How to Make Your First Dollar as a Freelance Photographer
5 months ago
And we’re back!
This month for the First Hustle Dollar Series, we’re taking it to video.
Can I get a hand clap?
If you’re new to this series, each month I interview a side (or full-time) business owner, and we discuss how they made their very first dollar within an industry.
Through these interviews, I hope to give you access to 100% transparent commentary on what it takes to earn you first dollar doing something you enjoy. My hope is you can gain some perspective on what tactics will be effective in your approach to hustling if you’re new at it.
This idea materialized from the story I published on how I started blogging and earned my first ever dollar freelancing for other blogs.
My first gig was as a celebrity gossip blogger.
Yup, god’s honest truth.
(Want to start your own blog? Head here and I’ll teach you how in minutes flat.)
In this installment of the series, I sat down with freelance photographer Leslie Mairs of Make My Colors Melt.
She’s a stay-at-home mom who launched a photography business from scratch, and her hustle has grown from small projects to full-on corporate accounts and festivals!
Leslie dishes on her first paying gig and how she made the leap to larger contracts right here with me on GoogleHangouts.
(P.S. if you like the video format better than the blog posts, let me know!)
Video transcript aka bite sized gems:
Pay your dues, for real, for real.
Leslie started out doing free work which grabbed the attention of people she knew and got her name out. Her first gig came from a friend’s recommendation when her son’s t-ball team needed team photos.
Can you say score?
Doing free work at first also helped her increase her confidence level for when it was time to start charging moolah. For creative business owners, she believes it’s important to stay humble and continue working on your craft so you can feel confident charging what you’re worth once business picks up.
If confidence and skill building happens while doing free work, it’s damn near as valuable as pay.
Network like a beast. And then rinse and repeat.
In the beginning, Leslie took a laid back approach to marketing because her referrals from friends and family were coming in strong. But to level up, she had to increase her networking efforts to get the larger accounts.
Like me, Leslie is not a natural born networker, so going out to talk to people wasn’t the most comfortable thing to do. Can you relate? Hell yea.
One of her big accounts came from meeting someone on an off-chance, and that’s grown her business exponentially. The major key alert here is always to be in business mode at the grocery store, getting your nails done, at the barber… I could go on into infinity here.
Look up to people doing “big tings”, not just anyone.
By big tings, I mean big things (I’m using my Jamaican patois here folks).
There was a period when Leslie acknowledges feeling complacent and settling because she started getting paid well.
She pushed through it to grow even more by following accomplished photographers on social media who are making power moves. Their work pushes her to aim for higher goals as well.
Networking, networking, networking!
Getting outside of her comfort zone is what helped her make moves. Each connection came from her taking a leap. If you’re an introvert, don’t worry about it. Networking is a learned skill she worked on improving.
You can get better at it, too!
Thanks so much Lez for doing this interview 🙂
(P.S. we’re both pretty awkward on tape, so excuse the nervous laughter. I promise next interview I’ll be on expert status.)
Want to reach out to Leslie? Follow her @makemycolorsmelt on Instagram and Facebook.
You can also check out her site makemycolorsmelt.com.
New to freelancing and side hustling?
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