Heading out in the big wide world straight after University is a daunting experience, especially when your dream is to become a freelancer and work for yourself. After reading this post by Jen from Jennypurr about the fears of blogging and how to overcome them, it inspired me to write of my experiences being a freelancer and describe the fears and challenges I’ve overcome.
The past three and a half years have been a huge learning curve for me and I know for Alex too. We have grown two businesses for ourselves and although at times it was challenging and scary, with the final outcome of all our hard work unknown, it has definitely been worth it.
Here are five fears I've faced and overcome since working for myself as a freelance photographer.
Building your own business, especially in the creative industry means you are constantly in competition with other creatives. We focussed our photography business towards the wedding industry, which is already saturated with hundreds of other photographers. The pressure of standing out in the crowd, of promoting yourself and your business through social media seems a huge challenge and in the beginning I was constantly researching other wedding photographers and comparing our work to theirs. It wasn’t until I took a step back and simply looked at our own work and how to better and improve our product, that I no longer felt the anxiety of not being good enough.
Instead of the question, “How can we be as successful as them?” it became “How can we push ourselves to be as successful as possible?"
Keeping motivated is one of the challenges of day to day life, but when it comes to running a business it becomes the most important way to progress and grow a business. That motivation also comes in handy when there’s admin to be done, emails to be answered and phone calls to be made. Procrastination is a killer, especially when you are your own boss, so staying motivated even when part of the work isn’t as exciting as the rest is vital. In the beginning I was hugely motivated by new client enquiries and bookings. Now three and a half years on, my motivation come from wanting to explore new channels and paths to take our already established business.
It is easy to become disheartened when something does not go the way things were planned, so staying positive and looking ahead to the goal I want to achieve definitely helps me to keep my motivation up.
3. Creative Block
Working in the creative industry is incredible, it really is the most rewarding thing I could have hoped for. I get to do what I love for a living, however this can mean spontaneous moments of creativity are sometimes harder to come by when you are consumed with commercial client work. Whenever I have a creative block, I try to take myself away from the computer screen and go and do something completely different - a walk, watch a movie, coffee with friends or have a brain storm with Alex.
Finding the time and energy to work on personal projects which are purely for me and not for client work is important. I never want photography to become a stale and unfulfilling thing. This blog is such a fantastic platform for encouraging my creative juices to start flowing!
4. Taking Opportunities
When I first graduated from university, I was set on becoming a wedding photographer, however singing has always been a part of my life too. I had no idea that Alex and I would one day end up performing in an acoustic duo on board a Disney cruise ship! However trying new things is something I’ve been taught growing up and so I’ve always tried to give something ago, or grab an opportunity if it comes my way.
The past three years of business with Alex have proven what can happen if you have an open mind and go for something if you think it’s worth a shot. We often don’t have any idea where an opportunity will take us, but that’s the excitement in it. If you are not fixated on one final outcome or result, you stand more of a chance at success. If things don’t go the way you planned, you can always try something else instead of giving up.
Entering the big wide world as a freelancer, there is always the risk of it all going pear shaped, but the rewards are worth all the worry and hard work. Working together with Alex has made things a lot easier as we help each other through the stressful times and celebrate together when things go the way we had planned. The monetary reward of each gig is a great feeling but equally the sense of achievement and success after the job is complete matches that success too. Money is a big incentive when running your own business, however it isn't the only driving factor. Adventure, travel, developing our skills and achieving our goals are all huge driving factors too!