Hello. Here’s another post from me – a Lincoln School of Media Student.
I became a freelancer completely by accident and it was never something I considered as part of plan. I had a BBQ in summer 2012 and a girl who I was once friends with in high school turned up and got talking to me asking the standard generic question ‘so, how’s uni?’… I got chatting about it and she started telling me about the business she and her mum have, Happiness Millionaire, she mentioned that they were looking to create some short videos to ultimately make into a mobile app and asked if I fancied doing it? Since it was to be the first time I’d independently produced any form of film related work I said I’d happily do it free of charge as I’d use it as an opportunity to learn some new skills.
Looking back I was extremely fortunate that my first freelancing project was for an old friend as this allowed me to confidently voice my opinions and concerns and also get things wrong. These are things that are inevitably going to happen anyway but it gave me a great deal of comfort knowing they were my friends and I didn’t have to put on a fake and unconvincing professional smile the whole time.
After successfully producing these short videos we began discussing further film based material that could benefit their business and talk turned to a DVD… to cut a long story short we spent the rest of the summer starting work on this DVD, filming in Malham and Cornwall and producing work that I’m still really proud of! The DVD is still a working progress because Happiness Millionaire are up to many things at the moment.
At this point I still didn’t consider myself a freelancer or refer to myself as one. But on a trip to Norwich to film Janet (Happiness Millionaire) at a Yes! Group, I ended up leaving with two more contacts and two more jobs. I never believed ‘everything happens for a reason’ until that weekend (cheesy I know). Basically, we got to the hotel we were staying in in Norwich and it was an absolute dive and when we got to the event, an old friend of Janet’s who was running the Yes! Group offered to let us stay at his house for the night, I ended up showing him the work I’d made for Janet and he loved it and asked if I’d make him so videos (This was my first paid job)… also that day at the Yes! Group there was a speaker called Mark Skipper from Skip’s Naked Health/Detox Your Life… I found his story and his business really interesting and my ears pricked up when he started talking about a new retreat in Spain that they were starting… I approached him after the event, handed him my crappy home made business card and said I’d love to come film a promo for your retreat for you. Again to cut a long story short I ended up going to Spain in October 2012 and filming his promo!
My story is probably quite useless to anybody else because as I said it very much happened by accident but the best thing I did that summer was leave my part-time job at PoundStretcher where I was working 4 or 5 days a week. The thought of leaving a ‘proper’ job horrifies everybody, but if I hadn’t done that I know for a fact I wouldn’t have done all of that, and just to give an example of opportunities I missed because I had a 6 hour shift earning the minimum wage at PoundStretcher… On the drive home from Norwich, the man we stayed with rang me and said his millionaire friend was throwing a party at his mansion for his daughter and they wanted someone to come and film it; this would have been highly paid but I had to turn it down!! Leaving a ‘real’ job with financial stability not only gives you lots of time but also pressures you into going out there and meeting new clients to produce work for because you’re so desperate for money!
There shouldn’t be anything to hold you back from freelancing, all you need is a basic camera (I bought a Canon 600D) and a slither of confidence (I had none), all you have to do is find your very first ‘client’ and things will roll from there.