Hours of Operation

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of 9-5 jobs. Even still there is at least one important thing that we creative freelancers can learn from them. It’s a little thing called work hours.

I’m gonna venture a guess that most full-time photographers and designers work their butts off at all hours of the day. Personally, I enjoy working late because my inbox and phone aren’t vying for my attention, and I often find my groove between 10:00 and 3:00. That’s just how I roll.

While I have the advantage of setting my own hours, the truth is that until recently I didn’t actually set any hours. The unfortunate reality was that there were always more demands on my time, and since I didn’t set my own schedule other people dictated it for me.

I now have defined normal working hours, and I propose that you do the same. It will look different depending on the work you do, but personally I charge time and a half for any shoot before 10AM and after 10PM. I also charge extra for any shoots on Sundays. So for 12 hours a day 6 days a week I will work for my normal rates, but if you want me to get out of bed early, or work during my prime evening hours, or give up my Sabbath then you’re going to pay extra for it. Sometimes that means I’m not the right photographer for the job, and that’s perfectly fine by me. That’s the freedom of setting my own schedule.

I still have to evaluate each job case by case, but at least I have a framework for putting some value on my time. Previously I found myself stretched too thin, underpaid, and on the edge of burnout. Now it’s a little sweeter getting up early because I know I’m getting compensated for it. Do yourself a favor and set some boundaries. It does a body (and a business) good.

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