Freelancing is a joy, isn’t it? No boss, no annoying co-workers, no commute, and no dress code. The only trouble is… no paycheck.
In due time, if you stick with it, you will discover that, indeed, you have not gotten rid of your boss, but rather taken the boss’s place. You are your own boss, secretary, mail room clerk, purchaser, janitor, security guard, service tech, and marketer. More likely than not, you are your own annoying co-worker.
Here’s the habits (I’m not sure how many I’ll get to) of highly successful photographers:
They have a portfolio. They hone their craft by taking and saving stock images. You cannot just put up a sign and say you’re in business. You have to take some shots for free. In the old analog camera age, the cost of film was prohibitive, but now with digital cameras there is no excuse not to produce a body of work. It costs nothing but time, which you have a lot of with no business. Since photography is an art, follow the similar advice taken by artists in every field: resolve to practice your craft every single day. Every day, shoot one picture.
They have a web presence. Either their own website, or a free blog or even a MySpace or FaceBook page, but they are out there posting examples of their work. They have a professionally designed gallery put up. Thus, their work is viewable to a world-wide audience of potential customers.
They contribute work in exchange for a link back to their site. They recognize the publicity that donating shots to a charity, a Creative-Commons archive, or an open-source project can bring to their business.
They recognize that photography does not stop after your click the shutter. They are familiar with a wide variety of image processing software, and know how to use it effectively. They know that free software solutions are coming up to par with expensive ones, saving themselves thousands of dollars in overhead.
They market themselves. All of their relatives, neighbors, and contacts know what they do and who to refer clients to.
They look for work online. Sometimes they bid auction jobs on freelance websites, which are always looking for stock photography. They realize that while the money isn’t great, some little work for small pay is better than no work, and may lead to bigger and better work in the future.
Published here by Ray Baker author of Income from Photography.