Sometimes building a portfolio or visibility is more important than money.
A good friend will resign from the corporate world soon. He’s currently into photography, and wants to take the hobby to the next level. Before we met up last night, he took some food photos for a hotel. What did he get in return? Free access to the buffet!
Yes, the hotel got away with a Php 800.00 ($16, though that buys a lot in a low cost–of–living economy) investment for pictures they’ll use to make loads of money. But at least my friend now has more photos for his budding photography portfolio, and doing some work for a hotel leaves future clients an impression of legitimacy. While not wealthy enough to lounge around and sip mojitos all day, Jayvee also writes for many online publications; food will be on the table at the end of the day.
When starting out as a freelancer, no one knows who you are and what you can do. Though if you can afford to do so, taking on major projects for little compensation and time commitment will build the contacts and visibility that eventually pay off.
Why Decisive Clients Save Your Time.
Nothing is more frustrating and a great time-waster than working for a client lacking a clear vision of the end product. So try to work for people who know what they want.
My actual freelance career actually began as a student; to practice my design skills, I’d take any project under the sun. Yes, the financial rewards were meager, but the extra money allowed more than just student meals.
But many of the clients weren’t sure what they wanted from me. Normally, a client would list down his requirements; I’d submit a first draft and he’d make some changes. After carrying out the changes, everything’s done.
Yet these people just gave me free reign over the project, which I thought was a good thing. So, enjoying my creative liberty, I’d spend the whole night on a layout, only to have my client ask for a complete overhaul the next morning. All my efforts were simply a waste of time.
The lesson I learned is that you should only try to work for decisive clients—those who have a clear idea of what they want you to do, and how they’ll use what you make. It makes sense: with something to follow, the freelancer will have an easier time fulfilling the client’s goals, the client will receive the finished project earlier, and both parties will be saved from a lot of aggravation.
But being definite doesn’t depend on clients alone. A freelancer should ask for the project requirements during the first meeting, because any client worth his time will already have them ready.