Can you believe that December is already upon us? November flew by entirely too quick, but as I put together my monthly recap summary, I was truly shocked by something: In November, I did significantly fewer photo shoots than October and my busy summer months, and yet my income for the month was the second highest it’s been all year. I successfully made more money by doing less work, which is a goal I didn’t even have on my list until about an hour ago. This idea is baffling to this Asian girl who thrives on working as hard as possible in all areas of life, but it’s a concept I’m determined to continue exploring going forward.
Photo shoots completed
*18 less than Oct
Business miles driven
Hours worked for the month
*37 less than Oct
*24.12 less than Oct
*4.4 less than Oct
What Went Well
Less work, more profits
Despite November having quite a few less photo shoots than previous months, those ten shoots that I did book racked in quite a bit of money. In fact, November is on track to be my second most profitable month of 2015. How does less work equate to more money? All of the photo shoots for November were for corporate clients, meaning I was charging my maximum rate. Less work for more profit is a definite win and something I’m aiming to do much more of going forward.
Big corporate clients
Speaking of corporate clients, a few of those for the month included Starbucks, Harper’s BAZAAR, Yves Saint Laurent, Expedia, and two local corporate restaurants (Elliot’s Oyster House and Vivo 53). It was truly an honor to add some pretty big name clients to my freelance photography resume. Perhaps best of all was the fact that all only one of these corporate clients came from as a direct assignment from Getty Images; all of the rest came from my own marketing efforts, meaning I did all of the lead generation, contract negotiation, and creative direction. I’ll include more thoughts on this idea of generating leads for oneself versus through an agency in my year end recap, but what happened in November has actually been a trend for most of the year, which is quite inspiring for all of the other independent freelancers out there.
Took a nice, long relaxing break
As a local Seattle resident whose closest family is a 6 hour plane ride away in Hawaii, I’m used to having non-traditional Thanksgiving holidays every year. This time, my boyfriend and I decided to take advantage of our 5 day holiday and venture up north to Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, a 4 hour drive north of us. I dusted off my snowboarding gear for the first time in 3 years (it’s an expensive hobby to keep up on a freelance income), and my boyfriend tried out skiing for the first time in 18 years. Needless to say, we were pretty rusty for the first few days on the slopes, but after a lesson and some practice, we finally got a full day of skiing and snowboarding with no spills or major accidents.
Fed my mind with lots of books
Spending the day getting our exercise on the slopes and our nights reading by the fireplace in our Airbnb rental, that Thanksgiving weekend was one of the most blissfully relaxing weeks I’ve had. Leaving the computer at home removed any temptation to spend too much time on social media, and instead I ended up reading three whole books in five days. Of those books, I have one that I highly recommend reading: 6 Months to 6 Figures, by Peter Voogd. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, but rather a very practical way to motivate yourself and set goals for your professional life. For anyone wanting to learn how to become a freelance photographer, start with Peter Voogd’s book.
“If anything, your confidence should increase when you are stressed, and this stress should motivate you to NEVER feel that way again. Being wealthy is a state of mind, but so is being broke. Who you are defines you, not what you possess.”
― Peter Voogd, 6 Months to 6 Figures
Speaking of reading, if you’re on Goodreads, let’s connect! I just created a profile and would love to see what you’re reading and gather good recommendations.
What Needs Improvement
I’m still riding the high of a relaxing vacation in Whistler than enhanced both my body and my mind, but there are definitely some aspects of November that could use improvement.
Number one is my recurring bad habit of being behind in my accounting and expense reporting. Now we’re down to the wire, meaning I’ll have to tackle this in December and January, and needless to say I’m not looking forward to it. May be time to finally hire a bookkeeper.
Number two is making more time for professional networking and socializing. Thanks to doing less work in November, I did have quite a bit more time to reconnect with friends and colleagues, which made me realize more than ever how important it is to have in-person, human connections. Additionally, after reading Peter Voogd’s book, I came away inspired to continue building my professional network, something that is best done in-person, but thanks to a wealth of online communities and forums, can also be done online. I’m running a few experiments in this department and will write a blog post soon on how to make the most of online professional networking.
Over To You
How was your Thanksgiving weekend? What challenges (or rewards!) are you experiencing while pursuing the freelance life? Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me an email!