For the last five years, I’ve been trying my hand at freelancing. It’s had some good times, but most of it has been kind of bad.
Maybe it just started out with a bad gig. Maybe I’m just not promoting myself well enough. Maybe I just lack the confidence. I can’t really be certain. It’s probably a mixture of a lot of things.
In any case, being a freelance media producer is really gosh darn hard.
It’s not steady. You have to do everything yourself, like managing and marketing and all that jazz. You have people who look at you and decide what they feel your work should be worth. This can leave you with absolutely no clients or clients who want to pay you with “student pricing.”
This isn’t even getting into the taxes. If you think dealing with taxes once a year is bad, try having to do it four or five times a year. With freelance, you have to pay quarterly taxes. This is the part that has confused and annoyed me tremendously. Federal forms stress me out. For me, it could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I’ve tried over the last several years to make this work. I’ve done photo jobs, event coverage, corporate video. It just hasn’t panned out for me well. The stresses have outweighed the rewards. It certainly hasn’t provided me enough to live on.
Now, I’m not saying that working freelance is a horrible idea, and no one should do it. One of my good friends has done really well for himself working freelance. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s not impossible. I just haven’t had a great experience.
For that reason, I’ve been seriously thinking about switching to a more steady means of employment. I’ve applied for a few positions in the last few months, and I applied for a full time job in the last couple of weeks. I wouldn’t have as much free time to work on my narrative work, but in this economy, sometimes you have to make compromises.
I’m still grappling with all of this, and of course, just as I’m about to throw in the towel, jobs seem to be lining up. I guess this will go on the back burner again. Who knows what the future has in store?