Moniek Kuipers | photographer from Rotterdam, NL

Star sign: Aries
Currently reading: Nothing. The last book she read was The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale .
Hopes her last meal will be: secretly just fries with peanut sauce and mayonnaise

Moniek Kuipers (34) is a freelance content creator, photographer and creative consultant from Rotterdam. She primarily takes on big interim jobs that focus on content. However, she also enjoys making room for awesome photography projects.


When did you first realize this was your calling?

During my communication studies, I soon discovered that I wanted to do something with writing. That’s how I got started as a copywriter. Over the years this evolved into me becoming a content creator, however after awhile I noticed that I missed the visual aspect in my daily work. That’s why I decided to take a number of master classes such as “art direction” at the University of Arts in London and, in addition, I taught myself the photography profession. I did that by reading a lot, watching YouTube videos / tutorials and trial and error. I’m not the only one that finds the combination between text and image to be an added value, it is also 1 + 1 = 3 for my customers.


How did you get your business off the ground?

During the crisis 7 years ago I started freelancing. I thought, “if I succeed now, it will always work.” I had just got out of a job at a company that didn’t suit me at all. In the evenings I put together a website, I created my branding with my boyfriend at the time and I saved money like crazy. I made sure I had a big enough buffer for at least six months. I didn’t have to use that buffer much, because I quickly took on both small and large jobs and I haven’t been out of work for the past 7 years. I did have a periods when I worried whether or not there would be something coming? However, that often turned out to be the calm before the storm.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That would mean that you have to do something full-time for at least 5 years before you can really do it flawlessly.

What makes your photography unique?

I think you can tell from my photography that I am a storyteller. They are not fleeting, beautiful pictures but they tell a small or big story. I also think that my photography has a certain balance that often recurs.


What is the biggest challenge for you as a entrepreneur?

My biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is to say no and to keep listening to my gut feeling. The latter is sometimes very difficult. Especially when a job is offered for a great brand or for a beautiful fee, but I have a gnawing feeling that tells me I shouldn’t do it. Nowadays I manage to say thanks but no thanks for such projects. In the past 7 years I have tripped up enough to know that prestige or money isn’t everything.

What inspires you to keep going?

My enormous drive and ambition. It is the nature of the beast. I am also easily bored and therefore like to keep busy. Have I seen and done it all? Then it’s time to go and try something else. I’m never done learning. That’s why I like to invest in myself. For example, last autumn I followed the intense and highly regarded training, “Understanding Groups and Leaders,” at Hyper Island. Also, I studied Cambridge English at (the highest) C2 level 6 years ago. I like to challenge myself.


What’s your life motto / what mantra do you live by?

Difficult. Strive for happiness I think? You can make happiness. But you have to work for that. I like to work hard. Because I also like to enjoy hard.


How do you ensure a good work / life balance?

My husband works at irregular times and that gives me the flexibility to take an evening or weekend here and there. In addition, he sometimes helps me with larger photo shoots. Fortunately, I can be very lazy and when the laptop is closed, it is really closed. Tomorrow is another day.

How has the Corona Virus outbreak affected your work?

I have been on maternity leave since late March. That means I was already finishing all my jobs and had saved a decent buffer for the coming months. In addition, as a self-employed person you are entitled to the ZEZ benefit during your maternity leave. That is not a lot, but, of course is very welcome. I think if I worked in the coming months I would definitely have felt it. Many friends of mine in the same field are very affected and I find it really painful to see.


What can people do to support you and others in your field?

I see many entrepreneurs starting side hustles. People who cook and deliver food. People who are giving online workshops. I’ve noticed catering businesses provide the opportunity to purchase gift cards. You really don’t have to get involved in everything, but continuing to pump some money into the economy here and there is the only way to keep all of our heads above water. Large companies such as De Bijenkorf, Carglass and Action that adjust their payment terms from, for example, 60 to 120 days are, in my view, directly responsible for the upcoming economic recession. Pay suppliers on time, just hire that one freelancer and stay in touch with each other. Finally, continue to ask yourself, how can we take care of each other with this new reality?


What are your plans for the future?

The focus for the coming months will be on becoming a mom for the first time. I will get back to work in August. I am very curious to see how the world will be doing and how I will feel about going back to work again. For the time being, I think I’ll be itching to get started after the summer. But who knows!


Do you have tips for people who want to start as a photographer?

Plenty of tips! 1) Take the time to learn before training others. Today everyone is a coach. As a result, in a lot of work I miss a certain depth and / or authenticity. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That would mean that you have to do something full-time for at least 5 years before you can really do it flawlessly. Something to think about sometimes. 2) Work is not always just fun. On Instagram you can see the cozy cups of coffee and delicious lunches. But not the stressful moment on a Saturday evening because your job is far from finished. Some periods do not always feel equally fertile. In my view, those are the periods in which you learn a lot. 3) Outsource what you’re not good at or don’t feel like doing. I have an accountant and a cleaning lady. Both equally indispensable.

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