From Passion to Profit: Living the Freelance Lifestyle

This post is part of the From Passion to Profit blog series that also features Rebecca Leigh, Thom Chambers, Laura Simms, Michelle Ward, Tara Gentile, Alexandra Franzen, and Lisa Sonora Beam.

To continue the freelance myth busting, started by Laura, the saying “jack of all trades, master of none” does not mean one can not have multiple passions in which profit can be made. The odds are you are reading this blog series because your passions are not paying 100% of your bills. That means you are left balancing multiple income streams from multiple projects as you start the journey of a freelance entrepreneur. If you could not tell from the website, I am actor, teacher, web designer/developer and social media/SEO specialist. These multiple income streams all contribute to my overall freelance income. All of these require me to have various different skill sets. What are your different skills sets (or passions, per the series topic) that you can create into income streams? What online classes, books, workshops can you access to build your skill set to the level that you can create income?

Once your skills are built to the level of being able to create income, time management becomes key. This can be as simple as how you keep a calendar to what are your sacrificing to get all the work done. And as soon as you have it figured out something will change. More work will come in, for me recently it has been working with a two-year old in the house. If it is your passion, you make it work. Living in Los Angeles, there are times I can commute up to an hour and half. I try to schedule phone meetings, in which I don’t need to be in from of my computer, for when I am driving. How can you structure your time to be the most productive? Once you get far enough along the journey, you will be able to set up a team, as Tara so wisely suggests. Before you have that team, you will be doing it all your self. Take that time to really assess want you enjoy doing, and what you would be willing to pass off to your future team.

NETWORKING: Sometimes You Have to Go to Wyoming
I recently presented at the annual Shepard Symposium on Social Justice in Laramie, Wyoming. It was the last day of the conference, and I was not planning on attending, as I had to drive down to Denver to catch my flight. There was a morning session on the topic of using theater as a tool for social justice to empower at-risk youth and communities, presented by Los Angeles theater company. Moving back to Los Angeles in the last year, I was struggling in finding theater companies that needed teaching artists to work within communities. I was hesitant to attend the session as I was afraid of being late to my flight. I decided to risk it, and I was I was glad I did. I met the program director and quickly realized that we had worked in similar circles in the arts education community in New York and knew many of the same people. We immediately hit it off, and a connection was made. A connection that I was trying to make for eight months…I just had to go to Wyoming to do it.

Networking is a must, but how one networks is the key. There are many reasons why we might not network, fear of being needy to too busy working to get out of the office. Whatever the reason is, time needs to be scheduled to get out and meet other people in your field. Number one rule of networking: get out and meet people. This ties into the second rule: find commonalities away from the field. I consider twitter a networking tool. I follow people who are highly involved in the entertainment industry, theater, arts education, web design and social media fields. And while I tweet with them about their respective fields, and I also look to connect on other topics. There is a casting director I follow on twitter whom I have never met. She tweeted once that she just found out about the social media speaker Gary Vaynerchuck, some one that I have followed for years and have blogged and tweeted about. I knew he was coming to speak in the area the following week, so I tweeted her back letting her know and giving her the link to his speaking schedule. Did this have anything to do with acting, or me asking her to cast me in her next project? No. This was me reaching out and helping a colleague. Does she know I am an actor? Sure, my twitter profile says so, and it is clear on my website. Life is bigger than the next job you are trying to get, or about the field you work in. So look to connect, and be of genuine service, in life…just not the field you work in.

These resources have helped me in finding my own journey as a freelancer. If you have more, add them in the comments.


43 Folders
Freelance Folder
Freelance Switch
Email and Productivity Tools


How to be a Rockstar Freelancer
One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success

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    5 thoughts on “From Passion to Profit: Living the Freelance Lifestyle

    1. Dianne

      Thanks for this post. I keep thinking I have to “master” something but my personality keeps drifting towards multiple passions (art, editing, etc.). Good thoughts here as I develop some action plans along these lines!

    2. Dennis Baker

      Thanks Ben. Yes, I too struggle with keeping multiple passions in balance. Like anything, the more you do it, it does not necessarily get easier, just more manageable.

    3. Seth Hymes

      The very best connections and opportunities have come to me when I am not pushing my own agenda but rather trying to contribute to someone else, excellent insight.

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