I'm constantly trying to improve my skills, pick up more freelance work, and provide better quality media to clients. Even though I have a lot to offer by myself, that's not what really brings in the work.
At first I was under the impression that I needed to branch out to different styles of media production, as I would always get the question "Oh you're a photographer! Do you do *insert style of photography*?" Then it became a question of not being visible enough online, so I setup a website, Facebook page, and learned how to get a following on Instagram. Finally, I started to do some research into why I wasn't getting as much work as I had hoped, and found some answers.
First of all, it's not about generalizing; it's about specializing. As a photographer, it's hard for me to pick a favorite style since there are so many out there, and sometimes I just don't have access to the types of shoots I would prefer to be doing. So because I couldn't necessarily specify, I decided to have separate branches that could do that for me. In addition to my band and model work with Stay Heavy Studios, I'm building a site for wedding & engagement media, and another for real estate and product imagery.
Next, don't try to carry the entire weight of your business on your shoulders. I've realized that working with others is a great way of spreading out the workload. Don't be afraid to second shoot for others, pick up editing work in your downtime, and shoot stock images for online media outlets. Even better would be to work with your own distributor, who can cover posting images online, sending them to various outlets and magazines, and make your business more visible online. I've also come to realize the importance of someone who can handle the legal side of your business, as it's rare to find someone who is a master of both a creative craft and business law.
Using these avenues to free up time might sound expensive, but is it as expensive as not having enough time to actually produce? By increasing the time spend actually producing media and working gigs, you drastically improve your earning ability. By raising your earning ability that much you gain exponentially more experience, build a bigger online presence, and earn enough income to actually pay for support staff. With the right people and a little faith, it's possible to bridge the gap from part-time freelancer to full-time producer.
That being said, I'm building myself a team. Right now I have to stay focused on the last year of my degree and improving my work at Shopify, but I'm keeping my eyes open for the right people to join my crew. If you're interested, drop me a line!
Thanks again for reading,