for your business because you helped your first few clients reach their goals and they loved the experience so much that they referred their friend/colleague to you.
Freelancing or making a living on your own isn’t glamorous in the beginning, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The amount of growth and discovery I’ve had about business and myself is why I do it. I also do it because I love helping others. I love guiding, teaching, growing and helping others win. It’s a passion. The tough times in the beginning isn’t for everyone… which is why most will quit… but it’s certainly fulfilling.