Good morning, Tuesday. Cloudy and humid in New York. Thank the Lord for keratin treatments. Truly the best thing one can do to fight the frizz all Summer long.
So I haven't been talking too, too much about work lately but wanted to share a few thoughts on freelancing. As you all know, I've been at this freelance game for a while and have no interest in stopping. I like the lifestyle and although it's challenging and nail-biting at times, I enjoy it. But a word of caution for those who are thinking of going freelance- if you can't, off the top of your head, think of 10 people you can call and inquire about potential work, don't go freelance, you're not ready.
Because the most important thing about being a freelancer is the strength of your network. Back at the height of my production days, I was lucky enough to have worked at an incredible place for seven years, after which many of the friends I made there went to other places, and hired me to work with them when I was ready to freelance. It was a dream. Truly.
I've noticed that if you apply to gigs you find online, the rate of return is slim to none. I almost never hear back from gigs I hunt for online, even when the fit seems perfect. The odds are very slim you're going to get work by blindly answering an ad on Indeed. Or at least I have found that to be true. What really works is utilizing your network. It is your biggest ace. You need to go deep into your brain and summon up the abundance by thinking of each and every person you know who may need your services, or at least direct you to someone else who can. Personal recommendations are a huge thing, by the way. Another great way into places you'd otherwise never find. And I realize my years of production experience always had me in that connected mindset- having to call someone for something 24/7 became my normal, and it's never really left me.
If you see a posting for a job, look closely and see if you know any people who either work at the place or if your extended network has connections there. It's really the only way. For instance, I found a recent gig through seeing a job posting and then noting that the person posting the gig was good friends with a few random friends from my early days in the city. I reached out and said we had good friends in common and I hoped we could connect. It worked. I got the gig.
We all know how powerful networking is. I think we often associate that term with something that requires a nametag and shaking hands with people in a ballroom at the Hilton, but it's far from that. Utilizing your people is a big part of this freelance hustle, and if you're not good at that, don't go there.
At the same time, I had the unique challenge of creating a completely new network for myself as a writer. Since all of my ad contacts knew me as a producer, they wouldn't think of me for a writing project (ridiculous, and I've written endlessly on the topic), I had to find some new people to support me. I'm lucky I'm wired for connection. It's something I truly enjoy and I need to keep getting out there and meeting people. It's vital to survival when you're a lone wolf. Ah, the thrill of the hunt...
The freelance economy is certainly booming, but make sure you're cut out for it before you jump ship. And if anyone out there is looking to party with me and my words, have at it. Thankfully I'm busy but always looking to expand my network. My hustle is boundless.
Cause that's what's up this socially inclined Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in connecting the dots and making a living. XO