#AFreelancersLife: Christian from www.christianlendl.com

Here's why I started #AFreelancersLife: To highlight different freelancers from all sorts of backgrounds and pick their brains about what they do and how they do it. Check out all previously featured freelancers right here. If you would like to be featured just drop me a line and let me know! Today's post features Christian, a multimedia engineer who once had the pleasure to listen to me stumble over my lines for a short video for approx. 2 hours (I'm sure it was just as magical for him as it was for me). Asking him to give me a little more insight into his daily life and business was purely for selfish reasons as I'm incredibly fascinated by people who produce photography and videos for a living. Find out more in his interview here: 

© Christian Lendl

© Christian Lendl

How long have you been a freelancer and what exactly is it that you do?

I consider myself a „multimedia engineer“. Most of my projects involve photography and filmmaking, but I do other stuff as well from time to time – from printed conference newspapers to small web projects. Basically, I am a one-man production company. I don’t have any employees, but I work a lot with other freelancers whom I hire for certain projects. I started as a freelancer in 2007 (part-time besides my regular job) and switched to being a full-time freelancer in 2011.

How does your typical work day look like, if there is one at all?

Like most of the freelancers in the media business, I don’t have a typical day. In some weeks I am on (photo or film) shoots for a couple of days, in other weeks I am behind my desk doing all the editing or the “boring stuff” (writing offers/invoices, doing the taxes, … ).

What exactly does your freelancing work entail?

Pre-project work mostly consists of writing offers, concepts and coordinating project details with the client. Photo projects are mostly (in simplified terms) about going somewhere, taking pictures and then editing them – I mostly do documentation/reportage and business portraits for B2B clients; I don’t do beauty, commercial ads or weddings. I am not a big fan of retouching (actually I hate it) and fortunately I don’t have to do it very often. For portraits, I almost always work with make-up artists - if they are good, not much ( any) retouching is needed.

Filmmaking projects are a bit more complex. Much more coordination is needed before I can press the REC button on my camera: finding out exactly what the client wants, what the intended purpose of the video is, writing a script, etc. As with photography, I mostly do B2B projects (no Hollywood-style action movies). Filming itself can also vary from short interviews where I work alone to bigger productions where I work with various other freelancers. I also do the post-production (editing, audio production, graphics, …) for most of my projects.

And then there’s the usual office stuff: invoices, taxes, …

What has been your biggest highlight so far as a freelancer?

I went to the USA with Richard and Bernhard to film “Projekt Silva”, a documentary about a treasure hunt. Nearly two weeks of filming in the Midwestern USA was definitely one of the most exciting projects I have worked on! Another highlight was a project for a sailing company, for which we got to spend two weeks in the Caribbean on a catamaran producing an image video.

© Katalin Hanappi

© Katalin Hanappi

How does your previous education and experience tie in with your current freelancer work?

Originally I went to a technical college for mechanical engineering and studied computer science at the University of Technology in Vienna. So that doesn’t really have much to do with photography and filmmaking (except some courses at the Vienna UT where we did some basic video production)... Photography (and later, filmmaking also) started as a hobby and then became a job over the years.

Do you sometimes have motivational lows, and if so, what do you do to get out of your low?

Yes, of course - like everyone else, I guess. For short-term lows, coffee and chocolate help – or having a short break and going for a spin on my bike. Playing a couple of songs on the drums (which are placed right next to my desk, fortunately) also helps to relieve stress.

What do you love about being a freelancer? What do you hate?

The thing I love most is the freedom of time management. Half a day off to go biking? Great, no problem! I can choose my own office hours (most of the time). Sure, if my clients book me for a certain time and date, I have to be there. And yes, there are weeks where I don’t get any free time at all. But that’s not the usual situation.

What I hate? That the Austrian Government doesn’t give a sh*t about self-employed people. The social insurance system is a mess and the forced membership in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce is a pain in the a** – just to name two examples.

How do you structure your day: When are you taking breaks, when are you working, when are doing which tasks in particular?

As every day is different (photographing on location vs. editing videos at my desk), I don’t have a usual structure. When I’m behind my desk I try to answer client emails and write offers in the morning. I take breaks every now and then, especially when the computer is doing some CPU-intensive work (like rendering video files). I am really productive in the evening (maybe until 1 am), so I often have a longer break (bike ride) in the afternoon and continue working until midnight.

Which are your favorite 3 websites/apps you’re using on a regular basis regarding your freelance work?

  • Things (iOS and Mac) – my favourite to-do app (both on the Mac and the iPhone)
  • Weather Pro (iOS) – IMHO the best weather app for iOS. It’s always good to know what the weather is going to be if you have an outdoor photo shoot.
  • Excel (Mac) – Yes, I am a nerd and I love playing around with formulas in Excel.

Tell us about an exciting project you have worked on which made you proud.

Apart from the above-mentioned “Projekt Silva”, there is a tiny little project I did for myself: “But first, coffee”. Originally, it was just supposed to be a test shoot for my (then) new camera (just my camera and me in my kitchen; I’m also the one making the coffee), but after putting it online I got so much great feedback from various professional baristas and coffee lovers.

