A Snapshot – talking to other freelancers

On Monday I attended a photo shoot for the magazine I work at – and it reminded me of something important. Casual conversation rocks – and it’s especially beneficial when it’s with other freelancers.

The photo shoot was for the quarterly publication I work on at my day job (we also produce a bi-monthly and a monthly). I’m in charge of product collection, so when the magazine director can’t personally be on site for a photo shoot, I’m next in line to attend.

Our art director for the publication is a freelance designer who works with us as an independent contractor – she used to work for one of our sister publications but when ad sales dropped and they were forced to do layoffs she went freelance full time.

The photographer we use is also a freelancer. So the three of us got to talking about the business of freelancing.

A Different Perspective
I think each of us learned something valuable during the shoot. It began, surprisingly enough, with talk about taxes. The art director mentioned that she hadn’t done hers yet – and that she was sure they’d be complicated this year, since she’d been primarily working freelance and hadn’t filed that way before. She wasn’t too worried though – she has a tax attorney that she highly recommended. I’m planning on getting in touch with him, even though he’s not conveniently located. So I gained a potential tax attorney who has worked with freelancers and who comes well recommended.

From there we began discussing websites. As I know well and as many people have noted, the biggest differences between working for a company and working freelance is the need to market yourself and to have a website. The Art director isn’t, according to her, very good at this. Despite knowing she needs to get a site up she just hasn’t done it yet. I’m in the process of setting up marketing tools for my own business (as soon as it actually exists – though after all that research earlier this week I am definitely one step closer!). We talked about some web design options and she said she needed to acquire dreamweaver so she could get back into practice.

I told her that you can download a trial version of dreamweaver from adobe’s website for free – and I believe she is now planning on doing so.

The photographer, who has been freelancer much longer than either myself or the art director, has had a website and web marketing tools in place for quite a while. He told us that he recently changed hosting services and is now on www.aphotofolio.com. Since he doesn’t know much about web design, they offer an easy to set up and update option with unlimited galleries, a useful thing for photographers.

I shared that one of the people I’ve been networking with (post on this to follow) is starting a hosting service – dsgnrhosting.com – with very reasonable rates. They both wrote it down to check out later.

To get to the point…
Networking is not just essential because it helps you find work. It also leads you to paths you didn’t know existed, which can then help you find work – or help make running your business easier.

Has there been a time when a casual conversation turned up a great new avenue for you? Tell me about it!

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