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View Full Version : Hol-eee Guacamole I quit a perfectly functional job! Any tips on freelance livin?



TheDynamo
08-14-2008, 03:30 PM
In an attempt to rekindle the creative energy I thought long lost, I have quit my previous place of employment (effective Aug. 29th) in the search for freelance work. I am honored to ask the experienced members of the forum if they can provide any tips for a first-time freelancer like myself and thus help many more like me :) Pretty please?

My (very simple) website: http://www.houghtonmedia.com

-Rob

shrox
08-14-2008, 03:51 PM
In an attempt to rekindle the creative energy I thought long lost, I have quit my previous place of employment (effective Aug. 29th) in the search for freelance work. I am honored to ask the experienced members of the forum if they can provide any tips for a first-time freelancer like myself and thus help many more like me :) Pretty please?

My (very simple) website: http://www.houghtonmedia.com

-Rob

Oh my gosh you are doomed!

RebelHill
08-14-2008, 03:57 PM
get a reel or portfolio online....

spam like crazy.....

do one bad deed everyday, the universe rewards cruelty.

adamredwoods
08-14-2008, 04:30 PM
You will live and die by your reel.

Make it THE BEST.

Also, get an office. Pay for one if you have to. I used to freelance in a co-op shared office space with other freelancers. DOn't know how many are in Portland, but there are a few in SF.

And last, network, network, network.

TheDynamo
08-14-2008, 04:43 PM
spam like crazy.....

Would it help if I titled each e-mail....

Graphically E X P L I C I T Motion Graphics Hot 4 U? ;)

I'm sure it would get some response, heheh.

-Rob

LW_Will
08-15-2008, 12:57 AM
No... Do not spam.

is your reel from newest to oldest?? It should be. Who's going to look at your old stuff when the back of the reel is newer and brighter? I like the stuff at the end.

One thing I would do it is to get the phone book, find every place that does what you do (Video Production, Commercial, Film, Post Houses, etc.) and get them a reel, a resume, and your face. Walk in cold. I met some really cool guys that way. Might help you out.

virtualcomposer
08-15-2008, 09:12 AM
Wow, you went cold turkey without having work lined up? That's a big risk. I think, personally would have been a good idea is to work at getting freelance business while working a day job and once the business became more and more successful, then quite, unless of course you have a huge savings and can live off that for a while. I like what LW_Will said in doing the reel and resume thing. Even if 2 out of 50 want you to do something for them, word of mouth is a great advertisement and if you do an incredible job, they'll want you to do more for them plus they probably will recommend you to other companies and people as well. Spamming only makes people mad. Don't do it. Be as warm and human as possible.

cohominous
08-15-2008, 10:15 AM
Wow. Steady gig to freelance... that takes some guts.

You know, I read an article a while back that said the biggest difference between millionaires and non-millionaires were that the millionaires took that chance. They weren't afraid to give it a go and see what shook loose.

I did the freelance thing for many years and did pretty well at it. But in the end I succumbed to stability and was lured in by a corporate publicly traded company. I used to get most of my clients through word of mouth and was generally too busy to promote myself. I ended up sub-contracting guys for the work that I either didn't want to do or was too busy to do. It's nice to make money while you're working on something else...

Anyway, adamredwoods speaks the truth. Make your reel/portfolio the best. Make it only as long as it has to be - and only include your BEST work. Skip over the "kinda cool" thing you did two years ago just to fill up some time. There are tons of "kinda cool" artists out there.

And be passionate. Show them you do this because you LOVE doing it, not just because it pays the bills. They aren't just buying your work, they're buying into YOU.

TheDynamo
08-15-2008, 10:36 AM
Wow, you went cold turkey without having work lined up? That's a big risk. I think, personally would have been a good idea is to work at getting freelance business while working a day job and once the business became more and more successful, then quite, unless of course you have a huge savings and can live off that for a while.

It was a measured risk I hope. I was at a position where the day job demanded so much energy that I was creatively and physically exhausted by the end of the day and week. I would say that my skill levels are deep enough that it makes it very difficult for my current employer to replace me. As an end result, my first freelance client is the place I quit from and I have left on good terms with them after being there for 5 years. They have booked me for the entirety of next month and I have 3 months saved up in case of a slow time (an amount that will fluctuate without a doubt).

The reason why I chose to go freelance are twofold:

1) The flexibility of what I can do will open new doors and hopefully new career options. I would really love to get into visual effects and I really enjoy compositing/rotoscoping, I have become quite good at it. I can work remotely and on-site with the tools I have.

2) I have never done this before. Sure, I've moonlighted from time to time while employed when I had energy to do so. But I wanted to try and go out on my own power and see what I could achieve. Call it an overactive entrepreneurial bug that's been biting me for 2 years now.

Ultimately I realized that I have stopped growing at work and needed to give my self the proverbial kick in the tuckus. This is the first time that I really have left an employer with no real bad feelings.

If I can figure out how to promote myself up and down the west coast as well, that would be an evolutionary step.

-Rob

Nangleator
08-15-2008, 11:13 AM
In order to be a good freelance anything, you also need to be a good salesman. Until the work keeps you too busy, spend all your free time lining up clients. Cold calls, mailings, networking and burning NO bridges.

I was in your situation in 2003. I did poorly. I'm a bad salesman and my chosen customer base was corporations that needed to advertise their products. My chief problem, beyond being a bad salesman, was that people simply didn't believe what I offered was possible. I showed samples and I gave quotes, and they still didn't believe they could afford me.

Eventually, if you feel you need to get back to a regular day job, then really differentiate yourself. A job posting today typically draws in hundreds of applications. Stand out from the crowd.

adamredwoods
08-15-2008, 11:39 AM
Another word of suggestion on beginning freelancing:

If you are struggling with income and the jobs aren't flowing, beware of your pride, but don't lose hope. In other words, get a job-- any job-- to stabilize yourself: even if its at Border's (which I hear pays health insurance to part-timers).

Working part-time jobs also helps network. You NEVER know who you might meet, especially if you tell people what it is you do. Plus, it keeps that income level healthy. You can also adjust your workload around your part-time job.

You don't want to be desperate for clients. It'll hurt your performance and judgment.

Maxx
08-15-2008, 01:41 PM
I agree with adamredwoods - grab yourself an enjoyable part-time gig or two. I run my own web/graphic design company and wait tables on the side. The waiting tables brings in some much-needed disposable cash and lets me talk to different people on a regular basis - something that sitting at home working by and for myself didn't allow. Plus you never know who you'll be dealing with next at that part time job - they may need work soon...

Nangleator
08-15-2008, 01:55 PM
If you can type and do spreadsheets, being a temporary secretary can get you in front of a lot of people, too. Particularly if you take jobs in marketing departments and such. Just don't show off your reel on the first day! Impress them or befriend them first.