Advice — Thinking of going freelance? Photographer Francis Augusto narrows down your priority list
For London-based photographer, Francis Augusto it’s all about capturing human moments. Francis worked as a part-time photographer for a number of years before he decided to deep dive into the world of freelancing, full-time. Three years on and he’s since accumulated a wealth of learnings and advice. Reflecting on his three-year freelance anniversary, he shares his wisdom for fellow creatives looking to do the same – from advice on being kind to yourself to tips on making networking fun.
Francis’ personal project CNXBKKSGN
On this day three years ago, I finally took the plunge and went freelance. I had been part-time for a few years before, but I was yet to commit to photography 100%. It’s been a long and hard road at times – regularly leading me to think “What the fuck am I doing? Where is the money gonna come from?” Somehow, the work has slowly been paying off. Moving forward, I feel particularly positive about this year and all that’s waiting in store for me.
I’ve been reflecting on the different people I’ve met over the years and how I plan on executing some goals that I have. Whether you’re a photographer or a creative, I hope that my learnings will help you in your own journey. As I continue to learn and build myself, it’s important to remember the advice given to me throughout my journey as a creative. Always keep in mind:
Red Bull Music UK, photography by Francis
What is your why?
Why the fuck are you doing this? What is that thing that keeps you going? The answer may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Try to dig deep if necessary and flesh it out. Alternatively, it may not be a profound thing at all – and that’s also valid. Write whatever it is down and let it be what guides you.
Set clear goals
Write down a couple of goals that you want to achieve by the end of the year. Then write the steps that you have to take to complete them. Look at them regularly, then put actions into place to achieve them. The time is now.
Control what can be controlled
We tend to be concerned about things that we can’t influence. Forget about that. Focus on what you can control. From what you can produce, to how you write your emails to your attitude when you meet new clients. You can’t control if a client hates or loves your work, but you can control how hard you work to produce work you’re proud of.
“We tend to be concerned about things that we can’t influence. Forget about that. Focus on what you can control.”
Be kind to yourself first and foremost. As freelancers, we’re out there putting in work all the time, and sometimes putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Additionally, be kind to others. You have no clue how far that could go and the relationships that could blossom from those moments.
There are people out there who are ready to connect and help you. It may be someone you’ve met briefly in the past, or someone you’ve met through a mutual friend or connection. You must take some time to try and meet new people and invest time in building with them. They could be the reason you get that next big opportunity, resulting in a new project or renewed effort.
Sometimes, the reality is that you haven’t worked hard enough to get to that next level. Alternatively, it may be the way that you’ve been working or how you’ve tried to navigate a problem. With that in mind – take some time out and try and look at your situation from a different angle. Maybe change your website, create contracts for new clients instead of sending casual emails outlining the relationship. Put time into doing your invoices and plotting out agendas prior to a big meeting. Working smarter may save you a lot of time.
BMT-TMAX100 project, photography by Francis
“You must take some time to try and meet new people and invest time in building with them.”
Ask for help
It’s as simple as the title suggests. You lose nothing at all when you ask someone to give you advice or feedback. If they don’t reply, drop them another message or email and then move on to someone else. What do you lose?
Focus on your strengths
While working on your weaknesses is a great thing – understanding what your strengths are is equally as important. Try and figure out how to flesh them out best. Think about what you have to do to make your strengths even more pronounced – then let the world know!
“Do things that put you outside of your comfort zone. Soak it up and be present.”
Snap up those experiences
I’ve been told this on a number of occasions, and it’s definitely helped me. Do things that put you outside of your comfort zone. Soak it up and be present. Whether that’s trying public speaking for the first time or hosting your own workshop – the options are limitless.
Don’t forget to have fun!
It won’t always be easy, but you’ve got to have fun. When your work becomes stale or tedious and you are no longer enjoying it – it’s time to rethink it. If you love doing it, but there’s a problem, then change your approach to the problem.