5 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Freelancer

Kayla Mendez Photography | Flatlay

When I decided to move back to West Palm in August and take the leap to become a freelance photographer, I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time working in the place I called home. Since starting, there are so many new lessons i’ve learned as a freelancer. Freelancing and working remotely would mean a lot of editing and emails would take place from my own desk. It also means I get to make my own french press coffee and oatmeal every morning and watch the light rise. I seriously live for slow mornings at home, so this was super exciting for me! This new home also includes some really awesome roommates, a pet snake and approximately 34 house plants. While my roommates go to work, I walk to the kitchen and type away at my laptop while I still wear pjs. Glamorous, I know. I love savoring my time and the space that I am in. That is why I put so much thought into designing my room and only invested into a few pieces that I would carry with me when I move into my own home someday.

Kayla Mendez PhotographySome treasured additions to the room include my Morrow Soft Goods linen duvet and terra-cotta and clay pillowcases. I was so happy to collaborate with them and create some content for their new earth toned line. My desk chair is from Poly & Bark and the desk is from Ikea! The jumper I am wearing was gifted from Hack With Design House.

This space has become so sacred to me, and often times it doesn’t look this clean. These lessons I’ve learned as a freelancer were all discovered here. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons about what it looks like to run your own business– and I am only three months in!

Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned as a freelancer:

1. Your time is valuable.

Only put your time and energy into things that are constructive for you. This could look like not saying yes to every inquiry so you can focus on doing the best work for the projects you already have. Or saying no to the temptation of getting yet another part-time job (already messed up this one, haha). On that same token, other people’s time is just as valuable. Show up on time for meetings and calls! Simple. Treasure your time and respect other people’s time that they have given to you.

2. You feel like you are alone, but you don’t have to be.

Loneliness hit me harder than I was expecting. Having your own schedule and working from home can be isolating. It is so easy to get lost in the frustrations and struggles that you, alone, have to deal with. That is why surrounding yourself with a creative community (specifically, people who do what you do) is so important. Get yourself a few core people you can call/text with any question and put you in the right mental space again.

3. Pricing your work (and time) is really, really hard. Oh, and you are not overpriced.

As creatives, we put our heart and soul into everything that we do. For photographers, our art can be a literal reflection of our heart. So attaching a price-tag to the time it takes to come up with new concepts and execute them is honestly the hardest part about the job. But let me be the first to tell you that you, your vision, and your work is SO valuable and worthy of the price-tag you assign to it!

4. You are constantly learning.

This means that you might fail..a lot. For me, September was a month of a lot of trial and error, highs and a lot of lows, but those mistakes taught me how to run my business more efficiently and I am thankful for that. Always be a learner, it helps you serve people better.

5. You don’t have to feel guilty for taking a break.

As freelancers we are all really self-motivated and our natural tendency is to always be working because, well, there is always work to get done. But that mindset, is a straight shot to getting burnt out. Take a break, go for a walk, turn your phone on airplane mode. You deserve the time to re-charge. You absolutely do not need to feel guilty for being human and needing a break!

I am by no means an expert on any of this, but these are the lessons I have learned (sometimes, the hard way) and hope that some of this resonates with you!

– K

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