We had the good fortune of connecting with Jensen Vinca and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jensen, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
At the start of 2019, I took the leap and quit my full-time job to pursue working freelance as a director and colorist. Outside of the fears of no longer having a steady income and knowing if I would be successful or not freelancing, the transition from a typical workplace environment to working from home and being my own boss was something I was not fully prepared for. Over the years, I’ve developed a few habits of my own that helped me to stay productive and learn to work from home in a healthy way. Here are 3 habits that have made working from home successful for me:
1) Stick to a work schedule
Being my own boss, I no longer had anyone to hold me accountable to when I should work. My biggest mistake when I first started freelancing was only working when I felt like it. There were no set boundaries for when to work and not to work. This made my work schedule random and chaotic. Some days I would sleep in and work for only an hour. Others, I would work for 18 hours straight over a weekend. My work habit sucked, and I was either burnt out from working a lot or unproductive from not working at all. After diagnosing this problem, I decided to treat working from home as if I was working at a full-time job. I made it a goal of mine to work only on the weekdays from 10a-6p. This mentality helped me to stay productive and neither overwork or underwork myself. It also helped me to separate my work from home life as I knew when I was supposed to be productive and when I was allowed to relax.
2) Find “co-workers” to keep you accountable and social
The thing I missed the most from working at a full-time job was my co-workers and the socializing. Working from home can get lonely. I was definitely lonely at first. Lucky for me, I had a network of friends who were also freelancers, so I came up with the idea that we could treat each other like co-workers during the week to help keep each other stay motivated and accountable. With a couple of my other freelance friends, at 10a every weekday, we’d hop on Discord to have a morning meeting call. At this meeting we’d discuss our daily goals and what we hoped to accomplish by the end of the day. Throughout the day we’d stick in Discord to chat on breaks or ask for each others’ opinions on whatever project we were working on as if we were co-workers sitting in adjacent offices. When 6p came around, we’d all wrap up our work and hop back in a voice channel for our end of the day meeting. Here, we’d discuss our progress and if we’d hit our goals or not. Ever since starting this, my friends and myself have all reported higher productivity in our work, and we don’t feel as lonely anymore!
3) Go outside and take a walk
Working from your apartment means you spend a lot of time in one space. Eventually, that space will start to feel like a prison if you spend too much time there. I’m sure with the 2020 quarantine people know this feeling all too well. To counter this, I started to take a daily walk for at least half an hour after work. Not only did this help me get a change of scenery, I was also feeling happier and healthier getting the exercise and sunlight.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m still on the road to success, so I can’t really speak about my work as if I’ve “made it” and know what I’m doing, but I have learned a few things on the way and would love to a share a few nuggets of advice:
– Be a kind person. An easy way to success is having people vouch for you and genuinely enjoy working with you. There’s no easier way to end your career than burning the wrong bridge.
– Hard work pays off; be patient. At first it may seem like the hours of work you’re putting in are going no where, but don’t worry eventually you’ll see the fruit of your labor.
– Branding yourself is important. Initially, no one hired me as a director because I didn’t tell people I was a director. Even when it felt embarrassing to call myself one, I only started getting jobs as a director when I told people that’s what I do. Fake it till you make it!
– Saying no to jobs is just as important as saying yes. At the start of your career, it’s important to take any opportunity that comes your way. But as you begin to get more opportunities, it’s also important to know when to say no to the ones that will actually hold you back. You should pass on things that aren’t worth your time. If you say yes, it could conflict with something else that is bigger and better that comes up later. Trust the process and value your time.
– Find a mentor. Having someone more experienced than you show you the industry is priceless. He/she will be a support system that guides you down the right path and save you on the mistakes they made.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Honestly, I don’t know the best spots in the city, but as a person from Hawaii, I can tell you a couple of the best spots Hawaii people enjoy.
Best Poke – Ali’i Fish Company in El Segundo
Local Hawaiian Style – Rutts Hawaiian in Culver City
Good Japanese Food – Sawtelle Japantown
Good Japanese Marketplace – Mitsuwa Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout my network of freelancer friends who have really made working from home and freelancing a joy these past two years.
Martin Taube: Martin is a talented director and cinematographer and the other half of our co-directing duo Bird&Flower. We’ve collaborated on numerous projects together and all in all he’s been a great support and influence on my work.
Lindsay Sunada: Lindsay is a talented director and the other half of our co-directing duo SCOUT. Lindsay is the reason I got into the music video world as she brought me on to co-direct my first music video. Directing with her is really where I see the start of my directing career take off.
Katie Anne Moy: Katie Anne is my roommate and manager. I don’t know anyone else who does what she does as well as she does it. She puts her all into every project, and she’s the only producer I can rely on without an ounce of doubt.
Alessio Morello: Alessio is a talented writer/director and friend. Outside of the great feedback and encouragement he gives me when it comes to work, he’s also someone who challenges and expands my philosophy and knowledge about life.
David Litner, Katie Anne Moy, Alessio Morello