Meet our first featured freelancer of the year Ben Azevedo. Ben is a sound designer, audio engineer, and composer with a passion for great audio and great storytelling. Get to know Ben and learn about his freelance journey below.
What do you do, and long have you been freelancing?
I’m an audio professional, so if you can hear it, I can do it! I’m a multi-instrumentalist, a songwriter, I’ve done work in production and post-production audio, voiceover, and most recently, podcasting.
I’ve been part-time freelancing for about a year now, and I just started doing it full-time this month. I’ve been telling everyone it’s “exciting and also terrifying.”
What does your typical day look like?
I’m a morning person, so I’m typically up and working by about 8am. These days, that means I’m sitting in my cozy home studio. Depending on my workload, I try to dedicate the first half of the day to “deep” work – either deeply creative or deeply technical projects that I need uninterrupted time to complete. I’ve been taking a break around 2pm recently to work out. I noticed I was getting sleepy and unfocused after lunch, so that sort of wakes me back up. I try to use the afternoon to handle smaller tasks that don’t need as much mental energy. But I love iterating on my workflows, so who knows, next week might be different!
We heard that you just went full time with your freelance business. Tell us about your “exit” story. Why did you decide to take the leap?
It’s been about two years since I decided this was something I wanted to do. I had been at my job a long time, and while I still loved it, I was ready for the next thing in my career. I got to thinking about applying to new jobs and realized that I had all this knowledge that I didn’t have the last time I applied to jobs, and that I could leverage it to make my own job.
I had originally planned to go full-time back in June, but I held off due to the pandemic. Things aren’t necessarily better now, but I’ve learned a lot these past months, and I’m realizing there isn’t a “perfect moment” to start. I’m a cautious person, so this feels like a huge risk to me, but the reality is that I’ve spent almost two years building safety nets around myself and “practicing” freelancing, so I think I’ll be ok.
Share how freelancing has been great and/or how it has been hard.
Well, I’m writing this at the end of my third day trying it full-time, so that’s a pretty cool feeling, but I haven’t had a lot of time for it to be hard yet. For me, the business and sales end of it is much harder than the work. I like to joke that I’m never worried about doing the work, just finding it. But that said, I love meeting new people and building relationships, so when I think of sales in that way, it’s not so bad. The greatest thing about freelancing is the potential. Everything is potential, and your job every day is to turn some of that potential into reality. I think that’s super cool!
What advice do you have for soon-to-be or wish-to-be freelancers?
Hm. Do enough research to know what you’re getting into. Find a mentor, or heck, find a bunch of mentors! Talking with other freelancers and entrepreneurs is really eye-opening. Believe in yourself and trust the process. It’s easy to get bogged down in negativity (oh I’ll never be able to do that!) but it’s ALSO easy to get lost in optimism (someday I’m going to be so successful!). Personally, I tend to get carried away with my “dream freelance scenario”. I’ll never get there if I spend all day dreaming about it! Set goals, make a plan, trust the process.
To get in touch with Ben visit www.bearcaveaudio.com and check out his podcasts here:
The Relationship Road Trip:
Not your usual relationship advice podcast! My dad, sister, and I talk about all sorts of relationships, from romantic to professional, and how to improve them. Both of them are licensed professionals, I’m just the dude asking questions.
The JUST podcast:
Stories from people working to build a more just society both locally and nationally. Working on this show has really opened my eyes to the many ways we can all contribute to our communities and support each other.