Today marks the beginning of a new series of posts here on #AFreelancersLife. In my 4 years of freelancing, I have come across so many other amazing self-employed ladies both on- and offline, and I loved picking their brains about they do, how they do it and what they love about it. I decided it's time to share their passion, their successes and also their doubts with all of you. So from now on, I'd like to highlight freelancers every month from & around Vienna from all sorts of backgrounds, so if you would like to be featured just drop me a line and let me know!
The first person I interviewed for this new series on #AFreelancersLife is Karin, a wedding photographer. She's based in a small town just outside Vienna and loves to travel to all kinds of amazing places for her work. While we have known each other for years, it was only in the past few years that I got to see the amazing work Karin is doing with her pictures - because she finally dared to start her business. During the summer, Karin and I also worked on her positioning, her business strategy and her social media presence - but more on that in another post soon. Here's her take on #AFreelancersLife:
How long have you been a freelancer and what exactly is it that you do?
How does your typical work day look like, if there is one at all?
Since I’m also studying part-time, coordinating my work schedule can be a challenge. Also, since weddings and therefore photoshoots take place at various times and days, there is no actual typical work day for me. Basically, any free time I have between studying and shooting I use for editing, answering emails and taking care of my website as well as marketing. That’s why, every time I get to work for a full day I'm super excited! If that’s the case, I’ll have breakfast at 7.30am and then settle down in front of my laptop in my home office. Sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders – which is why I also like to work from cute little cafés from time to time.
What does your freelancing work entail specifically?
Oh, my work includes so many different activities! Taking photos is actually the smallest part of it. Everything surrounding the actual photoshoot – which is often invisible to everyone else– consists of hours and hours spent editing pictures, answering emails, sending out offers and invoices, ordering print-outs, designing photo books, managing my website and my online galleries. And this does not even include the time I spend meeting with my clients directly to discuss future photo shoots, or the time I spend packaging and sending out print-outs, or even the hours I choose to spend on further educating myself within my field.
What has been your biggest highlight so far as a freelancer?
To be honest, my whole work is a single highlight to me! I can do what I love and earn money by doing it. Additionally, I get to meet amazing people and locations through being a photographer. What’s not to love?
How does your previous education and experience tie in with your current freelancing work – was it necessary and if so, what exactly did you do?
I always loved sketching, painting and anything related to art and photography. At some point, I finally got an SLR camera – and it was love at first sight! To me, it wasn’t just about taking pictures but also about making memories. That’s why I decided to study photography for a year in Vienna; but to be honest, I probably learnt most simply by practicing all the time.
Do you sometimes have motivational lows, and if so, what do you do to get out of your low?
Oh yes, definitely! Especially when I have to use a lot of my energy to focus on my studies and am unable to concentrate on my business as much as I want to. When this happens, I simply try to stay calm and work on everything that has to be done step by step. Sometimes it also helps to openly ask yourself: “Do you really want to do this? Is this actually doing me good?” Since I can answer these questions with a loud & clear “YES!” every time, it helps me realize that I really love my job, even when it's hard. And last but not least, the smiles on the couples' faces when they look at their pictures are the biggest motivation I can hope for.
What do you love about being a freelancer? What do you hate?
I love the fact that I can structure almost all of my time and work to my liking. Apart from that, I am proud about the things I accomplished and I love getting up in the morning because I get to do something I love. Sometimes, I struggle with being all by myself as well as the fact that as a freelancer, I am solely responsible for the success of my business. That’s why I am thinking of joining a co-working space in the future, because even though I enjoy working from home I am yearning for having people to talk to who I can exchange ideas and views with.
How do you structure your day: When are you taking breaks, when are you working, when are doing which tasks in particular?
Unfortunately, I was never one of those people who loved writing lists and checking off item after item from their to-do list, but I learnt to be one of them, because otherwise it’s just too difficult to keep track of everything. So every morning, I write a list of the things that need to get done that day and get to it: answering emails, editing pictures and anything else that’s on my list. I break for an hour of lunch, which is the minimum amount of time I need to clear my head. If I have a shooting the next day, I spend the afternoon to prepare for it and gather all my equipment. Depending on how much I have on my plate, working days can sometimes last until 5pm, sometimes until 1am. What’s really important to me is to get enough sleep and spend time with friends and family so I can recharge my batteries and be ready for the next day.
Which are your favorite websites or apps you’re using on a regular basis for your freelance work?
With Pixieset, I create online galleries for my clients which make it easier for them to forward their pictures to their loved ones. If you’re a photographer, you should definitely check it out – your clients will love it! When it comes to social media and inspiration, I love Instagram and Pinterest.
Tell us about an exciting project you have worked on which made you proud.
If I’m completely honest, I’m actually most proud of having dared to go freelance and become self-employed in the first place – often enough, our own doubts are in the way and scare us away from trying new things.