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Life after Freelance Work: 10 Tips to Prepare Yourself

Life After Freelance
By News & Views by Dataton
Hugo Janzen

As a freelance entertainment pro, you’re busy every day, getting the job done. You’re proud when your audience and clients are happy with the end result. And, hopefully, you get a few spare hours for activities other than work. But have you ever set aside time to prepare for those days – or months – when there aren’t so many projects to throw yourself into, or when your age starts nudging higher figures? Or will you be pushing 60 and, whoops, you forgot to save for a pension, and now it’s too late…?

Don’t panic. Here are 10 tips on preparing yourself for a better position in the future.

1. Review your hourly rate

What’s your hourly rate compared to professionals in different industries? There are operators who earn less than a penny when you calculate all costs and taxes. When you are good at what you do, don’t be shy about asking for a fee which reflects that level of expertise. Ever thought of doubling your price? You may lose 30% of your business but, at the end of the day, your earnings will be higher and you’ll have more free time. Now how about raising your hourly rate 4% every year? I know operators whose rate has stayed the same for more than 10 years! Your hourly rate does not need to be a round figure.

2. Promote yourself

Plan to find at least one new client per year. This makes you more independent, broadens your perspective and strengthens your position in the market. It also helps you maintain focus on your existing clients and appreciate them that much more!

3. Plan two meetings a year with a financial advisor

Two meetings a year with your financial advisor will keep you focused and ensure you’re still on track. A good, professional, advisor will prompt you to make changes or acquisitions, and keep your eyes on the road.

4. Start saving while you are young

Usually if you start saving at a younger age, the costs for pension insurance are relatively low. But before signing on the dotted line, remember that you’ll have to pay the costs for this insurance even if the economy takes a nosedive. In other words, find a flexible contract.


Life after Freelance

5. Find an industry mentor or sounding board

Find a coach – a person you trust and who is in the same business. A colleague in your industry, or even a related industry, can be of great help to discuss your daily issues. Like: “Why does one client accept travel costs but not the other?” Believe me, you’ll have plenty to talk about.

6. Take a proper vacation

Plan for at least two weeks AFK (away from keyboard), but three weeks is better. Taking a well-deserved break from it all is not only good for your health but also for your business: some time offline will give you fresh insights into your work and boost your creativity.

7. Schedule feedback sessions with your best client

Who knows, your client may also have input on topics you never thought they would. Taking the time to discuss and evaluate will improve the relationship.

8. Make time to keep in shape

People live longer these days and that’s why you need your extra savings! Eat healthy food. Remember, at the burger restaurant, they also sell salads and veggie food…

9. Generate passive income

Passive income means that you generate a way of earning money as a continuous stream beside your daily job. Some people write a book, others start teaching, and some rebuild an old house and rent it. Or start a Webshop in second hand gear. One of my side projects is called Toperators. I started Toperators to help our industry by showcasing operators so they can be found by rental and production companies. The future will tell if my investments give a return in revenue. An extra beer at the weekends would be great :)

10. And last but not least…

Enjoy life! And produce nice shows.

Hugo Janzen

Hugo is a systems integrator with a lifelong passion for AV. He started his own company, Hugo Janzen Audiovisuele Projecten, back in 1991, and has been happily self-employed ever since. He specializes in multi-screen video and show control applications, working with top European brands, theaters worldwide and many a museum!


Life After Freelance

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