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No Idea Where to Start.

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FIA2444No Idea Where to Start.
by on Mar 12, 2007 at 11:38:29 pm


I have been working as an assistant editor for the past 3 years and I am ready to make the move to a freelance editor. My problem is I have no idea about the business aspect of freelancing. I have created a company and my reel but I really don't no where to go from there. Could someone please help?


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walter biscardiRe: No Idea Where to Start.
by on Mar 13, 2007 at 12:16:00 am

Have you established any contacts with potential clients? People who have used your services in the past? Starting out as a freelancer is definitely much tougher if you have not established yourself with a few clients or at least have a particular job to start on.

Definitely join any local groups and organizations like an Avid Users / Final Cut Pro Users group, local media groups, etc....

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
HD Editorial & Animation for Food Network's "Good Eats"
HD Editorial for "Assignment Earth"

"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

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Steve WargoRe: No Idea Where to Start.
by on Mar 13, 2007 at 4:21:14 am

I hope that you're a good salesman because that is what you'll need the most. Also, polish up on your bookkeeping and accounting skills. Then, make sure that you have contracts ready for clients to sign after you're great sales job. Work on your clerical skill set so that you can write budgets, job specifications, keep track of appointments and meetings, get a Staples credit card for the office supplies and get business insurance with $1 million limits. And that's only the beginning. Unless you plan to do all of this crap yourself, forever, think about hiring a person to take care of the above tasks. If all goes well, you should be able to actually work on chargable jobs for at least 20 to 30 hours a week unless you want to dedicate nights and weekends to work. In that case, you might get 40 productive hours in.

A few years ago, we kept track of how mnay man hours were spent chasing jobs vs doing jobs. 60% of our time was spent looking for work, attending meetings and BSing with the client when everything was done. Oh, by the way, clients want you to work nights and weekends at the same rate as during normal work hours. When they drop a job off on Friday afternoon on their way home from the office, they fully expect to have it done so they can pick it up on the way in on Monday morning because they forget to do it earlier in the week and now it's your problem.

Beware of when they ask for the "deal" up front so they can pay you full rate later. There will be no "later". They will simply move to the next guy that will give them a deal.

My best advice: Charge double what you think you need to charge and give up 40% of your potential clients right away. You'll make more money doing half the work. Never discount your price to give someone a deal. If you want to give them a break, give them free hours. As soon as you lower your price, that is your price from then on. When they look at an old invoice, they need to see the price that is your working price. When I figure the hours on an invoice, I include some of the talk time and discount the time back to my honest work hours and then I show a gift of an hour or two for loyalty. A lot of my clients read the COW so I have nothing to hide.

My last piece of advice: Give them more than they pay for and stand behind the quality of your work 100%.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!

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FIA2444Re: No Idea Where to Start.
by on Mar 13, 2007 at 3:34:10 pm

Thanks so much. That was exactly what I was looking for.

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