Don´t sell yourself under value

I am getting started as a freelancer. Wohoo!!

And now that I quit my job and started photography school it´s really time for this step. As many of you who have worked freelance, have hired freelancers or had a friend who worked freelance can imagine – it can be tough. You are on your own and sometimes a bit desperate for projects. I was not exactly desperate for a project. But definitely wanted to get started – Excitement!

When a client made a suggestion for a possible project together (in my mind) I nearly jumped at him, fell on my knees, kissed his shoes and thanked him for believing in me. I stopped myself. “Hold on”, I thought.

Is hiring me really something to be greatful for? Well, sure I am happy my client trust in me and believes I am the right person for the job. But the client does not do me a favour hiring me. I am hired because I have a special skillset, attitude and personality they need to complete the job. I realized this is not a master and slave relation – it´s a terminal partnership on eye level. I have the power to decide how to go into this project. Do I want to be their thankful slave, or a partner on eye level? I decided for the latter.

And when the client asked me for a full proposal for the project I re-structured the initial idea, thought it through AND changed the budget of the project to something I felt is more adequate for the amount of work I will put into it. I hit “Send” on the email.

And then the worrying began: What will they think? How will they react? Will they think I am too greedy to ask for more money? Will they maybe even tell me we won´t be able to work together at all because I am asking for more money in the first project? Again – I stopped myself and said “wait and see”.

The client replied a couple of days later saying they appreciate my offer and the thought I have given to the project. However their budget is the budget initially discussed. They would like to keep the project the way it was suggested. Phew – see Valeska! No negative outcome. I gave it a fair shot, made my suggestion and still got the job. I will do the project the way they suggested (and put less time in).

Don´t sell yourself short people. As my dad always used to say: If you sell buttons all you will ever earn is buttons.

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Organization is everything

Friday morning 7 a.m.

I am tired. Nevertheless, strict organization and discipline proved to be absolutely crucial to staying on track with my vision.

The reactions that reached me in the past couple of days showed me you guys have a LOT of questions of how I am spending my time and how I structure my work. The comments were not solely positive. However, all comments have the same root – curiosity. And that´s never a bad thing. That´s why I´d like to answer your questions and give you insights into my work/ life schedule wherever possible.

In terms of productivity, motivation and business know how I LOVE Marie Forleo! She is a famous business woman and talented youtuber who gives advice to people who want to build a life and business they love. Well, she´s certainly helped me and is my reliable good-night storyteller.

She also inspired me to follow a strict daily schedule. Changing habits takes time, but setting a goal for yourself is a good start. I am getting better and better at applying this routine.

7:00 to 8:00 Wake up and work out.

8:00 to 9:00 Shower, eat breakfast and get dressed

9:00 to 12:30 Work it! (no email! I suck at the no email part)

12:30 to 13:30 LUNCH LUNCH LUNCH

13:30 to 16:30 Work it, girl (or boy)

16:30 to 17:00 Break. Breath.

17:00 to 18:00 Work sprint. Now it´s also time to answer emails.

18:00 to 18:30 Finish up work and close shop

This schedule has been working great for me. Especially taking so much time for myself in the morning allows me to start my day with a completely different energy. I feel relaxed, balanced and full of energy in the mornings. This routine can also work great for you if you have a full time job. You might need to adjust the times a bit, but the structure generally stays the same. I will practice this routine some more and if you want I can give you a more detailled description of the tasks I work on in each segment.

Happy productivity!

Be yourself. Forget about the box.

Wednesday morning. My inbox is full. It´s filled with messages from strangers that resonated with what I had to say.

On saturday when the journalist called to ask for an interview on escapethecity.org my life was different. Well, not exactly. But my inbox wasn´t full at that time.

I had not completely grasped how connected our world is and how simple it can be to get in touch with people. There is a theory called the “small-world-phenomenon” describing that every person in this world is connected to any random person through less than 6 personal connections. Wow. And the internet makes getting in touch with people even simpler.

So here I am. My current lifestyle allows me to stay at home with my cold and to wear my pyjamas until noon while booking appointments for interviews and shootings as well as coming up with new photography projects. I love my life.

But life has not always been like that. Actually it has not been like that until just a couple of weeks ago when I finally decided to take action. I stopped fighting my inner gifts and talents. And I gave up on fitting into the box I had put myself into. I have come to the realization that it is not an external force that puts us into a box. Only when we give away our power – that´s when we feel stuck. Every one of us has his/ her own set of unique talents and gifts. We are here to do what we came here to do. There is no recipie.

So, I hope you love what you are doing. Because that´s the only thing we are here to do.

 

Email from Berlin

Friday afternoon.
I just got into a comfortable position next to the swimming pool when my phone vibrates. The display shows an email from Berlin – or let´s call it my soon-to-be reality there.

The email reads: “Dear students, we will meet on monday at 10am. Please bring along a small portfolio or some photographs (printed out) representing your work. I am looking forward to seeing you.”

Wow. I had almost forgotten. I was accepted to photography school! And now there is no turning back. (Well, actually there is since it´s a private school and I can basically do whatever. But for dramatic purposes – let´s say there is no turning back. Decision made.)

So there I am. Sitting next to a swimming pool in Portugal, all worn out from today´s strong current and hundreds of waves clashing against my body. I smile. I get excited. And then nervous.

A part of the email is echoing in my head…”Bring along a small portfolio representing your work”. Do I even have something to show them? What will the others show? Do they have experience? What kind of photography are they interested in? What if they ask me what kind of photography I am interested in? Darn it – what am I interested in? Do I even have a real portfolio or just a bunch of pretty pictures? Is there a meaning behind my pictures or was I just lucky in pressing a button at the right moment? Enough!

I push the thoughts aside and decide to wait until monday when I´ll get to experience it for myself.