By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide

Being a freelancer comes with many appealing attributes. You can work in your casual clothes, make your own hours, customize your project options (to a point), and work from a variety of remote locations whenever you want. While the attractive benefits associated with freelancing are many, there are some drawbacks, too. Then there are some common perceptions that are totally mythical in nature.

If you’ve always wanted to go solo and enter the world of freelancing, don’t let the fears or myths hold you back from achieving your dreams. Here are 4 myths about being a full-time freelancer and why you should ignore them.

1. No financial stability

Many people shy away from spreading their wings to run their own businesses because they are afraid there won’t be any financial security. However, in many ways, freelancers command a better ability to adapt with the times because they have more control over their earning potential. For instance, marketability can be expanded by:

  • Learning new skills
  • Broadening existing skill sets
  • Committing to ongoing self-education as trends change
  • Developing multiple income streams

While it’s true there may be times of “feast or famine” in the life of a freelancer, if you’re strategic about it, you can ensure yourself a steady flow of income. While there is always a risk involved, if you think about it, there is a risk associated with any type of job. Companies downsize, others shutter their doors, or jobs become outdated and, ultimately, obsolete — so why not invest your efforts into something you love, where you can take charge?

2. Working from home is easy

One huge stereotype about freelancers is they have an easy lifestyle and don’t have to work as hard as people in “real jobs” do. But in reality, that’s all it is: a stereotype. And that’s a good reason why you should totally disregard this particular myth. Consider the following challenges freelancers face.

  • Interruptions. People often feel it’s OK to call or come by, thinking the freelancer is available to chat or go to lunch at any given time. It’s harder for freelancers to get work done because of the constant interruptions that tend to occur when working from home. Solution: Set hours, make them known to others, and stick to them.
  • No paid time off. It’s true that freelancers have the ability to set their own hours, but they can’t just take paid time off whenever they want. There is no “paid time off” — if they don’t work, they don’t get a paycheck. It’s easy when you can fill out a form, tell your boss you’re taking a personal day, and still earn pay for the day, but not so easy for the freelancer.
  • Intense responsibility.  Many freelancers not only work full-time, but they may also even put in more hours than for the typical 9-to-5 job. They’re responsible for networking, procuring new business, meeting deadlines, making sure they get paid, and figuring their self-employment taxes.

Countering these challenges, the flexibility associated with freelancing is a definite perk, as is the satisfaction of running your own business. However, achieving a healthy work-life balance is harder than you might think. That being said, if you put yourself in a business frame of mind, set goals, and establish a routine and stick to it, freelancing can lead to an incredible career choice and lifestyle.

3. No boss to report to

Freelancing doesn’t have the traditional hierarchical structure of a corporate entity, and most freelancers are indeed their own bosses. However, “freelancer” doesn’t mean “free for all.” They are still accountable to others — and, in that way, they have to juggle many “bosses” at once.

Freelancers also must establish a firm level of self-discipline and savvy if they want to succeed. In the face of all that freedom, their careers still depend on performing services for other people, which means they routinely have deadlines to meet, quantities to produce, and endless details to manage. And in businesses where they create, publicize, or sell their designs or products, freelancers must also be sure to secure the rights to that intellectual property.

While those sound like downsides, they aren’t really. Freelancers can exercise greater control over negotiations and approaches to find mutually workable solutions that satisfy themselves and clients. Additionally, they get to work with different people all the time, which can be a fun experience, along with gaining some great networking opportunities.

4. Freelancing is a lonely career choice

Freelancing is a lonely life? Mostly a myth. Depending on the nature of their work, freelancers are more than likely routinely communicating with clients, customers, project managers, suppliers, vendors (if, for example, storage space is needed for inventory or supplies, or materials need to be printed), and, at times, even other freelancers.

Many freelancers also act as contractors, which means they work within the office setting of their clients. While there can be a definite level of solitude working as a freelancer (again, depending on the nature of work), it can be as social or solitary as desired. Solopreneurs who find it to be too difficult working alone can establish themselves in a co-working situation, get active on social media, join local small business groups, or attend networking events.

Freelancing is a great way to run your own business in a way that suits you. You can design your gigs in a way that ignites your passion. And rather than be cooped up in a cubicle all day, you can set the tone of your workday, for the most part,  in a location of your choosing.

Regardless of your skills or passions, if you’ve ever wanted to be a freelancer, why not make the leap? Currently, there are about 57 million Americans living the “gig economy” dream, and more are expected to join in the very near future. If you’ve always wanted to try running your own business, there’s never been a better time.

Laura Gayle is a full-time blogger who has ghostwritten more than 350 articles for major software companies, tech startups, and online retailers. Founder of www.BusinessWomanGuide.org, she created her site to be a trusted resource for women trying to start or grow businesses on their own terms. She has written about everything from crowdfunding and inventory management to product launches, cybersecurity trends, web analytics, and innovations in digital marketing.