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If you want to keep in touch with Chris, make sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram or check out his website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melinda Borzsak Schramm creative coach for solopreneurs

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I'm Melinda and I offer creative and strategic coaching for passionate solopreneurs and freelancers. Connect with me on Twitter or sign up for my bi-weekly newsletters for more information and resources on #AFreelancersLife.

5 Gründe warum Personal Branding einen Unterschied macht

FYI: This blog post ties in with an online course on personal branding for German speakers only - sorry! If you want to find out more about how we can work together, feel free to check out my other workshops and packages here

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5 Gründe warum Personal Branding einen Unterschied macht

"Personal Branding? Das ist doch absolute Abzocke/nur was für selbstzentrierte Leute/absolut unnötig/hauptsächlich für YouTube Stars gedacht." So oder so ähnlich höre ich das oft. Während "CEO Positioning" oder strategische Kommunikation für Führungskräfte als durchaus seriös und wirkungsvoll gilt, hat Personal Branding immer so einen schalen Nachgeschmack, als wäre es nicht ernst zu nehmen und ausschließlich für Leute die möglichst schnell möglichst bekannt werden wollen. Das Personal Branding viel mehr ausmacht, zeigen die folgenden 5 Gründe.

Nr. 1: Personal Branding zeigt, wofür man steht.

Man möge von der Dame halten, was man will - aber Personal Branding hat Kim Kardashian unglaublich gut drauf, und da kann man sich ruhig eine Scheibe davon abschneiden, auch wenn man selbst nicht unbedingt mittels einem Sex Tape Berühmtheit erlangen will. Um "Fame" geht's nämlich auch gar nicht; sondern eher darum, genau zu wissen, wofür man steht und was einen ausmacht: persönlich wie beruflich. Wer als EPU tätig ist, der weiß: Das eigene Business ist nun mal bis zu einem gewissen Grad mit der eigenen Person verbunden, ob man das will oder nicht. Ein absoluter Vorteil: Menschen kaufen deutlich lieber von Menschen als von gesichtslosen Unternehmen.

Nr. 2: Personal Branding lässt einen aus der Masse herausstechen.

Ein Beispiel: Laura ist Yoga-Instruktorin in Wien. Sie hat eine Website und einen Instagram-Channel wo sie unzählige verschiedene Services bewirbt, trotzdem bucht kaum jemand ihre Kurse. Es gibt einfach zu viele andere Yoga-Instruktoren in der Gegend. Dann macht Laura eine Zusatzausbildung, krempelt ihre Website um und bietet ausschließlich Einzelstunden in Ashtanga Yoga an. Sie fängt an, in einem Blog über ihre Erfahrungen zu schreiben und ihr Wissen zu teilen. Kunden nehmen sie als Expertin in ihrem Gebiet wahr und sind so bestärkt in ihrer Entscheidung, bei ihr eine Stunde zu buchen. Fakt: Wer sich klar und deutlich positioniert, kommt viel eher an Kunden als jemand der alles für jeden anbietet.

Nr. 3: Personal Branding macht Expertenwissen sichtbar.

Ein hübsches Logo, eine moderne Website und sexy Visitenkarten, mehr braucht's nicht, oder? Falsch. Bei Personal Branding geht es darum, eigenes Wissen und Kompetenzen aufzuzeigen und sich so als Experte auf einem bestimmten Gebiet zu etablieren. Es reicht heutzutage nicht, einfach nur eine gutaussehende Hülle zu präsentieren - weil es davon schon viel zu viele gibt. Die eigene Persönlichkeit muss sichtbar gemacht werden - ob in einem Blogpost, Workshop oder bei einem Netzwerktreffen, jedenfalls ohne Bullshit Bingo oder heiße Luft. 

Nr. 4: Personal Branding spricht Zielgruppen und Kunden deutlich an.

Oftmals ist man als EPU oder Freelancer so viel mit tatsächlicher bezahlter Arbeit beschäftigt, dass wenig Zeit zur Eigenvermarktung bleibt. Zudem gibt es so viele Dinge, die man zur Vermarktung nutzen soll; Netzwerktreffen, Snapchat, Direct Mailings, Pokemon Go. Mittels Personal Branding findet man heraus, welche Kommunikationswege einem besonders liegen wie man sie strategisch dazu einsetzen kann, an die richtige Zielgruppe heranzukommen anstatt vergebliche Energie in sinnlose Werbung zu stecken. 

Nr. 5: Personal Branding macht es Kritikern schwer.

Wer sich nicht selbst darum kümmert, seine Marke zu pflegen, der überlässt das anderen - das ist so. Wer sein Business und sich selbst sorgfältig als Marke positioniert, aufbaut und konsistent kommuniziert, ist weniger anfällig für Kritik, ob berechtigt oder nicht. Fehler macht jeder - wenn durch konsequentes und strategisches Personal Branding Vertrauen und Bekanntheit jedoch bereits bestehen und gewisse Werte gefestigt sind, ist es erheblich einfacher, sich von Fehlern zu erholen anstatt nur auf Grund dieser definiert zu werden. 

Lust auf mehr?

