Meet Paulo, a freelancer with experience in an array of skills! Paulo has been freelancing for almost 10 years, having successfully turned his hobbies into a successful career. Check out how he juggles so many services and his experiences in the freelancing world…
1) Hello Paulo, it’s great to have you on our freelancer insides series. Firstly, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and what you do?
Of course, my name is Paulo Baptista, 42 years old, father of two lovely kids. Regarding my professional experience, it has nothing to do with my college education! I´ve studied to become a teacher, but the lack of opportunities in this area made me change into completely different areas. Since graduation, I´ve worked in sales, pharmaceutical industry and later in civil aviation, area that would become the main one. In civil aviation, I have extensive knowledge of all the operational areas of an airport, from ramp services, operations, passengers’ departments, reservations, etc. That experience would come in handy when later I´ve become national handling manager of a major airline, setting up their self-handling operation in the national airports.
In conjunction with my full-time jobs, I´ve always had a few “hobbies” that have become work. In 2008, I ended up writing tutorials about 3d drawing for two online magazines, and later my work in sports photography resulted in being invited as team photographer for Blankforce kiteboarding and Flysurfer Portugal. Regarding photography, the solid Photoshop skills and the knowledge acquired in cg graphics granted me a lot of work collaborating with brands like Ozone kites, El Niño Tarifa, Drope clothing and others.
2) What was your inspiration for becoming a freelancer, and when did you actually decide to make the change?
The inspiration was quite simple in fact, I´m a self-taught person, always striving for perfection, so when the invitations for work started (first in 3d, later in photography), it was a sign that I was good in what I was doing, so why not make some money out of it?
3) In your opinion, which are the main benefits and main challenges of working as a freelancer?
The benefits are that you make your own working schedule; of course this also means that you need to be highly disciplined regarding delivery timelines while seeking new jobs. This is one of the main challenges.
4) What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting a freelance career? What does it takes to be successful as a freelancer?
My advice is to first excel at what you love to do, then start charging for it. To become successful, the answer is simple: lots of work and persistence, and a good contact network, the results will appear.
5) And what do you think are the main reasons why freelancers fail or prefer to go back into full-time employment?
As stated in one of the previous questions, the lack of discipline is one of the main reasons. Failure in assuring consistent work orders will of course cause a break in cash flow, that´s why many people will prefer the safety of a full-time job, even if it means that they not feel fulfilled with what they´re doing.
6) Branding, logo design, photography, translation services…we usually read that picking a niche and specialization is very important for freelancers, however you offer a range of different services – how has this approach worked for you?
Personally, I always give 100% of me in every work that I do, being design, photography or translations (I´ve created most of the manuals for the airline I´ve worked, and translated them between Portuguese, Spanish and English, so I´m quite used to it). The option for a wide array of services comes from my professional experience. For example, in one of the main Airlines in Europe, the main profit source is not the ticket sales, but the sales on board, pilots and crew training and only then the tickets. So why not apply this in your professional life? A wide choice of services will mean more income opportunities.
7) Now tell us, how do you find new clients that are interested in your services? Do you have your own website?
Again, a lot of work is needed. For this, online platforms like yours are a great way to find new work projects, so I do spend a lot of time in them. I do have a website (a basic one), mainly for photography where people can have an idea of my work. Regarding your network, is a great way to find new projects where one can work remotely, and the project agent is a great way of checking new opportunities to apply.
8) Apart from your professional life, what are your hobbies and interests? How do you manage workload with personal life?
I do love sports. Mainly kitesurf and skating. Regarding workload with personal life, it´s a matter of maintaining balance between work, rest and free time. Regarding apps used, only calendar to keep track of all the appointments, and Trello (android) to maintain focus on different tasks, regarding what needs to be done to complete them
9) What are your future plans? Will you continue freelancing or would you consider working full time again?
I will continue freelancing for sure, but also developing a personal project in my hometown, regarding tourism. Porto (Portugal) has huge potential in the next few years, so it´s an area to bet on!
10) Last but not least, is being your own boss what you expected? Do you work more hours (or less) than you had first anticipated?
Well, being my own boss is a great experience. It´s nice to plan budgets in a smaller scale that I was used to (I was dealing with budgets of millions in aviation). Regarding work hours, I also used to work 14 to 16 hours a day, so I´m feeling a bit more relaxed now. As I told before, balance is essential in life.
Freestyle! Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
Never quit on your dreams, if you don´t succeed at first, keep trying. You will gain valuable experience during this process.