6.09.2015

A new occupation for long term, freelance photographers. Hear me out...

Photo taken in NYC for Samsung. ©2013

I love having lunch with clients who are friends. The conversations can be as wide ranging as we'd like. Today my art director friend, Greg, and I headed over to a favorite west campus area restaurant just to have one of those quiet lunches where we talk about our kids, our careers and what we're going to do next. Greg is a freelance art director who offices inside a big, traditional public relations agency. Some of his work comes from the agency and a lot of it comes from his list of clients who are external. 

We've both been in our respective, freelance market niches for a long time. Decades. We've learned the hard way how to spend money, how to budget, where to buy our insurance and which insurance to buy. We've learned how to do marketing to move our businesses into the future. We've rolled with the economic punches and celebrated the upswings. In short, we pretty much have the self-employed thing figured out. 

So we were munching on mushroom and white truffle oil pizzas at Asti Trattoria and I mentioned an article I recently read that predicted something like 45% of working Americans would be self-employed, out sourced, or otherwise self-directed by 2020. The new corporate paradigm is to outsource absolutely everything you can. It's why Apple no longer has factories. Why Dell stopped manufacturing in Austin. Why Uber owns no cars. And why more and more people are calling Starbucks their offices.

As we mulled this over we came to the conclusion that there is a real need across America (and perhaps around the world) for people to act as guides leading people from their routine (but vanishing) jobs with companies into the glorious life of self employee freelance-ism. 

After all, what did many established photographers do when their occupation of taking photographs collapsed? Right! They started teaching workshops at a furious rate. They still knew how to take pictures, they just couldn't get anyone to pay them for it. By the same token the photographers who've actually made it through the downturn, the collapse of the assignment market and the siege laid on by stock agencies must have some really valuable and unique business skills. How else could they still be out shooting for money and making a decent living?

Now we can finally ditch the race to buy new cameras, and the need to attract new clients for our photography skills, because the next market will take advantage of our newly acquired workshop teaching skills instead. We will now set up classes, workshops and seminars to teach people how to freelance. And how to survive as freelancers.

Imagine it. We can lead them through the dark forest of self-employment and help them figure out how to pay for that next cup of coffee down at the "office." Just like photography students they might not all be successful but the ones who get it will be there to teach the next generation. We'll be paying it forward as the job market goes backwards. 

Oh it all sounded pretty good over lunch ---- still trying to figure out how to expense that. (Article T.I.C.).