One of the most difficult things about freelancing is the process of actually getting started. Whether it’s deciding when to quit your day job, finding your first client, or simply determining what your service to clients will be, the first step is often the hardest.
With all of this in mind, we decided to have a Google Hangout with Alex Koloskov, a professional freelance photographer, on how he got his start freelancing and what he learned along the way (watch the full interview below). Based out of Atlanta, GA, Alex is a completely self-taught commercial photographer that specializes in products, food and landscape photography. He's also the founder of PHOTIGY.com, an educational platform that offers online tutorials and workshops to photographers.
Here’s what he felt all aspiring freelancers should know before making the leap:
Don’t just do it for the money
“Take time and courage to find your passion. Test it and then follow it. Never build a business based on the desire to make big money. It won't bring success or fulfillment to your life. Only following your true passion will give you enough power to break through and become successful in what you do. Without it, you may end up building a mediocre career doing boring things."
"Put all your energy and efforts into doing what you really love, and success and money will follow.”
Don’t quit your day job...yet
“Don’t quit your day job too early, use it as an advantage to build your business and to create a distinctive style for your photography. At this point, it’s important to take only interesting assignments from clients you like.”
“A good reputation takes time to build, so take the time to grow your own business and use your day job as a way to support that growth.”
Price yourself right
“Having those incoming paychecks from your day job will help to financially support you as you take the time to find the right clients. It’s very easy to attract a lot of clients by going cheap, but you’ll end up working 12 hour days producing mediocre results. Is that what you’re going for?”
“Keep your prices high and spend as much time as you need to deliver the best work you can do to clients you respect. Sooner or later, all freelancers will have to take “pain in the ass” clients that are impossible to satisfy, but it’s always nice to avoid that if you can.”
Lose the time sucks
"Don’t lie to yourself about not having time to pursue your passions. Personally, once I recognized my passion in photography, I forgot about many of the things that had been time-suckers for me in the past, such as TV or video games.”
Make your own rules
“Be careful about following trends and rules. Everybody’s going to be a critic when it comes to your work, but you don’t always have to listen, especially when it comes to the way you work and your personal style. Critiques of your work are good for keeping you grounded, but don’t let it influence your personal style. Would Apple exist now if Steve Jobs had listened to his critics and followed every “expert” suggestion? I doubt it, because he was doing a lot of things wrong!”