How My Time As A Model Made Me A Better Freelance Writer

It may not be apparent how working as a freelance model can be similar to working as a freelance writer, but there are definitely some things in common. In my experience, my short time as a freelance model was just one of many jumps, along my varied yet focused path.

From a young age, my family always encouraged me to do something big. For me that meant being a doctor or a lawyer. As I mentioned before, I’m a writer, so I’m not that good with words, so ‘lawyer-ing’ was never in my vocabulary.

But I could see myself being a doctor – not one of the run-of- the-mill, regular old doctors either- I wanted to be a D.O. No one in my family or community had any idea what a D.O. was, and for me that was just perfect. I went to college among the smartest pre-med students in the country. My first roommate is currently a brain surgeon. .. but my first C in a college chemistry course made me reconsider why I was becoming a doctor. After a few degree changes, I ended up in journalism school, but graduated with a degree in cultural studies. Why I did not start there in the first place is beyond me, but the journey was fun.

As I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my degree, I started taking any jobs that I could find. After working for technology industry leaders, I decided I needed to go into business for myself. I had no capital to invest in a product business, so I had to base one on a skill. One skill I was surprised to learn I could sell was modeling.

There are many qualities needed for freelance modeling, which most people don’t realize. There is a reason most models work through agencies- it’s because freelancing is really difficult! In my short time working as a freelance model, I learned a lot of things about life, and even more about being in business. The majority of it I have carried on to my life a freelance copywriter. Here are some of the highlights:

  • You can never actually guess what the photographer wants to capture. You can either do a test shoot, collaborate on ideas before hand, or just show up and hope they like what they get
  • There is a lot of hurry up and wait. Show up ready to shoot, but don’t expect anything to happen on your time
  • Getting paid is great, but not guaranteed, do whatever it takes to ensure you get your money
  • Showing up un-prepared, late, or with a bad attitude will guarantee that the client will not work with you again
  • The photos are not yours, unless the client says they are…
  • If you send photos of a 110 pound you with blonde hair, don’t show up as a 140 pound redhead.
  • Make nice with the other models, they may refer you work.

While writing is definitely not as glamorous as modeling, (no one serves mimosas to their writers… and if there are clients that do, CONTACT ME), there are a lot of parallels that I have been able to incorporate into my work ethic:

  1. Be a thoughtful writer – figure out the project before you start
  2. Actively look for work, submit pitches and/or bids
  3. Figure out suitable payment arrangements before you begin work
  4. The client doesn’t care about your excuses, make the deadline
  5. Ghostwriting means your name is not there. No exceptions
  6. Always provide the client with relevant examples of your work
  7. Network

See, I wasn’t just sitting around playing dress-up all day.


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