These are my top five tips on freelancing in our industry:
Your goal as a freelancer should be to deliver everything that you have been hired to do, preferably quicker than your producer expects. Generally speaking freelancers are hired because the work load is larger than the permanent staff can handle. Also freelancers are hired for specialist projects like liquid simulation. In all cases you are hired to do a specific job in a specific time. Do not take on the job if you have not got the necessary skills, because if you don’t deliver you will get a bad reputation.
Know your tools and environment
The most exciting thing about freelancing is getting to see the way different companies work. In order to maximise your performance you have to make sure you know what tools like software and renderfarm are available to you. These tools could help you solve some of your issues quickly. Talking to your supervisor and the permanent staff will ensure you know where to keep your files so other people know where to find them. All companies have an established folder structure that they will want you to use.
The right rate
Generally freelance wages will be higher than if you were on a longer term contract. You don’t want to charge your maximum rate when you first work for a company because they will be reluctant to hire you again. Expectations that you will hit the ground running will also be higher. In some cases you may accept a lower rate to stay in work. I have worked with people who accept a rate lower than they usually get and decide they will not do there best work because of this. Always do your best because reputation is everything in such a small industry.
Stay in work
The trickiest thing about freelancing is staying in consistent work. This depends on your connections and experience. The first bit if advice I would give is start looking for your next role before your current role ends. It’s amazing how many freelancers I have run into who wait until a week before they are leaving to find their next job . Remember if you only miss one week you will be out of pocket hundreds of pounds.
The next thing I would advise is get to know your colleagues. One of the advantages of working in Soho is that you are surrounded by great places to socialise. Lunching is a common occurrence and this is a great way to get to know your team. Going for a coffee or the pub are also great. Even if you’re not drinking it’s a great way to relax and get to know people. If you combine this with good work you will never be out of work.