Our member of the week is Chris Gibson. Chris works in the music industry as a studio engineer, record producer, and a session musician. In Chris’s 24 track digital studios, located in Hoboken, New Jersey, he provides musicians with recording, mastering, CD pressing, and graphic design services. Chris also goes on tour with bands, and has engineered sound for concerts all over the country and even in Japan. You can hear samples of work from Chris’s studios on his website. Please also check out his profile in the Freelancers Yellow Pages, and the interview below, to find out more about Chris and his life as a freelancer.
1. What has been your most interesting project? I can't name only one since I've been involved with so many. I can name a few -- When I toured Japan as a sound engineer with the band Quicksand in the mid '90's, tour managed and did sound for a slew of really awesome bands from Sweden doing their first ever U.S. tours -- again in the mid '90's, an on again/off again stint as a record producer traveling back and forth to Maryland to record debut CD's for developing bands in the early '00's, building from the ground up my most recent band rehearsal rooms that I currently manage. Too many more...
2. Why did you decide to go freelance? Sort of out of necessity -- I was laid off from a full-time job in the record industry in the early '90's and after 15+ years of working for The Man, I decided to put my blood, sweat, and tears towards fulfilling my own destiny and financial gain. At the time, I was already running my business on the side so the transition was relatively smooth -- although the first six months out of work were absolutely terrifying.
3. What tip would you give to a new freelancer or someone who is considering going freelance? Be a solid money manager first and foremost. You'll need to be able to squeeze every last drop out of whatever savings you have set asid,e in addition to properly using whatever cash income you currently have to properly start your business, market yourself, and have the resources to survive the up and down swing or living from gig to gig. There will be some weeks/months where you may hardly have any work at all. How you handle that pressure is the true test of how well you can handle the fear of not always knowing where your next dollar is coming from. In addition, you should already be preparing or currently working in the field you wish to freelance in on the side, before you quit your full-time gig. During this time you should be networking in your chosen field as much as possible. Don't hesitate to count on contacts that you may already have from your full-time gig. Then when you're finally ready to move on from that job (or if the worst happens and you lose that job), I reiterate what I stated above: that the transition will be smoother and not so much of a shock when it's time to set your own schedule, motivate yourself to get the gigs, and, most importantly, properly use the new found freedom you'll have to properly budget your time towards work, verses your time towards necessary down time to recharge.
4. What is your favorite spot in the city in which you live? This is going to sound strange -- my apartment. I do pretty much everything out of here in terms of running my business. Plus my recording studio is a simple 'roll out of bed and get to work' set-up. Although I primarily go from location to location for a variety of the jobs I do (a night club in the city for Live Sound and/or performing music on stage, a different recording studio outside of my place for Producing/Engineering, NYC/NJ based offices, stores, and homes for my Accounting and Bookkeeping work), my calendar always begins with my land line phone and e-mail in my home office first thing in the morning. Plus when I'm home-based for a workday, I can stop and start projects at my leisure, watch the news on TV, run errands locally, etc. The only restriction I have is when the day runs short.
5. What is your inspiration? The hope that someday I'll be able to have the financial stability where I can be even more discerning about the work I choose to do versus the work I have to take. I also continue to be inspired by the true entrepreneurial spirit of so many of the self-made people of past and present that have made this country great and continue to achieve the American Dream on their own terms. Maybe someday I'll be remembered in the same light.