Don’t lose your cool, kid. Keep it together.
Being a full time freelancer is tough to begin with. If you’re a full time freelancer in NYC it can be downright mortifying sometimes. Besides avoiding shady clients, net30 paychecks, and pricing yourself correctly, you are dealing with an over saturation of freelancers who could be competing for the same gigs you’re going for. As a photographer – we’re at times a dime a dozen in this city and that can be broken up into several categories depending on exactly what you’re shooting.
There will always be ups and downs and that’s a part of life. But coming back from those downs can be a bit harder to deal with. It can be a blow to your confidence when the work you do is met with either criticism or if even worse a gig ends that’s beyond your control. You would have to pick up the pieces and move on. If you’re freelancing full time and working hard then there is no reason that another door shouldn’t open. It may not happen over night but it will and you’ll get your groove back. But until then how do you stay upbeat? I’ll tell you:
Hone your craft
If you’re met with extra downtime because gigs fell through then use that time to perfect what got you those gigs in the first place. If I have downtime I look back on my past work and see how I can improve upon my style going into the future. Work hard at perfecting your skill.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s easy to fall into a funk and self medicate with food or candy or drugs or booze. Tying one on is all well and good but don’t let it spill over into a week long bender because you’re depressed. Instead think about ways you can improve yourself. Take up something physical and monitor what you eat. It goes a long way with preserving your mental health.
Know Your Worth
If one or two gigs fall through or your phone doesn’t ring for a week – it’s not the end of the world. There are peaks and valleys to freelancing and yes the feast or famine saying can apply. If you have experienced success and can look back and see what you’ve accomplished and who you have connected with that see the good work you do then you should tell yourself it’s going to be ok – I’m worth it – and better things will come my way. Losing one gig doesn’t mean that they’ll all fall through.
Don’t Get Trapped In Your Own Brain.
Often our minds are our own worst enemy. Those thoughts that keep you up at night can spiral out of control and they could make you lose control over your anxiety or emotions – which can be bad for business. Take a second and meditate. Take a step back and realize that there are worse problems out there than whatever is going on in your brain. It’s tough not to jump to conclusions about your path but taking each day as it comes helps big time. It also makes you a better freelancers because you can adapt to more situations.
When faced with a dilemma one of the best things you can do for yourself is decompress and look at it from another point of view. As freelancers we put the biggest pressure on ourselves and are our own worst critic but we also have to know when to take a break and just be a person and not a work a holic. If you’ve suddenly gotten a gap in your calendar take the time to do the personal things you wanted to catch up on. Read a book, watch your favorite shows, buy some new shoes, or hit a new restaurant. You’ll feel better when your brain and body aren’t under the pressure you put on yourself – even if it ends up being just one day.
Be proud of who you are and what you can accomplish. Don’t ever give up the pursuit of your dreams.