Freelance so far
Each freelance career is different and today I want to share with you my experience so far in this ever-changing industry of blogging and social media.
It’s been over a year since I turned freelance. As soon as I returned from travelling I started this career, which while at university, was code word for unemployed. Ever since sixth form I think I’ve been striving towards being in a position to work for myself without realising and somehow I got here.
Steadily building contacts, honing my words for others and then taking the final step by launching my blog. A place to write what I wanted to write and photograph what I wanted to document… and over three years on from the very first post I’m now working on this full-time.
I consider myself fortunate to of been able to transition from university to blogging. So at 23, I wanted to share a few thoughts on my experience in freelancing. I’m by no means at the peak of where I want to be, but very much going through the joys and struggles that self-employment can bring.
Let me start with the positives. The people I’ve met, the opportunities I’ve been presented and the freedom freelancing allows. There’s no denying that freelancing can be incredible and at the moment I can happily say there isn’t any other job I’d swap it for. I’ve befriended so many incredibly talented and like-minded people that I might not of come across if it weren’t for the gateway of my blog. I’m able to travel for work, be flexible on when I work and see friends and family so much more as I can take my work on the road with me.
But there are certainly cons that come with working for yourself. When I’m busy I’m quite good at working through everything (I swear by to-do lists). When things slow down however, that’s when at times I can slack. I’m not the busiest or most in-demand person in this industry meaning things can get quiet, no matter how much I refresh my inbox. With the “I’m so busy”culture we live in I can hit a wall of questions and self-doubt… Am I not ready for freelance? Have I been kidding myself all along? Will I ever be able to afford a place to call my own? These doubts will always be there, but currently my living circumstances allow me to do this as a job and as long as it does, I should do the best I can with what I have. Sometimes freelance is all about perspective and being able to focus on yourself when things temporarily slow down.
Freelance is sometimes a game of balance and you have to decide what you value more. If I was employed I’d be able to consistently save towards a flat, but at the same time would I want to sacrifice the freedom that blogging has taken me while earning my own income. Sometimes the financially logical path isn’t the one to take, but the one that gifts you experiences along the way. At this moment in my career, I am itching to have a space to call my own, but I’ve learnt the skill of patience as I know I will get there in the job I’m in now, it just might take me a little longer and I’m now coming to terms with that.downicon
When doubt kicks in I think it’s important to try and reflect on the positives. I’ve built relationships with brands that only four years ago I was simply a customer. I feel that I’ve been able to make my blog and Instagram a small community. A place for young guys to enjoy and appreciate menswear. Without blowing my own trumpet, it’s a blog I’d of liked to of read when I was much younger rather than wasting hours on MSN.
And on the subject of wasting time, if I know I don’t have too much on I can stay in bed past 9am glued to my phone far too often. When things are quiet, freelancing can be difficult for a whole other set of reasons. Of late, I’ve struggled with utilising my time wisely. While I might have the time to perhaps work on admin, entertain long-term plans, new ideas and generally free up my headspace as much as possible before the next wave of work, I find that my motivation to do that isn’t there. This is something I need to get better at and with nobody telling you to get on with it, this is sometimes tough.
As a blogger there are ways you can perhaps entice a couple more brand deals here and there, but for the most part it’s about being able to tick over until the brand is ready to talk to you. Which, when you’re relatively small, is difficult. I’m by no means looking for sympathy, I’m actually quite confident in saying I believe my content is delivered to a high standard, but I might have joined the blog world a little too late to ride the initial wave.
I’m happy with what I’ve created and continue to carve out for myself. At the minute I’m only posting once a week, which I feel I really should be pushing to two. When this isn’t funded, it can be difficult. No new items to shoot, the need to often travel and to also commission a photographer. I do this occasionally, but at the minute I’m not in a financial position to do so every single week. So I’m currently thinking of ways I can bring more content to the blog while not sacrificing the standards I set myself, all from home. The end goal is to have a studio setup from within my future flat. Freelance poses just as many logistical problems as it does creative ones. New problems arise every day - big and small - and it’s about being able to cumulate together the skills you’ve learnt working for yourself, to tackle them.
By no means am I, or the blog a finished product, but I’m getting there. My freelance journey has definitely been a constant learning curve, but it’s one I’m enjoying being on for the most part. Being freelance is tough for a multitude of reasons, there’s no denying that, but it’s also the best job for a multitude of other reasons.jbicon