Charlie Flounder’s freelance story

As part of our freelance celebration we’re sharing the experiences of female freelancers. Here’s Charlie Flounder’s story. 

What do you do?

I’m a photographer and videographer. I’m a visual storyteller; crafting bright and engaging images and films for business owners that want to stand out from the crowd and life-loving couples and families. 

How long have you been a freelancer?

Well, I’ve been building my freelance creative business for five years alongside my old career (brand and marketing management for large corporates in the recycling industry). But I’ve just recently leaped and fully left the old me behind!

Why did you go freelance?

I realised that ever since leaving school I’d had this burning desire to do something creative. I had a place on a fine art degree but my parents convinced me to do something more “business-based” as “artists find it really hard to make money.” And at various other times throughout my career the opportunity has been there but I let the fear of stepping away from “safety” get the better of me.

The more I accepted the realisation that this is what I wanted to do, the more I attracted more creative work. This then led to me feeling really stifled in the corporate world. Helped along by really not enjoying quite a lot of the people I worked with and my creative business getting busier than I could handle whilst still doing the day job, it felt like the right time to leap.

What do you love about being a freelancer?

The freedom to shape my destiny whilst making a real impact and difference to the lives of other people wanting to do the same thing. I love all the amazing, strong entrepreneurs (mainly women) I get to work with and feel constantly inspired by their stories.

And what do you hate about being a freelancer?

The bit I’ve struggled with so far is not having someone to run my decision by. In the corporate world, I had senior decision-making roles, but there was always someone above me who took ultimate responsibility for it going wrong.

There was always someone for me to talk things through with, someone to say “so this is what I’m planning on doing, do you think I’m on the right track, should I add anything to make it even better?”. Now I have to have that chat with myself which some days make me feel like a mentalist!

How long did it take to earn an income you were happy with?

Ooh, I’m still working on that one!

And how long to get a good client rota?

This has evolved beautifully and organically over the last two years. But there’s lots more I’d like to do to increase it. The drawback of my line of work is, there aren’t too many clients who need images/film super regularly so there’s a good amount of hustle to keep the new work flowing. 

Have you ever turned a client down? And if so, why?

Yes. I believe it’s really important to have a great connection both with the people I work with and what they stand for.

Firstly, if it’s a business shoot, my work will help them promote themselves and their business, so if what they are doing doesn’t match with my values and beliefs, I wouldn’t want to support them.

Secondly, if I don’t click with my client (and this goes for weddings and portraiture too) I know I won’t get the best from them, especially if they have to be in the photographs/film.

My whole ethos is around helping people show their real selves and if I can’t get them to chat and be relaxed in front of my camera I know I’ll fail at getting them to be natural. This will only lead to them being unhappy with my finished product. So this is a cycle I actively avoid. 

If you could offer any advice to yourself starting out as a freelancer what would it be?

Do it about 20 years sooner! There is never a perfect time, the change in energy that happens by simply committing to the change will attract wonderful things.

Don’t be afraid or feel overwhelmed; work on improving the things you need to by 1% each day and in no time you’ll be flying. 

Find out more about Charlie