It sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Working from home; getting up when you want, chomping on a bagel with a schmear and a cup of coffee while you leisurely pound out creative and innovating articles or ad copy. Those of you who work typical 9-5 type jobs might think, "Man, what a life!" But the reality is far from this cozy little scenario.
Though I work as a playwright, teaching artist and director, it's all freelance. I am self-employed and lemme tell you folks, it can be a grind. It's the hardest job I've ever had. Because I'm always working. I'm always looking for gigs, and when I secure a gig, I'm always looking for the next one. It never ceases to amaze me how I go through times of feast or famine. I'm either too busy for my own good, or I've got no clients or jobs lined up and I start experiencing panic that I will never work again.
I know a lot of freelancers go through this. Actors, writers, graphic designers and artists of all kinds have related similar stories to me regarding the feast or famine work issue. All I can say about that is when you're feasting try to prepare for the inevitable lean times. This can be easier said than done, but the more you work, the more you're setting yourself up for increased work opportunities.
What do I mean by that? Well, you're establishing a network. It's all about connections, baby. You do a good job, they'll hire you again. You do a GREAT job and they'll start recommending you to others. That's the best place to be--when they come to you! I like nothing better than getting offered a job I didn't solicit. Manna from Heaven droppin' into my lap. It's happening more and more frequently as I get myself out there and build a strong reputation for myself. But the lean times still happen all too frequently, so it's a constant hustle.
Freelancers, I would love to hear from you! Please share your stories, comments and advice for those of us who are in the trenches. With our collective experience, we can all help each other make our individual practice more fruitful and rewarding.