The joys of being your own boss in the video business are plenty. That is, until you find yourself with no work and no money coming in. Then it’s the pits. But, as long as you have a steady stream of happy clients, being a freelancer isn’t a bad gig. So, we’re going to give you 5 tips to hit your stride and become a successful freelance videographer.
5 Freelance Videographer Tips
1. Don’t Over Promise
Our first tip may sound counter-intuitive. You want the job that’s offered to you, and you may feel like you have to do anything you can to get it. But over-promising is a recipe for disaster.
Remember that being a freelancer isn’t just about doing this job or that. It’s about building relationships with clients who come back over and over again. When you over-promise, you under deliver. And when you under deliver, you lose clients faster than you can render a transition.
Be true to your skillset. Market what you do well, and you will be able to build clientele around it. If your specialty is interviews, run with that and become the go-to interview producer. You can always practice other skills on your own time, and start to incorporate them into your services once you’re competent. But trial and error are not two words that clients want to hear when they are paying for your time.
2. Be On Time & Hit Deadlines
When someone gives you a deadline, it’s usually for good reason. Clients often have a specific date for showing a project or delivering it to their own client. If you aren’t on time with your portion, you run the risk of throwing everything out of line.
One of the keys to being successful as a freelance videographer is delivering on time. It doesn’t matter if you have to stay up all night before a deadline to get it done, that’s just what you have to do.
With proper planning and a bit of experience, you will start to get better at planning on the front end, so that there are no bottlenecks towards the deadline. Regardless of how easy or hard a job is, delivering on time is one of the most important things you can do.
But don’t sacrifice quality to deliver on time either. Finishing the project, and doing it to the best of your ability are also paramount, otherwise, you’re just delivering something that doesn’t satisfy the client, and then you might as well not deliver at all.
3. Embrace Feedback
We get it, you’re an artist. Your work is your craft, and you take it very seriously. This is good. You should take your work seriously. But remember, your client is the one with the money and you work for them.
No matter how good you are, you will get feedback. Some clients will give you a little, and some will give you a lot. There will be times that you pour yourself into a project and create exactly what you envisioned, only to have a client tear it apart.
These times may test your patience, but don’t let them get the best of you. Taking feedback well is a key to success in freelance video creation. Being able to listen to your client and deliver their vision is what it is all about.
If you’re particularly good with communication and patience, you can have a professional conversation with your client about what you think will make the project better. But remember, they have the final word. And putting down their ideas, or refusing to make changes, will quickly lead to the loss of a client.
4. Be Cool
This tip goes with the above about feedback. But, it runs across everything you do. Keep your cool and remain pleasant to work with. People want to surround themselves with other people who don’t generate stress or drama. They seek out those who are fun and pleasant to be around.
No matter how good you are at video creation, if you’re a pain in the butt to work with, no one will work with you. It’s that simple. On the other hand, the more pleasant you are to be around and easy to work with, the more work you’ll get regardless of how good you are.
Don’t ever underestimate the power being nice. It will save you from disaster more than you know. And sometimes your composure and cool is the only thing that will keep a project from going off the rails.
5. Avoid Project Rates
There may be differing opinions on this idea, but when it comes to your own financial success, avoiding project rates is a good idea. Here’s why.
No matter how good you are at planning, something unexpected will always come up. Last minute changes, redirects, scope creep, and the like will always make a project take longer than expected. And this means you’re losing money on a project rate.
Plus, when you’re working on a flat project rate, clients are more likely to ask for additional changes because they know it’s not going to cost them more.
Instead, give your client a fair hourly rate and estimate the time needed to the best of your ability. If you are taking longer than expected because of your own issues, cut them a break and don’t charge extra. But, if they go overboard on revisions or changes in scope, remind them that they are going over the estimated hours and it will cost more.
In the end, if you do a good job and stay professional, they’ll understand and value your time. And generally, they won’t have an issue with overages as long as they are valid and agreed upon upfront.
Being a freelance videographer can be a lot of fun. You can work on a variety of jobs with a lot of great people. You can make a lot of money if you build a roster of loyal clients. And it’s a great way to hone your skills. But don’t forget to use these tips while building your freelance business. Otherwise, you may find yourself scratching your head and wondering where all your work went.