Freelancing as a Church Media Producer
My first freelance gig came 2 years into my job at Ginghamsburg.
The owner of a local car dealership, and member of Ginghamsburg, asked me to produce a video. He was scheduled to speak at a leadership summit and was interested in “spicing up” his presentation. He paid $500 for a 4 minute story on his life as a car dealer turned missionary.
I was a newbie. I was still shooting on tape. I had no business plan, and no desire to market myself as a freelancer. What I failed to realize, was that the video screen at church was my free marketing billboard. Business owners, entrepreneurs, community networkers and baseball dads alike were inspired by the video stories they saw in worship week after week. As my skills progressed, I got more calls:
“Do you do weddings?”
“Can you make a logo for my new business?”
“Our non-profit needs a fundraising video.”
“I’d like to produce a commercial.”
“Can you make a slideshow for my son’s graduation?”
“Help us boost our social media profile.”
“Design posters for our upcoming event.”
At first, I didn’t know how to say NO. Without ever marketing myself (other than trying to do a good job), I’ve averaged $10,000 a year in freelance income over the last 7 years. I still have no business plan, and no interest in being a freelancer. However, here’s 10 rules I’ve developed for myself when it comes to “making money on the side”:
- Will it further God’s Kingdom? If the answer is NO, then it’s not worth my time. (I’m 32, I’m almost dead!)
- Tithe (BEFORE TAXES) and be generous. Extra money is God’s money. It doesn’t belong to me and never will. Hold it with an open hand.
- Be expensive. If projects take me away from family, they will be charged accordingly. Besides, my skill is worth it.
- Don’t double-dip. Freelance is on your own time…not during work/church hours.
- Nothing under the table. Be transparent with your boss(es) about your expanding collection of professional relationships.
- Don’t do weddings. Maximum time investment with minimal Kingdom impact.
- Save well. For taxes, for vacation, for emergency…stack it away for a rainy day.
- Ask your wife. There are some things money can’t buy (#3).
- Find a partner. Pay them. Better together than alone.
- NEVER do it for the money, because then you’ll be dependent on it. Then you NEED “money on the side”. It’s nice to have extra cash, but keep it “extra” so your motives stay in-line with the Kingdom. Those who do freelance for a living, well, that’s a different conversation…
When freelancing, ask yourself: will it further God’s Kingdom? @danniobracken Click To Tweet
Dan graduated from Asbury College in 2006 with a degree in media communication. A few months later, he joined the staff of Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, OH as a graphic design intern. After learning a thing or two over the years, Dan is now Senior Media Producer and leads a team of 80 unpaid media servants. Through his incredible creative ability, God has used him to change lives through the power of story. Dan lives in Tipp City, OH with his wife, Amy, and has 3 year old twins.