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The Freelance Experience 1: Promote Yourself

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Welcome to "The Freelance Experience." A regular column produced from the freelancers of the Renderosity Writing Staff with all the ins, outs, ups, downs, joy and heartbreak when one chooses to work contract to contract. It can be a colorful occupation with an ever-changing field of characters including employers, creative directors, prima donnas, and mentors not to mention other freelancers as teammates and competitors. We will cover topics like how to: Promote Yourself, Manage your Online Persona, Get Noticed, Contract Tips and many other facets of a wide open field that encompasses almost anything and everything digital.

As a freelancer, I'm an unknown quantity to the Renderosity Community but if you are a potential employer and you "Google" my professional name you will be taken to several places that identify me as a 3D modeler, animator, author and all those other things freelancers do to make a buck. You won't find anything earth shattering, but you will find information that backs me up as a multi-faceted freelancer, which is the point to promoting yourself. I've even been accused of being arrogant in my wanting to show off my work so much and while I won't disagree that I love to show off, it's not so much arrogance from my point of view as it is name recognition, no matter how minor, and to provide examples of prior art and production work experience. I would not be writing this article were it not for some form of promotion that got noticed by a decision maker.

To get to this point, I've done a lot of work for free and will continue to do so when it's mutually beneficial. I've mainly and specifically have gone the route of creating tutorials and authored a "How To" book to establish some credentials. I've also branded myself with a single avatar pic and handle that has stayed the same for years. Branding is recognition and recognition is promotion. It's amazing how getting published can promote your work, but it takes more than once... in fact it t takes several articles over a few years and next thing you know you are on the digital rolodex of potential employers and just as important... Public Relations/Marketing people and firms. They need go to people they can depend on in a snap to turn out a tutorial or an article. Those free jobs may generate thousands or more views and your name is on every view so someone will notice.

Create free artwork for non-profit corporations. Put together posters for events. Not only are you getting your name out there... you are making REFERENCES... and everything in freelance revolves around references. As a digital artist, one of your main priorities should be getting examples of your work out in the world anyway possible. Put together demo reels that mimic production quality work to show what you can do. Don't be timid. You can do the work so SOUND like you can do work. When you can "Walk the walk" then you can "Talk the talk" so do so. Do it as long and loud as possible. Bang your own drum because, digital Brothers and Sisters, no one else is going to do it for you.

If you want to be a freelancer in today's competitive world then you have to be noticed and to be noticed you have to promote. Promotion and your career should be the first things you think of when evaluating an opportunity to get your name and work out there. A few articles here... a demo reel there and maybe some tutorials thrown in the mix and you are at least laying the groundwork for your future in freelancing.

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