What is it about being a freelance photographer that just makes a person so-what's the word?- crazy! If you are familiar with the character Smiegel from Lord of the Rings, you may be familiar with the mentality of a long time freelancer. Those bulging bloodshot eyes combined with a smile which develops from lack of sleep is the mark of a true professional photographer. Nothing more, nothing less.
The appeal of being a freelancer and creating your own destiny can make any person want to quit their day job. I fished through numerous reports on the internet from companies like Forbes and Ulance looking for actual statistics on the general public who works as a freelancer. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any solid numbers on average salaries. The sites were in stead talking about how exciting building your own career can be. Let's be realistic here; it's not everything the dreamers make it out to be. I also highly doubt that those people behind their desks at Forbes and Ulance writing the information are experienced freelancers.
So the usual complaints from freelancers are no health care, 401k, maternity/paternity leaves, paid vacation time or paid sick time. Let's break it down even further. Individual healthcare sky rockets for the self-employed. Expect to pay more than triple the monthly premium that an employed worker pays. Your 401k is only added to if you are making enough money to have extra cash flow after paying for your kids and going on vacations, not common in the freelance world. Paid maternity and paternity leaves? Forget it. If you are not working, you better have a spouse who is making enough to support your entire family. Paid vacation or sick time, again, when you are freelance, if you are not physically working, there is no income. If your body decides to get sick and shut down for a week, you better pray that you don't have a high budget shoot booked because most clients will not reschedule it for a flu bug. They will find someone else.
All you professional freelancers know what I'm talking about...
This blog post comes out of back to back 60+ hour work weeks. Being a photographer and creative suits me. I have a strong business mind with a deep drive to succeed. I am deeply passionate about photography, and I love my camera.
Just a heads-up to the newbies and Gen-Y, if you are going to be freelance, you have to have a drive- a passion. There can be no part of you that is lacsidasical. There are always new things to learn and things to do. There is always a way, you just might have to make larger sacrifices than you originally expected along the way. Embrace them and take the challenge. If you want to succeed put your head down and barrel through it. Most likely, nothing will be handed to you.
Keepin' it real!
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