 

Raleigh Wedding by Dave Shay

One of the top wedding and commercial photographers in Raleigh, Dave Shay has created a strong brand identity in both the wedding and commercial world. He’s an ambassador for MagMod, former technician for Leica and FujiFilm, and he spends his time when not working for Dave Shay Photography or Táve teaching photographers how to build better systems for their businesses.  Raleigh Wedding by Dave Shay

Images courtesy of Dave Shay Photography

What Is It That You Do?

Your business probably does more than one thing. Are you making it clear to your customers what exactly it is that you do?

What Are We Telling Our Customers?

Branding and the visual representation is more important now than it has ever been. In a visual marketplace, consumers have access to hundreds of options at a glance. You need to stand out and prove your value immediately. When you start off a single business with one goal this is easy, but if your business offers multiple services this can get confusing quickly. How do you create the ideal sales pipeline for a client looking for one of your services when you offer them so many? Are you giving your clients confidence that you’re the right fit for their job, or are you just shouting all the things you do at them?

Isolating Your Voice

Dividing pieces of your business that compete against each other for attention into their own brands gives you the opportunity to market yourself as an expert in that one area and lock your target client without making them

Raleigh Headshot Photographer

sort through a bunch of material never intended for them to see.

You get one chance to book each client. Make sure they’re being presented with the information they need and nothing more.

The first question you have to deal with is how far do you take this? Do I need separate Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Instant Messenger, and Fax Number for every facet of my business? The short answer is, yes… If you hate having free time. Otherwise, probably not. Isolate the different places that those clients are most likely to find you, and create from there. For some, this will mean two separate websites, for others it means a LinkedIn profile that directs to a different page on your website. For my commercial and wedding businesses, it meant two separate websites and appearances completely. If you’re looking to get into commercial photography, one of the best things I can share with you is that commercial clients don’t want a wedding photographer. They want someone specialized in dealing with corporations. By dedicating a website just to handle my commercial clients, they see me as an expert.

Commercial clients don’t want a wedding photographer.

A good rule of thumb on this is that if your services can add on to each other, you can keep them together. If they don’t overlap, they should be separate. If I’m selling corporate headshots, wedding photography, and a wedding GIF booth, there’s a good chance that my wedding clients will book a GIF booth. While possible, it’s very unlikely that they’ll book me for a corporate shoot the same time as their wedding. Since those two services can compete for attention, I’ll make sure they’re separated to strengthen each brand individually.

Appearances Matter

One of the biggest mistakes clients make when they book their clients is thinking that the appearance doesn’t matter at this point. They want to book with us, so we’re good. Maintaining a consistent brand throughout the entire process is essential to confirming yourself as the expert. One of the biggest reasons I chose Táve as my studio manager, was their ability to have multiple looks to the different brands inside of my account. Being able to send over a booking link specifically branded for my commercial clients, and send a softer branded quote full of wedding images to a bride moments later was a game-changer for me. The identity that my commercial client became accustomed to after viewing my website and portfolio was strengthened when my contracts and invoices had the same design to them. I even had a commercial client tell me that they’d be working with me going forward just because I wasn’t ‘one of those wedding people’, despite the fact that I very much am one of those wedding people.

Growing Your Business

Adding a second brand in Táve took me a few minutes at most to upload the images and get everything together. The real power of doing a second brand in my Táve account came when I was able to use the advanced reporting Táve offers. By breaking down profit and loss, lead sources, and product sales by each brand, I was able to see how to strengthen and grow each branch of my business individually and as a whole.

Wrap Up

While it’s not going to be the right move for everyone, separating your services into separate brands is something that’s worth looking into. Take some time, study the services you offer, and make sure your voice to your clients is clear and concise. Once you’ve got your brands figured out, take some time to use the tools from a studio manager like Táve to build your business to the best it can be.

Looking to set up your branding in Táve? Head here to learn more.

You can learn more about Raleigh Wedding Photographer Dave Shay at www.daveshay.com or on his instagram @daveshay.

 

Leeann Marie

One of the leading wedding photographers in Pittsburgh, Leeann Marie has created an exclusive brand that is family focused for the cosmopolitan bride. She’s a national speaker for WPPI, has been in business for 9 years, and has a background in Industrial Engineering giving her a unique perspective on photography and business.  She photographs 25-30 weddings per year and only does office/admin work two days a week. Learn how Táve makes that possible for her. 

When I first started my wedding photography business, I had (what seemed like) an endless amount of time to work on my ideas, edits, and communication. I was out networking, writing blog post after blog post, managing social media like a pro, and mailing and receiving contracts.

Then life happened. I realized that sitting in my office for hours and hours on end was not doing any good for myself, my body, or my marriage. I needed a break! Add on top of that two kids in the past four years, and I really need my business to work for me instead of working for it!

