Realities of a Freelancer: Uncertainty

Okay. I'm going to get real for a second.

Starting out as a freelance makeup artist isn't a joke. It's a harder than most people might think.

If you're a freelancer, like me, you probably understand the constant uncertainty I feel daily. I don't have a 9 to 5 job. I don't have a bimonthly paycheck that I can rely on. Each day, I have to compete with thousands of other freelance makeup artists for work.

It's stressful and my anxiety goes through the roof. Not only am I uncertain about my future, but when things start to slow down with work, I begin to seriously doubt my ability. I think that there are thousands of other makeup artists who are so much better than me, so why would anyone hire me? I know this is just my anxiety getting the best of me and that I am perfectly capable of achieving anything that I set my mind to, but it is still a thought that disrupts me every once in a while.

Especially in Los Angeles, freelancers of all kinds understand this struggle. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but being this difficult? I thought that a year or two into doing makeup, I would have built the network needed to consistently have work... Nope. Three years in working professionally and I'm still only scratching the surface. I'm exhausted from this constant feeling that I can't go out and enjoy myself because I'm stressing about how much money I can afford to spend and if/when my next job is going to be.

My guess is that most people my age, with steady paychecks and jobs, are mindful with their money, but not to the point where they have to check their bank accounts to make sure they are able to pay for groceries. I delay going grocery shopping every time because I try to save money, even if it means not having a lot of food for the next few days. If you feel this way too, please let me know. I understand what you're going through.

So, I started thinking that maybe I should try to compile a list of things we could do to combat these feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy. Here it goes...

1) Try to see the positive side. Accept that this uncertainty and anxiety is normal and it can be a good thing. It can motivate you to keep working. I also find that it reminds me of the work that I have already put in.

If you hardly try, then you have no one to blame but yourself. Continue to work hard and be patient. Have faith that your hard work will eventually yield the results you are looking for. It may not be straight away, but the universe has a way of maintaining the balance. Eventually, your determination and perseverance will show through.

2) Practice. Keep busy. Build your portfolio. I have been bringing in my friends as my models and working on different skills, such as glam makeup and special effects makeup. The more you practice, the more you learn.

I had a wise makeup instructor once tell me that "Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes practice." If you keep practicing bad habits, you will maintain those bad habits. When you practice, be as precise and perfect as you can. It is okay to mess up, but learn from them. Every time I do makeup, whether it is for a job or practice, I take note of my mistakes. I make sure that the next time I do it, I correct those mistakes. Perfect your craft. It is an art form and no one is perfect in the beginning. It takes years of practice.

3) Broaden your horizons. Apply everywhere. Even for jobs you think you might not be qualified for. You are more capable than you think. There have been many jobs that I applied for where I thought that I might not be able to achieve the look they wanted, but I always do. You will never know if you don't try. By only applying for jobs that you know you can do, you unwittingly type-caste yourself into a particular role. I don't just do special effects or beauty makeup. I do it all. Yes, it may be a lot, but it allows me to apply to a range of jobs. It also keeps my job exciting. I don't do the same type of makeup each day and I love that.

I'm not saying to be the jack of all trades and the master of none. What I mean is to not limit yourself. It never hurts to try. Like I said, you are much more capable that you think.

4) Be proactive. Instead of waiting around for my next makeup job, I advertise myself. I leave business cards when and where I can. I constantly update my website and content. I connect with people. My job isn't just about doing makeup, it is about building a relationship and rapport with everyone. I could be the greatest makeup artist in the world, but if I didn't know how to talk to people, I would get nowhere.

I also like to keep on top of the trends. Learning new techniques and styles is imperative in this industry. The beauty industry is constantly evolving and every few months, a new product or trend emerges. It can never hurt to learn something new. Knowledge is power here. You are supposed to be an expert in your field and you must keep up with the times. Otherwise, you might lose out on potential jobs.

5) Be present on social media. As much as I hate to say it, I'd be ignorant to dismiss the impact that social media holds on the beauty industry. My guess is that the majority of influencers on social media are related to the beauty industry in some way. Gaining a following on social media can also lead to more jobs. Some influencers can get paid an absurd amount of money to post one picture promoting a brand on their page. I've known many makeup artists, myself included, who have brands, photographers, models, etc reach out to work with them. Like I mentioned before, the industry is forever changing, which includes business and marketing. If you don't utilize the most modern forms of business and marketing, aka social media and the like, then you are only doing yourself a disservice. It took me a while to accept that I need to get better at social media. Luckily, I have friends who are social media experts and they are willing to help me out.

With all of that said, I think the main reason why I feel this anxiety is because it is as if I don't have control of my own fate. It seems as though it is in the hands of someone else to decide if I am worthy. Well... I don't accept that. I control my fate. So, that is what these tips aim to do. Take back control.

If you have any tips that you would like to add, leave a comment and let me know! I would love to hear what advice you have to conquer your anxiety.

Thank you for reading.