Whether you want to be a writer, a graphic designer, a painter, or just a self-employed photographer, you will be starting at some point. The starters are usually called beginners, a rookie with potential. Then you move to intermediate level and finally if you keep working on your craft you become a master.
The beginners in any field usually have the hardest time, because they are still greenhorns with no past achievement to motivate them or base their confidence on. All a beginner has is hope that things will get better.
It is only after a few wins that you begin to feel good about yourself and become more assured that you are on the right path.
You see, if you are a junior at work it can’t be that bad for you because you have senior guys with stripes who can show you the ropes. But if you are freelancing, it means you are your own master. That’s a big dilemma there…you can only rely on YouTube videos and websites like this for a little information here and there.
My friend Ree learned animation from YouTube, and he became a very talented animator.
I will be helping freelance writers here because I am a writer but some of the tips can be applied to any field. I have had a few questions from people on how to freelance. I am not the guy to go to in this field but I have a few ideas. I know writers who make way more than me. And so whether you are employed and you decide to sell some of those skills to other areas out of work, you will be freelancing on the low, which is still okay.
Here are some quick tips for freelancing;
How to charge as a freelancer? Charges depend on the client.
Who is the client? That is what you consider when pricing. If you are writing or photographing for just a regular individual with a small budget, then play on a small budget but if the client is a big company, move up the fees. There is no specific rate card for a freelancer, someday you can be paid 1k for a job, another day you can be paid 10k for just the same job.
I am sure an accountant in a startup doesn’t make the same as one in a multinational…they are all doing similar work, no big difference. It is just the name and assets that their employers hold that differs.
Be good even if you are starting out
There is a misconception that a beginner is someone without enough finesse. Maybe in some cases but that is not entirely true. Most beginners in a field like writing were just writing for fun for a long time before they begin to commercialize their craft. If you are a photographer who has been taking pictures at their free time and just editing for fun, when you decide to take yourself seriously and put a price on your work, that’s when we say you are starting but that is not correct considering that you have been doing it for ages in the background. Beginners here doesn’t mean novice, it means the first time you are showcasing your talents to the world and charging people for it.
Nobody wants to hire a first time writer to practice on their work. Even a doctor starts operating in medical school before he goes to the field so think of it from that angle.
If you are to go to a barbershop today and the stylist tells you it is his first time working on someone’s hair, I am sure you won’t accept it unless you are just one big ignoramus. The guy can mess up your look.
This is a significant tip; it can’t be your first time. In some cases, clients say “no newbies please”. This is because newbies just screw them up all the time. The trick is to practice behind the scenes until you get good then come on stage ready to perform. You just know what you are doing even if it is your first time.
Who is your favorite rapper? Most rappers were just free styling in the streets for years before they started recording mix-tapes and finally started doing albums. You can see the progress. Your favorite rappers sound different in their first freestyles before they became megastars. In fact, I prefer rappers when they are starting; most of them get rusty as they become big and comfortable.
Focus on both the quality and quantity of work
Pablo Picasso painted a lot; we are talking about over 50,000 paintings. And thus you can imagine the kind of work you need to get good. And I later learned that in 60 percent of his work, he was imitating other painters. He hadn’t found himself yet. A beginner is still in the try-outs with no one to look up to but a few role models he has in mind.
It is like the way kids learn, by imitating their parents and teachers. However, you still have to find your style and flow with it. You can’t just be copying people’s styles and call it your own. I am sure you can see my writing sounds different from other bloggers you are used to. Well, I found this style by reading a lot of work from different writers and then putting those things I learn in my own words.
The more you output, the more you learn and with time you develop an eye for quality. You might have talent but you still need a crazy catalog. Develop strong work ethics like Chris Brown.
Own your work
Just put your name on it. Let it be about something. Do a great job and even copyright it if you want, however, most of your ideas won’t be that unique unless you are a genius. Someone somewhere has probably thought of what you are painting or writing or selling. It’s just that we have to live with each other in peace. Legends can still live harmoniously without fighting.
My lawyer friend told me copyright does not protect your ideas; it protects the expression of ideas. That’s why you have heard reggae versions of songs like ‘gambler’, or Swahili version of Adele’s ‘hello’.
You see something like research, the purpose of the research is to add to knowledge and not create new knowledge. It is usually based on what has been done before…however, research still ends up coming with new information. You can study how other masters in your field do their works and create your own.
I believe you should just be doing your things as opposed to imitating people’s work all the time. Don’t lack originality. It is still very important. It is what brands are made of…uniqueness. Create a sound of your own instead of being a copycat. And as much as you create your style, don’t be predictable.
Talent is not enough
You can be the most talented at whatever you are doing but you still need to be good with people. You still have to work like crazy and put your name out there. You still have to market yourself aggressively among competitors.
Talent is good but no one will know you have them if you don’t show them. Not just show them but show them the right way. Most of these products we use are not usually the best in quality but their manufacturers have made a lot of effort in marketing them to the world.
There are great products that are just lying on the shelves because of poor marketing. So the wrapping and the gift are both important in hustling. Be good and still do a good job selling yourself. Let me quote a guy called hector who says “don’t be something you are not but at the same time don’t be a poor marketer”.
There’s luck in this thing
You can create your luck by working hard and showing up many times. Let everyone know that you are a photographer or a writer. And at the same time pray for better luck or just believe you are lucky and you will get it.
People are important, the smartest man is one who makes a lot of friends and manages egos properly lest he finds himself without any help. Don’t ignore people because you have talent. You will be shooting yourself in the foot.
I once hit on some chic while just moving around town and during the introduction stages I told her I am a writer. A week later she told me the company she works for needs a freelance writer and that’s how I got that gig…now that’s luck and I was also prepared for the luck by having the right skills. I still had to write a test article to get the gig so her input alone was not enough.
I can say I am also very talkative, had I not talked to her it would have been a lost cause, so you see, many factors were at play there…market yourself, perfect your skills, and just know people. Force yourself to know people even if you don’t want to. It helps a lot.
Above all, I wish you the best things that this good life has to offer!