When In Doubt, Double Down: Taking Things To The Next Echelon

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Last weekend I went for a walk around the Humber College Lakeshore campus because I was in the area, and although I took journalism at Humber North I had never seen the Lakeshore campus. As I wandered around the paths weaving my way towards the lake, I came upon a farmers market. It just so happened that I had my camera on me, a Canon PowerShot SX40, so I decided to start snapping a few photos. I bought the camera in June because I had to do photos for one of my clients and I took a few photography classes in J-school, so I’ve been able to take some pretty impressive pics with it. I’ve taken my camera all over the place: downtown, on trips, to weddings, and around the forested paths near my parents’ place. No matter where I go I always manage to find great photos.

At the farmers market I took photos of a lot of different booths, and at the last one, a little tea company called Misty Mountain Tea, the owners were very kind and asked if I could send them the photos via email. I was more than happy to, and I asked them to pose for a photo with both of them standing in the booth as though they’re ready to receive customers. I took the shot, along with many more of the little jars of loose tea on display, and showed them on the little preview screen. They were impressed and I already knew they were going to look great when I blew the pics up to full size on my computer screen at home. I sent the photos in a zip file to their business email yesterday, but haven’t gotten a response yet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until I hear something.

Photography is something I would love to add to my creative services. I’ve always enjoyed photography for a number of reasons so getting paid to do it would be my dream job. The great thing about photography is that it requires you to explore and go to new and interesting places becuase you’ll never get pictures of anything good if you stay at home. Professional photographers go to some incredible places on assignment becuase the nature of their work demands it. I’ve always had a restless sense of adventure, so photography allows me to indulge that. I can’t stand staying at home all day. After long enough, I always become restless and bored, so I’ll go out, I’ll go anywhere, sometimes without even knowing where I’m going. After a full day working from home I’ll strap my shoes on and head downtown with no particular destination mind, but I’ll take my journal, books, and camera with me.

I want to add photography to my business model. My company would then be called Riddell Creative, becuase I’d be doing more than just writing. First I’d need to take a course in Photoshop to learn the requisite photo editing skills, and I would also need to buy a new computer to do all the photo editing, probably a Mac. I would also need to invest in a DSLR camera body, lenses, and tote bag. Although the PowerShot is a great camera, I would need professional quality gear. Pro quality gear, a computer, and the Photoshop course all cost a fair bit of money. This is a long term goal that I’ll have to keep my sights on, but for now I can still work on building up a portfolio with what work I can do.

Speaking of expanding my business model, another thing I’ve looked into time and again is learning Adobe Creative Suite and web design. Not just Photoshop, but also InDesign and Acrobat, along with Dreamweaver and HTML coding. Concordia offers a certificate in web publications which would give me everything I need to know. It would take a year to finish the whole thing, and again, it would cost a lot of money. I’d be investing in myself and it would eventually pay off.

In terms of writing, I want to branch out into bigger assignments; things like white papers and case studies. Even ghostwriting a book would be a great project. Of course the first hurdle to overcome is the fact that I have never written these things before, and I therefore have no samples of such writing, so I would have to start somewhere. That might mean writing one on my own time. It would also help to study exactly how these things are written. How do I format a case study or a white paper? What kind of a writing style should I use? What are the key elements of an effective white paper or case study? These are all things I need to know, and I can start by studying a few examples.

But the next major step for my freelancing business has to be incorporation. I have had several recruiters contact me over the past month with consideration for high paying in-house contracts, but all of them require the person they hire to be incorporated.  When I told the first of these recruiters that I had not done that yet, she sounded surprised and maybe even a little disappointed. I had never considered it before, but now that it’s been brought to my attention it seems like something I should do. If I incorporate, Riddell Creative will be an official business entity, and it will make me look much more professional. I’ll be able to attract more and better clients, and, since my business would be a corporation and not a sole proprietorship, I could give myself the titles of CEO, CFO, CMO, president, and janitor if I want. That’s pretty cool.

Every time I’ve become discouraged or burned out with freelancing writing, I’ve taken a break and come back to it stronger than ever. Instead of giving up, I double down and take it further. I have done this every time, and every time it pays off. Although I may have been doubtful that this was working out, I’m going to double down again and take it further still. I’ll reach the next echelon of success and prosperity.




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