The world of freelancing is crowded and a bit confusing to say the least. What is a freelancer? How do they find work? When it comes to branding, a good freelancer is someone with creative talent coming in to give your brand the kick in the right direction it so desperately needs. There are no strings attached, you’re free to go on with your business and the freelancer is free to work with other clients until you need their services again.
It’s a lifestyle we see so may people jumping into now. With good reason too, plenty of folks have made a nice living off of freelancing. On top of that, it’s hard to find full time work so you’d better be getting paid from more than one revenue stream. Right now the tough part is the heavy competition for freelance work. Unless you live under rock, you’ve noticed the growing importance of content.
It’s nearly impossible not to come across someone running a blog, creating some sort of visual content, and promoting a personal brand. Best-case scenario, they build a following adding value to their work. Making it easier to build consistent clientele. On the other hand, they could just be taking up space. Either way, the crowd is pretty thick when it comes to creative freelance work.
Andrea K. Castillo is a multi-media creative whose talents span across writing, photography, and on-camera personality. On her blog, A Life In The Day of Andrea you’ll find everything from product reviews to event coverage. She keeps you in the know when it comes to products and experiences from art to awesome dining. The site gives the “New York minute” vibe, with content based on topics spanning across various locations. Her portfolio displays beautiful photography and her camera readiness through interviews with Luke James, Ryan Leslie, and Mack Wilds for Concrete Loop.
At first glance, you might think she’s wearing too many hats. To your contrary, that’s probably what makes her such an asset to companies like Juke Bar, headphone brand SOL Republic, and Brooklyn Industries for her skills in event hosting, facilitating customer experience, and cross-promotion. Being a successful freelancer isn’t an easy thing. You’ve got to have a solid track record. For a more personal account of the life of a freelancer I interviewed Andrea K. Castillo for Movers & Shakers.
What was life like growing up and did anything in particular influence you to be creative?
The story of my childhood was quite colorful, but it was one that was always filled with music and art. Being surrounded by that, I always pursued the arts in and out of school, whether it be in choir, dance classes, or theatre, and I kind of found my niche in being an ear to the streets, if you will, to the young creative world.
The first thing I noticed about you was you’re a triple threat doing editorial, photography, and graphic design. Did each of these skills come along at different stages or have you been honing them simultaneously all along?
Writing has always been something that came naturally to me, so I would say that is something that I’ve been developing for the longest amount of time. Not just writing to write, but writing clearly in my own voice. Photography started as a hobby when I was in junior high & I became the friend that would always take photos of trips and nights out. It didn’t really kick off professionally until 2012 when Jasmine Solano asked me to shoot some of her parties in NYC. Graphic design is my newest (growing) skill as I think I really started graphics in about 2012 when I had just gotten Photoshop and had a lot of free time. Everything is still a work in progress.
The Internet has made for tough competition when it comes to winning freelance, work with everyone enforcing a personal brand. Is this something you’ve noticed and how have you been able to separate yourself from the crowd?
I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here. Being a freelancer is really tough work, no matter how experienced you are, whatever accolades you may have, or industry co-signs you have. When I first joined Twitter in 2008, I started with a silly nickname, but I took note that a lot of people were using their real names, so I jumped onboard, and made all my accounts in my real name going forward. It was important to me to use my real name because it best represents myself, and I wanted that to be evident across the Internet. I think I’ve been able to separate myself from the crowd by unabashedly being myself, and not compromising my beliefs for a check or a plug.
Your blog, A Life In The Day of Andrea is a pretty cool mixture art, music, and overall experience. How do you stay in the loop with all of the events and happenings around the city? What’s your selection process like in deciding what you choose to write about?
Having been in and out of the music and fashion industries for the past ten years, I’m kept in the loop via many colleagues at labels and brands on what special events may be happening in NYC or abroad at any given time. I’m also subscribed to many PR databases, so I get lots of pitches from brands, event listings, etc. My selection process is pretty simple; I cover what interests me, and what I believe my friends would enjoy. My reader is pretty multi-faceted, so I give myself range, but I refuse to force content. It’s not worth it.
You’ve had the opportunity to interview some dope entertainers like Luke James, Ryan Leslie, and Mack Wilds. How do you prepare for on-camera interviews?
Preparing for on-camera interviews is always fun for me, because the majority of the time, I’ve been able to choose my subject. I literally search for every interview that that person has done, read their bio, review their work (if I’m not that familiar), and try my best to ask the questions that maybe another journalist has not asked. My style is very conversational, so I format all of my questions in the way a conversation would unfold.
In another 5 years or so where do you hope to see yourself in your career?
In another five years I hope for all of my creative endeavors to allow me to live truly as an international citizen. I see so many opportunities abroad from a writing and marketing perspective, and I want to tap into that, especially from a brand standpoint. I want to grow my personal brand, but definitely want to collaborate with fashion & lifestyle brands on product and experiences. I would love to work with Nike, WeSC, and House of Marley. Fingers crossed that I can make it a reality!
Feature Photo Credit: Jason Chandler