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transition from freelance to fulltime?

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  #1  
Old 02-22-2010, 08:08 AM
demandapanda demandapanda is offline
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transition from freelance to fulltime?

Does anyone have any advice on approaching retouching studios in new york for junior retouching positions, or how to find more work freelancing? I'm currently freelancing, but the inconsistency of work week to week, fighting for fair rates, attempting to politely hassle clients for payment, etc. is killing me and i can't even pay the bills at this point. I have a bfa in photo, have a couple years experience freelancing and interning, have a portfolio, etc. I think I'm pretty good, not senior level, I still have a lot to learn (obviously this industry is a constant learning experience regardless) but I have advanced skills. Nowhere along the way was I ever taught how to get work, and believe me I've been trying to find out for years, no one seems to have answers other than it was by accident/luck....which honestly, is practically how I got my current clients.....which is scary. I like the variety of work with freelancing....but I kind of want a salary....and maybe health insurance would be nice too but most of all paying off my debt.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:11 AM
demandapanda demandapanda is offline
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Re: transition from freelance to fulltime?

Also, does anyone know of studios/companies that hire junior retouchers in the city that would be good to start off with contacting?
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:57 PM
TEastman TEastman is offline
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Re: transition from freelance to fulltime?

I have been a freelancer for many years, in a couple of different industries. This is based on my experience and personal opinion. As far as finding junior or intern positions at a studio - it is very difficult. Your portfolio will have to be top notch, not just acceptable. Your work will have to be significantly above average, and your skills sharpened to a fine point. In other words, you will have to be so outstanding, that your abilities would allow you to become a successful freelancer instead. Huh?

Here's my point. A successful studio doesn't have the time or inclination to teach you anything. They want someone whose skills are already there, so they can just put you to work. They won't teach you about running your own studio, other than what you can absorb on your own. There are simply too many talented people out there who have already developed their skills.

This is why so many people turn to freelancing. Instead of working for someone else, you work for yourself. The time you invest in practicing techniques, learning new techniques, and experimenting, all pay dividends to YOU. I will be the first to admit that my skills are not yet at the level I would like, and probably never will be. But I still love freelancing and I love learning and growing.

What does it take to be a successful freelancer? Many things - but the number one thing that leads to success is marketing. Instead of relying on blind luck, you have to learn to get your name and work out there. You have to be willing to ask your existing clients for referrals and leads, and you have to ask your clients for repeat business. There will always be others that can do the same work you do, probably better, and possibly even cheaper. You just can't compete with the world at that level. So the only thing left for you to do is make sure your name comes to mind any time a client or potential client has a need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by demandapanda View Post
Does anyone have any advice on approaching retouching studios in new york for junior retouching positions, or how to find more work freelancing? I'm currently freelancing, but the inconsistency of work week to week, fighting for fair rates, attempting to politely hassle clients for payment, etc. is killing me and i can't even pay the bills at this point. I have a bfa in photo, have a couple years experience freelancing and interning, have a portfolio, etc. I think I'm pretty good, not senior level, I still have a lot to learn (obviously this industry is a constant learning experience regardless) but I have advanced skills. Nowhere along the way was I ever taught how to get work, and believe me I've been trying to find out for years, no one seems to have answers other than it was by accident/luck....which honestly, is practically how I got my current clients.....which is scary. I like the variety of work with freelancing....but I kind of want a salary....and maybe health insurance would be nice too but most of all paying off my debt.
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:01 AM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Question Re: transition from freelance to fulltime?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TEastman View Post
I have been a freelancer for many years, in a couple of different industries. This is based on my experience and personal opinion. As far as finding junior or intern positions at a studio - it is very difficult. Your portfolio will have to be top notch, not just acceptable. Your work will have to be significantly above average, and your skills sharpened to a fine point. In other words, you will have to be so outstanding, that your abilities would allow you to become a successful freelancer instead. Huh?

Here's my point. A successful studio doesn't have the time or inclination to teach you anything. They want someone whose skills are already there, so they can just put you to work. They won't teach you about running your own studio, other than what you can absorb on your own. There are simply too many talented people out there who have already developed their skills.

This is why so many people turn to freelancing. Instead of working for someone else, you work for yourself. The time you invest in practicing techniques, learning new techniques, and experimenting, all pay dividends to YOU. I will be the first to admit that my skills are not yet at the level I would like, and probably never will be. But I still love freelancing and I love learning and growing.

What does it take to be a successful freelancer? Many things - but the number one thing that leads to success is marketing. Instead of relying on blind luck, you have to learn to get your name and work out there. You have to be willing to ask your existing clients for referrals and leads, and you have to ask your clients for repeat business. There will always be others that can do the same work you do, probably better, and possibly even cheaper. You just can't compete with the world at that level. So the only thing left for you to do is make sure your name comes to mind any time a client or potential client has a need.
Hi, I'm getting contacted just by few new clients per month that found my portfolio in the Internet, not only clients from my country, also from the rest of the world. That means I'm marketing myself correctly or that I'm skilled or something? I have 2 years of freelancing, never been in studios and 1 year doing beauty/fashion retouching. Could you let me know, using your experience, if I'm doing right?

Thanks,

Mart
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:20 AM
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paulafrog paulafrog is offline
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Re: transition from freelance to fulltime?

Hard question --I'm right there with you --I have a professional Graphic Design job part time, but I'd love to be able to freelance full time.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:32 PM
TEastman TEastman is offline
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Re: transition from freelance to fulltime?

If you are getting a couple of new clients a month from your existing marketing efforts, then you are doing something right. Now here is what is hard for many freelancers. You have to learn to ask each and every client for a referral.

A hardcore marketing person would ask, "Who do you know that might be able to use my services?" and would get names and contact information right then and there. A more casual method might be to say, "As you know, I rely on referrals to grow and develop my business. I would really appreciate any referrals you could provide."

The approach you use is up to you. The important thing is to ask every single client, even every potential client, and to ask more than once. This can be a daunting task at first, but if you make it a regular part of your business practices, it WILL pay off. Also keep in mind that marketing takes time. Nobody in the business has a method that guarantees instant results.

Good luck!

--Todd--
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:51 PM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Re: transition from freelance to fulltime?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TEastman View Post
If you are getting a couple of new clients a month from your existing marketing efforts, then you are doing something right. Now here is what is hard for many freelancers. You have to learn to ask each and every client for a referral.

A hardcore marketing person would ask, "Who do you know that might be able to use my services?" and would get names and contact information right then and there. A more casual method might be to say, "As you know, I rely on referrals to grow and develop my business. I would really appreciate any referrals you could provide."

The approach you use is up to you. The important thing is to ask every single client, even every potential client, and to ask more than once. This can be a daunting task at first, but if you make it a regular part of your business practices, it WILL pay off. Also keep in mind that marketing takes time. Nobody in the business has a method that guarantees instant results.

Good luck!

--Todd--
Mmmhhh... Didn't get the refferal thing. Most of my clients always say that they will speak positive things about me to other clients (that's the reffeal, I guess), so I just say "Thank You". I don't have a clue about business because I'm pretty new. The last new thing that came to me was a client telling me that he will send me magazines where the pictures I retouched are published and those magazine will be nice for my portfolio, but I don't know how a magazine can be useful for my portfolio...

Thanks for the reply in advance, and for the other reply,

Mart
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