Taking the time to invest in systems and tools that would help me succeed proved to be more and more important as my business (and family!) grew, and now I’m at a place where I have two small kids at home and only have office hours two days a week. I photograph 25-30 weddings a year still, and have received compliment after compliment about how well I prepare my brides for their wedding day, and how quickly their images are sent to their inbox.

And how has Táve stepped in to help? There are a million and one ways, but here I’ll outline some of the big places that I’m using their amazing technology to make my life easier and my business successful.

Read more

Managing a business is no easy feat and can quickly become overwhelming. One key to being successful is to ensure you have organizational tools in place to help you keep your priorities on track. To assist you with this, we reached out to ShootDotEdit, who helps professional photographers streamline their wedding photography business by taking post production off their plate.

When you decided to go into business, what was it about a photography career that enticed you? For many, it’s because they love shooting and creating memorable images for clients. But did you know that only about 12% of your time is actually spent on shooting? The remaining 88% of your time is spent on marketing, accounting, sales, networking, and more. And even though you started your business to fulfill your passion of photography, you actually signed up to be a business person for most of the time!

For you to focus on the things you love to do in your business, you must maintain organization and free yourself from the tasks that hold you back. Below, we have 4 tips to share that will help you get organized in your business this year.

1. Create a System for Email Communication

Since up to 30% of your work week is dedicated to organizing and sending emails in your inbox, it’s imperative you create a system for email communication. When your communication techniques are organized, it becomes easier for you to reach out to potential clients and business partners. Each morning, filter through your inbox, and prioritize and delegate the emails you have to others on your team.

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Another way to create a system for your email communication is to use templated emails, like these 49 customizable templates for wedding photographers, created in conjunction with Táve! When you use email templates, you no longer have to write out messages every time you need to communicate with a client or vendor (which will save you hours each year).

2. Write, Upload, and Schedule in Advance

Both social media and your blog are platforms you must stay active on to connect with current and future clients. To maintain consistency, you must post on social media and your blog regularly. Rather than writing blog posts, Tweets, and Facebook posts right before you want to post them, create time in your schedule to write them for the month.

From there, schedule each in advance using programs such as WordPress or Hootsuite. When you schedule in advance, you will not need to worry about remembering to actively post each day at the right time. Your stress will lower, and you can plan out exactly what you want to share on each social platform in advance.

3. Outsource Non-Profit Generating Tasks

While it may seem easier to do everything on your own since you know your business best, it’s challenging to achieve your goals while doing so. It can be challenging to let go of areas of your business, but to stay organized and grow, you must outsource tasks that do not generate additional profit for your business. These are tasks like color correction, billing and accounting, and album and website design.

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Image Compliments of Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

For example, ShootDotEdit helps you with your wedding photo editing needs, Táve assists you with managing and organizing your business, and Fotoskribe implements advanced SEO techniques on your images and blog. When you trust others with tasks in your business that do not increase your profit, you can spend that time on other areas that require your immediate attention.

4. Maintain an Organized Calendar

Although it’s a simple tool, a calendar will be your best friend to help you maintain organization in your business. Having a visual of all your shoots and clients will be a lifesaver when you are trying to figure out when you can squeeze in some time for coffee to nurture a vendor relationship. Use a calendar that is easily accessible and syncs to your phone and computer, so you always have the most updated schedule. The last thing you want to do is double-book yourself for a wedding!

Tip: You can also use a content calendar to stay organized with your upcoming blog posts, social media, and email campaigns. The calendar will give you clear insight into what you have scheduled, so you consistently share your images and resources.

By keeping your business organized, you will be able to focus on areas of your business that you want to optimize and grow. For additional ways to organize and grow your business, download our Guide, How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business!

With your schedule chock full of weddings, thinking about the holidays (let alone, holiday portrait sessions) may be the last thing on your mind (holiday season is months away, right?). Between constant shoots and fulfilling client orders, adding another project to your plate might not be on your agenda.

What if we told you we have a solution for a way that you can plan and organize holiday portrait sessions, without doing much at all… a way to streamline this entire planning process and all you had to do was press “send” on the emails…

Holiday Session Email Templates for the Wedding Photographer

Do you remember our 49 Email Templates we shared with you? Now, we have the perfect set of templates dedicated to holiday sessions that take the guesswork out of the entire process!  Our templates, created in conjunction with ShootDotEdit and France Photographers, help:

  • Make client communication a breeze with a streamlined process
  • Announce, book, and deliver holiday sessions with minimal effort
  • Provide additional income for your business during the off-season

Download the Holiday Email Templates to get started today!

These go hand-in-hand with Táve’s Quick Responses. Just go to Settings › Quick Responses and copy over these new templates to use right away!

 

Not yet a Táve user? Want to check out Táve to see how it can change your business? Use the following coupon code at the time of registering for your new trial just for ShootDotEdit users to get 20% off your month-to-month subscription for the first year*: SHOOTDOTEDIT20

*New users only