I moved to London in January 2017 to begin working as a freelance Dance Artist. As it approaches the 6-month mark in my freelance life, here are 5 things I have learnt.
1. Take the time to reflect on what you have achieved
As a freelancer it’s very easy to forget what we have achieved in such a short time. I think one of the main reasons for this is due to the nature of our lifestyle. We are constantly under the pressure of seeking out our next job opportunity and working towards the next project without actually having the time to reflect and digest what we have already done. Each application requires a different thing be it a show reel, a cover letter or a written proposal. Not to mention the application always requires these things in different lengths - it can feel like a never-ending cycle. So take the time to stop on a monthly basis and reflect on what you have done. Better still; write your monthly achievements down in a list (along side your future goals)!
Image: Bite Dance Still Laughing at FLESH, March 2017. Photography by Sussanah Binney.
2. It’s okay to work in other fields alongside yours
It sometimes feels like a failure to have to take on non-related work. I find myself feeling at times like I have to justify to others why I am working a shift at X, Y and Z. But the truth is this is just part and parcel of the freelance life. I learnt very quickly that even the most successful people have all had to do this at some point. What is important to remember is learning when this job is taking a toll on your goals and then actively seeking ways you can make small changes to improve this. Additionally, never underestimating the skills you may be learning from jobs X, Y & Z and what connections you are making within these jobs that can help you progress within your path. Which leads me onto point number 3…
3. Create your own opportunities
When you cannot find the right job for you and it feels like there is no point in even trying, question whether you can make your goals a reality without relying on external factors. In other words, create your own opportunities. Within what you have already achieved, whom you already know and what you have already mastered, what further opportunities can you create for yourself? Be bold, be active and ultimately put yourself out there. The worst thing that can happen is that nothing changes and you are where you started anyway.
Image: Zoë Bishop, June 2017. Photography by John Napoli.
4. Never lose your diary
If you are an old school fan of hand written diaries like myself, the worst feeling in the world will become losing your diary. As a freelancer each week is different and losing that diary means losing your work shifts, rehearsal schedules and meeting plans. But it’s okay, if this happens you just have to dedicate some time into re tracking your steps and figuring it all out again (or you could also back it up digitally but I refuse to give in!).
5. Keep the Faith
Despite the struggles (and probably lack of money if you work freelance within the arts) keep the faith. Keep reminding yourself why you do it, why art is important and why you felt compelled to go into this field to begin with. It may well have been that your inspiration once felt how you feel now. Remember that whilst it may not always be crystal clear, your work is important and valued. Keep moving, keep making, keep challenging and keep growing.
I look forward to see what the next 6 months brings.