So You Think You Can Freelance Part 2: Know Your Worth, Know Yourself
Just like any relationship, the key to things working out with your clients is communication, and (both of you) understanding what you want and what you need. So let's start with you. Grab a sheet of paper if you want, or just mentally check in about where you're at.
What you've got
Let's take a quick inventory about who you are and what you have to offer. You don't need to be everything, don't feel weird if the answer to any/all of these questions is "nope, I've got no experience with that." That's cool, we're just figuring out our starting point.
- What's your background? In what areas do you feel strong? Where could you improve?
(Do you have experience with audio editing? Project management?) There are tons of useful skills you might have that could contribute to your success as a freelancer in the podcast industry, e.g. SEO, email marketing, writing copy, writing or editing scripts.
- How much time do you have? How much time do you want to commit to freelancing? If you have another job and this is your side-hustle, what hours of the day will you be available? This is important for scheduling with clients, but also for considering what types of clients you'll take on. i.e. if you're not sure you'll be able to turn around a podcast in 72 hours at the flip of a coin, Fiverr or a similar on-demand service might not be your vibe.
- What gear do you have already and how will that affect what you can contribute? Do you have recording equipment?
- Do you have any experience with music production or sourcing music or sound effects?
- Let's be honest, how are you with deadlines? How do you work remotely? Are you successful when you set your own deadlines and schedule?
What you want
Let's think about where you're going, and how to reach your ideal freelancing career.
- What's your favorite podcast? What's your favorite content to consume? What do you like most about your favorite podcasts' content? About the host? About the production?
- What's your favorite type of content to make? This could be totally different from what you actually like listening to. What makes you excited?
- What kinds of personalities do you like working with? How do you communicate?
- Do you need to have creative input to feel connected to a project? Are you going to enjoy working on a podcast if you aren't involved in picking topics, finding guests, etc.?
- Where do you see yourself in a year or two? What's your end goal?
What you need
Let's talk deal-breakers and essentials.
- How quickly can you turn around an episode?
- What is your time worth? Are you able to be flexible with different budgets?
- (For absolute beginners) If you're willing to work for free, what do you need to be getting out of it for your effort to be worth it?
- How will you receive/send files?
- Are there any topics/messages you feel uncomfortable working with? Sometimes podcasts cover heavy topics and you might not want to get involved working on a project if it's going to be harmful to your mental/emotional health. If you wouldn't listen to a podcast with a certain TW, you probably shouldn't edit that podcast.
- Do you have any other dealbreakers you should consider when talking to your client? Think about past bosses and what you liked/didn't like about that relationship. Think about coworkers and friends and how you want to be treated. With freelance work, it's especially important to value your life balance and mental health since you're setting your own boundaries and schedule. Maybe this is controversial, but if they're not paying you a salary to have access to you during all business hours, then you aren't obligated to be available during all business hours
- On that same note, are you cool with working at odd hours or on the weekend to meet deadlines?
Honestly, this is just a starting point. Lots of things will come up as you move along -- keep notes on what works well for you and what doesn't. Update your skills as you get more experience. Keep track of episodes and moments you're particularly proud of so you can highlight them in a portfolio down the road. Coming up next will be questions for potential clients.