I really quickly want to go over 3 lessons I have learned the past 3 years as a freelance video creator.
LESSON 1 - REACH OUT
The best thing I have ever done as a freelancer is reach out to OTHER FREELANCERS! Get connected with people bigger, and better than you. If you aren't getting work, get with people that ARE getting work. Chances are high they refer work to other people when they're too busy or they come across a job that may not be their niche. Other freelancers (like myself) also need second shooters, grip, etc for bigger shoots. My BIGGEST CLIENT (like really big...about 1/3 of ALL my business) is another production company, and all I did was make a phone call.
LESSON 2 - STUDY
The other thing I do every single day is study. Not the traditional way though. I rarely read books about videography, but I do read blogs....and my main source of study is YOUTUBE! I sit and watch other people that are better than me (you should be seeing a trend here) and watch how they do things. Be influenced, it's ok, because you will make your own style based off of what others before you have done. Watch behind the scenes, watch tutorials, pause videos and look at the lighting setup. Just try to make time everyday to STUDY!
LESSON 3 - CHARGE MORE....
OK. This is a tough one. When I started I was literally saying yes to everything I could because I needed a portfolio. SO when you're just starting out this one isn't as big of a deal...but it will be. I was doing videos for as little as $100. That's full blown shooting all day and editing. My first wedding video I shot for FREE. Shout out Andrew and Veronica ;) but even they have been repeat clients for family photography and good friends so that was a good investment. BUT once you have a portfolio of 3-4 GOOD videos you have to charge more. I was drowning in the beginning. I had a ton of work, and hardly any money. Just enough to pay bills really, maybe one vacation for the family and that's it. You need to look at the market around you, ask your freelance friends what they charge. I know my competitors rates....you should too. But if you aren't making enough to pay bills, and have some to save and to invest back into the business something is wrong. People with more money than me told me to charge more and I was scared....but when I finally raised my prices I was able to devote more time to each project, had more money for life, was less stressed, and had happier customers. The people that nickel and dime you to death are also the ones that will come back and bite you..I promise. If someone wants to negotiate hear them out yes, but if you sense any sort of disrespect to your rate then RRRRUUUUNNNNNNN. It's not worth it.
What are lessons YOU have learned as a freelancer? Comment below, I'd love to chat!!