The wealth of networking available online through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging sites like Tumblr can be an excellent place to share ideas with the world. Their expanded reach means social media can be your best friend or worst enemy professionally. This is especially true when it comes to freelance work — whether you’re producing video content in your spare time or as a full-time job.
Used correctly, social media is a phenomenal resource for attracting new and continuous work. Too often, however, social media has turned into a place to vent one’s personal and professional frustrations. We’ve heard stories of people who’ve said something about their work or bosses online and wound up losing their job for it. It’s easy to see how poorly-worded or ill-timed social media posts can impact traditional jobs, but it’s just as detrimental to self-employed freelancers. You can’t post anything you want without consequences simply because you don’t have a boss looking over your social accounts.
Freelance video isn’t easy and it comes with a fair amount of frustration. Finicky clients who want to constantly change things, overbearing clients who micromanage each step of the process and those who fail to pay on time cause all manner of headaches. Social media, though, isn’t the place to discuss those issues. Imagine tweeting about the “annoying and idiotic” ideas from your current client and having them see it. What are the chances of working with them on a future project?
Venting in a public forum shows a distinct lack of professionalism. If prospective clients search for examples of your work online, they’ll easily come across your negative posts and be turned away. Regardless of the quality of your work, unprofessionalism taints your entire portfolio, and it’s a reputation you won’t shed overnight.
Regardless of the quality of your work, unprofessionalism taints your entire portfolio, and it’s a reputation you won’t shed overnight.
What may seem like a casual comment could turn into a veritable PR nightmare for your freelance business, costing you valuable income. In turn, this could lead to another all too common issue these days within social media: complaining online about a lack of work.
This frequently happens with newcomers to the freelance video world, but veterans are just as guilty. Freelancing is a constant battle to stay busy. As you work on one project, you need to line up your next job. Lulls inevitably happen and they aren’t just frustrating, they can be scary. Complaining about it online won’t solve the problem, however. In fact, it’s more likely to make things worse.
Posts like “Should have hired me for this,” “Still waiting on work,” or “My work is ten times better than [this person]!” won’t send clients flocking towards you. These comments come off as whiny and unprincipled. Imagine you’re the client and come across similar posts. Would you want to hire someone who seems to do more grumbling than working? The answer is no, and most everyone will feel that way. They’ll find someone else to work with instead.
While a quick and simple post online to vent might help you feel a bit better, it can have long-lasting repercussions. It’s okay to be frustrated about things in the freelance world — it’s natural and normal — but you can’t work through it in a public space. Keep your online presence tidy and professional. That doesn’t mean you can’t post non-work related things, but when you discuss business, make sure your posts won’t come back to bite you.
Jordan Maison is an editor and VFX artist whose plied his talents in web content for Disney Studios as well as movie and videogame websites.