Meghan Plowman - Down to Earth, Humble, Real.
I have admired Meghan Plowman’s work for a long time so when she agreed to an article for The Maker’s Portrait community I was beyond excited!
Having worked as a stylist and a photographer for Australian interiors magazines, as well as clients such as Once Was Lost, it is clear Meghan has worked hard to get to where she is. A self-taught photographer and stylist, she has sought to learn as much as possible and felt it has been important being out there in the real world connecting with people.
“As someone who was committed to a freelance career I took the learning into my own hands. I styled and photographed my own portfolio, connected with businesses face-to-face, handing out cards and getting any on-set experience I could. I took on lots of varied work involving styling (not all fun!) and this eventually connected me to a range of people in the industry and more opportunities.”
When asked about how the creative community has grown in Perth, Meghan says, “since I started my journey there has been a noticeable growth in creative businesses for sure: artists, stylists, photographers, designers, studios. Maybe we are seeing more of them with the growth of social media - an expansion which has coincided with my timing of being in business which as been interesting! The approachable nature of social media has made it easier to view work, events and connect with each other…”
Whilst there have been advantages to the way social media has allowed freelancers and businesses to connect with each other Meghan is also careful not to let social media invade her life. She says it can be easy to get caught up with how many followers you have or what other people are posting and how their life is perceived to be. But Meghan says she posts content because she enjoys curating her feed, she loves photographing and creating images. Being out in the real world, living in reality, is what is more important.
“I have learnt that I need others around me. Diversifying my work has helped me to stay connected to humans which helps keep me sane. I think the longer you are in business the more clearly it becomes that..there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. You really need to look at your lifestyle, needs and goals as to how to structure it all. It can be easy to compare yourself to others but then you just get lost in the process. Focusing on myself and my unique offering, strengths and vision for my future has kept me on track.”
In the up’s and down’s of being a freelancer Meghan says her family and her husband have been her saving grace. “I’m very fortunate to draw from the experience of my mum who ran a creative business when I was young, which included running a studio and staff. She was completely in charge of the running of her business and understood all aspects as well as when to ask for help. Mum actually helps me run things today and her advice is invaluable.” Meghan says that the relationships she has developed with other freelancers over the years has also been invaluable. “Their friendship, honesty and non-competitive advice and support has been confidence building and lifting during challenges. I appreciate their perspectives and they can also relate to a solo creative venture. If you are a creative or anyone working solo, my advice would be to find your tribe!”
When asked about the things that matter most, Meghan says, “I love my alone time, but what really makes me come alive is time spent with others. I gain energy from hosting and being around my friends and family. The online and external world hardly exist when I'm gathering and being present with those I hold dear. It sounds cliche but I have been thinking about this a lot recently and what matters at the end of the day. It's the real world relationships and experiences, including your work and actually putting into practice your skills and learning, not the online perceptions and connectivity that will make you healthy and happy.”
She has invaluable advice to those just starting out or pursuing their passion. "Start somewhere - anywhere. It doesn't need to be perfect and there’s a high likelihood that your business and direction will change as you progress on your journey. Mine has. I think we all have this view of a business package needing to be perfect before you start. (Perfect branding, perfect website, imagery, content, feed of a thousand images, thousands of followers before you begin......) If you have the essentials covered for starting - including knowing what you do, who you sell to for how much, and the ‘businessy’ side of things then just get that first client and stay true to what you do - no one else can be you.”