OK, I’ll own up, I missed last weeks Freelance Friday post. Perhaps not the best of starts and it does leave me with a 50/50 track record so far but, in my defense, I had a job so I’m allowed to skip a post…
The opening post in this series was a bit leftfield, discussing how photographers can stay fit and healthy and the benefits it brings. This offering is more in tune with the life of a freelancer – quiet times. It’s something we all go through and depending on your perspective (or bank balance) can be a blessing or a curse in equal measures. For example last month, June, I was really busy to the point where I didn’t really have time to catch up with my accounts, work on my site or chase contacts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to get work and earn decent money, but there are limitations to how much you can do during your busy times. You can work 14 hours a day but both productivity and creativity suffer drastically as a consequence.
On to July though and my diary is telling a dramatically different story. I’m much quieter and, in fact, last month will probably subsidise this month to an extent. This is where, for most freelancers, that gnawing doubt starts creeping in. What if I don’t go back to June’s highs? What if my good months were a blip and this is the industry? What if all my clients have found better/cheaper photographers?
Worrying isn’t helpful (although you could argue it keeps you grounded) so let’s look at the positives of being quiet. Firstly you don’t have to be ‘quiet’. Freelancers are always working (or never working…) so just because you’re not out shooting doesn’t mean you’re not busy. I’ve worked more on my site, blog and other marketing in the last few weeks than the last few months put together. All my accounts are now up to date which, I’ll admit, isn’t *that* much fun but it’s a vital part of business. This also has the benefit of keeping you aware of the whole year to date and you’re really doing. A good month and a bad month will mean two average months which, in the grand scheme of things, is fine. I’ll make this point over and over again – photography is a life long career so a quiet month is certainly not the end of the world.
Quiet is a state of mind. If you’re the type of photographer who only ‘works’ when the phone rings then the periods of silence are deafening. But your career will progress more from making the most of these times rather than waiting and hoping for a commission. Enjoy the quiet but use it wisely.