One of the best things you can do when you are first entering a field of work, is gather as much hands on experience as possible. For this reason, I suggest trying to book some freelance work when starting in the world of media. Not only is freelance work a great way to network, but it also gives you time to hone in on your skills.
I work as a freelancer producing videos and content for a handful of clients on the side of my normal day job. This has allowed me to grow my network and refine my skills. But be warned, there are some horror stories out there when it comes to freelancing so you are going to want to know a few things before heading out there.
Follow some of these tips and suggestions below to ensure you book the right freelancing gig!
1. THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP
Freelancing in the world of media should be about growing as a content creator. Mentorship is one of the best ways to learn quickly. Not only does a mentor teach you the in’s and out’s from someone who’s “been there”. But they also take pride in seeing their students succeed.
You know you have found the right mentor, when they feel like they have a stake in your success.
There are two things I have been working towards. One, being on some type of on-air position and two, expanding my blog. This is where the symbiotic relationships in freelance come into play.
Because I knew this about myself, I chose to reach out to of of my favorite morning show hosts. I now work with him on a frequent basis producing content for his social media. And I have also had the opportunity to see the behind the scenes at one of my favorite morning shows. This symbiotic relationship has allowed me to network and build a strong relationship with someone in the business.
The second freelance position I landed is equally as valuable to me. I now work with a successful young blogger downtown Toronto. I produce, shoot and edit her YouTube videos, and through this I have been learning about the blogging space in Toronto and how to grow my own platform.
Freelancing should be a win-win!
2. HONING IN ON SKILLS
It goes without saying, freelancing is about learning. But, it is also about sharpening skills you already have in your tool belt! I suggest freelancing in something you are already proficient at. This way you can enhance these skills and efficiently balance your time with the added workload. Not only that, but you are more likely to impress your client and form a strong relationship if you are confident in the majority your skills going in.
3. FLEXIBLE WORK HOURS
There is no doubt freelancing can turn into a full blown profession. However, if you are looking to freelance simply on the side of whatever else you are doing, make sure to keep the hours flexible. Freelancing should be fun! Try not to stress yourself out with too many commitments. I always make sure my clients know they are important to me, but they aren’t my number one focus. Furthering my personal career is the top of my list. With that being said, if I have to reschedule with a client they need to be flexible and understanding.
4. NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
There is no better way to network than actually showing someone how incredibly, amazing you are in your area of work. Networking is crucial if you want to further your career. When you freelance you have an opportunity to connect with your client on a deeper level. You become part of their creative process and you begin to take stake in the finished product. There is no telling where you can go if your client suggests you to fellow people in the business.
5. SPEAK YOUR MIND
Never forget that this is your work too. If you are uncomfortable in a situation or you think something could be done better, always speak your mind. From my own personal experience I can tell you, assertiveness is key in this industry.
The Example: When I started working with my first client, my job was very different than it is now. I was hired to create content, so it could be displayed on the rotating screens inside Canada’s largest fast-food chain.
The Pitfalls: In this job I was never in direct contact with my client and there were very strict parameters for how the content was to be created. This left little room for creativity. Because my client’s face was never actually in these segments, I saw very little value in them. After multiple drafts and quite the struggle, I ended up suggesting our efforts might be better spent elsewhere.
The Resolution: I suggested expanding his Facebook page and YouTube channel to build his personal brand identity. Though it may have seemed silly to pull out of such a large chain, it turned out to be the best move yet. The content we create now caters directly to his target market, utilizes his personality and amplifies his brand identity.
The Resolve: Now I get face to face time with my client and we have build a great relationship through sharing creative ideas and creating quite the buzz on his Facebook page. He also now owns all of this content.
Moral of the story, speak your mind because sometimes your client may not even know there are alternative options!
6. THE RIGHT FIT
Finding the right fit is important in so many aspects of life. And I’m not just talking about your favorite pair of jeans! The right fit can ensure you have a long and prosperous working relationship with a client. If you find you are not equip or well suited to work with a client, politely step away from the position. As mentioned earlier, forming relationships is incredibly important in the world of media. And it is just as important to avoid burning bridges!
Ideally you want to be able to share ideas, constructive criticism and your own personal goals and dreams with your client. If you feel like you cannot do these things, it might be time to reconsider if it is worth your time.
7. VALUE YOUR OWN WORK & CHARGE THE RIGHT PRICE
You are now a young professional in the field. You are no longer a student. This means you should be charging a decent rate for your work. Because you have gone to school and gained transferable skills you have earned the right to charge industry standard or just below.
I am guilty for wanting to give my clients a good rate or a deal and cutting myself short. Trust me when I say, you need to do your homework and research the right pricing for your work. Often clients have no idea what things cost, especially when it comes to video. This is where you need be well-informed so the relationship stays a win-win.
If you want to expand your skill set and build your portfolio quick I highly suggest seeking out some freelance work! Just remember your time is just as important as your clients. Don’t undervalue yourself when approaching freelancing work.
Please feel free to leave me a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions!
Wishing you only the best on this journey. Stay tuned for part three of BYOB!
Photos by Jenna MacDermaid