Do you ever get frustrated or overwhelmed as a freelancer? Perhaps you’ve just had to deal with a super picky client, or someone is asking for a unwarranted refund, or a good job has fallen through and you think “that’s it, I’m over this, it’s all too hard, I’m giving up.”
If you do, please know that you are NOT ALONE. All of us feel like this at some point.
This week’s article has been prompted by a series of posts I’ve read on Facebook groups over the last couple of weeks, where artists have voiced their frustrations, and feelings of overwhelm. Let’s face it; being a freelancer can be lonely! Even though we are working with other people (our clients) we are ultimately working alone, it’s not that often we have a colleague working along side us, there’s no water-cooler to congregate around, and our husbands and partners probably don’t understand. Am I right?
I think it’s wonderful that there are such supportive artists groups on platforms like Facebook. I know when I started out (back when Zuck was probably in middle school) I had an amazing online support community in the now-defunct makeupartistchat.com forum (don’t bother checking, sadly it’s gone). So you know, when you feel like giving up, reach out, because there are loads of other artists who know how you feel, will sympathise with you, and hopefully offer some great advice.
Speaking of advice, here’s my top tips on what to do when you feel like giving up.
Remember why you started.
Reconnect with your WHY. Why are you a makeup artist? What is it about doing makeup (or hairstyling) that you loved when you first took that leap of faith and became a freelancer?
Perhaps it was the chance to express your creativity, to do art. But now you’re feeling stuck doing the same makeup every week for bridal parties, or maybe your working on a TV series where continuity is important and your main characters are always looking completely natural. Maybe its time to revive your creativity with an editorial shoot. Go spend some time on Pinterest, get inspired, and let your creative juices flow. We all need this outlet from time to time. I know after I do an editorial test shoot I feel really re-inspired, and hey, if the shoot gets published that’s a bonus!
If you’re closer to the other end of the “artist-service” spectrum, and you started because you find makeup a great way to get that buzz from making people feel good; if your biggest reward is that moment when your client looks in the mirror and says “oh my god, I love it”, but lately you haven’t been hearing that too much, then perhaps it’s time to review your happy clients. Keep a folder on your computer where you store all your client testimonials. Have a cork-board above your desk where you can pin thank you cards. Read over those thank you cards and emails, and remember that you have been a part of one of the most special days in many people’s lives. That’s pretty cool when you really think about it!
It’s easy to focus on that one painful client while she is being a bridezilla, or trying to get you to negotiate on your prices or other terms of business. But for every one annoying client, there will be many many more great ones. Remember: what you focus on expands. Spend time thinking and focussing on your great clients, your happy clients, the jobs that you’ve loved, and dismiss the painful ones from your mind as quickly as you can. Don’t dwell on them, and remember that if someone is unhappy with your services, its usually more a reflection of them than it is of you.
Reflect on your achievements and celebrate your successes.
Just as its easy to focus on that one client who is really grinding your gears, its also just as easy to focus on what you don’t have, what you haven’t achieved yet, and this can keep you stuck. Its simply human nature (the ego’s way of ensuring our survival – don’t step outside the comfort zone). But just ask yourself, is this really serving me? Staying in that mindset of LACK isn’t going to help you feel any better, and it’s certainly not going to help you get any closer to your vision of what you really want your life to look like.
So rather than focussing on what you don’t have and haven’t achieved, take some time to think about what you have done. Even if you’re just starting out and you’ve only done one or two shoots, that’s still more than you’d done when you made the decision to start. If you’ve been working as an artist for years, think back to those first few jobs you did and how you felt amazing when you got those bookings.
I had a business coach for the year last year, and he began each call asking me “what are we celebrating this week?”, which straight away, set the tone of the call as high vibe, and had me thinking about the positive things that had happened for me in the past week. So my challenge to you this week is to stop reading, pick up a pen and write down 10 things you have achieved so far this year (doesn’t just have to be as a makeup artist/hairstylist), extra points if you go beyond 10. And then celebrate them! Give yourself a pat on the back. I know, it feels weird. But why is that? Let’s forget about this tall poppy syndrome and start celebrating success. Even if its just ourselves, in private!
Go help someone.
Whether that’s offering advice or mentoring an artist who is not as far along the journey as you, or even going and volunteering at your local retirement home or homeless shelter for a morning, contributing to the lives of other people can be a great way to get perspective on your own life and career.
Take a break!
You know that saying, “a change is as good as a holiday” well sometimes it’s the reverse that’s true. A holiday is as good as a change. Simply taking a couple of days to get away from your business can be all you need to come back recharged and re-energised. Especially if you can do a digital detox at the same time! Stop looking at what everyone else is doing (and playing that comparing game). It’s the nature of our industry that we are working weekends, so its not like having a “normal” job, where you get those regular 2 days off to relax. As freelancers, we need to make sure that we take time out. One thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years, as I have even more going on with my education business and Bridal Beauty Pro app, is that I NEED to take those regular breaks. My partner and I both love camping, and we schedule in a mid-week break every two months. I certainly come back raring to go!
In fact, I was away camping just last week, when I filmed the video version of this blog post. So, please excuse the no makeup, messy hair look! I don’t take the GHD camping!
If you are feeling stuck in your business, and you’re not sure what to do next, please do reach out. Help is only a phone call, email, or facebook post away.
Be kind to yourself!
Big love from me 🙂