Dann melde dich an zum Personal Branding Online-Kurs von Iwona Laub und mir, der im September startet. Mit unserer Hilfe, regelmäßigem Feedback sowie praktischen und einleuchtenden Methoden seid ihr in 4 bis 8 Wochen rundum gut aufgestellt und könnt mit neuer Kraft durchstarten. Durch die maximale Teilnehmeranzahl von 10 Personen pro Kurs ist die individuelle und genau auf euch zugeschnittene Betreuung garantiert.

The Dough Report, June 2016

income report melinda.ninja june 2016 freelancer income

Hello & welcome to another edition of "The Dough Report", where I talk about how much I made and spent in the past month. Additionally, I like to branch out a little and also include thoughts on money, savings and all things financial in general. Why? Because I feel that apart from sharing how much we make, talking about everything else related to our finances is also slightly taboo. Let's change that! I'm curious to find out more about how everyone else is managing their money and I'm guessing you're too.

If you're new around here, it might be best to have quick read through the income reports I published previously to find out what exactly I'm doing here and why. Basically, each month I'd like to share the following: How much I earned, how much I spent/invested into my business and on what and what I learned during that month. So let's get to it.

June 2016 Earnings:

  • Social Media Projects: 1.682,50€
  • Copywriting: 1.100,00€
  • Consulting: 1.267,50€

Total Revenue (excl. VAT): 4.050,00€

June 2016 Expenses*:

  • Adobe Creative Suite: 8,50€
  • Google Apps: 4,00€
  • Mailchimp: 8,50€
  • FB Ads: 50,00€ 
  • Website Hosting: 46,10€
  • Phone & Internet: 45,00€

Total Expenses: 162,10€ (*Not included: social insurance, taxes, rent, utilities)

Net Profit: 3.887,90€

FYI: Please bear in mind that the sum you see above is definitely not the amount of money I get to spend this month, as at least 50-66% of it goes directly into a savings account set up specifically for future tax and social insurance payments.

Right. June has been a great and busy month, overall: we've done quite a few food tours and I had tons of fun with it. The people are incredibly nice and have the most interesting stories to tell, the food is delicious and we even had luck with the weather so far. I wasn't able to focus as much as I wanted on building my coaching business, though, so that's definitely something I want to focus on for the rest of the summer. I've tried quite a few firsts in the past 12 months - sending out newsletters on a regular basis, publishing income reports, doing talks and holding workshops - and I really want to continue with that so I made a list of things I want to try out in 2016. Hold a webinar, launch an online-course, teach a class on entrepreneurship or work on a few products focused on personal branding and development. Obviously, not all of it is going to be a tremendous success and that's fine by me: I promised myself at the beginning of this year to just go ahead and experiment a little.

One of the main reasons why self-employment seems to suit me so well is that I get bored quite easily, which - contrary to a lot of people who say this is because they're just so damn smart - I'm not that proud of. It's not that I can't focus or follow through, it's just that after working on something for a longer period of time (sometimes a few weeks, sometimes 3 years) it's not as much fun as in the beginning. Now, when you're a brand manager for cat food, you can't just be like "This was fun, kitties, but I'd rather focus on building a social media platform for cat owners now because I realized that people would be really into this and no one's done it yet." Being your own boss makes it a lot easier though to test out the limits and boundaries of what you used to think your job is going to be - it just seems more fluid.

To be completely honest, this is how I see it: If you manage to find people who are happy to pay you for what you are selling and satisfied with your work, you're in business. Whether you used to be a kindergarten teacher who now sells online courses on Instagram or a social worker who is now a creative content coach - if you're awesome at it, who cares what you've originally set out to do?

For the past 2 years, I have taken a few hours at the beginning of July to look at my finances for the first half of the year. How does it compare to previous years? How much income did each project I have worked on generate? But also, how much did I enjoy working on it? How much did I learn while doing it?

Even if you're not interested in doing income reports, I would totally recommend carving out a morning or afternoon, iced tea and a plate of your favorite summer fruits nearby, to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do you feel about the amount of work you put in during the last 6 months?
  • If it was it too much: Why do you feel that way? Was it worth it? Why/why not?
  • If it was not enough: Why do you feel that way? What held you back?
  • Which client/project has been your favorite one and why?
  • Which client/project has been your least favorite one and why?
  • How did you invest in yourself in the first half of 2016?
  • What are you proud of?

Maybe you don't need to ask yourself these kind of questions because you already know the answers to them - if so, good for you! Others sometimes struggle a little with reflecting, so it's nice to have something to go by when reviewing your business (and your life, really). I find that for me, answering them sets the tone for the second half of the year: Do I want to step it up and really squeeze the most out of it or am I happy with taking things a little slow and focusing on other things besides business? Am I happy with the direction things are going or do I want to change?

Now's the time to take stock AND take action. If you need any help at all with that, get in touch! I'd love to help.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melinda.ninja creative strategic workshops

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I'm Melinda and I offer creative and strategic coaching and workshops for passionate solopreneurs and freelancers. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram or sign up for my bi-weekly newsletters for more information and resources on #AFreelancersLife.