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Portrait of a Freelancer: Jean-François Lajoie

<p><em><strong>Freelance Profile - Meet inspiring people who have chosen to earn a living by being self-employed. Through a very humanistic perspective, discover their story, unique lifestyle, and challenges. Today, we meet Jean-Fran&ccedil;ois, who is a photographer working in the Kamouraska region.</strong></em><br /> &nbsp;</p> <h3>1- Tell us About Yourself</h3> <p>My name is Jean-Fran&ccedil;ois Lajoie and I am a photographer from the Bas-St-Laurent region, more precisely from St-Alexandre-de-Kamouraska.</p> <p></p> <h3>2- Where Does your Immense Passion for Photography Come From?</h3> <p>I was working on a printed shirts business project with one of my brothers. We needed to take pictures of people wearing our shirts in order to promote them. I then borrowed my friend&rsquo;s photo camera, a REFLEX, and it is at this moment that I got the bug! The image result we can have with a professional camera surprised me. I then exchanged my old video camera for a photo camera. It is portraits and landscapes that made me love photography. As I said, I live in Kamouraska, and it is the place for the best sunsets in the world!</p> <p></p> <h3>3- How Did You Become Self-Employed?</h3> <p>I had to change my career to a less physically demanding job because of health issues. I then started to have more and more photo contracts. I had to quit my job and my main source of revenue, but I continued to have photo contracts opportunities. I then realized that I could live from this. This is the moment I took a course in business management at the CFPPE of Rivi&egrave;re-du-Loup in 2017.</p> <p></p> <h3>4- What Is the Most Challenging Part of Self-Employment?</h3> <p>Instability and the lack of consistency. The fact that I need to negotiate and the arrival of new contracts and money on a more or less constant level generate everyday stress. It is the reason why good management of your client&rsquo;s accounts and revenues to balance the least busy months is vital.</p> <p></p> <h3>5- Which Part of Being Self-Employed Do You Like the Most?</h3> <p>Freedom; however, I must admit that even if we think we are freer when we are self-employed workers, we still need to take our clients and business opportunities into account. It is then mostly freedom of decision and autonomy. Since I am a solitary person, it is a reality that fits well with me.</p> <p></p> <h3>6- Tell Us About Your Work Routine.</h3> <p>I have no work routine, and this is what I like the most about my job. I struggle with routine. The schedule of a photographer is quite unstable because it varies depending on contracts. The hours are not stationary, and the length of the sessions depends on the clients&rsquo; requests. I prepare my schedule depending on my contracts. When clients contact me, we need to discuss a lot to understand their needs and make a service offer that meets their expectations. It is only the day before the shooting session that I start my artistic thinking. When I am on the spot, I work instinctively, and I try to get inspiration from the present moment. I feel more confident when I can improvise than when everything is planned. What is essential regarding my routine is to work on the photos as soon as possible following the shooting so it is still fresh in my head and the final result expresses the moment. I am very disciplined in giving the final product as soon as possible. This is how I stand out!</p> <p></p> <h3>7- What Are the Online Tools You Could Not Live Without?</h3> <p>First, my website, my email inbox, and my social media allow me to be contacted by my clients. Then,&nbsp; my software to work on photos: Lightroom, Photoshop, and the Adobe Creative Cloud for photographers, as well as much other software and virtual libraries that give me the possibility to share photos with my clients. My accounting software is Momenteo, and it allows me to do my accounting and manage my invoices, expenses, and finances.</p> <p></p> <h3>8. How Did You Learn About Momenteo, and How Long Have You Been Using It?</h3> <p>One of my teachers from my how to start a business course (who also became my friend) told me about Momenteo.</p> <p></p> <h3>9- What Makes Momenteo Different from Other Accounting Programs?</h3> <p>The fact that it is very user-friendly. I was looking for an easy-to-use and simple invoicing software, and it is what I found with Momenteo. The interface is visually appealing and more actual than much other similar software. It is also made in Quebec, so I cannot ask more!</p> <p></p> <h3>10- How Did You Find Your First Customers?</h3> <p>At first, I asked my entourage and friends to be my guinea pigs in order to develop my photo skills and create a portfolio.&nbsp; One thing leading to another, friends and families started to ask me to immortalize moments for them (family pictures, parties, happy hours).&nbsp; Then, friends of friends began to contact me as well. Word-of-mouth helped me have more and more clients, and it allowed me to be able to live from this.</p> <p></p> <h3>11. What Are Your Tips for Someone Who Would Like to Get Into Freelance?</h3> <p>Do not be afraid to take initiatives, do not neglect the importance of giving a great business card, and introductions to potential customers.</p> <p></p> <h3>12. What Would You Say to Someone Who Would Like to Use the Services of Photographer?</h3> <p>Look for a photographer according to their specialty, what they are good at because every photographer is unique, has its own artistic style and way to work. You must not make the error of shopping according to the price, availability and accessibility. Quality and experience come with a price. The final result will tell.</p> <p></p> <h3>13. What Are You Most Proud of About Being a Self-Employed Worker?</h3> <p>To be able to live as a self-employed worker! It all started from something that was at first a hobby and a passion. The way I look at this art certainly changed since it now became my job, but I still get a lot of pleasure and a feeling of fulfillment.</p> <p></p> <h3>14. Do You Have any Big Plans for This Fall?</h3> <p>It is by far my busiest season! For two years, I do school photos, and the demand increases from year to year. I started with one school, and I now have more than 15 in the area. Family pictures are also very popular during the fall season because of the splendid landscape. I also take pictures for the regional economic magazine Vitalit&eacute; &Eacute;conomique. It will then be a very busy fall that will force me to pause the development of my 360 virtual and interactive photo service for a few months. I apprehend the pendulum swing because of the pandemic with the return of events and social activities too.</p> <p></p> <h3>15. How Can We Contact You?</h3> <p>Website: &nbsp; &nbsp;;</p> <p>Facebook page: Jean-Fran&ccedil;ois Lajoie Photographe</p> <p>Instagram @jfrancoislajoie&nbsp;</p> <p>Email&nbsp; <a href=""></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p></p>