Maybe you're just curious about Content Creation. Maybe you've started to get the itch to do something different. Maybe you've already made the leap but are feeling lost about what's next. Whatever it is, I know firsthand that jumping into something new is hard and confusing and at times, overwhelming! While I would not consider myself an expert by any means, I've spent the last year and a half navigating the path to being my own boss, and going freelance with Content Creation.
Here are my TOP 5 TIPS!
1. INSTAGRAM IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.
Seriously. This is where it happens. It's your portfolio, it's how people find you, AND it gives you a chance to put into action the skills you'll be selling to someone else- creating content worth looking twice at! The great thing about Instagram is it allows you to share your work with others, and see in real time what people do and don't react to, as well as meet friends and potential clients. Don't make the mistake of thinking you need to wait to "really go after it" once you have some paying clients and the work from that to share... start creating now and share THAT! On that note...
2. CREATE A TON OF STUFF
There's that Ira Glass quote I love, and I'm paraphrasing, but it basically says: We all suck at first. The only way to get better is to do lots of work. Over time, your eye gets sharper, your experience is richer, and you get better. I feel like the work I do this month is better than the work I did last month and the month before that and so on... Sometimes I set out to create something and it fails. Sometimes I set out with nothing particular in mind and I'm blown away with what shapes up. I feel like you need to do this, on a daily basis, to continue growing. Don't let your lack of clients or experience stop you- create just to create and keep going. Bonus: The more you create, the more you have for your portfolio.
3. INVEST WHAT YOU CAN IN YOUR EQUIPMENT
I know there are probably some different schools of thought on this, and that's ok. When I first started playing around with photography, I had an old and very basic DSLR. It worked and it was great for practice and totally fine for testing the waters to see if this was something I really wanted to do. But once I knew that this wasn't just a passing interest, and embarked on a professional path with it, I wanted to upgrade my equipment. The thing is, with paid photography, there are always different requests to zoom in on a part of a picture, crop this into that, adjust that, get your hand in the photo, etc etc etc. Once I started shooting with better equipment, I was amazed at how much better the photos looked. Having some decent equipment (a lens or two, a good camera, a tripod, Photoshop) allows you to take higher quality photos and have more options. It doesn't have to be super pricey either! Start small- a lens upgrade here, a new camera body when you can afford it... it will pay off in the quality of your work.
4. IN THE BEGINNING, SOMETIMES ITS OK TO WORK FOR FREE (OR AT LEAST LESS)
Most people will tell you the exact opposite! And once you've been honing your skills for a while and working hard and creating quality work, yes, duh, you'd be a fool to work for free. But charging a lot when you're first starting out can backfire- people that might want to hire you can be nervous if you don't have a lot of experience or a full portfolio. And some of the best long-term partnerships I've had are because at one point, I agreed to work for free or a reduced rate. If it's work that's truly inspiring, it can be a good way to prove your value and get your foot in the door with a great client. Think of a Yelp review (haha)- if two businesses are equally priced but one has a ton of reviews and the other has none, which would you feel more comfortable going with? Earn your "reviews", gain experience, do some inspiring creative work for a little less than you'd like. If you're dedicated, it will pay off.
5. MAKE FRIENDS
It can be hard to see what "everyone else" is doing- So many fun projects! So many great clients! Hey, I had that same idea but they did it first! And sometimes it is easier + better to focus on your own work and plug ahead. But I can tell you that some of the greatest creative friends I have are ones that do the exact same work. It feels so good to bounce ideas off someone that "gets" it, or commiserate when something doesn't go well. They understand the job and the struggles and your goals. And you know what? It's also helpful for networking! You never know who knows who or will recommend you for what. Don't stay so far in your lane that you don't know who's out there! Comment and interact with others on Instagram who inspire you, take the time to visit their blogs or see their work, and create your own network of creative friends.
I hope you found this helpful! I'd love to hear your feedback- EMAIL ME and let me know! :)