For Your Consideration: Freelance

This article is not a guide or a how to on freelance. These are views and opinions expressed through my experience.

If you told younger me that I was going to be where I am today I probably wouldn’t believe you. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. The path I planned to take after my Associates degree was architecture. Somehow along the way to my Bachelor’s degree I ended up in the entertainment industry. My passion for building and creating is how I think editing came into my life.

My career in editing started in syndicated television roughly 8 years ago. I did 4 seasons on 2 shows before venturing out of post-production for a bit. I was young, I had Hollywood in my eyes, and I said, “Yes” to practically any opportunity that came my way. I worked as a field producer, set PA, casting assistant, wardrobe assistant, motion graphic designer, and background actor (Yes, for realsies). All of that random work helped me create a network. That was the pedestal to my career as a freelancer. It was not easy, it was not always fun, and I sometimes had to start from the bottom all over again, but it was my curious ambition that fueled me.

Being full-time freelance is flexible, challenging, exhilarating, scary, demanding – it’s like a regular job except you’re your own boss/business. With that being said, freelance isn’t for the shy or the quiet because a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. Ya feel me? Being your own boss sounds great (and it is), but it’s also a lot of work. You’re doing all the cool, fun work you expect to be doing, and you’re also doing the tedious, dirty work you didn’t expect to be doing; like expenses, assets, contracts, taxes, insurance, etc. I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man. You make at least 40% more money being freelance compared to being employed. This also means uncle Sam gets his “fair” share of your income because self-employed peeps pay more taxes than employed peeps. Hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Freelance isn't for everyone. Like who? The people who rely on stability, comfort, routine, and security. I’m none of those things. I’m a…I’m a…I’m a hustla, homie. I recommend freelance for creatives. If the thought of leaving your stable and secure job scares you, but you're aching for that creative freedom then try freelancing on the side (or maybe you just need a creative outlet?). "I don't think I'll have time to freelance", "I'm usually tired after work and just want to relax", "I have so much other things to do", "I already work XX amount of hours at my job" If you say any of these then maybe freelance isn't for you because you can't afford excuses when you're freelance.

The thing I like about freelance is being able to work on different projects with different people and different companies. My work and my services is extended past the limitations of working under one person or one company. There’s a type of creative freedom about it, and truthfully, creative freedom is intoxicating. This is also how you build your network. You’re making connections with these companies through these people on all these different projects. This brings me to the most commonly asked question, “How do you find work/clients?” Honestly, it’s because I’m a boss ass bitch. Just kidding. I mostly get work through references from my network, but I also put myself out there, too. Don’t expect the work to always come to you. That won't get you far. You better work it! You see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work.

It’s so important to invest in yourself; website, portfolio, business cards, classes. You gotta pay to play. You also need to think about your competition. Other freelancers are trying to reach for the same clients and work as you. "Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you." (Mark Cuban, 2011) But don't go burning bridges and Hulking out when someone gets the project you bid for. Sometimes that competition ends up being your reference, your network, and/or your co-worker (on projects). The freelance community is sparse and you're always crossing paths with other freelancers.

Freelance requires a lot of focus and self-discipline. It’s so easy to push work aside when you don’t have to clock in and clock out. Just keep in mind that time is money and your income is based on these projects. You don’t always have to take in every project that sits on your face either. Being able to control your workload, have a flexible schedule, and work from anywhere is what makes freelance awesome. While freelance sounds like the ultimate dream job it doesn't happen overnight. It’s still a job that has you climbing that career ladder. What’s at the top? Where you see yourself. *mic drop*

There's so much more I could have said, but this is only the surface and we all work differently. My views would also be biased towards the entertainment industry.

Pros: flexible work schedule, better income, work from anywhere, work/life balance, creative freedom

Cons: unstable, no paid vacation/no PTO, isolation, odd work days/hours, no security